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On 24 November, Trevor Davies, the University of East Anglia pro-vice-chancellor with responsibility for research, rejected calls for Jones' resignation or firing: "We see no reason for Professor Jones to resign and, indeed, we would not accept his resignation.He is a valued and important scientist." The university announced that it would conduct an independent review into issues including Freedom of Information requests to the Climatic Research Unit: it would "address the issue of data security, an assessment of how we responded to a deluge of Freedom of Information requests, and any other relevant issues which the independent reviewer advises should be addressed".Jones, Briffa, Osborn and Hulme had written high-profile scientific papers on climate change that had been cited in reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.The Guardian's analysis of the emails suggests that the hacker had filtered them.Many commentators quoted one email in which Phil Jones said that he had used "Mike's Nature trick" in a 1999 graph for the World Meteorological Organization "to hide the decline" in proxy temperatures derived from tree-ring analyses when measured temperatures were actually rising.
The AP said that the "[e]-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data".
Independent Climate Change Email Review (UK) International Science Assessment Panel (UK) Pennsylvania State University (US) United States Environmental Protection Agency (US) Department of Commerce (US) copying thousands of emails and computer files, the Climatic Research Unit documents, to various internet locations several weeks before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change.
The story was first broken by climate change denialists, In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth's mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding: "based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway... That same day, Stephen Mc Intyre of Climate Audit was forwarded an internal email sent to UEA staff warning that "climate change sceptics" had obtained a "large volume of files and emails".
An editorial in Nature stated that "A fair reading of the e-mails reveals nothing to support the denialists' conspiracy theories." It said that emails showed harassment of researchers, with multiple Freedom of Information requests to the Climatic Research Unit, but release of information had been hampered by national government restrictions on releasing the meteorological data researchers had been using.
Nature considered that emails had not shown anything that undermined the scientific case on human-caused global warming or raised any substantive reasons for concern about the researchers' own papers.
A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay." Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics said that there had to be a rigorous investigation into the substance of the email messages, once appropriate action has been taken over the hacking, to clear the impression of impropriety given by the selective disclosure and dissemination of the messages.