Climategate Scientist Vindicated By Penn State Investigation
Today’s news about the absurdly exaggerated “Climategate” nontroversy: an internal inquiry by Penn State University into allegations that climate scientist Michael Mann suppressed or “cooked” data has found no evidence of any misconduct by Mann.
The internal enquiry has found that Mann did not “participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data”. For the full report, click here (pdf).
Nor did he “delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data” relating to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. One email that has received much media attention was sent to Mann by Phil Jones, then director of the UEA’s Climatic Research Centre, on 29 May 2008. It asked Mann to delete some emails regarding the 2007 IPCC report.
In the months since the email leak, Mann has repeatedly said that he did not heed to Jones’ request. Penn State’s enquiry confirmed this.
When a scientist is accused of falsifying or suppressing data it’s taken very seriously, and the investigation will go into a second phase in order to resolve other issues around the nontroversy.
The report is not clear about whether Mann’s behaviour has harmed the public trust in science. It cites Penn State’s official ethical standards, which says faculty have an obligation to boost maintain high ethical standards in order to foster public trust in science. It then goes on to discuss the fall-out from the email leak which, it says, may have polarised the public into two camps: one which believes the leak undermines climate science and another which does not.
“After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee could not make a definitive finding whether there exists any evidence to substantiate that Dr. Mann did engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that deviated from accepted practices within the academic community,” reads the report. This final point will now be at the centre of a further investigation.
“This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong,” Mann told New Scientist. “I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts.”