Attack on Michael Mann “an ideologically motivated inquisition” says Nature

Posted on May 12, 2010


Today I am plagiarizing Climate Progress.  They did the work.  They found the quotes.  I’m just passing this stuff on in case it passed you by.

The sarcasm is mine.

At issue is the recent attack on science by Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli (Republican) who has issued a subpoena demanding documents from Michael Mann, climate scientist, using the 2002 Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act as his legal leverage.

(The next reading, children, will be the Salem witch trials….)

Michael Mann is most well-known for his famous “Hockey Stick” graph showing stunning rises in world temperature beginning near the end of the 20th century.  You saw the graph  rising over Al Gore’s left shoulder in that movie Al did.  You know the one.

Cuccinelli is a climate change denier of growing notoriety.  With the permission of Virginia’s Republican governor, he is now prepared to use the power of his high office in order to push his climate-denying agenda and attack climate scientists.

And Michael Mann is a magus among climate scientists as far as the frenzied denialists are concerned.  Just draw a target on him, why don’t you?  And Cuccinelli installed in new high office has a new bow and arrow.

But other scientists are not making gladsome noise about this particular abuse of state power.

An editorial in the prestigious scientific journal Nature states:

Mann’s research has been upheld by the US National Academy of Sciences, and an investigation by Pennsylvania State University into the e-mails also cleared Mann of any misconduct.  Given the lack of any evidence of wrongdoing, it’s hard to see Cuccinelli’s subpoena—and similar threats of legal action against climate scientists in a February report by climate-change denier Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma)—as anything more than an ideologically motivated inquisition that harasses and intimidates climate scientists.

The journal Physics Today puts it this way:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in a blatantly political move to help strengthen his support among the right wing for his bid to become the next governor, is causing uproar in the science community by investigating climate scientist and former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann.

Reportedly the University of Virginia, at first indicating that it would give in to the A-G’s subpoena, is now showing signs of resisting.

And Virginia state Senator, Donald McEachin (Democrat), has indicated that he will submit a bill so that in future the AG cannot issue a subpoena without actually issuing a lawsuit.  He said, “This is not only ludicrous and frivolous, wasting more taxpayer dollars and trampling on academic freedom, but the Attorney General has deprived Mr. Mann of his constitutional rights.”

Climate deniers using shady, unconscionable tactics?  Republicans stomping on constitutional rights in order to forward a right-wing agenda?

Business as usual.


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