“I’m a scientist who has gotten death threats. I fear what may happen under Trump,” writes Michael Mann, a key figure in the “Climategate” scandal where scientists colluded to hide data that weakened their predictions about global warming.
He’s attempting to say that he’s been threatened just for being a little ol’ scientist and not for being a controversial and embattled public figure at the epicenter of a heated political fight. There is no excuse for death threats in any case but he clearly wasn’t threatened for being a scientist. He was threatened for engaging in what many believe to be a hoax that will damage freedom and prosperity. Mann is as much a spin doctor as he is a scientist.
Now he’s joining the chorus of scientists who are convinced that they are going to be targeted by the Trump administration.
I’ve faced hostile investigations by politicians, demands for me to be fired from my job, threats against my life and even threats against my family. Those threats have diminished in recent years, as man-made climate change has become recognized as the overwhelming scientific consensus and as climate science has received the support of the federal government.
The key phrase there is “received the support of the federal government.” Fear of a climate calamity is exactly the sort of thing federal bureaucrats and politicians love to seize upon because they can use it justify grabbing more control of every aspect of people’s lives and businesses. The “overwhelming scientific consensus” is based on numbers more cooked than Mann’s hockey stick graph, but big progressive government is nothing if not 100% comfortable selling sketchy data as absolute truth.
But with the coming Trump administration, my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.
The hubris necessary to think your work is integral to the condition of the planet speaks for itself. Believing that your existence is crucial to the well being of the entire planet must be like Viagra for the ego. It’s no mystery why this sort of scientist would seek to eliminate data that might “dilute the message” as Forbes reported back in 2011.
A 1,000-year-long graph was cobbled together using various proxy data derived from ice cores, tree rings and written records of growing season dates up until 1961, where it then applied surface ground station temperature data. Why change in 1961? Well that’s when tree ring proxy data calculations by CRU’s Keith Briffa began going the other way in a steady decline. After presenting these unwelcome results to Mann and others, he was put under pressure to recalculate them. Briffa did, and the decline became even greater.
This presented what Mann referred to as a “conundrum.” Emails reveal that the late 20th century decline indicated by Briffa would be perceived by IPCC as “diluting the message”, was a “problem”, and posed a “potential distraction/detraction.” Mann went on to say that the warming skeptics would have a “field day” if Briffa’s declining temperature reconstruction was shown, and that he would “hate to be the one” to give them “fodder.” So one aspect of Mike’s “trick” was reportedly to show all of the proxy and surface measurement chartings in different colors on a single graph, but simply cut off Briffa’s in a spaghetti clutter of lines at the 1961 date.
They had to “hide the decline” for the sake of the message and satisfying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Now Mann is helping to stoke fears of an anti-science inquisition under a President Trump. He points to Trump’s likely appointees and especially Scott Pruitt who will probably head up the EPA.
But it is the disrespect Pruitt displays for science that my colleagues and I find most distressing. Consider this statement from a commentary he published this year in National Review: “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress.”
Gee, that sounds TOTALLY unreasonable, doesn’t it? It would if your entire scientific raison d’etre was stifling data and voices that disagree with you. Mann would have you believe in the oft repeated mantra that “97% of scientists agree that man is causing the climate to change” but that figure is as reliable as Barack Obama’s prediction of how much you’re going to save on health insurance. The 97% figure in support of scientific consensus was calculated using some very unscientific methods. National Review published a great take down on this last year; the consensus is nowhere near as mighty as reported. Mann, either out of religious fervor or premeditated deception still clings to it in order to paint skeptics as maniacal primitives.
The assertion betrays profound ignorance of the state of our scientific knowledge (which is that climate change is real, human-caused and already disruptive). Even more pernicious, Pruitt actively encourages others to promote that ignorance, even to children, who will most bear the brunt of unmitigated climate change.
A textbook progressive “for the children” plea. So predictable.
We also fear an era of McCarthyist attacks on our work and our integrity. It’s easy to envision, because we’ve seen it all before. We know we could be hauled into Congress to face hostile questioning from climate change deniers. We know we could be publicly vilified by politicians. We know we could be at the receiving end of federal subpoenas demanding our personal emails. We know we could see our research grants audited or revoked.
It’s funny to see a leftist invoke McCarthyism at the same time the left as a whole is concocting a “Red Scare” in opposition to their clear defeat at the ballot box in November. When people who question the findings of climate change true believers are attacked as unethical corporate shills or literally examined as if they have brain disorders and psychological problems, climate alarmists have no credibility when invoking McCarthyism. Of course, the dirty secret about McCarthyism is that there actually WERE communists acting in America, so maybe the climate alarmists just fear being exposed.
I fear the chill that could descend. I worry especially that younger scientists might be deterred from going into climate research (or any topic where scientific findings can prove inconvenient to powerful vested interests). As someone who has weathered many attacks, I would urge these scientists to have courage.
Mann suppressed data inconvenient to his own theories and would undoubtedly attack any new findings that ran counter to his own as being contrived by unethical scientists on the Big Oil payroll. He fails to perceive (or admit) that the anthropogenic climate change movement is a “powerful vested interest” unto itself. I’ve written recently about how the left’s reaction to Trump’s election has less about Trump and more about its loss of power. The outcry from scientists like Mann is just another example. The climate change lobby is Goliath acting like a persecuted underdog, which makes sense because exaggeration is their forte.