Mike Mann Wins one for the Planet

November 2, 2011

Mike Mann strikes another blow against the ignorati.

Chris Mooney at Desmogblog: 

Yesterday in a Virginia courtroom, Michael Mann—who is quickly becoming the Galileo of climate science—triumphed over the conservative American Tradition Institute, (isn’t witch hunting an American Tradition? – PS) and ongoing attempts at scientist-harassment.

More specifically, Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Finch both allowed Mann to join the case that ATI is pursuing against the University of Virginia to get Mann’s emails, and allowed UVA to back out of an agreement with ATI to let it review some of Mann’s emails that the university is nevertheless claiming are exempt from disclosure.

This is a bit technical, as is often the case in ongoing court proceedings, but let’s remember why it matters.

The ATI lawsuit is a follow-on to Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli’s outrageous harassment of Mann. (see at 2;35 in above video – PS) And protecting Mann’s emails from disclosure is critical for ensuring that ideological fishing expeditions that attack and harass scientists aren’t permitted. The contrary result, as many scientific groups have asserted, could have a chilling effect on academic research and freedom of inquiry in controversial areas.

Mann has been greatly supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Geophysical Union, and other organizations, and by grassroots fundraising efforts to support his legal expenses. (to contribute, you can click the icon in the right column on this page..PS)

Let us also add that there is no reason to think Mann has done anything wrong, scientifically or otherwise, or that his emails will reveal some malfeasance. To the contrary, Mann and other scientists involved in the pseudo-scandal of “ClimateGate” have been repeatedly vindicated by independent investigations.

Meanwhile, the connections between ATI and various other conservative and industry groups and funders have now been extensively documented.

I called Mann the “Galileo of climate science,” and increasingly, I think this is not mere hyperbole.

I’ve been following climate science, and political attacks on it, for nearly a decade. Throughout that period, conservatives have been relentlessly attacking Mann because of the hockey stick graph. And starting in 2005, there have been attempts—first in Congress, then using the legal process—to wrest information from Mann, information whose disclosure would simply allow conservative motivated reasoners to come up with new reasons to criticize and attack him.

This is a beast that, at all costs, must not be fed.

At the same time, all of this has surely exacted a serious toll on Mann himself in the form of personal stresses and, perhaps, legal expenses.

Mann has risen to the occasion, however, and fought back admirably and courageously.

In the process, he has become a hero and a role model for standing up against the forces of ideology and unreason.

And in turn, as this long and completely unnecessary legal process continues, we must continue to give him our full and absolutely unwavering support.

The Ultimate climate gate/hockey debate debunk video is below.


117 Responses to “Mike Mann Wins one for the Planet”

  1. Martin – after 19 years of failures it has to be high time we stopped failing again and leave mitigation to a better future.

    • Martin_Lack Says:

      Maurizio, I am not sure what you are trying to say here. Emissions reduction was meant to be a form of mitigation (although it’s time has more or less passed and/or is becoming much harder for us to make it effective the longer we delay). If sea level is going to rise continuously for 100s of years, adaptaion will be impossible and widespread disruption and or diminution of human civilisation inevitable. Are you saying we should do nothing (because you do not believe those who say we have a problem). If none of the above, exactly waht are you saying?

    • sinchiroca Says:

      Mauritzio, given the large uncertainties in the costs involved, I agree that we will need a triple-barreled approach: prevention, mitigation, and adaptation. Had we taken preventative action 20 or even 10 years ago, we might have been able to avoid the second and third approaches. But that’s water under the bridge; our task now is to figure out the best combination of measures to cope with ACC. I have long felt that the future costs of ACC are much greater than the costs of prevention, even with a reasonable discount rate. However, I grant that there are so many uncertainties associated with these costs that figuring out the best mix is really tough. Certainly the claims of trillions of dollars in costs to prevent ACC is absurd, unless you want to add up all the costs over this century. But if we want to do a complete accounting for the remaining 89 years of this century, I’m quite certain that the accumulated costs of unrestricted ACC will easily run into the tens of trillions of dollars.

      Here’s an example of what I mean. Consider just one coastal city: Miama, Florida. This city sits just a few feet above sea level; the tidal surge in a hurricane will easily sweep far inland, wreaking enormous destruction and eventually forcing the abandonment of that city. What is Miami worth? If we add up the values of all the buildings and infrastructure, we could easily reach a trillion dollars — all of which will eventually be lost to ACC. And that’s just one city. There are hundreds more coastal towns and cities that would suffer similar fates, some only partially, some completely.

      Again, there are many uncertainties associated with these estimates, but the existence of uncertainty does not free us of responsibility for making a decision. Inaction is just as much a deliberate policy as action — and it’s clear now that inaction will cost us a lot of money. We simply have to make the best guesses we can and move forward with those guesses, improving them as we learn more.

  2. So the rational answer to two decades of failed mitigation efforts, is more mitigation efforts? In that case I’m proud to be crazy.

    Anyway, Martin misunderstood as usual. My recipe for the next 25 years is: adapt, adapt, adapt, adapt, adapt, mitigate (if possible). In that order. An analogy outside climate change: a properly built sea wall will save more people in case of a tsunami than a trillion dollars of quake prediction research.

    • Martin_Lack Says:

      Maurozio, I misunderstood nothing. For whatever reason, what you said was extremely obscure! By the way, I had meant to say to you that if you dislike use of the term “denier“, this site (“i.e. “Climate DENIAL Crock of the Week“) probably isn’t the best forum for you to make such a plea. However, if you think adaptation – as opposed to behaviour modification – is or ever was an option, you have completely failed to grasp the scale of the problem we face (and are probably, sorry about this, in denial).

      If you had bothered to read any of he stuff on my blog, you would realise that I agree with James Henson that the IPCC/Kyoto approach at mitigation has been at best ineffective and at worst disingenuous. However, that does not mean that I think we should not try to do something. That is because if we do nothing, I am fully convinced that the paleaoclimatic record tells us that, for 100s of millions of people at least, migration and/or adaptation will be impossible. Choosing to ignore such data does not make it less likley to happen.

    • sinchiroca Says:

      “So the rational answer to two decades of failed mitigation efforts, is more mitigation efforts?”

      WHAT mitigation efforts? Very little has been done to reduce carbon emissions. The policies haven’t even been tried on any significant scale — so how can you declare that they have failed?

      You analogy is predicated on the assumption that ACC is not anthropogenic — that is, that there’s nothing that humanity can do about it. In fact, there’s plenty we can do in terms of reducing carbon emissions.

      One other thing: once the world IS forced to adapt to large-scale effects of ACC, there will be something of a reckoning. Those nations that will suffer greatly from ACC (such as Maldives and Bangladesh) will demand compensation from those who hold greatest responsibility for the problem: the USA first and foremost, with other rich countries in the docket as accomplices. That will not be pretty.

      • Yes sinchiroca…two decade of mitigation _efforts_ have produced _very little_ in terms of mitigation. And there have been countless meetings, declarations, summits, promises, conventions, reports, demonstrations, etc etc etc. Quite often, including powerful leaders from around the world.

        My analogy is predicated on the recognition that if we spend like mad to make decarbonization to become affordable and popular, much more than two more decades will pass before anything gets done in practice. There will only be more meetings, declarations, etc etc. Analogously, if we spend like mad to predict quakes, given decades of quake prediction failure, we will have to wait even more decades before any quake prediction becomes remotely useful.

        • sinchiroca Says:

          Maurizio, you’re not quite using English properly. There has been little mitigation effort — there have been instead some efforts at mitigation. The former phrasing denotes what happens AFTER the plan is executed, the latter denotes what happens BEFORE the plan. I think we’re in agreement here, but I want to make it clear. There have been quite a few political efforts at developing agreements that would lead to mitigation policies. It is those political efforts that have failed. The mitigation efforts that have actually been carried out are few and minor, the most serious efforts being made by Germany, which HAS had some success in reducing its carbon footprint.

          You say that spending like mad on decarbonization efforts will not yield fruit for at least 20 years. I offer Germany as a counterexample. They have spent a great deal of money on reducing their carbon footprint, and they in fact already accomplished quite a bit in that direction.

          I suspect that this is just another language problem.

          Your quake analogy is also off the mark. We already know that we can’t predict earthquakes. Scientists will NOT tell you that we can predict earthquakes, and they will NOT claim that, with a few hundreds of billions of dollars, they will be able to predict earthquakes. However, scientists ARE saying that they understand the basic dynamics of ACC, that they CAN reliably predict some serious negative consequences if we do nothing to reduce carbon emissions, and that we CAN reduce carbon emissions significantly with expenditures on the order of a few hundreds of billions of dollars. The two situations are not at all analogous.

          • Yup, as Chris Rapley recently said at the IOP in London, the worst thing that ever happened to climate science was the appearance of the (insane) belief that it can reliably _predict_ anything. It’s all gone downhill since.

          • sinchiroca Says:

            The overall prediction of climatology — that unrestrained increases in carbon emissions will lead to rising temperatures — has already been shown beyond all doubt to be correct. So in fact climatology CAN reliably predict somethings.

          • We might know about that in a decade or two. Until then, I’ll keep it in the “insane” category.

          • sinchiroca Says:

            Mauritzio, if you indeed believe that there is no evidence of warming then I think that “denier” truly is apropos in your case, because you’re denying an enormous amount of data and analysis.

  3. Martin – the positive thing about this site is that, alone in the annals of Warmism, the host doesn’t give out the impression he’d be happy after hearing of a mass suicide among skeptics. It’s also fairly informative, shall I say balanced in its bias. My impression is that Sinclair doesn’t feel the urge to demonstrate he’s on a different class than his readers (a problem sadly afflicting Skeptical Science and Real Climate let alone Tamino).

    • daveburton Says:

      Yes. Most warmist blog sites are heavily censored to suppress dissent. Tamino and the Yale Climate Forum are two examples. Here’s a message I sent last April to the Editor of the Yale Climate Forum:

      Subject: Yale Climate Forum
      To: Zeke Hausfather, Bud Ward, …

      Et tu, Zeke? No dissenting opinions will be allowed, just like Tamino? What kind of “forum” is that?? [Note: it turns out that it was actually Bud Ward who deleted my postings]

      Why do you keep deleting my comment? Why are many climate alarmists so resistant to discussion and debate?

      Do you think I don’t belong there? I was born in Yale New Haven Hospital! Does that count for anything?

      Please post my comment (below) about Tamino’s ‘Open Mind’:

      =======( begin deleted comment )=======

      Zeke, you might want to reconsider this recommendation [of Tamino’s “Open Mind” blog site]. Tamino’s mind is apparently not open enough to allow dissenting opinions to be expressed on his blog site, which makes it an unreliable source of information.

      Have you noticed the unanimity of opinion there? That’s because all comments are moderated, and comments that don’t comfortably confirm his opinions are simply deleted.

      For instance, here he trashes a recent paper (and its authors) that reported on a study of tide gauge records which found no acceleration in rate of sea level rise in response to increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions:

      Tamino claimed that the authors are wrong, and that rate of sea level rise has actually increased. He’s wrong, and I posted the following rebuttal as a comment on his blog. Instead of responding, he just deleted it.

      I reposted it, and the 2nd time he deleted all but one sentence, and replied with insults. Here’s what I wrote:


      By conflating satellite data with tide gauge data, you’ve created the illusion of acceleration where none exists.

      Satellites are measuring higher rates of sea level rise than are most tide gauges, but we only have a little over 15 years of satellite measurements. So, if you average the satellite data in with the tide gauge data you create the appearance of acceleration commencing (of course) a little over 15 years ago.

      You could get the same result by switching tide gauge sets, and it would be just as invalid. Here in NC, you could graph Wilmington’s LMSL to 1990, and then switch to an average of Wilmington and Duck, and your graph would appear to show that sea level rise had accelerated, when it hadn’t.

      In fact, neither tide gauge data nor satellite data alone show any sign of sustained acceleration in rate of sea level rise in response to anthropogenic CO2. In fact, tide gauges records show no sustained acceleration in rate of sea level rise since about 1925 or 1930.

      The significance of that fact is that the last 80-85 years covers nearly all of the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2. Pumping up atmospheric CO2 from ~290 ppm to ~390 ppm clearly has not resulted in any sustained acceleration in sea level rise.

      Remember the Big Question! The Big Question is: does anthropogenic CO2 increase the rate of sea level rise (and by how much)?

      If you’re trying to answer that question, then why confuse the issue by citing an acceleration in sea level rise that occurred when anthropogenic CO2 emissions were very low? Acceleration in rate of sea level rise in the late 19th century and early 20th century, before mankind was much affecting atmospheric CO2 levels, obviously is not evidence that increases in atmospheric CO2 cause increasing rates of sea level rise. If anything, it suggests that changes in rate of sea level rise are NOT caused by mankind’s CO2 emissions.

