Rod Liddle

Almost a whitewash

Almost a whitewash
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A powerful editorial in New Scientist about Muir Russell’s report into those emails leaked from East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. It does not quite call Russell’s publication a whitewash, but comes fairly close.

Its main point of contention is that there have been three inquiries into the Climategate farrago and “incredibly, none looked at the quality of the science itself.” Russell hammered CRU for its secrecy but upheld the integrity of the researchers there. However, in failing to examine the quality of the science, the editorial continues:

 “How can we know whether CRU researchers were properly exercising their judgment? Without dipping his toes into the science how could Russell tell whether they were misusing their power as peer reviewers to reject papers critical of their own research, or keep skeptical research out of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?”

New Scientist argues that while the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong, this omission matters. It is also strongly critical of Muir Russell’s not to subject the leaked emails to detailed analysis and examining very few of the hundreds of thousands of unpublished emails: “Surely openness would require their release.” As a consequence, the magazine says that Russell’s conclusion that the rigour and honesty of the scientists are not in doubt is hard to accept – and still less the conclusion of Edward Acton, the UEA’s vice chancellor who said that the CRU had been “completely exonerated.” The editorial concludes: “Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be.”

Apologies if you’ve already seen this.