RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- -

The Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a judge's decision rejecting a conservative group's attempt to obtain a former University of Virginia climate researcher's emails.

The justices on Thursday agreed with retired Arlington Circuit Judge Paul Sheridan that Michael Mann's emails are exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

The records were sought by the American Tradition Institute, which disputes the assertion by Mann and other climate scientists that decades of heat-trapping carbon gas emissions into the atmosphere are responsible for global warming.

Republican state Delegate Bob Marshall joined the institute in seeking the records.

According to the court, the emails are proprietary records exempt from disclosure because they deal with academic research.