Climategate Prof broke law on hiding data
The university at the center of the climate change scandal over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.
The University of East Anglia breached Britain's Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.
The Information Commissioner's Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times of London has learned. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.
The stolen e-mails, revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university's Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.
Professor Phil Jones, the unit's director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO's decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post. . . .
From the UK:
Scientists broke the law by hiding climate change data: But legal loophole means they won't be prosecuted
Scientist at the heart of the 'Climategate' email scandal broke the law when they refused to give raw data to the public, the privacy watchdog has ruled.
The Information Commissioner's office said University of East Anglia researchers breached the Freedom of Information Act when handling requests from climate change sceptics.
But the scientists will escape prosecution because the offences took place more than six months ago.
The revelation comes after a string of embarrassing blunders and gaffes for climate scientists and will fuel concerns that key researchers are too secretive and too arrogant.
It will pile pressure on the director of the university's climate change unit, Professor Phil Jones, who has stood aside while an investigation is carried out, and make it harder for him to return.
The ruling followed a complaint from retired engineer David Holland-66, whose Freedom of Information-requests were ignored.
Last night Mr Holland welcomed the watchdog's decision but said it was disappointing the researchers would not be prosecuted.
'All we are trying to do is make the scientists follow their own professional rules by being open, transparent and honest,' he said. 'We are not trying to show that human beings don't affect the climate, but to show that the science is not settled.'