Zombie lies keep dying

In February, Penn State issued a report clearing climatologist Michael Mann of 3 charges of academic misconduct arising from the theft of emails from a server at a British university. More recently, a British parliamentary report dismissed claims that climate scientists had behaved improperly. And now, the fourth charge against Mann has been dismissed as well.

Penn State's press release explains: "A panel of leading scholars has cleared a well-known Penn State climate scientist of research misconduct, following a four-month internal investigation by the University." The first charges were dismissed because the evidence was readily evaluated on its merits. Mann had not falsified data, he did not delete, conceal, or destroy email, information, or data related to the IPCC report on climate change, nor did he misuse confidential information. No information in the stolen emails indicated otherwise, nor did any evidence obtained in the course of the internal investigation indicate such misbehavior.

The last charge was harder for a panel of non-scientists to evaluate, because it centered around whether Mann's "actions ⦠seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community." That question was deferred to a committee of scientists who could evaluate the research and its relationship to broader academic standards. A panel of well-known and widely-respected scientists reviewed the evidence and found no significant deviation from accepted academic standards. The worst they found was that Mann shared unpublished manuscripts with his colleagues based on implied consent, rather than obtaining explicit permission.

The committee unanimously concluded that there is no substance to the charges against Mann.

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I'm still reeling over just how bad the coverage of "climategate" was. Thanks for the continued updates!

By Zach Voch (not verified) on 01 Jul 2010 #permalink

It should also be noted that the media that happily passed on the lies, mainly the Rupert Murdock owned London Times, has now retracted their earlier stories. This will, of course, have not the slightest effect on the denialists who will scream whitewash and coverup.

I wonder if this latest report clearing Mann will be enough to get Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli to drop his harassment of the climate scientist.


Have you heard anything about any criminal investigation into the theft of the "climategate" E-mails?

I've heard exactly nothing.

Further, has there been any progress in determining which oil company bankrolled the theft?

By Jim Ramsey (not verified) on 02 Jul 2010 #permalink

Three cheers to Michael Mann and to Gary Peters for speaking out.

There are precious few scientists like (Michael Mann and) Professor Emeritus Gary Peters who have chosen not to remain silent but instead to accept their responsibility to science by rigorously examining extant evidence of human population dynamics. Please consider now the perspective of Dr. Peters on the research of Russell Hopfenberg and David Pimentel, which is found in the journal, The California Geographer, 2009. The title of his article is, Population, Resources and Enviroment: "Beyond the Exponentials" Revisited.


"The worldâs population in 2009 was close to 6.8 billion. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, we can expect about 55.7 million people to die this year, so in purely demographic terms 300,000 deaths amount to just over half of one percent of all deaths. Furthermore, there are about 15,465 births per hour worldwide, so again in a purely demographic sense those 300,000 deaths can be replaced in less than 20 hours.

Paradoxically, the very fossil fuels that have allowed us to feed the vast increase in world population over the last century or two may 113 The California Geographer n Volume 49, 2009 also be starting to increase mortality rates, even if only slightly so far. Currently we add about 80 million people to the planet each year, and we know that population growth exacerbates most environmental problems, including global warming (Speth 2008, Diamond 2005, and Friedman 2008).

Pimentel (2001), Hopfenberg (2003), and others have established in a series of articles that human population growth is a function of food supply, yet we continue to expand food supplies to accommodate future growthâeven if that growth threatens the planetâs socioeconomic systems, ecosystems, biodiversity, oceans,
and atmosphere. Continued expansion of food supplies has come at considerable cost both to people and to Earth. As Pollan (2008, 121) commented, âClearly the achievements of industrial agriculture have come at a cost: It can produce a great many more calories per acre, but each of those calories may supply less nutrition than
it formerly did.... A diet based on quantity rather than quality has ushered a new creature onto the world stage: the human being who manages to be both overfed and undernourished, two characteristics seldom found in the same body in the long natural history of our species.â According to Heller and Keoleian (2000), it takes seven to ten calories of input, mainly from fossil fuels, to produce one calorie of edible food in the United States. Looking at the American landscape, Babbitt (2005, 100) observed that â[I]ndustrial agriculture has been extended too far, and the price has been too high for the land and waters to bear.â In many places, agricultural landscapes are no longer what Tuan (1993, 143) had in mind when he wrote that âIn common with the vast majority of humankind, Americans
love the small intimate world that is their home, and, immediately beyond it, a rich agricultural land.â

According to Pimentel (2001), humans already use more than half the planetâs entire biomass, leaving less and less for other species. From there, as Hopfenberg (2009, 2) noted, âIt is not a far logical leap to determine that, if human population and resource use continues to grow and we continue to kill off our neighbors in the biological community, one of the many species facing extinction will be the human. Thus, the impact of civilized humanity on the rest of the
biological community can be seen as lethal to the point of destroying our own ecological support". It is a reminder that, as Bush (2000, 28) noted, âIf there is one lesson that the geological record offers, it is that all species will ultimately go extinct, some just do it sooner than others.â With the expansion of human numbers has come a steady increase in the background rate of extinction.

But even among environmentalists, population has been dropped from most discussions because it is controversial; it has been snared in the web of political correctness. As Speth (2008, 78) somewhat ironically pointed out, âBy any objective standard, U.S. population growth is a legitimate and serious environmental issue. But the subject is hardly on the environmental agenda, and the country has not learned how to discuss the problem even in progressive circles.â Cobb (2007, 1) put it this way, âEven if some politicians, policymakers and reporters in wealthy countries can see beyond the daily mirage of plenty to the overpopulation problem, they do
not want to touch it.â


It is one thing for "politicians, policymakers and reporters" not to touch research of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth. It is something altogether different when the elective mutism of scientists with appropriate expertise hides science in silence. Such a willful refusal to scrutinize peer-reviewed and published evidence and report findings strikes me as a betrayal of science and also a denial of what could somehow be real.

How are global challenges of the kind we can see looming before humanity in our time to be addressed and overcome if any root cause of what threatens us and life as we know it is not acknowledged?

Of course, it could be that Professor Peters' assessment of the research by Pimentel and Hopfenberg is incorrect; that their work is fatally flawed. If that is the case, we need to know it. On the other hand, if that is not the case and the research is somehow on the correct track, then discussion of the research needed to have begun years ago, at the onset of Century XXI, because this research appears, at least to me, to possess extraordinary explanatory power with potentially profound implications.

Thanks to those within the community of scientists and to those in the population at large with a perspective to share who choose to examine the evidence to which your attention is drawn and report your findings.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001

Glad to see how many of you have read the report and understood what it said. For those of us in the physics community, we understand from cold fusion and Fleischmann and Pons just exactly what peer review really means. Of course, a report that says this type of data analysis is acceptable within the paleoclimatology community does tell us what the peer review standard is there. Science?

By Randy Starnes (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink