Thousands of emails related to global warming from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the U.K were hacked into and posted online, with government representatives now calling for an independent inquiry into what is being dubbed, the Climategate.
Former British chancellor and long-time climate change skeptic, Lord Lawson, was the latest to demand an impartial investigation be launched into Global Warming e-mail scandal.
They should set up a public inquiry under someone who is totally respected and get to the truth, he told the BBC Radio Four Today program.
Hackers broke into the e-mail server of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, one of the United Kingdom's premier climate research institutes, on Friday, stealing 1,079 e-mails and more than 3,800 documents.
Hackers then posted a link to the 61-MB file of data on the blog Air Vent along with the following note: We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.
The leaked data comes just two weeks before the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen will begin on Dec. 7 -18, when 192 nations will meet to discuss a solution on how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases worldwide.
Security experts warned that the hacked emails could be used for more malicious attacks at a later stage, as hackers use cybercrime to endorse certain political beliefs they may hold.
Because they took a lot of e-mails, there's a little bit of an extra risk. Their company has been a victim of an attack, Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor for Sophos, told ChannelWeb.
Once you know everyone's e-mail addresses, it makes you much more susceptible to phishing attacks.
In one leaked e-mail from 1999, the research center's director, Phil Jones, writes to colleagues about graphs showing climate statistics over the last millennium, according to the Associated Press.
He alludes to one of Michael Mann's - director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State - articles in the journal Nature and writes, 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.
Mann says that the hackers are taking these words totally out of context to make something trivial appear nefarious.
The word 'trick' was used here colloquially, as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward, he claimed in an official statement.