Climategate: Officially a Fake Scandal

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Despite relentless noise from climate skeptics about the so-called “Climategate” email scandal, an independent review released today cleared the scientists involved of wrong-doing.

East Anglia University, home of the Climatic Research Unit whose servers were hacked to obtain the emails in question, commissioned an independent review council to look into whether there was any evidence of malfeasance among scientists involved in the email exchange. The panel concluded:

We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.

The panel did note that there is a need for greater collaboration between climate scientists, outside of just the small group at CRU. But the university called the conclusion “gratifying.”

Other independent analysis has also made it clear that skeptics are making a lot of noise out of nothing. The Science and Technology Committee of the British House of Commons also looked at the case and declared earlier this month that there was no evidence that scientists had misrepresented climate data. They did, however, cite CRU director Phil Jones, for improper handling of freedom of information act requests. An inquiry at Pennsylvania State University into the role of climate scientist Michael Mann also reached a similar conclusion: the climate evidence is solid, even if the researchers might have behaved poorly. East Anglia has commissioned a separate Independent Climate Change E-mail Review investigation, which is still underway.

The reviews haven’t put a damper on the efforts of climate skeptics to exploit the emails. The Heritage Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute are planning an event on it later this week titled, “The Climategate Scandals: What Has Been Revealed And What Does It Mean?”

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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