The right to question Michael Mann's climate research

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Michael E. Mann's Oct. 8 Washington Forum commentary, "Science isn't a political experiment," explained clearly how his ideas on climate science are superior to any accumulation of countervailing facts, and it showed that he's plainly still annoyed that I questioned some of those ideas by holding a public hearing to evaluate them in 2006.

The reality is that the two-day hearing made it clear that Mr. Mann's global warming projections were rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as "consensus" by a closed network of friends. The hearing strengthened science because it was informed by various expert work, including that of the National Research Council, which corroborated our central concerns. Mr. Mann's miscalculations would persist today except that they were identified and discussed in public.

Mr. Mann, however, wants to return to the bad old days when nobody was permitted to question the research that drives public policy. He insists that Congress simply do what he says because free debate is troublesome and because anyone who wonders if Mr. Mann got it right can be silenced with derision. I think Mr. Mann is entitled to make up his own mind, but not his own truth.

Joe Barton, Washington

The writer, who represents Texas's 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, is the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company