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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Australian scientists write to President Obama in defense of Dr. Charles Monnett (Peter Tait, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, and Michael Ashley)

Dear Mr President,  

We are scientists from Australia and have been following the investigation by the U.S. Bureau 
of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement's inspector general's office, into 
alleged mis-administration by Dr Charles Monnett, of that Federal agency, and we are very 
concerned to hear about the manner in which the investigation of Dr Monnett is being 

Our concerns include: 

 Despite claims that this is an administrative investigation, the investigators are placing a 
lot of weight on the 2006 article in Polar Biology about observed deaths of four polar 
bears. This is despite the considerable scientific literature on the ecological impacts of 
climate change on polar bears and other Arctic fauna. 

 This seems like the type of anti-science action that would have occurred under your 
predecessor and is similar to actions more expected in the pre-1989 Soviet Union. 

In short, we view the manner and process of this investigation as both bringing the integrity 
of the investigating office into disrepute, and adversely reflecting on the ability of the USA to 
pursue publicly funded science in an honest and transparent manner. 

We ask Mr. President, that you intervene to ensure that Dr Monnett’s investigation is put onto a more just and transparent pathway, and is rapidly concluded so as not to drag on and 
interrupt his professional career. 

We look to you making it clear that your commitment to removing political interference in the conduct of science, expressed in your 2009 presidential order, is taking effect.

We support the call for a full inquiry into Dr Monnett’s suspension.

Yours sincerely, 

Dr Peter Tait, MBBS, FRACGP, MClimateChange 

Stephan Lewandowsky, 
Winthrop Professor of Psychology, University of Western Australia 
Australian Professorial Fellow 

Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland and 
Queensland Smart State Premiers Fellow (2009-2013) 

Prof. Michael Ashley, Professor of Physics at the University of New South Wales 

cc Dr John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the 
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's 
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

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