Climate Change Deniers Quote Hacked University Data
Hacked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit are being used to criticise climate scientists in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit
Private email data from a leading climate research unit is being quoted on the internet to criticise the scientific consensus around global warming.
Whoever originally stole the data, it was quickly picked up and used on blogs and news sites to criticise the climate change consensus, and allege a conspiracy.
Quoting an e-mail from ten years ago, Hot Air says the head of of the CRU, Professor Phil Jones “appears to discuss a method of overlaying data of temperature declines with repetitive, false data of higher temperatures”. The email is quoted with no context, however, and the CRU has yet to respond with its own explanation.
In today’s Times, former UK chancellor and climate sceptic Lord Lawson says the emails seem to show a cover-up: “What appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.”
The Times article also announces a new “all-party (and non-party)” think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, of which Lawson is chair. The Foundation, whose site carries an array of sceptical articles, is directed by Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moore’s University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and a frequent critic of theories about man-made global warming.
“Clearly climate change is a topic which raises strong passions,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, “but I can’t remember an instance of either side resorting to cybercrime and hacking to gather information on the other before.”
While none of the sources quoting the stolen data are likely to have been involved in the original crime of stealing it, they are using data which was stolen, points out Cluley: “it shouldn’t be forgotten that [CRU] are victims of a criminal hack. Personal information, including the email addresses of scientists working at the organisation, is now in the public domain.”
The CRU’s press office confirmed to eWEEK Europe that the hack had happened, but said an official response was still in progress – the Unit is operating on emergency servers and all staff have changed their email passwords.
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