The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

VA Attorney General Cuccinelli Harasses Climate Scientist

UCS Calls for Him to Rescind His ‘Misguided’ Investigation


In a letter
sent late yesterday afternoon to Virginia Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) asked Cuccinelli to
rescind his misguided investigation into the work of climate scientist
Michael Mann. Mann, a professor at Penn State University, was on the
faculty of the University of Virginia between 1999 and 2005.

Cuccinelli's office sent the University of Virginia a "civil
investigative demand" on April 23, effectively subpoenaing documents
related to state grants Mann received. The letter demanded that the
university turn over many types of documents, including correspondence
between Mann and other climate scientists whose names appear in emails
stolen from Britain's University of East Anglia that were publicized
last year.

In the emails, scientists expressed frustration about relentless
attacks on their data and research methods. Every investigation
conducted thus far into the contents of the emails has found that the
scientific foundation of climate science remains robust. A number of
investigations over the last few years also have vindicated Mann's data
and research methods.

Below is a statement by Timothy Donaghy, a scientific integrity
analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"While the stolen emails have provided grist for the blogosphere,
independent investigations have found that Michael Mann's research is
scientifically defensible and that climate science in general is sound.
Attorney General Cuccinelli's misguided investigation is tantamount to
yet another dog barking up the same tree.

"It is unacceptable to go after Dr. Mann and other climate scientists
simply because you don't agree with their research results. The public
would be better served by an attorney general who refrains from
distracting and intimidating scientists and confusing the public about
climate change science.

"Mr. Cuccinelli's frivolous investigation sends a chill throughout
the science community. He needs to realize that science thrives on open
communication and debate. If scientists are deprived of their ability to
challenge each other's work without fear of legal action, public
understanding is bound to suffer."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.