Science Wins in Virginia

November 6, 2013

Climate scientist Mike Mann’s very worthwhile book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, is now out in paperback, I’m sure not coincidentally timed for the day after the long-foreseen defeat of climate denier Ken Cuccinelli in the new bellweather state of Virginia.

hstickwarsThe book details how anti-science politicians and activists targetted a leading member of the scientific community, through political and legal channels, but also in media disinformation campaigns.

I don’t have time or patience to read a lot of popular books, and I seldom recommend them, but here’s one that I did read and can recommend, not only for the science explained, for the historical details that future graduate students will be poring over and analyzing for centuries.

Michael Halpern, for the Union of Concerned Scientists:

For those who haven’t followed the case, a recap: former University of Virginia scientist Michael Mann is responsible for pioneering climate change research that has since been reaffirmed by scores of researchers and scientific bodies. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thought he knew better. He made headlines around the world by issuing subpoenas to UVa under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act for Mann’s personal emails and other documents (The scientist subsequently wrote a book about being raked over the coals by Cuccinelli and other politicians).

Many, including those who don’t accept mainstream climate science, called the attorney general’s inquest a witch hunt. The university took him to court and won all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court; various judges found not only that the university was not subject to the subpoenas but also that the attorney general had consistently failed to state what exactly he found false or fraudulent.

Then, Cuccinelli ran for governor. But UVa donors, and contributors to current Governor Bob McDonnell weren’t happy. “Among the McDonnell donors who have steered clear of Cuccinelli, four are current or former trustees of a Virginia public university, and two are active in promoting research on climate change,” reported the Washington Post on November 2. One donor, Mark Kingston, who gave $83,000 to current Governor Bob McDonnell’s campaign in 2009, told the Post he avoided Cuccinelli in part because of his actions related to climate change.

More recently, Cuccinelli seemed to recognize that the issue had become a liability for him, refusing several times to answer reporters’ questions about his understanding of climate change science (video here and above).

Virginia Pilot:

Ken Cuccinelli’s climate change skepticism gets a military twist in a new radio ad critical of the Republican nominee for governor that’s airing on Norfolk and Virginia Beach stations up to the Nov. 5 election.

In the spot from the left-of-center Vote Vets Action Fund, retired Army Brigadier General Steve Anderson alleges Cuccinelli’s disbelief could endanger Virginia National Guardsmen deployed by the governor to respond to extreme weather emergencies.

“When bad storms hit, the governor often calls on the Virginia National Guard to save lives and protect property and businesses,” states Anderson, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. “So, Virginia needs a governor developing policies that make extreme storms less likely, keeping Virginians and our Guardsmen out of harm’s way.”

“But Cuccinelli doesn’t believe in the science of climate change,” he adds in the minute-long add. “Cuccinelli avoids the clear facts – putting Virginia families at risk. Denying climate change isn’t fighting for Virginia. And it’s not fighting for you.”


33 Responses to “Science Wins in Virginia”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    I am a Virginia resident and am glad to see this piece here. The country needs to be educated about ideologues like KookyNelly (as many of us here in VA refer to him) and the damage they do. We in Virginia have helped the country dodge a large bullet by cutting short KookyNelly’s moment in the sun. He has made similar bad moves regarding women’s issues, transportation, health care and more, and it’s actually amazing he didn’t lose by a larger margin.

    I AM sad to say that his insane vendetta against Dr. Mann probably wasn’t that big an issue in the election here. Those who got excited up over that probably wouldn’t have voted for him because of his many other extreme positions on other things, and the conservative “base” is still pushing coal here and doesn’t want to talk about AGW. Perhaps some good was done through all the advertising by the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and other environmental groups, in that the public awareness of the issue is now higher—progress comes in small steps.

  2. daveburton Says:

    Only extreme ideological commitment can explain the fact that leftists continue to defend Michael Mann, despite his appalling misbehavior, which was revealed by the ClimateGate emails.

    There are a few exceptions. Here’s one of them. This is the reaction of a prominent longtime climate alarmist, physicist Richard Muller:

    Muller sounds like a cheated-on spouse. He says he’s “infuriated” by Michael Mann’s fraud. He says Mann’s team is the group he “trusted the most.”

