News of the WeekSCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Stolen E-mails Turn Up Heat on Climate Change Rhetoric

Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5958.1329

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Summary

The theft and unauthorized release last month of 1000 private e-mail messages from the servers of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom has provided a glimpse into the fractious world of climate science. The public airing of frank conversations among powerful scientists about sensitive topics such as possible holes in their data and the use of contrarian papers in major reports comes at a pivotal time for climate science, just days before a meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen. The messages—whether hacked or released by a disgruntled insider—have raised thorny questions about the proper behavior of researchers who feel under siege for their science. How willing should they be to share their raw data with their staunchest critics?