ClimateGate: Vitter Staffer Accuses Researchers Of ‘Greatest Act Of Scientific Fraud In History’

David VitterEmbracing the fevered speculations of right-wing bloggers, a top Republican Senate staffer has accused climate scientists of orchestrating a planetwide conspiracy to convince the public that global warming is real. In an error-ridden email acquired by the Wonk Room, Bryan Zumwalt, legislative counsel for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), claims hacked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) are evidence for what “could well be the greatest act of scientific fraud in history.” Zumwalt’s attacks are part of a global right-wing effort — from Rush Limbaugh to right-wing members of the British House of Lords — to Swiftboat climate scientists on the eve of international climate treaty negotiations. He argues that the “theory of global warming” is now tainted with “data corruption and fraud“:

Much of what is being said is speculation at this juncture, as a great many folk are working to mine through the emails. However, the CRU has made public that they were indeed hacked and much of the information appears to already be confirmed as legitimate. If so, this could well be the greatest act of scientific fraud in history (it will take a while to calculate the total amount of grant money achieved by fraud and the cost of climate change legislation “Cap-and-Trade” could have been in the $ trillions). Accordingly, nearly all of the international data and models supporting the theory of global warming would have been influenced by data corruption and fraud…with the blatant attempt to perpetuate the political agenda of global warming supporters and the UN IPCC.

It is, of course, the likes of Zumwalt and other right-wing defenders of a pollution-based economy that are the actual “global warming supporters.” Sen. Vitter, whose career was tarnished by the revelation he used prostitutes, is one of several Republican senators who deny the reality of manmade climate change, despite the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Coincidentally, Vitter is a strong ally of Lousiana’s oil and gas industry, which faces regulation under climate legislation.

Zumwalt’s conspiracy theory, sent this morning and addressed to “friends,” includes the Fourth Estate. He writes that the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin — who wrote a front page story sympathetic to the rabid claims of conspiracy — “was mentioned in some of these emails as one of the people in the press they use, so his motives are questionable.”

Zumwalt even offers a top-ten list of the climate scientists’ supposed crimes:

1. Suppression of Data

2. Destruction of data subject to FOIA requests

3. Organized subversion of the peer-review process

4. Coordinated efforts with media outlets

5. Blacklisting of scientific journals for political reasons

6. Blatant scientific fraud and misrepresentation of data

7. Manipulation of data for the UN/WTO’s political agenda

8. Strategies for tax evasion

9. Deceit of International and U.S. agencies for funding and grants

10. And much more…

Zumwalt recommends recipients learn more about the “coordinated effort to achieve the IPCC agenda” by searching for blogs using the keywords “Hadley, hacked, global warming, email, fraud.”

As a side note, Zumwalt’s email contains several basic errors of fact, evidently copied from right-wing blogs. He incorrectly calls the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit the “UN IPCC’s Climate Research Unit,” “also known as Hadley.” Similarly, he incorrectly says the “I” in IPCC stands for “International,” not “Intergovernmental.” These errors, while minor, are consistent with the disdain the Climategate conspiracy theorists have for reality.

Download the Vitter staffer’s “ClimateGate” email here.


The Union of Concerned Scientists‘ Dr. Peter Frumhoff, an IPCC lead author, criticizes credulous coverage of “Climategate”:

Climate science contrarians are using the release of e-mails from several top scientists to attack climate science. Unfortunately for these conspiracy theorists, what the e-mails show are simply scientists at work, grappling with key issues, and displaying the full range of emotions and motivations characteristic of any urgent endeavor. Any suggestions that these e-mails will affect public and policymakers’ understanding of climate science give far too much credence to blog chatter and boastful spin from groups opposed to addressing climate change.

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,E&E News reports that Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced today that he would call for an investigation into “the way that they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not.”

“In addition to Inhofe, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are also looking into the e-mails, according to an aide for the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).”

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,Issa is going after White House science advisor Dr. John Holdren, the Wall Street Journal reports. Keith Johnson — who absurdly describes Dr. Michael Mann as “a scientist who believes global warming is man-made” — mentions that Holdren defended Mann in one of the emails.

Dr. Holdren told WSJ:

I’m happy to stand by my contribution to this exchange. I think anybody who reads what I wrote in its entirety will find it a serious and balanced treatment of the question of ‘burden of proof’ in situations where science germane to public policy is in dispute.

In fact, in the 2003 email, Holdren notes “it is sometimes a mistake to get into these exchanges (one’s interlocutor
turns out to be ineducable and/or just looking for a quote to reproduce out of context in an attempt to embarrass you).”

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