Climategate Meets the Law: Senator Inhofe To Ask for DOJ Investigation

Source: Pajamas Media/PJTV Exclusive

February 23, 2010 - by Charlie Martin

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate
what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” —
the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate Files,
and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify.

“In [Gore's] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend
himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department
of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or
criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann
of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia
University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges:

[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have
violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded
research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these
findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously
compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that
anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate Files has led to a
re-examination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth
report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by
Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major
sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding,
the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a

Since the Climategate Files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that
Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035
— and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large
part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of
peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the
IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail
that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the
report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this Minority Staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible
criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe
will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its
consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a
pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to
withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state Attorneys General (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory
control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator
Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas
and Virginia Attorneys General.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into
research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists

The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate Files and the subsequent revelations:

  1. The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.
  2. They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.
  3. They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”
  4. They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while
    claiming scientific objectivity.

The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:

  1. It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded
    research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
    policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12,
  2. It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and
    criminal penalties.
  3. The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in Congressional Proceeds, which may constitute
    an obstruction of justice.

If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of
the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been
forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr.
Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the
university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges
to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved
may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama
administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the
apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority
has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with
climate science.

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