Professors group wants taxpayer-funded climate change research blocked from public scrutiny

E&E Legal wants unpublished documents that support the hockey stick theory, which showed a drastic uptick in temperatures since the 20th century.

The American Association of University Professors has filed an amicus brief arguing professors at a public university should be exempt from public records act requests from a conservative think tank seeking to review the scholars’ unpublished climate change research.

The brief, filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals in the case Energy & Environment Legal Institute v. Arizona Board of Regents, argues that professors at public universities should be able to keep their unpublished research records private, according to a press release from the AAUP last Friday.

In the email announcing the amicus brief, the association argued the public records requests “targeted” professors and amounted to “harassment.” The association did not respond to requests for comment from The College Fix for access to the amicus brief in full.

The association’s email states the brief argues the research should remain private “to maintain a free and vital university system, which depends on the protection of academic freedom to engage in the free and open scientific debate necessary to create high-quality academic research.”

“Where the requests seek pre-publication communications and other unpublished academic research materials, as in the case at bar, compelled disclosure would have a severe chilling effect on the intellectual debate among researchers and scientists.”

In 2011, the American Tradition Institute, which has since changed its name to the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, filed an extensive Freedom of Information Act request seeking to compel the University of Arizona to produce documents related to a professor’s unpublished research on climate science.

The professor, Jonathan Overpeck, has allegedly been involved with the promotion of the global warming Hockey Stick theory, which purports to show that temperatures on Earth have declined steadily throughout history, until the 20th century when there was a sudden drastic rise.

Professor Overpeck told The College Fix that he has worked on many climate science papers published before and after the Hockey Stick theory, which explored similar themes of rising global temperatures, but he didn’t actually coin the term.

While Overpeck did not create the theory, the institute has alleged Overpeck was involved in the promotion of it. They made that claim in a press release from 2013 when they announced they had filed suit to compel the production of the documents they sought by the records request in 2011.

Chris Horner, who managed the initial request, said in 2013 that the Hockey Stick theory was part of an “agenda” coming from the climate scientists.

“The public are increasingly aware that they have funded the effort to impose an all-pain, no-gain energy-scarcity agenda on them, from activists in federal bureaucracies and the green pressure groups they love, down to activists ensconced in state universities,” he wrote.

He added the University of Arizona should hand over their records in the name of transparency, especially since taxpayer funds helped support the research.

“As such, we continue to seek copies of records the public paid for, to help bring about the oft-promised, yet rarely voluntary governmental transparency. Too often public institutions require that we engage in protracted battles under open records laws to allow the public a glimpse at the enormous apparatus they are underwriting,” he added.

University of Arizona spokesperson Chris Sigurdson told The College Fix in an email this week that the school supports the right of the professors’ unpublished research to be free from Freedom of Information Act inquisitions.

“The University of Arizona supports the public’s right to know how we do business and to the documents that support those activities. We receive and fulfill numerous public records requests on a weekly basis,” Sigurdson said.

“Some documents, though, are protected from disclosure for various reasons, including the fact that they reflect activities related to unpublished research or future research projects. That is the crux of our appeal.”

Read more at The College Fix

Comments (7)

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    So many of our once revered scientists have become Wizard of Oz frauds.

    No accountability
    No transparency
    No questioning
    No debate

    …Does that sound like science?

    Worse yet for those who dare doubt or question:

    Threats of grant funding loss
    Threats of peer shunning
    Threats of job loss
    Threats of JAIL TIME!

    This is ANTI-Science.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    What dirty little secrets do these university eggheads have to hide from the public maybe for the fact that Global Warming/Climate Change is all a fake and these university nit-wits wont get their dough

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    While I disagree with the amicus brief….it is very clear from the history of these right wing Pro Killer Coal….at every turn in a research project, gather lines of investigation then SUE to tie them up in court….in the case of Congressman Smith from TEXAS….
    “DEATH OF RESEARCH by SUBPOENA’s”….drag scientists in to court or hearings….then stall and delay their testimony….so that MONTHS OF THEIR TIME IS OCCUPIED outside of their Labs……NO LAB WORK….NO STUDIES…..NO STUDIES means the Killer Coal and big oil can continue, unobstructed in damaging our world while raking in TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

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      What a load of BS!

      If I pay for the work, I am entitled to pull up a lawn chair and watch your every move. Only dishonest brokers refuse to show their work to those who paid for it.

      Science is the pursuit of truth, and hiding documents is not science.

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    I have always believed that Socialists mortgage the wealth created by capitalism. Today we have climate activists mortgaging the trust earned by REAL HONEST SCIENTISTS . (Sorry for the all-caps in my posts. I’d use italics if I could)

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      Note to Website Manager:

      I agree with Sonnyhill. ENABLE ITALICS. ENABLE BOLD FONT. I don’t like all-caps either.

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      Sollyhill calls it “mortgaging” wealth created by capitalism – an apt description. Taking it a bit further, Socialism is always a compromise and a drag on prosperity.

      Most all free market societies agree that there needs to be a minimum social safety net for those who really need it. The trouble is that socialists believe that if a little is good, then a whole bunch more is that much better. I argue that even a minimum safety net limits the overall prosperity of an economy, but that minimum is a conscious choice made as a compromise.

      On a broader scale, a country’s economic prosperity is directly proportional to the degree they enable free market capitalism to flourish. Yes, some European countries have adopted a fair amount of socialist policy, but to the extent they do this they are limiting their overall prosperity. China and Russia are good examples of extremes. Since the days of Mao and Brezhnev those countries have each adopted a measure of capitalism, and their prosperity has markedly improved from days of dismal socialist central planning. Likewise, they will never reach their FULL potential until free markets are opened as widely as possible.

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