LONDON — The chief of a prestigious British research center caught in a storm of controversy over claims that he and others suppressed data about climate change has stepped down pending an investigation, the University of East Anglia said Tuesday. The university said in a statement that Phil Jones, whose e-mails were among the thousands of pieces of correspondence leaked to the Internet late last month, would relinquish his position as director of Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an independent review. The university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Trevor Davies said the investigation would cover data security, whether the university responded properly to Freedom of Information requests, "and any other relevant issues.” Jones has been accused by skeptics of man-made climate change of manipulating data to support his research. In particular, many have pointed to a leaked e-mail in which Jones writes that he had used a "trick” to "hide the decline” in a chart detailing recent global temperatures. Jones insisted his comment had been misunderstood, explaining he’d used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do.” Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Tulsa Republican and a vocal skeptic of global warming, called Tuesday for Senate hearings on the e-mails. In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the environment committee, Inhofe said the e-mails could have far-reaching policy implications for the United States. Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are taking action to curb global warming based on a report that uses data produced by the Climate Research Unit. A House committee has scheduled a hearing today on the status of climate science. Two prominent Obama administration scientists — White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco — are expected to be questioned about the e-mails.Comments
Conference nearsGovernments are in the final days of preparations for climate talks in Copenhagen, where they are due to outline a new climate change agreement.