Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

David Lungren (202) 224-5642


Inquiry Can Only Be Legitimate if Underlying Science Is Scrutinized

Link to Republican Request for UN Investigation into Climategate

Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released the following statement today in response to the United Nations' announcement that an independent scientific organization will investigate the policies and procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

The UN's action comes nearly three months after 27 GOP Senators, including Sen. Inhofe, called on Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, to launch an independent investigation of the IPCC.  The UN's action also follows the ‘Climategate' scandal and the disclosure of several flaws and intentionally misleading information found in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report-which provided a principal scientific basis for EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. 

"I welcome today's call by the UN Secretary General for an independent investigation of the IPCC's review process and procedures," Inhofe said.  "Yet, this is only half the battle: if the investigation uncovers flaws in how the IPCC manages the process of compiling its scientific assessments, then those flaws necessarily will affect the quality and rigor of the science in those reports.  Therefore, a legitimate inquiry must look back and examine the science in the assessment reports, and not just the mistakes that have been uncovered thus far. 

"According to Phil Jones, former director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), 'there is some truth' to the charge that he failed to update and organize the raw data supporting the CRU temperature dataset, on which the IPCC relies in its reports to make temperature projections. Therefore, an independent, peer-reviewed examination of the CRU and other major temperature datasets must be part of this investigation.

"On December 8, I wrote a letter with 26 Republican Senators calling for an independent investigation of the IPCC and the science it produces.  We demanded an investigation along the lines of the Volcker inquiry of the UN's Oil for Food Program.  We stated, among other things, that the investigation ‘must be conducted without political interference or manipulation from individual countries, non-governmental organizations, those within the UN, those who have contributed to the IPCC, those being investigated, or any closely related associates.'  In addition, we said that ‘in the interest of transparency, it is imperative that the US Congress have full access to all the documents, as well as transcripts and interviews, from the investigation, and that they be released to the public.'  In order to be credible and transparent, the investigation must meet these basic criteria. 

"Finally, until this investigation is complete, Congress should consider budgetary measures to ensure that taxpayer dollars are funding science that meets the highest standards of integrity and objectivity.  This includes science produced by federal agencies as well as funding for the IPCC."  

List of 27 Republicans who signed the letter to UN Secretary Ban-Ki Moon requesting an independent investigation.

Inhofe                                           Barrasso

McConnell                                    Lugar

Chambliss                                     Hutchison

Sessions                                        Thune

Kyl                                               Cornyn

Voinovich                                     Bunning

Brownback                                   Grassley

Hatch                                            Roberts

Johanns                                         Ensign

Enzi                                              Isakson

Coburn                                         Wicker

Bond                                             Burr

Risch                                             DeMint