BREAKING: Cuccinelli's climate change case dismissed

By Phil Plait | August 30, 2010 11:00 am

kencuccinelliI’ve written quite a bit about Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia State Attorney General who has been pursuing a witch hunt case against climate scientist Michael Mann (see "Related Posts" at the bottom of this post). Cuccinelli claims that while Mann was working at the University of Virginia, he was wasting taxpayer money researching global warming. Cuccinelli has subpoenaed files relating to Mann’s work. You can just guess how I feel about that (if you say it makes my irony gland explode, you win).

I just found out that a judge in this case has dismissed Cuccinelli’s subpoeana. The good news:

Cuccinelli did not show, [Judge] Peatross wrote, any evidence that Mann’s work was "misleading, false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia."


The bad news is that the judge left the door open for Cuccinelli to file more demands to obtain research documents. This sort of thing puts a chill on freedom of academic research, which is why UVa has fought so hard against Cuccinelli. Given that Thomas Jefferson founded UVa, the irony factor in this situation is very high indeed.

In the end, I don’t think Cuccinelli is going to get any traction with this case, except perhaps politically. He has been – haha – feeling the heat about this recently. No fewer than four science/free speech advocacy groups filed an amicus brief against Cuccinelli, there have been numerous press releases by the Union of Concerned Scientists (a group I am hit or miss with, but on this they’ve nailed it), and – while it was unrelated to this case specifically – the EPA has chimed in, rejecting anti-global warming claims.

Cuccinelli is a climate change denier, plain and simple. His attack against Mann was ill-advised and based on nothing but noise. After all the overwhelming evidence against his claims, if Cuccinelli continues to pursue this case I hope people come to realize who is really wasting taxpayers’ money.


Related posts:

- Cuccinelli warms to his task of climate change denial
- Climategate’s death rattle
- UVa will fight climate change attack
- New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience

Comments (63)

  1. DGKnipfer

    I wonder if Virginia tax payers can file suit against their AG?

  2. Jeremy

    So with global warming there are winners and there are losers. In that EPA report they mention shifting precipitation patterns. I’ve noticed the last few named storms from the Atlantic have turned away from Florida where I happen to live. Therefore I am all for this global warming because I believe I will be one of the winners, not a loser.

    I’ll be back after I go and buy a hummer without it’s catalytic converter.

    /sarcasm

  3. Mark

    I moved to Virginia last year, and feel sorry for the locals. How did this berk get in?

    Also, Jeremy: it’s catalytic converter what? :D
    (sorry)

  4. Tensor

    Jeremy, I live in Florida too. While being for global warming might be good for turning away hurricanes*, most of Florida will be underwater by the time all the glaciers melt.

    *(and for anyone who wants to jump on me about the hurricane thing, yes, I know it isn’t due to global warming.)

  5. Would it be too much for Cuccinelli to cease his political grandstanding and just do his job? Wishful thinking, I know. The people who side with Cuccinelli will never acknowledge that what essentially amounts to a witch hunt is an absolute waste of state resources.

  6. One thing to note is that while Cuccinelli can (and will, sigh….) file again, he was specifically admonished for seeking too much information. Since the information should be restricted to a single grant application, it would no longer include 10 years of email or every computer program ever written by Michael Mann during his tenure at UVa.

    Unless of course, Cuccinelli ignores that bit of the ruling and again asks for the kitchen sink. In which case he can look forward to having his case dismissed with prejudice (i.e. not allowed to file ever again) at the next hearing.

  7. Scott B

    This was always a fishing trip to score points with his voting base. Was always going to end like this. Now he can claim that the establishment is keeping him from revealing the truth or something to score some more points. Just like with seemingly everything else political today, those that already don’t agree with him will see that he’s wasting money and those that agree with him will turn a blind eye.

  8. Not sure pogrom is the right word there.

  9. jaranath

    Gotta say, I don’t think angry letters or amicus briefs from science orgs, free speech orgs and the EPA count as “feeling the heat” when you’re Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia.

  10. keith

    I’m sorry my AG is an idiot. I did not vote for him.

  11. Solius

    53.1-51. Intentional violations constitute malfeasance.

    Intentional violations of 53.1-47 through 53.1-49 and 53.1-52 by any such department, institution or agency, continued after notice from the Governor to desist, shall constitute malfeasance in office, and shall subject the officer or officers responsible for such violations to suspension or removal from office, as may be provided by law in other cases of malfeasance.

