RealClimate’s over-the-top response

Gavin must be having a bad hair day, because this headline is most certainly over the top:

Now compare the headline to the letter that was sent, bold emphasis mine:

From: Bill Hughes
Cc: Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
Subject:: E&E libel
Date: 02/18/11 10:48:01

Gavin, your comment about Energy & Environment which you made on RealClimate has been brought to my attention:

“The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line. ”

To assert, without knowing, as you cannot possibly know, not being connected with the journal yourself, that an academic journal does not bother with peer review, is a terribly damaging charge, and one I’m really quite surprised that you’re prepared to make. And to further assert that peer review is abandoned precisely in order to let the editor publish papers which support her political position, is even more damaging, not to mention being completely ridiculous.

At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate. I’m quite happy to work with you to find a mutually satisfactory form of words: I appreciate you might find it difficult.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes
Bill Hughes
Director
Multi-Science Publsihing [sic] Co Ltd

Notice the missing key word “lawsuit”. It does not appear in that letter anywhere.

Note the tone of the last paragraph. In essence it says: “hey, I’m upset, but happy to work it out with you”. No mention of legal threats whatsoever.

What follows the letter on RealClimate’s post is a whole bunch of bluster and posturing about how E&E conducts its reviews. I wonder though, did Gavin even bother to ask how they conduct their affairs of review, or did he simply (as Joe Romm loves to say) “make stuff up”?

And then there’s this paragraph:

As a final note, if you think that threatening unjustifiable UK libel suits against valid criticism is an appalling abuse, feel free to let Bill Hughes know (but please be polite), and add your support to the Campaign for libel reform in the UK which looks to be making great headway. In the comments, feel free to list your examples of the worst papers ever published in E&E.

Appalling abuse? Again, there was no legal threat. Using the word “libel” in the subject line states an issue of concern, and doesn’t automatically assume that lawsuits are attached, especially when the sender says: I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate. I’m quite happy to work with you to find a mutually satisfactory form of words.

When that word libel is used in conjunction with the word lawsuit, then by all means, assume that to be a threat. When the word libel is used to point out an issue, absent the word ‘lawsuit” or phrase “legal action” or “our attorney will be contacting you”, it doesn’t automatically follow then that “…threatening unjustifiable UK libel suits against valid criticism is an appalling abuse” is a valid description of what was communicated in the letter. That’s an important distinction, don’t you think?

Here’s a few thoughts.

What is disappointing about all that is that Dr. Gavin Schmidt could just as easily have said all that posturing bluster in a private email to Bill Hughes. Given what RC did with a request for a change in wording, it really underscores the deliberate defiant chutzpah that The Team is famous for, which really offends taxpayers like myself that fund this NASA GISS Team.

Gavin, remember, thou art mortal (and a public servant).

And of course this post today is all a front: in reality they could not give a rodent’s posterior about anyone’s peer review standards.

Look at their own problems with “pal review”, look at the famous  ‘lets re-define what the literature is’ from Climategate emails. The reason E&E has been, and is being attacked, is that its very existence contradicts the slogans like ‘all peer reviewed science agrees’, so it has to be derided at every opportunity.

And if some papers out of the couple of thousand or so it has published over 20+ years are poor quality, then they’re wheeled out again and again as being typical of the journal, which is not the case and plenty of journals publish papers that have all sorts of problems.

Peer review isn’t perfect no matter who’s doing it. One has to wonder if the Steig et al Antarctica paper might have gotten a more thorough review in E&E than it did in Nature, because the likelihood of such a paper being reviewed by someone who might question The Team PCA style math.

So I’d suggest that

1) Gavin, when somebody actually threatens you with a lawsuit, you’ll most certainly be able to know it by the inclusion of the key word “lawsuit” and

2) I think you owe Multi-Science an apology

For those that would like to judge for themselves, you can view issues of E&E here.

http://www.multi-science.co.uk/ee.htm

Consider supporting the journal by purchasing a subscription.

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191 Responses to RealClimate’s over-the-top response

  1. Mike says:

    The subject line is Subject:: E&E libel! I think that is pretty clear. (Boldface mine.)

  2. RockyRoad says:

    A “bad hair day” for a guy with very little hair? I’m not sure Gavin would agree, but what you say certainly sounds accurate.

