Fast Facts About Climategate

What It’s About

On the night of November 19, a compressed file containing 1,073 emails and almost 3,600 other files mysteriously appeared on a download site in Siberia. These emails and files had somehow been taken from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in the UK. This became known as Climategate.


The CRU and its director, Dr. Phil Jones, are important because the CRU is a central point for data collection, storage, and analysis of climate data. And Dr. Jones is one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 report, which is the basis for much of the current political drive for CO2 limits.

The theory IPCC favors for climate change is that human-caused CO2 emissions are causing the climate to warm beyond what would naturally happen.

The Climategate files held many embarrassing revelations. They appear to show collusion on the part of many of the top names in climate science:

  • to subvert peer review and prevent publication of papers that didn’t completely agree with the favored theory;
  • to manipulate data, and the analysis of data, to make the best case for the favored theory;
  • to avoid releasing their data under the Freedom of Information laws in the U.S. and UK.
About the Science
  • The consensus is not scientific as much as it is political.
What we find out from the emails is that Jones and a number of others were using underhanded manipulations to suppress scientific publications that disagreed with the CO2-caused AGW theory. There is no scientific consensus if all the science isn’t being considered.
  • There’s a difference between “global warming,” “anthropogenic (caused by humans) global warming,” and “anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2.”
  • The Climategate files don’t call global warming into question, but they make some of the science of anthropogenic global warming more suspect, and they make it clear that “forcings” other than CO2 have not been fairly considered.
  • There has clearly been significant warming in the last 400 years — since the “Little Ice Age”.  That’s how we know it was the Little Ice Age.
  • There is good reason to believe that humans may be accounting for some warming — and some cooling, for that matter.  But we don’t know how much.
  • The case for all or most of the warming being due to CO2 was not as unquestionable as it was presented to be, and from the Climategate files we know that even that case was being slanted significantly.
  • … but the program codes are much more significant than the emails
  • … and the program codes will be yielding new surprises for a while to come.

About the Politics

  • Science invariably has politics involved.  That’s because science is invariably done by people.
  • The key to science is “trust but verify”: you trust the science because you are assured you can verify it if necessary.  The Climategate files show the CRU clique wanted to be trusted, but didn’t want to be verified.
  • The science was being used politically long before we think it was.

About the Finances:

  • “Global warming scientists” got to go to all the best conferences. (Tahiti? Gstaad?)

For More Information

If you wish to learn more about Climategate, please see our coverage at PJTV.


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