    (Code 1950, 53-72; 1982, c. 636.)

    I won’t be holding my breath waiting for McDonnell to issue a “cease and desist”. Perhaps, someday, they both will be indicted for malfeasance.

  12. Chris Winter

    I agree with Vagueofgodalming (#8).

    Pogrom (n.) — an organized massacre, especially of Jews.

    Origin: 1880–85; (< Yiddish) < Russ pogróm lit., destruction, devastation (of a town, country, etc., as in war), n. deriv. of pogromít’, equiv. to po- perfective prefix + gromít’ to destroy, devastate, deriv. of grom thunder

    Per Dictionary.com

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pogrom

  13. @keith:

    Can we just reclassify Cuccinelli as our official State Troglodyte?

  14. Zucchi

    This is what happens when what should be purely a factual scientific question is treated like a political position. People end up essentially arguing against reality, as if it were something that could be suppressed, outvoted or negotiated away.

  15. (8), (12), point taken. I didn’t know the word had such a specific definition! I changed it to “attack”. Thanks for letting me know.

  16. All I can say is YAY!!!
    I tweeted about this last week, saying I thought Paul Peatross was a good man and wouldn’t disappoint us. He came through. Too bad about leaving the door open for an appeal, though.

    Full disclosure: Judge P. came to my wedding reception in 1992. So did 3 other judges. This sort of thing happens when you marry a lawyer. Ya put out tenderloin & scallops wrapped in bacon and they descend on ya! Charlottesville’s funny like that!

  17. Cheyenne

    “Peatross added, however, that the attorney general is within his rights to issue CIDs — which carry the legal weight of subpoenas — to investigate taxpayer-funded research grants awarded to professors such as Mann.

    Cuccinelli said in a statement that he will send a new CID to UVa to continue his hunt for proof that Mann defrauded Virginia’s taxpayers in obtaining grants that funded his climate change research.”

    And on it goes…..

  18. zamia

    Cuccinelli’s feeling a lot of heat: Richmond is 97 F degrees with a “Code Orange” air quality alert.

    He’s getting plenty of traction with the people behind him. Note that the Maine Republican Party Platform includes a Plank to investigate climate scientists. (The party was overrun by Tea Partyers). Somebody big wants this kind of nonsense and the taxpayers of Virginia don’t matter.

    If you haven’t read the New Yorker article on the Koch brothers, do so. It’s a clue as to the kind of money and power behind AGW denial:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?printable=true

  19. Dan

    I’m with keith (10).

    Also, Phil, I think you left out a word in the original post. He’s the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, and he’s making a mockery of the office.

  20. Jeff Wright

    This is even worse than Santorum’s Accu-weather bill, which sought to force farmers to purchase forcasts from Accu-weather, since that company wanted NWS/NOAA not to provide free content.

    Rather like me placing a toll-booth at the end of your driveway and forcing you to pay me for a road your tax-dollars already pay for.

  21. I’m not one to stereotype an entire state or region for their incompetent leaders. Not everyone voted for them. Anyway, I spent last week vacationing in Virginia’s lovely Northern Neck, and beforehand partly as an experiment and partly as a goof I made up a couple of t-shirts that read, “Being a climate change-denying corporate-shilling teabagger is easy. Learning the facts is even easier.”

    Well, was I pleasantly surprised by how many hellos, nods and smiles I received! Sure there were a few quiet sneers directed my way, but they were all from folks who appeared to be yacht owners, so maybe they just didn’t like the cut of my working class jib.

    Moral of the story — there’s some mighty smart and awfully nice folks down in Virginia’s lovely Northern Neck.

  22. Utakata

    Good news!

    Meanwhile it appears another “climate skeptic” loses his blind spot:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/30/bjorn-lomborg-climate-change-u-turn

  23. vince charles

    That’s now five outside, independent inquiries ruling that Mann did nothing… or is it six now?

  24. John

    Read this (if you can) … Mcshane, B.B. and Wyner, A. J.: A Statistical Analysis Of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions Of Surface Temperatures Over The Last 1000 Years Reliable? Submitted to the Annals of Applied Statistics

    Pity Ken didn’t show that to the judge.

    Vince Charles says; “That’s now five outside, independent inquiries ruling that Mann did nothing… or is it six now?”

    Well, Vince, you champion, does it count as an inquiry if the data is not released?