    Of course, if Gavin feels like he’s being hit with a libel suit, perhaps he has a guilty conscience. Beware when your guests tout their honesty at dinner-be sure to count the silverware afterwards.

  3. Max Hugoson says:

    Does Gavin work under a “corporate shell”? If not, he may find a nasty surprise waiting for him. If E&E cares to take the matter formal, he can be sued for DAMAGES as an individual.

    Now Libel is quite hard to prove. However, it all depends on what you see as your final “end game”. Is “Real Climate” an incorporated entity? Mr. Wonderful (in his own mind) may, despite the fact “lawsuit” was not mentioned, wish to consult with legal counsel, who might give him some useful advice AKA “personal liability”, if he is not an incorporated entity.

    Max

  4. UK Sceptic says:

    RC’s reaction borders on hysterical paranoia n’est pas?

  5. Peter says:

    That email from Bill Hughes was a thinly-veiled libel suit threat and you know it.

    REPLY: I do? Gosh when somebody says “hey I’m upset, you libeled me, but lets work it out together” do you automatically call your attorney? I sure don’t. Chill, dude. – Anthony

  6. John A says:

    The way Gavin responds tells you everything you need to know about the pressure on Gavin to deliver something for his salary and the indulgence of the Environmental Defense Fund in bankrolling RealClimate.

    The Team’s biggest shot in years (the Steig Antarctica study) has gone down in flames, and Gavin & Co are not pleased. As long time followers of Climate Audit will know, the Team is not above a good “hissy fit” when things aren’t going according to plan.

    We may need to stock up on popcorn. This could be a long one..

  7. Peter says:

    Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.

    REPLY: And I think you need to lay off the “Red Bull”. What next, planning my dinner for me since you “know” what I’ll be having? Heh. – Anthony

  8. Jeff Id says:

    This is a more serious issue than it looks like. In America, we are allowed to say and write what we want within reason. In other countries, if you say something you often must be able to produce verifiable proof of your claim eliminating the ability to reasonably surmise.

    The UK laws are extreme example but the problem comes with the globalization and attempted integration of all countries laws in a world where communications may cross the globe. People are free to chose the country of preferred law to sue the opinion holder. Judgment can be fought and rendered in that country and then payment can be sought through various collections processes.

    Case in point, Steig recently threatened a libel lawsuit for Ryan’s post referring to him as duplicitous. While the threat was clearly stupid and poorly thought through, the ‘team’ has adopted this threat as a policy to prevent disclosure of their behavior. I don’t trust any of their motives at this point, I’ve seen a few things which have led me to the conclusions I hold but as a ‘free – speech’ American in a Leftist world, I am unable to write them without threat of lawsuits in whatever country they choose.

    Even a vain and silly suit can be expensive in the legal world. What did the team learn from their recent experience of threats to contain opinion? Do it again.

    I won’t write the rest of what I would like in this forum, but from a certain amount of experience, these are ugly and bad people IMHO. Like all the worst examples of the leftist political persuasion, censorship is a means to an end.

    Clip away if you like Anthony.

  9. HotRod says:

    Not often I find myself on RC’s side, and I agree there was no mention of libel, but I would be pretty annoyed if I was Gavin and I got that email – is he not allowed to say that he has a poor opinion of E&E standards, and that Sonja, in his opinion and by her own words, is an editor biased towards scepticism, whether for good reasons, journal balance, or whatever?

    Storm in a teacup. IMHO.

    If he views E&E as a ‘a backwater of poorly presented and incoherent contributions that make no impact on the mainstream scientific literature’, I entirely defend his right to say so.

    Sorry.

    REPLY: And I agree with you, saying those things is a right, but then he could have simply said so in a reply email, rather than turning it into a public slugfest. Bill Hughes used discretion in complaining, Gavin and the Team has not. It goes to motive. – Anthony

  10. curryja says:

    For more fun and games with Gavin, see my latest post at Climate Etc “Hiding the Decline” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

  11. James Sexton says:

    http://www.multi-science.co.uk/ee.htm

    Consider supporting the journal by purchasing a subscription.
    =======================================================

    Damn, Anthony. Between you and Gavin, you’re going to make me break a hard and fast rule of mine.

    You are correct, of course, Schmidt could care less about the review process or the quality of papers submitted into any journal. Bradley of MBH98 privately admits they’ve no idea what the 1000 year trend is, destroying his own peer-reviewed paper. Steig openly and publicly states he’s no statistician, destroying his own peer-reviewed paper(seeing that it was simply a work of statistics). There are other examples………. pal review——priceless.

