Freedom of Information Laws Used By Climate Sceptics To Rifle Through Scientists' Daily Emails

FREEDOM of Information laws across the world were introduced as a way to open governments and their agencies to public and journalistic scrutiny and to extract the kind of information that tends not to make its way into press releases and government pamphlets.

But seen through the eyes of some climate change scientists, it is a law which appears to have been hijacked by climate science sceptics and free market think tanks as a means to rifle through their inboxes in search of anything which, when taken out of context, might be used to make them look bad.

In the US, Penn State University climate scientist Professor Michael Mann - he of the famous 'hockey stick' graph -  recently fought off a long running attempt by the climate science denial think tank the American Tradition Institute to gain access to his emails.

As The Guardian has reported, the ATI, led by one of its directors Christopher Horner, has pursued several other scientists using FOI laws to gain access to their email inboxes. Mr Horner has also made specific requests for correspondence between scientists and journalists.

Mann has described such cases as an “abuse of public records and FOIA laws”, saying the efforts were “frivolous and vexatious”.  

Lawyer with the Climate Science Legal Defence Fund Jeff Ruch told The Guardian that the requests were “basically a spying operation” to “find material that is potential of use in discrediting a scientist.”

Jacob Nordangård

Jacob Nordangård


  • PhD Student (2008-)
  • M.A. in Geography (2007)
  • M.A. in Culture, Society and Media Production (2001)

Source: [1]

Marcus Ernst

Marcus D. Ernst


  • MA and PhD in Bavarian history. [1]


Marcus D. Ernst is a lawyer and historian. He studied law and History from 1989 to 1993 in Passau. He has worked as a self-employed lawyer in the areas of civil and contract law, real estate law, corporate law, business succession and inheritance. [1], [2]

Holger Thuss

Holger J. Thuss


  • PhD, modern history, University of Jena, Germany (2005).
  • MA, modern history, public law and political science, University of Jena, Germany (2000).

Source:  [1]

Michael Limburg

Michael Limburg


  • Dipl. Ing. (Engineering degree). [1]


Michael Limburg is the Vice President and Deputy Press-speaker for the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). In his position he regularly attends EIKE's International Conferences on Climate and Energy, and regularly speaks with the media.

Dan Lewis

Dan Lewis


  • Graduated in 1994 in “Modern Languages and History.” [1]


Exclusive: British MP On Climate Committee Advising On Coal Power For $300 An Hour

A BRITISH MP revealed to be holding $400,000 worth of share options in an oil firm while sitting on an influential parliamentary climate change committee is also being paid $300 an hour to advise an Indian company building a coal fired power station, DeSmogBlog has discovered.

Veteran Conservative MP Peter Lilley has billed the New Delhi-based Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited (FACOR) for at least 220 hours of consultancy advice and is still working for the group.

It emerged in The Guardian last week that self-described “global lukewarmist” Mr Lilley, a director with Tethys Petroleum, was also holding $400,000 worth of share options in the company which is drilling for oil and gas in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

As The Guardian reported, Mr Lilley is also paid by Tethys to attend meetings and provide advice and has received about £47,000 (US$75,000) in the past year.

The UK Parliament’s register of members’ financial interests shows that in the period from January to June this year, Mr Lilley racked up 228 hours of work for Tethys, FACOR and IDOX plc, a document management company where he is also a director.

The register shows how Mr Lilley was paid £37,696 (US$60,360) for 220 hours of “advice on the management and flotation of a power generating subsidiary” by Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited between July 2011 and June 2012.

FACOR is building a 100MW coal fired power station at Randia in the state of Orissa in eastern India to provide electricity to its ferro alloys plant, with excess power being sold to the grid.

Helmut Alt

Helmut Alt



Helmut Alt is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences. [1], [2]

Walter Fett

Walter Fett



Horst-Joachim Lüdecke

Horst-Joachim Lüdecke


  • Dr. Dipl.-Physiker (Physics). [1]



Subscribe to desmogblog