December 15, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Last month, some 160 megabytes of data containing over 1,000 emails and 2,000 other documents from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom were posted on the Internet.
The e-mails show that some of the world’s most prominent climate scientists conspired to boycott journals that did not bend to their wishes and succeeded in removing editors of journals who published contrarian views.
The e-mails also prove that some of these individuals engaged in systemic suppression of dissenting opinion, manipulation and perhaps fabrication of data and models, and even possible criminal activity to evade legitimate requests for data and underlying computer codes filed under Freedom of Information Acts - both in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is considered the gold standard in climate surveys. Its data is the basis for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed climate regulations and the foundation for the June 2009 Global Change Research Program report titled, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the US.” Proponents of expensive new energy legislation frequently cite the IPCC’s publications and conclusions as their justification.
The IPCC process, however, depends entirely on already-published, peer-reviewed literature. The bad actors in the e-mail chain therefore limited the pool of peer-reviewed studies upon which the IPCC could rely and manipulated the results of other studies upon which it did rely. It is possible that they succeeded in undermining the entire IPCC process and in corrupting the entire U.S. regulatory and legislative response to climate change.
I therefore request that you authorize a bipartisan, independent investigation and audit of the contents of the e-mails and data from CRU. In the interest of a transparent government, and the need for climate change decisions to be informed by scientific knowledge, the investigation should consider:
1. The possible effects that wrongdoing at CRU had or could have had on the IPCC process both in terms of actual contributions and through influence of peer-reviewed literature.
2. The extent to which U.S. funds and federal grants supported scientists associated with CRU.
3. The extent to which the culture and practices of the scientific community and its funding mechanisms restricted the publication and development of scientific research.
We are being asked as a Congress to make major changes in American society, in energy use, and in how much American consumers pay for energy. I believe that the content of the CRU e-mails justifies further consideration and investigation.
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
House Select Committee on Energy Independence
and Global Warming
Cc: Dr. John Holdren
Dr. Jane Lubchenco
Click here for the pdf.