Storm continues to swirl around Climategate, as multiple investigations get under way

Climategate isn't going away. A storm of controversy over hacked global warming e-mails still swirls and has caused East Anglia and Penn State Universities to launch investigations.

Discussion of the hacked e-mails of climate scientists has reached around the world via Internet. They've probably even heard the news on Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka.

When e-mails of climate scientists hacked from a British University were published online, the reverberations were heard around the world.

Skeptics of human-caused climate change were elated: Several of the e-mails could be read to indicate that data was inaccurate or fudged, and some seemed to imply collusion about who and what was posted about global warming in peer-reviewed journals.

A couple of weeks later, the controversy continues to swirl like a tornado. Even Jon Stewart has weighed in on it.

Among the latest news, the University of East Anglia announced an independent reviewer of the e-mails and outlined exactly what he would investigate.

What Sir Muir Russell, until recently vice-chancellor at the University of Glasgow, will look at includes many of the serious questions that have been raised.

According to MSNBC, the university said Sir Muir would also review:

CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.
CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.
Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds.

Also, Penn State University has announced an investigation of one of its professors, Michael Mann, whose e-mails were part of those stolen and made public.

And Republican members of Congress have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to cease climate-change measures until the controversy is settled, says the Los Angeles Times:

In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, the lawmakers requested that a pending move to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act be halted, along with plans to limit emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources, "until the agency can demonstrate the science underlying these regulatory decisions has not been compromised."

It's unlikely that any of these investigations will be speedy. A PSU spokesman says that its look into Mann's e-mails could take "quite some time." And the English report isn't expected until spring.

Will the continuing controversy affect legislation on climate change or UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen? Opinion varies.

At the Freakonomics blog, Stephen Dubner says, "it’s far too early to say," adding that he "senses that there are many other shoes to still be dropped."

Meanwhile, the Obama administration "pushes back on climate change e-mail controversy," reports ABC News.

Editor’s note: For articles about the environment, see the Monitor’s main environment page, which offers information on many topics. Also, check out our Bright Green blog archive and our RSS feed.

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