Shock! Mann’s stick droops…


Alarmists' droop?

Alarmists’ droop?

Mann’s membrum virile is a little more flaccid than it was a decade ago – well, it happens to the best of us.

This detumescence has occurred following the publication of a paper which acknowledges the existence of ‘The Pause’ and essentially confirms what the realists have been saying for some time:

It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.

No doubt the paper will go on to say that the sneaky old heat is hiding in the deep oceans where nobody can find it, and that when it decides it has had enough and breaks cover, it will be Far Worse Than We Thought™.

In the mean time, the stick is looking decidedly limp.

The list of authors reads like a litany of alarmism: Matthew England, Ben Santer, Michael E Mann…

I don’t for a moment believe that this is any genuine change of position – probably just setting us all up for the final coup de grace where, as a dramatic last exhortation to save the planet, Mann self-conflagrates himself whilst standing on an iceberg, and slowly melts himself into a hole.

How to annoy a climate scientist – a guide


How annoying can you be?

How annoying can you be?

The Guardian helpfully provides a handy cut-out-n-keep guide for how to get up your local climate alarmist’s nose.

Graham Readfearn gives the poor little lambs a platform to wail about all the injustices they have to put up with. Here are the edited highlights:

Andy Pitman

From our very own doorstep, UNSW Sydney. Andy doesn’t like unqualified people saying the moon is made of cheese (as all climate sceptics believe of course), and should basically shut up. Freedom of expression doesn’t rate very highly at UNSW, clearly.

Everyone knows sceptics don’t believe the moon is made of cheese… they believe the moon landings were faked, stupid! Duh! [Read more…]

Lewandowsky forgets who funds his university: the Aussie taxpayer


Cook 'n' Lew

Cook ‘n’ Lew

UPDATE: Another article in Psychological Science claims that critics of Lewandowsky’s work were:

“invited to submit a commentary for publication in Psychological Science, but never acted on that invitation.”

I for one have never been invited to make such a comment, and I’m still waiting… (h/t Geoff in the comments)

Astonishingly, Professor Stephan Lewandowsky appears to have completely forgotten that, being on the staff at the University of Western Australia (UWA), he was paid out of the public purse, contributed to by my (and all other Australians’) taxpayer dollars, and as a consequence must accept that his work is subject the Freedom of Information (FoI) regime in force in Australia.

If he wishes to avoid such scrutiny, he should find a job in the private sector, which is not subject to the same rules, but where he would have to compete in the market for funding for his peculiar brand of research. Yeah, right, good luck with that.

Clearly peeved at his last few papers being ripped to shreds by the blogosphere, Prof Stephan Lewandowsky jumps the shark (with the willing assistance of Michael Mann) in his latest screed, lashing out at sceptics in all directions like a cornered dog. You know you’re pushing the right buttons when they resort to these kinds of hysterical outbursts of paranoia.

Entitled The Subterranean War on Science, Lew and Mann whine and whinge about all those nasty bloggers and sceptics (like me) who act up because they are sick and tired of being labelled as mentally deranged. Here’s a hint – stop demonising your ideological opponents, and maybe you wouldn’t get so many complaints and FoI requests. But let’s face it – that isn’t going to happen in a hurry, so Lew digs himself in deeper, labelling FoI requests as “vexatious” and constituting “harassment”.

The paper states, in relation to such FoI requests (by ACM):

During the last 9 months, the first author has been subject to numerous requests for correspondence and other documents, including trivial pedantry such as the precise time and date stamps of blog posts. In a paradoxical twist, accusations of impropriety were launched against the first author when an FOI-release confirmed that inconvenient research (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, 2013) was conducted with ethics approval. The allegations — by bloggers unaccountable to any form of review or ethical scrutiny — cited the fact that ethics approval was granted expeditiously (for details, see Lewandowsky, Cook, et al., 2013). 

Taking those two claims in turn:

Trivial pedantry

The “trivial pedantry” which Lewandowsky casually brushes off was actually a perfectly valid attempt to work out whether Lewandowsky backdated a blog post on Shaping Tomorrow’s World in order to falsely claim priority on outing the identity of bloggers contacted as part of the research for the original “moon landing denier” paper. Steve McIntyre deals with this issue in great detail here. Personally, I wouldn’t call this either trivial or pedantic, when the claim to priority was not just published on a blog, but was then repeated in a second “academic” paper by Lewandowsky, the sole purpose of which was to prop up the conclusions of the first.

