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Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas) authorized the report attacking climate change research that was recently found to have been plagiarized.  (Source: Alex Brandon/AP)

Edward Wegman's report attacking the "hockey-stick" model has been shown by several sources to consist substantially of plagiarized passages.  (Source: George Mason University)

Ironically the man whose research the report attacked, Penn State University Professor Michael Mann, was recently implicated in academic misconduct himself. He was shown in leaked emails from the CRU, appearing to suggest subverting the peer review process to push his global warming viewpoint.  (Source: Penn State University)
The climate change debate these days is looking less like intellectual debate and more like dirty politics

These days the climate change debate seems to have devolved into a scene from the movie Dumb and Dumber.  Everyone seeming has an agenda and an axe to grind.  Unfortunately many involved in the debate on both sides seem to see little need to conduct themselves with integrity, commonly resorting to hyperbole and fakery.

The latest controversy is that a leading report touted by climate change skeptics has been found to be partially plagiarized.  Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), a leading climate change skeptic in Congress, had requested the report in 2006 to counter assertions that man was causing climate change.  Rep. Barton contracted George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman to produce a report looking at the research for flaws.

The result was a report that attacked leading Paleoclimatologist Michael Mann's so-called "hockey-stick graph" that showed temperatures over the last thousand years.  The "hockey-stick" model was used in the UN International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2001 report.

Despite acknowledging that the report by Professor Wegman correctly identified flaws in Professor Mann's study, the National Research Council concluded in 2006 that its criticisms were irrelevant due to the fact that more reliable later studies confirmed its conclusions.

Now Professor Wegman's report has been dealt another setback.

In a report in 
USA Today, three leading plagiarism experts -- Cornell's Paul Ginsparg, Ohio State's Robert Coleman, and Virginia Tech' Skip Garner concluded that significant passages in the "study" were lifted from "textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report" without proper citation.  They call the academic misconduct, "actually fairly shocking," "inappropriate," and "fairly obvious".

Others have also noticed and complained about the plagiarism.  According to
USA Today:

[I]n March, climate scientist Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts asked GMU, based in Fairfax, Va., to investigate "clear plagiarism" of one of his textbooks.

Bradley says he learned of the copying on the Deep Climate website and through a now year-long analysis of the Wegman report made by retired computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif. Mashey's analysis concludes that 35 of the report's 91 pages "are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning." Copying others' text or ideas without crediting them violates universities' standards, according to Liz Wager of the London-based Committee on Publication Ethics. 

George Mason University is investigating the charges.  In the past Professor Wegman had responded to rumors that part of the report might have been plagiarized, calling them "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."  Rep. Barton also appears to be standing behind the report.

Of course the plagiarism does not invalidate the report's criticisms, it just showcases the bias and incompetence that's marring the arguments of both sides of the climate debate.  It also represents a major black mark on the record of Professor Wegman.

Proponents of the theory that man is causing climate changes were recently caught up in a similar debacle when emails leaked from the Climate Research Unit in England.  While those emails seemingly implicated CRU director Phil JonesProfessor Mann, and others in clear and blatant academic misconduct and subversion of the peer review process, subsequent investigations largely exonerated those involved.  Professor Jones and Professor Mann were among those chastised, though, by various panels for their indiscretions in the scandal.  And they're lucky they didn't get worse -- given the seemingly damning nature of the emails, one has to wonder whether a bias wasn't involved in those exonerations.

At the end of the day the CRU scandal and the new scandal surrounding the Wegman report show off the embarrassing and disturbing state of climate research today.  

Understanding and reacting to the Earth's climate is absolutely critical and is a worthy topic of research.  However, with impassioned observers on both sides of the climate change debate seemingly willing to compromise their integrity to fallaciously promote their point of view, one has to wonder how this critical, yet broken field of research can be fixed and restored to honor.