  25. Oops, added the word “General” in the post. Typo, plain and simple.

  26. Paul from VA

    John,

    You mean the same McShane and Wyner paper that gives an 80% probability that 1996-2006 was the warmest decade of the past 1000 years?

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/a_new_hockey_stick_mcshane_and.php

    Also, what more data do you want released, Mann’s most recent reconstructions are already publicly available on the internet:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann2008/mann2008.html

  27. Dan I.

    Take it from a Virginian Phil, this is actually one of Cuccinelli’s LEAST kooky acts.

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    Here’s the take on Cuccinelli & “climategate by Peter Sinclair in case folks haven’t seen it already :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WvasALL-hw&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&index=6

    2 minutes 38 secs in is where Cuccinelli comes up – or should that be goes down? ;-)

    See also the “Crock of the Week” debunkings of climategate parts I & II :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&index=13

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJFZ88EH6i4&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&index=14

    That noted in some ways its a shame because a high profile “climategate” case could be the equivalent of the Dover trial for ID or even the Scopes trial. It could have been a big public rebuttal allowing a judge to authoritively slam & dismiss the “Climate Skeptics” arguments.

  29. Brian Too

    Didn’t witch hunts go out of style in the 17th century?

    Also, isn’t there any P&P in Cuccinelli’s workplace against misuse of government resources? For that matter, isn’t there a simple rule against accidental irony? Pot, meet kettle!

  30. sneepy

    Is US going to change it’s legislation to be based on hallucinations of the deniers of science?

  31. It makes my irony gland explode!

    (What do I win?)

  32. Scott B

    @33 Better that than the hallucinations of those ignorant of economics. Personally, I think there’s a balance somewhere between the two where we can use green energy sources in some areas to supplement coal, continue to increase fuel efficiency, and replace some of our coal plants with nuclear while devoting more funds to developing future sources of energy and energy storage. Basically, not much different that what we are already doing though we need to drop the aversion to nuclear. The key IMO is that we can’t recklessly force our society to use less energy and expect that not to have a significant negative impact on our economy and ultimately quality of life.

  33. This man has made my state of Virginia nothing but a mockery. Between his attempted change of the State Seal to be “less offensive”, suing the federal government over the healthcare law that was passed earlier this year, suing the EPA over their claim that CO2 is linked to global warming, to suing the UVA research professor claiming fraud even though his work was peer reviewed and accepted.

    The worst part was that Cuccinelli has been trying to use inapplicable laws in trying to bring this suit to court(the funding was Federally provided or before the start of the law used making it outside the jurisdiction of the state) and not even meeting the burden of proof for his claims. If anyone should be sued for taxpayer fraud in Virginia, it is this man. He has been blowing state employees’ time and taxpayers’ money on numerous frivilous (yet politcally motivated) lawsuits instead of focusing on real issues that a state’s Attorney General should be focusing on.

  34. Messier Tidy Upper

    There’s already a “Cuccinelligate” entry on this on Wikipedia albiet a redirect :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuccinelligate

    @ 31. Brian Too Says:

    Didn’t witch hunts go out of style in the 17th century?

    If only that were true. :-(

    From wikipedia again :

    Witch hunts still occur today. Witch-hunts against children were reported by the BBC in 1999 in the Congo[21] and in Tanzania, where the government responded to attacks on women accused of being witches for having red eyes.[22] A lawsuit was launched in 2001 in Ghana, where witch-hunts are also common, by a woman accused of being a witch.[22] Witch-hunts in Africa are often led by relatives seeking the property of the accused victim.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchhunts#Modern_witch-hunts

    To say nothing of the politial variety which has never really gone out of vogue .. :roll:

    PS. Just found out that the guy who runs this site :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    is a fellow Aussie. :-)

    Its well worth checking out as a source of info & resources on the Anthropogenic Global Warming issue.

  35. Steve Metzler

    Scott B (#35):

    What you are proposing is good in principle, and is addressing the problem in a realistic, achievable, and economically responsible manner. But we also need a better way than at present to incentivise the development of renewable energy sources, to make them viable as the cost-effective energy sources of our future. Such a way forward has been proposed by James Hansen:

    Carbon tax and dividend vs. cap and trade

    As Hansen spells out in that article, cap and trade is a disaster waiting to happen. Too many loopholes and back doors will ensure that Business As Usual™ continues, with the CO2 problem getting worse and the coal and oil companies still raking it in – virtually unabated – for years to come. And… there will even be a new source of wealth for an elite few at the expense of our environment: trading in carbon credits.

