The Reviews into the Climatic Research Unit’s E-mails at the University of East Anglia

Memorandum submitted by the

University of East Anglia (UEA Reviews 00)

Re: Climatic Research Unit at UEA

I understand that the Committee will shortly be holding evidence sessions on the work of the two reviews set up by UEA following the illegal hacking of emails from our Climatic Research Unit (CRU). I welcome the opportunity to provide Members with an update on developments since I attended the Committee’s evidence session on 1 March and since the two independent Reviews reported.

University Sector Issues

We welcome the reflections on public policy put forward in the reports published by Sir Muir Russell and Lord Oxburgh. Particularly timely are those bearing on public engagement with science and on the need for early dialogue between the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Higher Education sector over the application of Freedom of Information principles to university research (my further comments and those of the President of UUK are attached in appendices A1 and A2). My focus here, however, is on more detailed matters relating to the reviews and subsequent steps taken by the University.

Science Assessment

The Oxburgh Review, conducted by an international panel of scientists, was asked to consider whether "the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data" or, as the Select Committee’s own Report put it in March, " whether the work of CRU has been soundly built." The Panel was unequivocal. It found absolutely no evidence of dishonesty or scientific malpractice. It praised the Unit for carrying out work of great public value. On scientific methodology, the Panel judged CRU’s approach fair and satisfactory but it urged closer collaboration with expert statisticians, a recommendation the University is now acting upon.

The Muir Russell Review was conducted by a panel that included scientific expertise but extended well beyond it. It invited submissions from anyone anywhere in the world and then examined in meticulous detail the allegations that had been made against CRU’s scientists. It concluded that their "rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt’" and found not a shred of evidence to cast any doubt on the extent to which the work of CRU’s scientists can "be trusted and should be relied upon."

It has been asserted that neither Muir Russell nor Lord Oxburgh’s reviews looked into the quality of the science itself (see the New Scientist editorial, 17 July 2010). UEA’s response to these assertions – which sometimes betray a failure to understand the scientific process – is provided in the University’s response to the New Scientist editorial, as published on the UEA website and attached at appendix B.

Concerns that UEA had changed the brief of Lord Oxburgh’s review were expressed in the media, notably on the Today programme on 7 July. This is not the case. Lord Oxburgh writes in the first paragraph of his published report that his brief, agreed with UEA, was to determine whether "data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data." This was the essence of the criticism against CRU, and clearly addressed the scientific conclusions of CRU’s research. This was confirmed in the second paragraph of Lord Oxburgh’s report where he writes that he was asked to determine whether "the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified (our italics) interpretation of the data". Lord Oxburgh and UEA have together issued a statement refuting an accusation that that UEA asked Lord Oxburgh to adopt a narrower brief than that described in his report. This was sent to the BBC and posted on the UEA website on 11 July 2010 and is attached as appendix C. The BBC has offered no evidence to support its assertion and we await their response to our request for a correction.

We were pleased to note that the findings of the two Reviews were further reinforced by the recently published "Denial by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Petitions to Reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases" as summarised in appendix D. The full document is available at the following web address:

As members may be aware, the US Environmental Protection Agency determined in December 2009 that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases threatens the public’s health and the environment. Since then the EPA received petitions challenging this determination, claiming that climate science cannot be trusted. After a lengthy investigation of the CRU emails and of the state of climate change science generally, EPA found no evidence to support the claims that the CRU emails and documents undermined the scientific evidence for climate change. The University welcomes this further independent validation of the importance and integrity of CRU’s work and the conclusions of the two UK independent reviews.

Disclosure of Data

In terms of the conclusions of the Muir Russell report, the University has accepted the Review’s criticisms of its handling of requests for disclosure of data and other material. The University’s formal response to the Muir Russell Review provides further information on how we intend to implement the recommendations of the Review (appendix E).

We have established that the potential email deletion which gave rise to the ICO’s concern did not take place, and the University has received undertakings from the CRU staff most notably involved in the emails that they will fully comply with the letter and spirit of Freedom of Information requests. Extracts from statements they have made on this subject are provided in appendix F.

Sharing Data

The University has acknowledged the need for openness in dealing with requests for data. One way in which we are working to provide new methods of providing open access to research data is through a new collaborative project funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and conducted in partnership by UEA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The project will examine how best to make climate data easily available for all those interested to use and scrutinise. Further information on the project is provided in appendix G.

Finally, may I draw Members’ attention to the recently-published book Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway (appendix H). I share the view expressed by many commentators that it represents an important contribution to our understanding of the changing nature of the public debate about climate change.

I hope that this information will assist the Committee. I would be happy to provide any further details required.

Yours faithfully,

Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor

University of East Anglia

2 September 2010

Appendix A1

Where next for Freedom of Information?

Tue, 31 Aug 2010

An opinion piece from Prof Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia.

The core purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is profoundly progressive: to tighten collective control over power. Public access to an organization’s thinking is a strong antidote to corruption, deception and repression. Without it, there is no reason to think MPs’ expenses would have been brought under control. The Soviet regime could not have lived with it at all.

Where university research is concerned, the FOIA forms an important part of the healthy drive for increased openness. Research Councils and other funders now routinely require that the data and methodology needed to validate research findings be made public.

The requirement may absorb time and resource, but is well worth it. The more fully it is embraced, the more surely new findings can be subjected to the sceptical scrutiny on which the progress of academic research depends. And the lower the risk that certainty will be overplayed or probability underplayed.

But there are dilemmas. If data gathered by researchers is to be disclosable before they have completed work on it, issues of commercial and intellectual property become acute. Take the recent ruling by the Information Commissioner (made under the FOIA’s twin, the Environmental Information Regulation) to force Queen’s University Belfast to hand over painstakingly assembled Irish Tree Ring data. Are we to find that commercial companies (located anywhere in the world – our FOIA is wonderfully cosmopolitan) may secure the release of the unworked data of every UK university?

What about records of conversations among researchers, their unfinished questioning, musing and thinking aloud? Should they be available to anyone on demand? The notion that private reflection has no place in a body subject to the Information Commissioner has shades of Orwell’s 1984.

