We will probably never know precisely why the senior staff at the Climate Research Unit decided to quit being scientists in order to take up the profession of Cargo Cult Scientist. It could be the celebrity of being known as leading researchers. It could be a genuine fear that if they didn’t lie, humanity would make the “wrong” decision and render the Earth uninhabitable. It could be a totalitarian desire to rework society according to blue-prints that were pleasing to them. It could be because they wanted the lucrative grant money. It could be that they feared being viewed as has-been or never-were hacks.
What we can tell, though, is that their fraud was predicated on their inexhaustible supply of grants from governments, grants that transferred an uninterruptible stream of taxes into their coffers. The system was such that these Cargo Cult scientists were able to establish themselves as authorities, and suborn the skeptical review of and replication of their work, and, for a time, act in an environment that lacked negative consequences for their misconduct. That is, until someone blew the whistle.