Ethics approval

As regards the ethical approval for the moon landing denier paper, I provide the documents released under the FoI which relate to this claim here (PDF, 4MB). These documents also contain the emails from Charles Hanich to various blogs.

Beginning on page 37 of the file is the original ethics approval submitted by Lewandowsky on 12 December 2009. That approval was for a project entitled “Understanding Statistical Trends”, the purpose of which was stated thus:

“The project seeks to explore people’s understanding of statistical trends in time-series data. If we are monitoring a stock price, what do we think will happen to it in the future?

Participants will be shown simple graphs of time series (samples enclosed) and will make predictions about the future trends.”

Approval for this project was given on 21 December 2009 (p 35).

However, on 12 August 2010, Lewandowsky emails Kate Kirk in the UWA ethics department in the following terms (p29):

Dear Kate,

I am writing to seek approval for an amendment to the procedure for RA/4/1/4007. In a nutshell, I want to administer the survey not in person but via the internet using professional survey software (e.g., http://www.surveymonkey.com or equivalent.) [a]

As before, completion of the survey will be taken to constitute consent, and as before a variant of the approved information sheet will be shown before the survey commences.

The survey will be modified slightly as follows,

(1) The graphical extrapolation task is removed [b]

(2) In addition to the already-approved items, some further questions will be presented that are enclosed in this email. [c]

»Note that the scale “H&G&Kahan” already has UWA approval under a different project (RA/4/1/4054).

»The remaining two scales, “BCTI” and “Happ&Sat” have both been used extensively in previous research elsewhere.

»To satisfy constraints of the Web software, some items may need to be reworded or altered; however, the enclosures accurately describe the thrust of the questionnaires.

(3) In all other respects, the approved procedure remains unchanged [d] except that it is administered via internet, with consent again being expressed by completion of the electronic questionnaire.

(4) Participants will be recruited by posting links at relevant websites (e.g., http://www.uwa.edu.au/climatescience or science-oriented “biogs”).

[a] – It is highly disingenuous to suggest that merely using survey software was the amendment “in a nutshell”, as can be seen from the following.

[b] – The graphical extrapolation task comprised the core of the original project, a point which is clear from its name: Understanding statistical trends.

[c] – “Some further questions”, dropped in casually as almost an afterthought, essentially redefines the project to introduce the conspiracy ideation element which eventually caused the reaction it did when the moon landing denier paper was published.

[d] – Translation: Move along, nothing to see here.

Despite all these red flags, Kate Kirk approved these amendments within 24 hours, to the amazement of Lewandowsky himself, who clearly couldn’t believe his luck, writing back (p27):

“Wow, thanks for the quick approval.”

If that wasn’t enough, Lewandowsky slips in yet another sneaky request:

Would it be possible to mention only my assistant’s name, Charles Hanich, on the online survey (with full contact d etails, plus the usual HREC address of course}? The reason for this is that I have been writing on the climate issue in public (e.g., http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2980286.htm}, and my name alone routinely elicits frothing at the mouth by various people (e.g., http://joannenova.com.au/2010/05/name-calling-fairy-dust-conspiracy-theorist/), not to mention the hate mail I receive. Because I am interested in soliciting opinions also from those folks, I would like to withhold my name from the survey as I fear it might contaminate responding.

Lew is clearly aware that anyone seeing his name would realise that he would be attempting to stitch up the “deniers” so excludes his name from the survey. Once again, this was jokingly waved through by Kate Kirk in about five minutes:

Hi Steve, Yes, fine for you to leave your name off as long as the standard complaints paragraph and contact details are there. I look forward to receiving the hate mail. I’ll let you know if I get any. Kate

So the ethics department at the UWA saw no problems with any of the above. None. Despite the fact that the eventual project was entirely different from that for which ethics approval was originally sought, there was no requirement for a resubmission of the application, with significant amendments simply waved through. The irony is that none of this would have come to light had Lewandowsky not used the research to demean his ideological opponents and insinuate that they were suffering from some kind of psychological condition. Unfortunately, he did, and provoked the ire of a very large number of people. All of it on taxpayers’ money.

