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Over the past few weeks anonymous “hackers” entered the computer systems of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK. This intrusion has been confirmed by the university and at least some of the data leaked to Wikileaks.org have been confirmed as authentic by officials at the CRU. Among the data were hundreds of e-mails and source code files which describe a shameful corruption of the scientific process.

Many corporate media outlets have refused to report on this story. Indeed much of the biased reporting recently put forth as journalism by CNN, The New York Times, etc. has presented anthropogenic global warming as a foregone conclusion. In reality, there is a great deal of disagreement among scientists on the subject. Looking beyond these media giants to the independent journalism being conducted by bloggers across the web, one can find a great deal of evidence contradicting the foregone conclusions of corporate media and revenue-hungry politicians.

Warwick Hughes, an Australian climatologist with a skeptical view of anthropogenic global warming, contacted Phil Jones, the director of CRU in 2000, to ask about some inconsistencies he saw in Jones’ work. He asked for data gathered using government funds, which he is entitled to view under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act of 2000. After a series of e-mails, Phil Jones replied: “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” Warwick Hughes was repeatedly denied access to this data in a move to conceal materials and methods which should be open to any honest scientific debate and discussion.

When other scientists began asking for data from the CRU using FOIA requests, Phil Jones began asking scientists to delete e-mail records: “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.” If these e-mails had been requested under FOIA, deletion of these records was a likely a criminal act.

Also uncovered was an e-mail that expressed cheer at the death of a scientist who published reviews skeptical of anthropogenic global warming and communicated legal advice on how intellectual property rights may be used to conceal data: “Subject: John L. Daly Dead; Mike, In an odd way this is cheering news! One other thing about the CC paper – just found another email – is that McKittrick says it is standard practice in Econometrics journals to give all the data and codes!! According to legal advice IPR [intellectual property rights] overrides this.”

Another e-mail from Phil Jones discusses preventing the opposing views of Chris De Freitas from being published in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: “The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see it. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. K and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

E-mails of other scientists at the CRU were also released. Tim Osborn of the CRU discusses truncating data to “hide” declining temperatures. An e-mail from Prof. Michael Mann of Penn State University to Tim Osborn stated that results which support critics of global warming shouldn’t be shown to others. Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research admits that he cannot account for the current lack of global warming: “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

These communications reveal a trail of manipulation and concealment of data that would not support the theory of anthropogenic global warming. This is shameful and cannot be ignored by the scientific community. This corruption must be investigated and the individuals responsible must be tried for any illegal acts committed.

This is especially important to us all ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Conference and the Senate vote on the cap and trade bill. The Copenhagen treaty and the cap and trade bill are both justified by science presented in the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which included data from the scientists mentioned above. Until the extent of the corruption of data is known, we must resist these and other government actions that will have extreme economic consequences across the globe. If we sit by and allow lawmakers to pass and approve legislation based on falsified data and incorrect theories, we are all to blame for the needless negative effects that the new laws will have on our lives.

In a carbon-constrained world, artificial scarcity of a government apportioned commodity will cause some industrial processes in certain areas to be unprofitable, while processes which pollute even more remain profitable in other areas of the world. Prices will rise in some areas and fall in others. Factories will be relocated in order to seek out the most acceptable business environments. The quality of life for individuals living in developed nations is likely to decline greatly as we are asked to pay more for the energy and food we consume. We may eventually be forced to agree to home energy audits and asked to pay fees to the government for items that consume energy in unapproved ways, such as incandescent light bulbs. Under the Copenhagen treaty, these policies will be forced upon us not by our elected officials, but by unelected bureaucrats at the UN and its offshoots.

As we pay these higher prices and fees, the money will flow into government hands. Many lawmakers see climate legislation as a revenue goldmine, and they are very keen on passing this legislation and providing scientists with plenty of motivation (grants) for justifying the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

We must tell our elected representatives that we will not sit idly by while they pass legislation based on compromised data. We must tell them that MIT stands for honesty in science and that we demand a thorough investigation of this matter.

Matthew Davidson is a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. He encourages those interested in signing or helping with a petition demanding an investigation of the climate data to meet him on the steps of Building 7 this week or contact him at matthewd@mit.edu.