According to USA Today, more than one third of George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman's 2006 report challenging methodology in global warming research may have been plagiarized, with segments lifted almost verbatim from textbooks, Wikipedia and the work of one scientist targeted by the report itself.
The Wegman report was commissioned by then-head of the House energy committee Joe Barton (R-TX). It was instrumental in Barton's denunciation of climatologist Michael Mann's 1998 and 1999 reports that found that the 20th century was the warmest in 1,000 years. Barton asserted that Mann's work was "rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as 'consensus' by a closed network of friends," according to the report's conclusions.
In March, Raymond Bradley, another leading climate scientist, told GMU that he believed portions of a textbook he'd written had been used without permission in the Wegman report, and requested that the university examine the matter. He first learned of the alleged violation through Deep Climate, a website devoted to discrediting global warming critics.
A GMU spokesperson told USA Today that the report is currently being investigated. Wegman said that allegations of plagiarism were "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality," and said that the report was in no way influenced by partisan interest.
A spokesperson for Barton asserted continued support of the Wegman report, as its conclusions remain valid regardless of whether the plagiarism allegations prove to be true. The Union of Concerned Scientists' Aaron Huertes, however, told USA Today that "the report was integral to congressional hearings about climate scientists, and it preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists."
Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reports that Barton could be poised to chair the House's energy committee.
What do you think of the allegations against Wegman? Let us know in the comments section.