Inhofe calls for criminal investigation of Climategate

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On Tuesday, U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe called for a Department of Justice investigation into possible scientific misconduct and criminal actions by scientists involved in misleading or fraudulent research into anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Over the last several months, key assertions by AGW advocates have been exposed as lacking sound scientific basis and some of these have been retracted by the International Panel on Climate Change. There is some indication that there was an effort to conceal accurate information from the public in general and policy-makers in particular. Inhofe calls the situation, popularly known as Climategate, "the greatest scientific scandal of our generation."

From a press release announcing an 84-page report by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Inhofe serves as ranking Republican on the committee), "'Consensus' Exposed: The CRU Controversy":

The report covers the controversy surrounding emails and documents released from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). It examines the extent to which those emails and documents affect the scientific work of the UN's IPCC, and how revelations of the IPCC's flawed science impacts the EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.

The report finds that some of the scientists involved in the CRU controversy violated ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and possibly federal laws. In addition, the Minority Staff believes the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC-based "consensus" and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.

In its examination of the controversy, the Minority Staff found that the scientists:

- Obstructed release of damaging data and information;

- Manipulated data to reach preconceived conclusions;

- Colluded to pressure journal editors who published work questioning the climate science "consensus"; and

- Assumed activist roles to influence the political process.

"This EPW Minority Report shows that the CRU controversy is about far more than just scientists who lack interpersonal skills, or a little email squabble," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "It's about unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some the world's leading climate scientists.

"The report also shows the world's leading climate scientists acting like political scientists, with an agenda disconnected from the principles of good science. And it shows that there is no consensus-except that there are significant gaps in what scientists know about the climate system. It's time for the Obama Administration to recognize this. Its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases rests on bad science. It should throw out that finding and abandon greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act-a policy that will mean fewer jobs, higher taxes and economic decline."

According to the report, several laws may have been violated by the scientists involved in Climategate:

  • Freedom of Information Act: "The Minority Staff is examining emails to determine whether scientists deliberately withheld information to prevent FOIA release. It is worth noting that a federal employee who arbitrarily and capriciously withholds documents which are subject to FOIA release may be subject to disciplinary action."
  • Shelby Amendment, which applies FOIA to data produced by government-funded research: "...failure to comply with an Agency request for raw data produced with federal funds could be deemed a breach of the funding agreement. Consequences of a breach could range from suspension to debarment."
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy "Misconduct in Research" directive, issued during the final months of the Clinton Administration
  • Pres. Obama's Transparency and Open Government Policy: "...as the data quality requirements define 'quality' to include 'objectivity' and 'objectivity' is defined to include unbiased information,85 the recent questions about the impartiality of the IPCC and EPA's TSD bring into question whether EPA has followed the President's Transparency and Open government policy."
  • Federal False Statements Act: "...jurisdiction exists regardless of whether the defendant communicated the statement directly to the government, or knew that the government had jurisdiction over the false statement. Similarly, knowingly submitting false data, from whatever source, could be deemed a violation."
  • Federal False Claims Act: "Creating a tampered data base and them making a claim for payment, e.g. for salaries and expenses, which will be paid, in whole or in part, with Federal funds can raise the prospect for a False Claims Act violation."
  • Obstruction of Justice: Interference with Congressional Proceedings: "Federal statute 18 U.S.C. 1505 concerns obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, or committees, which includes Congressional hearings.Thus, providing false or misleading testimony could create liability under this provision."

The report includes a list of key figures in the controversy and a selection of the e-mails and files that exposed Climategate.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 24, 2010 10:30 PM.

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