May 4, 2010
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appears to have a new target in his ongoing challenge of global warming theories: a former University of Virginia professor.
Virginia's top prosecutor last month formally requested records connected to climate- change research done by the professor, Michael Mann, during his time at the Charlottesville institution.
Cuccinelli's April 23 request seeks documents related to Mann's grant-funded work at U.Va. Mann was on the faculty from 1999 to 2005.
Papers served to U.Va. officials indicate the attorney general is investigating possible violations of state fraud laws by Mann.
Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein declined to confirm or deny anything about the matter, even though university officials have publicly acknowledged they received the request and said they will comply.
In an e-mail, Mann said he is aware of the records request but does not know much about it.
"It seems as if some would rather create distractions to fool the public, rather than confront the reality of human-caused climate change," Mann wrote. "That is most unfortunate."
Mann is one of the scientists embroiled in a controversy that broke last year when scores of e-mails between global- warming researchers were leaked on the Internet. Climate- change skeptics said those records contained evidence of scientific misconduct and showed efforts to suppress data that doesn't validate global warming.
Mann, who now is at Pennsylvania State University, also is known for his "hockey stick graph," which tracked increases in global temperatures.
He said his conclusions have "been vetted and even strengthened by independent work," adding that the "various 'Climategate' allegations against me have been found without any basis at all."
A Penn State investigation found no evidence that Mann had suppressed or falsified climate data, and an earlier review by the National Academy of Sciences backed his conclusions about global warming.