Following this month’s Muir Russell Review of ‘Climategate’, which dissected the allegations made against scientists at UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and concluded emphatically that ‘their rigour and honesty is not in doubt’, the President of Universities UK, Steve Smith condemned the subjection of researchers to intimidation and threats:

‘Attempts to create controversy and discredit researchers in some fields serves only to erode public trust in our researchers and risks setting back progress in many key areas.’

Smith remarks that if Einstein had been subjected to such challenges when his research was in the formative stage, his reputation would have been terminally damaged before he got to the theory of relativity. Or take Darwin. Almost two decades elapsed between his voyage on HMS Beagle (1840) and publication of On the Origin of Species (1859). Had he been forced to release his momentous musings before he was ready, he might well have been stopped in his tracks like other pioneers of evolutionary theory.

As e-mail becomes a daily substitute for verbal exchange, it is intensifying the dilemma. Where research is concerned, e-mails recreate the best and worst aspects of coffee-room chats: they are a source of countless intellectual breakthroughs but characterised, as psychologists point out, by a style that is often stark, uninhibited and easily misunderstood especially out of context.

The UK could learn from the US. There the FOI distinguishes between recorded factual material necessary to validate research findings, which must be disclosed, and ‘preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews [and] communications with colleagues’, which are exempted.

Until the line is soundly drawn and widely understood, there will be unfortunate side-effects. Any refusal or reluctance to disclose is easily read, especially by those in the grip of a conspiracy theory, as sinister. As one commentator on the CRU affair pointed out: ‘Like Desdemona's handkerchief, Climategate offered absolute proof to those maddened by paranoia, but to the rest of us it remained just a handkerchief.’

Smear tactics may matter little in this instance, given that the remorseless upward trend of global temperatures is so carefully verified internationally, and that it seems to become grimly clearer month by month. But it is easy to think of more virulent belief-systems feeding upon the refusal of an FOI request, however legitimate the grounds for refusal.

The dilemma over deliberation and consultation extends beyond research. There is a direct public interest in preserving the ability to have candid, rapid, multi-person e-mail discussions to quickly formulate thinking. The risk that all such e-mails might be forcibly disclosed could have the same chilling effect on debate as requiring offices and telephones to be bugged and the tapes released on demand. Because of FOI concerns, civil servants are apparently reluctant to use e-mail for controversial internal debate and blue-skies thinking.

If fear of eavesdropping drives consultation underground, rather as the KGB’s listening devices drove Soviet citizens to discuss weighty matters in the kitchen with the tap running, the cost is likely to be high. We will be at a disadvantage as a country in terms of full and frank deliberation, and historians will deeply regret the impoverishment of the archives.

But these are early days. The Information Commissioner will no doubt seek balance and clarity. The next step is to take the Act further and extend its remit over concentrations of power as yet minimally subject to collective control. We might start with the press, the commercial giants...and the banks.

Appendix A2

Universities UK response to Sir Muir Russell's Climate Change E-mails Review

Universities UK has responded to the publication of Sir Muir Russell's Independent Climate Change E-mails Review. The Review was established in December 2009 after emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit were hacked and published online. 

Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: "Universities UK is pleased with the review's finding that the rigour and honesty of scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit are not in doubt.

"Sir Muir Russell has conducted a thorough and objective review into events last year. It is entirely appropriate that these allegations were investigated thoroughly by an independent process that was fair to all concerned.

"There are lessons here for the university sector as a whole, particularly in relation to openness and Freedom of Information. Researchers and research organisations are always developing and improving how research is carried out and published. We agree that it is vital that researches are self-critical and think about the wider aspects and implications of their work, particularly in controversial areas such as this.

"The principle of academic freedom is central to the work of higher education institutions. Researchers must have freedom within the law to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions without the fear of intimidation and threats.

"Attempts to create controversy and discredit researchers in some fields serves only to erode public trust in our researchers and risks setting back progress in many key areas. If Einstein had been subjected to such challenges when his research was in the formative stage, his reputation would have been terminally damaged before he got to the theory of relativity.

"We cannot have a situation where researchers, dealing with controversial areas of study, are faced with a barrage of requests for information on early drafts of research and discussions, with the sole aim of disrupting that work. While the principles of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) are supported by all universities, and the vast majority of Freedom of Information requests are handled efficiently and effectively, there remain some critical questions about the application of the Act, and Environmental Information Regulations, to research data and correspondence. As the report points out, there is a clear need for clarification from the Information Commissioners’ Office about the treatment of material relating to research, and how best to respond to orchestrated campaigns and harassment. Universities UK will be meeting with representatives of the Information Commissioner’s Office in the next few weeks to discuss this and other issues.

"Research integrity is vital and there must be public trust in the work conducted at our universities. The UK leads the world in terms of the quality of its university research so the integrity of this work is crucial and must be safeguarded.

"Recognising this, Universities UK worked with other organisations some years ago to set up the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) to provide independent and expert advice to researchers, employers and the public on good practice in research and addressing misconduct."

Appendix B

Response to New Scientist editorial (17 July 2010)

27 Jul 2010

It is depressing that the New Scientist follows parts of the blogosphere, and some other sections of the press, in asserting that of the three independent investigations into Climategate "none looked into the quality of the science itself" (Editorial, 17 July 2010, page 3). Our hope was that New Scientist would have a more informed understanding of the method of science research.

Lord Oxburgh writes, in the first paragraph of his report, that his panel was asked to address criticism "that climate data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data". In the second paragraph he wrote "The Panel was not concerned with the questions of whether the conclusions of the published research were correct…….rather…..whether as far as could be determined the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data" (our italics).

The Oxburgh Panel operated, and wrote their report, entirely independently and so we cannot answer for the precise form of words used, but it does seem entirely consistent with the way science works. New Scientist, when do science conclusions become "correct"? Science conclusions remain provisional, becoming more or less provisional over time, until/unless they are replaced by scientifically likelier conclusions, or unless they reach the elevated status of "fact". In the observational sciences, that process develops through the honestly and scientifically justified interpretation of data.

