Climategate: Is It Criminal?

The potential criminality of the Climategate scandal is exactly the issue that is being investigated by authorities in Britain. The British Parliament has convened hearings to investigate East Anglia University and the Climate Research Unit to uncover unethical and illegal activities. As more information is revealed, the whole Climategate affair begins to take on the makings of a good mystery novel. Like any good mystery or crime plot, the web of involvement is widespread.

But in order for a reader to be drawn in, the author must establish the motive and opportunity for the crime to be believable. To understand Climategate, we must start at the center of the web. At the center is the now-discredited Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia University and the work he orchestrated at the Climate Research Unit (CRU). This is exactly where the British Parliament has started its investigation for possible criminal wrongdoing.

The British investigation, headed up by Phil Willis, M.P., focuses on four areas: data manipulation, data suppression, violations of the Freedom of Information Act, and data integrity. Clearly, the recently uncovered e-mails will play a big role in this investigation. A new thread in this web has appeared recently concerning a separate investigation conducted by the European Law Enforcement Organization Cooperation (aka Europol). Investigators have found evidence of a complex carbon-trading scam on the European Climate Exchange. Just three short weeks ago, three British subjects were arrested in an apparent scam worth billions of dollars. Much of the criminal activity alleged involves tax evasion.

Trading on the European Climate Exchange is open to the world market, but the carbon credits only involve the European Union (EU) nations giving brokers the ability to hide trading activities in other countries and avoid paying taxes. This is known as a Carousel Fraud. Curiously, this thread of tax avoidance is also spun into the tangled web of e-mails from East Anglia University. In one of the e-mails dated 6 March 1996, two members of the Jones Gang, Stepan Shiyatov and Dr. Kieth Briffa, discuss how to avoid paying taxes in Russia:

Also, it is important for us if you can transfer the ADVANCE money on the personal accounts which we gave you earlier and the sum for one occasion transfer (for example, during one day) will not be more than 10,000 USD. Only in this case we can avoid big taxes and use money for our work as much as possible.

This is not an isolated e-mail concerning money. On 7 October 1997, Andrew Kerr of the World Wild Life Fund (WWF) sent an e-mail to essentially the entire global network of the Jones Gang expressing grave concerns that Kyoto would be a "flop" and fretted about the possible economic impact it might have:

It would also be very useful if progressive business groups would express their horror at the new economic opportunities which will be foregone if Kyoto is a flop.

Best wishes, Andrew

The question is, why would the WWF be interested in "new economic opportunities" if the Kyoto Accord were to fail? Aren't they supposed to save panda bears? As they say in Washington, "follow the money." One of the major benefactors of the WWF is the global banking giant HSBC Holdings plc. HSBC is a major trader on the European Climate Exchange. The public stance on climate was voiced by Stephen Green, a Group Chairman at HSBC:

Finding the solutions to climate change requires a concerted international effort involving governments, NGOs, intergovernmental institutions, the public and, of course, the business community. The HSBC Climate Partnership is an example of how different types of organizations can work together and has already been a catalyst for change in how we do business.

"A catalyst for change in how we do business"? Is that a way of saying market manipulation?  By "involving" all of these "communities," is this a collaborative effort or a conspiracy? Is the WWF a member of these "communities"? The question must be asked whether the WWF is a tool of market manipulation?

With $31 billion in carbon credits being traded on the European Climate Exchange, there is certainly an incentive to commit fraud. These trades are dominated by banks like HSBC and energy companies like British Petroleum (another benefactor to the WWF). But how is an opportunity for fraud established? Unlike other commodities, like wheat or coffee, you can't ship a boxcar-load of carbon dioxide to the purchaser. The trades are done strictly on paper. The intangible nature of carbon credits provides the perfect opportunity for international fraud.
If you experience technical problems, please write to