Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The scientist famous for identifying drowning polar bears in the Arctic has been reprimanded for leaking emails and following “inappropriate” procurement procedures at his job at the Department of Interior.
The investigation also criticized the scientist, Charles Monnett, for fudging his data in reporting the death of the polar bears, a report that the global warming movement used extensively to falsely prove that global warming was causing the destruction of the polar bear population.
The Nature story above tries to make light of Monnett’s misconduct, especially in connection with his polar bear report as well as his work in awarding contracts. The report itself [pdf] is far more harsh.
In connection with Monnett’s contract work, it appears he actually helped one contractor write his proposal, then sat on the board that awarded the contract to that contractor.
[D]uring the course of the investigation we identified several apparent irregularities in the procurement process regarding Monnett’s handling of a MMS sole-source contract. After reviewing the contract file and interviewing procurement staff responsible for administering the contract, we determined that Monnett’s overall handling of the contract did not comply with Federal procurement policy. Some of Monnett’s actions related to the development of the contract were condoned by the procurement personnel who were in place at MMS during that time. Current procurement personnel interviewed by OIG as part of this investigation, however, considered Monnett’s communications with the sole-source vendor following the issuance of the Request for Proposal as entirely inappropriate. [emphasis mine]
The investigation took this inappropriate conduct so seriously it presented its evidence to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska.
In connection with his polar bear report, it appears Monnett intentionally distorted his data in order to bolster his case that global warming was causing the increased death of polar bears. For example, he claimed that no dead polar bears had been seen prior to his report, thus suggesting that the 2004 deaths were evidence that global warming was causing more polar bear deaths. This turns out to be false. Dead polar bears had been seen repeatedly by scientists for decades. In addition, his report failed to mention the very serious storms that had occurred just prior to his observations, which could have much more likely accounted for the dead polar bears than global warming.
Finally, the investigation found serious questions about the reported polar bear deaths. There were issues with the photographs and the data logging itself that suggested the four dead polar bears might even have not existed!
Overall, the report is very damning, not only in terms of this particular scientist but for the entire community within which he worked. Repeatedly it appears perfectly acceptable for many people in the climate community to play favorites with data and contractors in order to promote a particular scientific agenda.