Today the board of directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement and press release that denounced “personal attacks,” “harassment,” “death threats,” and “legal challenges” toward climate scientists. AAAS’s press release specifically cited actions taken by American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center in its efforts to obtain records of Climategate scientist Dr. Michael Mann from the University of Virginia, and its efforts to obtain outside employment records of climate activist Dr. James Hansen from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). AAAS wrote, in part, “we are concerned that establishing a practice of aggressive inquiry into the professional histories of scientists whose findings may bear on policy in ways that some find unpalatable could well have a chilling effect on the willingness of scientists to conduct research that intersects with policy-relevant scientific questions.”
Response to AAAS from ATI Environmental Law Center director of litigation Christopher Horner:
“I noticed no relation between our initiative and the AAAS Board’s rhetoric until they mentioned us somewhat incongruously.
“The notion that application of laws that expressly cover academics is an ‘attack’ on them is substantively identical to Hollywood apologists who call application of other laws to Roman Polanski an attack on Polanski. They lost the plot somewhere along the way.
“AAAS’s failure to mention the group that invented this series of requests, Greenpeace, informs our conclusion that this outrage is selective, and is therefore either feigned or hypocritical. Their problem is plainly with the laws, but it is a problem they have had over the decades: That transparency and ethics laws also apply to scientists who subsist on taxpayer revenue. This they also forgot to mention.
“Finally, the American Association of University Professors’ code of professional ethics indicates that efforts to manipulate the peer review process are impermissible. Given the overlap, and for other reasons, we assume AAAS agrees with these principles or at a minimum accepts them. But this, too, is insincere if such behavior is permitted or ignored where just cause indicates further inquiry is warranted, as long as the parties at issue are those whose views the AAAS or AAUP sympathize with. In Mann’s case, if our review of his documents which belong to the taxpayer also happen to exonerate him from the suspicions that have arisen, we will be the first to do so.”