It is the biggest scandal to hit global warming science in years.
In November 2009 it emerged that thousands of documents and emails had been stolen from one of the top climate science centres in the world. The emails appeared to reveal that scientists had twisted research in order to strengthen the case for global warming. With the UN's climate summit in Copenhagen just days away, the hack could not have happened at a worse time for climate researchers or at a better time for climate sceptics.
Yet although the scandal caused a media frenzy, the fact is that just about everything you may have heard and read about the University of East Anglia emails is wrong. They are not, as some have claimed, the smoking gun for some great global warming hoax. They do not reveal a sinister conspiracy by scientists to fabricate global warming data. They do, however, raise deeply disturbing questions about the way climate science is conducted, about researchers' preparedness to block access to climate data and downplay flaws in their data, and about the siege mentality and scientific tribalism at the heart of the most important international issue of our age.
Fred Pearce is one of the world's leading writers on climate change, and in The Climate Files, he tells the real inside story of the events leading up to the stealing of those fateful emails. He explores the personalities involved, the feuds and disagreements at the heart of climate science, and the implications the scandal has for all our futures.
Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in London. He has reported on environment, science and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years. Trained as a geographer, he has been environment consultant of New Scientist magazine since 1992. He writes regularly for the Guardian newspaper, including the weekly Greenwash column, and recently published a 12-part investigation of the 'climategate' emails affair at the University of East Anglia. Fred's books have been translated into at least 14 languages. They include When the Rivers Run Dry, Confessions of an Eco Sinner, Earth: Then and Now, The Last Generation (on climate change), Deep Jungle and Peoplequake.