  12. Paul Penrose says:

    Mike,
    The word “libel” by itself does not imply an intended action. In fact, as the subject of the email (I know this because it is in the “subject” line) it simply indicates that the sender believes they have been libeled and wishes to discuss it with the addressee. The content of the letter also clearly indicates that they are seeking a non-litigated solution, so jumping to the lawsuit conclusion seems unwarranted. Of course, blowing them off like he has is a good way to move it along in that direction.

  13. JRR Canada says:

    Reflection and projection. I find it very interesting that every accusation of malice and ill intent made by the team has later turned out to be the very tactics they were using at the time.This was the irony of the CRU emails.So I now take their accusations as self abuse. The people they appear to address are in fact not even party to the conversation. Picture the team member talking to a mirror, maybe Josh can toon that, Gavin spewing his vitrolic selflove into the mirror. Oopes turned my own stomach.

  14. Andrew W says:

    “That email from Bill Hughes was a thinly-veiled libel suit threat and you know it.”

    Yep.

    “Gosh when somebody says “hey lets work it out together””

    Hughes never said that, despite your using quotation marks, and how did you manage to miss “At the moment” obviously Hughes is suggesting he’ll switch to another method should he not get a “.. a retraction posted on RealClimate.” Now what do you suppose that method might be, perhaps there’s a clue in “Subject:: E&E libel”?

    REPLY: If there was no offer of working out new wording together and no offer to simply ask for a retraction, you might have a point – Anthony

  15. Lew Skannen says:

    “Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.”

    What a LAUGH!!!
    Cajones??!!
    For spitting out little hissy fits at public expense??

    I expect Gav will be demanding asylum in Sweden and round the clock personal protection next.
    Has he taken out a restraining order yet?

  16. crosspatch says:

    The articles over at RC are beginning to reflect a certain air of desperation. They aren’t completely gone yet, but they do appear to be swirling around the bowl.

  17. James Sexton says:

    Peter says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.
    ========================================================

    Spilt beer on that one! lol, yeh, he’s so brave…………..constantly deleting contradictory views. He’s scared of pixels on his screen. He won’t debate because he’s to petrified to openly debate the science. He hasn’t got the juevos to strike out on his own, no, he’s gotta run a blog on my dime. Cajones…..bwwhaahahaaha, he hasn’t even progressed to a bottle baby, he’s still on my teat.

  18. Bulldust says:

    The amount of bluster at RC highlighting the issue is very telling. Sounds like desperation to me, all that because someone asked for an apology. Methinks they are lacking a bit of perspective.

  19. temp says:

    I think you need to look at it from Gavins view point. He the great dictator of all truth has decreed something and thus it is true. He will not retract as he guards the truth and states it and thus what he states is the truth.

    The only way in Gavins mind that he will retract his claim is if he’s sued(and probably after he spends alot of money that doesn’t(aka taxpayer) belong to him) will he cave in.

    Thus to him this is clearly a threat of a libel suit… unless Bill Hughes decides to back off.

    You must remember that these ppl are used to being treated as “elite” by the world… petty dictators don’t like it when the mere peasants dare question them.

    It is also highly likely this will end in a libel suit since its highly unlikely the warming cultists will back down. They’re backed into a corner already. This even slight retraction could set off a major issue and start the landslide against them.

  20. R. Craigen says:

    “Gavin, remember, thou art mortal (and a public servant).”

    Uh-oh. Here comes the next article in Gavin’s series, wherein he accuses you of a death threat because you mention mortality.

    :-)

  21. Garvin and the others have lost so much credibility, I am surprised anyone pays attention to what they say or do. Keep it up Garv old buddy and your hot air will be become a badge of honor.

  22. val majkus says:

    from my reading of the letter from Bill Hughes there’s no threat of a lawsuit; as to the response to it well … a bit bombastic … the problem is that Bill Hughes has said ‘I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate’ that was a poor choice of words. Now that option is not available … what now.

  23. hunter says:

    Well this is what you would expect from professional fear mongers like the RC people, isn’t it?
    They have made a career from misrepresenting the climate. Now they are branching out into the legal world.

