Emails stolen from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data. But the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked, an exhaustive review by the Associated Press has found.
The 1,073 emails examined show that scientists harboured private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. But the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing that the world is warming as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message.
The emails were stolen from the computer network server of the UEA climate research unit, and posted online last month. The AP studied all the emails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them – about a million words in total. Summaries of the emails were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy. "This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds," said Daniel Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University.
One email that sceptics have been citing is from Phil Jones, the unit's head. He says: "I've just completed Mike's [Mann] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onward) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." Mr Jones was referring to tree ring data that indicated temperatures after the 1950s weren't as warm as scientists had determined. The "trick" that Mr Jones said he was borrowing from Mr Mann was to add the real temperatures, not what the tree rings showed. And the decline he talked of hiding was not in real temperatures, but in the tree ring data which were misleading, Mr Mann explained.