Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A CLIMATE scientist who did research on the Great Barrier Reef for the Federal Government is accused of ripping off taxpayers to the tune of $556,508 by claiming bogus expenses related to his research – for seven years.
Authorities have frozen the superannuation and long-service leave of former career public servant Daniel Alongi pending a trial.
Police allege Alongi, from Townsville, created an elaborate ruse to claim bogus expenses while working for the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Alongi, who was well regarded in the science industry, allegedly pretended he was paying for “radioisotopes” imported from the US and to have samples analysed in US laboratories for his Great Barrier Reef research.
He told his boss he could “get a discount” on isotopes because he was a US citizen, and he claimed he was measuring carbon levels in “sediment core samples” taken from the Reef.
He has admitted to police that he made false invoices, credit card statements and created fake email trails to claim expenses over seven years, court documents state.
More background (not paywalled) here.
There is no suggestion at this stage that Alongi produced fake results for research papers, but in my opinion this has to be considered a possibility, if the charges against Alongi are upheld. After all, if Alongi falsely claimed to have spent half a million dollars on radioisotope testing, it would look pretty strange if he didn’t produce any false test results, to justify the expenditure of all that money. According to Research Gate, Alongi has helped author 140 publications, and has been cited 5,861 times.
All in the last few months has been bad for the image of mainstream climate science. First we had the the Shukla 20 scandal, and now we have the Alongi fraud case.
I’m not saying climate scientists are just in it for the money. I think there is substantial evidence that many of them truly believe. But clearly there is an awful lot of money on the table, which predominantly seems to go to scientists who support the position favoured by politicians. More than enough money to tempt the unscrupulous.
What if these cases are just the extremes? What if for every climate scientist who flagrantly breaches the rules, there are a host of less openly dishonest climate scientists who are just bending the rules a little, say spending a little more than they should on the odd perk, toning down adverse results, not rocking the boat, making sure they keep their well paid jobs?
If unscrupulous scientists are producing distorted or fake results, to stay safe, or to cover inflated expenses claims and, in the worst cases, outright theft of government funds, how many honest climate scientists have been deceived, by this ongoing contamination of the world’s climate knowledge?