Tag Archives: Charles Monnett

Polar bear fraud

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.
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The reason an environmental polar bear scientist has been suspended and under investigation is because while tasked to review and approve research proposals he played favorites, helping to write and revise the government proposal while working against a proposal from private oil companies.

The reason an environmental polar bear scientist has been suspended and is under investigation is because — while tasked to review and approve research proposals — he played favorites, helping to write and revise his preferred proposals while working against proposals from others.

Documents obtained by Nature through the Freedom of Information Act do not reveal the investigators’ conclusions but they suggest a more specific context for Monnett’s troubles: he assisted in the writing of a proposal from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that he was also responsible for reviewing for the [US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)]. He also resisted a separate initiative by oil companies.

Over five years, the NOAA study would synthesize knowledge of different elements of the Arctic environment — from marine mammals to fish to zooplankton — and offer conclusions about the overall impact of oil-and-gas exploration there. The NOAA team was awarded the contract last year.

Monnett exchanged e-mails with the NOAA researchers between February and May 2011, made edits to their draft proposal and talked on the phone with them about how to strengthen it. Nature has seen emails from within the BOEM showing that the reason for his suspension in 2011 was management concern about similar assistance being provided to a grant applicant on another contract, which Monnett was also responsible for reviewing.

This is the same scientist whose paper on drowning polar bears has become a favorite with the environmental movement.