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Total Solar Input
By pityme on 11/23/2010 10:19:37 AM , Rating: 5
The thing that bothers me the most is that nobody is looking at the total sun input. We have estimate and Nasa is sending a new satelite up to better measure total irradiance. We worry about the amount absorbed by CO2o et. al but we are very ignorant on the amount delivered. Assuming that the Sun is a "constant source of xx" is silly to me. Look at any pictures of the sun and tell me that is a stable energy source. Then realize that only a portion of the total sun surface irradiates the earth. Then realize that both the earth and the sun are rotating. If the total irradiance is increasing then the amount absorbed would also increase for a constant CO2 profile. I am not for or against the statement of global warming but I believe we do not have anywhere near enough data to say one way or the other.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Goty on 11/23/2010 10:34:52 AM , Rating: 1
Solar output is actually remarkably stable, easily within a few percent maximum deviation over periods like decades, but you must also take sunspots into consideration. We're actually just now coming out of a solar activity minimum.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Shuxclams on 11/23/2010 2:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
Solar Minimum, that means we can expect it to cool down now right?

RE: Total Solar Input
By gamerk2 on 11/23/2010 2:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
Compared to what we are currently at , yes. This actually gives a chance to compare temperatures against the last solar minimum, to see if there is any change from past norms.

RE: Total Solar Input
By AnnihilatorX on 11/28/2010 6:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
The Sun's sun spot cycle is known to be 11 years

Newscientist has a good article on the sun cycle and some discussions on recent research papers into possible links to Climate Change

RE: Total Solar Input
By Ytsejamer1 on 11/23/2010 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 4
To pityme - I think that is a pretty good way of looking at it. We can all argue about whether global warming is man made or not, but it really doesn't have any effect on how do we as humans, minimize our impact on the planet's resources.

Regardless of whether CO2 build up is man made, we need to find ways to harness the energy that exists naturally in this, wind, tidal, etc.

One of the great tactics used in politics is that if you can debate something, you can stall change...whether it is relevant or not. Health care issue was a great example...let's debate it to death. If we debate it, it means we should keep things the way they are until everyone agrees on something...which will never happen.

So if we want to keep on debating this issue of man made CO2 buildup and whatnot...fine, keep debating. Let's have discussion on it. But it really has ZERO bearing on how much R&D, effort, etc, we should be focusing towards maximizing our renewable energy resources.

RE: Total Solar Input
By INeedCache on 11/23/2010 10:54:45 AM , Rating: 5
Liked your post. This is what is being lost on all of the fools arguing on both sides. Which side "wins" has now become more important than anything else, including the reduction of pollutants and the R&D for clean, renewable energy. Scientists are like politicians, they have agendas, and many focus on furthering their agenda more than they do actual findings from actual research. Someone else here wrote to focus on "good science". Well, good luck in discerning what that is. People tend to believe the science that supports what they want to believe. I am a degreed meteorologist and worked as a weather forecaster and climatologist for nearly 30 years, and I find some of the stuff out there from both sides to be utterly laughable. But not nearly as laughable as many comments from people who wouldn't know climatology from astrology.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Reclaimer77 on 11/23/2010 4:14:21 PM , Rating: 1
I am a degreed meteorologist and worked as a weather forecaster and climatologist for nearly 30 years, and I find some of the stuff out there from both sides to be utterly laughable.

Yes and you can't even tell me with certainty if it will rain or not tomorrow. Much less what the climate will be in 50 years. Or who's fault it is.

RE: Total Solar Input
By priusone on 11/24/2010 9:59:38 AM , Rating: 2
The one at fault is the one you disagree with.

How many spotted owls and millions of acres of forest (which just seam to burn anyways) have been saved by 'concerned' citizens.

How many jobs have been forced overseas because of people crying about 'environmental impacts' of manufacturing and producing companies?

Slightly biased, but I hope the point gets across.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Suntan on 11/24/2010 10:31:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yes and you can't even tell me with certainty if it will rain or not tomorrow.

Too true.

I had a buddy in college that had a roommate who was getting a meteorological degree. I’m not sh!tten that some of the guy’s homework included coloring pictures with colored pencils...


RE: Total Solar Input
By wolrah on 11/25/2010 12:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize that's a completely retarded argument. It's basically like saying "the traffic reporter can't tell me exactly where I'll be at 6 PM on my drive home, so how can he predict that traffic will be heavy this weekend?"

Making predictions of where the average will go for a large sample area is a lot easier than specifics. In this case, the weather in your town is far more specific than the overall average temperature of an entire planet.

RE: Total Solar Input
By sleepeeg3 on 11/24/2010 12:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot nuclear...

Zero bearing? That all sounds sensible, but if CO2 emissions were man-made and the apocalypse due to GW was projected to occur by 2050, then it would drastically increase the amount of resources we should devote to building nuclear plants and making other alternatives more efficient. That is what climate scientist and the government are trying to get you to believe.

Problem is money is not infinite and forcing subsidies and government sponsored R&D costs vasts amounts of money. Solar & wind cost between 3-4x as much as nuclear and coal. As nuclear and coal costs increase, companies will have more incentive to invest R&D into alternatives. Instead, forcing us to use solar & wind means all of our costs increase 3-4x, because energy is the backbone of everything we do!

As for healthcare, what we got solved nothing, added taxes for everyone through taxing the health industries, increased the cost for senior citizens and anyone paying for health insurance, now that preexisting conditions can not be denied. 26 million people are still projected to be without health insurance. No changes were made to reduce the maximum litigation costs or streamline paperwork. Debate should continue until a reasonable compromise is made. Instead, Democrats forced additional taxes on everyone against the majority view of the people:
You don't stop debate, because you are tired of hearing about it or the Democrats wear you down. This shortsighted view is why we have the garbage that we have now.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Ytsejamer1 on 11/24/2010 9:03:29 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't count nuclear as a natural resource, but I agree with you, we need nuclear as well. I totally dislike those "not in my backyard" peeps that want to power the world on happy thoughts.

Along with all of that investment in energy production, we need to improve our aging grid. There's lots of opportunity for expanding our domestic energy portfolio while at the same time improving our infrastructure. That will lead to both plenty of white collar and blue collar jobs that cannot really be outsourced...and with more people working, paying taxes, etc, the economy will get better. Without having to borrow hundreds of billions from China, just to send hundreds of billions to the middle east for their oil, we can make ourselves a bit safer. See the pattern here? There's a great opportunity for the US to improve itself by nutting up and taking on this issue directly rather than arguing about whether or not warming was caused naturally or by man. As I said, it has ZERO bearing on whether we should be working on developing clean, renewable energy from the world's natural resources.

As for debate and health care...debating should continue, as should there be improvements made in all facets of it. Is it perfect? No...not even close. Doesn't mean we don't move forward and try something else. If we wait back for some magic complete solution to every problem to just appear at no cost to anyone, we'll be waiting forever. It takes hard work, difficult decisions (hopefully more right than wrong), and time to make something happen in a positive direction.

Polls don't mean crap to me...there's so much more misinformation on the subject than there is legit information. I talk to fairly well educated people, but they're convinced President Obama is Muslim (he isn't), wasn't born in US (he was), and his wife is a racist (wrote about racism in a college paper and a single quote was taken out of a larger context)... People will believe what they want to and cling to any bit of information (true or not) that reinforces their outlook. You know what? God bless...everyone is entitled to their opinion.

RE: Total Solar Input
By tng on 11/24/2010 9:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
...but they're convinced President Obama is Muslim (he isn't)....
Agreed, this is just pathetic crap.

...wasn't born in US (he was)...
This is still a question in my mind. Don't know if he was or not, but the records on this have been locked up tight. If it is not evidence of foreign birth, there is something that he doesn't want known. There has been a Certificate of Live Birth released, but no Birth Certificate released. Yes they are different and yes it does matter. I don't think personally that it proves that he was not born a US citizen, but probably something else that is just embarrassing.

On the Michelle Obama racist issue, I haven't read the paper she wrote, so I wont comment on that, but she has made some provocative statements in the past. Probably regrets some of them now.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Miqunator on 11/24/2010 12:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
I was contemplating whether I should bother expressing my views before reading your post. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Lerianis on 11/24/2010 7:17:40 AM , Rating: 3
I agree that we need to start relying on other 'natural'..... wait.... oil IS a natural source of energy? Oops.... that argument out the window.

Seriously, I am all for cutting down on pollution... but NOT if we have to bankrupt Americans in order to do so! Seriously, Americans CANNOT AFFORD 40K+ cars that ONLY get 20 miles each way! Most Americans have to drive more than that each day.

Get them up to 100 miles each way AND 1/2 or less the price, THEN we can talk!

RE: Total Solar Input
By espaghetti on 11/24/2010 1:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
I would also like to take my wife and kids with me to go shopping and have enough room for them and the stuff we buy in the vehicle.
Wait! I know we can use the SUV we have right now!
20mpg. 2007 emissions standards. I'm OK with this.
If there are people here that don't like it, just remember :
I am legally allowed to obtain liberty (freedom for those of you in Rio Linda),
and pursue happiness.
Stay out of my car.

RE: Total Solar Input
By osalcido on 11/29/2010 12:24:05 AM , Rating: 2
Are you trying to ridicule EVs by purposely throwing out statistics for decades old technology ? Or are you seriously that ignorant?

Nissan Leaf has a range of 70-100 Miles on a single charge. Base price is 32,780 minus a $7500 federal credit and up to $5000 more off in certain states.

Total cost: $20,280

RE: Total Solar Input
By kattanna on 11/23/2010 11:35:07 AM , Rating: 2
I believe we do not have anywhere near enough data to say one way or the other.

thats probably the most accurate description of climate science as it stands right now.

there are people though who are looking into how the sun affects our climate and have noticed as the sun changes so does our climate. one of the "feedbacks" that is rarely taken into account in most climate models is cloud cover. it appears that when the sun is in quiet phases we get more clouds, hence lower energy input and lower temps.

we do know that during long periods of low sunspot activity the planet does cool. look into maunder minimum

another thing that can affect the climate is what is called the milankovitch cycles

that also affects how the sun affects us.

so, the sun and our place within our own galaxy are being explored, but there is still lots to learn.

RE: Total Solar Input
By Boze on 11/23/2010 1:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
there are people though who are looking into how the sun affects our climate and have noticed as the sun changes so does our climate.

The single largest nuclear reactor in the solar system and it takes this long for people to figure that out... Brave, you brave souls.

RE: Total Solar Input
By kattanna on 11/23/2010 2:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
LOL yeah, it seems its one of those head slappingly obvious things.

yet, it is being done by real scientists so that means actual data and since we are talking about the solar system there is no fast cycles to any of it. so it takes real time. plus its only been relatively recent that we have had instruments that can make dedicated long term readings.

RE: Total Solar Input
By cruisin3style on 11/23/2010 2:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Plus unless I heard wrong I thought that the earth was slowly moving closer to the sun...dunno how fast or close or even if that's true but thought I'd throw that out there. Maybe someone who knows can chime in

RE: Total Solar Input
By sleepeeg3 on 11/23/2010 11:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
It has been looked at and solar activity directly correlates with temperature. Of course, the global warming scientist would be out of a job, if they ever started looking at this, so it gets brushed under the table.

RE: Total Solar Input
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 11/24/2010 12:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, this is a very good point. The average temperatures of other planets out to Jupiter are increasing to the same degree that the Earth's average temperature is increasing, given the fall off in output with the square of the distance. I think we are just to the average temperature we were at in 1700 when the Earth started cooling.

One thing no one has pointed out, as well, is that prior to the recent cooling after 1700, parts of Greenland were habitable and farm-able, but those farms were abandoned because it got too cold. They are still not farm-able since it hasn't gotten as warm as it once was at that latitude. This indicates global warming and cooling as a function of input more than anything else.

RE: Total Solar Input
By MCKENZIE1130 on 11/29/2010 8:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
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