Sound Science or Dirty Politics

by Einar Du Rietz

University of East Anglia

Exonerated, is a beautiful word. It means that all your trouble are gone and you can go back to sleep, with no accusations hanging over your head. Consequently, it is also frequently used in the comments after the UK parliamentary committee delivered its report on Professor Jones’ responsibility for the strange events at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University. The problems with Climategate are instead described as a lack of routines and a culture of secrecy, something the panel advises CRU to do something about. Note that this is only about the E-mails at East Anglia, not the peculiar coincidence that all the other mistakes made by IPCC  were only detected after the Copenhagen Climate Chaos.

However, the panel also voices understanding over Jones, most likely being frustrated about handing over data to climate sceptics who just want to undermine his research. Is this a university or a political youth organisation?

Don’t submit that dissertation! The opponents might attack you. Don’t publish your findings. Other researchers might quote your work, or even challenge it. Don’t discuss! The others might try to undermine your research.

If this is the guiding principle for East Anglia, or indeed for all universities in the UK, it’s quite remarkable. Stop researching ancient Greece! The Greeks might use your findings in their fight to remain in the EURO system. Stop teaching languages! Your students might use them for all sorts of purposes. 

Or might it be that climate research has really turned into ordinary brutal politics?

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.