Science Wins in Virginia
November 6, 2013
Climate scientist Mike Mann’s very worthwhile book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, is now out in paperback, I’m sure not coincidentally timed for the day after the long-foreseen defeat of climate denier Ken Cuccinelli in the new bellweather state of Virginia.
I don’t have time or patience to read a lot of popular books, and I seldom recommend them, but here’s one that I did read and can recommend, not only for the science explained, for the historical details that future graduate students will be poring over and analyzing for centuries.
For those who haven’t followed the case, a recap: former University of Virginia scientist Michael Mann is responsible for pioneering climate change research that has since been reaffirmed by scores of researchers and scientific bodies. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thought he knew better. He made headlines around the world by issuing subpoenas to UVa under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act for Mann’s personal emails and other documents (The scientist subsequently wrote a book about being raked over the coals by Cuccinelli and other politicians).
Many, including those who don’t accept mainstream climate science, called the attorney general’s inquest a witch hunt. The university took him to court and won all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court; various judges found not only that the university was not subject to the subpoenas but also that the attorney general had consistently failed to state what exactly he found false or fraudulent.
Then, Cuccinelli ran for governor. But UVa donors, and contributors to current Governor Bob McDonnell weren’t happy. “Among the McDonnell donors who have steered clear of Cuccinelli, four are current or former trustees of a Virginia public university, and two are active in promoting research on climate change,” reported the Washington Post on November 2. One donor, Mark Kingston, who gave $83,000 to current Governor Bob McDonnell’s campaign in 2009, told the Post he avoided Cuccinelli in part because of his actions related to climate change.
More recently, Cuccinelli seemed to recognize that the issue had become a liability for him, refusing several times to answer reporters’ questions about his understanding of climate change science (video here and above).
Ken Cuccinelli’s climate change skepticism gets a military twist in a new radio ad critical of the Republican nominee for governor that’s airing on Norfolk and Virginia Beach stations up to the Nov. 5 election.
In the spot from the left-of-center Vote Vets Action Fund, retired Army Brigadier General Steve Anderson alleges Cuccinelli’s disbelief could endanger Virginia National Guardsmen deployed by the governor to respond to extreme weather emergencies.
“When bad storms hit, the governor often calls on the Virginia National Guard to save lives and protect property and businesses,” states Anderson, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. “So, Virginia needs a governor developing policies that make extreme storms less likely, keeping Virginians and our Guardsmen out of harm’s way.”
“But Cuccinelli doesn’t believe in the science of climate change,” he adds in the minute-long add. “Cuccinelli avoids the clear facts – putting Virginia families at risk. Denying climate change isn’t fighting for Virginia. And it’s not fighting for you.”