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Scientist who said polar bears were drowning
Although it is unclear what the allegations are, a US government watchdog group representing Monnett says investigators are focused on observations of bears he and researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.
Just five years ago, Dr Charles Monnett, a federal wildlife biologist working in Alaska, stunned the world after spotting four polar bear bodies floating in the sea miles from shore.
Monnett and Gleason detailed their observations in an article published two years later in the journal Polar Biology, suggesting the increased incidence of storms caused by global warming, and the loss of ice for polar bears to walk on, could lead to more deaths in the future.
The article helped galvanize the global warming movement..
Yesterday it emerged Dr Monnett – who works for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in charge of a £30million project researching the Arctic's wildlife – is being investigated for 'integrity issues' apparently linked to the polar bear report.
A BOEMRE spokeswoman declined to comment on an “ongoing internal investigation.”
Monnett's suspension has infuriated conservationists who say the Obama administration is 'persecuting' the Anchorage-based scientist.
The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a complaint on Dr Monnett's behalf yesterday with BOEMRE.
Jeff Ruch, executive director of the watchdog group, said the investigator had not yet told Dr Monnett of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, and that the bureau had barred Dr Monnett from speaking to journalists.
Dr Monnett's bear sighting in 2004 was cited by Al Gore in his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
Monnett's paper helped make the polar bear a 'poster child' for the global warming movement, and in 2008, the U.S. classified the polar bear as a threatened species, with its survival at risk due to global warming.
Myron Ebell, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the case reinforces the group's position that people should be more skeptical about the work of climate change scientists.
"What we're being asked to do is turn our economy around and spend trillions and trillions of dollars on the basis of" climate change claims, he said.
Last year scientists working for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came under fire for exaggerating the threat of global warming.
The body falsely claimed Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 after lifting claims from an unsubstantiated report written by the green charity WWF.
Thanks to Emma Corry, Caroline Snyder, Charlie Carnes, Linda Binutti, Vern Peterman and Jim Glore for these links
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