    Nuclear is probably OK in the short term, but we don’t want to be relying on it long term. We need to get renewables like wind and solar scaled up, and priced at the point that they can replace coal and oil (with the tax on coal and oil making it a ‘fair fight’). Carbon tax and dividend is the way to:

    1. Get both individuals and industry to stop using ‘dirty’ energy.
    2. Give private industry the incentive to develop cheap, large scale, renewable energy sources.

  36. Mat

    So all of you believe that global warming in vindicated because of this ruling should also know that the rulings judge’s wife worked with Mann and the university division that would have been hurt if this case proceeded… now can you say conflict of interest.

    http://biggovernment.com/chorner/2010/08/31/judge-in-virginia-global-warming-investigation-blocks-inquiry-into-his-wifes-former-employer/

  37. Messier Tidy Upper

    Off topic sorry, but thinking Wikipedia – today’s featured article on the Wikipedia homepage is Oberon :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberon_(moon)

    A moon of the sideways gas giant Ouranos which looks rather weirdly familiar to Earth’s Moon. ;-)

    Back on topic – that first news item linked above by the BA is currently third in the “most popular” sidebar there. Wonder if that’s down to us? ;-)

  38. Messier Tidy Upper

    The linked news item there I’ll note also seems to show *both* Cuccinelli & Mann claiming victory in this case :

    “While this was not an outright ruling in our favor, I am pleased that the judge has agreed with my office on several key legal points and has given us a framework for issuing a new civil investigative demand to get the information necessary to continue our investigation into whether or not fraud has been committed against the commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said.

    Hmm .. I think we can tell know how Cuccinelli will be spinning this case then & what tactic he’ll be trying next. :roll:

    So I wouldn’t be so sure that – politically & in court of public opinion anyhow – this has been such a huge setback for Cuccinelli’s quixotic crusade. A bit of a one maybe but not the end of this story by any means.

    @39. Mat :

    There’s been more than just one inquiry (four? five?) and all have cleared Mann of serious wrong-doing to, natch, very little media publicity.

    That said, I’ll admit that the old saying about Caesers wife needing not merely to *be* above reproach but also to be seen to be above reproach applies here.

    I think Mann is right and desserevs to be cleared onc eand for all from what I’ve read.

    However, I will conceed that some of the “Mann clearing” enquiries have some appearances of being .. um .. problematic. Of being whitewashes or dubious in some some respect or other as Mat implies. This may well NOT be the case but it has been & will be argued and how it *looks* to the broader community matters too when it comes to them accepting the legitimacy of the scientists and the science.

    You know I think I’d really like to see a direct confrontation between Mann & Cuccinelli in court.

    If or when that happens I think Mann will pawn (right slang term?) Cuccinelli & demolish the “climate skeptics” arguments in high visiblity, precedent-setting, landmark style.

    As I noted earlier (#30) there’s potential for an AGW Scopes or Dover trial moment here.

  39. Steve Metzler

    Mat (#39):

    So all of you believe that global warming in vindicated because of this ruling should also know that the rulings judge’s wife worked with Mann and the university division that would have been hurt if this case proceeded… now can you say conflict of interest.

    You’ve mangled a few facts from the linked article: she never worked with Mann. She worked in the *same building* as a former colleague of Mann’s. It is not clear (yet) whether she actually worked for one of Mann’s colleagues. And even if she did work with one of his colleagues, aside from this witch hunt of Cuccinelli’s being more of a waste of taxpayer’s money than anything Mann could have possibly done in the pursuit of science, I’d love to see this come in front of another judge and see Cuccinelli get shot down in flames *again*. Just how many times does this poor Mann guy have to be vindicated? It’s becoming like a second career for him.

    Oh, and speaking of which, it’s not global warming that has been vindicated. It’s the right of scientists to be able to do their jobs without nutcases like Cuccinelli with an obvious partisan political agenda being allowed to interfere, without a scrap of evidence to suggest there is anything worth investigating. This is simply a case of shooting the messenger because you don’t like the message.

  40. So all of you believe that global warming in vindicated because of this ruling should also know that the rulings judge’s wife worked with Mann and the university division that would have been hurt if this case proceeded… now can you say conflict of interest.