    Here are some of the more damning emails:

    Michael Mann discusses how to destroy a journal that has published sceptic papers. (1047388489)

    Phil Jones says he has use Mann’s “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series”…to hide the decline”. Real Climate says “hiding” was an unfortunate turn of phrase. (0942777075)

    Mann thinks he will contact BBC’s Richard Black to find out why another BBC journalist was allowed to publish a vaguely sceptical article. (1255352257)

    Mann tells Jones that it would be nice to ‘”contain” the putative Medieval Warm Period’. (1054736277)

    Mann discusses tactics for screening and delaying postings at Real Climate. (1139521913)

    Briffa says he is sick to death of Mann claiming his reconstruction is tropical because it has a few poorly temp sensitive tropical proxies. Says he should regress these against something else like the “increasing trend of self-opinionated verbiage” he produces. Ed Cook agrees with problems. (1024334440)

    Reaction to McIntyre’s 2005 paper in GRL. Mann has challenged GRL editor-in-chief over the publication. Mann is concerned about the connections of the paper’s editor James Saiers with U Virginia [does he mean Pat Michaels?]. Tom Wigley says that if Saiers is a sceptic they should go through official GRL channels to get him ousted. (1106322460) [Note: Saiers was subsequently ousted]
    Later on Mann refers to the leak at GRL being plugged. (1132094873)

    Jones calls for Wahl and Ammann to try to change the received date on their alleged refutation of McIntyre [presumably so it can get into AR4] (1189722851)

    Mann sends calibration residuals for MBH99 to Osborn. Says they are pretty red, and that they shouldn’t be passed on to others, this being the kind of dirty laundry they don’t want in the hands of those who might distort it. (1059664704)

    Mann tells Revkin that McIntyre is not to be trusted. (1254259645)

    Revkin quotes von Storch as saying it is time to toss the Hockey Stick. This back in 2004. (1096382684)

    Tom Wigley tells Mann that a figure Schmidt put together to refute Monckton is deceptive and that the match it shows of instrumental to model predictions is a fluke. Says there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model output by authors and IPCC. (1255553034)

    Jones tells Mann that he is sending station data. Says that if McIntyre requests it under FoI he will delete it rather than hand it over. Says he will hide behind data protection laws. Says Rutherford screwed up big time by creating an FTP directory for Osborn. Says Wigley worried he will have to release his model code. Also discuss AR4 draft. Mann says paleoclimate chapter will be contentious but that the author team has the right personalities to deal with sceptics. (1107454306)

    • Getting a bit close to the line on libeling Mann? Maybe Over the line? Personally I think a comment like this should be moderated out. But that’s just me.

    • Muller says they deceived the scientists by showing all their data and methods publicly and coming up with results that match Mullers and every one else’s. What a scandal. Such a diabolical scheme. Nice website. Surprised to see umnologic there. I had to leave because the echo was deafening. But now you have accomplished your mission. Everyone here now believes you have discovered that you should not believe in science, because it is a conspiracy. So from now on, I will only believe in science from experts like you. Keep up the good work.

    • Lots of s**t in the above post, but let’s take a look at this one little turd:

      Mann tells Jones that it would be nice to ‘”contain” the putative Medieval Warm Period’. (1054736277)

      OK, let’s follow the link to that “damning” email to see what Mann really means by “contain”:

      Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back…

      Obviously, Mann used the word ‘contain’ as in “You can’t ‘contain’ two gallons of whiskey in a one-gallon jug.” It had nothing at all to do with attempting to hide or obscure the MWP, as anyone with elementary-school reading-comprehension skills can easily figure out.

      The sheer stupidity of climate-denial arguments is just breathtaking.

      • daveburton Says:

        That’s a very creative interpretation, caerbannog666. You do know that Mann tried very hard to hid and obscure the MWP, right?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Since I too have “elementary-school reading-comprehension skills”, I reached the same ‘creative” conclusion. Give it up, Dave—no one is paying any attention to your “arguments” (only to the fact that you seem to want to aggravate—is that your intent?)

    • Jones tells Mann that he is sending station data. Says that if McIntyre requests it under FoI he will delete it rather than hand it over. Says he will hide behind data protection laws.

      Here’s a bit of background on this. The station data was the CRUTEM raw data used by the CRU to compute global-average temperature estimates. Most of the data was public-domain, but some was proprietary and could not be redistributed to the general public without the original owners’ permission. Some of the data “license agreements” allowed for free use by academics/researchers, but put restrictions on public redistribution of the data.

