The Penn State chapter of the Republican farm team, Young Americans for Freedom, has launched an attack against Michael Mann, demanding an “external, independent investigation of Dr. Michael Mann.s (sic) climate research and related communications.”
YAF is complaining about the evidently thorough and entirely transparent investigation that PSU has already conducted, looking into the stolen emails that surfaced in what has come to be known (in unimaginative circles) as “Climategate.” The PSU panel looked at the evidence and exonerated Mann, apparently to the disappointment of people who wish that the East Anglia emails really did throw doubt on the quality of climate science.
It’s interesting that YAF should launch its petition drive on the same day that the UK House of Commons released its report exonerating Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and another of the protagonists prominently featured in the stolen emails. In fact, the UK report could well be taken as exactly the kind of independent confirmation that YAF suggests the Penn State panel might need.
YAF’s complaints seem to revolve around two phrases, frequently taken out of context, from a Phil Jones email – a missive in which he said: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
In its overheated critique, YAF says, “While the (Penn State) committee examined the use of the word ‘trick’ in correspondence between Mann and colleague Phil Jones, it failed to explore the purpose of Mann’s ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline [in global temperatures],’ which clearly suggests a manipulation of the data.”
If the young Republicans had spent even the tiniest amount of time checking their facts, they would have discovered that the decline in question did not refer to global temperatures but to regional temperatures as reconstructed from tree ring samples. Penn State accepted Mann’s explanation that the “trick” was a “trick of the trade,” a clever and in no way deceitful statistical shortcut. The UK House of Commons report endorsed this finding, saying of the trick: “It appears to be a colloquialism for a ‘neat’ method of handling data.”
As for hiding the decline, PSU also found it reasonable that the people whose work Jones and Mann were citing added real temperatures to their reconstruction – accurate, verifiable temperatures – to replace a section that was, unaccountably, wrong. Or, as the UK panel put it, the reference to hiding the decline was “shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous.”
So, we have an investigation by three of the most senior (and appropriately responsible) parties at PSU, independently verified by an investigation by a panel commissioned by the UK House of Commons. And we have a Republican puppet organization crying out in outrage that it and it alone stands up for “academic integrity.”
Lest any of said young partisans have read this far, I provide a link to the definition of integrity here. You might be surprised by the content.