  24. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Gavin’s all pissy because his beloved NASA climate budget is getting whacked:

    “This week, Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Sandy Adams (R-Fla.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) called for a budget that would “reprioritize NASA” by axing the funding for climate change research. The original cuts to the budget outlined yesterday would have cut $379 million from NASA’s budget. These members want climate out of NASA’s purview entirely, however. Funding climate research, said Adams in a statement, “undercuts one of NASA’s primary and most important objectives of human spaceflight.”

    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/02/republican-climate-nasa-budget

    I know better scientists than Gavin who are getting whacked by the train-load at Fermilab and Argonne National Labs in Illinois, so I have no tears to shed. Hope he can find work in the real world.

  25. Pamela Gray says:

    Judith, more power to you for raising the bar and staying in the fight. However, it is sad to see the Ivory towers still populated by self-important scientists. I couldn’t stand it as a young researcher and left, my idealism shattered by such behavior as Gavin continues to display.

  26. So in other words, the Realclimate team has decided that posting an apology would be more damaging to them than issuing an apology.

  27. ferd berple says:

    Here is a guide to UK libel that might be of help
    http://www.urban75.org/info/libel.html

    and this

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article743741.ece
    Nevertheless, he awarded Mr Keith Smith £5,000 general damages plus £5,000 aggravated damages to reflect the way Ms Williams – who had met a request for an apology with contempt – had behaved

  28. Luis Dias says:

    At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate.

    Sounds like a veiled threat to me. I do agree that Gavin is behaving like a spoiled brat, but then again, he might as well be making a defensive attack here. By exposing the veiled threat, he is de facto stopping the threat to come about. If the journal decided to actually go for libel, Gavin would have been “right” to call it off, and put the journal’s actions into public shame.

    On the downside, we have the journal leaving any communication with RC, to which Gavin replies “oh RLY? Look at me sOOOOO worried about THAT”

    So it was a win win for Gavin. And, yes, he even had the time to show how bad EE was, and therefore how bad the papers that they published were too. But that’s blogosphere to you.

  29. Mark Twang says:

    Suggestion to Gavin: Just change one word. “Effectively” becomes “apparently”. Then let Mr. Hughes go whistle up a lawyer.

  30. Alex Buddery says:

    RE: Mike, February 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm
    Peter February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    So you both think it’s impossible to bring up libel without threatening legal action. If you believed you had been libeled by someone and wanted to rectify it without legal action how would you bring it up?

  31. ferd berple says:

    http://www.urban75.org/info/libel.html
    On the web, the writer, the web site owner and the ISP can all be sued just like the writer, the magazine and the distributor in the print field. A link could also be potentially defamatory if you are linking to defamatory material.
    Anyone who repeats allegations can also be sued. This is important. Seeing something written somewhere else doesn’t mean it is true. Repeating allegations without making sure they are true is a very good way to get yourself knee deep in litigation.

  32. Mark T says:

    Jeff ID,

    If I were you I would welcome a lawsuit by Steig… discovery, a word not in the Team dictionary.

    Mark

  33. Mark T says:

    Alex: exactly as was done… “you libeled me, apologize and all is well.”

    Not the sharpest tack…

    Mark

  34. Latitude says:

    A. Honestly believes it, and is a true bedwetter
    B. Doesn’t believe it, and is playing the femme fatale

    It’s your dollar, you decide..

  35. Eyes Wide Open says:

    Why the surprise? Look up the term [snip - now THAT's OTT] in the dictionary and you’ll see Gavin’s smiling face!

  36. Mark T says:

    Sorry, alex, I misread… it seems mike and peter are the dull tacks.

    Mark

  37. Poptech says:

    None of my comments went through on RealClimate,

    It is interesting that RealClimate choose to use Wikipedia for their criticisms as it is nothing more than truth based on who edits last but their former colleague is well aware of this.

