The controversy swirling around the leaked e-mails of climate scientists apparently trying to downplay data and exclude dissenting opinions has led to calls for President Obama to skip this month's climate summit in Denmark until the e-mails can be investigated.
Instead, the White House announced Friday that Obama was doubling down on his commitment to the summit's goals and moving his visit later in the month, hoping it will secure a "meaningful" agreement.
The scandal being referred to as "Climate-gate" has rallied global warming skeptics, who say the threat is exaggerated -- let alone caused by humans. In some of the e-mails stolen by hackers and posted online, scientists at Britain's University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit appear to discuss hiding or deleting data that may contradicts global warming claims. Others discuss ways of keeping competing research out of peer-reviewed journals.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the most prominent figure to call on Obama to boycott the conference in Copenhagen in the wake of the e-mails' release.
"The president's decision to attend the international climate conference in Copenhagen needs to be reconsidered in light of the unfolding Climategate scandal," she said in a posting on her Facebook page. "Boycotting Copenhagen while this scandal is thoroughly investigated would send a strong message that the United States government will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices."
But on Friday, Obama abruptly delayed his arrival at the summit until Dec. 18, the last scheduled day and considered a crucial period when more leaders will be in attendance. Obama is hoping to capitalize on steps by India and China and build a more meaningful political accord, the White House said.