The quality of the hockey stick data is too high to let the public get their hands on it.
Today, Virginia taxpayers, a state lawmaker and a public interest law firm are asking the University of Virginia to produce important “global warming” records under that state’s Freedom of Information Act. These are records the school no longer denies possessing but nonetheless refuses to release, even to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They address one of the most high-profile claims used to advance massive economic-intervention policies in the name of “global warming.”
In response to a previous FOIA request, U.Va. denied these records existed. However, during Cuccinelli’s 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.
Despite that lofty honorific, persistent controversy led promoters of this notorious “Hockey Stick” graph (principally, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) to stop advancing it as serious work.