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Hacked 'Climategate' emails 'truly pathetic,' says climate scientist

Penn State professor Michael Mann, who was among the climate scientists whose emails were leaked after the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit's servers were hacked, called the episode a 'shameless effort to manufacture a false controversy.'  

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In other quotes, researchers allegedly discuss the challenges of communicating with the public.

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"Somehow we have to leave the[m] thinking OK, climate change is extremely complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention," one researcher is quoted as having written.

"What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation?" another quote reads. "They'll kill us probably."

Fighting back

Mann criticized the emails as being taken out of context and said that those leaking the documents appeared to have little to go on — though he expressed hope that the new leaks would give police more to go on in catching the culprit who originally hacked into the University files.

"As for emails that in some way involve me, I hardly see anything damning at all, despite these snippets all being taken out of context," Mann wrote in an email to LiveScience. "I guess they had very little left to work with, having culled in the first round the emails that could most easily be taken out of context to try to make me look bad."

"A truly pathetic episode," Mann added. "Agents doing the dirty bidding of the fossil fuel industry know they can't contest the fundamental science of human-caused climate change. So they have instead turned to smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails in their effort to try to confuse the public about the science and thereby forestall any action to combat this critical threat."

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappasFollow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

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