Barton Wants Answers

Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 31
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.31c

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) has jumped into the scientific debate over the climate record of the past millennium. Citing reports in Geophysical Research Letters andThe Wall Street Journal of scientific error and possible ethical lapses, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee is demanding that three scientists respond to detailed questions on their life's research. In 23 June letters to Michael Mann of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and his two co-authors on a 1998 paper, Barton requests a host of details about the climate study. These include whether the researchers performed a particular statistical test on a 15th century climate record. Mann has noted that his conclusions have been independently replicated.

Accustomed to battling his scientific critics (Science, 11 February, p. 828), Mann is not commenting on Barton's demands on the advice of his lawyer. Officials with the National Science Foundation and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also received letters from Barton, who wants answers by 11 July.

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