A research director, one of the central figures in the controversy over hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit announced Tuesday that he is stepping down while the university investigates the incident.
The university said in a statement that Phil Jones would relinquish his position as director of Climatic Research Unit (CRU) until the completion of an independent review.
Skeptics claim the e-mails leaked after a UEA server was hacked into last month, showed that research data was being manipulated to make the claim the climate change was man-made.
The university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Trevor Davies said the investigation would cover data security, whether the university responded properly to Freedom of Information requests, and any other relevant issues.
The specific terms of the review will be announced later in the week.
What is most important is that CRU continues its world-leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible, Professor Jones said in the statement.
After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the director's role during the course of the independent review.
The leaked emails have led to calls for probes into the state of climate science from U.S. politicians skeptical that humans are causing global warming. They have also drawn criticism from some high-profile environmentalists.
Out of the 1,000's of emails leaked and over 3,000 documents, climate skeptics picked up on the word trick in one e-mail from 1999 and hiding the decline, fueling their claim that climate change is not manmade.
Professor Jones said the e-mail was genuine but taken completely out of context.
He released a copy of the actual e-email which reads: I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline.
The new announcement in the ClimateGate scandal comes just a week before World leaders are set to meet for a climate summit in Copenhagen next week Monday to discuss policies that will curb greenhouse-gas emissions and slow global warming.
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