Leading climate scientist Phil Jones admitted to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Monday that he had "written some very awful e-mails," including one in which he rejected a request for information on the ground that the person receiving it might criticize his work.
In a written submission to the committee, leading physics organization the Institute of Physics said that, assuming the e-mails were genuine, "worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practiced in this context."
The integrity of climate change research is in doubt after the leak of stolen e-mails from Jones and others that attempt to suppress data. The Institute of Physics said that e-mails sent by Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, had broken "honorable scientific traditions" about disclosing raw data and methods and allowing them to be checked by critics.
The committee did not ask him about several of the most damaging e-mails he had sent, including one in which he asked a colleague to delete information that had been requested. The committee had been asked not to press him too closely because he was close to a nervous breakdown.
Professor Jones denied that he had tried to prevent alternative views being published by influencing the process of peer review under which scientific papers are scrutinized.
He said: "I don't think there is anything in those e-mails that supports any view that I have been trying to pervert the peer review process . . ." He added that it "hasn't been standard practice" in climate science for all data to be disclosed.
Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative Chancellor and a leading climate sceptic, said that those who wanted to check the university's research should not have been forced to resort to making requests under the Freedom of Information Act. He said: "Proper scientists, scientists of integrity, wish to reveal all of their data and all of their methods. They don't need freedom of information requests to force it out of them."
For more on this topic, see the full story at the Times of London.