The compilation of a hemispheric or global land surface data time series from irregularly distributed (in time and space) historical thermometer observations can never be "correct" in an absolute sense. There will always be uncertainty, as there will be greater relative uncertainty in our knowledge of past temperatures from "proxy indicators" such as tree-rings. The discovery, or utilisation, of more or better proxy records might improve our understanding of the Mediaeval Warm Period. Developing analytical techniques may also change our understanding; hence the provisionality of scientific conclusions.

When one understands how science research progresses it is clear that the Oxburgh approach is entirely consistent with – as his report says – an investigation into whether CRU’s research conclusions were scientifically justified. Moreover, as many others  have pointed out, there is a similarity with the conclusions on the character of climate change from many other groups around the world using a variety of variables and indicators.

Although the main focus of the Muir Russell Review was not the science, as the report made clear, a reading of the document clearly shows that a number of the questions put to CRU did address science. Examples include "Does not the problem of divergence for the late 20th century record invalidate the deduction of tree ring palaeotemperatures for the period prior to the instrumental record?", and "How has this choice (of data stations worldwide) been tested as appropriate in generating a global or hemispheric mean temperature (both instrumental and proxy data)?" Certainly the answers provided to these, and other, questions were couched in scientific terms.

We would urge readers of New Scientist, and others,  to read the Oxburgh and Muir Russell reports as well as CRU’s submissions to Muir Russell to judge for themselves the adequacy or inadequacy of the examinations of CRU science. They may also like to bear in mind that CRU’s research has been published in the top peer-reviewed international journals (unlike almost all of the criticism). Although peer review - as Muir Russell pointed out - is not perfect, the New Scientist, more than many other printed media, will understand the significance of this point.

A proper reading of this material will also demonstrate that CRU did not regard its "assembly of 160 years of global thermometer data" as "private property", as New Scientist claims. Muir Russell concluded "On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it". Some data were subject to non-publication agreements but the vast majority were already freely available; ready for anyone (as Muir Russell demonstrated) to reconstruct temperature time series virtually identical to those of CRU (and others). 

The "judgemental decisions" about which Oxburgh made comment, and to the New Scientist refers, were not about thermometer data, as the Editorial implies, but related to tree-ring data. Oxburgh and Muir Russell both emphasised that, within CRU’s scientific publications, the uncertainties around tree-ring temperature reconstructions were fully explained.

The stolen emails demanded serious independent  investigation. We instigated two ourselves and, in response to a letter to the Chair of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, our Vice-Chancellor made clear his enthusiasm for cooperating with a Parliamentary Inquiry, should that be the decision. Although we have suggested that New Scientist readers do examine the Oxburgh and Muir Russell reports, and our submissions to Muir Russell, we recognise that many will not and will depend, at least in part, on the  Editorial comment to form their opinion. We fear that the Editorial’s  imprecision will help to perpetuate the distortion to debate produced by the controversy of Climategate, much of which was contrived.

Not all was contrived. We agree that open-ness in sharing data, "even with… critics",  is a legal requirement. Largely, we have met that requirement although we have accepted that, in some instances, we should have been more helpful, pro-actively and absolutely. A particular instance to which Muir Russell brought attention was meta-data, not observational data, but still data which were pertinent to an interpretation, by others, of some of CRU’s analyses. We are addressing this.

It would have been helpful if the New Scientist had drawn a distinction between the disclosure of data (including meta-data)  and analysis methods, and the disclosure of  email conversations, including those which were clearly regarded as confidential communications by sender and recipients. Others are recognising that there are important differences, and there are implications for the way that research is conducted in the UK. It is important that we do have candid conversations about these matters, and we think that the New Scientist is in a good position to help in the understanding of these implications.

Appendix C

University of East Anglia did not change the brief of the Oxburgh Panel

11 Jul 2010

Following a broadcast on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on July 7, 2010, and text on Roger Harrabin's blogsite on the BBC webpages, the following has been sent to Mr Harrabin by Lord Oxburgh and Professor Trevor Davies.

"The University asked the Panel chaired by Lord Oxburgh to consider whether "data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data". It is not true that Professor Davies subsequently asked Lord Oxburgh , as you claim, to adopt a "narrower...brief" of any kind. We shall be grateful if you would correct the wrong impression which has been given".

Appendix D

40 CFR Chapter 1
[EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171; FRL 9184–8]
EPA’s Denial of the Petitions to Reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act

AGENCY :  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

ACTION :  Notice, Denial of Petitions to Reconsider

SUMMARY :  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is denying the petitions to reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.  The Findings were signed by the Administrator on December 7, 2009.  EPA has carefully reviewed all of the petitions and revisited both the scientific record and the Administrator’s decision process underlying the Findings in light of these petitions.  EPA’s analysis of the petitions reveals that the petitioners have provided inadequate and generally unscientific arguments and evidence that the underlying science supporting the Findings is flawed, misinterpreted or inappropriately applied by EPA.  The petitioners’ arguments fail to meet the criteria for reconsideration under the Clean Air Act.  The science supporting the Administrator’s finding that elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated to endanger the public health and welfare of current and future U.S. generations is robust, voluminous, and compelling, and has been strongly affirmed by the recent science assessment of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

DATES :  This denial is effective July 29, 2010

ADDRESSES :  EPA’s docket for this action is Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2009–0171:  All documents in the docket are listed on the website.  Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.  Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form.  Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through or in hard copy at EPA’s Docket Center, Public Reading Room, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004.  This Docket Facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air Docket is (202) 566–1742.

Acronyms and Abbreviations . The following acronyms and abbreviations are used in this Decision.


