At long last, an Arizona Court has finally ruled to end actions by the University of Arizona (UA) to obstruct requests for public release of e-mails which can shed light upon scientifically dubious and intentionally misleading climate research practices which have had enormously far-reaching and costly government policy consequences.
On July 3, in response to a UA request to stay, a lower court order to release the e-mails, Arizona Superior Court Justice James Marner issued a terse seven-word decision . . . "Motion for Stay Pending Appeal is Denied."
The legal battle began more than six years ago with requests by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC) that UA respond to a public records request for all documents connected to what has come to be characterized as the Climategate e-mail scandal.
Briefly summarized, the controversy revolved around charges that UA researchers, in concert with others from around the world, suppressed data raising questions about evidence used to support the claim that humans are causing climate change, and pressured science journals through "pal-review" not to publish articles by climate alarm skeptics.
Of special interest is access to background information and supporting data concerning an infamous "hockey stick" graph which has factored prominently in alarmist predictions that Planet Earth is on the cusp of a man-made global warming crisis. E&E Legal has described this Mann-Bradley-Hughes temperature reconstruction as "what some consider the most influential publication of that decade."
The hockey stick graph was based heavily upon tree ring data taken from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Created by Michael Mann and his colleagues, it misleadingly purported to show that temperatures had been stable for 900 years until the 20th century, and then suddenly rocketed off the charts.
That image was politically featured to support urgency of a cap on carbon dioxide through the Kyoto Protocol which was being aggressively pushed at the time by Al Gore and the United Nations. It prominently and repeatedly appeared in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
A previously leaked November 2011 ClimateGate e-mail candidly criticized Mann’s research competency and objectivity. John Mitchell of the UK Hadley Center’s Met Office rhetorically asked, "Is the PCA [principal components analysis] approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems in the case of MBH, the answer in each is no."
Even Raymond Bradley, Mann’s co-author for his hockey stick paper, took issue with another article jointly published by Mann and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit Head, Phil Jones. Bradley wrote, "I’m sure you agree . . . The Mann/Jones GRL [Geophysical Research Letters] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year reconstruction."
The UA refused to respond to E&E Legal’s public record request. They instead circled defensive legal wagons around their professors’ assertions that the materials and communications were their private property, allowing them to voluntarily decide which to provide.
E&E Legal successfully argued that all of the emails requested were work-related and produced using taxpayer resources. UA then filed for a stay, unsuccessfully pleading that the "genie could not be put back in the bottle" if the trial court’s decision is reversed.
A July 3 FMELC press release quotes its member-manager David Schnare, who is prosecuting the case, "We asked for the full history of the hockey stick graph and much more. We sought the history of the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and discussions among scientists as they discussed climate papers and the then burgeoning antagonism between climate scientists not of the same mind."
Schnare added, "We did not take this case only to obtain the history of a very controversial period of time in the climate wars. We also took this case to cast sunlight on how public universities work, how they contribute to the formation of public policy, and how professors behave within the policy arena."
The UA’s appellate brief is due on July 30, to be followed by a FMELC response by September. A final appeals court decision isn’t expected until late this year, before then advancing to the Arizona Supreme Court.
As FMELC Executive Director Chaim Mandelbaum explained, "This case is not over, but we appear to be at the beginning of the end." The staff will soon be able to take a first look at the full history of all pertinent documents, not just selectively cherry picked items.
Whatever the final outcome, the costs have already been enormous. Never mind the millions of taxpayer dollars spent chasing science accountability records, or even the billions more spent each year supporting alarm-premised university and government climate research. These are but pittances compared with the many hundreds of billions, or even trillions, wasted through resulting burdensome environmental and energy policies set upon crumbling foundations of public trust.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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