WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe, considered the leading skeptic in Congress that human activity is causing global warming, wants an investigation into whether some of the leading scientists on the topic manipulated data to inflate the problem. The Oklahoma Republican sent letters to numerous scientists at U.S. universities and to government agencies asking that they retain documents related to files stolen last week from a computer server at the Climatic Research Unit in England. E-mails exchanged between scientists who worked on climate change reports were posted on the Web after the server was hacked. Documents also were taken from the server and posted. Inhofe and others who have challenged the scientific consensus on global warming say the e-mails show scheming to alter data on the climate or to present it in such a way as to support the theory of human activity raising the earth’s temperature. Some of the scientists’ research is used by the influential United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "The stakes in this controversy are significant, as it appears that the basis of federal programs, pending EPA rulemakings and cap-and-trade legislation was contrived and fabricated,” Inhofe said Tuesday. "Moreover, it appears that, in an attempt to conceal the manipulation of climate data, information disclosure laws may have been violated.” Inhofe is the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which, despite a Republican boycott, recently approved a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Inhofe said he hopes Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who is chairman of the committee and a leading proponent of cap-and-trade legislation to reduce carbon emissions, will have hearings to investigate whether scientists were trying to fit their data into a preconceived outcome.
The stakes in this controversy are significant, as it appears that the basis of federal programs, pending EPA rulemakings and cap-and-trade legislation was contrived and fabricated,”
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa
Scientists deny chargeIn news accounts about the leaked e-mails and documents, some of the scientists involved denied manipulating the data and said the messages were being misinterpreted. On Tuesday, the University of East Anglia, where the Climatic Research Unit is located, released statements from officials supporting the research on climate change. Trevor Davies, pro-vice-chancellor for research at the university, said, "There is nothing in the stolen material which indicates that peer-reviewed publications by CRU (the unit), and others, on the nature of global warming and related climate change are not of the highest-quality of scientific investigation and interpretation. ... The publication of a selection of stolen data is the latest example of a sustained and, in some instances, a vexatious campaign which may have been designed to distract from reasoned debate about the nature of the urgent action which world governments must consider to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.” Inhofe said he didn’t condone the manner in which the e-mails were obtained. However, he said, "Now that they are in the public domain, lawmakers have an obligation to determine the extent to which the so-called ‘consensus’ of global warming, formed with billions of taxpayer dollars, was contrived in the biased minds of the world’s leading climate scientists.” He said the letters asking the scientists to preserve their e-mails and documents are just his first step in further investigating the matter.