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Monday, August 15, 2011

Ridiculous NYTimes editorial on the harassment of Dr. Charles Monnett fails to mention that he is being scapegoated so that Shell Oil can drill in the Arctic with no cleanup plan, no cleanup technology, no way at all to handle an oil spill


A Polarizing Polar Bear Investigation

A modest scientific observation about a few drowning polar bears has enmeshed a government wildlife biologist in an investigation into whether he is guilty of scientific misconduct. The investigation has taken on symbolic importance in the [manufactured] debate over global warming.
Skeptics about global warming cite the investigation as evidence that shoddy science [the only shoddy so-called science is that done in error-riddled studies like Roy Spencer's most recent contribution to the denialist literature] is raising undue alarms. The scientist’s defenders believe he is being scrutinized for honest observations that tend to support the scientific consensus that global warming threatens the planet.
In 2006, Dr. Charles Monnett and a colleague published a seven-page  paper in Polar Biology, a peer-reviewed journal. The paper described a whale surveillance flight over Alaska’s Beaufort Sea in 2004, during which they spotted four polar bear carcasses floating in open water far from land or the receding ice pack. They speculated that as many as 27 bears in all might have died in the same stormy period in the entire relevant habitat. They urged scientists to consider whether such drownings are an overlooked cause of bear mortality that might become worse if Arctic ice continues to recede during part of the year. [global warming was not mentioned in the paper]
The issue gained prominence when Al Gore, in his 2006 book about global warming, cited the study as showing, for the first time, that polar bears had been drowning in significant numbers while swimming to distant ice.
Five years later, the paper became the initial focus of an investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general, based on allegations that have not been made public [completely outside the IG's own procedures -- but conveniently coinciding with their permission given to Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic with no way to clean up any oil spills]. Last month the investigation broadened to include questions about Dr. Monnett’s management of other research [and they still couldn't find anything to pin on him -- now, they are just stalling while they try to figure out a way to save their sorry axxxx]. He was placed on administrative leave, with full pay and benefits, pending completion of the investigation [which is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars -- thank you Shell Oil].
Whatever the ultimate verdict on Dr. Monnett, the controversy over his observations is a minor sideshow [minor to whom?  Certainly not to Dr. Monnett who has spent his life doing research in the Arctic just so corrupt officials in our own government can get away with giving Shell Oil permission to drill in a fragile environment -- gee, shall we all wonder if they will offer Inuit natives sacks of beans in compensation for destroying their lands, like they did in Nigeria, where they have spilled so much oil and not cleaned it up that the delta is one of the most polluted spots on the planet?] in the global warming debate [a debate that exists only in the corrupt minds of faux think tank fellows, magnificently bought and paid for by ExxonMobil, the Scaifes, the Kochs, Chevron and others]. A broad array of evidence suggests that polar bear populations — and the health of the planet — will be threatened by climate change in future decades even if not a single additional polar bear drowns while swimming far from shore. [duh! That's about the only thing in this editorial that has any sense to it.]

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