Here is the Climate Research Unit’s response to the leaked emails and comments. Their response to the “trick and hide the decline” email is here:
One particular, illegally obtained, email relates to the preparation of a figure for the WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999. This email referred to a “trick” of adding recent instrumental data to the end of temperature reconstructions that were based on proxy data. The requirement for the WMO Statement was for up-to-date evidence showing how temperatures may have changed over the last 1000 years. To produce temperature series that were completely up-to-date (i.e. through to 1999) it was necessary to combine the temperature reconstructions with the instrumental record, because the temperature reconstructions from proxy data ended many years earlier whereas the instrumental record is updated every month. The use of the word “trick” was not intended to imply any deception.
Phil Jones comments further: “One of the three temperature reconstructions was based entirely on a particular set of tree-ring data that shows a strong correlation with temperature from the 19th century through to the mid-20th century, but does not show a realistic trend of temperature after 1960. This is well known and is called the ‘decline’ or ‘divergence’. The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste. CRU has not sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring decline, including the article that is listed in the legend of the WMO Statement figure. It is because of this trend in these tree-ring data that we know does not represent temperature change that I only show this series up to 1960 in the WMO Statement.”
Much of CRU’s argument for the accuracy and veracity of their data consists of referring to other agencies, such as the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), or the GISS/NASA (Goddard Institute of Space Studies), that confirm their findings. Except my understanding is that much of the work done by these agencies made use of CRU’s data or reports. Seems a bit circular, if my understanding is correct.
The Guardian, when interviewing Phil Jones, the CRU’s director, states
He confirmed that all of the leaked emails that had provoked heated debate – including the now infamous email from 1999 in which he discussed a “trick” to “hide the decline” in global temperatures – appeared to be genuine.
“The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste,” he said. “CRU has not sought to hide the decline.”
Both the CRU and Phil Jones state that the leaks must have been timed to coincide with next month’s Copenhagen talks on climate change. Well, duh. If you were going to blow a whistle, you’d like to do it when people were awake and interested.
The CRU says that they cannot release their data despite FOIA requests, since they would need the permission of all of the countries and organizations that provided them with the data. I don’t know anything about the UK FIOA laws, so I cannot comment on the reasonableness of this.