Inquiry clears ‘Climate-gate’ researchers of scientific malpractice

From the report released Wednesday:

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. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.

The report does, however,  call for "closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists."

The university’s full response to the report – which it called "gratifying" – can be found here.

The review panel was lead by Lord Oxburgh, the former chairman of the House of Lords’ select committee on science and technology. He is currently president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association in the UK.

But not everyone is convinced he was a fair arbiter. The Guardian write-up of the new report Wednesday notes:

The appointment of Oxburgh, who is a former industry scientist and academic has been criticised by some who are suspicious of CRU's work. He is currently president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and has business interests in wind energy so critics have alleged that he has a vested interested in defending the science of climate change. Oxburgh denies that the review panel had a pre-conceived opinion about the science.

The new report is nonetheless the second time in recent weeks that the scientists have been cleared of trying to cook the books. The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons reviewed the issue and concluded in late March that the emails made public did not reveal an attempt to squelch inconvenient truths.

From the parliamentary report:

We are content that the phrases such as “trick” or “hiding the decline” were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

However, that report did fault the scientists for an “unacceptable” withholding of raw data requested by climate change skeptics.

A second outside review commissioned by the university remains ongoing. It is led by Sir Muir Russell, the former principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow.