An Open Letter to Dr. Phil Jones of the UEA CRU

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Dear Dr. Jones:

You and I have been interacting, albeit at a distance, since I first asked you for your data some five years ago. I asked for your data in part because I was astounded by your answer to Warwick Hughes when he asked for the same data. You replied to Warwick at that time, “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

I couldn’t fathom that a leading climate scientist could actually believe that. Finding something wrong with other scientists’ data and ideas is an integral part of how science progresses. This requires transparency and access to the data. I also couldn’t believe that other climate scientists would let you get away with saying that, without some other scientist pointing out the anti-scientific nature of your denial.

Foolish me … d’ya think I might have been more than a bit naive back then about climate “science” realpolitik?

In any case, I was also interested in the data for my own research, and I was curious whether you had been misquoted or taken out of context, so I wrote to you and asked for the data. I got no answer. (I found out later you had not been misquoted in any way. But I digress, back to the events.)

So I made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the data. Your University of East Anglia (UEA) Climate Research Unit (CRU) FOI point man, Mr. David Palmer, responded that all the data was available somewhere on the web … but David didn’t say where, just waved his hands and uttered the mystical incantation “GHCN”, meaning the data was held by the Global Historical Climate Network.

My response to that was as follows:

Dear Mr. Palmer:

Thank you for your reply. However, I fear that it is totally unresponsive. I had asked for a list of the sites actually used. While it may (or may not) be true that “it appears that the raw station data can be obtained from [GHCN]”, this is meaningless without an actual list of the sites that Dr. Jones and his team used.

The debate about changes in the climate is quite important. Dr. Jones’ work is one of the most frequently cited statistics in the field. Dr. Jones has refused to provide a list of the sites used for his work, and as such, it cannot be replicated. Replication is central to science. I find Dr. Jones attitude quite difficult to understand, and I find your refusal to provide the data requested quite baffling.

You are making the rather curious claim that because the data appears to be out on the web somewhere, there is no need for Dr. Jones to reveal which stations were actually used. The claim is even more baffling since you say that the original data used by CRU is available at the GHCN web site, and then follow that with the statement that some of the GHCN data originally came from CRU. Which is the case? Did CRU get the data from GHCN, or did GHCN get the data from CRU?

Rather than immediately appealing this ruling (with the consequent negative publicity that would inevitably accrue to CRU from such an action), I am again requesting that you provide:

 1) A list of the actual sites used by Dr. Jones in the preparation of the HadCRUT3 dataset, and

2) A clear indication of where the data for each site is available.

This is quite important, as there are significant differences between the versions of each site’s data at e.g. GHCN and NCAR.

I find it somewhat disquieting that an FOI request is necessary to force a scientist to reveal the data used in his publicly funded research … is this truly the standard that the CRU is promulgating?

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Willis Eschenbach

Note that I was trying not to make waves. I didn’t want to appeal the ruling. I didn’t want to make any trouble for CRU or for anyone. I just wanted to get the data. A garden variety polite scientific request. (And by the way, this type of polite request, Dr. Jones, is what you have repeatedly denounced as ‘harassment’ … but again I digress from the story.)

After discussing my statements with you, Mr. Palmer wrote back and identified a couple of websites (GHCN and NCAR) where the data you used might possibly be found … but again there was no information about where each station’s data was actually located. I wrote back and said in part:

… While it is good to know that the data is available at those two web sites, that information is useless without a list of stations used by Jones et al. to prepare the HadCRUT3 dataset. As I said in my request, I am asking for:

1) A list of the actual sites used by Dr. Jones in the preparation of the HadCRUT3   dataset, and

2) A clear indication of where the data for each site is available. This is quite   important, as there are significant differences between the versions of each site’s data   at e.g. GHCN and NCAR.”

Without knowing the name and WMO number of each site and the location of the source data (NCAR, GHCN, or National Met Service), it is not possible to access the information. Thus, Exemption 21 does not apply – I still cannot access the data.

I don’t understand why this is so hard. All I am asking for is a simple list of the sites and where each site’s data is located. Pointing at two huge piles of data and saying, in effect, “The data is in there somewhere” does not help at all.

To clarify what I am requesting, I am only asking for a list of the stations used in HadCRUT3, a list that would look like this:

WMO#     Name     Source

58457    HangZhou   NCAR

58659    WenZhou    NCAR

59316    ShanTou    GHCN

57516    ChongQing   NMS

etc. for all of the stations used to prepare the HadCRUT3 temperature data. That is the information requested, and it is not available “on non-UEA websites”, or anywhere else that I have been able to find.

I appreciate all of your assistance in this matter, and I trust we can get it resolved satisfactorily.

Best regards,


Again, a simple, polite, scientific request. You said the data was on the web. I simply wanted to know where I could find it. I made it clear that a trivially simple three-column response would suffice. Your new excuse was that some of the data was under distribution restrictions from the originating National Weather Service. I said OK, not a problem. Send me the data that’s not under restrictions.

Internally, the emails (#3298) show that at this time Dave Palmer was discussing these questions with you, saying:


As expected, Mr. Eschenbach is not satisfied with our most recent letter.  I guess the essential question is whether we have the list of actual sites used for HadCRUT3 [global temperature reconstruction], and if not, who does….

And indeed, that is a very important question, Dr. Jones. Did the CRU have a list of the actual sites used for HadCRUT3?

Incredibly, the only conclusion can be that the answer was “No”, because subsequently Mr. Palmer wrote back to me and said that UEA was not able to identify the locations on the web where the information was available.

I was totally befuddled at that point, because at the time I was unaware that you didn’t know where the data was located. So I wrote back and said:

Dear Mr. Palmer:

It appears we have gone full circle here, and ended up back where we started. I had originally asked for the raw station data used to produce the HadCRUT3 dataset to be posted up on the UEA website, or made available in some other form. You refused, saying that the information was available elsewhere on non-UEA websites, which is a valid reason for FOI refusals.

“I can report that the information requested is available on non-UEA websites as detailed below.”

Your most recent letter, however, says that you are unable to identify the locations of the requested information. Thus, the original reason for refusing to provide station data for HadCRUT3 was invalid.

Therefore, since the information requested is not available on non-UEA websites, I wish to re-instate my original request, that the information itself be made available on your website or in some other form. 

I understand that a small amount of this data (about 2%, according to your letter) is not available due to privacy requests from the countries involved. In that case, a listing of which stations this applies to will suffice.

The HadCRUT3 dataset is one of the fundamental datasets in the current climate discussion. As such, it is vitally important that it can be peer-reviewed and examined to verify its accuracy. The only way this can be done is for the data to be made available to other researchers in the field. 

Once again, thank you for your assistance in all of this. It is truly not a difficult request, and is fully in line with both standard scientific practice and your ” CODE OF PRACTICE FOR RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000″. 

I am sure that we can bring this to a satisfactory resolution without involving appeals or unfavorable publicity. 

My best regards to you, 


Unfortunately, that letter was of no use either. The recently released Climategate email #1184 shows why, with Mr. David Palmer, as befuddled as I was, discussing my request with you and saying (emphasis mine):


My head is beginning to spin here but I read this as meaning that he wants the raw station data; we don’t know which data belongs to which station, correct?  Our letter stated:

 “We can, however, send a list of all stations used, but without sources. This would include locations, names and lengths of record, although the latter are no guide as to the completeness of the series.”

Can we put this on the web?  Perhaps I am being really thick here but I’m not sure if putting this on the web will actually satisfy Mr. Eschenbach – we’ve said we don’t have data sources, he says the external websites don’t have them, so who does? Are we back to the NMS’s?  I am happy to give this one more go, stating exactly what we are putting on the web and seeing if that suffices.

Should Mr. Eschenbach still insist that we actually possess the information in the form he requests, I can then only give the file to Kitty Inglis for review and then we move on formally….

Cheers, Dave

Dave asked, who does have the data? The answer, sadly, turned out to be … nobody. Taken in conjunction with Dave’s earlier email, this makes the problem clear. You didn’t know which data belonged to which stations. And as a result, at the end of the day you put just a list of stations on the web, without any data or references at all to where the data could be found … because you couldn’t find it.

At that point, not knowing any of this backstory revealed by the Climategate emails, I figured I’d never get any more from you than the list of stations, and I gave up the fight. In retrospect, I should have fought all the way to the top with it.

Here’s my problem with all of this, Dr. Jones. You tried out a variety of claimed reasons for not responding to a request for your data. None of them were even remotely true. They were all intended to hide the fact that you didn’t know where the data was. Dave clearly spelled out the problem: “we don’t know which data belongs to which stations, right?”

You claimed that the data was out there on the web somewhere. You claimed you couldn’t send any of it because of restrictions on a few datasets. You claimed it came from GHCN, then you said from NCAR, but you couldn’t say exactly where.

You gave lots and lots of explanations to me, everything except the truth—that your records were in such disarray that you could not fulfill my request. It is clear now from the Climategate emails that some records were there, some were missing, the lists were not up to date, there was orphan data, some stations had multiple sets of data, some data was only identified by folder not by filename, you didn’t know which data might have been covered by confidentiality agreements, and the provenance of some datasets could not be established. The unfortunate reality was that you simply couldn’t do what I asked.

Rather than just saying that, however, you came up with a host of totally bogus reasons why you could not give me the data. Those were lies, Phil. You and David Palmer flat-out lied to my face about why you couldn’t send me the data.

Now, I’ve come to accept that you lied to me. Here’s what I think. I think you are a scientist, and a reasonably good one, who was hard squeezed by two things—the Peter Principle, and Noble Cause Corruption. When you began your scientific career, your sloppy record keeping didn’t matter much. And you didn’t want to be the record keeper in any case, you wanted to do the science instead, but you kept getting promoted and you ended up curating a big messy dataset. Then things changed, and now, climate decisions involving billions of dollars are being made based in part on your data. Disarray in your files didn’t make a lot of difference when your work was of interest only to specialists. But now it matters greatly, money and people’s lives are at stake, and unfortunately you were a better scientist than you were a data manager.

So when my FOI request came along, you were caught. You were legally required to produce data you couldn’t locate. Rather than tell the truth and say “I can’t find it”, you chose to lie. Hey, it was only a small lie, and it was for the Noble Cause of saving the world from Thermageddon. So you had David tell me the data was available on the web. You knew that was a lie. David, apparently, didn’t realize it was a lie, at least at first. You hoped your Noble Lie would satisfy me, that I would get discouraged, and you could move on.