Administrative Conference of the United States


Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking


Administrative Procedure Act


Clean Air Act


Corporate Average Fuel Economy


Climate Analysis Indicators Tool


confidential business information


Climate Change Science Program


Code of Federal Regulations

CH 4


CO 2

carbon dioxide


Climatic Research Unit


U.S. Department of Transportation


Energy Independence and Security Act


Executive Order


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Energy Policy and Conservation Act


Freedom of Information Act


Federal Register


Fgreenhouse gas


Climatic Research Unit (CRU) temperature record


International Center For Technology Assessment


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Medieval Warm Period

N 2 O

nitrous oxide


National Ambient Air Quality Standards


National Academy of Sciences


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


nitrogen oxide


National Research Council


new source performance standards


particulate matter


Prevention of Significant Deterioration


technical support document


United States


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


U.S. Global Change Research Program


World Meteorological Organization

I.  Introduction

A.  Summary

This is EPA’s response denying the petitions to reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act ("Findings" or the "Endangerment Finding") (74 FR 66496, December 15, 2009).  EPA has considered all 10 petitions, including the arguments presented therein and the supplemental information provided by the petitioners as supporting evidence of their claims.  EPA has evaluated the merit of the petitioners’ arguments in the context of the entire body of scientific and other evidence before the Agency.  This response (hereafter "Denial" or "Decision") provides EPA’s scientific and legal justification for denying these petitions.  This Denial is accompanied by a 3-volume, roughly 360-page Response to Petitions (RTP) document ( ), containing further responses and technical detail concerning every significant claim and assertion made by the petitioners.  Section III of this Decision summarizes many of the responses provided in the RTP document.

After a comprehensive, careful review and analysis of the petitions, EPA has determined that the petitioners’ arguments and evidence are inadequate, generally unscientific, and do not show that the underlying science supporting the Endangerment Finding is flawed, misinterpreted by EPA, or inappropriately applied by EPA.  The science supporting the Administrator’s finding that elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated to endanger the public health and welfare of current and future U.S. generations is robust, voluminous, and compelling.  The most recent science assessment by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences strongly affirms this view.  In addition, the approach and procedures used by EPA to evaluate the underlying science demonstrate that the Findings remain robust and appropriate. 

Petitioners generally argue that recent revelations show that the science supporting EPA’s Endangerment Finding was flawed or questionable, and that EPA should therefore reconsider the Endangerment Finding.  The petitioners’ arguments and claims are based largely on disclosed private communications among various scientists, a limited number of errors and claimed errors in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) 1 , and submissions of a limited number of additional studies not previously considered as part of the scientific record of the Endangerment Finding. 

As discussed in detail throughout this Decision and in fuller detail in the RTP document, petitioners’ claims and the information they submit do not change or undermine our understanding of how anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases cause climate change and how human-induced climate change generates risks and impacts to public health and welfare.  This understanding has been decades in the making and has become more clear over time with the accumulation of evidence.  The information provided by petitioners does not change any of the scientific conclusions that underlie the Administrator’s Findings, nor do the petitions lower the degrees of confidence associated with each of these major scientific conclusions. 

More specifically, the petitions do not change EPA’s proper characterization of the current body of knowledge and our ability to state with confidence our conclusions in the following key areas of greenhouse gas and climate change science: 1) that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are causing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere to rise to essentially unprecedented levels in human history; 2) that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is exerting a warming effect on the global climate; 3) that there are multiple lines of evidence, including increasing average global surface temperatures, rising ocean temperatures and sea levels, and shrinking Arctic ice, all showing that climate change is occurring, and that the observed rate of climate change stands out as significant compared to recent historical rates of climate change; 4) that there is compelling evidence that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary driver of recent observed increases in average global temperature; 5) that atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are expected to continue to rise for the foreseeable future; and 6) that risks and impacts to public health and welfare are expected to grow as climate change continues, and that climate change over this century is expected to be greater compared to observed climate change over the past century.

The core defect in petitioners’ arguments is that these arguments are not based on consideration of the body of scientific evidence.  Petitioners fail to address the breadth and depth of the scientific evidence and instead rely on an assumption of inaccuracy in the science that they extend even to the body of science that is not directly addressed by information they provide or by arguments they make.  This assumption of error is based on various statements and views expressed in some of the e-mail communications between scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and several other scientists ("the CRU e-mails") 2 .  As EPA’s review and analysis shows, the petitioners routinely take these private e-mail communications out of context and assert they are "smoking gun" evidence of wrongdoing and scientific manipulation of data.  EPA’s careful examination of the e-mails and their context shows that the petitioners’ claims are exaggerated, are often contradicted by other evidence, and are not a material or reliable basis to question the validity and credibility of the body of science underlying the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding or the Administrator’s decision process articulated in the Findings themselves  Petitioners’ assumptions and subjective assertions regarding what the e-mails purport to show about the state of climate change science are clearly inadequate pieces of evidence to challenge the voluminous and well documented body of science that is the technical foundation of the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding.

Inquiries from the UK House of Commons, Science and Technology Committee, the University of East Anglia, Oxburgh Panel, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of East Anglia, Russell Panel 3 , all entirely independent from EPA, have examined the issues and many of the same allegations brought forward by the petitioners as a result of the disclosure of the private CRU e-mails.  These inquiries are now complete.  Their conclusions are in line with EPA’s review and analysis of these same CRU e-mails.  The inquiries have found no evidence of scientific misconduct or intentional data manipulation on the part of the climate researchers associated with the CRU e-mails.  The recommendation for more transparent procedures concerning availability of underlying data appears appropriate, but it has not cast doubt on the underlying body of science developed by these researchers.  These inquiries lend further credence to EPA’s conclusion that petitioners’ claims that the CRU e-mails show the underlying science cannot or should not be trusted are exaggerated and unsupported.

Petitioners’ also point to a limited number of factual mistakes in IPCC AR4, some confirmed, some alleged, to argue that the climate science supporting the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding is flawed.  EPA’s review confirmed two factual mistakes.  These two confirmed instances of factual mistakes are tangential and minor and do not change the key IPCC AR4 conclusions that are central to the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding.  While it is unfortunate that IPCC’s review process did not catch these errors, in the context of a report of this size and scope (almost 3,000 pages), it is an inappropriate and unfounded exaggeration to claim that these two confirmed mistakes delegitimize all of the scientific statements and findings contained in IPCC AR4.  To the contrary, given the scrutiny to which IPCC AR4 has been subjected, the limited nature of these mistakes demonstrates that the IPCC review procedures have been highly effective and very robust.

