The plot thickens as to who was responsible for leaking confidential e-mails purporting to show the alleged manipulation of climate statistics and the climate debate by British scientists.
According to a report in Britain’s Independent, the computer hackers who accessed and then published the e-mails may have been none other than Russia’s FSB intelligence service. According to the report, the e-mails were first posted on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
"It's very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services," Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, is reported to have said, with the inference that the retrieval was backed by some measure of officialdom in Russia.
He added that the publication was a "carefully made selection of emails and documents that's not random. This is 13 years of data, and it's not a job of amateurs."
“We are spending a lot of useless time discussing this rather than spending time preparing information for the negotiators,” Ypersele went on to say in another report in The Times.
The Times also quoted the Director of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner as saying that ‘Climategate’ was a misnomer, and should be called ‘Hackergate’.
“Let’s not forget that the word ‘gate’ refers to a place where data was stolen by people who were paid to do so,” Steiner says although refraining from comment on the substance of the e-mails.
But in the same report, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer suggested that attention by the media to the issue could was not necessarily unwelcome.
“I think it’s very good that what is happening is being scrutinised in the media because this process has to be based on solid science. If quality and integrity is being questioned, that has to be examined,” de Boer is quoted by The Times as saying.
Edited by Julian Isherwood