Penn State Whitewashes Climategate Investigation

HARRISBURG, PA – The Commonwealth Foundation today released the following statement in response to Penn State’s internal investigation of alleged scientific misconduct by Michael Mann, a prominent global warming activist and university professor:

“Penn State’s internal review of Michael Mann’s alleged scientific misconduct-and the university’s virtual exoneration of his behavior-ignored key evidence in the Climategate scandal.  As expected, Penn State did little more than a whitewash. 

First, the university’s internal review consisted of three Penn State employees who have strong incentives to protect the school’s reputation and the millions of dollars it receives from global warming research grants.

Second, the review consisted of looking at a mere 47 emails (out of thousands in question), interviewing Mr. Mann, analyzing materials he submitted, and asking only two biased sources about his credibility.  Penn State hardly conducted a “thorough investigation” of alleged wrongdoing by Mr. Mann.

Third, Penn State’s internal review ignored key passages in the emails under scrutiny.  While the committee examined the use of the word “trick” in correspondence between Mann and colleague Phil Jones, it failed to explore Jones’ mention of Mann’s “trick” to “hide the decline [in global temperatures],” which suggests a manipulation of data.

Finally, although Penn State is continuing its review of one of the four allegations, the whitewash of Mr. Mann’s alleged scientific misconduct has concluded.

Penn State’s internal review of a few emails by vested interests provides zero confidence that Mr. Mann did not engage in scientific misconduct-which is precisely why an independent and external investigation of Michael Mann and Climategate by the Pennsylvania General Assembly is warranted.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The Commonwealth Foundation’s policy brief, Climategate & Penn State: The Case for an Independent Investigation, is available at and by calling 717.671.1901.

The Commonwealth Foundation ( is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.