Two events expected to take place before the end of August may prove exceptions to the “dog day’s” being no-news days when it comes to climate change issues.

The President is on vacation in Maine, mind you, though most say that could hardly diminish the amount or intensity of public attention and emphasis he’s been giving to the climate issue. The Congress is missing-in-action altogether, having all but deep-sixed the vexing issue when Senate Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes they would need to break a GOP filibuster. Washington’s K Street Corridor, AKA Gucci Gulch, is all but in hibernation with en masse exits to points east, south, west, north and all the above.

But back to those two events expected before the clock strikes September:

  • An Albemarle County, Virginia, court is expected to hand down its decision on the state attorney general’s efforts to force the University of Virginia to out an untold, but large, number of e-mails and other communications involving climatologist Michael Mann’s research while he was at U.Va. earlier this decade. See earlier Forum coverage here and here. The case has attracted national attention and concern, particularly among academics citing academic freedom issues, for its potential to “chill” climate research. A decision is likely by the end of this month, but it remains unclear whether that initial court determination will be the final word on A.G. Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign on the matter.
  • On a substantially larger playing field, at least physically and geographically but also in terms of overall impact on climate science and policy, the InterAcademy Council investigation into the conduct of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to be released August 30.

    The report, “Climate Change Assessments: Review of the Processes and Procedures of the IPCC,” is to be publicly released at a press conference in the U.N.’s Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium beginning at 10 a.m. EDT. The event will be webcast live and archived for later viewing at The report then is to be available online at

    According to a press advisory statement, the following InterAcademy Council participants are to take part in the release of the report, considered by many to be the single most important of a series of independent investigations resulting from recent controversies involving the unauthorized release last fall of e-mails from the University of East Anglia and findings of several factual errors in IPCC reports:

    * Robbert Dijkgraaf, IAC co-chair and president, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences;

    * Harold Shapiro, chair of IAC Committee to Review IPCC and economist/former president, Princeton University;

    * Roseanne Diab, vice chair of IAC Committee to Review IPCC and executive officer, Academy of Science of South Africa; and

    * Peter Williams, member of IAC Committee to Review IPCC and treasurer/vice president of The Royal Society, London, U.K.

    A number of reviews and investigations conducted so far into the alleged wrongdoings have substantially exonerated the scientists involved and also, to the extent they also looked into it, the underlying science. Several of those reviews, however, did find fault in involved scientists’ appearance of having been less than fully open and cooperative with disclosures involving their research. And most agree the whole experience argues for more transparency and openness in how climate science is conducted.

    Nonetheless, the reviews by and large have been supportive of the scientists and their work overall. The InterAcademy Council report, regardless of which way its findings lean, is expected by many to be the most important and most definitive, and its findings will be closely watched and reviewed by all “sides” of the climate change issue.

    Few, however, expect the report’s findings will bring an end to the divisiveness and partisanship that increasingly have characterized the climate change issue in recent years.