Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails?


COPENHAGEN — Saudia Arabia told global warming talks on Monday that trust in climate science had been "shaken" by leaked emails among experts and called for an international probe.

"The level of trust is definitely shaken, especially now that we are about to conclude an agreement that ... is going to mean sacrifices for our economies," said Mohammed al-Sabban, the kingdom's top climate negotiator, told delegates at the opening of December 7-18 UN talks.

Al-Sabban called for an "independent" international investigation, but said that the UN climate science body was unqualified to carry it out.

"The IPCC, which is the authority accused, is not going to be able to conduct the investigation," he said, referring to the Nobel-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

The Saudi negotiator rejected IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri's defense of the integrity of the panel's findings -- delivered earlier in the plenary session -- as "general statements."

"In light of recent information... the scientific scandal has assumed huge proportion," al-Sabban said.

"We think it is definitely going to affect the nature of what can be trusted in the negotiations."

Saudi Arabia is oil cartel OPEC's leading producer and exporter.

Meanwhile, a UK report asks "Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails?"

Shaun Walker reports for The Independent:

The computer hack, said a senior member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, was not an amateur job, but a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation. And others went further. The guiding hand behind the leaks, the allegation went, was that of the Russian secret services.

The leaked emails, which claimed to provide evidence that the unit's head, Professor Phil Jones, colluded with colleagues to manipulate data and hide "unhelpful" research from critics of climate change science, were originally posted on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk, at a firm called Tomcity, an internet security business.

The FSB security services, descendants of the KGB, are believed to invest significant resources in hackers, and the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices, deeming them "an expression of their position as citizens, and one worthy of respect". The Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations, although the allegations were never proved.

"It's very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services," Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said in Copenhagen at the weekend. "It's a carefully made selection of emails and documents that's not random. This is 13 years of data, and it's not a job of amateurs."

More at The Independent including potential motives for the hacking.

The head of the UN's Nobel-winning panel of climate scientists on Monday attacked the so-called Climategate affair as a suspected bid to undermine the credibility of his organisation.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used the opening ceremonies of the UN climate talks in Copenhagen to lash those who had hacked into emails among top scientists in Britain assessing global warming.

"Given the wide-ranging nature of change that is likely to be taken in hand, some naturally find it inconvenient to accept its inevitability," said Pachauri.

"The recent incident of stealing the emails of scientists at the University of East Anglia shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts, perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC."

Pachauri proudly defended the IPCC's reputation as an arena for weighing scientific evidence fairly, neutrally and objectively, and said: "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

(includes Raw Story reporting)