      You also complain about fitting a quadratic to detect acceleration or deceleration. But that is the method that Church & White (2006) used, and when did you complain about their use of the method?

      Their paper, which relied on that method, has been cited by warmists as proof of accelerating sea level rise ever since. Even since C&W released their revised “2009” (really just through 2007) data, in which all the 20th century acceleration had disappeared (though they didn’t mention that fact), their 2006 paper continues to be the basis for claims of 20th century acceleration in sea level.

      Here’s plot of their 2009 data, with a minimum unbiased estimator quadratic fit (i.e., the method they used in their 2006 paper), starting in 1900, and projected out to 2100:

      Note the slight deceleration.

      The big picture is simply this: the rate of sea level rise hasn’t exhibited any sustained increase in over 80 years, which means that it has not increased in response anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

      Since anthropogenic CO2 didn’t cause an acceleration in rate of sea level rise in the last 80+ years, it is irrational to expect that it will do so in the next 80+ years.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        quick advisory – I’ll allow this, because generally your posts are a target rich environment.
        but if you are going to pursue long running feuds with someone else in this space, or use this
        as a place to dump a monologue you can’t post elsewhere, suggest you get your own blog.
        Word press is free, or at least, cheap.

  4. Sinchiroca – there we go again…we’re talking about climate science RELIABLY PREDICTING something and you accuse me of “denying” the “evidence for warming”. Can’t you tell the difference?

    And btw there’s no “reliability” in “predicting” warming. It’s just too broad a prediction. Since the outcomes are just three (warming, cooling, stationary temperatures) then any monkey with darts will exhibit similar skills 33.333% of the time.

    • sinchiroca Says:

      OK, let me repeat myself:

      “The overall prediction of climatology — that unrestrained increases in carbon emissions will lead to rising temperatures — has already been shown beyond all doubt to be correct. So in fact climatology CAN reliably predict somethings.”

      Scientists have been predicting increases in global temperatures for a hundred years. Guess what: global temperatures have been found to be increasing!

      How does this NOT constitute a prediction that turned out to be not just reliable but correct?

  5. Martin_Lack Says:

    Dear Maurizio,

    You said above that… “as Chris Rapley recently said at the IOP in London, the worst thing that ever happened to climate science was the appearance of the (insane) belief that it can reliably predict anything“. To which I would respond as follows:
    1. The IOP does not have a good track-record of being objective on this issue – as they got into an awful mess after asking an Energy Consultant (Peter Gill) to compile their sumission to a ‘Climategate’ Inquiry, which included the statement that “for many people [ACC] has become a religion, so facts and analysis have become largely irrelevant“. [Hmmm, who was the first person to come up with this “new religion name tag, was it Freeman Dyson, or was it inscribed in stone and handed to Moses on Mt Sinai?]
    2. Even the Director of the Science Museum, former Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and a former Director of the British Antarctic Survey with a CBE cannot be right all the time.
    3. You will be pleased to know that I am getting close to the point at which I will stop repeating myself and leave you alone. However, for possibly the last time, we do not have to rely on models to predict anything: It has been deduced from basic physics, its effects can be seen and understood in the palaeoclimatic record, and it is already starting to happen.
    4. You may be “an experienced electronics and computing technologist and scientist, with more than 15 years of practice in fields as diverse as biosignal analysis, image capturing and trading systems for investment banks, and a variety of interests, including the long-standing study of international relations, economic and social development, the energy sector and space technologies“, but what amongst all this, qualifies you to chose which science you believe and which you do not?

    Kind regards, Martin.

  6. No, Martin, we’re not moving the discussion topic to my good self. Leave that to creationists and chemtrailers 🙂

  7. Nice to hear science wisdom as uttered by a non-scientist who’s never done any science.

    Anyway it’s quite easy for you to dismiss whatever I write, you just distort it and change topic. Must be fun.

  8. daveburton Says:

    For a very thoughtful commentary on this affair see:

  9. sinchiroca Says:

    Dave, I’m going to come flat out and accuse you of intellectual dishonesty. I asked you several times to answer a simple question:

    “I didn’t ask about catastrophic acceleration. I asked:

    “do you expect sea level to rise concomitantly with average global surface temperatures?”

