Manipulated data raise climate doubts

A green world


Steve Chiotakis: A skirmish about the scientific evidence for global warming has blown up. Just before next week's big climate-change summit in Copenhagen. And the chairman of the United Nation's panel on climate change is calling for a full inquiry. Marketplace European correspondent Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest. Good morning Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So what's the fuss all about?

Beard: It's a row about claims that British scientists have manipulated data to boost the argument that climate change is man-made. Climate-change skeptics hacked into computer records a key climate reception at the University of East Anglia and they found and posted on the Internet hundreds of e-mails, some of which could suggest that inconvenient data was being massaged and suppressed in order to make the case that climate change is real and that we are causing it through carbon emissions.

Chiotakis: Now what's been the university's reaction?

Beard: The university is taking this very seriously. The head of the climate-research unit has stood down from his post. And the university has set up an independent inquiry to look into this. The ripples of this, though, have spread much wider than the U.K. The BBC is quoting a Saudi, a senior Saudi official saying this will have a huge impact on the Copenhagen conference. Every country under pressure, he says, to curb its emissions could now seize on these e-mails and say why should we damage our economy when there is still, apparently, serious doubt about climate change.

Chiotakis: But Stephen this is one set of data at one university. I mean, certainly there is other evidence that climate change is occurring. Is anyone saying that these e-mails severely undermine the case that climate change is man-made?

Beard: No, in fact most climate scientists say there is plenty of other evidence that climate change is man-made. Two other major sets of data, including one by NASA. Nevertheless, this does seem to surface at next week's conference in Copenhagen, where incidentally Sam Eaton and myself will be reporting for Marketplace.

Chiotakis: And we'll look forward to that. Stephen Beard in London. Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK Steve.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the London Bureau Chief, providing daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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