From ‘hide the decline’ to hide the truth

Michael Mann worked at the University of Virginia’s (U.Va.) department of environmental sciences when he produced what was hailed at the time as the “smoking gun” affirming the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming – the Hockey Stick – which is one of the most high-profile claims used to advance massive economic-intervention policies in the name of “global warming.”

Mann’s records have remained at U.Va. since his departure from the faculty. They were created by Mann who was using taxpayers money in the shape of research grants. The Washington Examiner picks up what happened when a request was made to see the research data so others could test whether it was sound:

In response to a previous FOIA request, U.Va. denied these records existed. However, during Cuccinelli’s [Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli] pre-investigation under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”), a 2007 law passed unanimously by Virginia’s legislature, which clearly covers the work of taxpayer-funded academics, U.Va. stunningly dropped this stance. For this reversal, the taxpayers of Virginia owe Cuccinelli a debt of gratitude.

Still, the school has spent upward of half a million dollars to date fighting Cuccinelli’s pursuit, now before the Virginia Supreme Court. However, Virginia’s transparency statute FOIA gives the school one week to produce the documents, and offers no exemption for claims U.Va. is using to block Cuccinelli’s inquiry.

These e-mails and other documents relate to claims made by Michael Mann to obtain, and claim payment under, certain taxpayer-funded grants. Mann worked at the university’s department of environmental sciences when he produced what was hailed at the time as the “smoking gun” affirming the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming.

First there was the blatant lie that the records did not exist, which was only dropped when the pre-investigation under the state Fraud Against Taxpayers Act began.

Then the supposed justification for withholding the records was given as ‘academic freedom’.  But U.Va. was perfectly happy to release emails and other material to Greenpeace that were compiled by Patrick Michaels, who also formerly worked in the same university department but was sceptical of Mann’s claims and the notion of a climate catastrophe. U.Va. has no legal basis for refusing the FOI, however:

In court in August, U.Va. opted against robustly defending, as a legal argument, its academic-freedom rationale for refusing to produce the records. Yet even this week, it is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to deny Cuccinelli’s request for documents possibly showing whether the dense Hockey Stick smoke indeed indicates fire.

So, just what is contained in Michael Mann’s records that makes the University of Virginia and/or Mann so desperate to withhold them from scrutiny? What is it they have to hide? The truth, perhaps?

Hat tip: Real Science

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