Climategate: Why Don’t We Know Who Leaked the CRU Emails?

by Dr. Tim Ball on May 9, 2011

in Biography,Government,History,Legal,Politics

Why don”t we know who released the emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)? Is it an attempt by the CRU and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to divert even more attention from their involvement in this scandal? Is it part of the larger cover up apparently orchestrated by the Royal Society? Apparently to divert and control the fallout former CRU Director Phil Jones immediately called in the police, which established the event as a criminal act. This raises the question of what he had to hide. If there was nothing in the files of consequence then loss of the information had no currency. The British House of Commons” Science and Technology Committee perpetuated this idea by referring to the emails as “stolen” in their whitewash investigation of Jones” behavior. They didn”t even take testimony from scientists qualified to address the problems with the science, yet still concluded the science was solid.

The answer is more likely that the whistleblower will disclose motive and chicanery well beyond what is disclosed in the actual emails. There is a distinct boundary between those who understand the science, and know what the emails say, and those who don”t have the knowledge and claim they are of no consequence. If the latter also have a political bias the tunnel vision is narrowed even more.

From Phil Jones to Paul Hudson

Because of Jones” actions, the Norfolk police, a regional force, involved the national government through the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which is surely another measure of the seriousness of what was involved in the files. This led to the University turning over all the files related to skeptics and their requests through Freedom of Information (FOI). Apparently the police and subsequent investigations bought the CRU claims that requests for information were politically driven and caused hardship that diverted them from their work. When interrogated by the police, skeptics were asked about their political affiliations.

The idea that politics was the motive only developed because the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made global warming a purely political issue. Besides, why has motive got anything to do with request for scientific data and process, especially when funded by taxes and used to create potentially devastating policies?

Prior to leaking the emails to the world on November 19th 2009 the person sent them to Paul Hudson, weather and climate change expert with the BBC and former UK Met Office employee. Hudson received them on October 23rd, 2009, five weeks before.

Hudson has not explained why he did not release them, although he did confirm they were identical to the ones released later. Hudson knew the implications of the emails because he had written an article a month earlier titled Whatever happened to global warming. It is likely this article and his access to the world through his position with the BBC explain why he was chosen. It is also likely that previous admonitions about his views from CRU people prevented him from releasing the information.

CRU Reaction to Hudson

In a 12th October 2009 leaked email, Kevin Trenberth responded to Hudson”s question as follows:

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow.

Michael Mann had a sterner take:

…extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. It”s particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black”s beat at BBC casino (and he does a great job). From what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office. We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what”s up here?

Stephen Schneider, another active part of the CRU and IPCC group, also communicated with Hudson as a BBC communiqué explains.

Paul wrote a blog for the BBC website on October 9 entitled Whatever Happened To Global Warming. There was a big reaction to the article – not just here but around the world. Among those who responded were Professor Michael E Mann and Stephen Schneider whose e-mails were among a small handful forwarded to Paul on October 12.

This seems like the explanation for Hudson”s reticence then, but why now?

Hudson blogged that he only received some of the larger set released and could not confirm they were all genuine. However, after he failed to release the information the person sent them to a Russian internet provider. Apparently the trigger was the impending meeting in Copenhagen, which planned to perpetuate devastating and unnecessary energy and climate policies. From there they were picked up and released through the web page Air Vent. That triggered Jones” claim of a burglary, exposure of what skeptics had suspected for many years and justification for their FOI requests. But what has happened is that the people who requested the FOI are made out to be the problem.

Has the Person Been Silenced?

There is no apparent evidence of where the investigation is concerning who leaked the information. Does Hudson know who sent him the emails? Has he been interrogated? Surely, it is easy to track his emails and determine the source. One can only assume that hiding the identity of the person who released the emails is a necessary part of the whitewash and cover-up. What has happened to the concern that drove the “leaker” in the first place? Was he convinced, as Hudson appears to have been, that silence is a wise choice?