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November 26 2011

06:23

Did UK Police Quietly Sideline ‘Climategate’ Hacker Investigation?

The UK police force tasked with investigating the hacking of emails and documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (the debunked "Climategate") seems to have quietly de-prioritized its investigation earlier this year, according to documents released under the UK Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The Norfolk Constabulary police force’s responses to FOIA requests indicate that the amount spent on attempts to identify the hacker in the last year was just £5,649.09 - with all but £80.05 spent on invoices for work carried out previously by private companies, suggesting police work on the investigation has ground to a halt.

Earlier this week, the hackers (ironically calling themselves “FOIA”) illegally released a second set of hacked material consisting of 5,349 emails and 23 documents from UEA. The university and independent reviews suggest these are leftovers from the initial November 2009 theft – in the words of one climate scientist, “two-year old turkey.” 

While nine independent inquiries have cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing in the wake of the baseless ‘Climategate’ episode, the person (or persons) responsible for the hacking has gotten off scot-free to date. The FOIA documents seem to indicate that the police investigation was derailed and perhaps dropped earlier this year.

The grand total spent by Norfolk police on the UEA hacker investigation since the November 2009 theft is just £80,905.11.

To illustrate the vast gap between this figure and the expenditures reported publicly about other UK police investigations, see the infographic below.

 

Norfolk Constabulary invoked an exemption under the FOIA rules to refuse to confirm or deny whether other UK security services such as MI5 or MI6 have worked on the investigation. A statement from Norfolk police did confirm it is receiving "ongoing assistance" from the UK’s domestic terrorism agency, the National Domestic Extremism Coordination Unit, and that it was helped early in the investigation by London's Metropolitan Police. But the current status of their involvement – and how high a priority this investigation is for these agencies – is unclear.

While the Guardian reports that police say the latest leak could produce more leads and claim their investigation is ongoing, the FOIA documents show that the last time any money was actually spent on this case was in February 2011, when the £80.05 in "officer expenses" were filed. 

In response to the publication of the tiny £5,649.09 annual expenditure, a Norfolk police spokeswoman told the Guardian it is "relevant to note that the figures relate only to additional expenditure and do not include officer and staff time on the investigation, which is not routinely recorded."

It is entirely plausible that British security agencies have spent millions and are poised to make an arrest. But the budget certainly indicates that it hasn’t been a high priority for the Norfolk police force.

If there is a serious investigation underway, surely the officers would incur more expenses than the cost of a few boxes of paper and doughnuts?

One FOIA response from the Norfolk Constabulary in September 2011 was particularly troubling, and it doesn’t exactly square with the police force’s statement to the Guardian this week:

"There are currently no police officers or police staff, within Norfolk Constabulary, working full time on the investigation into the acquisition of data from the computers at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. The Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and the Deputy/SIO retain responsibility and resources are allocated if and when necessary."

There is a vital public interest in confirming that the UEA emails were criminally hacked and in turn, identifying those responsible and their connections.

Among many reasons for continued police diligence, climate scientist Phil Jones said he contemplated suicide after the initial email theft in 2009. So it is important for investigators to get to the bottom of this crime in order to mete out at least some justice for this baseless attempt at character assassination of climate scientists.

The ongoing harassment of climate scientists – including death threats in several cases – cannot be ignored by law enforcement agencies. If police were able to confirm the identity of the UEA hackers and bring them to justice swiftly, it would hopefully have a chilling effect on the vicious smear campaign against climate scientists.

If in fact there is a robust police investigation ongoing, then the public needs to have confirmation about that. Investigators can provide some indications of their progress without compromising the investigation, and they owe at least that courtesy to the public.

As it stands now, these FOIA results showing very little expenditure on the investigation indicate that the Norfolk police effort is completely inadequate.

If the investigation was sidelined for much of 2011, as the FOIA documents indicate, then a formal review must commence immediately to determine the reasons for that lapse in judgment.

British officials should also seriously consider the suggestion from Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Edward Markey that the U.S. intelligence community should assist in the investigation.

Markey explained the significance of this investigation in a statement:

"This is clearly an attempt to sabotage the international climate talks for a second time, and there has not been enough attention paid to who is responsible for these illegal acts. If this happened surrounding nuclear arms talks, we would have the full force of the western world's intelligence community pursuing the perpetrators. And yet, with the stability of our climate hanging in the balance with these international climate treaty negotiations, these hackers and their supporters are still on the loose. It is time to bring them to justice."

