NOAA Inspector General: No Wrongdoing in Climate Emails (other than mocking Inhofe)
February 24, 2011
Yet another investigation, and yet another clean slate.
The US Department of Commerce Inspector General has written to Senator James Inhofe (R-Exxon) pursuant to the Senator’s request for an investigation of the so called “Climate Gate” emails and any related wrong-doing that might have taken place in NOAA’s climate research.
That investigation is complete, and the results are in:
The Inspector General’s report states specifically:
· “We found no evidence in the CRU emails that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data comprising the [Global Historical Climatology Network – monthly] GHCN-M dataset.” (Page 11)
· “We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA failed to adhere to its peer review procedures prior to its dissemination of information.” (Page 11)
· “We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA violated its obligations under the IQA. (Information Quality Act)” (Page 12)
· “We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA violated its obligations under the Shelby Amendment.” (..which essentially authorizes federally-funded research data derived from institutions of higher education, hospitals and non-profit institutions to be accessible under the Freedom of Information act)(Page 16)
Most hilariously, Politico noted that one of the items investigated was a satirical image of the Senator himself…(above)
“The IG also zeroed in on a February 2007 e-mail of an “inappropriate” image mocking Inhofe and other climate skeptics floating in the ocean near a melting ice can. NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco acknowledged that “it was in bad taste” and the agency says the creators of the picture have been “counseled by their respective supervisors.”
The report dryly noted:
(b) Inappropriate image created and forwarded by NOAA scientists to the Director of the CRU (CRU email #1171901402)
This email, dated February 19,2007, captioned “Fwd: Marooned?” contained an inappropriate image which NCDC’s Chief Scientist forwarded to the Director of the CRU,s The image depicts superimposed photographs o f several individuals involved in the debate over global warming as characters from the television program Gilligan’s Island, stranded on a melting ice cap at the North Pole or floating nearby in the ocean. In the course of our inquiry, we learned that another NOAA scientist had created the image during official business hours, using government computer equipment.
Both the Chief Scientist and the creator of the image told us it was meant to bring some levity to the constant criticism that they and their fellow climate scientists were facing at the time from “climate skeptics.” Notwithstanding their rationale, such an image could foster an adverse appearance about the scientists’ objectivity, and at least one internet blog questioned the propriety ofthe image. While none of the senior NOAA officials we interviewed said they were aware of the referenced email and the attached picture before we interviewed them,
Dr. Lubchenco told us that “it was in bad taste.” According to NOAA, both scientists, who acknowledged that the image was inappropriate, have since been counseled by their respective supervIsors.