Leaked e-mails allegedly undermining climate change science should be treated as a criminal matter, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Wednesday afternoon.
Boxer, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said that the recently released e-mails, showing scientists allegedly overstating the case for climate change, should be treated as a crime.
The e-mails, from scientists at the University of East Anglia, were obtained through hacking. The messages showed the director of the university's Climate Research Unit discussing ways to strengthen the unit's case for global warming. Climate change skeptics have seized on the e-mails, arguing that they demonstrate manipulation in environmental science.
Boxer said her committee may hold hearings into the matter as its top Republican, Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), has asked for, but that a criminal probe would be part of any such hearings.
"We may well have a hearing on this, we may not. We may have a briefing for senators, we may not," Boxer said. "Part of our looking at this will be looking at a criminal activity which could have well been coordinated.
"This is a crime," Boxer said.