Attorney for the coal industry, Christopher Horner, appears on 'The Daily Show', 13 February 2007. Photo: The Daily Show

By Lee Fang
25 August 2015

(The Intercept) – Christopher Horner, an attorney who claims that the earth is cooling, is known within the scientific community for hounding climate change researchers with relentless investigations and public ridicule, often deriding scientists as “communists” and frauds.

Horner is a regular guest on Fox News and CNN, and has been affiliated with a number of think tanks and legal organizations over the last decade. He has called for investigations of climate scientists affiliated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NASA, and inundated climate researchers at major universities across the country with records requests that critics say are designed to distract them from their work.

New court documents reveal one source of Horner’s funding: big coal.

Last Thursday’s bankruptcy filing of Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in America, includes line items for all of the corporation’s contractors and grant recipients. Among them are Horner individually at his home address, as well as the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, where he is a senior staff attorney. […]

Horner has played a prominent role in the climate science debate for many years, though he has failed to uncover wrongdoing.

In 2009, thousands of emails were hacked from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia. Horner quickly blogged that the “blue-dress moment may have arrived” and began appearing on media outlets to claim that the emails revealed “admissions of falsifying results, collaborating to subvert and violate the laws” in what he dubbed “Climategate.”

“Climategate” became a media phenomenon, with prominent politicians declaring that the emails revealed that climate change is a “hoax.” The Koch organization Americans for Prosperity traveled to international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 and proclaimed that the emails revealed a “scandal.”

Six official investigations later cleared the University of East Anglia scientists of accusations of any wrongdoing.

Horner has filed numerous records requests for personal emails from climate scientists and litigated to force universities to comply with his requests. Horner continued his investigations of climate scientists earlier this year by filing a records request with John Byrne, distinguished professor of energy climate policy at the University of Delaware. The request was made on behalf of the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic and the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, where Horner is a senior fellow.

“He has been instrumental in orchestrating the attacks on climate scientists over the past decade in the form of vexatious and frivolous FOIA demands, efforts to force scientists to turn over all of their personal email,” says Dr. Michael Mann, a climate scientist targeted by Horner. [more]

Attorney Hounding Climate Scientists Covertly Funded By Coal Industry

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