In a limited number of cases, the petitioners identify new scientific studies and data, published since the Endangerment Finding was finalized, which they claim require EPA to reconsider the Endangerment Finding.  Some petitioners also argue that EPA ignored or misinterpreted scientific data that were significant and available when the Finding was made.  EPA’s review of these claims shows that in many cases the issues raised by the petitioners are not new, but were in fact considered prior to issuing the Endangerment Finding.  In other cases, the petitioners have misinterpreted or misrepresented the meaning and significance of recent scientific literature, findings, and data.  Finally, there are instances in which the petitioners have failed to acknowledge other new studies in making their arguments.  The RTP document contains study-by-study analysis of these failed arguments on the part of petitioners.

Finally, in May 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published its comprehensive assessment, "Advancing the Science of Climate Change 4 " (NRC, 2010).  It concluded that "climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for-and in many cases is already affecting-a broad range of human and natural systems."  Furthermore, the NRC stated that this conclusion is based on findings that are "consistent with the conclusions of recent assessments by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, and other assessments of the state of scientific knowledge on climate change."  These are the same assessments that served as the primary scientific references underlying the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding.  Importantly, this recent NRC assessment represents another independent and critical inquiry of the state of climate change science, separate and apart from the previous IPCC and U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) assessments.  The NRC assessment is a clear affirmation that the scientific underpinnings of the Administrator’s Endangerment Finding are robust, credible, and appropriately characterized by EPA. 

The endangerment to public health and welfare from atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and associated climate change is too important an issue to be decided on any grounds other than a close and comprehensive scrutiny of the entire body of the scientific evidence.  This principle calls for an outright rejection of the petitioners’ arguments.  The petitioners’ arguments amount to a request that EPA ignore the deep body of science that has been built up over several decades and the direction it points in, and to do so based not on a careful and comprehensive analysis of the science, but instead on what amount to assertions and leaps in logic, unsupported by a rigorous examination of the science itself.  The petitioners do not provide any substantial support for the argument that the Endangerment Finding should be revised.  Therefore, none of the petitioners’ objections are of central relevance to the considerations that led to the final Endangerment Finding.  In addition, in many cases these arguments by the petitioners either were or could have been raised during the comment period on the Endangerment Finding.  In summary, EPA’s thorough review of petitioners’ arguments shows that the petitioners have not met the criteria for reconsideration under section 307(d) the Clean Air Act (CAA). 5

1 IPCC (2007). Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

2 All of the disclosed CRU e-mails at issue in this Decision can be found in full in EPA’s docket for the Endangerment Finding.  See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171, "CRU E-mails 1996-2009."

3 These inquires plus another addressing IPCC AR4 issues are referred to throughout this Decision and the RTP document.  Every inquiry is provided in full in EPA’s docket for the Endangerment Finding.  See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171, "Recent Inquiries and Investigations of the CRU E-mails and the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report." 

4 National Research Council (NRC) (2010).  Advancing the Science of Climate Change.  National Academy Press.  Washington, DC.

5 Some petitioners also raise objections to EPA’s Endangerment Finding based on legal arguments related to other EPA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actions.  For the reasons discussed in Section IV of this Decision, those objections also fail to meet the standard for reconsideration and are denied.

Appendix E

The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review – July 2010

University of East Anglia’s Response

1. The University is indebted to Sir Muir Russell and his team for conducting a comprehensive, thoughtful and challenging Review into the allegations which have been made against the University’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) following the publication of a large number of emails and other material, which are believed to have been obtained illegally from a back-up server in CRU.

2. The Review was conducted over a period of seven months and looked for evidence of manipulation or suppression of data by scientists in CRU or of manipulation of the peer review process, and addressed issues relating to compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) for the release of data and correspondence, and the governance and security structures for CRU.

3. The University welcomes Sir Muir’s approach to the Review, which invited any party, evidently including those who had levelled allegations through the media and the "blogosphere", to make representations to it. The team was painstaking in its analysis and transparent in making all evidence it received, and the records of interviews conducted available on its website, other than where that would be defamatory or otherwise unlawful.

4. The University welcomes the findings that:

"On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt"

"We do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments."

5. These findings reflect those of other reviews and inquiries conducted both prior to and subsequent to the publication of the Review.

5.1 The Commons Science and Technology Committee (in March 2010), following its inquiry, stated that: "Within our limited inquiry and the evidence we took, the scientific reputation of Professor Jones in CRU remains intact".

5.2 Lord Oxburgh’s Scientific Assessment Panel reporting in April 2010 similarly found that: "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".

5.3 More recently the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its "Notice of Denial of the Petitions to Reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases". The EPA conducted a comprehensive review of a number of issues including the allegations which had arisen as a consequence of the publication of the emails and other material. The Denial of the Petitions and the accompanying volumes are a substantial body of evidence and careful analysis. The summary (Section A) of the Denial states inter alia "Petitioners … rely on an assumption of inaccuracy in the science … based on various statements and views expressed in some of the e-mail communications between scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia … and several other scientists…EPA’s careful examination of the e-mails … shows that the petitioners’ claims are exaggerated, are often contradicted by other evidence, and are not a material or reliable basis to question the validity and credibility of the body of science … Inquiries from the UK House of Commons, Science and Technology Committee, the University of East Anglia, Oxburgh Panel, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of East Anglia, Russell Panel, … have examined the issues and many of the same allegations brought forward by the petitioners … These inquiries are now complete. Their conclusions are in line with EPA’s review and analysis of these same CRU e-mails. The inquiries have found no evidence of scientific misconduct or intentional data manipulation on the part of the climate researchers associated with the CRU e-mails … These inquiries lend further credence to EPA’s conclusion that petitioners’ claims that the CRU e-mails show the underlying science cannot or should not be trusted are exaggerated and unsupported".

6. The Review expresses a number of concerns and raises broader issues, but is critical of the University and CRU in aspects of its adherence to the spirit and intent of the FoIA or EIR. The University accepts the criticisms levelled by the Review and values the many recommendations of the report for improvements in the processes for dealing with FoIA and EIR requests and will seek to implement them fully. The University accepts that an apparent reluctance to provide access to data gave the impression that CRU was attempting to hide issues relating to its science. Clearly the conclusions of the Review are that there was nothing to hide, which underscores the point that the interests of CRU, the University and the dissemination of its research would have been best served by a more proactively helpful response to requests for information relating to data used for CRU’s published analyses.