    Energy & Environment is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary scholarly journal (ISSN: 0958-305X)
    – Indexed in Compendex, EBSCO, Environment Abstracts, Google Scholar, JournalSeek and Scopus
    – Found at 149 libraries and universities worldwide in print and electronic form. These include; Cambridge University, Cornell University, British Library, Dartmouth College, Library of Congress, National Library of Australia, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, University of California, University of Delaware, University of Oxford, University of Virginia, and MIT.
    EBSCO lists Energy & Environment as a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (PDF)
    The IPCC cites Energy & Environment multiple times
    – “All Multi-Sciences primary journals are fully refereed” – Multi-Science Publishing
    – “Regular issues include submitted and invited papers that are rigorously peer reviewed” – E&E Mission Statement
    – “E&E, by the way, is peer reviewed” – Tom Wigley, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

    As for Scopus,

    – Elsevier (parent company of Scopus) correctly lists Energy & Environment as a scholarly peer-reviewed journal on their internal master list. (Source: Email Correspondence)

    ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) is owned by the multi-billion dollar Thomson Reuters corporation and offers for-profit, commercial database services (Web of Knowledge) similar to other companies services such as EBSCO’s “Academic Search” and Elsevier’s “Scopus”. Whether a journal is indexed by them is purely subjective and irrelevant to the peer-review status of the journal.

    Are they saying that no scholarly peer-reviewed journals exist that are not indexed by the ISI? If so then they are calling companies like EBSCO and Scopus liars.

  38. Brian H says:

    Gavin conducts a bloviating defense at the above JC link:
    “You have gone significantly over the line with this post. …”

    The core of her article:

    I infer then that there is something in the IPCC process or the authors’ interpretation of the IPCC process (i.e. don’t dilute the message) that corrupted the scientists into deleting the adverse data in these diagrams.

    McIntyre’s analysis is sufficiently well documented that it is difficult to imagine that his analysis is incorrect in any significant way.

    So she is dealing directly with the process, not Gavin’s outrage at an inferred implicit libel action.

  39. Poptech says:

    The one link was broke in my post,

    The IPCC cites Energy & Environment multiple times
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22energy+%26+environment%22+site:http://www.ipcc.ch/&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=ivns&ei=ac1jTf3LG5P3gAfYovzbAg&start=0&sa=N

    If a mod could fix it I would appreciate it.

  40. Poptech says:

    HotRod, “– is he not allowed to say that he has a poor opinion of E&E standards, and that Sonja, in his opinion and by her own words, is an editor biased towards scepticism, whether for good reasons, journal balance, or whatever?

    Except Gavin did not simply give his opinion of the journal but made libelous statements,

    “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line”

    He is implying that the journal’s papers are not peer-reviewed but published simply based on her political agenda. Does Gavin even know that Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen is a Social-Democrat?

  41. Brian H says:

    And Feckless Fred Moolton has weighed in on the defense … Popcorn time!

  42. Theo Goodwin says:

    curryja says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm
    For more fun and games with Gavin, see my latest post at Climate Etc “Hiding the Decline” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

    Really good post, Professor. Unfortunately, now you will have to read endless posts rationalizing “hide the decline.”

  43. Phil's Dad says:

    OK so this is pedantic but… in English Law you can not “threaten” someone with a law suit. This is because the courts do not recognise “the Law” as something you can “threaten” with. It is, after all, totally benign – unless you’re the bad guys!

  44. Bob says:

    I think the correct spelling is “cojones” not “cajones.” The thought is clear however.

  45. Theo Goodwin says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    February 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm
    “Judith, more power to you for raising the bar and staying in the fight. However, it is sad to see the Ivory towers still populated by self-important scientists. I couldn’t stand it as a young researcher and left, my idealism shattered by such behavior as Gavin continues to display.”

    Since John Kerry revealed his true colors over the last few years, I propose calling it the John Kerry syndrome. Kerry truly believes in the moral and intellectual superiority of his high culture, his ideology, his personal contributions of work, and his tastes. If you disagree with him, you are a lesser human being and you are working against the truth, the ideology, and the tastes. At that point, the only question that remains about you is whether you can serve as a useful idiot. John Kerry is the very best visual aid when you are explaining “self-important scientist.”

  46. Benjamin P. says:

    “At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate.”

    But….

    And if that doesn’t happen…?

    Isn’t he implying something more…?

    Just saying.

  47. David M Brooks says:

    Gavin can be brave here because New York and US law provides protections against foreign libel lawsuit judgments, a UK judgment would probably be unenforceable against US based Gavin and RealClimate.

