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East Anglia Climate Scientists Cleared By Inquiry

Climate Researchers Were "Dedicated If Slightly Disorganised"

The results of an inquiry into the conduct of climate scientists at the University of East Anglia were released overnight in Britain and cleared the scientists of "deliberate scientific malpractice".

The independent inquiry panel set up by the University of East Anglia in the wake of the "climategate" email leaks, was led by Ron Oxburgh, the former chair of the House of Lords science and technology committee.

The panel reported that it found no evidence of impropriety in the work of the scientists at UAE's Climate Research Unit.

It concluded:

"We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal."

However, it did raise some questions about research methods, stating:

"We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians."

The report is available here. Further comments gathered by the SMC will be added to the website. Professor Tim Naish, Director Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington comments:

"The findings of the Oxburgh panel, while not unexpected, will do much to restore public confidence in climate scientists and the IPCC, which has been unnecessarily tarnished by the unsubstantiated allegations of "a cover up" made by some climate change sceptics. Now this dedicated community of scientists get can focus back on the important business of objectively documenting and understanding our planets climate."

Comments below gathered by the UK SMC:

Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society of London, comments:
"We should all be grateful to Lord Oxburgh and his expert colleagues for a thorough report offering an authoritative assessment of the CRU's research and making clear recommendations. Climate science currently attracts enormous public interest. It is therefore crucial that research sustains the highest standards of rigour and openness."

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, comments:

"These are very important findings that should be conveyed around the world. The Panel has conducted a rigorous investigation and found no evidence to support the allegations made by some climate change 'sceptics' that the research carried out by the Climatic Research Unit is fraudulent. In short, the emails that were posted on the internet in November do not represent the 'smoking gun' that was claimed by so-called sceptics.

"The Panel has carried out a thorough investigation of the evidence, and anybody who simply rejects these findings will show that they are motivated by prejudice and ideology rather than by scepticism and a desire to uncover the truth. I think those so-called sceptics and commentators in the media who have attempted to undermine the credibility of climate change science on the basis of the hacked emails now need to apologise for misleading the public about their significance."

Dr Myles Allen, Head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford, comments:

"It comes as no surprise that the panel found no evidence of a conspiracy - anyone familiar with the way science works would know it would be quite impossible for a group of scientists to maintain a conspiracy for 20 minutes, never mind 20 years.

"While we'd all agree that it is a good idea to document and archive computer code as thoroughly as possible, people should appreciate that science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems, and either confirming or refuting published results, not by "auditing" old calculations. There is a danger, if climate science starts to be treated as a bookkeeping exercise, that this would actually impede progress in understanding how the real Earth system works."

Prof Sir Brian Hoskins, Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, comments:

"I welcome this thorough and fair review. The picture painted by it of a dedicated small group trying to do the best science and with no hidden agenda to their work is consistent with my knowledge of the people involved at CRU and of their research. The review should help shape aspects of the continuing progress of climate science, in particular the need to make use of the latest statistical techniques."A


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