Whatever the reason for the low UK police expenditures, it is clearly time for a more coordinated international investigation into this crime. 

View the FOIA documents: [1][2][3][4][5][6]

Image credit: Richard Peterson/Shutterstock

AttachmentSize UK-Govt-Expenses-on-ClimateGate.jpg193.36 KB

November 22 2011

23:38

Real 'Climategate' Scandal: UK Police Spent Measly $8,843 In Failed Attempt to Identify Criminal Hacker

Richard Black at the BBC points to the real 'Climategate' scandal that needs further investigation - why the UK police have done such an astonishly poor job investigating this criminal hacking, as evidenced by their tiny expenditures to date this year. From Climate Emails, Storm or Yawn?

I have it from a very good source that it absolutely was a hack, not a leak by a "concerned" UEA scientist, as has been claimed in some circles.
 
The Norfolk Police clearly see it as a criminal act too, a spokesman telling me that "the contents [of the new release] will be of interest to our investigation which is ongoing".
 
Groups like UCS are, however, beginning to ask where that investigation has got to.
 
I have been passed information stemming from an FoI request to Norfolk Police showing that over the past 12 months, they have spent precisely £5,649.09 [US$8,843.64] on the investigation.
 
All of that was disbursed back in February; and all but £80.05 went on "invoices for work in the last six months".
 
Of all the figures surrounding the current story, that is perhaps the one that most merits further interrogation.

Stay tuned for more information when Black writes further about his (real) investigation into the incompetent police effort to identify the thieves behind the East Anglia CRU hack.

Image credit: Patrick Hermans / Shutterstock

19:53

East Anglia SwiftHack Email Nontroversy Returns: What You Need To Know

The desparate attempt by climate change deniers to sully climate scientists returns today with the release of 5,000 emails stolen back in 2009 during the original "Climategate" hacking of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit email servers. 

Other than a great attempt at ruining another Thanksgiving holiday for American scientists, the bottom line conclusions on this story are identical to the 2009 release: 

1. There is nothing in these emails that in any way disproves the enormous body of peer-reviewed climate science. As even the Koch-funded BEST study recently showed, climate change is real, global temperatures are rising and human activities are responsible.

2. The 'new' emails appear to come from the same batch stolen from the University of East Anglia in 2009.  The denialosphere blogs are trying to frame it as ‘Climategate 2’. Cherry-picked quotes from the emails are once again being taken out of context by skeptic bloggers and irresponsible media like the Daily Mail in a last ditch attempt to smear climate science, and derail COP17 talks in Durban.

3. It's not a coincidence that this new release of hacked emails comes just days before the Durban COP17 climate conference, much as the first release from the hacked files came just before Copenhagen. When the world’s governments start to make progress toward climate action, the polluters panic and resort to desparate measures.

4. Remember that this was an illegal hacking of emails, and this second batch represents a continued breach of privacy of these scientists whose personal emails were released to the public.  The UK police investigation into the hacking is still ongoing, and this new episode should compel them to redouble their efforts to find out who these criminal hackers are, and bring them to justice.

 
As one climate scientist told Joe Romm at ClimateProgress:
“Two years ago, emails were released and the American people were lied to about their content.  Now, we are expected to be gullible enough to believe the original liars a second time.”

Gavin at RealClimate.org is calling this "Two year old turkey" and has this to say: 

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.
 
But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

Media Matters has an excellent post that every journalist covering this story should read: Memo to Media, Research First, Then Report on Climate Emails.

Brad Johnson at ThinkProgress has another must-read: Climategate 2.0: Have Journalists Learned Their Lesson?

Union of Concerned Scientists issued a fantastic response, including this great quote from Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) Scientific Integrity Program:

These leftover emails should be met with a collective yawn. It’s time to condemn the real perpetrators in this story: the hackers who stole and released university property. The hackers and their allies are resorting to desperate measures to distract the public when our focus should be on how to respond to climate change.”

The University of East Anglia reaction, as seen on the Washington Post

 “These emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks. This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and number of studies – including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group.”
 
“As in 2009, extracts from emails have been taken completely out of context,” the statement added. “Following the previous release of emails, scientists highlighted by the controversy have been vindicated by independent review, and claims that their science cannot or should not be trusted are entirely unsupported. They, the University and the wider research community have stood by the science throughout, and continue to do so.”

