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Report published: University of East Anglia's Climatic Reseach Unit's emails

25 January 2011

The Science and Technology Committee today publishes its follow-up report on the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).


The Committee’s report examines the two inquiries set up by UEA: the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review (ICCER) into the allegations against CRU, which was headed by Sir Muir Russell, and an independent external Scientific Appraisal Panel (SAP), headed by Lord Oxburgh.

The previous Science and Technology Committee in the last Parliament also carried out an inquiry, but due to time constraints it reported prior to the publication of the ICCER and SAP findings.

Today’s report focuses on how the ICCER and SAP did their job and addresses the issues raised.

Report findings

The Committee concludes that while it has some reservations about the reviews commissioned by the UEA, the key point is that they made a number of constructive recommendations.

Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"Our conclusion, which underpins this report, is that it is time to make the changes and improvements recommended by the inquiries and with greater openness and transparency move on."

Regarding the Committee’s reservations about the UEA-commissioned inquiries, the report says the scope and purpose of the SAP review appeared to change from an examination of the integrity of the science to the integrity of the scientists, and as result there has been some confusion.

The disparity in length between the SAP report and ICCER could foster the impression that it was not as thorough as the ICCER. The Committee was also concerned that the SAP should have been more open and transparent and the process by which it selected the documents for review could have been more open and it should have published its working papers.

In contrast the ICCER was more comprehensive and transparent, although the Committee  believes that it should have taken its evidence in public.

The Committee is concerned that the ICCER did not fully investigate the serious allegation relating to the deletion of emails and finds it unsatisfactory that it has been left with a verbal reassurance from the Vice Chancellor of UEA that the emails still exist.

Andrew Miller concluded:

"The accuracy and integrity of climate science is paramount and, while this experience has been difficult for all involved, the clear and sensible recommendations of the two inquiries should be welcomed."