VA attorney general demands that university account for AGW research grants

From Watts Up With That.


No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli  directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

The Attorney General has the right to make such demands for documents under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, a 2002 law designed to keep government workers honest.

More at The Hook.

Cuccinelli is a Republican, of course. I hope he starts a trend! I also note that he is a graduate of the George Mason School of Law, one of the best places for conservatives to do a law degree (or an economics degree).

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13 thoughts on “VA attorney general demands that university account for AGW research grants”

  1. I agree with the above poster about the need for transparency. However, there are a couple of problems. Firslty, the data is already transparent, barring the usual embargoes designed to give priority on publication to specific research teams. Doubt me? A cursory web search will provide you with dozens of links to raw data depositories–and processed data as well. If you feel that you should perform your own analysis, be my guest. Secondly, of course, as a scientist I have little doubt about the general conclusions of climatology. Cuccinelli’s attack is less of a demand for transparency than a politically-motivated attempt to find some way of smearing the researchers involved. But, again, he is within his rights to do so, although I wonder how much public monies will be spent on this audit? If there is no evidence fo wrongdoing (which I am almost certain will be the case), the taxpayers will be stuck with the thoroughly unnecessary bill. Bit: no matter, perhaps that’s what it will take. And finally, fo course, what is the “smoking gun” of Climategate that you refer to? Outside of watching several scientists grumble to each other in their personal communications, there is no sign of any tampering with the data or anything that calls the general climatological conclusions into question. Embarrassing? Sure. Damning? Not even close.


    1. Most of your comment is opinion and phantom argument (I have evidence at home under my bed that can refute you!) so there is nothing for me to say.

      As for Climategate, the code from the simulation shows that the “scientists” cooked the books by applying a fudge factor to hide the decline in temperatures. Did you not hear about that? (I updated the main post with links)

      By the way, I actually AM a scientist. The kind that has multiple degrees in computer science. The code tells the whole story – they manipulated the simulations in order to artificially create global warming where there was none. Global warming is a hoax as was the Piltdown Man.


      1. Incorrect. The code shows no such thing. And I write code as well. Are you referring to the dummy variables that have been commented out in the final version? Or to the use of the word “trick”, which is rather commonplace across academic spectrum? (I do mathematical “tricks” all the time; and when teaching introductory physics, one applies all sorts of “tricks” to solving problems).

        And, naturally, I AM a scientist as well…:) But I am not interested in waving my degrees around (although one could argue that they are much more relevant to the question at hand than computer science), after all: the argument should stand and fall without appeal to authority. And the fact that global warming is happening is not in question: what is questionable, perhaps is the degree to which it is due to anthropogenic influences, and, of course, the power of government to regulate our lives based on this information.

        Roger: I recommend googling. There are depositories of data, and climatology blogs would have links to them…unless they were not interested in making the existence of such links known, right? :) I pulled your link down; will look at it…


        1. I’m going to stack my two degrees in computer science and 12 years of experience against your understanding. An array is declared and filled. The “adjustments” [adj] is applied to the raw data. The purpose is to hide the decline in temperature. It is clear to anyone who has ever touched a keyboard. The comment makes it all explicit. You are in denial. The line of code that applies the adjustment is NOT, I repeat, NOT commented out.


          1. Ypu are aware that the Oxburgh report cleared CRU of all scientific misconduct, of course? On the “fudges”, “the “fudge factor” computer codes were never used for published articles or data”. (Again, googling AND reading the actual research papers would do the trick. I try to keep up, even though it isn’t, specifically, my field (although I have a fair understanding of atmospheric physics, I am not a climatologist). Do you?).

            And please, if you are going to talk about great government conspiracies, or accusing scientists of lying, give some evidence. Also, when citing the conflict of interest concerns, do not forget millions of dollars spent by Bog Oil to manipulate and distort research findings, using, often, the same people who were previously involved in the tobacco coverups. Curious, that, no?


          2. He admits no such thing. You are either unaware of the context in which these remarks were
            made (and that should be inexcusable, seeing
            that the entire interview is available on the
            webz) or are unaware of the concepts of long-term
            vs short-term trends and of statistical


          3. Not me who said it, but the UK Daily Mail. Are they lying?

            …admitting that there is little difference between global warming rates in the Nineties and in two previous periods since 1860 and accepting that from 1995 to now there has been no statistically significant warming.


  2. I agree,

    If Mann’s raw data was available, I for one would be having a close look and so would thousands of others.

    If Jorge knows where I can get my hands on it I am all ears.

    The fact that this and his methods are still obscure is a perfectly good reason for the tax payer to be on guard.

    Actually talking about fudged data, what do you all think about this commentary on the callibration of ice core data?

    Oescheger, Stauffer, Neftel, Schwander and Zymbrunn




  3. I didn’t mention to you guys, but I have been in software for 30 years and that code looks pretty hairy to me.

    But I hope you can both check out that link I gave above. It shows how they got the ice core data to link up to the Mauna Loa data so precisely.




  4. Jorge,

    I would like to see Mann’s raw data, but I don’t think it is available anywhere in its original form.




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