Why is UVa Hiding M.Mann Behind a Legal Smoke Screen? (published in the Charlottesville “THE HOOK” on June 24, 2010)

UVa’s response to the legal request by A.G. Ken Cuccinelli for documents of climatologist M. Mann has been couched in terms of “defense of academic freedom.” UVa is presumably spending taxpayer monies to hire an international law firm to seek other options, rather than open the halls of academia. Is there something to hide in Mann’s documents? What aspect of academic freedom is being threatened? Are documents of ex-UVa Prof Pat Michaels being released to Greenpeace after similar deliberations? Public funding comes with legal strings attached. The public is entitled to know that assumed academic integrity is being upheld.
Cuccinelli has stated he is not investigating the scientific merit of Mann’s work. Others, including Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, and the 2006 U.S. Senatorial (Wegman Commission) investigation have already done so. In 2001, Mann re-wrote global temperature history with his “hockey stick” graphic portal of an unperturbed temperature record until the modern industrial age showed a rapid upswing. His flat-line portion of the plot erased the warmer medieval and the cooler little-ice-age periods, both documented in written and pictorial history. The Canadian researchers demonstrated that the hockey stick graph was an artifact of the data processing algorithms used by Mann. An input of random numbers fed into the same process also produced hockey sticks. The Wegman commission noted that Mann considered his data his intellectual property, chose to withhold it selectively from his peers, and from general peer review, leading to the term “pal reviewed.”
How quaint that Greenpeace spokesman Davies is “seeking transparency” in who is financing research which he deems “undermining” global warming, and seeking ties to oil and conservative advocacy organizations. He neglects to mention that Greenpeace has reportedly received funding from the Rockefeller Funds (Standard Oil money) and Blue Moon (Cities Service oil money).
UVa’s response echoes that of the cabal of celebrity climatologists involved in the “climategate” scandal. U.K. climatologist Phil Jones actively eluded Freedom of Information Requests for his data. “Hide the decline” is now linked to M. Mann. Penn State continues to investigate Mann. Academic freedom does not obviate academic accountability.

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