By Chris Horner, Local weather Litigation Watch
CLW readers recall Oregon State College’s (and State Climatologist) Phil Mote writing not as soon as however twice a couple of “secret assembly at Harvard” at which he introduced, together with different lecturers, activists and plaintiffs legal professionals advancing their case for “potential state causes of motion in opposition to main carbon producers.”
Earlier open data litigation had established that individuals additionally included officers from quite a few, politically activist state attorneys normal workplaces, in addition to municipalities. A current manufacturing from Los Angeles confirmed that it had an legal professional current.
What made this occasion much more surprising was different Mote correspondence confessing the occasion was additionally briefing for “potential funders”. The context within the emails made it clear that this meant funders of the Local weather Litigation Trade.
In OSU’s public data manufacturing, we additionally see Union of Involved Scientists’ Peter Frumhoff write about factors “I’ve made in earlier discuss to AG employees”, particularly that he was “glad to share” with Mote slides he had used. Mote accepted, and Frumhoff did ship slides, on April 20, 2016, writing, “Hello Phil, I discover these work nicely as a backdrop to creating these factors”. Nevertheless, OSU didn’t handle to provide these (or different slides hooked up to different responsive emails).
In response to problem, OSU wrote, “Oregon State College not has the unique e-mail.”
Certainly, we solely discovered of those deleted slides inside a bigger “thread” (OSU defined the deletion of Mote’s personal Harvard presentation slides by noting he deletes issues over 1 MB in dimension. Ah, sure, public data custodianship in motion).
This was disappointing for causes aside from the poor optics it presents. Frumhoff performed a key position in bringing about the usage of AGs to make use of the courts to advance, and goal opponents of, the failed “local weather” political agenda. As we discovered in docs obtained in Horner v. George Mason College, Frumhoff informed GMU communications prof Ed Maibach in July 2015:
Simply so you already know, we’re additionally within the strategy of exploring different state-based approaches to holding fossil gasoline firms legally accountable – we expect there’ll doubtless be a powerful foundation for encouraging state (e.g. AG) motion ahead and, in that context, alternatives for local weather scientists to weigh in.
It might be interesting- and maybe very helpful – to think about how requires authorized accountability will play out within the courtroom of public opinion in several states/with totally different subsets of the American public- one thing maybe we might work with you all on as this unfolds.
All that was a prologue to a Friday discovery response by UCLA, releasing extra public data, illuminating how they processed two open data requests made by GAO’s Chris Horner on behalf of the Aggressive Enterprise Institute (CEI). These requests had been fabricated from UCLA’s regulation college, which runs a local weather litigation middle, like Harvard’s and certainly underwritten by the identical donor.
Due to this fact, with Los Angeles counsel James Hunter, GAO is suing on behalf of CEI.
UCLA was a logical place for public data requests after we obtained an agenda — litigating as a predecessor group in opposition to the Vermont Workplace of the Legal professional Normal — displaying that its Legislation school additionally introduced on the “secret assembly at Harvard”. The Vermont OAG fought us for 18 months to keep away from releasing that one and, as improper because it was, their very own and the opposite individuals’ apparent nervousness about that doc was well-founded. See, e.g., “Legislation Enforcement for Hire”, and “State AGs for Hire”.
You could have seen one in every of these UCLA profs just lately on 60 Minutes, as an apparently disinterested tutorial observer commenting on the Juliana v US litigation. It does end up that she consults for the Local weather Litigation Trade. She additionally had admiring issues to say about plaintiffs’ lawyer Vic Sher operating the municipalities’ lawsuits, with whom she apparently works in the midst of that consulting relationship — extra on that later.
These paperwork are in response to a discovery “Request for Manufacturing of Paperwork” regarding UCLA’s dealing with of the requests. GAO is pressure-testing UCLA’s claims that it dealt with these in the end and was not truly stonewalling over the previous 12 months. Though it is a restricted set of data, what UCLA did launch signifies the slow-walking was not the results of delays within the IT division, as the varsity has recommended. Extra on that, as nicely, in a bit.
The e-mail data manufacturing nonetheless comprises varied slides despatched to Prof. Ann Carlson for her shows, together with from Frumhoff and Sher. These lay out, for her use, the Local weather Litigation Trade’s “ExxonKnew” principle and assignments of particular person business targets’ historic market share legal responsibility for, e.g., sea stage rise 1880-2010.
You could have seen a few of these slides; some had been a part of two public or quasi-public shows, in LA and Bonn. A 3rd — Frumhoff’s — was given privately “to AG employees”, based on these OSU emails. One e-mail within the UCLA manufacturing states that Frumhoff’s contribution to Carlson’s public UCLA slide present represent pp. 2-25 of her presentation starting on the attachment PDF web page 240. Plainly these signify a few of Frumhoff’s slides that OSU deleted or in any other case couldn’t handle to provide.
These, and different pages to be mentioned in coming posts, add additional texture to our understanding of how this organized assault on opponents of a political agenda took form — together with the concentrating on of Golden Geese to underwrite political constituencies by way of a brand new mega-settlement that will be handed on to shoppers. It helps additional reveal the anatomy of the weaponization of our regulation enforcement establishments in opposition to political opponents (on this case, we’re speaking about state attorneys normal).
UCLA’s precise manufacturing of data it has been withholding, and the privilege log attendant to that, are nonetheless to return. Even Friday’s manufacturing of sure data concerning the college’s dealing with of the requests confirmed there may be far more there to be discovered that’s invaluable about this business.
Your entire e-mail dump (and slides) are right here:
Response to 1st RFP (18-5367 and 18-5666) – PRODUCE (PDF)