Investor's Business Daily: Climategate Gets a Whitewash

The editorial page at Investor's Business Daily noticed what the major media ignored or downplayed, once again: the latest Climategate development. They headlined their Friday editorial "Climategate Gets a Whitewash." The University of East Anglia commissioned two independent inquiries into what became known as the Climate-gate scandal. But just how "independent" was the latest report? IBD wasn't impressed with the five-page report that found no deceitful practices:

The sugarcoated report should be no surprise. The probe was conducted by Lord Oxburgh, an academic who was briefly chairman of Shell. He is now, according to the Financial Post, chair of Falck Renewables, a firm that has wind farms across Europe, and chair of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, "a lobby group which argues that carbon capture could become a $1 trillion industry by 2050."

Imagine that. A man with a financial interest in companies that would benefit from efforts to arrest man-made global warming is asked to look into the possible scientific malpractice of researchers whose conclusions are favorable to his business concerns.

Oxburgh is a man of clear bias who should have never been allowed to be near the probe. Six years ago, he told the British press that "if we don't have (carbon) sequestration, I see very little hope for the world." In fact, he said he was "really very worried for the planet," without large-scale sequestration.

Three years later he said, "We are sleepwalking" into a global warming disaster of such proportion that the world might need "regulations which impose very severe penalties on people who emit more than specified amounts of greenhouse gases."

Yes, just the man to have in charge of an investigation of researchers who seem more concerned with politics than science.

The report drew a brief mention on Thursday's Special Report with Bret Baier, in particular the assessment of statistician David Hand that the "hockey stick" graph of estimated temperature increases was exaggerated. Major papers (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times) noted the report briefly, in one paragraph or a few -- and only the Washington Post made room for a skeptical quote, from Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The Los Angeles Times did note at the very end that critics were skeptical of Lord Oxburgh's impartiality.

But Post editorialist Stephen Stromberg said the report showed there was on scam or scandal:

And, though there is still plenty of room to criticize the scientists involved -- for sloppy record-keeping, overreaction to the attacks of skeptics, etc. -- the report unsurprisingly found that some external criticisms of the work "show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU."

Of course, a conspiracy theory can never really be disproved. Contrary evidence becomes just another piece in the scheme. See, for example, Gerald Warner's particularly venomous screed about the findings of the "scam apologists" on the review panel. Other critics note that the head of the panel has some interests in clean energy. But the committee also included statistician David Hand, who praised the work of climate-skeptic hero Steve McIntyre at the press conference at which the report was released. Apparently Hand hadn't finished consuming his Kool-Aid.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis