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The Courts Earth

Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann 497

ideonexus (1257332) writes In January of 2014, the American Traditions Institute (ATI) sought climate scientist Micheal Mann's emails from his time at the University of Virginia, a request that was denied in the courts. Now the Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that ATI must pay damages for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully.
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Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    But it seems that the only way to get emails and not get sued is to, How shall we say, Hack in.

    • Although that can get you prison time.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:14AM (#47414379) Homepage

        Not if you're the Russian intelligence services, the prime suspect behind the hack. Anyone want to bet that this was part of the same initiative that brought us the more recent scandals of Russian state funding for European anti-fracking groups and American lobbying against LNG export approval?

        Whatever it takes to keep your main market open, dependent, and buying your main exports in vast quantities, I suppose.

    • You don't think like a lawyer. The way to get emails is discovery.

    • Would you rather have all of your email history made freely available to anyone who asks for it? I wouldn't.

    • by golodh ( 893453 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @04:43PM (#47419059)
      There is no legitimate reason to ask for researchers' emails. Such emails are only useful when you're trying to make things _personal_ instead of businesslike.

      You need people's emails when you're digging for something (anything really) you can use to discredit someone personally (apart from any scientific merit). Besides which, some of those emails are personal.

      The Virginia court ruled that filing a lawsuit just to get those emails constitutes harassment, which in turn is a frivolous use of the court's time. A sensible conclusion in my opinion.

      And yes, there do seem to be consequences for filing frivolous lawsuits.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @08:57AM (#47414275)

    Evidence against them only makes them stronger.

    • Evidence against them? What evidence against them?

      (Conspiracy groups either ignore evidence against them or claim it is part of the conspiracy.)

  • Less than a flea bite.

  • by ideonexus ( 1257332 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:15AM (#47414391) Homepage Journal

    It seems to me that the Climate Skeptics are making the same mistake the anti-eugenics movement made in 1925 with the Scopes Monkey Trial [], which fought the teaching of evolution in schools. Most people don't know this, but the anti-evolution activists were horrified by the textbook's use of Evolution to justify Eugenics [], but instead of attacking the public policy proposals of the Eugenics Movement, they attacked the science of Evolution, and history remembers them as buffoons for combating the scientific consensus.

    Today, Climate Skeptics are fighting the scientific consensus instead of debating the policies being proposed from that consensus. I myself am an adaptationist, I don't care if we do anything about Global Warming for another 20-30 years and at that point I have faith that civilization will start to engineer its way out of the problem... however, I find myself on the side of the environmentalists with their oftentimes draconian public-policy initiatives because I believe in scientific literacy, and the anti-science positions of today's Climate Skeptics threaten to undo the scientific progress on which our civilization depends for its survival.

    • by scotts13 ( 1371443 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:21AM (#47414445)

      ...I don't care if we do anything about Global Warming for another 20-30 years and at that point I have faith that civilization will start to engineer its way out of the problem...

      "We'll invent something to fix this when the time comes" is not a sound policy, or a policy at all. It's wishful thinking. What if we don't?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ideonexus ( 1257332 )
        That's a fair argument, and that's also why I used the word "faith" to describe my opinion. I would love to continue having a constructive dialog on this... but unfortunately, we can't move the conversation on Climate Change to a discussion of what, if anything, we should do about it until we get the public to accept the scientific consensus on it. This is how the Skeptics are winning, by preventing the dialog from moving forward.
        • Why not both work to prevent (or if we can't prevent, at least reduce) Climate Change as well as work to adapt to it? Cover both our bases. I can understand if you take issue with specific means of preventing Climate Change because you think method X is better than method Y, but saying we won't take any preventative measures at all and instead just deal with it when it comes is short-sighted. If you own a home, should you allow the foundation to crumble, refuse to patch it, and just decide to deal with i

          • I think that's what most people are trying to do.

            But the climate deniers are very squeaky wheels. Just like most things, their bullshit gets trumpeted as fact by some, thus holding up the discussions.

      • We will. That has happened repeatedly in the past. It is no more logical for us to worry about humanity in 100 years than it would have been for people in 1900 to worry about us today.

        Think of how much has been invented -- yet they would have been concerned about horse poop buildup and poop dust all over everything. 'Let's limit use of horses!" slowing the economy and leaving us with, say, 1980 level tech, "helping" absolutely no one.

        So, to people 100 years from now. What did we do? Keep a powerful eco

    • I'm sorry, but your assessment of their position is wrong.
      They hate liberals, and feel that liberals lie to them. So they are assuming they are lieing in regards to climate change.
      Unfortunately They're right, the left is so wound up about the topic they are spewing lies and misinformation regularly.
      Al Gore made that awful movie. It was probably the single biggest determent to the issue of climate change that's ever happened. It hyper polarized the issue, put the biggest leftest in the country at the head of

      • the left is so wound up about the topic they are spewing lies and misinformation regularly

        Could you give some examples of misinformation that is regularly spewed?

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          Counted the number of hurricanes lately?

          How about tornadoes?

          Is New York Underwater yet?

          Britain will never see snow again.


          • I'll ask again politely. Could you give some examples of misinformation that is regularly spewed? If you don't have any, just don't bother replying.
            • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:48AM (#47415905)

              Just off the first page of a Google search.

              Hurricanes will increase in number and intensity. []

              Tornadoes will increase in number and intensity. []

              New York will be under water. []

                Britain will never see snow again.

              Record low Hurricanes, Tornadoes, New York still hasn't flooded, and Britain just had record snowfall this last winter.

              • Those are predictions about the future, as noted by the future tense form "will X". Think about what you would need to do so show those statements are misinformation. You don't have a crystal ball, do you? Even if you do are could conclusively show the predictions are inaccurate, that still doesn't demonstrate willful dissent of misinformation, just someone making an incorrect prediction.

                Again, could you give some misinformation that is regularly spewed by the left about climate change?

          • So by "the left" you meant "tabloid newspapers"?

      • by BergZ ( 1680594 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:27AM (#47415115)
        Creationists blame Christopher Hitchens for "polarizing the Evolution debate"... and I do not accept their argument.
        The Creationists are wrong about that because:
        (1) Hitchens (like Gore) is not a scientist. You can not draw any conclusions about the validity of a scientific theory on the basis of the statements of non-scientists.
        (2) It doesn't matter how Hitchens said what he said. We are all responsible for deciding what we believe. Responsible people ignore the polarization and examine the arguments logically. Idiots blame their dismissal of science on "the other guy" for not being nice.

        If I wouldn't accept the "that guy polarized the debate" argument from Creationists; why would I accept it from you?
    • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:03AM (#47414851) Homepage Journal

      Ain't going to happen, sadly. As the temperate zone moves closer to the world's poles, and the regions we're currently growing cereal crops on become progressively more arid, there is simply less area of land (square miles or kilometres or however you want to measure it) on which crops can be grown - and that's ignoring the costs of clearing and draining that land, and all the effects of ecocide.

      At the same time as this is happening, of course, all our critical infrastructure will become unusable unless we make huge new investments in flood walls. For example, I work for a major international bank, which, obviously, has its critical data infrastructure replicated in seven cities across the globe. Only one problem: in six of those seven cities, our data centres are within ten metres of current sea level. Most major financial centres are old port cities, and all old port cities are on the coast. So over the next fifty years we have to either all relocate our trading infrastructure, or else abandon it. What I expect will happen is that we'll delay and dawdle until it's too late, and then our whole civilisation will collapse under the combined pressures of hunger, refugees, and rising water levels.

      We're already past the point where there's any hope of the planet being able to support even half its current population in 100 years time. The real policy question is how we now radically reduce the population without war, pestilence, famine and death.

    • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:35AM (#47415179)
      "the same mistake the anti-eugenics movement made in 1925 with the Scopes Monkey Trial [], which fought the teaching of evolution in schools"

      All the history of the Butler act I ever read mention they simply feared teaching of evolution would weaken faith, and that they refused our descendance from great apes, as it would shows us as descending from lower beings like animals. At no point the proponent of Butler's act mentioned eugenism, that sound like a modern rewriting of the history. In fact the prominent web sites which promote this thesis are : answeringenesis and Fancy that.
    • by stiggle ( 649614 )

      Just because everyone thinks it is right doesn't mean that its correct.
      Scientific consensus once said that the world was flat, that the sun orbited the earth. It was once the consensus that an atom was like a plum pudding (JJ Thompsons model).

      • Scientific consensus was never that the world was flat. They laughed at Columbus because he was counting on the planet being smaller than any educated person knew it was.

        For the rest, you're talking about theories about observations, not the observations. Global warming has been observed in many ways. I don't think the vast majority of scientists have ever been that wrong about observed fact, although obviously they've often been at least somewhat wrong on the theory.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:25AM (#47414483)

    Why not just release the emails and shut this group up? It seems like they are going to great lengths to hide something.

    • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:33AM (#47414523)

      Like you then, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Anonymous coward?

      What have you got to hide then?
      do you like to wear women's clothing and chop down trees? (Monty Python link deliberate)

      From the
      Can we see those incriminating emails that might be about something totally irrelevant but we need to see them anyway...

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:59AM (#47414805) Homepage

      Beyond the "you shouldn't be forced to reveal private matters or be assumed guilty?" Then how about because nothing shuts up groups like this. Say he releases his e-mails and there is nothing incriminating in there. They will find one passage which, if taken out of context, will "prove" their point. Then they'll tout this out-of-content statement all over the place. Sure, some people will see the truth, but many more will believe the lie instead.

      To put it another way, I suspect you of committing illegal acts. Send me all of your e-mail correspondence for the last 10 years. I'll pour through that and see if anything looks wrong. If you typed "I hope we don't get caught" in the context of throwing someone a surprise birthday party and sneaking the gifts past them, I'll take that line and use it to show how you're really a shady criminal conspiring to avoid capture for your crimes. I await you sending me all of your e-mails so I can use them against you in any way I see fit.

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:28AM (#47414497)
    As far as I can tell, this lawsuit determined that the Freedom of Information Act can't be used to get access to some official email correspondence paid for by public funds. Even if you are really gung-ho on AGW, that's not a result to automatically crow about.

    Michael Mann is not my favorite scientist, as he has a pattern of cargo cultist behavior that has annoyed his peers (provoking words like "vomit" and "crock of s**t"). The lawsuit to watch is the one where Mann is suing the National Review (a conservative magazine) and Mark Steyn, a conservative satirist and commentator. Whether or not his overall beliefs about AGW are justified, Professor Mann does have skeletons in his closet, and if the court does its job properly, he will be smacked down hard.
  • In Mann vs Steyn the NR will be able to troll through all of Mann's emails and data.

    Mann is in favor of his proceeding with discovery against Steyn - "The fact that Mr. Steyn has not appealed the denial of the motions to dismiss counsels further against a discovery stay. Mr. Steyn, like Dr. Mann, has made clear his desire to have this Court resolve this lawsuit and to move forward with discovery immediately. As such, there is no reason for this Court to delay discovery further."

    On the other hand, Mann is to

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