      The CRU did not (and does not) own or control the data in question. Jones was very annoyed with “skeptics” who were demanding data that he did not have permission to redistribute publicly. Hence the snippy emails.

      Fast forward to July 2011. The CRU goes ahead and releases all of the disputed data to the public on July 27 of that year, even though it did not secure explicit permission from all the data owners. That data, the data that “skeptics” like Burton were demanding, has been sitting on the CRU web-site for well over two years, just begging to be downloaded and analyzed by the very people who had been demanding full access to it.

      So in the 2+ years, what have the “skeptics” done with the data they were demanding? Have they published any of their own results and compared their result with the CRU’s results? Have they identified any deficiencies in the CRU’s work?

      Well, you can probably guess the answer. They haven’t done squat.

      This in spite of the fact that coding up one’s own global-temperature app and crunching the CRU data with it is at most a few days’ work for a competent programmer/analyst. “Skeptics” have had over two years to perform a few days of honest analysis work on the CRU data. The fact that they haven’t published their own results by now is a very good indication that the whole FOI campaign against the CRU was nothing more than an exercise in harrassment.

      And by the way, I went ahead and crunched the CRU data with my own app. Downloaded it on July 30 and had my results that afternoon.

      Here’s a link to a plot of results I got when I processed CRUTEM and GHCN data:

      The plot shows results that I got when I crunched 4 different data sets: CRUTEMV3, CRUTEMV4, GHCNV2, and GHCNV3. Also included for comparison purposes are the NASA/GISS “meteorological stations” global temperature results. I used raw CRUTEMV3, GHCNV2, and GHCNV3 data and “homogenized” CRUTEMV4 data.

      Now, without looking at the plot legend, can you tell which temperature curve is which? Can you pick out the CRUTEMV4 homogenized results from the raw data results? Can you identify the official NASA results?

      BTW, what I did just wasn’t that difficult; the algorithm I coded up was simple and straightforward. I could teach on-the-ball first-year programming students how to do it.

      Keep that in mind as you consider what “skeptics” haven’t done with the CRUTEM raw data in the 2+ years they’ve had full access to it.

      • Small correction: One of the “skeptics” (Mosher, IIRC) actually did crunch the data and basically confirmed the CRU’s global temperature results.

        But you won’t find Mosher’s confirmation of the CRU results being trumpeted by the likes of wuwt, climateaudit, etc.

        If the folks in “skeptic” community had a shred of integrity, they would have publicly acknowledged long ago that the CRU (as well as the NASA and NOAA) global-temperature results are valid, robust, and easily reproduced.

        • Nice job Caerbannog. I can think of one familiar denier that has omni logic that should have been able to do the same. Next time he makes notice of his software background, I will make the request, if you don’t beat me to it.

  3. greenman3610 Says:

    wow. stunningly checked out from reality.
    Muller of course has completely recanted his critique of global climate science

    although, to my knowledge, has not apologized for slandering climate scientists, whose work muller himself has now replicated. Muller does not come off as a man of personal integrity, but he finally got the science right – explained here by Muller’s chief temp record expert, Robert Rohde

    Meanwhile, the “climate gate” emails remain the “WMD” of climate denial. Lots of talk, nothing there, after 9 investigations.
    Dave, you seem unable to lay off repeating the tea party play book. Are you still holding out for Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, as well?

    • daveburton Says:

      We were talking about Michael Mann. Muller is still a climate alarmist, as he was before the Climategate scandal broke. But he hasn’t recanted his criticism of Mann’s fraud.

      Watch Muller’s video. It’s only five minutes. Read those emails.

      If, after that, you still don’t understand that Mann is guilty of scientific malpractice, on a grand scale, then you don’t know what science is. Perhaps this will help you:

      • greenman3610 Says:

        right. got it. giant secret plot. investigations covering up scientists crimes. conspiracy known only to the few brave truth tellers like yourself. they’re all against you. uh huh

        • right. got it. giant secret plot. investigations covering up scientists crimes.

