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Second Set Of 'Climategate' Emails Hit The Web

In a repeat of 2009, a second set of stolen emails from climate scientists at major universities has been released to the public.

The Guardian reports that the new release contains more than 5,000 emails, but they appear to be part of the trove that was attained back in 2009. If you remember, those emails unleashed what has come to be known as "climategate." In short, emails from scientists raised questions about whether they were manipulating information to make the case for global warming. After many inquiries, scientific consensus still remains that the world is warming.

The University of East Anglia, whose research department was hit hard by the first batch of hacked emails, said the sheer number of documents made it impossible for them to confirm their authenticity. In a statement, the university added:

This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and number of studies – including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group.

As in 2009, extracts from emails have been taken completely out of context.

The New Scientist says that it has given the emails a quick pass and "the content of the emails is similar to the 2009 release, and features climate scientists debating the merits of different studies and discussing the text to be used in major reports."

The BBC reports the emails come just before a the annual United Nations climate summit. The BBC adds a bit more on the contents of a file that was included with the latest batch of emails:

It then picks a number of phrases from the email batch, whose senders and recipients include UEA's Phil Jones and Keith Briffa, and Michael Mann from Penn State University in the US.

The excerpts talk of issues such as "science being manipulated to put a political spin", the deletion of emails to avoid Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, and agreeing on a "message".

Mann confirmed to the Guardian that some of the emails were his and described the release as "truly pathetic."

He said the people behind the releases were "agents doing the dirty bidding of the fossil fuel industry know they can't contest the fundamental science of human-caused climate change. So they have instead turned to smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails in their effort to try to confuse the public about the science and thereby forestall any action to combat this critical threat. Its right out of the tried-and-true playbook of climate change denial."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.