The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate files and the subsequent revelations:
- The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.
- They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.
- They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”
- They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.
The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:
- It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).
- It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.
- The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in congressional proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.
If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.
By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.
Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”
The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science.
For more of PJM’s most recent Climategate coverage, read Charlie Martin’s “Climategate: The World’s Biggest Story, Everywhere but Here.”
Myron Ebell of CEI’s article on big business abandoning the climate change bandwagon.
And world renowned climate change skeptic Ian Pilmer’s article on “A Defiance of Arrogant Political Power.”