Skip to content

BBC–12 Years Of Covering Up Climategate

June 11, 2021

By Paul Homewood





The "Climategate" computer hacking scandal that rocked the scientific world is to be made into a BBC film.

Hackers stole thousands of emails and documents from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in Norwich in 2009.

Line of Duty actor Jason Watkins is to star in The Trick playing climate change scientist Prof Philip Jones.

Watkins said it was a "privilege to play the brilliant scientist… whose own world was so threatened".

The Trick will tell the story of the professor, who was director of the Climatic Research Unit.

Prof Jones became the victim of cyber terrorism with stolen emails used by human-induced climate change deniers to promote their view of global warming ahead of an international conference.


While the BBC wants to rewrite history, it is well to recall the real story:



A week after my colleague James Delingpole , on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian’s George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors 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).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU’s director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC’s key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann’s "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement.

Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre , an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann’s supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC’s scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC’s 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore’s ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre’s blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt’s blog Watts Up With That ), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones’s refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports.

Back in 2006, when the eminent US statistician Professor Edward Wegman produced an expert report for the US Congress vindicating Steve McIntyre’s demolition of the "hockey stick", he excoriated the way in which this same "tightly knit group" of academics seemed only too keen to collaborate with each other and to "peer review" each other’s papers in order to dominate the findings of those IPCC reports on which much of the future of the US and world economy may hang. In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate. Already one respected US climate scientist, Dr Eduardo Zorita, has called for Dr Mann and Dr Jones to be barred from any further participation in the IPCC. Even our own George Monbiot, horrified at finding how he has been betrayed by the supposed experts he has been revering and citing for so long, has called for Dr Jones to step down as head of the CRU.

The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation , rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.

  1. June 11, 2021 3:49 am

    I hope this is a joke” privIledge to play the brilliant scientist “

  2. Ed Bo permalink
    June 11, 2021 3:59 am

    Phil Jones, the “brilliant scientist” who couldn’t figure out how to do a regression in Excel — something my own kids learned easily in high school chemistry class.

    And WTF was a professional data scientist doing using Excel in the first place, and not a real analysis package?

    • Vic Hanby permalink
      June 11, 2021 9:50 pm

      He isn’t a ‘professional data scientist’, if you look at the HARRYREADME file you’d realise that none of the CRU researchers were. Around ’09 the EPSRC funded four projects using the Met office climate projections – Phil Jones was one of my co-investigators. I was amazed to see how many of the participants used Excel to analyze 3,000 files each 8760 lines x 12 columns. No idea.

  3. John Hultquist permalink
    June 11, 2021 4:18 am

    The role an actor should be leaping at would be the “leaker.”
    Only a shadow and hands on a keyboard would be shown.
    That anyone would be proud to play Jones suggests the script is propaganda.
    Although if H. H. Lamb appears, that might be a good role.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 11, 2021 9:38 am

      I’d put money on Lamb’s work/views being twisted to support the agenda, just as when Philip died – instead of being portrayed as someone who derided climate alarmists, his environmentalism was conflated with climate change and suddenly he was a ‘climate hero’, one of the first to ring the alarm bell etc. with Attenbollox wheeled out to sing his praises.

      It’s ironic that climate change had been deliberately combined with environmentalism as an alarmist’s strategy in recent years, when the implementation of the policies to ‘fight’ climate change are so catastrophic for the natural environment.

      If only there were someone with the wherewithal to make a truthful version of this documentary, exposing the state of science and the media.

      • June 12, 2021 10:35 pm

        Michael Moore perhaps…

      • Edward Tulloch permalink
        June 13, 2021 9:06 am

        Do you know of any list of the policies to fight climate that are catastrophic for the natural environment with explanations of why they are catastrophic?

  4. Ian Magness permalink
    June 11, 2021 6:25 am

    “The “Climategate” computer hacking scandal”.
    Those few words tell you how the BBC wants to re-write history and deflect fully from what was the important part of the story.

  5. June 11, 2021 6:51 am

    I wonder if anybody at the BBC has read Andrew Montford’s two books ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ (Climategate and the Corruption of Science) and ‘Hiding the Decline’ (A history of the Climategate affair)? Obviously not. The BBC cannot allow the facts to get in the way of its fiction.

    Is that true, or did you hear it on the BBC?

  6. John Halstead permalink
    June 11, 2021 7:07 am

    The BBC, which is full of warmists, will probably grab the opportunity to rewrite the story in favour of global warming and thereby convince even more naïve souls that we’re doomed.

  7. June 11, 2021 7:57 am

    I wanted to try to extend Lambs work on the direction of winds since 1500 as I think direction and longevity is a key factor in our weather/climate.

