Congressional Report Denying Climate Change Was Likely Plagiarized

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November 22, 2010 1:30 p.m.

Experts hired by USA Today to analyze a 2006 Congressional report that questioned global warming data say the report appears to have been plagiarized heavily from textbooks and Wikipedia.

The report was requested, and then often quoted, by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) when he was chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It was written by Edward Wegman, a statistician with George Mason University. The school is now conducting its own investigation into whether Wegman plagiarized the report, which calls into question numbers used by climate scientists.USA Today points out that “the charges of plagiarism don’t negate one of the basic premises of the report — that climate scientists used poor statistics in two widely noted papers.”

GMU was asked to investigate the report in March by Raymond Bradley, who believed Wegman had plagiarized one of his textbooks. He based the claim on a year-long analysis by a retired computer scientist who claims that at least 35 of the 91 pages are “are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning.”

Barton said through a spokeswoman that he stands by the report because it “found significant statistical issues” with climate change data.

The report was a sort of precursor to right-wing outrage over “Climate-Gate,” claims that climate scientists had conspired to trick the world into believing that global warming is real. Multiple investigations have debunked those claims and cleared the scientists, but the idea of “Climate-Gate” persists.

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