By David Derbyshire 25th November 2009
The scientist at the heart of the climate change scandal was under growing pressure to quit last night.
George Monbiot, a leading environmentalist, said Phil Jones should resign from the Climatic Research Unit over leaked emails that appear to show researchers suppressed scientific data.
More emails came to light yesterday, including one in which an American climatologist admitted it was a travesty that scientists could not explain a lack of global warming in recent years.
In another note, UK researchers dismissed the work of scientists challenging global warming as 'crap'.
Another appeared to call for pressure on the BBC after a reporter suggested that evidence for rising temperatures since 2001 was thin.
In one of the most damning messages, Professor Jones appeared to respond to the death of a climate sceptic with the words 'in an odd way this is cheering news!'.
The leak has been a huge embarrassment to the climate unit at the University of East Anglia, which is a global leader in its field.
Although there is no hint of evidence that climate change is not real, the emails appear to show researchers manipulating raw data and discussing how to dodge Freedom of Information requests.
Yesterday, Mr Monbiot, who writes on green issues, said the emails could scarcely be more damaging.
‘I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken,' he said. 'There are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad.
'There appears to be evidence of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a Freedom of Information request.
'Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Bob Ward, a climate expert at the London School of Economics and Political Science, demanded an independent inquiry.
'From what I've seen of the emails, there's not been any new questions raised about the way papers have been put together, but there should be an re-examination of the emails,' he said.
The emails - which appeared last week on a Russian website - appear to have been stolen from a university computer server.
Yesterday, Professor Jones refused to quit and denied that researchers had altered evidence to bolster the case for man-made climate change.
He added: 'We absolutely stand by the science we produce here at the University of East Anglia and it has been peer reviewed and published.
'Some of the emails probably had poorly chosen words and were sent in the heat of the moment, when I was frustrated. I do regret sending some of them. We've not deleted any emails or data here at CRU.
'I would never manipulate the data one bit - I would categorically deny that.' The university is to conduct an independent review of data security and on its response to 60 freedom of information requests over a short period.
● At least half the 36 UK officials and ministers travelling to the climate change talks in Copenhagen are going by air rather than by rail.
The Liberal Democrats said the arrangements showed up Labour's hypocrisy on green issues.
The Government said officials had meetings that limited their travel options next month.