Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Phil Jones, scientist in climate data row, promises to be more open

Ben Webster, Environment Editor

The scientist at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails has admitted that he and his colleagues need to be more open with their data.
Professor Phil Jones, of the University of East Anglia, has been accused of blocking requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act.
He said: “We are facing more and more public scrutiny and any future work we do is going to have much greater scrutiny by our peers and by the public. We do need to make more of the data available, I fully accept that.
“We need to work differently, making more data available and making our assumptions clear. Everything needs to be more and more open and we will be striving to do that in the future.”

Professor Jones has stood down from his post as director of the University’s Climatic Research Unit while an inquiry takes place into allegations that he manipulated and suppressed data concerning global temperature changes.
In one e-mail, he asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A climate sceptic had asked the university to publish correspondence between Professor Jones and other climate scientists because he believed an attempt had been made to discredit scientists who questioned the link between manmade emissions and global warming.
In an interview with the Press Association, Professor Jones said: “I feel tremendously pressurised by all this but I’m trying to continue my work in the science. I think it’s very important and it’s potentially very serious for the future of mankind in decades to come.”
He said he “wholeheartedly” stood by the part of the IPCC’s report to which he had contributed.
He added: “The work we do at the University of East Anglia is only a small part of [climate science], there’s thousands of climate scientists around the world supporting our results.”
He said he was concerned that scepticism about climate change appeared to be growing.
“It makes me quite worried people are beginning to doubt the climate has warmed up.”
Last November, shortly after the e-mails were leaked, Professor Jones said: “Some of the e-mails probably had poorly chosen words and were sent in the heat of the moment, when I was frustrated. I do regret sending some of them.
“We’ve not deleted any e-mails or data here at CRU.”