Skeptical Science has the rundown of the nine independent investigations which cleared the climate scientists:

  1. In February 2010, the Pennsylvania State University released an Inquiry Report that investigated any 'Climategate' emails involving Dr Michael Mann, a Professor of Penn State's Department of Meteorology. They found that "there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data". On "Mike's Nature trick", they concluded "The so-called “trick”1 was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field."
  2. In March 2010, the UK government's House of Commons Science and Technology Committeepublished a report finding that the criticisms of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) were misplaced and that CRU’s "Professor Jones’s actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community".
  3. In April 2010, the University of East Anglia set up an international Scientific Assessment Panel, in consultation with the Royal Society and chaired by Professor Ron Oxburgh. The Report of the International Panel assessed the integrity of the research published by the CRU and found "no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit".
  4. In June 2010, the Pennsylvania State University published their Final Investigation Report, determining "there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann".
  5. In July 2010, the University of East Anglia published the Independent Climate Change Email Review report. They examined the emails to assess whether manipulation or suppression of data occurred and concluded that "The scientists’ rigor and honesty are not in doubt".
  6. In July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency investigated the emails and "found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets."
  7. In September 2010, the UK Government responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, chaired by Sir Muir Russell. On the issue of releasing data, they found "In the instance of the CRU, the scientists were not legally allowed to give out the data". On the issue of attempting to corrupt the peer-review process, they found "The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers".
  8. In February 2011, the Department of Commerce Inspector General conducted an independent review of the emails and found "no evidence in the CRU emails that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data".
  9. In August 2011, the National Science Foundation concluded "Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed".

Image credit: Cory Thoman / Shutterstock.

17:41

Climategate Hackers Slither Again in the Night

Steal More; Reveal Less

The Climagegate hackers appear to be at it again, spraying the internet with dozens of out-of-context quotes from a new batch of stolen emails - in a transparent attempt to disrupt the climate talks starting next week in Durban, South Africa.

The emails, from a source that denierblogger Tallbloke identifies as "Our old friend 'FOIA'," appeared with the same serendipitous timing - and in the same devious way - as last year's more-devastating tranche: accordig to the Guardian, they were "leaked" on a Russian server and then sprinkled into the denieresphere through the usual suspects: Wattsupwiththat, ClimateAudit, AirVent and the already mentioned Tallbloke. We can undoubtedly expect a fresh round of breathless "mainstream media" coverage from the Murdoch empire.

These emails are even more ridiculous than the batch released last year. First, the hackers didn't have the decency to release the emails in context - rather they just pulled the quotes they thought would be effective in casting doubt. Second, the thieves mined only 5,000 of more than 220,000 emails they say they have in hand. This strains credulity: if there was anything in the remaining emails that was even vaguely incriminating, you can bet they would have found and released it. Third, the "best stuff" that they actually released is worse than trivial:

Take this for example: "<0813> Fox/Environment Agency: If we lose the chance to make climate change a reality to people in the regions we will have missed a major trick in REGIS."

This is apparently a reference to the Regional Climate Change Impact and Response Studies being conducted out of East Anglia University in the U.K. And the apparent intent of the quote is to say that scientists believe that their work will be wasted if they don't find a way to get people's attention with the considerable evidence that they have discovered that climate change is, in fact, a devastating threat.

It's clear enough that governments like Canada's own are committed to ignoring the climate threat - at least as long as their oily buddies can continue to cash in by making matters worse. It's also clear that Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre are desperate to portray themselves as clever contrarians, and they will make whatever allies are necessary to keep up the facade.

But really, is this all there is? They have 220,000 stolen emails and they can't find a single out-of-context quote that would overtake the so-successfully misused "hide the decline" line from 2009?

Mike Mann, quoted in the Guardian story above, is right. This is pathetic.

July 13 2010

05:15

NY Times 'Climategate' Editorial A Reminder That Media Have Failed Miserably Covering Climate Science

The New York Times deserves praise for its excellent editorial on Sunday, “A Climate Change Corrective,” which rightly confirms that the “Climategate” non-scandal has been thoroughly investigated and revealed as a political attack on scientists, not the grand United Nations conspiracy concocted by industry front groups and the right wing echo chamber.

Five separate reviews have found no evidence whatsoever to back up the outrageous claims made by skeptics and deniers that the state of climate science has in any way been weakened by the theft and public airing of years’ worth of emails and documents from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit last winter. 

