February 3, 2010
Penn State University today released the results of its investigation into allegations that Mann falsified, inappropriately analysed and manipulated or destroyed evidence on global warming.
While the investigation cleared Professor Mann of all of the above charges (it concluded that his published work under scrutiny is “sound”), a second panel of five of his peers will now look into whether his conduct as a scientist has been appropriate. The panel is to report back in 120 days.
At issue is Professor Mann’s conduct with respect to the alleged attempts to manipulate peer review so as to favour his own theories at the expense of others. The panel will also look at the dismissive (and sometimes disreputable) comments made about those whose view differ from his own. Basically, the panel is questioning Mann’s integrity of conduct.
Climate science is a complex and still emerging science in which few things are finally “settled.” Disputes abound, not least between those who see the world as warming and at a “tipping point” for disruptive change unless man-made CO2 are massively reduced and those who take the view that, while the climate is changing, reducing man made CO2 emissions will have little or no impact.
What became an issue in climate science was whether or not a small clique of scientists – led by Professor Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Professor Mann – falsified evidence, destroyed data, manipulated data inappropriately or used their status and influence as leading climate scientists to inhibit scientific debate and push one theory (anthroprogenic global warming) in a way that disabled criticism. These accusations flowed from the “leaking” of emails between various climate scientists, now alleged to have been hacked by Russian spies. Climategate, as the leaked emails were known, became a cause celebre for climate sceptics.
Mann is no stranger to controversy. He is the principle author of the famous “hockey stick” graph, used by Al Gore and the IPCC to make the clear and explicit case for the present warming period to be exceptional and beyond normal patterns for the climate. Now discredited, both through a congressional scientific review and through the work of statisticians who have offered a thoroughgoing critique of the methods used to create this graph, Mann continues to maintain that his results are what the graph shows. Mann knows how to be both resilient and defiant. He is a man on a mission.
Whether or not the new inquiry finds him to have issues with integrity or not, his position as one of the apostles of the new religion of global warming is now severely weakened. The fact that he was not exonerated on all “charges” by the Penn State team is in itself a cause for concern. His peers will likely support him in general, but suggest some cautions about how he conducts himself in the future.
Channels: Calgary Beacon, February 4, 2010