Nov 23, 2009

CRU emails reveal a worrying pattern of bad behaviour

Leaked email exchanges between climate scientists stolen from the University of East Anglia are causing a rather juicy online scandal, writes Sinclair Davidson.

Sometime last week the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia was hacked and materials stolen off its server. That information, including thousands of emails, has been posted on the internet (including at Wikileaks) and has caused a weekend of frantic blogging. There is more or less a rather juicy scandal brewing.

There is more to this story than the “ho hum, nothing to see here, the making of sausages, and science, shouldn’t be seen by the public” attitude being displayed by warmenists. There is, however, less to the story than the “this proves the greatest scientific fraud in human history” attitude being taken by denialists.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

143 thoughts on “CRU emails reveal a worrying pattern of bad behaviour

  1. martypants

    Excellent article Dr Davidson. I agree with the broad concern this raises, the conduct of the entire scientific community is up for debate & at risk. For whatever reasons, the public has come to take for granted the ethical standards & behaviour of our scientists and our leaders.

    I hope this will provide a rude awakening for some of the less cynical.

  2. james mcdonald

    Very good article. Calm, reasoned and balanced. I was one of those saying “premature” at the frenzy as the story broke. The fact that “several individuals have confirmed the authenticity of emails and condemned the invasion of their privacy” means it is now a real news story.

    We can expect it to take several weeks or more likely months to determine what it all actually means.

  3. Daniel

    “This incident reflects poorly on academics and universities everywhere.”

    “Sinclair Davidson is a professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University”

  4. gregb

    “It is clear, however, that statements suggesting “the science is settled” can no longer be sustained.” Wrong. The emails do nothing to counter the claim that the science is settled. There is no evidence anywhere which says that any of the evidence is faked or any admittance that AGW is a sound theory.

    Davidson is from the IPA who sponsor talks by the charlatan Bob Carter. I’ve been to one of his sessions and I can tell you that he is in an out and out deceiver. They should be ashamed to be associated with his brand of “science”. That is the real scandal.

    And by the way. The University of East Anglia (Ok I almost wrote Bumf*ck) only receives a small amount of it’s funding from the government. And anyway, even if it received all its funding from the government that does not justify hacking into its server and publishing private email. Note, Davidson says nothing about the despicable root of this “scandal”. He relishes it, no doubt.

  5. james mcdonald

    Daniel … implying what? I suggest it means the author knows whereof he speaks and wouldn’t say such a thing lightly.

  6. Richard Wilson

    I am pretty sure that 1000+ emails and a whole bunch of papers amounting to ober 140 mb isn’t a Godwin Grech moment. Anyway, nobody reports a hack if there is none; and no one has the right to privacy if they are a terrorist according to our or any other glorious Western government!

  7. Daniel

    “Daniel … implying what? I suggest it means the author knows whereof he speaks and wouldn’t say such a thing lightly.”

    It is just a stupid thing to say. Why do the hacked emails of the CRU at the University of East Anglia reflect poorly on academics and universities that have no connection to the incident or institutions involved? I’m also asking if this recent ‘scandal’ reflects poorly on the author, considering he is an academic, or does the incident only reflect poorly on academics who don’t work for right-wing think-tanks?

  8. CaffeineAddict

    “Davidson is from the IPA…”

    Thank you. Enough Said.

  9. Andrew Triplett

    I notice that there was also alot of data made available also. It will be quite a while before this is examined. There may be a few rounds yet on this one. I still think there are questions to be answered though . From the emails it appears they were not prepared to release data and methodology to people who did not share their point of view . What were they afraid of. Being proved wrong by someone they did not like? This is science right?

    These are not just any scientists, they are key scientists (James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones etc) – the keepers of the grail- who are responsible for world temperature records and famous graphs such as the hockey stick. They were key advisers on the IPCC reports. Public policy is being currently made based on science, data and advice from them . They are not above scrutiny. I love science and its hypothesising, testing, surprises and at times confusion. There is no straight line to enlightenment, but a little clarity is needed here.

  10. meski

    @Greg & Cafffeine: Yes, let’s shoot the messenger via some ad hominem. Much better than examining the inconvenient data that the emails represent.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details