The Times’ editorial correctly calls on all the media outlets that amplified the bogus conspiracy theories from the Climategate noise machine to return to the subject and set the record straight for their viewers.  Far too much ink and airtime was spent on inflating the mythical Climategate conspiracy, and ever since there has been hardly any effort made to explain this episode accurately – as a baseless political attack on climate science.  It is imperative that all the outlets that fell into this trap and perpetuated the Climategate nonsense now spend the time necessary to ensure that their audiences know the truth.  

The Times editorial expresses hope that the “debunking of Climategate, will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies.”

Aside from the difficulty associated with correcting a lie once it has circulated this widely, editors at media outlets who lent credence to the Climategate myth must do some deep soul-searching to figure out why none of their reports initially probed the real conspiracy in this matter – the coordinated, political attack on climate scientists ginned up by a network of climate change skeptics who turned the mountain of stolen material into a sensational global news story. 
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Why did none of the media outlets that covered Climategate attempt to identify the real perpetrators behind the theft of the CRU materials?  Why didn’t they question the fact that the wild allegations about the integrity of climate science - which surfaced almost immediately after the emails were posted online - was coming from a small network of notorious climate deniers and oil-industry funded skeptic groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute

Those are just two questions left unanswered; there are many more related questions that media outlets have failed to investigate.

In fact, there has been a coordinated attempt to manipulate public understanding of climate science, but it certainly didn’t originate with Al Gore or the United Nations.  There is vast evidence confirming such a coordinated effort has been underway for the past two decades, led by groups like CEI and others who collect large sums from oil and coal industry sources to manufacture doubt about climate change science

Overall, the mainstream media has earned an F for failing to expose that very real conspiracy.  Few outlets identify financial conflicts of interest when quoting such ‘experts’ in their misguided attempt at ‘balance.’  And fewer still have taken the time to educate the public about the orchestrated crusade to deny global warming by polluter-supported front groups.

While climate scientists have been thoroughly investigated recently and had their scientific findings confirmed independently under intense scrutiny, the same cannot be said for the skeptics who loudly proclaimed that Climategate proved global warming is a myth.

Where are the investigations into the broad network of polluter-funded skeptic groups who make these outlandish claims about climate science without any proof?  Where are the corrections and retractions from those media outlets that promoted their false Climategate allegations? 

How will the public ever understand the very real threat of climate change when so many mainstream media outlets fail so miserably at covering the subject accurately? 

Much like the Times’ editorial urges, my hope is that editors at every outlet who botched the Climategate story will revisit the issue and correct the record, and then take a deeper look at how they cover climate change in general so they don’t keep perpetuating the manufactured ‘debate.’

But the damage has already been done.  Public understanding about climate science is moving in the wrong direction, and the mainstream media shoulder a lot of the blame for that. 

Each media outlet can demonstrate their grasp of this fact by moving quickly to dispel the Climategate myth and working to educate the public about the robust body of knowledge confirming man’s impact on the climate. 

One outlet in particular that should review its coverage is the Wall Street Journal, which trumpeted the Climategate myths early on and just today ran an opinion piece by climate skeptic and Cato Institute senior fellow Pat Michaels whining about a “whitewash.”  Michaels doesn’t like the fact that the five reviews exonerating climate scientists didn’t match up to the scandalous version that he and others tried to sell.  Rather than focus on educating its readers about the facts, the Wall Street Journal provided Michaels, who has admitted receiving funding from various fossil fuel industry sources over the years, more than 1,000 words to resuscitate his thoroughly-debunked Climategate conspiracy theory.

That is the type of misguided media attention that has aided and abetted the 20-year disinformation campaign waged by polluter-funded front groups and kept the public needlessly confused about climate change science.

July 07 2010

22:55

Climategate Is Dead! Or Long Live Climategate?

An exhaustive six-month independent review into the Climategate emails has concluded that the “rigor and honesty” of the climate scientists caught up in the non-scandal are “not in doubt.” [PDF]

The investigation, led by Sir Muir Russell, found no grand conspiracy among scientists brainwashed by the U.N. IPCC and Al Gore to dominate the planet by dreaming up man-made global warming, as the right wing media and blogosphere insisted in the wake of the Climategate nontroversy that followed the theft of emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) late last year.

The report confirms again that climate scientists’ findings remain sound. Some of its key findings:

“On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.

