Global environmental challenges
“Climategate” e-mails rear their ugly heads — again
How many investigations of climate scientists’ stolen e-mails does the world really need?
The answer, in Washington at least, appears to be five. And counting.
These are not investigations into who might have stolen the e-mails — that’s still publicly unknown. They’re investigating whether the scientists themselves manipulated data to bolster the case for human-caused climate change or tried to keep dissenting researchers from publishing their findings.
Four investigations said the scientists did nothing improper. Now a fifth one, requested by vocal climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe, has said basically the same thing. Inhofe says at least one issue mentioned in the latest report “deserves further investigation.”
Inhofe asked the Commerce Department’s inspector general to review e-mails from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to the e-mails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain.
On Thursday, Inhofe released the results. NOAA hailed them as an exoneration of its scientists, saying in a statement that the inspector general “found no evidence of impropriety or reason to doubt NOAA’s handling of its climate data.”
Inhofe apparently saw it differently, specifically regarding eight NOAA e-mails that the report said “warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity of particular NOAA scientists or NOAA’s data.”
But as NOAA explained, the investigators made a careful review of the eight e-mails and found no reason to doubt either the scientists or the data.
There were other questions mentioned in the report, aside from the central matter of the reliability of the science, including one about how NOAA handled requests for information, and Inhofe called this “a serious matter that deserves further investigation.”
“I will be following up to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spend according to federal law, and that the public will get access to the science NOAA produces,” the senator said.
Does this mean another investigation might be in prospect? Stay tuned.
By the way, the investigations completed before this latest one include: two internal reviews at the University of East Anglia in July 2010 and April 2010, an independent review by the British House of Commons in March 2010 and a three-part probe by the Pennsylvania State University in February 2010. The Commerce Department’s investigation report is here.
Photo credits: NOAA
(NOAA images show September Arctic sea ice in 1979 and 2009, released July 28, 2010)
(NOAA image shows the warming waters of an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, released July 28, 2010)