Norwich 'climategate' scientist cleared

Tara GreavesA Norwich scientist has today been cleared by a committee of MPs of hiding or manipulating data to back up his own science.Tara Greaves

A Norwich scientist has today been cleared by a committee of MPs of hiding or manipulating data to back up his own science.

Phil Willis, chairman of the commons science and technology committee, said there was no case to answer following accusations of dishonesty levied at Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (Cru) at the University of East Anglia.

Prof Jones and Cru have been at the centre of a worldwide scandal following the leak of thousands of emails last year which climate sceptics claimed showed data had been manipulated in favour of manmade climate change.

There are several reviews, and an ongoing police investigation, into the saga, which began in November - weeks before the important Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

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The committee's largely positive findings have been welcomed by UEA and Edward Acton, vice-chancellor, said: "We are delighted that the select committee has produced a fair and balanced report that makes crystal-clear that the 'scientific reputation of Prof Jones and Cru remains intact''.

While clearing Prof Jones, who gave evidence to the committee, Mr Willis warned climate scientists to be more open with all their data and methods to ensure research is 'irreproachable' in the future and said many of the resulting issues from 'climategate' could have been avoided if the UEA had been more transparent.

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'Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds on climate change mitigation. The quality of the science therefore has to be irreproachable,' said Mr Willis.

'What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at Cru could have been avoided.'

While admitting that some of the leaked emails, which included phrases such as 'trick' and 'hiding the decline' were 'pretty appalling', Mr Willis said he felt Prof Jones had been 'scapegoated'.

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