In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments. ” (pg. 11)

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While this 160-page independent report should settle once and for all any lingering suspicion about the actions of the handful of scientists most frequently cited in the emails, it is unlikely to appease the conspiracy theorists who fear the U.N. is going to steal their liberties and zombify their babies under a New World Order.

As with birthers and truthers and others who cling to extreme conspiracy theories in the face of overwhelming evidence, once people are lured by the fear-induced frame suggesting that dark forces are at work to control them, they apparently can’t tell reality from fiction. Even when handed a giant stack of scientific studies documenting what is known about climate change, some still deny the blatantly obvious conclusion that the world is warming, humans are driving that disruption, and we had better get cracking to confront this challenge.

The Russell report did confirm earlier criticisms that the handful of scientists targeted by the Climategate attacks failed to display "the proper degree of openness" when dealing with public requests for information.

Fair enough, that criticism has been previously acknowledged as valid, and efforts are already underway to ensure increased transparency at CRU and other scientific institutions.  The call for greater transparency and openness among scientists and their institutions is necessary and welcomed, but certainly they aren’t the only ones who deserve that reminder. 

What institution on the planet would pass muster under such intense scrutiny?  Certainly not the U.S. government agencies, which often deny or impede FOIA requests, or global corporations like BP, Massey Energy and Koch Industries, which seem to revel in hiding information from the public all the time.  More transparency is needed everywhere, not just among scientists in lab coats.  But they get the message loud and clear.

Professor Phil Jones, who stepped down as CRU’s director during the investigation, will finally get back to work, having accepted a new title of Director of Research.  Climate scientists at institutions around the world can continue to expand upon our understanding of global warming, with greater openness and interaction with the public than ever before. 

The overwhelming body of evidence and data underpinning our understanding of climate science remains intact, confirmed, and freshly exonerated yet again.

The only real question left unanswered is who was behind the actual crime - the theft of the emails, as Joe Romm writes at ClimateProgress:

"I would call this a CSI-type review, because of its incredible forensic thoroughness, except that it didn’t look at the actual crime — the hacked emails — only the charges against climate scientists.  The investigation found there was no fire, only smoke.  Yes, the report found “that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of the CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA” — and they made many useful suggestions to improve that important failing.

But they found no evidence of any wrongdoing that undermines climate science.  And that is what this is all about — the science — not the scientists, no matter how much the anti-science crowd tries to change the subject."

But will this thorough debunking of the main allegations made by the Climategate conspiracy bloggers and their fans at FOX News suffice to end the attacks on climate scientists? Will it deflate Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's witch hunt of climate scientist Michael Mann?  Will it be the “final nail in the coffin” of climate denial? 

Not a chance.  Climate deniers like Cuccinelli have no respect for science.  They are only interested in ensuring further political dithering while the planet burns.  Expect them to label it another whitewash, as usual, and continue their antics to distract the world from taking much-needed action. 

But the U.S. Congress and international negotiators must now accept that the science of climate change is completely sound, and use it to craft policies to protect future generations from the ravages of climate change.  They no longer have any semblance of an excuse to delay. The world's engineers, physicists and entrepreneurs can work together to find solutions to global energy challenges and build resilience to cope with the damage already done to climate systems. But only with international cooperation can real progress be made to safeguard future generations.


Read the entire final report of the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review [PDF attached].

AttachmentSize FINAL REPORT.pdf1.4 MB

July 01 2010

19:47

Penn State Completely Exonerates Climate Scientist Michael Mann On Bogus Climategate Accusations

Pennsylvania State University today issued its final report thoroughly exonerating climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of any wrongdoing in the wake of the “Climategate” myth that emerged late last year when thousands of emails and documents were stolen from a computer server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK.

In the days following the posting of the stolen material onto the Internet, right-wing bloggers and media outlets loudly issued allegations of misconduct among climate scientists mentioned in the giant trove of emails.  Conspiracy theorists on the right cherry-picked flagrantly out-of-context portions of the email collection in order to gin up a grand tale suggesting that man-made climate change is a fraud concocted by all of the world’s leading climate scientists, the much-despised United Nations IPCC, and, of course, Al Gore. 

Despite their success in elevating this nontroversy to the national level via Fox News and other right wing media, every single independent investigation of the climate scientists involved has since cleared them of any misconduct and verified the science underpinning the IPCC’s consensus position that manmade climate change is real.
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In February, Penn State officials concluded the first round of inquiry into Professor Mann’s conduct, finding no evidence to support the accusations against him. 

