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Policy

Court Blocks Release Of Mann’s E-mails

by Cheryl Hogue
September 24, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 39

Siding with the University of Virginia (UVA), a Virginia trial court last week stopped the release of climate researcher Michael E. Mann’s e-mails to a group that’s dismissive of human-caused climate change. The court ruled that scholarly communications are exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. “Virginia has a strong exemption in the public records act that protects research and scholarly endeavors,” says a statement from Mann, who worked at UVA from 1999 to 2005 and developed the once-contested “hockey stick” graph of global temperature fluctuations over the past millennium. The American Tradition Institute, a libertarian group, sought Mann’s records (C&EN, Nov. 14, 2011, page 32). In response, UVA provided some documents but withheld some 12,000 e-mails, which the institute is seeking through a lawsuit. The group, which is highly critical of Mann and other climate researchers whose e-mails were hacked from the University of East Anglia and made public in late 2009, says it is mulling over an appeal.

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