Given the above, Lewandowsky has no cause for complaint whatsoever at the FoI requests, which were anything but vexatious, all of which makes his latest paper all the more tragic and desperate.

I will leave readers to draw their own conclusions from the documents themselves – LINK HERE.

Warmist ‘integrity’ on display


Respect and integrity

Respect and integrity

In what other area of scientific discourse would this kind of exchange take place?

Marshall Shepherd: learned n strange emails/blogs some disagree with my #Tedx Talk, @MichaelEMann HockeyStick discredited (hasn’t), & wx varies-gee “who knew”

Bishop Hill: @DrShepherd2013 I attended a debate with a paleoclimate guy a few months ago. In q&a he was asked about the hockey stick. He said “it’s broken”.

Marshall Shepherd: @aDissentient why don’t you ask @MichaelEMann

Marshall Shepherd: @aDissentient and fyi, I generally don’t debate anything that isn’t published in the peer-reviewed lit, best regards

Then Mann shows up:

Michael Mann: @DrShepherd2013 Marshall, I don’t engage disinformation-spewing trolls. It just encourages them…

Marshall Shepherd: @MichaelEMann indeed

Marshall Shepherd: @MichaelEMann I am loving the block function immensely…

Michael Mann: @DrShepherd2013 You and me both 😉

Marshall Shepherd: @MichaelEMann @skepticscience [of course – Ed] unfortunately already blocked the folks that need to see this 🙂

No comment required. The tweets speak for themselves. By the way, Marshall Shepherd is the President of the American Meteorological Society.

P.S. Note to Michael Mann, Shepherd and all the other blockers, all you need to do is log out of Twitter and you can see everything, which is how ACM (which was blocked by Mann) can post all the tweets. 

H/T Bishop Hill

Here’s the exchange as it appeared on Twitter:

Twitter has a long memory

Twitter has a long memory…

Mann claims he was 'awarded Nobel peace prize'


According to a court document lodged in Michael Mann’s ill-judged defamation action (ill-judged because the process of discovery will force Mann to release of a whole bunch of stuff he has been trying to keep out of reach of FoI for years), Mann claims the following:

Oops. Wrong. Very wrong. (click to enlarge)

Mark Steyn (one of the defendants in the action) goes even further:

In the same spirit, I see that I’ve just been awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Under Ireland’s citizenship law, I’m an Irish national (through my father). Ireland is a member of the European Union. The EU has just been given the Nobel Peace Prize. QED. Come to think of it, my mother’s Belgian, so I’ve been awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes.

Catallaxy Files does the research:

Some time ago I contacted the Nobel Committee and asked whether a person who was employed by an organisation can claim to have won a Nobel Prize. The reply I received stated:

An award of the Nobel Prize to an organisation does not under any circumstances permit an employee or other agent of that organization to claim to share a Nobel Prize. Only persons named explicitly in the citation may claim to share a Nobel Prize.

And he’s not named in the citation.

So Mann’s defamation claim, the success of which will turn on the credibility of the parties involved, contains a fundamental and basic misrepresentation in paragraph 2. Oh dear. What hope for the rest of the 101 paragraphs?

This really will be one to watch.

Michael Mann to sue NRO


Michael Mann

I am tempted to say this is popcorn time, but knowing from personal experience how financially and mentally draining any kind of litigation can be, it’s difficult to make light of it.

Michael Mann has confirmed he intends to commence defamation proceedings against the National Review regarding the Mark Steyn article:

People have been asking for my reaction to the recent response by the National Review. Here is a statement from my lawyer John B. Williams of Cozen O’Connor:
********
The response of the National Review is telling with respect to the issues it did not address. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s research has been extensively reviewed by a number of independent parties, including the National Science Foundation, with never a suggestion of any fraud or research misconduct. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s conclusions have been replicated by no fewer than twelve independent studies. It did not deny the fact that it was aware that Dr. Mann has been repeatedly exonerated of any fraudulent conduct. It did not deny the fact that it knew its allegations of fraud were false. Rather, the National Review’s defense seems to be that it did not really mean what it said last month when it accused Dr. Mann of fraud. Beyond this, the response is little more than an invective filled personal attack on Dr. Mann. And further, this attack is coupled with the transparent threat that the National Review intends to undertake burdensome and abusive litigation tactics should Dr. Mann have the temerity to attempt to defend himself in court.
*********
We intend to file a lawsuit.