But I asked again, and when I called you on that first answer, you thought up another Noble Lie. And when that one didn’t work, you invented another Noble Lie.

OK, so you are a serial liar. Like I said, I’ve made my peace with that. It used to rankle me, but not any more. I just accepted that you can’t be trusted and I moved on. I do have compassion for you, Dr. Jones. None of you guys set out to do the ugly things you ended up doing. You all got caught by Noble Cause Corruption, by the vision of being smarter than everyone else and of being the only people standing between us and global destruction. It’s heady, treacherous stuff.

I have been a victim of that same self-delusion myself. I understand the sweet seduction that arises from the conviction that your mission is of vital, crucial importance to the whole planet. However, I quit that kind of nonsense around the time the sixties wound down … but again I digress. I have compassion for your position, and I was, although not satisfied, at least at ease with the outcome.

So if I made my peace with you, why am I writing this letter now?

I’m writing because in response to the new Climategate 2.0 email release, over at the UEA website, you have a new post in which you are up to your old tricks, trying to peanut-butter up the cracks in your stories. Inter alia, you are attempting to explain the following two quotes. First, the new release of emails revealed that you had written:

Email 2440: “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process”

Your explanation of your statement is this:

At the end of the IPCC process, chapters, formal comments and responses are all published and that is the appropriate place for this information. It is important that scientists should be allowed free and frank discussion during the writing process. I might also point out that I decided not to take part in AR5 because of the time commitment it requires.

That sounds perfectly logical … if we were dealing with honest men. But if the Climategate emails have shown anything, they have shown that we are not dealing with honest men. Far too many of the leading AGW supporting climate scientists have been shown by their own words to be serial liars like yourself.

But in any case, only scientists with something to hide need privacy to have a “free and frank discussion” about science. Honest scientists have no reason to hide their views. Honest scientists discuss these scientific issues on the web in the full light of day. Why on earth would someone need privacy to discuss the intricacies of the climate models? Do you really have to go into a closet with your best friend to speak your true mind about atmospheric physics? Is it true that you guys actually need some kind of ‘private space’ to expose your secret inner ideas about the factors affecting the formation of clouds? From my perspective, these kinds of private discussions are not only not what is needed. This two-faced nature of you guys’ statements on the science are a large part of the problem itself.

This is quite visible in the Climategate emails. In your communications, you and many of the scientists are putting out your true views of other scientists and their work. You are expressing all kinds of honest doubts. You are discussing uncertainties in your and other scientists understandings. You are all letting your friends know which papers you think are good and which you think are junk, and that’s valuable information in the climate science discussions.

But you never say any of this in public. Not one word. For example, in public it’s all about how great Michael Mann’s science is, not a word of criticism, while in private some of you guys justifiably tear both him and his work to shreds.

I find this double-speak deceptive and underhanded. It has nothing to do with “free and frank discussion” as you claim. I think that if AGW supporting scientists actually broke down and told the truth to the public, you would fare much better. I think that if you disavowed your beloved Saint Stephen (Schneider) and his advice, and you expressed all of your doubts and revealed all of your uncertainties about the climate and told the plain unvarnished truth about your opinion of other scientists’ work, we’d be infinitely better off. Nobody likes two-faced people. You would be miles ahead if you said the same things in public you say in private, and so would the field of climate science.

For example, the emails clearly show that you privately knew it wasn’t true when you told me that the data for which I had filed an FOI was available on the web. You knew the reason you couldn’t release the data was, as Dave Palmer belatedly found out, thatwe don’t know which data belongs to which station, correct?” 

You could have told me the truth. But no, you decided to lie to me.  And as with Nixon and Watergate, and with Clinton’s impeachment, it’s the cover-up that always brings the real trouble, not the original misdeed. If you had said something like ‘my office is in a mess, I can’t find some of the data, here’s almost all of it, let me get back to you when I can track down the rest’, you could have then put your house in order and sent me the data. And you would have been telling the truth.

Instead, you lied to cover it up. And when it was shown to be untrue, you lied again. And again. Here’s my point—the only reason I know that you lied, the only way you were caught in your lies, was the release of your emails.

And now, you come forth to advocate that everyone destroy their emails once the upcoming IPCC AR5 crime against science has finally been committed? Can’t say I’m impressed by that advice, it seems more than a touch self-serving.

Here’s the thing, Dr. Jones. I don’t trust you. I don’t trust your friends. And I don’t trust your “free and frank discussions” out of sight of the public. This final distrust, of your secret discussions, arises from the same logic the cops use. They don’t give a couple of criminals any private time together for free and frank discussions about how to present believable lies to the police about their crime.

Call me crazy, but for the selfsame reason I don’t want to make it easy for you to hold that kind of free and frank discussions about how to present believable lies to the public about the climate. I don’t want you covertly discussing how to hide the decline. And in the current case, your own words have betrayed you again. You say to the person you are addressing that there is some need to “cover yourself and all those working in AR5”.

So what is it you think they’ll need to cover up this time, Dr. Jones? What is it you assume they will be saying that you don’t want the polloi to know about?

If you truly have something to say about the science, hey, don’t be shy, Doc. Just blurt it out. And if you are unwilling to say something about the science or the scientists in public, DON’T SAY IT IN PRIVATE. That is cowardly backstabbing. Your assumption that the AR5 participants will have something to “cover up”, and your suggestion that they should obliterate and destroy the evidence of their true opinions about the science, are totally congruent with the fact that you were found out by way of your own emails. So of course you don’t want emails around. They proved you were lying, when nothing else could have. In scientific terms, I believe your current reaction to emails is called the “vampire/garlic syndrome”.

When you and your friends get together off the record in your frank discussions, Dr. Jones, you cook up ugly things. The Climategate emails convict you all of this, in your own words. As a result, I do not want to make it easy for you all to compare notes with each other on how to lie to me, on how to subvert the IPCC rules to slip in the next “Jesus Paper“,  or on how to further deceive the public. I thank the fates that your emails were released. Without those, we wouldn’t have known you were deceiving us, or why. And I think that destroying the emails related to the IPCC AR5 is just a way to hide further malfeasance.

Your perennial but ultimately quixotic quest to leave no potential evidence un-destroyed comes up again and again in the emails. You try vainly to explain this over at the UEA website, where you refer to an email wherein you say:

Email 1897: “Do I understand it correctly – if he doesn’t pay the £10 we don’t have to respond? With the earlier FOI requests re David Holland, I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent.”

Your explanation of this is as follows:

This relates to a request from Steve McIntyre made under the Data Protection Act for any personal data held about him. Following a previous experience with FoI, I had adopted a more judicious approach to retention of emails that I no longer needed. I had deleted old exchanges with sceptics I had prior to 2005. I was saying that I probably no longer had any emails relating to Mr McIntyre, a prominent sceptic.

The emails referred to were unrelated to any prior request from Mr Holland. Let me say again that I have never knowingly deleted any material subject to a current FoI request and this email should not be read in that way.

You must be kidding. When the emails are read in order, it is obvious that you destroyed a host of relevant emails once people gave you a nudge and a wink. You were surprisingly blatant in your emails regarding the fact that you were destroying important documents under the guise of “housekeeping”. You really should read your own words again, they make it quite clear that you deleted emails under false pretences.

But that’s not the worst of it. The egregious part was contained in the email you somehow neglected to mention in your recent UEA attempt at self-exoneration. That was the email wherein you counseled deleting evidentiary emails directly covered by David Holland’s FOI request:

Mike [Mann],

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise… Can you also email Gene [Wahl] and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar [Ammann] to do likewise.

Cheers, Phil

You not only destroyed emails subject to an FOI request that contained the evidence of your misdeeds. You warned all of your friends to do likewise. Gene Wahl admitted that he destroyed emails at Michael Mann’s behest.

And now you want us to believe that you never destroyed emails under FOI request? That claim doesn’t even pass the laugh test. The Information Commissioner said of your emails and actions that it was not possible to imagine “more cogent” prima facie evidence of contravention of the FOI Act. Unfortunately, as the Commissioner pointed out, the statute of limitations had run out on any crime by that time, so you were off the hook. But the evidence is still there, and the public’s statute of limitations on lying scientists hasn’t run out.

So don’t try to make me believe that you’ve never, ever, oh my no, haven’t ever destroyed emails subject to FOI. Your own words show that’s a joke. And don’t bother telling me that the “investigation” declared that you were whitewashed as pure as driven snow. I know that, I watched them apply the necessary coats of paint, it was quite an impressive process. The facts remain. You erased emails containing evidence of your malfeasance and you advised your confederates to do the same. You lied about it then. You subsequently lied about it to your friends on the in-house whitewash “investigation” committee. And you are lying to us about it now.

And that is the answer to the question why I am writing to you at this time. It’s disquieting enough that neither you, nor any of the other un-indicted co-conspirators, has ever offered up even the slightest word of apology for the flagrant misdeeds and scientific malfeasance revealed by your own words. You guys did huge damage to climate science and to science in general, and none of you have ever breathed even a whisper of an apology. But that’s not the reason I’m writing, because as I said, I’ve made my peace with that. At the end of the day, I realized that you were men without a scrap of honor, so it was quite foolish of me to expect you to apologize.

But for you to stand up and start in again proclaiming your innocence? No way that’s gonna wash. I’m writing because I will not endure your new duplicity in silence. Stop this foolish, futile attempt to rehabilitate your reputation. Your reputation is so shredded and utterly lost at this point that, crazily, I find that my heart goes out to your predicament, calling on you to stop with the mendacity and prevarication, give up on the justifications, and return to your science. Your continued lies only make it worse. Only an apology could possibly begin to rehabilitate your reputation, and you seem totally unwilling to do that.

So in lieu of acknowledging what you’ve done wrong, please just go and work on your science in peace, Dr. Jones, and leave the denials of wrongdoing to those who haven’t done wrong. You have done what you have done, and thanks to the release of the emails your works both good and bad are explained quite eloquently in your own words. My strong suggestion is that if you are unwilling to apologize, that for your own peace of mind you turn the page and leave yesterday behind, stop rehashing your past actions, and move forward to see what remains for you to learn about the climate. I’m sure there must be some small part of climate science left that is not already “settled”, something that you could profitably investigate.

In closing, I am certain that if you wish to respond publicly to this open letter, Anthony would be more than happy to post your reply exactly as written. If you think I am mistaken in any part of what I have said, please let me know, and if you are right I will certainly retract any misstatement and correct the record. Until such time, however, what I wrote above is the truth to the best of my knowledge.

Very sincerely,



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Gareth Phillips

Sounds like Phil is a bit of a disorganised bloke who may be a good scientist, but has lost his way due to the old mistake of trying to hard to prove his own hypothesis. It’s a mistake than can happen to many people, but the redeeming fact should be when they become aware of how much their subjective ideas have influenced their theoretically objective results, they should be open and honest with themselves and others. However, insight is a remarkable asset that is not as common as we would hope. Phil Jones is not the only person who does not like to see his ideas debated and will try underhand tactics to derail any debate. It can happen on all sides of the science.

Peter Miller

Phil is a Brit and much beloved of CAGW fans Mr Cameron and Mr Huhne, who will argue in his support: “the end justifies the means”. The same argument used by communist insurgents in the second half of the last century and islamist terrorists today.
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely Phil and his friends will be punished for their distortions of science, which is leading many countries, including Britain, into the land of economic insanity in regards to energy policies.
Anyhow, five bucks says you won’t get a response to your letter, which I found to be one of the most damning and well argued pieces of literature I have ever read.

Mark Nutley

Nice one Willis

Larry in Texas

Bravo, Willis! You have said the things that needed to be said, for everyone who believes in the practice of sound science. And if their records are such a mess (which they have proven to be), why on earth would anybody have reason to believe ANY conclusions that these jokers publish? But that, of course, is a rhetorical question.

Nudge. Creeaaaaaaakkkkkk….(insert sound of disintegrating structural materials here)

Expect……..a deathly silence.


Like Larry in Texas says, you’ve said the the things that need to be said. But don’t expect a reply, and I reckon that quite a few folk will consider your letter a touch over the top, maybe getting uncomfortably close to the hysterical in tone.
Just my thoughts.

I had totally different experience with UCAR . I asked for some data, although person I emailed to was away, the email was forwarded to a colleague, and within two days two data files were emailed back.
I found them very helpful, and data proved to be very productive. Data produced (up to then unknown) direct link between the Icelandic low atmospheric pressure and the AMO, where the Reykjavik pressure can be considered as a useful precursor to the SS temperature changes in the North Atlantic:

Willis Eschenbach

LevelGaze says:
November 27, 2011 at 1:25 am

Like Larry in Texas says, you’ve said the the things that need to be said. But don’t expect a reply, and I reckon that quite a few folk will consider your letter a touch over the top, maybe getting uncomfortably close to the hysterical in tone.
Just my thoughts.

LG, I have no expectations as to whether he will reply.
And yeah, it’s likely a bit over the top. But to have gone through all that was one thing. Then to have the inner part revealed by Climategate 1.0 was great. Dr. Phil had to step aside and he got investigated. I figured maybe we’d heard the last of him.
Now we have Climategate 2.0, which contains even more evidence of Dr Jones’ malfeasance and perfidy. But he’s like the horror film monster who can’t be permanently killed, “he’s baaack!” to falsely re-assert his innocence.
So I agree, LevelGaze, but I’m overly passionate about it because it’s not theoretical for me. I’m the one who made the request. I’m one he lied to and deceived. So it’s not just about book-based climate science. It’s personal for me in this case, and I’m a passionate guy.
I thought about toning it down. I wrote it a couple of days ago, and slept on it a couple of nights. I changed a host of things over that time. I considered dampening it to make it more acceptable and then I thought no. This had to accurately reflect my true feelings if it were to be anything. And the truth is, it mightily and woefully angrifies my blood that Jones has popped up again to claim he is innocent of wrongdoing. He is not.
Thanks for your thoughts,

Jack Simmons

A sales opportunity here?


Or to put it more succinctly, ‘oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’. It’s ironic that the world wide web has allowed us to untangle the deceit.
It’s important that Phil et al follow Willis’s advice because climate science is now truly damaged by the secrecy. Sceptics no longer have to argue the scientific rights and wrongs to a bemused bystander, we just have to demonstrate that climate scientists have lied repeatedly, even about simple things.
The Hockey Stick has long been a rod to beat AGW theory with because it is so clearly wrong that even non technical people can grasp that bad science is being done. That the AGW fraternity clutch it and its flawed siblings to their collective bosom proves that they will encourage anything that supports their cause. When we can also prove their private misgivings about proxy reconstructions, we can legitimately pose the question ‘where does the lying stop?’ At this point I’m not even sure that climate scientists know the answer.
Time to clean house and put systems in place to stop them from slipping back into cloak, dagger and PR science.

A. Scott

An excellent, level-headed, straightforward recitation of the facts. Which we know full well will either be met with silence, or with a large amount of blustering, more deceit, and misdirection.
Your comment that Jones work is central to much of the alleged climate science being done today. And the simple fact is they cannot verify or duplicate it. How is something not verifiable or able to be duplicated considered science.
Sorry Mr. Jones – this isn’t elementary school – saying the ‘dog ate it’ isn’t going to wok here.
What you really have here Willis is outright fraud.
They know they cannot document or duplicate and yet they continue to present as fact. This information is relied upon by people, agencies, businesses and governing bodies worldwide – and involves billions of dollars in spending – heck the AGW research alone is over $2 billion in funding.
Jones knows the data is gone, and that he cannot document or support his work – he knows his work is being used and encourages and supports that. He makes no effort to let people know there is no data to support his claims.
Forget FOI requests – these could well be civil charges of fraud, detrimental reliance, violations of good faith and fair dealing and the like. And it is not that far a stretch to look at this as a criminal enterprise – conspiring to knowingly affect the data and research for personal gain. With billions in funding on the line – and the personal wealth being generated by their activities promoting the warming hysteria – a RICO investigation would not seem out of line.
I acknowledge the poor PR aspect – that some would claim it was a witch hunt against honest scientists with differences of opinion. But that is not what is going on here – active collusion to misrepresent, to hide, to subdue and subvert opposing opinions and research, is not honest scientists with legitimate differences.


And thanks for the reply Willis, I appreciated that.

Michael in Sydney

Did you ever think about taking whatever data you could find on their sites, doing an analysis, coming up with a completely different result and then just saying you used their data as provided?
Surely they would have has to ask what data you used and then publicly rebutting it with the actual data they used?


I find nothing hysterical in the tone. Science just have to be passionate at times – especially when lies are so blatant and liars are so arrogant. Thanks, W.


Here’s what I think. I think you are a scientist, and a reasonably good one, who was hard squeezed by two things—the Peter Principle, and Noble Cause Corruption. When you began your scientific career, your sloppy record keeping didn’t matter much. And you didn’t want to be the record keeper in any case, you wanted to do the science instead, but you kept getting promoted and you ended up curating a big messy dataset.

Damned by faint praise indeed.
A remarkable and enlightening post Mr. Eschenbach, if the numpties in the CRU had shown even half of your commitment to accuracy, politeness and more importantly open and universal publishing of results, then doubtless the whole AGW balloon would have been pricked long ago.
I can reserve no sympathy for Jones and his sorry crew, though, I firmly retain the [now faint] hope, that some of this recalcitrant ‘sixth form’ cabal will eventually, have to undergo a thorough examination and to answer stern questions, at least in a Parliamentary inquiry, better yet – in a British court of law.


If you believe Willis’ views are over the top, you should hear mine sometime. These people have responsible for the theft of hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers of the world. It is a heist of unimaginable proportion. It involves thousands of people who draw regular paychecks based solely on this issue. Entire corporations are founded on it. People are starving to death because of it. We are burning up food to power our cars so we can get to work. It is, in my opinion, a crime against humanity. These people are thieves of the worst sort. They take advantage of people’s sincere desire to help their neighbor by creating an issue out of whole cloth and then appealing for billions in spending to mitigate what may not be a problem at all.
These people will eventually go down in history as the greatest scam the planet has ever seen. For over 20 years I have been hearing “we have only 10 more years to save the planet”. How long do they intend to sell that wolf insurance? Those people are pathetic. They are worse than pathetic, they are evil. Told you I was even more over the top than Willis but I believe these people are literally killing people. People freeze to death because they can’t afford heat that they might otherwise afford or starve because they can’t afford food that might otherwise be available.
But unlike Willis, I don’t have any sympathy for Jones or Mann or Hansen. I have a little for Briffa but he still hasn’t come clean in public. Rats, each and every one.

Richard Lawson

Willis this is not over the top at all. It’s honest, factual, it’s from the heart. The only thing that was over the top was Phil Jones trying to cover his arse and then cover the lies that were covering his arse.
Great letter – best read for a long time but don’t expect a reply.
Thanks Willis you are one of the few!

Let me add a little flavor Willis
Jones request to Mann and Wahl goes out after Palmer has warned him that Holland will appeal.
If Jones believes that his reason for denying Holland is valid he doesnt have to worry about an appeal. Its immediately after they deny Hollands request that Jones requests the deletion of the mails. Making it appeal proof. Even if Holland appeals, they can say that they have nothing.
search all the mails from may 2008 through june-jul

R Brown

Proof beyond all doubt that Jones has no integrity whatsoever from Mr Eschenbach.
Is there any person or authority that can sack and/or prosecute Jones for his lies and deception?

Tim Clark

So, the end result is that one of the worlds most utilized temperature analyses cannot be replicated. If all the data is available, it can’t be tied to a specific location, making it and the gridding process useless. And, as we know , somehow this data is shared/copied/plagiarized with the other global databases, leaving one megabyte cesspool of maggot infested B.S.
W. Is this the state of the science?

Martin Brumby

@LevelGaze says: November 27, 2011 at 1:25 am
“…. I reckon that quite a few folk will consider your letter a touch over the top, maybe getting uncomfortably close to the hysterical in tone.”
You’ve gotta be kidding. I read Willis’s piece with awe at his equanimity, diplomacy & tact. Just be reminded that real people are hurting and even dying as a consequence of policy decisions based on Jones’s dogma, incompetence and malice

Latimer Alder

I agree entirely with your sentiments and your frustration. In your position I would feel the same.
But, if the purpose of an Open Letter is to get others in powerful positions to read it, then I fear you have a bit more work to do.
The letter is too long and goes into too much detail for, for example my MP – who is a Cabinet Member and has some influence at government level – to read it.
For these folks you need a brief summary with all the main points (4 or 5 at most) that can be put on a single side of A4. With an appendix that she can give to aides to delve into the detail if felt worthwhile.
Back in my selling days, we called this ‘the elevator pitch’. By chance you get in the lift with the Chief Exec of your hot prospect and he idly says ‘Hi…how are things going with you’. You have thirty seconds only to lay out why your proposal is good for his business and what he must do to make it all happen. And gain his commitment to do it.
It sure concentrates the mind (and the selling skills) to practice that a few times. Suggest that you give it a whirl on this one.
And btw – if I were PJ I would ignore this letter. There doesn’t seem to be any need for him to take any action. You must force his hand in some way.
Overall however I am a great admirer of your work. This piece just needs some more blood sweat and tears to make the impact you want.

Allan M

Nice demolition job.
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public…

Adam Smith

Climate Science? Certainly politics.


Peter Miller says:
November 27, 2011 at 1:09 am
But it seems to me that when ANY goverment goes to war, they will implement “the end justifies the means”. Because they want to win the war.
Some examples showing that even our best friends do it, should illustrate this;
The U.S; Dropping a nuclear devise over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Great Britain; Night bombing of large german cities with phosphourus bombs.
They will argue that it was neccesary under the circumstances, and I have difficulties arguing with that. They were the passive part, being attacked, and responded. But….then, that proves that….“the end justifies the means”…..
For the common woman and child being burned alive, it would look like an evil act. For the perpetrator, it was neccessary. Brings you straight into the philosofical question on “what is evil” ?

Hans Kelp

Hey Willis Eschenbach
Your writings are absolutely spot on. Just one thing though, I disagree totally with you if you will
let Phil Jones and his ilk get on working like scientists. They should be banned totally from having anything to do with climate science.

Claude Harvey

Your case appears airtight to me and the charge should be “mendacity” in all its unpleasant dimensions.

The angrification of Willis’ blood is clearly visible and rightly so.
I was mortified whilst reading this because it reminded me of a lecture from my late dad upon a misdeed of mine as a teenager. I was stunned and in shock whilst hearing my dads words as if in an echo chamber, the lights in the room seemed to have dimmed considerably around the edges.
It’s an experience that I hold vividly to this day (some 38 years later) and I would hope Phil Jones, whilst reading Willis’ letter, experiences the same sensations I did all those years ago.

Steve Jones

For what it is worth, I think you have written a great letter Mr Eschenbach. It will be interesting to see what, if any, reaction you get. If I was the subject of your letter and knew that I was innocent, and that my rebuttals were accurate, I would be issuing a writ immediately. I suspect no writ will be forthcoming from Dr Jones from which we can all draw our own conclusions.
Many thanks for your efforts.

Gareth Phillips

In my profession I have seen many people in the courts of justice or in other hearings pleading cases which should never have got that far. Early in an issue they make a small mistake, they tell a white lie, they then have to use a bit more resources to prop up their deceit, until, as Willis has pointed out, the deception is the issue which becomes the catastrophe. Sadly we may never know in the absence of so much data, how robust Phil’s conclusions were, or in fact how much good science was embedded in the confusion. And that is a tragedy for all of us. The difficulty for me personally as a lay person in this area of science, is who to trust. I’ve rapidly learned who not to trust and who’s data or commentary is damagingly biased, but who to trust? Who genuinely informs the debate in an objective and scientific manner? Is it possible to be such a person?

Ah, it’s all been taken out of context.
Prof. Phil Jones and Alice”:

“When I use a word (or write an e-mail),” Professor Jones said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.

Tim Clark

Have you considered writing the school newspaper?

New International Version (©1984)
“An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.”
I sincerely trust that today or in the near future, you will be truly glad, Willis. Until this is “settled” once and for all, I weep for humanity! [And that’s not hysterical either]!

Great article, Willis. If I’d been jerked around to the same extent by Phil Jones and company, I’d have every bit as much anger as you do. And my writing on the same topic definitely would have been over the top. I say: Bully for you! For telling it like it is, and for keeping your cool to the extent that you have.

Say it like it is Willis.


If Jones believes that his reason for denying Holland is valid he doesnt have to worry about an appeal. Its immediately after they deny Hollands request that Jones requests the deletion of the mails. Making it appeal proof.
Absolutelyl, completely, utterly incorrect. His belief on the subject is irrelevant, the law prevents him from deleting materials specifically to avoid FOI requests. It doesn’t matter if one request denial was “appeal proof”, others for the same material won’t be.


I’m wondering who from the AGW cabal is going to be the first to break away? I’m guessing it will be either someone younger that could still have some career ahead of them, someone who hasn’t been too tarnished by their elders’ misdeeds. Or it could be an elder member who could retire and repent at the same time thus saving some small part of their reputation. Because let’s face it we are not far from meltdown, it only needs that last straw to break the AGW camel’s back.

After reading the Climategate e-mails all weekend I am struck by the tone of emails coming from Phil Jones. He really comes across as a first class a$$. He doesn’t seem to be that nice of a character. I didn’t get that feeling from most of the other folks.


