2011-08-23 16:43:24"Been There, Done That" (NSF inspector general Report on Mann)
Alex C


This month the Office of Inspector General of the National Science Foundation released a report on their investigation into the allegations brought against Michael Mann from the Pennsylvania State University in relation to the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia.  This investigation stemmed from the same investigative chain that Penn State was conducting on its own.  For a bit of a recap, the report’s first predecessor, the Inquiry Report released by Penn State in February of 2010, concluded “there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data.”  More specifically, the university addressed four internally formed allegations:

“1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?

2.  Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?

3.  Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?

4.  Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?”

and concluded that there was no substance to any but the last, and suggested a further investigation into that specific allegation.  The Final Investigation Report was released in June of 2010, and concluded “there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann.”

This is all old news.  Also old news are the six other investigations into the Climategate emails and allegations, the six that similarly concluded that there is no substance to any of the claims of scientific misconduct.  Climategate has turned out to be a non-story, hyped up in the media and “skeptic” blogosphere.  Again, old news, we’ve been there, done that.

This new news is, in its own way, old news.  The report briefly explains that despite the dismissal of the first three allegations against Mann by the Inquiry Report, each was examined de novo under the NSF’s own Research Misconduct Regulations.  Following the review’s conclusion that the first allegation was not adequately addressed during the university’s inquiry, a formal NSF investigation was carried out, and Mann was, once again, vindicated of the allegations put against him:

“Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.”

It’s pretty difficult to be more concise than that.  This now makes nine (of nine) official investigations into Climategate that have exonerated the implicated scientists.

We have already covered extensively the accusations against Mann stemming from these emails: what Mike’s Nature “trick” actually was, and how it is a separate issue from “hide the decline;” how he didn't co-conspire to block skeptics from peer review; the confirmation of the hockey stick; so on.  Accusations of whitewash, notably toward the second allegation against Mann, have been shown to be whitewashes themselves.  We have been keeping up to date on this information, we have already blogged about it, we have (say it with me) been there, done that.  The one real question regarding Mann and Climategate that remains is whether this ninth bullet will be enough to convince AGW “skeptics” that the horse is finally dead.  Where one could easily see the strong irony in the previous exaltation that some outlets like Fox News gave to this last straw onto which these bogus allegations could grasp, one could also take note of gems like this:

“But the final say will be in the hands of a skeptical inspector general at the National Science Foundation[.]”

Well, that’s quite the power to bestow upon the inspector general!  Such an assertion might be remembered and followed up on, but perhaps not; after all, the media has dropped the ball more than once with Climategate, both sensationalizing the allegations while being mum on attempts to inform people about the truth over the lies.  Back to our one real question – who is going to have the “been there done that” moment now: AGW “skeptics” as they too recognize the redundancy of the outcomes of these investigations, or AGW realists as this report is rejected by “skeptics” and ignored by the media?


Feedback appreciated, requested, needed please!  As this is my first article for SkS I will need a bit of step-by-step guidance too, or if someone could direct me to how I can form my own page that would be great.  I am not very familiar with adding pictures, though frankly I don't think this article would need any anyways.  Other than that, please feel free to suggest changes or ideas I could incorporate.  I myself am a bit iffy on the conclusion, esp. the last sentence; and, do you think I over-did it with the constant allusions to the title name/motif?

[BTW, the link I have for the Inquiry Report works, whereas the existing one in this page does not.  I think PSU changed the location of the file.]

2011-08-24 05:29:27
Dana Nuccitelli

See How Blog Posting Works.  I don't have time to review right now, but will have a look in the near future.  Congrats on the first post!

2011-08-24 11:45:18Cilmate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: What's the difference, and how do they relate to each other?
John Hartz
John Hartz

"Cilmate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: What's the difference, and how do they relate to each other?" is the title of what appears to be a very well-written article posted on Climate Change Economics.

What do you all think of this article?  

2011-08-25 12:50:25
Dana Nuccitelli

Post looks good Alex.  I'd suggest making use of the blockquote tool for the quotations.

badger - decent enough article.  I don't know that it's worth re-posting though.

2011-08-26 05:19:15
Alex C


Thanks Dana.  I'm going to form a blog page for it, and modify the end some more with more in-depth discussion of the responses to the Penn State reports.  I ought to have an updated version available later today.

2011-08-26 05:56:50
Alex C


Actually, I think it is good this was not published quickly: Fox News has published an article (as of yesterday) citing this report, with little commentary but without any sort of apprehension.  I will modify my article quite drastically, and again will have a new version soon.

2011-08-26 10:36:38One suggestion
John Cook


Just throwing out a thought - what's the take-home message of climategate? I would suggest the core message, the "lead", is nine (of nine) official investigations into Climategate have cleared scientists. What if you start your post with:

Since late 2009, there have been eight official investigations into Climategate. All have found no evidence of wrongdoing or falsification by climate scientists. Now there is a ninth official investigation....

If it's agreed that this is the central message to ram home, then the blog post is somewhat burying the lead at the moment with the link to the 9 investigations hidden away in the middle of the post.

When I tell people there's been EIGHT enquiries, they react with disbelief. That many?!?! Some say there couldn't be so I point them to http://sks.to/climategate where they're all listed with links. So there's an element of unexpectedness which makes this core message a little stickier.

2011-08-26 13:02:48
Alex C


Yes, I am going to modify the focus of the post.  I do want to focus more on the point you brought up, that this is number 9, but also maybe a bit of an explanation of the evolution of the PSU investigative chain.

2011-09-02 13:19:48
Alex C


I must apologize, I do not think I will be able to finish this post in a timely fasion.  I have been very busy during the past week with move-in for college and would like to request this post be removed from the listing.  If anyone would like to do a post on the NSF report that would be great, I simply will not have the time.

Again, I am sorry about this.  My time here will for a while be severely limited, I will try to keep up occasionally with suggestions for fixes in other posts until I get more settled with my new schedule.