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Statement in response to the Science and Technology Committee Report

Wed, 31 Mar 2010

The University of East Anglia welcomes this largely positive report as an important first outcome in a series of independent reviews.

We particularly welcome this report which finds that there is “no case to answer” of any accusations of dishonesty against Professor Jones and CRU.

It is very important that the Committee found, from the evidence they heard, that “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact”.

Similarly, UEA is pleased that the Committee report accepts that, as we have maintained throughout, there is “independent verification” through the use of other methodologies and other sources of data of the results and conclusions of CRU.

UEA Vice-Chancellor, Edward Acton, said: “We are delighted that the Select Committee has produced a fair and balanced report that makes crystal-clear that the ‘scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact’.”

“We are pleased too that it has dispelled and rejected many of the myths that have arisen over the matter, while accepting that we have been taken to task on a number of issues which we are determined to address.”

UEA welcomes the Committee report rejecting sinister interpretations of phrases used in some of the leaked e-mails.

It finds that “the balance of evidence patently fails to support” allegations that the use of the word ‘trick’ in one was anything but colloquialism, and that the evidence “clearly refutes” suggestions that the use of the phrase ‘hide the decline’ was proof of a conspiracy.

It is also welcome that the Committee report accepts the honesty and validity of the Peer Review Process, and dismisses claims that Professor Jones had attempted to subvert it.

We also note the Committee’s approval of, and faith in, the work of the two independent reviews into CRU proactively set up by the University – the Sir Muir Russell review and the Science Assessment Panel and we look forward to receiving these reports in due course.

UEA both accepts and supports the Committee’s findings about the increased need for greater transparency whenever possible in science and particularly climate science.

We have already stated that we will release all requested temperature data, both retrospectively and going forward, as we secure the necessary permissions.

It is a matter of regret to UEA that the theft from this University of e-mails, and the misrepresentation of their contents as exposed by the Committee report, has damaged the reputation of UK climate science.

In terms of handling FOIA requests, the University recognises that we should re-assess how we can support our academics, whose expertise in dealing with FOIA requests is limited, and our FOIA support team.

To this end as pointed out by the Committee, we eagerly await the outcome of the independent Sir Muir Russell review, instigated by the University.

Whilst acknowledging concerns about FOIA request support, we also note the conclusion that the Information Commissioner’s Office made a statement to the press which led to much adverse comment, but could not be substantiated.

In the meantime, as previously undertaken, we are continuing to review and improve all our processes.

Indeed, it was those concerns that led the University to set up the independent Muir Russell e-mail enquiry to investigate, amongst other things, all and any issues relating to FOIs both past and future.
 

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