This could potentially see the lid being lifted on an extraordinary range of documents and materials relevant to Mann’s work over the past 15 years, including, of course, all the work on the Hockey Stick. Not only that, but a full re-evaluation of the Climategate enquiries (to which Mann’s original letter refers) would almost certainly be required, which may finally confirm suspicions of their superficial nature.

I have just made a donation to NRO to help with defence costs – you may wish to consider doing the same here.

[NO COMMENTS]

Michael Mann's risky path ahead


You will recall that Michael Mann has threatened legal action against National Review Online (NRO) for publishing an article by Mark Steyn (see here for earlier story).

Now the NRO’s lawyers have written a vigorous defence in response to Mann’s threat, raising the very likely possibility of extensive disclosure of documents – precisely the same documents that Mann is fighting hard to keep private in other forums.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Not pulling punches (click to enlarge)

Mann would be well advised to consider the possible consequences of pursuing legal remedies.

You can read the full story on NRO here (headline “Get Lost”!), and download the full PDF here.

[NO COMMENTS]

Michael Mann threatens legal action over Steyn comment


Climategate to be judicially considered?

If this goes the distance, it will certainly be worth following very closely.

Mark Steyn, writing at the National Review (backup WebCite link here), made a number of comments about Michael Mann regarding the Hockey Stick, and Mann has responded with a three-page lawyers’ letter threatening defamation proceedings (see here: page 1, page 2, page 3 – originally published on Mann’s Facebook page, reproduced here for ease of reference).

The interesting point here is that much of the letter focusses on the various investigations into Climategate as evidence that there was no wrongdoing, which inevitably means that if this matter were ever to reach court, not only would the investigations come under close scrutiny, but also the Climategate emails themselves. This would therefore be the first opportunity for an examination of the materials in a proper judicial environment.

Andrew Montford’s report (at the UK GWPF – PDF) into four of those investigations found that to a greater or lesser degree, they were “rushed, cursory and largely unpersuasive”.

In respect of the University of East Anglia investigations, Mann’s letter states that the Oxburgh enquiry (the Scientific Assessment Panel) found:

“No evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit”

and in respect of the second UEA investigation (the Independent Climate Change Email Review), that

“the scientists’ rigour and honesty are not in doubt.”

Montford, on the other hand, claims in respect of the UEA reports that they:

“avoided key questions and failed to probe some of the most serious allegations. Terms of reference were either vague or non-existent. Insufficient consideration in the choice of panel members led to a failure to ensure balance and independence.”

In respect of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry, Mann claims:

“criticisms of the Climatic Research Unit were misplaced and that its actions ‘were in line with common practice in the climate science community’.”

Montford, on the other hand, states:

“The half-day hearing by the Science and Technology Select Committee was curtailed by the impending election. Key allegations were not examined and CRU staff were cleared of some allegations without evidence. The main CRU critics were not invited to give oral evidence and much of their written evidence was not taken into consideration.”

In respect of the Penn State inquiry, Mann states that it found:

“there is no substance to the allegations against Dr Michael E Mann.”

Montford, on the other hand, quotes from an article in The Atlantic (worth reading in full) which looked in detail at the investigation:

“The [Penn State] report…says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers – so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false…

Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one them) are true, and says no. His record is swooned over. Verdict: case dismissed with apologies that Mann has been put to such trouble.”

The other three inquiries cited (by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce and National Science Foundation) all reached similar conclusions. How rigorously were those inquiries carried out? At this stage, we don’t know.

But it’s hardly confidence inspiring. Perhaps the only way we will ever see allegations properly tested will be in front of a court of law, which may, thanks to Mann’s threat, actually happen.

I wonder if this has been fully thought through? Commentators are raising the point that a requirement to produce documents arising from legal proceedings would be far harder to avoid than simple FOI requests, and the disclosure obligations would mean that many more documents may become public as a result. It may also confirm some of the suspicions raised in Montford’s report, namely that the inquiries were superficial at best.

