Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data

Ben Webster and Jonathan Leake
Times [UK]
January 28, 2010

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.

Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post…

…In one e-mail, Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.

The article continues at the Times.

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