7. The University is collaborating in two significant activities arising from the issues raised in paragraph 6 above. Firstly, while the University is already undertaking a number of steps to improve engagement with FoIA/EIR, a senior team led by the Vice-Chancellor will be meeting with the Information Commissioner and his colleagues to review the University’s processes and to seek guidance as to additional improvements which may be necessary. Secondly, CRU, in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council E-Science Centre is embarking on a Joint Information Systems Committee funded project. This will examine how best to provide standardised access to processed climate data, linked both to raw observations and meaningful descriptions of intermediate processing.

8. In the following paragraphs we paraphrase and summarise the key, more detailed, findings and recommendations of the Review and, where appropriate, add a comment in italics. References to the Review are shown as (page, paragraph).

Scientific Integrity

9. The Review’s further comments on the robustness and transparency of the research of CRU are welcome.

Land Station Temperatures

9.1 CRU was not in a position to deny anybody access to temperature data. The team demonstrated that anyone could download station data, directly from primary sources, and construct a temperature trend analysis that agreed very well with that produced by CRU. This was an invaluable and instructive contribution to refuting allegations made against CRU that data was withheld as a barrier to challenge. (53,6.7)

9.2 The Review team demonstrated that its analysis of the temperature trend remained largely consistent regardless of stations selected and the use of adjusted or unadjusted data. CRU had not manipulated its selection of station data or its analysis to achieve a pre-determined outcome to show a rise in global temperatures. (53, 6.7)

Temperature Reconstruction from Tree Ring Analysis

9.3 There was no evidence that past temperature data as derived from tree ring proxies was misleading, nor was there evidence in IPCC AR4 of the exclusion of other temperature reconstructions that would show a different picture. The extent of the uncertainties surrounding such past temperature reconstructions were extensively covered in AR4, including the divergence of tree ring proxies from instrumental records in more recent times. (59, 21)

9.4 CRU did not withhold underlying raw data, having directed the single request for information to the owners of that data. (61,29)

Peer Review and Editorial Policy

9.5 There was no direct evidence of subversion of the peer review or editorial process. (68,18)

Misuse of the IPCC process

9.6 Allegations that in two specific cases there had been a misuse by CRU of the IPCC process, in presenting AR4 to the public and policy makers, could not be substantiated. CRU researchers were part of a large group of scientists taking responsibility for the AR4 text, and were not in a position to determine the content. (13, 26)

Disclosure of data and correspondence

10. The Review is critical of the handling of requests for disclosure of data and other material, and also makes a number of recommendations to the University.

Land Station Temperatures

10.1 CRU should have made available an unambiguous list of the stations used in the construction of its land temperature record at the time of publication. We accept that the University was slow in providing this data when requested. (51, 32)

Temperature Reconstruction from Tree Ring Analysis

10.2 The figure of trends in land temperatures supplied for the WMO report, whilst not misleading per se in splicing past temperature reconstructions and modern day temperature records, did not clearly describe the mechanisms used in the construction of the figure in the caption. The University would comment that the figure was an illustration for the cover of the report and additional explanation was supplied on the inside cover and in the text. (13, 23)

10.3 There was a delay in archiving tree ring data by its owners. The University will, as part of a wider protocol documenting the agreements over the use of data provided by others, promote the benefits of such data being archived and accessible. In some instances, however, this will not be achievable, particularly where the commercial interests of the owners come into play. (62, 38)


10.4 While the University had widely distributed initial guidance on the introduction of the FoIA/EIR regimes, there was evident confusion within CRU as to how these should be applied, for example, to data, codes and personal correspondence. There was insufficient priority given to motivating staff and continuing their education in this respect. Senior staff need to make clear their commitment to transparency and to resourcing the process. The University accepts that all staff from the top down must be better engaged with the FoIA/EIR regimes. The University has already begun a programme of further training with awareness raising for senior staff. The Vice-Chancellor has written to all staff to underline UEA’s commitment to this. All new staff will receive a written statement concerning responsibilities under the FoIA/EIR together with annual updates. All staff with a particular role in the implementation of FoIA/EIR (recognising the general obligation of all colleagues) will attend annual workshops to update their knowledge. A programme specifically for staff closely involved with EIR will be mounted. The resources available to the FoIA team have been increased. (91, 25 and 91, 33)

10.5 There was a failure to recognise the extent to which more careful engagement with requesters would have been both appropriate and helpful to avoid fuelling the fire of suspicion. We fully accept this criticism and our various steps referred to in this response seek to address it. (91, 26)

10.6 There was a tendency to give unhelpful responses: failing to address the question asked or giving partial answers. There was extensive delay in providing details of those station identifiers which were not the subject of confidentiality agreements. Again, we accept the University could have performed much better in responding to these requests and steps are being taken to address this. (91, 27)

10.7 A number of emails appeared to incite deletion or evidence deletion of other emails, although there was no evidence of emails being deleted that were the subject of a request for disclosure. We accept this shows insufficient awareness of and focus on obligations under the FoIA/EIR, but we welcome the finding that there was no attempt to delete information with respect to a request already made. This confirms assurances already given to the Vice-Chancellor by colleagues in CRU that they had not deleted material which was the subject of a request. We have underlined that such action would have been one of the key elements necessary to constitute an offence under Section 77 of the FoIA and Section 19 of the EIR, the others being that information had actually been deleted, that it was deleted with the intention to avoid disclosure and that it was disclosable and not exempt information. Professor Jones has commented that, while emails are cleared out from time to time, this is to keep accounts manageable and within the allocated storage. (92, 28)

10.8 There is an imbalance of authority between the Information Policy and Compliance Manager (IPCM) and senior academic staff holding information which may be the subject of a request for disclosure. There is also a lack of constructive challenge in the appeals processes. The University has amended its protocols to allow the Director of Information Services and the Registrar to become involved at an early stage in the consideration of sensitive cases and for reviews of any decisions not to disclose information then to be undertaken by others at a senior level in the University. These changes are being formalised in a revised code of practice. (93, 29 and 93, 30)

10.9 There is a lack of understanding of the presence of long-duration back-ups of email which, had it been stronger, would have led to a greater challenge of assertions regarding the availability of material. We accept this, albeit, as is recognised in the Information Commissioner’s guidance, retrieving such data may not always be a practical option. (93, 31)