    [quote]Nationwide legislation prohibits all American courts from enforcing foreign defamation judgments that do not comport with First Amendment protections
    08.03.10
    By Laura R. Handman, Robert D. Balin, and Erin Nedenia Reid

    On July 27, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (“SPEECH Act”). Sponsored by the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee (Sen. Patrick Leahy) and the ranking member (Sen. Jeff Sessions) in an unusual show of bipartisan support, the SPEECH Act was passed unanimously by the Senate on July 19, 2010. When signed into law by President Obama, it will prohibit the enforcement of foreign libel judgments that are inconsistent with the protections accorded free speech by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
    READ MORE AT http://www.corpfinblog.com/2010/08/articles/federal-legislation/us-congress-passes-historic-libel-tourism-bill/%5B/quote%5D

  48. geo says:

    I think the implied threat was clear. Not only was “libel” in the subject line, but “At the moment” was a qualifier on accepting a mutually agreed retraction.

    “At the moment” means at a later moment such a retraction may not be an acceptable solution to the problem. The inference is clear, even if admirably gentle.

    That Gavin chose to escalate rather than at least attempt to ameliorate is still on him.

  49. Charles Higley says:

    I think many of us make the mistake of assuming that Gavin is a mature adult. We all make invalid assumptions sometimes. When he does not get what he wants, he lashes out like a little kid.

  50. Tom T says:

    How about a list of the worse articles from Nature or Science.

  51. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Peter says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.

    The word is “cojones’.

    co-jones”

  52. Mike says:

    REPLY: I do? Gosh when somebody says “hey I’m upset, you libeled me, but lets work it out together” do you automatically call your attorney? I sure don’t. Chill, dude. – Anthony

    REPLY: If there was no offer of working out new wording together and no offer to simply ask for a retraction, you might have a point – Anthony

    Anthony, I am going to have to use the d-word here. You are in deep denial. If someone claims to have been libeled by you they are threatening to take you to court if you don’t print a suitable retraction. What do you think the word “settle” refers too? If the subject line had been “hurt feelings” and the letter said how they were offended by Galvin’ s remarks and would he please apologize, that would be different.

  53. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Peter says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.
    ——————————————–
    I’m going to assume that you didn’t mean to write the Spanish word for ‘drawers’. There is another Spanish word ‘cojones’ that might be what you’re after. I don’t think you should assume that Bill Hughes writes as carelessly as you do.

  54. Bob Tisdale says:

    curryja says: “For more fun and games with Gavin, see my latest post at Climate Etc “Hiding the Decline” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

    Enjoy the fun and games, Judith. I’m looking forward to a continued exchange in the follow-up post.

  55. Alec Rawls says:

    Looks to me that E&E would have a perfectly actionable libel suit under U.S. law (supposing that Schmidt’s characterizations are indeed false). For a “public figure” like E&E, the standard for winning a libel suit is “actual malice.” Schmidt would have to not only lack grounds for his assertions, but would have act with a malicious disinterest in whether his assertions are true or not. Sounds like the situation exactly.

  56. Edim says:

    Judith rocks!

  57. bubbagyro says:

    I think that most of us would not settle for less than that Mr. Sh Schmidt should resign at once. He is playing with our (taxpayers) money, and he should not be allowed to remain in that position. He has sullied that position.

    I call for his immediate resignation or dismissal, on behalf of decent citizens everywhere.

  58. Dave Springer says:

    If I were Gavin I’d have certainly read this as threat of escalation:

    “at the moment I’m willing to settle for”

    which means cooperate or in another moment I won’t be willing to settle for so little. Any reasonable person would presume that legal redress is what’s coming next and the rest of the letter clearly states E&E believes it was libeled.

    E&E appears to have did a bit of jumping to conclusions as well. Gavin said they abandoned any substantive peer review for articles that agree with the editor’s opinions. What substantive means is anyone’s guess but it isn’t, on the face of it, an accusation that peer review is “abandoned” as E&E claims it means. It is an accusation that peer review is somehow diminished.

    Childishness on both sides if you ask me. They both need to get a life.

    To Gavin in particular I’d say: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Your side is plenty culpable in regard to unsubstantive peer review. What goes around comes around, asshat.”

  59. Theo Goodwin says:

    Gavin has lost it at Judith’s site. He is busy telling Judith what is honest and what is not honest. Quite a sight to see.

    See link above from “Brian H.” Also, Judith promises a probing essay on the “hide the decline” matter.

  60. Steve says:

    Going by US rules, E&E has little to no case.