    I don’t think anyone (other than those suffering badly from the Dunning Kruger effect) believe this case to have any bearing on the reality of global warming.

    The anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is vindicated by the vast amounts of evidence showing simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, isotopic analysis showing that CO2 increases are due to fossil fuel burning, and a wealth of other evidence.

  41. Scott B

    Steve Metzler (#35):

    “Carbon tax and dividend is the way to:

    1. Get both individuals and industry to stop using ‘dirty’ energy.
    2. Give private industry the incentive to develop cheap, large scale, renewable energy sources.”

    I don’t see how this works without many unintended(?) consequences. A carbon tax directly forces people and more importantly businesses to use less energy or pay more for the energy they use. Now I’m sure places can take further small steps to do that, but companies are generally run pretty efficiently today. I don’t think there’s a lot of savings here. So companies will either need to pay their employees less, hire less employees, and/or raise the prices of their goods/services. Not to mention that people now have to pay more for their own power usage. So they have less disposable income to use those goods/services which now cost more or they use less energy.

    Bottom line, I see no way that this does not have a significant impact on unemployment and our cost of living. This at a time when we’re already struggling to compete in a global market where the cost of doing business is already higher here than most places and our productivity is almost all we have. We’re going to do this in the hope (no guarantee here) that the money generated will develop cheap energy sources? I’m willing to be convinced, but this doesn’t sound like a sound business plan. Jim Hansen surely didn’t convince me in that article. Personally, I’m not willing to take this kind of gamble with my current quality of life or the future of my family. I’d much rather divert money (say a fraction of the billions we waste on military) to developing future alternative energy needs without forcing a dramatic change on our entire economy and style of life. Once we have developed some things that will work then, if necessary, we can manipulate the economy to force people to use these solutions. At least then we’ll have a plan rather than hope.

  42. MartinM

    Read this (if you can) … Mcshane, B.B. and Wyner, A. J.: A Statistical Analysis Of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions Of Surface Temperatures Over The Last 1000 Years Reliable? Submitted to the Annals of Applied Statistics

    Pity Ken didn’t show that to the judge.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you lack the requisite background to critically evaluate that paper.

  43. Steve in Dublin

    Scott B (#44):

    I’m with you on the whole military thing. Trillions of squandered dollars there that can be put to better use in the civilian sector. If only it were that easy. Because:

    a) The Republicans wouldn’t allow the military budget to be cut enough to make a difference
    b) Realistically, there are a lot of people employed by the U.S. military industrial complex. I used to be one of them :-O

    OK… so you have reservations about Hansen’s proposed carbon tax and 100% dividend scheme. No such thing as a free lunch, and all that. But (I believe) the money generated *will* push companies to develop scaleable, renewable energy sources. That’s exactly the idea behind the tax. It gives them no other choice. The tax starts off small to mitigate the effects on the economy when we’re first starting off, but ramps up over time.

    Question for you: do you think cap and trade will work better?

    That’s me, Steve Metzler. In the process of switching over from my pseudonym.

  44. Messier Tidy Upper

    I think Mann should say bring it on. If his position is as strong as it appears then I can’t see how he could fail to win and publicly strengthen his case & weaken that of the “climate skeptics” assuming a fair judge & trial. I don’t know why Mann’s fighting this and not saying “bring it on.”

    I also wonder if Michael Mann (plus maybe some other climatologists) is considering counter-suing & taking legal actions against Ken Cuccinelli (maybe Inhofe & others too) perhaps on the grounds of defamation / libel, vexatious litigation / legal harrassment and maybe loss of income by having to spend so much valuable time and effort fighting Cuccinelli’s quixotic crusade. Not sure of the legal position or a legal expert here – just a thought.

    PS. Is it just me or are these AGW threads attracting a lot less posts & a lot less “climate skeptics” here these days?

  45. I think Mann should say bring it on. If his position is as strong as it appears then I can’t see how he could fail to win and publicly strengthen his case & weaken that of the “climate skeptics” assuming a fair judge & trial. I don’t know why Mann’s fighting this and not saying “bring it on.”

    Presumably, because he has a life to lead. Lawsuits consume vast amounts of time and money. He almost certainly has far more interesting things to do with his time, than to indulge the histrionics of some omni-incompetent crackpot.

    It wouldn’t acheive anything anyway. The climate truthers would completely ignore the details of the case, and then (when he eventually won) make baseless accusations of “judicial activism”, “conflict of interest” and “whitewash”.