Looks like jeff ID has found something more serious than hide the decline


No! Willis letter is not over the top in any way.
In fact from an ordinary citizen, a layman when it comes to science, Willis is far too polite.
When I see the economic and social trauma, the dividing of whole societies, the unbelievable waste from governments pouring whole nation’s resources into crazy alternative energy schemes that haven’t a hope in hell of ever providing energy reliably and at an affordable price, when i hear a rapidly increasing number of stories of people on low incomes no longer being able to pay their energy bills or as was put recently, “do they eat or heat as they can’t afford both”, then I see full on deliberate criminality and fraud at it’s worst as a few very influential so called scientists quite deliberately distorted, corrupted, hid data and doubts and lied to the leaders of most nations on earth in an attempt to elevate their own arrogant importance, influence, power and wealth whole all the time cynically claiming they were helping to save the planet.
And worse is that there are so many so called scientists of other disciplines out there who are apologists for these criminals and who in their comfortable academic existence seem to have no connection with the reality of the diabolical and traumatic effects that these frauds and liars have had on our western societies and particularly on the poorest in those societies .
As a citizen and layman I am getting damn angry at the unbelievable arrogance and malfeasance and sheer stupidity, the ongoing and totally cynical manipulation of other scientists, science editors, IPCC research, governments, media and the science trusting public by this group of so called climate scientists, all now revealed as the blogsphere wades through those new e-mails,
And it is mine and millions of other citizens like myself whose taxes have been used to pay for every single damn cent that these b*******s took for themselves and every single damn cent that governments, who were manipulated and convinced by this cabal of fraudulent idiots, raised and spent and forced onto their citizens, economy and business destroying policies and taxes to thwart what now turns out to be a non existent threat all based on a tangled mirage of lies and fraud, of catastrophic global warming which even these fraudsters admitting privately amongst themselves, was a non event..
I’m angry and getting angrier I suspect I am far from being alone!

David, UK

Brilliant piece of writing, Willis. Yes, as others have said it is rather long (and perhaps you could, as suggested, also publish a shorter summary for media digestion) but it had me immersed all the way through. I found your tone remarkably reserved (almost as much so as your frustrated email requests for data!) – I suppose we can only imagine that kind of language you have screamed to the heavens in private. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there were one or two forehead-shaped dents on your office wall. Vindication is a wonderful thing, but we are still a long way from justice. Thanks for fighting.

Don B

Wicked good.

Peter Whale

Willis I think you were quite restrained . Phil Jones lied and it looks like he can’t replicate his results because he has lost them. That is not a scientist, it is a lying, stupid, self centered, idiot.

Peter Whale

Sorry “them” means the data.

Another Gareth

They really are in a bind aren’t they. There is a golden opportunity to thoroughly go through the weather records and sort them out and it would provide Phil and Co with a great deal of work. Just one problem – that work cannot be undertaken by them without first admitting that there are problems with the weather records and that they have known there are problems with the weather records for a long time.
They are in no mood to give up the advances they have made into the policymaking arena in the last 20 years yet they could have completed that work by now if they hadn’t spent so much time defending work they know is being promoted as a gold standard when it is not. Not least because they have spent the last 10 years saying ‘we’ve only got 10 years to save the planet’.
The same goes for the problems of peer/pal-review. So much effort, advantage and money has been invested by them in their brand of pal-review being seen as the most kosher one that they cannot be the ones to reform it.

This is all a bit inconvenient.

Oso Politico

Latimer Alder says (@ 2:26am) that the letter is too long.
I vehemently disagree. As ‘they’ say, the devil is in the details.
A great deal of the problem with this entire scam is that legislators and policy makers do not take the time to understand what they are talking about, before creating legislation and authorizing damaging and costly rules and regulations, (Nancy Pelosi: We have to pass the bill in order to know what is in it).
We are talking about science here, not marketing a new laundry detergent. Sound bites and 30 second commercials cannot begin to explain to anyone, let alone a ‘law maker’ what has been occuring with respect to the AGW scam (or conspiracy?) for the last several decades.
If individuals cannot take the time to inform themselves, then, as applies to countless commenters from the Huff Post to all of the Warmista web sites, as well as the ruling class, they should just STFU.
The more damning detail we have, the better. Keep it coming, Willis.

Phil Jones is not the only one, and now we need others like Willis Eschenbach, to sort the rest out.


Willis – I will not add to the comments of others and of yourself, as these already state what has truely happened.
However, I have one observation and one question.
The basis of all science is replication.
If a piece of research cannot be replicated it is not supported, not confirmed and so is thrown away, discarded, forgotten as if it has never been.
So ——————
As the raw data on which the CRU index has been based, is mislaid, lost, cannot be provided on request.
Then —————-
Surely ALL the research on which it has been based must also be discarded, binned, thrown away, witdrawn from publication.
Where do we go from here now?
That’s my question.

Dodgy Geezer

“And yeah, it’s likely a bit over the top…”
No, it’s not. This is NOT about Willis Eschenbach’s feelings. This is SCIENCE you are defending.
In my book, this item is up there with Victor Hugo’s ‘J’accuse!’. I wonder if it will be cited in classrooms as an example of how scientific ethics should self-correct in 100 years time….