    The claim to prove for libel, using the letters words: “To assert… that an academic journal does not bother with peer review, is a terribly damaging charge…”

    But Gavin’s words, also from the letter: “…venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review…”

    With weasel words like “effectively” and “substantive”, Gavin’s got all kinds of room to prove that his meaning of what he said is correct. He statement makes it clear that he know’s there was actual peer review, but he’s gonna throw his hands up when he says it and make little quotes, saying it was “peer review”.

  61. gcapologist says:

    To Jeff Id at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/22/realclimates-over-the-top-response/#comment-605118

    I’d suspect you really refrain from airing your discontent because you have a sense of what is professional and what isn’t (no matter the law).

    As for Gavin (I assume you’re reading this), I suggest you count to at least one hundred before you click post (so that you might ponder the implication of your words). Seemingly, your emotions trump any sense of decorum expected from those with your credentials.

  62. Poptech says:

    The comments there are stating to resemble a big bunch of conspiracy theories,

    Mike Roddy says: 22 Feb 2011 at 10:17 AM, The magazine is nothing more than an oil and coal company financed effort to discredit climate science, and protests to the contrary border on the comical.

    This is total nonsense,

    E&E is funded by the publisher Multi-Science and I have nothing to do with financial matters. E&E does not advertise, and I do not get a salary.” – Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Editor, Energy & Environment (Source: Email Correspondence)

    E&E doesn’t have ‘funding’. Like all our journals, it exists on it’s subscription income.” – Bill Hughes, Director, Multi-Science Publishing (Source: Email Correspondence)

  63. Jack Greer says:

    “REPLY: If there was no offer of working out new wording together and no offer to simply ask for a retraction, you might have a point – Anthony”

    This is comical. He was talking about the wording of a retraction. Another quality thread started by you, Anthony? Take a bow.

    REPLY:
    Ah well Jack, given that you only come here to take pot shots, I expected no less from you. No high road for you then, just flame. – Anthony

  64. art johnson says:

    This is clearly an implied threat in my opinion…You left out 3 key words above…

    AT THE MOMENT, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate.

    Caps of course are mine.

    REPLY: No words were left out, they are in the body of the post, I don’t assign the same weight to them you do. Now if he had capitalized them as you did, I’d say they implied a threat. If he hadn’t offered to work it out, I’d say it was a threat. I’ve been in contact with Hughes, and even he doesn’t see it as a threat. – Anthony

  65. Mark T says:

    David M Brooks says:
    February 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Gavin can be brave here because New York and US law provides protections against foreign libel lawsuit judgments, a UK judgment would probably be unenforceable against US based Gavin and RealClimate.

    I think you should look at that a bit closer… it does not rule out ALL foreign libel suits, just ones that would otherwise infringe on free speech protections. The US definition of free speech is broader than in other countries, but it is not a whole lot different than places like the UK.

    When signed into law by President Obama, it will prohibit the enforcement of foreign libel judgments that are inconsistent with the protections accorded free speech by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Not all foreign libel judgments will fall into this category.

    Mark

  66. Poptech says:

    If anyone is interested in corrections to the common misinformation spread about the scholarly peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environment I have compiled them here,

    Correcting misinformation about the journal Energy & Environment

    I update it with whatever new smear is thrown at the journal once the old ones are knocked down.

  67. Theo Goodwin says:

    Mark T writes:

    “The US definition of free speech is broader than in other countries, but it is not a whole lot different than places like the UK.”

    Way wrong. By our standards, the UK does not enjoy free speech rights. In this country, to prove libel, you have to prove intentional malice. That is a GIGANTIC hurdle. In England, you do not have to prove malice, much less intentional malice.

  68. Ric Werme says:

    Before I decided to commit a lot of (okay, too much) time to AGW issues, I was pretty active on the excesses of the Child Protection Service agencies. This is a field where government agencies solicit reports of abuse (and neglect), have a strong impetus to make show ever increasing levels of abuse, have better access to news media, and had strong support in both the court of public opinion and legal courts.

    The lawyers trying to defend clients from false claims or keeping kids in less than perfect homes and out of less than perfect foster homes have a lot of obstacles to overcome. These lawyers, my wife is one of them, are often transformed by the system and become almost a caricature of a lawyer – there’s really only so much abuse you can take from a system that ignores father’s rights, that equates messy homes with neglect, and fights efforts to get toddlers with broken bones tested for Osteogenesis imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease).

    I see some similar effects on people who’ve taken a stand against the AGW fear mongering, especially those who have argued that there’s more to climate change than CO2 while the climate was clearly warming.

