For Immediate Release – September 10, 2013
On Friday, September 6th, the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a non-profit public policy organization, along with counsel from the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC), filed a lawsuit seeking to compel the University of Arizona (U of A) to produce public records relating to what the London Telegraph’s Christopher Booker called “the worst scientific scandal of our generation”. These records are emails relating to the notorious global warming “Hockey Stick”, and the group that made it famous, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPCC is presently in the news for its latest in a running series of proclamations of looming climate catastrophe, and a now ritual proclamation of even greater certainty that economic activity is to blame.
“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,’” says Chris Horner, ATI Senior Fellow, FMELC attorney and author of The Liberal War On Transparency, who managed the initial request and productions. “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.
ATI sought these records in December 2011. After the University acknowledged resistance from the professors involved — both of whom, ATI points out to the court, were improperly allowed to decide what emails were responsive to the request, and which ones they would allow the University to produce — U of A ultimately produced several hundred responsive emails.
Included in U of A’s production was a first-ever, 213-page roadmap of several hundred emails the academics insisted could not be released about either the “Hockey Stick” or IPCC. Unfortunately the indexes were also deliberately and uncharacteristically scarce on details, though they do lay out correspondence between the Hockey Stick and IPCC authors (they also identify, e.g., emails about Professor and IPCC coordinating lead author Jonathan Overpeck’s work at the University for the environmentalist pressure group Union of Concerned Scientists, and emails to or from Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, home to ClimateGate).
ATI filed suit under Arizona’s Public Records Law after the University declined ATI’s request to provide sufficient detail in these indexes about withheld records, or produce the responsive records. The Goldwater Institute is serving as ATI’s local counsel.
ATI’s complaint explains how these emails, produced and held on taxpayer time and assets, involve two academics with:
…a history of using University (public) resources — including to send and receive the emails at issue in this case — for work-related participation in related organizations including the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”), which was the subject of many of the most controversial emails produced, sent, received and/or held on publicly funded computer assets in the “Climategate” leaks.
Through these leaks, and releases under various freedom of information laws, the public learned of troubling practices by a network of publicly funded academics involving, inter alia, questionable use of statistics, organized efforts to subvert transparency laws in the United States and United Kingdom, campaigns to keep dissenting work from publication, recruiting journalists to target opponents and retaliation against scientists and editors involved in publishing dissenting work.
As part of ATI’s transparency project, it has been requesting and obtaining information held by publicly funded agencies and universities related to the important public policy issue of alleged catastrophic man-made global warming, and related policy demands.
ATI is also involved in litigation seeking related records from the University of Virginia, and has had numerous requests satisfied by, and has other requests pending at, various agencies and universities. The Supreme Court of Virginia recently heard argument from ATI explaining why that court should consider the UVA request.
American Tradition Institute (ATI) is a 501 (c) (3) public policy research and public interest litigation foundation advocating restoration of science and free-market principles on environmental issues, including air and water quality and regulation, responsible land use, natural resource management, energy development, property rights, and principles of stewardship. The organization, through its transparency initiative, obtains public information under open records and freedom of information laws, relating to environmental and energy policy and how policymakers use public resources.
 U of A acknowledges that “The University of Arizona is governed by Arizona public records law. The purpose of the law is to allow the general public, whose tax dollars support the University, to scrutinize the way we do business. Upon request, inspection of or copies of most records must be provided except for two categories which are not open to the public.”http://hoy.r.mailjet.com/redirect/x616hjzo3j67tj1q02wg30/www.hr.arizona.edu/03_hire/AZPSOrientation/main.php?sel=hi, p. 5 (these two categories are student records and personnel records, which are not involved in ATI’s request).
On the same webpage, U of A informs new employees, under “Arizona Public Service Orientation”, “Within your first 30 days of employment, read the information in this orientation. At the conclusion, print the checklist, verifying that you have completed the section, and deliver it to your department representative for placement in your departmental file.”http://hoy.r.mailjet.com/redirect/8sqxhk5kpwbmc9lqwoftlo/www.hr.arizona.edu/03_hire/AZPSOrientation/main.php?sel=hi, p. 4.