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UPDATED: Penn State Probe Clears Mann Of Wrongdoing In 'Climategate'

on July 02, 2010 11:57 AM

UPDATED @ 11:57 a.m. Friday: The Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Washington, D.C., has issued a statement concerning Penn State Professor Michael Mann. Details have been incorporated into the report below.

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A Penn State-led investigation into the work of Professor Michael E. Mann has cleared him of alleged wrongdoing, the university announced Thursday.

Mann, a recognized climate researcher at Penn State, was accused last year of twisting information to manipulate dialogue about global warming. The accusations materialized after critics obtained some of his correspondence from British computer servers and posted his e-mails publicly.

Some mainstream news outlets called the matter "Climategate."

But in January, an initial Penn State committee found no evidence to support three of the four primary claims against Mann. The fourth allegation questioned whether Mann had compromised confidence in his climate findings by undermining the public's trust.

A second university committee, comprising five Penn State faculty members, investigated that charge for the past four months. They looked to see whether Mann had "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."

Their findings, outlined in a 19-page public report released Thursday, include "no substance to the allegation" of professional misconduct.

"The decision of the (second) Investigatory Committee was unanimous," the report reads.

In Washington, D.C., the Union of Concerned Scientists emphasized news of the committee's findings. Francesca Grifo, the director of the Scientific Integrity Program there, called for an end to the "harassment" of Mann.

"Michael Mann has been the target of political attacks from members of Congress, industry-funded groups, and now Virginia's attorney general," Grifo said in a prepared statement. "This harassment has succeeded only in wasting taxpayer dollars and distracting Dr. Mann and other scientists from doing valuable research."

In April, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli began looking into academic work that Mann performed while he was a faculty member at the University of Virginia. UVA has rejected Cuccinelli's request for documents, according to the UCS, but Cucinelli's investigation is said to be ongoing.

Mann, who works in the Penn State meteorology department, responded to the latest Penn State committee report with a statement posted Thursday on his own website. It reads:

"I am 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.

"I want to express my gratitude to the scientists and academics who conducted Penn State's investigation, which required them to review and analyze voluminous written materials and conduct multiple interviews," Mann's statement goes on. "I am pleased that they and I can now return to our research without further distraction."

StateCollege.com will post additional details in this developing story as they become available.

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