Leading climate sceptics: CRU emails did nothing to question the science

In an astonishing u-turn, leading climate sceptics conceded that the emails stolen from CRU did nothing to question the underlying science of climate change.

In an astonishing but largely unreported u-turn yesterday, two of Britain’s leading climate sceptics, Lord Lawson and his colleague Benny Peiser – both of the Global Warming Policy Foundation – conceded that the emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) did nothing to question the underlying science of climate change.

Lawson was quoted in The Guardian as having told MPs:

“This is nothing to do with the basic science, that’s not the issue.”

But Lord Lawson has previously written:

“The scientific basis for global warming projections is now under scrutiny as never before. The principal source of these projections is produced by a small group of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), affiliated to the University of East Anglia…

“Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend.


“What is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question.”

Benny Peiser has also consistently used the CRU hack to cast doubt on the science, writing in The Observer:

“Global warming science and climate policy face a severe and deepening crisis of credibility. The whole climate agenda is confronted by growing doubt and criticism, not least as a result of the so-called Climategate scandal

Andy Russell notes on his blog how Lord Lawson tripped up when discussing the now infamous ‘hide the decline’ emails too:

“Evan Harris MP did excellent work in setting Lawson up for a fall in his questions about the “…hide the decline…” emails. Lawson was claiming that the details of dendroclimatology divergence were not discussed in any of the subsequent key papers on tree ring based climate reconstructions.

“Harris then got Lawson to agree that if the CRU scientists could show that they did discuss this matter in their publications then this was not an issue…

“Harris completed his manoeuvre of highlighting Lord Lawson’s misunderstanding of the divergence issue – Phil Jones described that the “trick” was discussed in a Nature paper (in 1997!) where he suspects they were the first group to use the term “divergence”, and that they were explicit in subsequent papers about this issue.

“I suspect that this will be a key point in the committee’s report.”

The Telegraph today publishes a letter from a number of prominent Lords including the Royal Society’s Lord Rees and Lord May but also BP’s former boss, Lord Browne, and Richard Lambert, the director General of the CBI.

They write:

“Sceptics have seized the opportunity to claim that the whole edifice of climate change science is crumbling. This is far from the truth.

“The overwhelming body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence shows that climate change is happening and is very likely to be caused by human activity…

“The challenge is in risk management, and none of the evidence implies that we can be confident that the risks are small. On the contrary, the evidence strongly suggests that the risks are major and delay in action is dangerous.”

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