British report clears scientists in 'climategate' case cited by Cuccinelli in U.Va. probe
A new independent investigation commissioned in Britain of e-mails leaked from a climate change research department at one of the nation's universities - e-mails that form the basis of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's demand for documents related to the research from the University of Virginia -- largely vindicates the scientists whose work is described in the e-mails.
The inquiry criticized researchers at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit for being too opaque about their research and not sharing data with colleagues, including in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. However, the panel's head, former British government official Muir Russell, concluded that the "rigor and honesty" of the scientists was "not in doubt."
The report is the second in a week that has concluded that former University of Virginia scientist Michael Mann committed no wrongdoing in his research, which showed the earth has experienced a rapid, recent warming. Cuccinelli has said he is investigating whether Mann committed fraud as he sought public grant money for his research. The university is fighting the subpoena and has asked a Charlottesville judge to set it aside.
A inquiry by a Penn State University panel convened to look at Mann's work after the leak of the British e-mails had concluded that he committed no fraud; the panel last week found that he also did not "seriously deviate from accepted practices within the academic community."
In interviews and court papers, Cuccinelli has cited the British e-mails -- which global-warming skeptics have dubbed "climategate" -- as a motivating factor behind his fraud investigation. In court papers, his attorneys noted that various panels investigating the work of scientists whose work is referenced in those e-mails did not have access to Mann's e-mails from his time in Virginia. The university has never before released them.
Last week, Cuccinelli's spokesman declined to comment on independent investigations into Mann's work and said the attorney general's office would answer relevant issues in court.
Meanwhile, the Union of Concerned Scientists is claiming victory, declaring in a statement that the "so-called 'climategate' scandal is over."
July 7, 2010; 2:14 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
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