    I approached Phil Jones-who had just retired-as he obviously had worked closely with Lamb.

    I found him personally very helpful, objective and rigorous, hunting out stuff and sending it to me . So there are 2 sides to the man

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 11, 2021 10:37 am

      Perhaps the fact that he was then retired allowed him to be be more open-minded and helpful?

    • Broadlands permalink
      June 11, 2021 1:57 pm

      I also had correspondence with Phil, but back in September 2009. I found him to be very helpful. Sent me copies of his papers and discussed his differences with Jim Hansen’s temperatures. Pointed out problems with early data. One wouldn’t think of his involvements in Climategate or CRU’s loss of raw temperatures which they freely admitted.

  8. June 11, 2021 8:30 am

    Climate scientists! Love them. Driving home in the rain this morning. High summer in Scotland heard a climate scientist on the radio saying models proved we wold suffer from increased droughts in the next 30 years. If only!

    Decades of warming already , so we are told, and from memory overall rainfall in Scotland has marginally increased.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 11, 2021 9:37 am

      Always ‘in the next 30 years’. Like nuclear fusion, always 30 years in the future!

  9. ThinkingScientist permalink
    June 11, 2021 8:40 am

    I suspect Phil Jones was just naive and got sucked into pejorative emails because talking about people behind their backs and conspiring is ok, as long as no-one knows and you don;t think people will ever find out. Cowards and bullies.

    It’s true Phil Jones admitted he couldn’t do a regression in Excel. Nothing wrong with doing basic analysis in Excel by the way – I do it all the time and its very convenient.

    I wonder if the BBC will put into the script PJ’s interview where he admitted on camera that there are 4 periods in the CET where the temperature rise is very significant for decades and that the current period is statistically indistinguishable from those previous 3 periods?

    Finally, I have first hand knowledge of the corruption of peer review, so I may even make a formal complaint to the BBC on this point. I was approached (around 2005?) by a post-Doc who was having difficulty getting a paper published. The paper used geostatistics to challenge whether the changes “due to climate” in the Sahel (Sahara) were really real or not possibly an artefact of the changing number of recording stations. As you can imagine, this would not be popular with AGW enthusiasts. As the reviewers continually rejected the paper with ever more imaginative reasons, I was asked to privately review the paper as an expert in geostatistics. I did so and could find no reason to reject based on the technical content. I still have a copy of the paper and my reviewer comments.

    The paper never got published (a post-Doc’s 1 or 2 years of work and funding just thrown away).

    Imagine my surprise when the ClimateGate emails were released when I found the email where Phil Jones is telling the others how terrible this paper is and that he will find a way to reject it!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 11, 2021 9:40 am

      Political gatekeeping is no myth.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      June 11, 2021 9:48 am

      Have a look at this

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        June 11, 2021 10:04 am

        Worth pointing out that up until at least 2007 if you attempted to download the GHCN station data set from a UK IP address you got a notification blocking the download request on the grounds that the dataset contained information that could not be released to someone in the UK. You could only get round it by using a ghosted IP address to appear to change your country of origin.

        So just to put that in perspective – some of the data that was blocked at the time was, I believe, Met Office data (paid for by the UK tax payer). So that means the data could be shared with the rest of the world, but not with a UK tax payer!

        (I am aware also of the claim about agreements with other Met Offices around the world preventing sharing).

        Actually the BBC creating this fantasy docu-drama is actually an opportunity to go after them. We can complain all over again and raise the facts with them!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 11, 2021 11:24 am

        I think the Met Office were just using the claimed agreements as an excuse to avoid releasing data.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        June 11, 2021 12:52 pm

        Gerry – indeed.

        But even if the agreements were true, how can it be the case that the agreements result in UK residents being forbidden to download the dataset from a US server, but not anyone from elsewhere in the world?

        How does that work? (Rhetorical!).

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 11, 2021 10:46 am

      I seem to recall reading somewhere (McIntyre?) that the number of T recording stations around the world (or maybe, just the USA) had reduced from 6,000 to around 600. Is my recollection correct?

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        June 11, 2021 10:56 am

        Only because I have an old spreadsheet to hand, these are approx. station counts in the (old) GHCN up to 2005. The dates are key change points in station count, its roughly linear increase/decrease between:

        1835-1850 30


        1945 3400
        1967 5700
        1987 4385
        1992 1238
        2005 829

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        June 11, 2021 12:37 pm

        Much appreciated, TS.

      • Broadlands permalink
        June 11, 2021 2:17 pm

        This paper may be worth your time?

