Another inquiry has cleared British climate researchers of wrongdoing after their emails were hacked, leaked and held up by sceptics as evidence they had exaggerated the case for man-made global warming.
Former government adviser Ronald Oxburgh, who chaired the panel, said he had found no evidence of scientific malpractice or attempts to distort the facts to support the mainstream view that man-made CO2 emissions contribute to rising temperatures.
The affair stoked the global debate on climate change and put pressure on scientists and politicians to defend the case for spending trillions of dollars to cut emissions and help cope with rising temperatures.
Thousands of emails sent between scientists were published on the internet just before the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen last December.
Campaigners who doubt the scientific basis for saying global warming is man made said the leaked messages showed the research unit at East Anglia University had taken part in a conspiracy to distort or exaggerate the evidence.
The university, in eastern England, appointed Lord Oxburgh to investigate the Climatic Research Unit’s methods.
“We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice,” Lord Oxburgh’s inquiry concluded. “Rather, we found a small group of dedicated, if slightly disorganised, researchers.
“We found them to be objective and dispassionate and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda.”
Its strongest criticism was aimed at the unit’s handling of statistics. It recommended the researchers work more closely with professional statisticians in future.
Lord Oxburgh’s was the second of three inquiries into the episode to report its findings. Police are also investigating the leak.