Look what just popped up, just days out from the UN climate talks in Durban, a fresh batch of leaked emails from the University of East Anglia, in what is being quickly dubbed by some as Climategate mark II.

But as with the first batch of emails, released in 2009, it pays to look past the headlines. Firstly, it seems this latest release has been held over from the original batch — and in the meantime, there’s a very important qualifier: three independent inquiries have since exonerated the climate scientists involved in any way manipulating or misleading on climate science.

Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee rejected the assessment that the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) showed researchers hid, exaggerated or fiddled the data to support the consensus view, but they sharply condemned the unit for withholding information requested by outsiders under Britain’s freedom of information laws.

However, “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact”, the report said. “We have found no reason in this unfortunate episode to challenge the scientific consensus.”

But that didn’t stop outlets like the UK’s The Daily Mail running headlines like this:

climategate

As Graham Readfern writes in Crikey today:

“The real test of this email release, could well rest on the ability of the journalists and commentators charged with reporting it. As popular climate blogger Joe Romm pointed out yesterday: ‘Climategate was a scandal of corrupt, deceitful, and shoddy reporting.'”

The professors from the University of East Anglia have been cleared of doctoring the science. Perhaps it’s time to look at the reporters who continue to doctor the facts.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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