That did not stop the right-wing attacks on Professor Mann or Penn State, with some notorious climate skeptics attempting to spin the exoneration as a whitewash.  (True to form, skeptics repeated the ridiculous 'whitewash' allegations again today upon hearing of the final report clearing Mann.)

In order to thoroughly extinguish any lingering doubts about the panel’s findings, school administrators decided to convene a separate Investigatory Committee of Dr. Mann’s faculty peers and distinguished scientists to continue to investigate the allegation that Dr. 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."

Today, that committee issued its final report clearing Mann of any wrongdoing on the final issue, and found “no substance to the allegation.”

The committee’s report concludes: 

“The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University.

More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate 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.


The decision of the Investigatory Committee was unanimous.”

Dr. Mann welcomed the news of the final report:

"I'm pleased that the last phase of Penn State's investigation has now been concluded, and that it has cleared me of any wrongdoing. These latest findings should finally put to rest the baseless allegations against me and my research."

Additional excerpts from the committee’s report:

“A particularly telling indicator of a scientist’s standing within the research community is the recognition that is bestowed by other scientists. Judged by that indicator, Dr. Mann’s work, from the beginning of his career, has been recognized as outstanding.”

“All of these awards and recognitions, as well as others not specifically cited here, serve as evidence that his scientific work, especially the conduct of his research, has from the beginning of his career been judged to be outstanding by a broad spectrum of scientists. Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions.”
(pg. 18)
...
“To date, Dr. Mann is the lead author of 39 scientific publications and he is listed as co-author on an additional 55 publications. The majority of these publications appeared in the most highly respected scientific journals, i.e., journals that have the most rigorous editorial and peer reviews in the field. In practical terms, this means that literally dozens of the most highly qualified scientists in the world scrutinized and examined every detail of the scientific work done by Dr. Mann and his colleagues and judged it to meet the high standards necessary for publication.” (pg. 18)

May 18 2010

20:34

House Select Committee Hearing Thursday On Political Attacks Against Climate Scientists

The U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the recent string of politically-motivated attacks against climate scientists.

Several prominent climate scientists will testify and field questions at the hearing, entitled “Climate Science in the Political Arena,” including some who have been targets of such political attacks themselves.

Look for plenty of questions from the GOP minority about the Climategate non-scandal that deniers remain obsessed with, despite the exoneration by the British House of Commons of the CRU scientists at the University of East Anglia targeted by the hackers.

<!--break-->Here is the full press announcement from the Committee:

Next Hearing 5/20: Climate Science in the Political Arena
Select Committee hearing to examine attacks against climate scientists

The scientists involved in the stolen climate emails from the University of East Anglia were exonerated by the British House of Commons and an international panel of climate experts, led by Lord Oxburgh. Even after these investigations found that nothing in the emails undercut the scientific evidence of climate change, attacks against scientists continue. Reports of harassment, death threats and legal challenges have created a hostile environment, making it challenging for actual data and scientific analyses to reach the public and policymakers.

On Thursday, May 20th, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing to examine the intersection between climate science and the political process.  This hearing, entitled “Climate Science in the Political Arena,” will feature prominent climate scientists, some of whom have been the target of these attacks. This hearing will explore scientists’ ability to present data and information that can guide global warming solutions in a sometimes fierce political landscape.

WHAT: Climate Science in the Political Arena

WHEN: Thursday May 20, 2010, 9:00 AM

WHERE: 1334 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC and online

WITNESS LIST:

Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences and Chair of the National Research Council
Dr. Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Professor, University of California at San Diego
Dr. Stephen Schneider, Professor, Stanford University
Dr. Ben Santer, Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dr. William Happer, Professor, Princeton University

May 05 2010

21:21

GOP Chooses Lord "Hitler Youth" Monckton as Expert Witness on Climate Change Science

House Republicans have chosen Lord Christopher Monckton, a non-scientist with a penchant for outrageous remarks, as its sole witness at tomorrow’s hearing in front of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) called the hearing in an effort to further restore public confidence in climate science, and to set the record straight that ‘Climategate’ was not the scandal climate deniers and the right-wing media tried to portray in the wake of the theft of private emails from scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

A press release announcing the hearing states that the scientists "will address the claims of deniers head-on."
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The explanatory hearing will include testimony from Lisa Graumlich, director of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, who served on the British panel that last month exonerated the CRU scientists of any malpractice.

