The recovery of Phil Jones – Back to the future

Back to the Future?

In 2008, in a message titled “IPCC and FOI“, Phil Jones asked Michael Mann to delete  emails he might have gotten from Kieth Briffa, assuring him that Briffa would delete such emails as well. He said ‘they’ was going to get in touch with Caspar Ammann asking him to delete emails too. Responding to Jones, Michael Mann replied sphinx-like, that he would get in touch with Eugene Wahl about the matter.

Four scientists – Kieth Briffa, Michael Mann, Caspar Ammann, Eugene Wahl – all being set into motion by Phil Jones, deleting emails relating to the IPCC fourth assessment report – this is the picture we get, from one the emails in Climategate.

The alleged email exchange is below:

From: Michael Mann
To: Phil Jones
Subject: Re: IPCC & FOI
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 08:12:02 -0400
Hi Phil,
laughable that CA would claim to have discovered the problem. They would
have run off to the Wall Street Journal for an exclusive were that to
have been true.
I'll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is:
talk to you later,
Phil Jones wrote:
>> Mike,
> Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
> Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis.
> Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't
> have his new email address.
> We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
> I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature
> paper!!
> Cheers
> Phil
> Prof. Phil Jones
> Climatic Research Unit Telephone [removed]
> School of Environmental Sciences Fax [removed]
> University of East Anglia
> Norwich Email
> NR4 7TJ
> UK
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
--Michael E. Mann
Associate Professor
Director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC)
Department of Meteorology Phone: [removed]
503 Walker Building FAX: [removed]
The Pennsylvania State University email:
University Park, PA 16802-5013

Now, a year after these series of exchanges were made public by Climategate, Jones, we are informed by Nature magazine, deleted the emails from just “bravado”.

“We just thought if they’re going to ask for more, we might as well not have them”

Another reason: Jones deleted emails based on dates, to keep them under control. Amidst all this, the specific reasons are lost.

Apparently Jones deleted these emails, to “simplify his life”, by “not having them”, if they were requested by people “in the future”. Mindblowing. The creativity at excuse-making by Nature seems boundless.

The Nature article potrays Jones’ story through Climategate year One. He is shown as a sensitive man, sucked into a vortex of reactive maneuvers, outwitting critics, bloggers and sceptics, deleting emails in the process.  As much as one hopes for more transparency and data openness, one hopes Jones finds the right rationalizations to put his mind at rest first. Meanwhile the skeptics are not going to get anything in the near future, it seems.

Here is an interesting bit of “search-box” investigation you can perform. Look for the words ‘denier’ or ‘fossil-fuel’ in the article – you might just be surprised by the results.

David Adam, the author of the article, responds at Bishop Hill (scroll down).

WUWT picks up on the story here (comment).



  1. hro001

    “Look for the words ‘denier’ or ’fossil-fuel’ in the article”

    Indeed, they were quite conspicuous by their absence! Another word worth a search is “consensus”; it seems to have met a similar fate of late.

  2. Mervyn Sullivan

    Phil Jones may have fooled himself, he may have fooled the various ‘sham’ inquiries, and he may have fooled his fellow academics and the public. But he hasn’t fooled me. I shan’t be swallowing his bull. Power corrupts … and Phil Jones certainly had too much power. I think that says it all.

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