The Russell report is out today, and the review into the behavior of Phil Jones and his crew at the University of East Anglia regarding the somewhat startling revelations of Climategate has unsurprisingly cleared the CRU of deliberate wrongdoing. Jones has already been reinstated at the university, in a slightly different role than before the scandal broke, which shows that the results were pretty much prejudged.
That the motley CRU was cleared is no surprise, but that they so brazenly return Doc Jones to his job despite serious criticisms of his behaviour and administrative ability is a shock.
The report criticized Jones et al for creating a ‘misleading chart':
the same inquiry team came to the potentially damaging conclusion that a graph from the scientists, used prominently by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) was “misleading”, though there had been no intent to mislead.
Jones and co were also slammed for evading FOI requests:
The CRU was ‘unhelpful and defensive’ in response to reasonable requests for information about the weather stations used to gather the temperature records.
If you harbor any doubt that the report was designed to be anything but a whitewash, consider that one of the key charges against Jones was that he deleted emails that might have been damaging if they were exposed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. But the panel avoided asking the one question that might have answered that charge:
On the allegation that Dr Jones had deleted emails, the inquiry team did find evidence that emails “might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them”. But neither the university nor the inquiry team asked the scientist specifically if he had deleted emails that were subject to a FoI request
In other words, Jones deleted some emails, but is given a pass because no one asked the pertinent question. Employers evaluating candidates for jobs this summer might want to move UEA grads to the bottom of the pile if this is what counts as academic integrity at the Norfolk institution.
The findings of the whitewash panels are less relevant than the damage done to science in general by the motley CRU. And that is the real shame in all this.