10.10 There was a fundamental lack of engagement by the CRU team with their obligations under FoIA/EIR. CRU is now more clearly integrated within the management and administrative structures of the School of Environmental Sciences, and the Head of School will take greater responsibility for compliance with FOIA/EIR requirements. The University also has undertakings from the Director of Research (Professor Jones) of necessary improvements in this regard in the future. (93, 32)

Broader Issues

11. The Review identifies a number of broader issues which are a valuable commentary on the process of scientific debate, both generally and in the particular instance of climate science:

11.1 Much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not followed the conventional method of checking and seeking to falsify conclusions or offering alternative hypothesis for peer review and publication. Again, the Review has been invaluable in demonstrating that the great bulk of the temperature data used by CRU was already readily available and that there was no barrier to checking or seeking to offer alternative hypotheses compatible with the data. Attempts simply to taint the science with the content of email exchanges are not the appropriate way to probe or challenge the conclusions (15, 35 and 15, 36)

11.2 The scientific community must learn to communicate its work in ways that recognise the emergence of the blogosphere and non-traditional scientific dialogue. That this provides an opportunity for unmoderated comment, for challenge without inhibition and for highly personalised critiques of individuals and their work to be promulgated without hindrance is a point well taken. The University accepts this is a necessary but challenging task. (14, 31 and 15, 33)

11.3 The research community must establish very clearly the requirements of funders for the release of data and its archiving, and the associated costs. We agree, noting that these requirements should be proportionate to the likely wider value and importance of the data. (104, 36)

11.4 It is important for policy makers and lobbyists to understand the limits on what science can say and with what degree of confidence. Alternative viewpoints should be recognised in policy presentations, with a robust assessment of their validity, but challenges should always be rooted in science rather than in rhetoric. The University fully endorses this observation. Challenges to science should come through peer review publication substantiating the alternative; not through criticism of emails which, as the Review states, are rarely definitive evidence of what actually occurred. (14, 32)

11.5 While Peer Review is an essential part of the process of judging scientific work, it is not a guarantee of the validity of the individual pieces of research, and the significance of challenge to individual publication decisions should not be exaggerated. We agree with the Review that robust challenges to the publication of research which experts believe, in good faith, does not meet the standards required is commonplace and should not be dismissed as an attempt to "silence" critics. (15, 33)

Sector wide issues

12. The Review raises a number of issues which require a sector-wide debate, and engagement between the representative bodies and the ICO. The University strongly supports this approach and will seek to promote further consideration of these important issues through Universities UK, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and other bodies.

12.1 Raw data, meta-data and codes necessary to allow independent replication of results should be provided concurrent with peer reviewed publication. However, so far as preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews and communications with colleagues are concerned, the American approach, where these are exempt from disclosure, is one which is worthy of consideration. (94, 34)

12.2 CRU was the subject of an orchestrated campaign of FoIA/EIR requests, and while more positive engagement by CRU would have mitigated this, conceivably there are situations where such campaigns could recur and overwhelm any small research unit. The ICO is urged to provide guidance on how best to respond to such campaigns. (95, 34)

12.3 The ICO could produce further guidance as to how long it is reasonable to retain data without releasing it, pending full publication as part of a peer reviewed paper. We agree that this is an important concern. The many benefits of publication are set out elsewhere in this response. Nonetheless data sets, carefully assembled, may result in a number of publications for an individual, the very foundation on which a scientific reputation is built. For how long is it reasonable for an individual to have their intellectual investment protected? (95, 34)

12.4 There should be a standardised way of defining station data and meta-data, and for publishing a snapshot of the data used for each important publication. We will discuss with the WMO but this will not be a trivial undertaking. (53, 40)

12.5 The storage of important research data, and the associated meta-data which make that data useful, should be specified by those funding research and there should be a clear statement as to which data should be placed in the public domain and any constraints on the timing of its release. (104, 36)


13. The Review makes a number of recommendations to the University on risk management and on the storage and security of data.

13.1 The University was insufficiently alert to the implications of the external attitudes which existed towards the work of CRU and of the attention of external pressure groups, and mitigation measures should be put in place. Greater CRU security, a bias for openness and a properly resourced policy on data management and availability should have resulted. The University will undertake a Faculty-based risk assessment of all areas of the University’s research; implement more centralised IT support to ensure appropriate security levels; and develop processes which ensure that senior management are informed of emerging problems in a timely fashion. The University will participate (with others) in projects to improve the storage of and access to research data both specifically in respect of climate data and more generally. (103, 33)

13.2 Universities should develop formal approaches to the training of researchers in basic software development methodologies and best practice. We shall consider the development of a programme of workshops for researchers in appropriate disciplines. (103, 34)

13.3 There should be a formal approach to storage and archiving of meta-data where a university is hosting a unit of such international significance as CRU. We agree and have successfully bid for grant funding to support a project for our three principal data sets. It is anticipated that the results of this project will provide an exemplar for climate researchers, including those outside UEA. (103, 35)

13.4 At the point of publication of research, enough information should be available for others to reconstruct the process of analysis, including the source code. The University accepts this should be the case, unless valuable intellectual property or other commercial constraints are in play. (104, 37)

13.5 Where the University establishes a framework and standards in areas such as information systems but allows local interpretation, this should be subject to robust audit. The University is centralising the control of IT systems and intends to reduce the level of discretion of research groups and others for the control and management of IT. Adherence to overall policies will be part of the future programme of internal audit. (104, 38)


14. The University will update this document as the steps set out in the body of the document are progressed.

Appendix F

Extracts from statements by Phil Jones and Keith Briffa concerning email deletion

Phil Jones

"As I have said on a number of occasions I do delete emails from time to time - this is usually as part of a regular clear out but sometimes as I go along".

"Most people seem to do the same to keep their email account manageable and because we are regularly reminded when storage space on our email system is nearly full".

"There is also an environmental and economic cost to storing emails so it seems to me that it is not good practice just to keep everything"

"It would be very difficult to guess what might be asked for in future so I don't go around deleting emails just because they might be asked for at some point."