    PS. Is it just me or are these AGW threads attracting a lot less posts & a lot less “climate skeptics” here these days?

    Perhaps some of them are starting to realise that Al Gore’s personal life has little to do with the infrared absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide.

  46. Nigel Depledge

    Jeremy (2) said:

    So with global warming there are winners and there are losers. In that EPA report they mention shifting precipitation patterns. I’ve noticed the last few named storms from the Atlantic have turned away from Florida where I happen to live. Therefore I am all for this global warming because I believe I will be one of the winners, not a loser.

    I’ll be back after I go and buy a hummer without it’s catalytic converter.

    /sarcasm

    OK, I get that you’re parodying the deniers, but…

    Florida is likely to be much much smaller after sea levels have risen a couple of metres;

    And the catalytic converter makes precious little difference to emissions of greenhouse gases (in fact, there is a credible argument that the cat actually increases emissions of CO2 by ensuring that partial combustion products are fully combusted by the time they leave the exhaust system).

  47. Nigel Depledge

    Scott B (7) said:

    This was always a fishing trip to score points with his voting base. Was always going to end like this. Now he can claim that the establishment is keeping him from revealing the truth or something to score some more points. Just like with seemingly everything else political today, those that already don’t agree with him will see that he’s wasting money and those that agree with him will turn a blind eye.

    Wait, what?

    As a State Attorney General, surely Cuccinelli is the Establishment?

  48. Gary Ansorge

    The hoariest part of this politically inspired tirade is that if all Manns data WAS released, the Tea Baggers wouldn’t be able to understand it. Note: excerpts taken out of context are NOT scientifically useful or valid.

    This is a classic example of political hypocrisy and as I like to say, hypocrisy is the heart of corruption.

    I wonder if this case is an example of the Christian statement that the Devil is the Great Liar? As in Cuccinelli, Devil of the Year. We should have an award for that.

    Gary 7

  49. Scott B

    Steve in Dublin (#46):

    “Question for you: do you think cap and trade will work better?”

    Absolutely not. A carbon tax w/ 100% dividend is a much better policy than cap and trade. If I’m given the choice between a carbon tax and no change assuming that we have no other better options available, I’m not convinced that the status quo isn’t better than a carbon tax. It all comes down to how much one values the damage to our environment (judging the ranges of probable impacts) compared to how much our policies damage our quality of life.

    Many think that if we’re changing the environment, we should stop. Regardless of the cost or consequence. The more uncertainty there is about what our impacts will be the more reason we should stop. That’s fine, but not my view. I view our damage to the environment through the lens of how much it impacts people. If that impact is greater than the negative impacts of policies that will have an actual effect on people, I’ll support it.

  50. Scott B

    Gary Ansorge (#51):

    Republicans see liberal bias around every corner. In many of their minds they are never the establishment.

  51. Scott B

    Nigel Depledge (#50):

    “Florida is likely to be much much smaller after sea levels have risen a couple of metres”

    Sigh. It’s hard to see how sea levels are going to rise a couple of meters any time soon. Current sea level estimates show around a 3 mm/yr increase in sea level. If the linear trend that we’ve seen over the last century continues that would be a .27 m rise in sea level by 2100. The IPCC estimates a sea level rise by 2100 of 110 to 770 mm (nice range there…., at least they show the true uncertainty here) by 2100. That rise was from 1990 – 2100, but let’s even assume the 770 mm for the next 90 years. That’s even less than a meter.

    Now look at this interactive map. http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/florida.shtml

    Swap the value between 0 to 1m rise. See how little changed? And that’s even more change than the highest estimate over the next century. Some people with coastal property would be affected, but it would have no impact on most people. Also, we don’t have enough fossil fuels to keep burning them at our current rate for more than a century. What we put in the air will stay there for a while, but we should also have far more advanced technology to deal with issues either through mitigation of carbon sequestration.

  52. Steve Metzler

    Scott B (#52):

    I view our damage to the environment through the lens of how much it impacts people. If that impact is greater than the negative impacts of policies that will have an actual effect on people, I’ll support it.

    So you only care about what’s happening *right now* with respect to the affects of AGW? It’s like saying: my doctor says I should give up smoking 40 cigarettes a day because I’m likely to develop lung cancer. So what? I don’t have lung cancer right now.

