Another batch of UEA's 'climategate' emails released
- 22 Nov 2011, 15:36
- Christian Hunt
An alternative selection of emails taken from the batch taken
from UEA server that provided the basis for the 2009 'climategate'
episode has emerged.
Early this morning, someone calling themselves 'Foia' posted this
link on the comments pages of various climate skeptic
blogposts. Recipients included US bloggers Wattsupwiththat and
Climate Audit, and the Canadian blog Air Vent. 'Foia' seems not to
have posted the link directly onto any UK blogs that we know
about. The manner in which the files have been introduced mirrors
the release of the first batch of emails in 2009.
The link leads to a Russian server holding a document cache
containing around 6000 emails and 23 documents. The file seems to
contain another selection from the emails and documents taken in
the 2009 'Climategate' hacking
incident, which included emails sent and received over a 13-year
period by employees at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the
University of East Anglia (UEA). The emails which were originally
released in 2009 appear to be included in the data-dump.
A commenter who has been going through the emails
reports on skeptic blog Climate Audit that the latest email he
can find is from 13th November, 2008, so it would appear that the
emails are not the result of some new hacking incident at the
University of East Anglia, but have rather been released
strategically, presumably to coincide with preparations for the UN Climate Change
Conference 2011 which will run from 28th November to 9th
Whoever released the emails suggests that an accompanying
encrypted archive file contains the whole stolen email archive. In
a document accompanying the emails and files, 'Foia' states "The
rest, some 220.000, are encrypted for various reasons. We are
not planning to publicly release the passphrase."
'Foia' offers selected quotes from these new emails, re-posted
here. The documents include drafts of papers and chapters, a
budget spreadsheet and IPCC technical papers.
The BBC's Richard Black has written a brief article
outlining what has happened. He notes (rightly) that reviews of the
previous set of emails in the UK, and US, as well as a review of
the IPCC, have cleared scientists involved of fraud and
We will see if any clear evidence that undermines the science of
climate change or casts these conclusions into doubt emerges from
the emails. I'm doubtful - if there was juicier material yet to
come out, it would have presumably been released in 2009 in what
now looks even more clearly like a strike against the UN climate
summit in Copenhagen.
This also brings attention onto how these sets of emails are being
selected. 'Foia' talks about a 'keyword search'. A very quick scan
shows that 1381 of the 5292 emails - a quarter - contains the word
'problem', perhaps an indication of the kind of things the editors
of the set were looking for.
Climate skeptics are enthusiastically promoting the news, with
James Delingpole writing:
they show the "scientists" at the heart
of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering
light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin
Trenberth, Keith Briffa - all your favourite Climategate characters
are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails
exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming
This will make a story, and offers a significant new cache of
scientists' emails for people to dig through. Doubtless specific
phrases and emails will be pored over in the days to come. We'll
wait and see what the wider fallout is.
UK Polling site Noise of the Crowd have a useful discussion of
the effect the first batch of emails had on public opinion in the
UK - www.noiseofthecrowd.com/climate-opinion-after-uea/
And the Guardian have covered the story
here. Dr Michael Mann, whose emails are featured, said:
"Well, they look like mine but I hardly
see anything that appears damning at all, despite them having been
taken out of context. I guess they had very little left to work
with, having culled in the first round the emails that could most
easily be taken out of context to try to make me look bad."
UPDATE 22nd November, 17:10: UEA have released a
statement confirming that there is no evidence that their
computer systems have been breached recently, and that:
"If genuine...These emails
have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of
data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause
maximum disruption to the imminent international climate
"...As in 2009, extracts
from emails have been taken completely out of context. Following
the previous release of emails scientists highlighted by the
controversy have been vindicated by independent review, and claims
that their science cannot or should not be trusted are entirely
unsupported. They, the University and the wider research community
have stood by the science throughout, and continue to do so."