"I have previously confirmed that I have never knowingly deleted an email that was the subject of an active Freedom of Information request and neither have I deleted data".

Keith Briffa

"For my part I wish to assure you that I have not knowingly deleted emails or files that were at the time subject to a request under FOIA or EIR, and will not do so in the future".

"I also assure you that I will not suggest to anyone that they should delete emails or files subject to similar requests under FOIA or EIR".

"I will use whatever means at my disposal to encourage greater openness and proactive compliance with FOIA and EIR within the CRU and the wider University."

Appendix G

Climate data to be opened up

28 Jul 2010

Climate scientists at the University of East Anglia will soon be demonstrating new methods of providing open access to research data - thanks to a major new investment from JISC to improve the way UK university researchers manage their data.

Dr Simon Hodson, programme manager at JISC, said: "Climate scientists have been under the spotlight recently: there have been technical and cultural challenges to making data and methods openly available, and a perception of failure to do so has been taken by critics of mainstream climate science as an indication of unsound science.

"Clearly, confidence in research findings – among scientists and the general public – depends upon the underpinning data and methods being open, reusable and verifiable. What is more, researchers aren’t just producers of data; they are also consumers, so by funding projects which will improve practice and will give climate scientists and others better guidance on research data management JISC aims to help them make that data more usable and valuable," he added.

Three independent reviews focused on hacked emails from climate scientists at UEA. The reviews found that the CRU researchers’ scientific rigour and honesty was not in doubt, but the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee said that climate scientists should take even more steps to make available all their supporting data – right down to the computer codes they use – in order that research findings should be properly verifiable.

The Climatic Research Unit at UEA, in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) e-Science Centre, is now embarking on a JISC-funded project that will address this recommendation. The centre provides computing, data storage and networking infrastructure for today’s advanced science facilities. Building on previous work between the two organisations, the project will examine how best to expose climate data for re-use, make it easier for researchers to cite the data and also to understand its validity. The results will be used by the British Atmospheric Data Centre, who already provide access to a significant proportion of the climate data output of the UK research community.

Professor Trevor Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement at UEA, commented: "Climate research data now plays a pivotal role in understanding our planet and shaping the political response to change. We are already one of the major providers of climate data in the UK, but want to go further. The results of this project will provide an exemplar to climate researchers across the academic and government sectors as they seek to respond to demands for even more open access to data. We are very pleased that JISC has recognised this need, and we look forward to our collaboration with the STFC e-Science Centre."

STFC’s Dr Andrew Woolf remarked: "This JISC programme comes at an exciting time as technical innovations in web science converge with an expectation of greater access to publicly-funded data. We look forward to working with UEA to apply these emerging developments to the challenges of climate research, providing standardised access to processed data, linked both to raw observations and meaningful descriptions of intermediate processing."

The UEA team, led by Dr Tim Osborn, is one of eight departments around the country who will be working towards models of better data management practice and making data more openly available for reuse by universities and other interested parties. 

Other universities involved in this innovative research are the Universities of Bath, Cambridge, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton and King’s College London; the subject areas covered include materials science, freshwater biology, epidemiology and data intensive modelling to predict disease. All the projects are exploring ways of making data and the code used for computer assisted analysis more openly available, in some cases by linking them to publications.

Dr Hodson concluded: "Climate science is by no means unique in the need for researchers to analyse complex data from a number of different sources. The aim of this investment is to improve the way research data is managed in UK universities. By showing how research data can be made more open, this JISC-funded programme will help achieve proper recognition for the essential place of data creation and management in the research process."

Appendix H

Merchants of Doubt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming  


Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway


Scientists-Professional Ethics
Science news-Moral and ethical aspects


Bloomsbury Press

Publication date



355 pp.



OCLC Number


Dewey Decimal


Merchants of Doubt is a 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Oreskes (University of California, San Diego) and Conway (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) trace the ways in which a handful of politically conservative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have "played a disproportionate role in debates about controversial questions".[1] These scientists have challenged the scientific consensus about the dangers of cigarette smoking, the effects of acid rain, the existence of the ozone hole, and the existence of anthropogenic climate change.[1] This has resulted in "deliberate obfuscation" of the issues which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.[1] Oreskes and Conway reach the conclusion that:

There are many reasons why the United States has failed to act on global warming, but at least one is the confusion raised by Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer.[1]

All physicists, Nierenberg and Seitz worked on the atomic bomb, while Singer was a rocket scientist.[2] One reviewer of the book states that some "climate sceptics are recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain".[3] As Oreskes and Conway state: "small numbers of people can have large, negative impacts, especially if they are organised, determined and have access to power".[4]

Seitz and Singer helped set up institutions such as the Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Marshall Institute in the United States. Funded by corporations and conservative foundations, these organizations have opposed many forms of state intervention or regulation of U.S. citizens. In each case the tactics are similar: "discredit the science, disseminate false information, spread confusion, and promote doubt".[4] UK's The Guardian writes:

Oreskes and Conway in this painstakingly assembled but nevertheless riveting piece of investigative reporting [conclude that the] far right in America, in its quest to ensure the perpetuation of the free market, is now hell-bent on destroying the cause of environmentalism. ... Hence ... deliberate misinformation ... has become the hallmark of a group of far-right institutions that are funded by businesses and conservative foundations and supported by a coterie of rightwing scientists who believe ecological threats are made up by lefty researchers as part of a grand plan to expand government control over our lives. ... When not funded by the tobacco industry, many of these outfits often receive backing from fossil-fuel companies such as Exxon. ... In each case, experts offered briefings to journalists and politicians and their claims were accepted, with little qualification, by an acquiescent media happy to establish the idea that there were real divisions among mainstream scientists where none actually existed. ... Oreskes and Conway deserve considerable praise for this outstanding book and for exposing the influence of these dark ideologues.[5]


7 September 2010

Further to the UEA submission dated 2 September 2010, where it is indicated that UEA is awaiting a response from the BBC regarding incorrect claims about UEA asking Lord Oxburgh to narrow his brief, a response has been received from the BBC.  Discussions with the BBC in this regard are continuing.

Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor

University of East Anglia

7 September 2010