    We can’t wait for the effects of AGW to become so obvious that even the deniers will be forced to acknowledge it. By then a significant portion of the planet will be suffering the consequences. I’d say that changing precipitation patterns causing massive crop failures will affect people even more than rising sea levels. Science has given us a clear warning. It’s “pay me now, or pay me later”. Both the financial and environmental costs will be much less the earlier we take action.

    Here is a very good exposition of how the public opinion on AGW is being manipulated behind the scenes by corporate interests, with their stealth-funded think tanks and astroturf (fake grass roots) movements:

    The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama

    As far as AGW is concerned, their goal is inaction. So far, they have achieved it.

  53. Bubba

    Once again rational thought prevails over the mental illness that is organized religion.

  54. Steve Metzler

    Hahahaha. This just in:

    Peatross decides: Judge pens halt to Cuccinelli inquest

    From that article:

    The Peatross ruling blistered the AG’s office on several points including the state’s failure to state precisely why it believes that old emails relate to a monetary fraud. Additionally, Peatross found that only one of the five grants Mann received at UVA actually consisted of state money, and so it didn’t meet the requirements of the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, or FATA, the 2003 Virginia law that gave the AG the right to his so-called Civil Investigative Demand.

    And from a reader comment there by ‘Ferro’:

    1) 4 of the 5 grants were federal grants, and therefore the AG cannot investigate them (see section 5).

    2) The 5th grant was a state grant, but apparently was granted in 2001. Therefore FATA (not enacted until 2003) does not apply and the AG cannot issue a CID under FATA for it (see section 6).

    (my emphasis added) So Cuccinelli has *nothing*. Absolutely NOTHING. No grounds whatsoever for accusing Mann of wasting Virginia taxpayers’ money. An *attorney general* ff sake, and the guy didn’t even get a basic point of law right! This proves he’s just on a witch hunt. Now who’s been shown to be wasting the taxpayers’ money?

  55. Brian137

    That’s me, Steve Metzler. In the process of switching over from my pseudonym.

    But “Steve in Dublin” conjures images of the Emerald Isle, greener than green, barely within the Pale, and Quidditch World Cup Champs.

  56. Steve Metzler

    …and Quidditch World Cup Champs.

    It is somehow fitting, yet sad, that the only sport which my adopted country is world champion of is a fictitious one.

  57. Messier Tidy Upper

    Not sure why your changing from “Steve in Dublin” Steve.

    From your comment #57 :

    So Cuccinelli has *nothing*. Absolutely NOTHING. No grounds whatsoever for accusing Mann of wasting Virginia taxpayers’ money. An *attorney general* ff sake, and the guy didn’t even get a basic point of law right!

    Good to hear this news. :-)

    Except .. Virginia has an Attorney-General that bad at the law? Maybe that’s not so good. :-(

    Except maybe we should be happy that the opposition here is so appallingly useless and relieved they’re not better? :-)

    Whatever. Its good that Cuccinelli’s case been dismissed although I’d also love to see the Mann Vs Cuccinelli duel in court where a public, high-profile hopefully final slapdown could be delivered.

    @48. hyperdeath :

    Presumably, because he has a life to lead. Lawsuits consume vast amounts of time and money. He almost certainly has far more interesting things to do with his time, than to indulge the histrionics of some omni-incompetent crackpot.

    Yes that’s true enough but Mann’s *already* having his time wasted by Cuccinelli’s scientist harrassment crusade. He might as well shift from the defensive to the attack and counter-sue. Instead of fighting a series of painfully drawn out legal cases perhaps he’d be better off going for one big court slapdown sooner and get this whole farce all over with. I think it would also look better from a PR perspective.

    It wouldn’t acheive anything anyway. The climate truthers would completely ignore the details of the case, and then (when he eventually won) make baseless accusations of “judicial activism”, “conflict of interest” and “whitewash”.

    Well they would but for those not in that camp it would be a public display and rebuttal. The most commmitted climate truthers wouldn’t accept the result but many in the general public who are unsure may find a court case refuting the climate truthers case convincing. Or atleats something to make them think.

  58. zamia

    I read Cuccinelli’s brief. I’ve no legal training, but it was obvious that his law was as bad as his science.

    The judge’s decision broke out as I expected. I don’t think even Kook will have the nerve to appeal. He may have some way to bring the case back to the judge on the one state grant. Although not if it was over before the law was passed.

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