“Climategate” Investigation Ends
The Penn State panel in charge of investigating the so-called “Climategate” emails of Professor Michael Mann has announced the end of their investigation. Dr. Mann’s email correspondence with Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in the U.K. was leaked late last November. Dr. Mann’s work was considered to be some of the most important evidence for human-induced climate change, until allegations surfaced from these emails that he had falsified the data suggesting that theory.
A Penn State panel of faculty and staff was tapped to look into the matter, which has gotten worldwide attention, including that of the United Nations. University of East Anglia also conducted their own investigation of Dr. Jones. About three weeks ago, former CIA agent Kent Clizbe launched his own private investigation of Dr. Mann, but was obviously limited in his powers, as he is now a private citizen.
Penn State has said they will announce their findings later this week, though they had previously flirted with the idea of keeping those findings confidential, in the interest of protecting their faculty member. However, even with the public release, some have pointed out flaws in the method of the investigation, namely who the investigators are. Quoted in the Collegian, Samuel Settle, a member of the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom (previously featured in Onward State Stories), said that Penn State has put “an awful lot of power in the hands of three [Penn State employees] with no external oversight.”
The investigation is only to decide if Dr. Mann violated University policy. However, it is certainly in Penn State’s best interest to report the full truth about the data, not only if University policy was breached. If the data was indeed false, and Penn State harbors Dr. Mann by clearing him of any wrongdoing, they risk not only their reputation among the scientific community, but also among the general public worldwide. Climate change is a household name, which, of course, has dramatic implications of our life as we know it. In sum, their findings affect a lot more people than just the University.
Likewise, if the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change should run an investigation and find to the contrary, Penn State’s name would be significantly tarnished, as well as all of us who associate with it.