        “Extraction of the global absolute temperature for Northern Hemisphere using a set of 6190 meteorological stations from 1800 to 2013”

        Demetris T. Christopoulos
        National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Economics, Greece

      • dennisambler permalink
        June 12, 2021 1:45 pm

        Subject: RE: Fwd: Monthly CLIMATbulletins
        Date: Thu Jan 6 08:54:58 2005

        Just to reiterate David’s points, I’m hoping that IPCC will stick with 1961-90.The issue of confusing users/media with new anomalies from a different base period is the key one in my mind. Arguments about the 1990s being better observed than the 1960s don’t hold too much water with me. There is some discussion of going to 1981-2000 to help the modelling chapters. If we do this it will be a bit of a bodge as it will be hard to do things properly for the surface temp and precip as we’d lose loads of stations with long records that would then have incomplete normals. If we do we will likely achieve it by re-zeroing series and maps in an ad hoc way. There won’t be any move by IPCC to go for 1971-2000, as it won’t help with satellite series or the models. 1981-2000 helps with MSU series and the much better Reanalyses and also globally-complete SST. 20 years (1981-2000) isn’t 30 years, but the rationale for 30 years isn’t that compelling. The original argument was for 35 years around 1900 because Bruckner found 35 cycles in some west Russian lakes (hence periods like 1881-1915). This went to 30 as it easier to compute. Personally I don’t want to change the base period till after I retire!

        09:22 05/01/2005, Parker, David (Met Office) wrote:

        “There is a preference in the atmospheric observations chapter of IPCC AR4 to stay with the 1961-1990 normals. This is partly because a change of normals confuses users, e.g. anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to newer normals, so the impression of global warming will be muted.”

      • June 13, 2021 1:57 pm

        This graph was produced by Ross McKitrick

      • June 13, 2021 2:07 pm

        McKitrick refers to the global database. Many of the ones that dropped out were in remote places, like the Arctic.

  10. dave permalink
    June 11, 2021 8:42 am

    “…just retired…”

    That is the point, isn’t it? People are compromised while they are working for an organization or a cause.

  11. 1saveenergy permalink
    June 11, 2021 9:10 am

    BBC – always good for Drama, Fantasy & Fiction … in all their outputs.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 11, 2021 10:31 am

      and wokeness.

  12. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 11, 2021 10:28 am

    Great, well written and researched old article by Booker. Jones may, or may not, have broken mans’ laws, although he was clearly negligent under “Duty of care” requirements. He was clearly guilty of breaking natures laws by denying facts that were measured and necessary for debate: this makes him a scientific charlatan who ought to have been dismissed from his position immediately: (he would have been by most businesses). Surely, even the biased BBC cannot regard him as a hero – Jimmy Saville’s history revised next I guess.

  13. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 11, 2021 10:33 am

    “A hacker stole’ is probably “an insider leaked”. A hack is essentially a short term event – what would have been the cause, the motivation, for the hacker? How much knowledge of the content could have been acquired externally? Conversely, a leaker would have the necessary knowledge of the UAE IT structure and familiarity with the content and be able to judge newsworthyness in the field of ‘climate science’. I don’t believe the Norfolk police tried very hard. Perhaps the leaker is still employed therefore mum. What fun when he/she confesses! Cd write a book! Meanwhile read up Ross McKitrick on the various whitewashes of Climategate; “incompetent beyond parody” – and recall the 100 world class scientists who know Michael Mann as a Disgrace to the Profession, (Steyn). See also Donna Laframboise on the IPCC’s disgraceful behaviour. What number was the Copenhagen COP? Dear oh dear.

  14. steelydann permalink
    June 11, 2021 10:40 am

    As the BBC’s Science Correspondent has a degree in English Literature, I don’t have high expectations of this programme. Unfortunately I lived in Borneo when Climategate occurred. Please could someone refer me to some accurate catch-up reading of the events!

  15. A, Badger permalink
    June 11, 2021 12:11 pm

    I have long since reached the point where I will not watch any BBC programmes mentioning so called ‘climate change’ because they always lie. Sadly, that now seems to preclude a great swathe of its output, as the corporation will use any opportunity to preach its gospel. In fact, if you remove race, gender, sexuality and ‘climate change’ from its palette, I doubt the BBC would have anything at all left to broadcast about.

    I don’t imagine this latest effort will be any different – it will be just another morality play carefully designed to conceal the truth.

    • Lez permalink
      June 11, 2021 6:58 pm

      Tony Heller’s video sums it up nicely

  16. Athelstan permalink
    June 11, 2021 12:30 pm

    “They” the globalists manipulate national governments. They buy and sell and the pawns do their dirty work, the minions moving the mouth parts, in the bbc for example. They wanted to reorder the western model, it didn’t happen over night, slow at first and now the plandemic accelerates velocity to mind warp speed. A relentless programme; brainwwashing in schools, bread and circuses, media propaganda does the heavy lifting, they’ve been doing it for years in the eu and george as special advisor.

    climategate, they’ve air brushed it out of history.