    Will you please answer the question?”

    You disappeared for a few days, and now you’re back with a long post that changes the subject. I believe that you are deliberately evading answering my question, because you know that you’re quite wrong, and refuse to admit it.

    You complain that some blogs ban your comments, accusing them of bias and a refusal to discuss issues honestly, but in fact, YOU are the one who refuses to discuss the matter honestly. I can see why your comments are banned at other blogs: you offer only obfuscatory and dishonest palaver. I have attempted to engage you directly and honestly, but you simply refuse to address the points I make.

    Lastly, I took the time to read the post at WUWT, and I was appalled by the hypocrisy. The author claims that he wants the emails to protect science. What reeking bullshit! He’s not out to protect science, he’s on a witch hunt. Moreover, he claims to have experience as an academic scientist, but in fact his doctorate is in environmental management, not science. There is no record of his publishing any academic paper in any peer-reviewed journal on climatology, nor was a quick Internet search able to find ANY academic paper of his in ANY peer-reviewed journal. He himself admits that:

    “The facts of the case include that these emails are more than five years old; that they contain none of the email attachments, no computer code, no data, no draft papers, no draft reports; ”

    So if there’s nothing of scientific value in the emails, what possible use could they be? Mr. Schnare is not pursuing science, he’s pursuing a witch hunt.

    • daveburton Says:

      Your problem is that you just didn’t like my answer.

      Of course sea level is rising. It has been rising for at least 150 years. It has risen concomitantly when the climate got warmer. It has risen concomitantly when the climate got cooler, too.

      What is significant is that the RATE of sea level rise has not increased at all in response to anthropogenic CO2.

      The Big Question is whether or not we should expect the rate of sea level rise to measurably accelerate in response to additional anthropogenic CO2. The answer is no.

      We know that because we’ve already done the experiment: more than 2/3 century of high anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and a 30%+ increase in atmospheric CO2 levels, have produced no increase at all in the rate of sea level rise.

      That punches a huge hole in the “catastrophic” part of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW), since the #1 part of the supposed catastrophe is the erroneous prediction of massively accelerated sea level rise. If global warming isn’t catastrophic, then it can’t be worth ruinous expenditures to make minute reductions in it.

      As for the Schnare piece, I find it ironic that you begin by accusing me of “intellectual dishonesty,” and end by asking an intellectually dishonest question. The Schnare piece carefully and compellingly answers the question of why the Mann emails need to be released. You just chose to not quote those parts. Tsk, tsk!

      • Martin_Lack Says:

        The vast majority of relevantly-qualified climate scientists disagree and, since you have clearly not watched the Bickmore video, I am sorry to have to tell you that climate contrarians are not like Galilleo: Science has moved on. Therefore, if 97% of experts agree something is happening, it almost certainly is (and the residual uncertainty is no cause for celebration and/or excuse for inaction).

      • sinchiroca Says:

        “Your problem is that you just didn’t like my answer.”

        No, you failed to answer the question, and your answer now is poorly worded:

        “It has risen concomitantly when the climate got warmer. It has risen concomitantly when the climate got cooler, too.”

        Your use of the term ‘concomitant’ in this manner is nonsensical. Nevertheless, I shall assume that you agree with the basic concept. And in fact, your agreement is implicit in your use of the expectation that sea level rise should be accelerating — an expectation that you claim to be confuted by the evidence. What you are claiming, then, is that sea level rise will not accelerate as the earth warms. This claim is easily refuted by the simple fact that ice melts at temperatures above 0ºC. As polar regions warm, temperatures climb above 0ºC, ice melts, and it eventually ends up in the ocean. More water in the sea makes it rise. A child can understand this. Your rejection of such simple, basic reasoning is an act of intellectual dishonesty.

        Furthermore, you have failed to answer another major point I have made concerning the latency of sea level rise in response to rising temperatures, due to the large heat capacity of polar ice. This is another case of evasion, because an honest acknowledgement of this factor destroys your case.

        Lastly, in re Mr. Schnare’s piece, I have quoted the admission that completely undermines his claims, and you, true to form, have failed to address my question:

        “So if there’s nothing of scientific value in the emails, what possible use could they be?”

        I condemn your continuing refusal to engage in honest discussion. Please answer the points I have raised.

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