Rep. Markey has also called three top American climate scientists to explain that climate science remains fundamentally sound and supported by evidence gathered by reputed scientific institutions around the world.  The three expert scientist witnesses were involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that have been attacked by climate deniers, including Lord Monckton.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the Ranking Minority Member of the committee, chose Monckton as the Republican’s sole witness at the hearing.

Of all the people in the world the GOP could call to testify, they chose Christopher (not-really-a-Lord) Monckton, a non-scientist with a diploma in journalism studies and a knack for trampling Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies

Monckton called American college students advocating for clean energy the “Hitler Youth” and “Nazis” during his crazed rampage at the Americans For Prosperity event at the Copenhagen climate summit.  Monckton repeated the "Hitler Youth" comments directly to me in an interview the following day, and then took it way too far when he told Jewish student Ben Wessel, whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust, “I am not going to shake the hand of Hitler youth.”  Despite extensive video evidence, Monckton went on to lie to the Associated Press, claiming that he never uttered those words. 

At the Tax Day Tea Party in D.C. last month, Monckton opened his speech with a 'joke' suggesting that President Obama was born in Kenya.  Monckton previously called President Obama a “monster” during his speech at a GOP fundraiser in Wisconsin, which followed another of his paid appearances for Americans for Prosperity.

In a 1987 article for the American Spectator titled the The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, Monckton wrote that:

.... there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month ... all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.


With such a long record of inflammatory and baseless statements, what could the GOP possibly see in Monckton that would warrant his appearance as an expert witness on a climate science panel otherwise made up of scientists?

Watch Peter Sinclair's excellent pieces picking apart the claims made by Lord Debunkton, especially this episode of Climate Denial Crock of the Week:

Tune in to the hearing tomorrow at 9:30 AM eastern to watch the hearing on the web at globalwarming.house.gov.

WHAT: Select Committee hearing, “The Foundation of Climate Science”

WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 9:30 AM

WHERE: 2237 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, and on the web at globalwarming.house.gov

WHO:
Dr. Lisa Graumlich, Director, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, and member of the “Oxburgh Inquiry” panel
Dr. Chris Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and co-chair of “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” portion of new IPCC report due in 2014
Dr. James McCarthy, Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University, past President and Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, co-chair of “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” portion of IPCC report published in 2001
Dr. James Hurrell, Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, contributor to IPCC reports
Lord Christopher Monckton, Chief Policy Adviser, Science and Public Policy Institute

March 30 2010

21:32

Phil Jones Exonerated by British House of Commons

The British House of Commons today issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.  Dr. Jones was embroiled in controversy following the theft of internal emails and documents from the University’s servers in November of last year. 

The report states that “the focus on CRU and Professor Phil Jones, Director of CRU, in particular, has largely been misplaced,” and that Dr. Jones’s actions were “in line with common practice in the climate science community,” and the CRU’s “analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.”
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The review by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee began in January in the wake of the ‘Climategate’ media frenzy.  While the committee’s report recommends that climate scientists should seek to improve transparency in their work, release raw data when possible, and provide more detail on their methodologies, the committee firmly concludes that there was no dishonesty on the part of Dr. Jones and the CRU.  The committee compared the results of other independent analyses of climate data to that of the CRU, and found that they are consistent and independently verifiable.

From a statement released by the committee to the press today:

“The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—“trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead. Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.”

Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.


The committee’s report [PDF] provides detailed responses on each of the issues raised in its investigation.

On the matter of Dr. Jones’ use of the phrase “trick” in an email referring to Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick graph, the Committee concludes:
"Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the word “trick” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominately caused by human activity. The balance of evidence patently fails to support this view. It appears to be a colloquialism for a “neat” method of handling data."

On the matter of Dr. Jones’ email including the phrase “hide the decline”, the Committee concludes:
"Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the words “hide the decline” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominantly caused by human activity. That he has published papers—including a paper in Nature—dealing with this aspect of the science clearly refutes this allegation. In our view, it was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous."

On the matter of whether Dr. Jones suppressed or perverted the peer review process, the Committee concluded:
"The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers."

The report goes into further detail on Freedom of Information requests and other issues, culminating in a set of recommendations for improving data access and transparency at CRU and increased transparency in the scientific community at large to ensure that the science remains “irreproachable.” 

Download the full report: “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.”

AttachmentSize phil jones house of commons report.pdf494.99 KB
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