University Hit by New ‘ClimateGate’ Leak Ahead of UN Climate Talks
LONDON (AP) — The British university whose stolen emails caused a global climate science controversy in 2009 says those behind the breach have apparently released a second and potentially far larger batch of old messages.
University of East Anglia spokesman Simon Dunford said that while academics didn’t have the chance yet to examine the roughly 5,000 emails apparently dumped into the public domain Tuesday, a small sample examined by the university “appears to be genuine.”
The university said in a statement that the emails did not appear to be the result of a new breach. Instead, the statement said that the emails appeared to have been stolen two years ago and held back until now “to cause maximum disruption” to the imminent U.N. climate talks next week in Durban, South Africa.
If that is confirmed, the timing and nature of the leak would follow the pattern set by the so-called “Climategate” emails, which caught prominent scientists stonewalling critics and discussing ways to keep opponents’ research out of peer-reviewed journals.
Those hostile to mainstream climate science claimed the exchanges proved that the threat of global warming was being hyped, and their publication helped destabilize the failed U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, which followed several weeks later.
Climategate also dealt a blow to the reputation of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, which is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of how world temperatures have varied over time.
Although a host of reviews have since vindicated the unit’s science, some of its practices — in particular efforts to hide data from opponents — have come under strong criticism. The university says it is now much more open about what it does.
The content of the new batch of emails couldn’t be immediately verified — The Associated Press has not yet been able to secure a copy — but climate skeptic websites carried what they said were excerpts.
We’ll soon see whether the wingnuts try to turn this into a big story again.