The following item was recently posted on the act4chemistry.org blog. What do you think?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli "has demanded that the University of Virginia turn over documents related to a former UVa climatology professor," reports the Charlottesville Daily Progress. The documents involve five federal grants received by Mann, who taught at the University of Virginia from 1999 to 2005.
"This really looks like a witch hunt, with a politician going after a researcher," says Aaron Huertas of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group. "The people attacking Mann are sidelining discussion about climate science with personal attacks on scientists."
To some, this seems like an attempt to intimidate scientists that brings back memories of the 2006 Congressional Investigation of Mann's work, which ACS opposed. If Cuccinelli finds something juicy, the politicians and cynics will guarantee that any efforts to head off disaster will full-stop and climate change will march onward unabated.
Here is a snippet from TheHook article in which a Mann colleague comments on Cuccinelli's demands:
One former UVA climate scientist now working with Michaels worries about politicizing— or, in his words, creating a “witch hunt”— what he believes should be an academic debate.
“I didn’t like it when the politicians came after Pat Michaels,” says Chip Knappenberger. “I don’t like it that the politicians are coming after Mike Mann.”
Making his comments via an online posting under an earlier version of this story, Knappenberger worries that scientists at Virginia’s public universities could become “political appointees, with whoever is in charge deciding which science is acceptable, and prosecuting the rest. Say good-bye to science in Virginia.”
Knappenberger really cuts to my disgust with this situation. Academic freedom exists so that scientists can learn about the universe without the fear of reprisal from the powerful. Are we now saying that the powerful can dictate scientific discourse? If so, it is a sad day.