          You know, Peter, it’s ironic that I agree with every last one of your sarcastic responses to this denialist… and you still throw the likes of me out in the cold because we point to nuclear energy as the best available solution to the problems.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            If I may offer my perceptions of what Peter and the rest of us do, E-Pot, it is not that we “throw the likes of you out in the cold” because of your advocacy of nuclear power. (You may find my recent comment on the Pandora’s Box thread interesting in that regard).

            It is your general attitude towards others, your pretentiousness, your arrogance, and the consistently “cowboy” behavior displayed in your comments that often turns me off and obscures whatever good science you may be expounding. You might find more agreement with some of your thoughts if you came down off your high horse, stopped the attention seeking, and simply joined the good exchange of ideas that the majority of commenters here engage in.

            This comment is a case in point. I will ask you WHY? Why did you feel it necessary to even say this? Would it not have been enough to say at most “I agree with both the substance and the sarcasm of your remarks”? (although that really isn’t appropriate—Peter owns this site and if he wants to snark on someone, it’s none of your business and he isn’t in need of your “support”) Why must you then go off track and “make it all about you”?

            And Ironic? Sounds more like senseless whining to me.

      • Those are indeed extremely helpful articles. They clarify your view of science, including a link to one of Maurizio’s essays. Being a supreme generalist, Omnologos equates the future of climate science to his history of paleontology:

        “It’s rather straightforward, and on past performance suggests any date between 2018 and 2091 as the year CO2-based AGW (or CO2-AGW) went the way of the dodo (using a quasi-arbitrary baseline of 1988 as when AGW became mainstream, with Hansen’s testimony to the US Senate).”

        Some readers are irritated. I am amused. Thanks Dave for your tenacious devotion.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        No, Dave, we were actually talking about Ken KookyNelly until you did your typical denialist thing of distraction-diversion-obfuscation and tried to make it about Michael Mann.

        Kooky did NOT succeed with his witch hunt, Mann and all the others were cleared of any wrongdoing in the Climategate followup investigations.

        Kooky is a certified loser, and Mann’s star is rising—he is speaking out more forcefully on AGW and. as Peter has pointed out, is taking court action against some folks. Mann must threaten you rather badly for you to make such libelous (and irrelevant, and ad hominem) comments.

        Why don’t you go back to that small life raft you seem to cling to—that sea-level thing?. Perhaps you can ride that for a while until the weight of all the other evidence swamps you?

        • daveburton Says:

          No, HumbleOldGuy, we were talking about Michael Mann. The first four words of the article are, “Climate scientist Mike Mann’s…”

          You still think he did nothing wrong? Did you even bother to watch Muller’s video?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Dave, you didn’t go far enough in your straw grasping. The FIFTH word of the article was BOOK, and it was used as a lead-in to a discussion of KookyNelly’s sins in the “climate wars”. Mann is mentioned after that opening only briefly, and again only because what Kooky did to him was the real thrust of the article.

            Actually, Kooky’s behaviors may rise to the level of “war criminality”, which leads to the question of whether there will be future “war crimes trials” for Kooky and others who denied and obstructed, and thereby caused much damage to the biosphere. YOUR name may come up in that context, although you likely don’t need to worry about capital punishment—a few years in prison making solar cells or windmill parts for 20 cents an hour will be punishment enough for you.

            Did YOU even bother to read this whole article before you went into reflexive denier/distractor mode? Seems not. (And why no sea level link to distract us?).

            Yes, I have watched the video, and Muller has little more credibility in my mind than “Lordy-Lordy I’m Obtuse” Monckton. In my more conspiracy-minded moments, I ask myself the question “Why has a former Koch brothers funded denier whose works have been discredited suddenly seen the light and climbed on his white horse to save the world?”.

            Perhaps he is a “fifth columnist” or “Manchurian candidate” sleeper agent?—-his status as a reformed skeptic now gives him some credibility, and after a time he will use that new found credibility to cover up some really big lies? Yes, that could be it—the Kochs and their get-rich-from-fossil-fuel brethren ARE getting desperate enough to try that.

        • daveburton Says:

          HumbleOldGuy wrote, “Mann and all the others were cleared of any wrongdoing in the Climategate followup investigations.”

          I’m sure you’d like to believe that. But you’re wrong if you think that all the investigations cleared Mann and his fellow miscreants.

          For instance, the Institute Of Physics is no right-wing outfit. Like Muller, they support climate alarmism. But, like Muller, they were appalled at the wrongdoing revealed by the Climategate emails. They testified to the UK Parliament that:

          “The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. … The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself… Most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.”

