Wow! UK parliamentary investigation into Climategate may not be a whitewash

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into “the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA)” – ie Climategate. (hat tip R. Campbell; Platosays).

On 1 December 2009 Phil Willis, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of UEA following the considerable press coverage of the data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The coverage alleged that data may have been manipulated or deleted in order to produce evidence on global warming. On 3 December the UEA announced an Independent Review into the allegations to be headed by Sir Muir Russell.

The Independent Review will:

1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (’the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (’the EIR’) for the release of data.

4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds .

But here’s the really surprising part: it’s planning to ask the right questions.

— What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
— Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
— How independent are the other two international data sets?

This is very heartening news for taxpayers, rationalists, and everyone who believes in the integrity of the scientific process. More encouraging still is Bishop Hill’s suggestion that it might be used by climate realists in the US government to launch a pincer movement against the eco fascists in the Obama administration:

Joe Barton, the man behind the US Senate’s 2006 hearings on the Hockey Stick, has been stirring things up in Washington again:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is pressing Energy Secretary Steven Chu for information about department ties to the U.K. climate institute at the center of the controversy over the infamous hacked climate science emails.

Barton, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) wrote to Chu Friday asking about DoE funding for projects connected to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

Observes the Bishop: Coming so soon after the announcement of the UK Parliamentary inquiry, one can’t help but wonder if the timing is entirely coincidental. Nevertheless, shedding sunlight on what has been going on is certainly no bad thing.