'Climategate' - What next?
Like many of you I've been watching the story at the University of East Anglia develop with interest. I first became aware of the news late last week, but because of my weather and filming commitments couldn't deal with it myself and so passed the news on to some of my colleagues in the BBC's environment and science team, including our environment analyst Roger Harrabin who wrote about it on saturday morning, and Newsnight, who covered the story last night.
As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, 'Whatever happened to global warming ?'
These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. Complaints and criticisms of output are an every day part of life, and as such were nothing out of the ordinary. However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others.
There are clearly some very serious issues that arise from the information that has been released. Some people are suggesting that spin has infiltrated science. Others worry that there are suggestions that the peer review process has been compromised and those with contrary views are being frozen out. There are issues regarding data; how has it been used? But those scientists that are convinced that man is responsible for global warming are troubled that all this takes attention away from the real issue here: that action is needed to be taken from the world's biggest polluters to cut carbon dioxide emissions. This was certainly the message that came across the morning, in this story on our science website.
How will this all be resolved? Momentum does seem to be growing, from people on both sides of the argument, behind calls for a full independent enquiry that can once and for all get to the bottom of the many issues that have been raised. A recent survey showed that climate scepticism in this country is growing, and this episode may increase it further. Some would say that an enquiry is the only way to bring clarity to the science of global warming and climate change that has enormous implications for all of us.