The Spectacle Blog

Climategate’s Wite-Out Week

Less than seven days ago Penn State University finished their Bic Brand Wite-Out Quick Dry Correction Fluid job (hey, I had to find an alternative to the overused "whitewash") on an "investigation" of Climategate hockey stick constructionist Michael Mann, finishing the exoneration they started work onearlier this year.

By on 7.7.10 | 2:28PM

Less than seven days ago Penn State University finished their Bic Brand Wite-Out Quick Dry Correction Fluid job (hey, I had to find an alternative to the overused "whitewash") on an "investigation" of Climategate hockey stick constructionist Michael Mann, completing the exoneration they started work on earlier this year.

Today it was the University of East Anglia's turn to produce results of a similar allegedly "independent" investigation, led by British government- and academia-crat Sir Muir Russell, of their Climatic Research Unit's role in Climategate. The findings were similar, not surprisingly, as the U.K. Register's Andrew Orlowski summarized (without calling it the double-w word):

Russell was appointed by the institution to investigate an archive of source code and emails that leaked onto the internet last November. The source code is not addressed at all. His report suggests that the problems were of the academics' own making, stating that they were "united in defence against criticism". Yet the enquiry found that despite emails promising to "redefine" the peer review publication process, and put pressure on journal editors, staff were not guilty of subverting the IPCC process, and their "rigour" and "honesty" were beyond question.

Here's a BBC reminder about that source code:

More from Orlowski:

What Climategate is largely about, then, is whether the academics were justified in making that Medieval Warm Period disappear.

Unfortunately, none of the three 'independent' reviews (there was a prior British investigation as well) have grappled with this. The absence of anomalous warming doesn't, as some skeptics say, make the problem go away. But it takes the issue back onto the blackboard, back into realms of the potential threats. It certainly removes much of the impetus for a sweeping and urgent political program of mitigation.

Besides skipping the science and the source code, Sir Muir's investigators also overlooked at least two of the five Climategate emails that environmentalist writer Fred Pearce identified as "key."

And was it really necessary, or wise, to include on Russell's team BP's head of research and technology, after all the company's years advocating for green energy and cap-and-trade? These David Eyton credentials don't help either:

In September 2001, he became Lord John Browne’s Executive Assistant in the company’s London headquarters. Following that assignment, David was Vice President of Deepwater Developments in the Gulf of Mexico (until April 2008, apparently).

Ouch.

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