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Penn State investigates researcher over "Climate-gate"

By Juliet Eilperin

Penn State University announced Wednesday it had dismissed three of the most serious charges against one of its top climate researchers, Michael E. Mann, but would continue to probe if he violated academic standards of conduct in connection with Climate-gate, a series of e-mail exchanges that came to light after hackers pirated the University of East Anglia's server.

The university, which described this next step as the "investigatory stage," said it was not evaluating "the science of global climate change, a matter more appropriately left to the profession. The committee is charged with looking at the ethical behavior of the scientist and determining whether he violated professional standards in the course of his work."

In November pirated e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit surfaced showing Mann had engaged in a series of exchanges with researchers including the unit's director at the time, Phil Jones, in which the scientists derided their critics and discussed how to keep their findings out of the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

In an interview, Mann said he was pleased the university administration rejected the charge of his detractors "that I was somehow guilty of scientific malfeasance or scientific misconduct... I've done nothing wrong, and I fully expect to be vindicated."

The university concluded "there exists no credible evidence" that Mann ever tried "to suppress or to falsify data," that he attempted "to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data" at Jones' behest or that he engaged in "any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to him in his capacity as an academic scholar."

But it would not determine if Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities."

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, said university's move shows the probe is "being set up as a whitewash."

"It's clear that they're not taking evidence or testimony from a wide enough range of people," said Ebell, whose think tank is funded in part by energy interests." It seems to me they're taking Mann's word for it."

According the the university's investigative report, the inquiry team focused on 47 hacked e-mails it deemed "relevant," an interview with Mann, and supplemental material Mann supplied.

Mann said he supported the idea of having academics from different disciplines, rather than administrators, reviewing whether his conduct was in line with the academic community's "accepted practices."

University officials, Mann said, decided "a question like that needed to be addressed not by administrators, but by a committee of my peers who are in a position to judge that."

For the university's press release, click here.
The the university's investigative report, click here.
For a look at the original e-mails, click here.


Dan Beyers

 |  February 3, 2010; 1:48 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please report offensive comments below.

Scientific consensus was "RADICAL MASTECTOMY is the treatment of for BREAST CANCER" until 1973. Now, it would be "MALPRACTICE".

Posted by: wpcdias | February 6, 2010 11:48 AM
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Posted by: lufrank1:
What is SO SAD is the gullibility of people. The Scientific CONSENSUS is that the past decade has been the warmest in centuries
Really? FUnny how Australia's point man on global warming, Tim Flannery, has admitted: "Sure for the last 10 years we’ve gone through a slight cooling trend."

Of course, you'll not find that in Ms Eilperin's biased reporting, er, spiking.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 5, 2010 12:57 PM
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clandestinetomcat wrote>>>Hopefully, this global warming investigation will not be delayed because of the 12-20 inches of snow headed to Washington, D.C....

iirc - students learn the difference in CLIMATE and WEATHER in the 2nd or 3rd grades.
But since a Muslim Saudi OIL prince is the 2nd largest shareholder of Fox "news" - it's obvious why Fox pundits and guests claim climate change is a hoax.
Betcha that's ONE Muslim that Hannity likes!

Posted by: angie12106 | February 4, 2010 6:28 AM
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Posted by: ewyrtuyioetyerhytiu | February 3, 2010 10:23 PM
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Gore invented the Internet and Gore invented Global Warming. Difference is the Internet is real and Gore did not invent it, he just lied and said he did.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 3, 2010 9:46 PM
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hopefully a whistle blower will come out down there at psu. if someone can prove this liar cost the taxpayers money by lying, they get a BIG reward. come on, i know you're out there. go for the reward.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | February 3, 2010 5:46 PM
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Hopefully, this global warming investigation will not be delayed because of the 12-20 inches of snow headed to Washington, D.C..

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | February 3, 2010 4:59 PM
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What an incredibly misleading article and headline. The story is that PSU investigated him on four counts. What has happened is that he has been cleared of three of them and they're pursuing the fourth simply to do their due diligence. If anything this story should be putting this phony "controversy" to bed.

Shame on the Post and this blog for misrepresenting this story. Unfortunately it isn't the first time.

Posted by: gtrain82 | February 3, 2010 4:56 PM
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In even simple traffic trials, the party offering the evidence has to prove the credibility of the Evidence (data). That includes:
(1) it was obtained using a reliable method (eg a breathlynzer or radar speed gun device)
(2) the device was properly calibrated and maintained
(3) the device operator was properly trained
(4) the chain of custody to show there was no opportunity to tamper with the data.

That's required to just have the data be considered at the trial.

We should subject the global climate data to similar scrutiny. Since the global climate data is compiled over time in many geographic areas, proof of consistency in the collection methodology over time ad region is also required.

Why not open the data and collection methodology to universal scrutiny by both proponents and skeptics global warming theories? It would be useful to at least have all the experts on both sides agree whether the data is credible. Then they can argue about what the data means.

Until that is done, no one can claim the "science is settled." More importantly, no one will vote to spend scarce resources on solving a problem whose existence lacks data that is acknowledged as being credible.

Posted by: jfv123 | February 3, 2010 4:51 PM
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What is SO SAD is the gullibility of people.
The Scientific CONSENSUS is that the past decade has been the warmest in centuries, and that GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. Even the military now realize that - as well as the National Academy of Science, NOAH, The American Association for the Advancement of Science , etc. etc.

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 3, 2010 4:37 PM
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The e-mail exchanges involved a few sceintists. That's quite different from saying that climate change does not exist or that man has not contributed to it. I know that there are some who feel there is a worldwide conspiracy, but who organized and maintains such a conspiracy? And why do people of a certain political persusation sure climate change is not real? For years, whose who did not want regualtions on businesses even downplayed the health effects of auto pollution, industrial pollution, etc. Perhaps the real conspiracy is on the part of those who want to think we can go on as we always have, without consequences?

Posted by: Sutter | February 3, 2010 3:42 PM
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Still not willing to delve into this, are you Juliet, other than to just throw in quotes by those involved. Glacier-gate? FOIA-gate? No comment?

THe charade and coverup of the AGW farce continues by the WP.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 3:11 PM
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