The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report into the disclosure of climate data by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has just been released [PDF, via DeSmogBlog], and it clears Phil Jones and the CRU on all charges. From the press release:
The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.
On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—”trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.
Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.
The report calls for greater transparency and availability of climate data. Committee chairman Phil Willis said:
What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.
More coverage at the Guardian, Times Online, The Independent and New York Times. Prepare for a deluge of spin from the denialist camp: Benny Peiser, head of Lord Lawson’s shiny new British sceptic think tank (you may remember Lawson refusing to disclose his backers when questioned by the inquiry — so much for transparency) is already on the job, as the the Guardian discovered: “It doesn’t look like an even-handed and balanced assessment. It looks like an attempt to whitewash and I fear it will be perceived exactly as that. I fear this will backfire because people will not buy into it.” And of course Benny’s already out there doing his best to create that very perception. No “fear” involved, it’s the impression he wants to create.