    If they can create a scamdemic to gerrymander a presidential election, fooling the sheeple into believing in the doomgoblins – it was a cinch and when their petticoats were showing, they clamped down ’nuffink to see here’ ladies and gentlemen and a Lord no less was wheeled out to shut them up.

    In postmodern world controlling the narrative and manipulating the media, with colossal amounts of money to ‘play with’ – anything can be, rewritten, re-ordered to suit the way they want it to be.

    Fraser was right, ‘we’re all doomed’.

  17. June 11, 2021 12:39 pm

    So who are those portraying the true heroes: Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 11, 2021 12:46 pm

      I bet the BBC air-brush them out, Joan.

  18. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 11, 2021 12:45 pm

    A key part of the discussion around Climategate, other than the actual emails, was whether they were leaked or hacked. AFAIK, I can’t recall anyone ever determining either hypothesis. But that doesn’t stop the BBC. I wonder who the writer/director is.

  19. George Lawson permalink
    June 11, 2021 1:27 pm

    I w3onder whether the BBC have noticed that nothing untoward has happened with the climate since the climategate disgrace 12 years ago?

  20. Broadlands permalink
    June 11, 2021 2:11 pm

    Herewith CRU’s admission that raw temperatures were deleted…

    “Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

  21. June 11, 2021 2:37 pm

    Dr Tim Ball – Historical Climatologist
    Book: ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’
    Book: ‘Human Caused Global Warming, the Biggest Deception in History’

  22. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 11, 2021 6:41 pm

    Slightly O/T but I just found this on a US blog:
    “Bill Nye the science guy, who holds a BS degree from Cornell University, was in front of Congress yesterday to talk about climate change.
    You just can’t make this up. The Democrats invited climate change advocate Bill Nye to Congress to discuss climate change.”

    What I really liked is the editorialising that said ‘….who holds a BS degree….’. Says it all, really. He’ll be on BBC next.

  23. Vernon E permalink
    June 11, 2021 7:04 pm

    Very disappointing posting. Navel gazing. Absolutely nothing that hasn’t been said a million times before. Not one suggestion of what to do about it. Paul. you need to get a grip on this before your blog becomes just another moan (like Bishop Hill).

    • Alan Hall permalink
      June 13, 2021 10:39 am

      I agree. As a non-scientist, I find the articles and the comments on the blog very impressive. However, I constantly feel it is too introverted. Is anyone lobbying the COP26 organisers to get some alternative views presented? With a political class totally enthralled by the activists and alarmists there needs to be a much greater push-back, not only on the bad science and distorted reporting of everything climate, but also to highlight the serious consequences of this huge false alarm. I found the recent book by Steven Koonin a good place to start for non-experts and he ought to be invited to COP26.

  24. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 11, 2021 7:31 pm

    Vernon, have you perhaps missed the point of the post? To my mind It was a critique of the BBC’s intention to dramatise climategate. That makes it relevant to today.
    As for BH, it’s no longer a blog, more of a talking shop for a few old soldiers – by which I mean no disrespect to them or for BH: he ran a good blog for many years.
    BBC reprising climategate might just put it back into the public sphere to their disadvantage.

  25. mothcatcher permalink
    June 11, 2021 8:44 pm

    from the BBC header-
    “stolen emails used by human-induced climate change deniers” … what the heck else have these wretched humans been inducing now?

  26. June 11, 2021 11:18 pm

    self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view.

    wonder who is guilty of that?

  27. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 12, 2021 10:37 am

    The BBC is truly the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”. It lies about climate change, Julian Assange, Syria, Russia, Israel and the USA at every opportunity to push the Athelstan agenda as noted above.

    They had some woman crying at a G7 “climate protest” how she had learned from the BBC and Attenborough that her childrens’ lives were now threatened: no idea that she was only threatened by computer models.

  28. Vernon E permalink
    June 12, 2021 6:35 pm

    For God’s sake somebody say something new. We know the question but what is the answer?

    • Alan Hall permalink
      June 13, 2021 10:47 am

      A concerted campaign is need to get the BBC to change its biased stance. The new DG Tim Davie might be receptive. This blog is too scientific for that but maybe there are other more activist organisations who know how to lobby?

  29. Cheshire Red permalink
    June 13, 2021 8:55 pm

    The law of unintended consequences looms large for the BBC.

    If (or rather when) they rewrite history they’ll be taken to the cleaners by sceptics.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: