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8/02/2005

Academics drag feet on giving out data

On June 23, Rep. Barton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent letters to the climate researchers responsible for developing the notorious “hockey stick” graph, which purports to show a dramatic rise in global temperatures during the 20th century after a millennium of supposedly little change in global temperature.

The hockey stick graph has been key weapon in the arsenal of the global warming alarmists in their efforts to scare the U.S. into signing the Kyoto Protocol and clamping down on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

The graph has been criticized for many reasons, including its reliance on dubious estimates of historic temperatures based on the size of tree rings. Not only is temperature merely one factor that contributes to tree growth (as evidenced by the ring size), but a 15th century portion of the hockey stick graph is based on tree ring measurements from a single tree.

Noting that “sharing data and research results is a basic tenet of open scientific inquiry” and that the hockey stick research was paid for with public funds, Chairman Barton asked Dr. Michael Mann of the University of Virginia for the computer code used to generate the hockey stick graph. Dr. Mann had previously refused to provide his computer code to other climate researchers who had requested it.

Dr. Mann apparently decided that he cannot withhold his data and computer code any longer from the public and agreed in a letter to post his data and computer code on the Internet -- but not without squealing about it first. Before Dr. Mann turned over his data, virtually the entire spectrum of global warming alarmists attacked Chairman Barton for requesting access to the data and code.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, long a proponent of global warming alarmism, chided Chairman Barton in a July 13 letter that Dr. Mann’s hockey stick had already been accepted by the United Nations’ global warming organization and that Congress ought not interfere with that process.

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