It looks like scientists are pushing back against global warming denialists who have hijacked the debate over climate change. This week, Science magazine published a letter signed by 255 scientists that protests what they call “political assaults on scientists and climate scientists in particular.” From the letter:

“There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions. But “for a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet.”

In addition, Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Select House Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, held a hearing yesterday on climate science, at which he argued that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill proves that the US needs to move beyond a reliance on petroleum. Markey said that a move toward clean energy was the only solution to the undeniable reality of human-caused climate change.

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Virginia released a statement opposing the actions of Virginia’s activist Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli after he launched an investigation into publicly funded work by a climate scientist formerly employed by UVA. The climate scientist, Michael Mann, was at the center of the so-called “Climategate” controversy last year, but has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a review at Pennsylvania State University, where he currently works. In addition, two reports by committees in the United Kingdom have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the scientists involved. However, Cuccinelli still wants UVA to turn over a massive number of documents relating to Mann’s research to determine if Mann “defrauded” the state.

The Washington Post published an editorial this morning about Cuccinelli’s bizarre crusade, saying they had already known Cuccinelli “had declared war on reality. Now he has declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry as well.” Perhaps the WaPo feels that its prediction from late October 2009 – days before Cuccinelli was elected – is coming true. That op-ed, which specifically mentions his contempt for those who care about global warming, frankly stated that as attorney general, “he would be an embarrassment to Virginia.”

Cuccinelii really isn’t doing himself any favors.