Climategate Inquiry Chairman Failed to Check the Science

Disbelief as chief of ‘independent’ inquiry into the scandal of lost or destroyed global warming data admits he "didn’t investigate the science."


The ‘Climate Audit’ website publishes a startling written admission from Lord Oxburgh, head of the British investigation into the Climategate scandal that his official inquiry did not check any of the science.


Independent climate data analyst Steve McIntyre, owner of the popular blog, disclosed the extraordinary revelations on July 1, 2010. The Climategate email leak occurred on November 19, 2010. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests are widely acknowledged to have precipitated the unlawful refusal by University of East Anglia scientists to disclose key climate data. It is believed Professor Phil Jones of the university’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) withheld such data over a three-year period.


The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) handling the FOIA breach concluded Jones could not be prosecuted as the complaint against him was made just outside the six-month statute of limitations, as reported in the Norwich Evening News (January 28, 2010)


Similar such climate data fraud investigations are currently ongoing in the United States.


Damning Admission Made after Recent Request

Lord Oxburgh’s inquiry team found that climate scientists at the CRU were poor statisticians, data handlers and archivists who cherry-picked their data. Recommendations included that in future expert mathematical expertise be brought in to help climatologists. However, none of the science itself was evaluated despite this requirement being an explicit and key part of the original remit set by the University of East Anglia (UEA), as shown on its website (February 11, 2010).


In plain terms the University of East Anglia (UEA) had announced that the inquiry’s task was to conduct an “independent external reappraisal of the science.”

However, in his letter to McIntyre Lord Oxburgh admitted that the science was not the subject of our study.” This was in stark contrast with what was specified. The university’s own declaration continues, “Colleagues in CRU have strenuously defended their conduct and the published work and we believe it is in the interests of all concerned that there should be an additional assessment considering the science itself.”


McIntyre provides several authenticated references whereby prominent figures connected to the investigation acknowledge that the science would be the subject of the inquiry. The Canadian statistician even provides a link to the university’s official statement made to the British Parliament in which UEA again conceded what was required was “an external reappraisal of the science itself.”


Thousand Years of Temperature Records Destroyed

McIntyre explains that he was prompted to write to the Inquiry chairman after, “I heard from a reliable source that, during the Oxburgh interviews, Phil Jones admitted that it was probably impossible to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy.”


In effect, Jones had admitted to the panel that the original data was irrecoverably lost or destroyed. However, the inquiry determined that it would not address this shocking failure, which McIntyre adjudged was a “hugely important admission relative to this debate.”


The Oxburgh Science Appraisal Panel “inquiry” inexcusably declined to report this admission even though the University of East Anglia had announced that the inquiry shall specifically “re-appraise CRU’s science.”


Inquiry Also Failed to Keep Records

Climate skeptics are angered at another allegedly scurrilous failure by the Oxburgh investigation; the committee kept no records of any interviews or notes from their proceedings.


Climate Audit reveals that when questioned about the laxity of his investigations Lord Oxburgh stated that his terms of reference were “verbal." McIntyre pondered, “Who ever heard of “verbal” terms of reference?”


McIntyre further bemoans the inquiry’s apparent secrecy, “since Oxburgh flouted the Parliamentary Committee recommendation that the inquiries conduct their business in the open, in which they stressed the importance of openness in achieving acceptance of the inquiry results.”


The article concludes with McIntyre lamenting, “Maybe the Commons Science and Technology Committee can re-convene and find out what the hell was going on with the Oxburgh “inquiry.”



Bale, D. ‘New twist in UEA climate change row.’ Norwich Evening News (January 28, 2010), accessed online: July 01, 2010.

McIntyre, S. ‘Oxburgh and the Jones Admission,’( July 01, 2010), Climate, accessed: July 1, 2010.

University of East Anglia,’ New scientific assessment of climatic research publications announced,’, (February 11, 2010), accessed: July 01, 2010.



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