ClimateGate scientists cleared of wrongdoing

In a conclusion that will surprise no one with half a brain, climate scientists at the University of East Anglia have been found by an inquiry to have done nothing wrong, other than perhaps be a bit insular.

The Independent Climate Change Email Review was set up by the University of East Anglia (UEA) after more than 1,000 e-mails were hacked from its servers and leaked onto the web, just in time to stir up a storm before the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit late last year.

The hackers leaked carefully chosen snippets which climate change deniers leaped on to claim evidence of a conspiracy to exaggerate the threat man-made climate change poses to humanity.

But the inquiry found nothing in the e-mailswhich would demonstrate that UEA scientists manipulated and suppressed key climate data, nor any evidence which would undermine Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

The review, chaired by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell, concludes that the scientists' "rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt".

He added: "So we conclude that the argument that CRU has something to hide does not stand up".

Having spent some months poring over the evidence, the review says however that: "there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness", and some slowness or reticence in complying with Freedom of Information oI) requests.

The investigators say that the emails released onto the web last November amounted to about 0.3% of the material hacked from the UEA server. These details taken out of context were clearly meant to destabilise the upcoming climate summit

Allegations that the scientists withheld temperature data from weather stations and kept the computer algorithms used to process the data secret, were unfounded, the review concludes

"We find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it," it said.

"We demonstrated that any independent researcher can download station data directly from primary sources and undertake their own temperature trend analysis"

Edward Acton, UEA vice-chancellor, said he hopped the review would "finally lay to rest the conspiracy theories, untruths and misunderstandings that have circulated.

"We hope this exoneration of UEA climate scientists and their research collabroators around the world, some of whom have suffered considerably during this experience, will be widely reported."