Have We Found the Real “Climategate” Scandal?

Have We Found the Real “Climategate” Scandal?
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This is a guest post by Mike Casey, cross-posted from ScalingGreen.com.
Despite overwhelming evidence that anthropogenic climate change is real, potentially catastrophic, and accelerating, the theft of the East Anglia emails a year ago was turned into “Climategate” by the dirty energy lobby.  This non-scandal was nothing but a bunch of hot air, perpetrated by “deniers,” and to a large extend funded by the leading dirty energy (coal and oil) industries. (For more on this subject, see the superb book, “The Climate War,” by Eric Pooley.)

Congressman Joe “Apologize to BP” Barton of Texas was among those honking on the “Climategate” horn the loudest. The problem is that Barton lacks intellectual integrity of his own. As Salon reports:

A couple of years ago, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, asked a statistician named Edward Wegman to produce a report that would cast doubt on climate change science, because Barton – then the chairman of the House energy committee – is less a citizen legislator than the whims of the oil and gas industries made animate and elected to Congress.

The report criticized some statistics used to prove that the last century was the warmest one in centuries, which means it proved that global warming is pretend, in the eyes of most Republicans…

The only problem, other than the fact that the report is overwhelmingly without merit, is that it was largely plagiarized.

“The report was integral to congressional hearings about climate scientists,” says Aaron Huertas of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. “And it preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists.”

But in March, climate scientist Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts asked GMU, based in Fairfax, Va., to investigate “clear plagiarism” of one of his textbooks.

Bradley says he learned of the copying on the Deep Climate website and through a now year-long analysis of the Wegman report made by retired computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif. Mashey’s analysis concludes that 35 of the report’s 91 pages “are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning.” Copying others’ text or ideas without crediting them violates universities’ standards, according to Liz Wager of the London-based Committee on Publication Ethics.

In other words, it appears that we’ve found the real “Climategate” scandal here – the relentless, well-funded propaganda effort to discredit climate science and climate scientists.  The deniers’ new plagiarism problem is just the latest in the fast-and-loose, fact-free zone in which they operate.

We have a call in to the House Ethics Committee, inquiring as to whether plagiarism represents a violation of House Ethics rules, and will report back what we hear.  As we’re waiting for an answer, keep in mind that Rep. Joe Barton, who requested the aforementioned report, is the same individual who infamously apologized to BP for how it was treated after it created one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the country.

I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.

No, the real “tragedy” is that people like Joe Barton get to come to Congress at all, not to mention rise to powerful positions.

By Mike Casey, cross-posted from ScalingGreen.com.

Have We Found the Real “Climategate” Scandal?
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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