The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee are to investigate Climategate with terms of reference that should send a chill down a few spines at UEA:


The Science and Technology Committee today announces 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). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three 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?

The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.


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 .


The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

Each submission should:

a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
b)be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c)have numbered paragraphs
d)include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked “Climatic Research Unit“. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

-Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

-Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

-Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

-Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Membership of the committee is here:

There are 14 in total: LAB 8, CON 3, LIBDEM 2, INDEPENDENT 1

Of course it is not unknown for Select Committees to come up with some very uncomfortable findings.

I think that the danger here is that the warmists are sufficiently well coordinated, and have the resources, to swamp the committee with very persuasive submissions, and we poor sceptics are not.

Whatever the outcome, Climategate is assured of a place in the headlines for months to come.

  UPDATE 23/01/2010:

Alex  Cull has contributed this information abut the members of the committee. It makes fascinating reading:

Looking at the 14 MPs’ profiles on theyworkforyou, their voting records and also their own web sites and blogs (where available), some interesting patterns emerge. For instance, I looked at all of them with regard to the voting record (from PublicWhip) concerning laws to stop climate change, and here is a breakdown (any errors are probably mine, please feel free to correct me!)

Voted very strongly for laws to stop climate change: 2 (Tim Boswell: Con, Evan Harris: LibDem).
Voted strongly for laws to stop climate change: 3 (Nadine Dorries: Con, Bob Spink: Ind, Rob Wilson: Con).
Voted moderately for laws to stop climate change: 1 (Phil Willis: LibDem).
Voted a mixture of for and against laws to stop climate change: 1 (Brian Iddon: Lab).
Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change: 6 (Roberta Blackman-Woods: Lab, Ian Cawsey: Lab, Gordon Marsden: Lab, Doug Naysmith: Lab, Ian Stewart: Lab, Desmond Turner: Lab).
Voted strongly against laws to stop climate change: 1 (Graham Stringer: Lab).

So those who voted for laws to stop climate change turn out to be mostly Conservative, LibDem or Independent, and those who voted against, turn out to be Labour, very curious! It is interesting then to look at the laws that were voted on. Nine are listed, from 2007 to 2009 5 of these relating to the Climate Change Bill – including its second and third readings -and the others including an Energy Bill in 2008 and the campaign last year for the Government to sign up to 10:10. And here a pattern emerges of the Labour committee members voting for the Climate Change Bill but mostly against the other motions. Which is perhaps less controversial than it sounds, given for instance that the campaign to get the Government to commit to 10:10 was initiated by the LibDems, and in fact Government ministers such as Ed Miliband and Joan Ruddock were opposed to it. So maybe it’s possible to read too much into the voting record results.

Looking at the blogs and websites, and also skimming through transcripts of various debates, here are some impressions.

a) Some appear to be more on-message about AGW than others, and I’d say that Roberta Blackman-Woods, Tim Boswell, Evan Harris, Bob Spink, Desmond Turner and Rob Wilson are probably in this category. Dr Blackman-Woods supports the Climate Durham organisation in her constituency, Desmond Turner attended COP15 (”this Conference is a turning point for global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and tackle effectively the threat of catastrophic climate change. It is vital that real progress is made and binding targets are set”) and Rob Wilson supported the Climate Change Action Group and CAFOD as they took part in “The Wave” climate change march on 5th December last year (“It’s great to see so many local people getting involved and keeping the issue of climate change high on the political agenda.”)

b) Others appear not particularly interested in the climate question and chiefly get involved where projects such as wind farms could impact on their constituents (e.g. Ian Cawsey).

c) Some more than others come across as interested in science; in June last year, for instance, Graham Stringer debated with Joan Ruddock about the need to protect infrastructure against violent solar storms, e.g. Carrington Events. He’s also a supporter of the aviation industry and also appears not to be afraid to hold controversial views, e,g., about dyslexia. And Brian Iddon seems to have mixed views: “Whether one believes that emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere produce climate change is a big argument, but does my right hon. Friend agree that there are two other important reasons why we should not be burning fossil fuels? First, we are acidifying the sea almost beyond the point of no return. Secondly – I speak passionately as a chemist – producing energy from carbon fuels is a very inefficient process, and we need those carbon fuels as larders of chemicals for the generations of the future, so it is a sin to burn them.”

I think it will be fascinating to see how they proceed with this.

Many thanks Alex!

32 Responses to “Commons Committee to investigate Climategate”

  1. Robin,

    You say “most such people”, rather than ‘all such people’. Presumably that means that you have at least one person in mind who might be suitable. Who would that be?

    You only need one. You just need to get James Delingpole to write an article saying he deserves a Nobel prize etc etc. Maybe follow it up with an interview on Fox. You know how it all works.

    Maybe you don’t have anyone at all. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Don’t you have anything like the Australian Institute of Public Affairs in the UK? If not maybe you could ask them to help out. They can afford it. There must be at least one climate scientist who has mortgage arrears or has difficulty funding his divorce settlement.

  2. Max (24):

    Anyone from anywhere can submit evidence. But, as the essential issue is about the Scientific Method and the conduct of science at UEA, I think that that person’s evidence would carry more weight if they came from an appropriate discipline (especially science) or had suitable experience – either of which would in particular of how science should be conducted include anyone (such as Steve McIntyre) who had had dealings with CRU or had specialist knowledge of “the other two international data sets” (question 3). Whether such people came from the UK or elsewhere is, in my view, wholly immaterial.

  3. PeterM and Robin

    The results of the investigation by the select committee should be interesting. Let’s see what happens.


  4. Max (24): the penultimate sentence of my 27 should have read: “either of which would, in particular, include anyone (such as Steve McIntyre) who had had dealings with CRU or had specialist knowledge of “the other two international data sets” (question 3).


  5. Peter M

    There must be at least one climate scientist who has mortgage arrears or has difficulty funding his divorce settlement

    Only if he’s not a supporter of AGW :-)

  6. […] is interesting – the UK’s House of Commons is going to investigate Climategate and apparently AGW: The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the […]

  7. This information proved to be extremely helpful. Can you please provide more aspects of this topic?

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