Panel clears climate researchers

LONDON – Climate-change researchers accused of manipulating or hiding data in last year’s “Climategate” affair were guilty of sloppy record-keeping but not bad science, an independent panel in Britain concluded Wednesday.

Allegations that the researchers deliberately misrepresented data to promote the idea of human-caused global warming rocked the scientific community in November, just as world leaders were preparing for an international environmental summit.

The allegations, by skeptics of climate change, were based on e-mails hacked from the University of East Anglia in eastern England, including one in which a scientist wrote of using a “trick” to mask an apparent decline in recent global temperatures.

But a panel of experts tasked with examining the underlying science said it “saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work” by the university’s Climatic Research Unit.

Instead, “we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers” who did not store their data and working notes as well as they could have but whose science was conducted “with integrity,” the committee said in a report released Wednesday.

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