Climategate & Penn State
The Case for an Independent Investigation
JANUARY 12, 2010 | Policy Brief by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION
The release of embarrassingly candid emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia has intensified, if not vindicated, suspicions that scientific misconduct has played a significant role in fueling alarmism over supposed catastrophic manmade global warming.
Just days after news broke about what has been dubbed "Climategate," Penn State University (PSU) announced that it would investigate the conduct of Michael Mann, a professor in PSU's Department of Meteorology and a prominent figure in the Climategate emails.
While PSU is to be commended for recognizing that Climategate is a serious matter and that an investigation into Michael Mann's conduct is warranted, the investigation constitutes a conflict of interest for the university. Mann's climate work brings enough visibility, prestige, and revenue to PSU to legitimately call into question the university's ability to do a thorough and unbiased investigation.
To avoid this glaring conflict of interest and ensure that the investigation of Mann is credible, the Pennsylvania General Assembly should commission an external and independent investigation into Mann's potential scientific misconduct.