It looks like opening a can of worms…

[NO COMMENTS]

Michael Mann's cosy chat on ABC's Lateline


Very cosy

UPDATE: Baldrick in the comments reminds ACM of Tony Jones’ hostile and patronising interrogation of Ian Plimer on Lateline in April 2009. What a contrast to the kid gloves employed here with Mann. Biased much, ABC?

—-

Michael “Stick” Mann has a very pleasant, cosy little chat with Emma Alberici (quelle surprise…) on Lateline last night. Mann will no doubt be regarded as a valiant hero to most of the warmist journos at the ABC, so there were no tricky questions, just an easy ride and bags of sympathy for the poor climatologists who are being “intimidated” by filthy deniers:

MICHAEL MANN: the FBI actually came in at my – when I reported to them the fact that I had received a letter, an envelope that had white powder in it. And initially I had assumed the worst, but the FBI sent it off to their lab, they checked it out, it turns out it was a false alarm. Nonetheless, as you allude to, I have been subject to all sorts of personal attacks, threats to my safety, my life, threats to my family, and it’s not just me, it’s dozens of climate scientists in the US, in Australia and many other regions of the world where our findings are finding that climate change is real and potentially poses a threat to civilisation if we don’t confront that challenge. That represents a threat to certain vested interests and they’ve tried hard to discredit the science, often by discrediting and intimidating the scientists. Unfortunately it’s not all that new a tactic. We saw the same thing back in the 1970s, 1980s with tobacco, with the tobacco industry trying to discredit research establishing adverse health impacts of their product. It’s an old tactic and it’s now being used to try to discredit climate science, mainly coming from vested interests who don’t want to see us shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels because they – understandably, they profit greatly from our current addiction to fossil fuels.

EMMA ALBERICI: Who are these vested interest groups? [See, really tough question, eh Emma? Didn’t think to pick up Mann on any of the allegations above – Ed]

MICHAEL MANN: Well I actually talk about this in some detail in the book and I refer to some other books that have been written on this topic that actually trace much of the attacks against climate science and climate scientists to various organisations and front groups that derive most of their funding from the fossil fuel industry and what they often do is issue press releases attacking mainstream science. They publish – they have folks publish op.’ eds attacking climate scientists. They sort of create what some have called an echo chamber of climate change denial that permeates the airwaves and our media and it’s been a real challenge for scientists, for the scientific community to try to communicate the very real nature of the climate change threat in the face of this fairly massive disinformation campaign.

Tobacco, Big Oil. Echo chamber of denial. Mann should find a new scriptwriter. And yet none of this is challenged.

The fact that Exxon gives millions of dollars to Green groups is irrelevant to the ABC. The fact that the alarmist industry funding is three or four orders of magnitude greater than for sceptics is irrelevant to the ABC. The fact that the Hockey Stick was bad science debunked by Steve McIntyre is irrelevant to the ABC. The fact that the Climategate emails show repeated manipulation of data, corruption of peer review, threats to journals that dare publish papers challenging the consensus, and avoiding of FOI requests is irrelevant to the ABC. They were all “taken out of context”, right?

Michael Mann is a key player in The Cause, and here was an opportunity to ask any number of very awkward questions – unfortunately the ABC avoided them all.

Read/watch here.

Desperation: AGW threatens ice hockey (stick?)


No hockey stick visible...

Now there’s an opportunity for a great link with this story – photo of hockey stick (© M Mann), threatened by climate change, geddit? But Sky flunks it.

Oh well, add it to The List. They really are getting desperate:

Man-made climate change is said to be threatening the future of ice hockey in Canada, where the sport is part of the national culture.

Top players have traditionally learned their skills on frozen lakes and backyard rinks.

But as winters get warmer, experts believe aspiring ice hockey stars in years to come will struggle to find suitable outdoor facilities.

Looking ahead, the scientists predicted a complete end to outdoor skating within the next few decades in regions such as British Columbia and Southern Alberta.

Experts believe. Scientists predict. Shit Journalism 101.

Sky News is wearing the cloak of shame for this, both for the appalling story and illustrating it with a photo of a speed skater. Duh.

And by the way, the Hockey Stick isn’t threatened by climate change, it’s threatened, and indeed demolished, by truth and scientific integrity. Just sayin’.

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