Attention Cuccinelli: Professor Mann Exonerated


    It will, I am sure, be a tremendous relief to Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Attorney General, to learn that a prestigious panel has completed a thorough review of Professor Michael Mann’s climate research, and concluded that there is “no substance” to allegations of misconduct levied against him last year by climate science deniers, which of course includes Mr. Cuccinelli.  Mr. Cuccinelli, as you recall, used his office to enter a law suit against Professor Mann for “fraud” while using a grant to investigate climate change when he was at the University of Virginia.  The Attorney General demanded every communication, e-mail, and scrap of paper relating to Mann held by the University as part of the evidentiary discovery phase of his law suit (i.e., he went on a fishing expedition). As reported in The Washington Post today. The Penn State Investigatory Committee’s final report determined that

    “Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.”

    Mr. Cuccinelli should also be comforted by the fact that a fellow-Republican, Sherwood Boehlert, former Congressman (R-NY), as Special Advisor to the Project on Climate Science, praised the report, commented:

    “This exoneration should close the book on the absurd episode in which climate scientists were unjustly attacked when in fact they have been providing a great public service…. The attacks on scientists were a manufactured distraction, and today’s report is a welcome return to common sense. While scientists can now focus on their work, policy makers need to address the very real problems of climate change.”


    Mr. Boehlert was formerly Chair of the House Science Committee. I trust that Virginia’s Attorney will understand that that remark about a “return to common sense” applies to himself.  

    The Penn State enquiry began almost immediately after it received many extreme complaints in the fall of 2009, when e-mails were stolen from the University of East Anglia and used by climate deniers to create the scandal now referred to as “Climategate,” wherein the deniers claimed to have proved that climate change was a hoax. Professor Mann said that his e-mails, used by deniers in creating the scandal, were “misrepresented, cherry-picked… (and) completely twisted to imply the opposite of what was actually being said.”

    Penn State looked into four formal allegations contained in the deniers’ complaints. Investigators determined the first three had no abustance, and today’s final report utterly debunked the last. In a nutshell: the accused scientists were exonerated, and it was concluded that “none of the information in the stolen e-mails alters the fundamental scientific findings of their research.” It should be brought to Mr. Cuccinnelli’s attention that both  the Times of London and the German paper Frankfurter Rundschau retracted their accounts of the allegations, and Newsweek called Climategate a “highly manufactured scandal.”

    Now, a rational person would conclude that Penn State has done Mr. Cuccinelli’s discovery work for him, that there is obviously no basis for his lawsuit, and that calling a halt will save Virginia taxpayers a mint of money.  If Mr. Cuccinelli persists, out of pique or stupidity, to soldier on in his law suit…. well, it has clearly become one of those “frivolous lawsuits” which Republicans profess to despise.

    Wake up, Atty. Gen., drop your futile fetish, get real, and save us taxpayers a bundle, quit your assault on academic freedom. I sincerely hope that isn’t asking too much of you.


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