          The investigators who sought to clear Mann, Jones, etc. did just that, of course. That’s unsurprising: if someone doesn’t want to find wrongdoing, he probably won’t find any. When investigating wrongdoing, it is important that the investigators not be cozy with the suspects, lest the result be a whitewash instead of a real investigation.

          For detailed analyses from another source not tainted by such bias, see the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Minority Staff reports: on the UEA-CRU leaked emails, ‘Consensus’ Exposed: The CRU Controversy, Feb. 23, 2010; and Critical Thinking on Climate Change, July 18, 2013.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Lord love a duck, Dave,—-will you ever give up with the cherrypicking of things that don’t actually prove anything? (other than that you are not an honest person). You must need the paycheck from the Kochs very badly.

            You cite a MINORITY staff report from nearly FOUR years ago that was done at the instigation of INHOFE, who is just about the most biased and retarded member of Congress when it comes to AGW? And you call that “a source not tainted by bias”? LMAO. The very carefully cherrypicked statement from the Institute of Physics badly misrepresents the TOTALITY of what they said, and also comes from many years back.

            I will not waste the time to seek out citations from the time period since then that DO prove exactly what I said—-Mann and the others WERE cleared of wrongdoing by a number of groups conducting independent investigations, and their accusers were laughed out of court in the UK. Those of us who have paid attention over the years know the truth.

            Why do you insist on trying to rewriting history? Did Hitler win WW2 because his invasion of Russia succeeded in the early stages? That is essentially what you are doing with your “snapsjots”, saying “Climategate occurred” because at one brief point in time, people believed the horsepucky that was being spread by your employers—the fossil fuel interests.

            The shame of all this (and now Dave Burton’s continuing efforts to mislead) is that the FUD and disinformation campaign was and is quite successful, and did and does confuse the issue in the minds of the less well-informed public. You won’t get away with it here, Dave—why do you even try?

      • I always have problems with people calling the evidence shown by scientists as “alarmist”. Michael Mann is just one of several scientists who have provided rather similar proxy data measurements – so if you don’t agree with Mann’s research you generally don’t agree with any of the other proxy measurements done that confirms the rapid warming signal.

        And then there is the “alarm” word – I will have to ask you Dave, when is there cause for alarm? When your house is ripped from the ground in some super storm that suddenly spawned over your house? When you go to bed one night and the next day there is 1 meters sea level rise and you almost drowned in your bed?

        Surely you know that we wont have Hollywood depiction of climate change overnight even though that is perhaps the picture you have in your mind when Mann talks about “cause for alarm”. But given decades and centuries, the Greenland ice sheets will melt with the already established CO2 forcing – the rate of melt is entirely up to us really, and that is why scientists are increasingly vocal about this now. Its really what we do now that affects what our children and grandchildren will have to live through.

        And then there is average temperature rise. What do you think about +2C over average? Is that cause for alarm? Do you have any idea what +2C will do e.g. food security? How about methane emissions from increased warming in the Arctic region, does that worry you? Have you considered that there might be tipping points we are on the brink of crossing (or already have crossed) ? How about +3C, +4C or +5C – do you have any idea at all how this will affect civilization?

        Or are you still one of those who think this is all natural variation and everything will go back to normal if we just wait a bit longer… Talk about betting on the wrong horse, only here its really not an individual choice with individual losses. If we get this wrong then there wont be any more horses to bet on.

        To frame the question another way, if there was a 97% chance of an asteroid crashing with earth would you consult with an astronomist or an astrologist?

  4. redskylite Says:

    As an outsider (to the USA) and reading about the GOP, Tea Party and David Burton’s political rants, I wonder if the two party democratic system is all it is cracked up to be. I gave up any pretensions to caring about politics years ago (after being a member in a party and canvassing for votes etc). Sometimes you are better off with a kindly & benevolent dictator or father figure.

    Now lets concentrate on what need to be done.

    and (for the sake of future generations and our descendents) hope enough countries have a system sensible and sane enough to heed the UNEP advice.

  5. […] di cui vantarsi, ma nel caso della sconfitta di Ken Cuccinelli e del NutTea Party in Virginia, sono in molti a condividere quella – espressa con signorilità – di Michael […]

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