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New Report Exonerates Climate Researchers

posted on February 25, 2011


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Commerce Department investigation has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of federal climate researchers whose e-mails were leaked in the debate over global climate change.

The report Thursday from the department's inspector general is the latest to exonerate climate scientists whose communications with the Climate Research Unit at England's University of East Anglia were stolen and made public in 2009. The department reviewed all 1,073 leaked e-mails, but focused on 289 that involved National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

Mary Glackin, NOAA's deputy undersecretary for operations, said she welcomed the report since "none of the investigations have found any evidence to question the ethics of our scientists or raise doubts about NOAA's understanding of climate change science."

Climate change skeptics have sought to characterize some of the e-mails as indicating scientists failed to follow proper procedures or altered data. Investigations in both England and by the National Research Council and Pennsylvania State University in the United States have also concluded that there was no indication of scientific impropriety.

Climate change skeptics have sought to characterize some of the e-mails as indicating scientists failed to follow proper procedures or altered data. Investigations in both England and by the National Research Council and Pennsylvania State University in the United States have also concluded that there was no indication of scientific impropriety.

The new report did question the handling of some freedom of information requests by NOAA and asked the agency to review the circumstances under which funds were transferred to the British researchers. Glackin said the money was used for workshops that assisted the governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in improving their climate forecasting work.

Climate change, also referred to as global warming, has raised concerns in recent decades as data continue to show an increase in average temperatures around the world. Climate experts are concerned that continued warming could affect agriculture and the environment, spread diseases and cause other disruptions in society. The vast majority of atmospheric scientists attribute the change to gases released into the air by human activities such as industry and internal combustion engines.


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