Va. SC will hear AG's case over climate change research

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Mar 11, 2011


RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the University of Virginia in the matter of climate research by a former university professor.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that the state's high court will review the case.

The university, in separate filings in October, had asked a court to set aside the attorney general's latest demand, which targeted "the same professor on the same grounds that the court already found insufficient," it argued.

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. of Albemarle County Circuit Court had set aside the attorney general's original civil investigative demand issued on Aug. 30.

However, on Sept. 29, Cuccinelli submitted a narrower demand, seeking information on one $214,700 grant issued by the university to former professor Michael Mann and two other researchers.

Citing Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, the attorney general said he wanted to investigate whether Mann used fraudulent data to obtain the funds.

Mann, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the university from 1999 to 2005, is known for his research on global warming. He now teaches at Pennsylvania State University.

It was Mann who produced the widely publicized "hockey stick" graph showing a sharp increase in global average temperatures in the industrial age.

His work was called into question in the investigations into the so-called Climategate scandal following the unauthorized release of hundreds of e-mails from a British climate center.

However, several investigations, including an extensive review of his research by Penn State, have cleared him of academic misconduct.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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