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Climate scientists prepare for new attacks after GOP wins

In this political climate, is it possible to have a “rational discussion” about anything?

Democrats on the House Science and Technology Committee seem to think so. They’re holding a hearing today entitled “A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response.” The “discussion,” of course, is likely to devolve into an exchange of old bromides between politicians on both sides.

But the colloquy seems to have achieved what was, perhaps, its main purpose: to shine a light on the surprising number of House Republicans who either doubt or outright deny the science behind global warming. As Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones told Need to Know in our Climate Desk podcast last week, as much as half of the Republican caucus has openly denied that climate change is occurring, or that it is caused by human activity. And only one of the Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate in this month’s midterm elections  — Mark Kirk, of Illinois — has accepted the science behind global warming.

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Virginia AG recycles old claims in new climate change probe

Research by prominent climatologist Michael Mann is the subject of an investigation by Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli. Photo: Greg Rico

The Virginia attorney general has issued a new civil subpoena in his effort to obtain records related to the research of a prominent climate scientist at the University of Virginia, after failing to convince a state judge in August that the investigation should proceed.

The attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, had been investigating a former University of Virginia climatologist, Michael Mann, for possibly defrauding taxpayers with false research. A judge initially dismissed the request, saying Cuccinelli had failed to present “a reason to believe” that Mann had misled the public. But the judge also allowed Cuccinelli to rework his subpoena to comply with state law, and on Monday the attorney general issued a new request, or “civil investigative demand,” that he said satisfied the judge’s concerns.

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Judge denies request for records in UVA climate case

Michael Mann, now a climate scientist at Penn State, is being investigated by the Virginia attorney general for his global warming research. Photo: Penn State.

Updated | 4:55 p.m. A judge in Virginia has dismissed a request by the state’s attorney general for records related to the research of a former climate scientist at the University of Virginia. The attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, vowed immediately to try again with a new subpoena.

Cuccinelli had been investigating the climate scientist, Michael Mann, for possibly defrauding taxpayers with false research. Cuccinelli’s claims were based in large part on private emails by Mann and other climatologists that were hacked and posted online last year that seemed to suggest Mann had deliberately concealed or falsified data.

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