Every Climate Scientist is Exonerated
"Climategate" was a massive online conspiracy to defame scientists
The British House of Commons has investigated accusations of ethical breaches separately from accusations of incorrect scientific methodology, and appointed experts to investigate accusations about scientific methodology. Pennsylvania State University has done similarly for accusations against Dr. Michael Mann. All these investigations have now concluded, and every scientist has been exonerated of every accusation. Certain British politicians have commented on the availability of data, suggesting that the status quo with respect to availability of data is problematic to the credibility of climate science or scientists, without always being perfectly clear that in fact, the Climatic Research Unit always obeyed the laws made by politicians. The endeavor here is to offer a clearer, more forthright presentation of the facts than certain politicians angling for re-election this autumn have produced.
Following are summaries of the scope of each committee (accusations each committee investigated) and their findings. All original report documents are linked at the end of each summary.
Dr. Michael E. Mann: Exonerated
24 June 2010: Pennsylvania State University totally exonerates Dr. Michael Mann by finding him innocent of the only remaining accusation left unresolved by the first Penn State investigation, which exonerated Dr. Mann of three of the four accusations against him, but left the allegation of "research misconduct" to a committee of scientists.
Conclusion of the Investigatory Committee as to whether research misconduct occurred:
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.
3 February 2010: Pennsylvania State University exonerated Dr. Michael Mann of three out of four accusations, and convened a new committee to investigate the fourth accusation because it involves scientific methodology, requiring scientists to investigate it. The full report includes a more detailed "Finding" corresponding to each allegation. For brevity, only the Allegations and Decisions are quoted here.
Allegation 1: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?
Official Document: RA-10 Inquiry Report: Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct
Against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Department of Meteorology,
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences,
The Pennsylvania State University
Decision 1: As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of
Allegation 2: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?
Decision 2: As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of
Allegation 3: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic
Decision 3: As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of
Allegation 4: Did you engage in, or 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?
Decision 4: Given that information emerged in the form of the emails purloined from CRU in November 2009, which have raised questions in the public’s mind about Dr.
Mann’s conduct of his research activity, given that this may be undermining confidence in his findings as a scientist, and given that it may be undermining public trust in science
in general and climate science specifically, the inquiry committee believes an investigatory committee of faculty peers from diverse fields should be constituted under
RA-10 to further consider this allegation.
In sum, the overriding sentiment of this committee, which is composed of University administrators, is that allegation #4 revolves around the question of accepted faculty
conduct surrounding scientific discourse and thus merits a review by a committee of faculty scientists. Only with such a review will the academic community and other
interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged it responsibility on this matter.
Dr. Phil Jones, Entire Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia (UEA): Exonerated
7 July 2010: "The Independent Climate Change e-mail Review" has totally and unequivocally exonerated every climate scientist, of every accusation of ethical and scientific wrongdoing of every kind. Although they parrot the widespread, uninformed and misinformed criticism of the "availability" of data, the significance of this criticism is put into context by the fact that CRU had no ability nor legal right to provide greater access to data belonging to other parties, which the authors of the review obviously know, because they reference it directly. So criticisms in the same report about availability are obviously political CYA maneuvers, as is their Finding 15, which holds climate scientists responsible for irrational conclusions that novices might reach if they trust defamatory statements made by employees of petroleum corporations and "think" tanks.
13. Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct. On the specific
allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.
14. 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.
15. But we do find 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, who failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements but also the risk to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.
1.3.1 Land Station Temperatures
16. On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it. We demonstrated that any independent researcher can download station data directly from primary sources and undertake their own temperature trend analysis. (emphasis added)
14 April 2010: Contrary to all the noise that has been made about availability of data, this "Report of the Scientific Assessment Panel" makes absolutely clear that any problem with data availability is the result of government policies and therefore entirely the fault of politicians, not scientists.
1. We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal...
3. It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.
31 March 2010: The Science and Technology Committee of the British House of Commons exonerated all scientists in the Climatic Research Unit of University of East Anglia, in a pair of reports
With only the exception of minor reservations passed onto a committee convened to investigate scientific practice, this first committee exonerated Professor Phil Jones and the Climatic Research Unit of every accusation.
135. Consideration of the complaints and accusations made against CRU has led us to
three broad conclusions.
136. Conclusion 1 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, we consider that his actions were in line with common practice in
the climate science community. We have suggested that the community consider
becoming more transparent by publishing raw data and detailed methodologies. On
accusations relating to Freedom of Information, we consider that much of the
responsibility should lie with UEA, not CRU.
137. Conclusion 2 In addition, insofar as we have been able to consider accusations
of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to “hide the decline”—
we consider that there is no case to answer. Within our limited inquiry and the evidence
we took, the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact. We have
found no reason in this unfortunate episode to challenge the scientific consensus as
expressed by Professor Beddington, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is
induced by human activity”.184 It was not our purpose to examine, nor did we seek
evidence on, the science produced by CRU. It will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel
to look in detail into all the evidence to determine whether or not the consensus view
138. Conclusion 3 A great responsibility rests on the shoulders of climate science: to
provide the planet’s decision makers with the knowledge they need to secure our future.
The challenge that this poses is extensive and some of these decisions risk our standard
of living. When the prices to pay are so large, the knowledge on which these kinds of
decisions are take had better be right. The science must be irreproachable.
- 'The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia', HC 387-I
- Oral and written evidence, HC 387-II
That's all, folks. Those are all the accusations, and every accusation has been found baseless. The only suggested change is to increase the availability of data, and some British legislators have suggested fine-tuning their FOI and related laws about public access to scientific information. But nobody violated any law, and no climate scientist even deviated from unofficial but generally accepted scientific best practices. At least, no climate scientists have. The only unethical behavior has been committed by Steve McIntyre (abuse of UK freedom of information law), followers of Watts Up With That and Climate Audit 'blogs (abuse of UK freedom of information law in collusion with Steve McIntyre) and, of course, the data thieves, who remain at large.
DISCUSS THIS ARTICLE