Today Dr. Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State and apparent fraud, takes to the op ed pages of the Washington Post to attempt to defend what might be the most significant scientific fraud since the Piltdown Man from its critics. He does so by attacking the leakers, not answering the allegations, and attacking… wait for it… Sarah Palin.
Full disclosure up front, I’m not a scientist and I don’t pretend to be one on RedState, but what I’m going to do here has nothing to do with science. Rather it is nothing more than defending truth and common decency from a man who has a studied, callous, and reckless disregard for both.
As a recap, back in late November a person or persons made available to God and everybody an immense volume of email and internal documents originating with the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. The CRU is the essential locus of the notion of anthropocentric global warming (AGW). Now it is important at this juncture to distinguish the theory of APG from the fact of climate change. Many in the field of
phrenology APG tend to deliberately conflate the two when they are very different concepts. No one with even a passing knowledge of European history can deny that climate change happens. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Iceland and Greenland exported wheat. Today, not so much. The controversy is not over whether or not the climate is changing, it is and it always has, but over the direction of the change, the degree of the change, the universality of the change, and whether human activity causes or contributes to said change in any meaningful or measurable way.
To say that the leaked documents revealed activities which if carried out in the business world or government would fall under that broad classification called felonies is an understatement. The documents expose the AGW cognoscenti as something between The Heathers and The Sopranos, cooperating with tame reporters to assassinate the character of critics, suppressing inconvenient truths (nyuk, nyuk), corrupting the peer review process and manufacturing data out of whole cloth to move a political rather than scientific agenda forward and, to paraphrase William Jennings Bryant, to press down upon our brow Al Gore and crucify mankind upon a cross of carbon credits, taxes, and poverty.
First, let’s dispense with the idea that the emails and documents in question were stolen or hacked. The correct concept here is that they were leaked by a whistleblower. The overwhelming body of evidence suggests that the documents were gathered as East Anglia University attempted to fend off a request for these exact document under the British equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act. The documents are remarkably free of personal emails, which would not be the case if there was “hacking” involved, and they are neatly organized in folders by subject.
So where Mann and his fellows have made much of the idea that they were “stolen” and “hacked” the fact is that it is much more likely that someone involved in pulling the documents together in anticipation of losing the fight to release them was so offended by what he or she saw that they leaked them. But even if we stipulate that they were “stolen” or “hacked” the documents have been authenticated and therefore their method of delivery into the public domain while upsetting to some clearly falls into the traditions of the Pentagon Papers.
All this aside, Mann makes the predictable defense of the infamous “trick” email, the use of adjusted data, etc. and, in my view, scores at least one own goal. On the subject of using tree-ring data (data that the CRU has since removed from its web site) he makes this bald statement:
In the same e-mail, Jones uses the phrase “hide the decline” in reference to work by tree-ring expert Keith Briffa. Because tree-ring information has been found to correlate well with temperature readings, it is used to plot temperatures going back hundreds of years or more. Briffa described a phenomenon in which the density of wood exhibits an enigmatic decline in response to temperature after about 1960. This decline was the focus of Briffa’s original article, and Briffa was clear that these data should not be used to represent temperatures after 1960. By saying “hide the decline,” Jones meant that a diagram he was producing was not to show those data during the unreliable post-1960 period.
Were violence to common sense a capital crime, this statement alone would see Mann strapped to a post with a cigarette jammed between his lips. What he is saying is that tree ring data correlates closely to temperature before we could measure temperature accurately but it is useless since 1960 when tree ring data shows temperatures to be declining. And “hide the decline” means exactly what those three words would suggest they mean.
As evidence of the purity of the work, Mann dredges up a 2006 Washington Post story:
The National Academy of Sciences reviewed this work in 2006 in a study reported by this newspaper [“Past Few Decades Warmest on Record, Study Confirms,” news story, June 23, 2006]. Members of the peer-review panel said that they “saw nothing that spoke . . . of any manipulation” and that the study was “an honest attempt to construct a data analysis procedure.”
Maybe Mann should use some of his grant money to invest in a calendar. While he’s at it he should get someone to add a few more current news reports to his web site. (Hey, Mike, if you need suggestions drop me a line.)
From this non sequitur he goes on to attack former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by layering silliness upon falsehood:
Palin wrote that Alaska’s climate is changing but referred to “thawing permafrost and retreating sea ice” as “natural, cyclical environmental trends.” In fact, such changes are among the effects scientists predicted would occur as greenhouse gas levels increase. Scientific evidence for the reality of human-caused climate change includes independently replicated data documenting the extent of warming; unprecedented melting of glaciers; rises in global sea levels; increasingly widespread continental drought; and models that predict all of these things but only when human impacts are included. Those same models project far more profound and potentially damaging impacts of climate change if we do not take action to stabilize greenhouse gas levels.
For more on the models, I’d suggest you visit here.
My point here is not to reargue his points. The guys as Watts Up With That have already reduced Mann to a laughing stock, he is currently under investigation by Penn State for scientific misconduct, and the US agencies who have worked with the CRU have received a directive from the Department of Energy to preserve all documents connected with that work in face of pending investigations.
Other than highlighting his duplicity, my concern here is outing Mann as a general asshat who, along with his fellow fabulists, have personally done more to damage science than the Inquisition on its worst day. We are in a period where the left is carrying out an active war on science, suppressing it where it is inconvenient but at the same time manipulating and hiding behind it to forward their agenda. While we have our share of Luddites, they tend to be more focused on things like Darwin than they do in a dramatic and disastrous reordering of the world’s economy.
Mann was perfectly willing to use his position to push a political agenda. He was willing to vilify critics rather than engage them in scientific debate. When confronted with his own misconduct his first impulse is to lie, to divert, and to treat the people whose lives he is trying so desperately to destroy with contempt. If there was ever further evidence needed of his being unsuited to be allowed influence in American society, this op ed effectively closes that debate.