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Frivolous lawsuits aimed to attack climate scientists

climate-changeClimate scientists are under attack from frivolous lawsuits, Skeptical Science Lauren Kurtz 7 July 2016 Today’s climate scientists have a lot more to worry about than peer review. Organizations with perverse financial incentives harass scientists with lawsuit after lawsuit, obstructing research and seeking to embarrass them with disclosures of private information.

On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climatescientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody CoalArch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue.

Formerly named the American Tradition Institute, E&E has been described as “filing nuisance suits to disrupt important academic research.”

E&E originally attacked Dr. Michael Mann, whose research shows a dramatic increase in recent temperatures in a graph popularly known as the “hockey stick.” In 2011, the group sued under Virginia open records laws to obtain six years of Dr. Mann’s emails from the University of Virginia—over 10,000 messages in total. The Virginia Supreme Court denied E&E’s claims and ruled that academic research correspondence should be protected because release would cause “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.”

E&E did not relent. Despite losing in Virginia, the group brought another open records case in Arizona to demand the same six years of emails—this time from Dr. Mann’s coauthor, University of Arizona professor Dr. Malcolm Hughes. Additionally, E&E sued for thirteen years of emails from UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leadauthor Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, also at the University of Arizona.

In court filings, E&E acknowledges it seeks emails that, in its words, “embarrass both Professors Hughes and Overpeck and the University.” These smear tactics serve no role in scientific discourse, but are an attempt to distract, disrupt, and intimidate legitimate researchers.

n an ongoing federal case, the conservative group Judicial Watch—which claims climatescience is a “fraud science”—has sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for thousands of climate scientists’ emails related to a 2015 climate change study published in ScienceCongressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who accusedNOAA of having an “extreme climate change agenda,” unsuccessfully sought the same emails last year.

In addition to the Arizona case, E&E attorney Christopher Horner paired with another fossil fuel industry funded-group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to sue for the emails of climate communications professor Dr. Edward Maibach. While Dr. Maibach sought to intervene in the litigation, the judge ruled that he lacked jurisdiction. Thousands of pages of Dr. Maibach’s emails were released, and plaintiffs posted them to the internet with quotes pulled out of context and commentary calling him and other climateresearchers “frauds,” “snake oil salesman,” and worse.

Click here to read the rest      http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-scientists-under-attack-frivolous-lawsuits.html

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July 8, 2016 - Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA

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