Pennsylvania State University today issued its final report thoroughly exonerating climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of any wrongdoing in the wake of the "Climategate" myth that emerged late last year when thousands of emails and documents were stolen from a computer server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK.
In the days following the posting of the stolen material onto the Internet, right-wing bloggers and media outlets loudly issued allegations of misconduct among climate scientists mentioned in the giant trove of emails. Conspiracy theorists on the right cherry-picked flagrantly out-of-context portions of the email collection in order to gin up a grand tale suggesting that man-made climate change is a fraud concocted by all of the world's leading climate scientists, the much-despised United Nations IPCC, and, of course, Al Gore.
Despite their success in elevating this nontroversy to the national level via Fox News and other right wing media, every single independent investigation of the climate scientists involved has since cleared them of any misconduct and verified the science underpinning the IPCC's consensus position that manmade climate change is real.
In February, Penn State officials concluded the first round of inquiry into Professor Mann's conduct, finding no evidence to support the accusations against him.
That did not stop the right-wing attacks on Professor Mann or Penn State, with some notorious climate skeptics attempting to spin the exoneration as a whitewash. (True to form, skeptics repeated the ridiculous 'whitewash' allegations again today upon hearing of the final report clearing Mann.)
In order to thoroughly extinguish any lingering doubts about the panel's findings, school administrators decided to convene a separate Investigatory Committee of Dr. Mann's faculty peers and distinguished scientists to continue to investigate the allegation that Dr. Mann "engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities."
Today, that committee issued its final report clearing Mann of any wrongdoing on the final issue, and found "no substance to the allegation."
The committee's report concludes:
"The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University.
More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.
The decision of the Investigatory Committee was unanimous."
Dr. Mann welcomed the news of the final report:
"I'm pleased that the last phase of Penn State's investigation has now been concluded, and that it has cleared me of any wrongdoing. These latest findings should finally put to rest the baseless allegations against me and my research."
Additional excerpts from the committee's report:
"A particularly telling indicator of a scientist's standing within the research community is the recognition that is bestowed by other scientists. Judged by that indicator, Dr. Mann's work, from the beginning of his career, has been recognized as outstanding."
"All of these awards and recognitions, as well as others not specifically cited here, serve as evidence that his scientific work, especially the conduct of his research, has from the beginning of his career been judged to be outstanding by a broad spectrum of scientists. Had Dr. Mann's conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions." (pg. 18)
"To date, Dr. Mann is the lead author of 39 scientific publications and he is listed as co-author on an additional 55 publications. The majority of these publications appeared in the most highly respected scientific journals, i.e., journals that have the most rigorous editorial and peer reviews in the field. In practical terms, this means that literally dozens of the most highly qualified scientists in the world scrutinized and examined every detail of the scientific work done by Dr. Mann and his colleagues and judged it to meet the high standards necessary for publication." (pg. 18)