The so-called "Climategate" scandal erupted in late November of 2009. The controversy began when some Russian computer hackers obtained and publicized 1,073 private e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England, possessor of the world's largest temperature-data set. The e-mails in question -- some of which dated back as far as 13 years, and 241 of which were from 2008 and 2009 -- had been exchanged between a number of leading American and British climatologists known for their belief that mankind's industrial activity was causing a dangerous “global warming” trend in the earth's atmosphere. In their correspondences, the authors candidly acknowledged that they had intentionally:
manipulated scientific evidence in order to provide "proof" that their warnings were justified;
conspired to illegally conceal, falsify, or destroy data that did not support their global-warming claims; and
plotted to keep opposing scientific views out of the peer-reviewed journals whose editorial boards they controlled.
In a November 22, 1996 email to other top global-warming scientists, Geoff Jenkins -- the self-described “front man explaining climate change” -- spoke of “inventing” temperature readings and releasing fake “estimates” of temperature data for the year, even before the year was over. He added:
“Remember all the fun we had last year over 1995 global temperatures, with early release of information (via Oz), ‘inventing’ the December monthly value, letters to Nature etc etc? I think we should have a cunning plan about what to do this year….”
Jenkins further pledged to pass along falsified temperature information “selectively to Nick Nuttall [spokesman and “Head of Media” for the United Nations Environment program], so that he can write an article for the silly season.”
In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing the climate patterns of the last two millennia, Phil Jones, a longtime CRU climate researcher, boasted that he had used a “trick” -- also employed by another scientist, Michael Mann -- to “hide the decline” in temperatures. In another e-mail, a climate scientist referred to global-warming skeptics as “idiots.”
As the London Telegraph explained in a November 28, 2009 article, the authors of the CRU e-mails “are not just any old bunch of academics”:
“Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
The impact of the foregoing revelations was heightened by a subsquent report by U.S. researchers that accused government agencies of cherry-picking -- from warmer rather than cooler locations -- many of the temperature readings which had been used to assess global temperatures.