Turning the tables: Virginia AG Cuccinelli under investigation for climate probe by Greenpeace

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Greenpeace has filed a Freedom of Information request with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office asking for records of his communications with climate change ‘skeptics’ and ‘conservative’ organizations such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and the Cato Institute. Greenpeace is seeking to expose some of the inner workings of the network of denialists who are attempting to discredit the work of certain climate scientists and stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, SolveClimate reports.

Earlier CSW posts:
July 1: Interview with Michael Mann on the Penn State Final Report and the war on climate scientists
May 28: University petitions court to quash Cuccinelli subpoena of climate scientist Michael Mann’s papers

Excerpt from post on SolveClimate:

Virginia AG Cuccinelli Under Investigation for Climate Probe—By Greenpeace

Is his investigation of climatologist Michael Mann an unlawful, unduly burdensome and impermissible intrusion into scientific research? 

by Elizabeth McGowan - July 6, 2010

…The environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace US is now doggedly pursuing a tangled paper trail which they hope will expose the inner workings of a well-connected network of naysayers attempting to discredit the work of certain climate scientists and to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from deploying the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases….

Since becoming Virginia’s top lawyer under the Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell administration this year, [Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli] has joined handfuls of other states in filing a lawsuit against EPA for attempting to curb greenhouse gases, challenged federal health care reform and directed state-funded universities to remove sexual orientation from their list of anti-discrimination policies.

The legal action against EPA came after the agency ruled in December that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health. Virginia and the other states want to force EPA to reopen hearings on its December finding or block the regulations.

Their claim is that EPA’s finding depends on faulty data from the U.N.‘s climate science panel.

That latter argument is what intrigues Greenpeace researchers who are seeking transparency about who is financing attempts to undermine the work of Mann and other IPCC scientists.

Greenpeace filed Freedom of Information requests with the University of Virginia back in December and with Cuccinelli’s office in June. Specifically, the environmental advocates are looking to see if there’s a link between the attorney general and two former University of Virginia professors who argue that the man-made causes of global warming are being vastly exaggerated.

Patrick Michaels is now a senior fellow in environmental studies with the conservative Washington-based Cato Institute. He resigned from his position as Virginia’s climatologist after 27 years when critics pointed out the utility industry was funding his research. S. Fred Singer, a retired environmental science professor, is now the president of an organization he calls the Science and Environmental Policy Project.

Both climate skeptics are part of an echo chamber that continues to exaggerate the importance of the strategically circulated “Climategate” e-mails, [Greenpeace research director Kert] Davies said.

In February, Singer filed a petition requesting that the EPA withdraw its endangerment finding. He submitted it as co-founder of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, along with representatives from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project.

What information is Greenpeace seeking about Michaels and Singer? For starters, they want a list of grants that financed their research. The organization also has requested conflict-of-interest statements, disclosure forms on outside income, correspondence with conservative advocacy groups and correspondence with ExxonMobil and other companies.

From the attorney general’s office, Greenpeace wants correspondence with confirmed climate change skeptics and conservative organizations such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Cato Institute…. [emphasis added]

Cuccinelli has not yet responded to Greenpeace’s FOI request….

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