    Now that’s not so clear. The tactics used by the warmists are being exposed and held up for all to see, and the public is becoming more skeptical with every shovelful of mid-Atlantic snow they clear.

    This has to be an awful time for the folks at East Anglia, RealClimate, etc. To be heard they need to paint doomsday scenarios and increase their attacks on their detractors. It still isn’t working. Worse, they’ve been knocked off their pedestals, they remember the glory days they’ve lost and are desperate to stop any further slide into irrelevance. That Gavin felt he had to (and could!) defend himself at Judith Curry’s site instead of lobbing insults from the safety of the RealClimate fortress underscores their fears. Still, it isn’t working, I don’t think they can take on any more battle fronts.

    Panic will be settling in soon. They may get a reprieve this summer, at least there will be some hotter than average days everywhere, but if Joe Bastardi’s forecast of more cold winters come through, they’ll have to start looking for another cause.

  69. JD Ohio says:

    Anthony,

    I am in the realist camp (you can view my many posts on Dotearth) , and I am a lawyer. When you use the words “libel” (for instance, “mistaken statement” could have been used if a lawsuit was not being threatened), “retraction” and “settle”, you are talking about a lawsuit. Mike at 6:26 pm hit the nail on the head. I realize it might be difficult to do, but if I was you, I would admit that a mistake was made in the column and move on.

    JD

    REPLY: I think it’s a matter of professional background. As an attorney, you see the word libel and automatically connect it to lawsuits. I see the word “libel” and think of my training in television (and previously newspapers), where mostly we avoided libel lawsuits by printing a simple retraction. IN my time on the air, and in print, I’ve seen reporters have to make a retraction. These always started with a notifying letter. Notifying a person that you believe you’ve been libeled, and asking for a retraction is IMHO, a far different animal than saying you’ve been libeled and saying you are starting a lawsuit.

    Would it be over the top for Bill Hughes to immediately, without notice, start a lawsuit? I think it would be. Is it over the top that RC prints Bill’s notification letter then claims they’ve been threatened? Yes I think it is. – Anthony

  70. Jack Greer says:

    “REPLY: Ah well Jack, given that you only come here to take pot shots, I expected no less from you. No high road for you then, just flame. – Anthony”

    What do the words “working out new wording together” mean in your previous reply?

    REPLY: Apparently you can’t comprehend, so I don’t think indulging you so you can lob more pot shots is of any value. I know your MO – Anthony

  71. crosspatch says:

    Suppose for a moment that tree rings are more of an atmospheric CO2 proxy than a temperature proxy. Now if the rings are portrayed as temperature proxy (but aren’t, really) one would be able to point to them and say “see! The CO2 rise is causing warming!” when in reality it is “see! The CO2 rise is causing increased growth!”.

    It is my opinion that tree rings should not be used as temperature proxies because they are also CO2 proxies and probably more sensitive to the modern change in CO2 than to the modern change in temperature. The only way to tell for sure is to have a control set of trees where CO2 has remained steady and we have no such thing. There are plenty of studies that show responses to CO2 changes and those responses are generally positive for conifers. Most tree ring studies involve conifers because those are the sorts of trees found in areas where growth rates might be described as temperature constrained (high altitude, high latitude, near the tree line).

  72. Saaad says:

    @gcapologist,

    I completely agree: I’ve always found that I express myself far better when any anger or outrage has been allowed to dissipate a little. Venting anger allows your opponents to focus on the anger rather than the substance of your views, thus allowing them to avoid answering any real points of discussion.

  73. Jack Greer says:

    “REPLY: Apparently you can’t comprehend, so I don’t think indulging you so you can lob more pot shots is of any value. I know your MO – Anthony”

    Exactly. Your comment made no sense relative to Hugh’s original “offer” …

  74. a jones says:

    Well from my point of view I do not think the ‘letter’ was that well written, a good amateur attempt basically.

    The response is of course absolutely hilarious: which perhaps says more about the Team than I can express.

    However everyone supposes that his deathless prose must be the acme of any letter ever written. I do not wish to disappoint but usually not so.

    So if you live in a jurisdiction based on English Law, eg. the UK, the USA etc. I offer this advice. If you will write such a letter remember the golden rule is to head the body of the text with two little words.

    WITHOUT PREJUDICE

    Very handy that.

    Kindest Regards

  75. Dave Springer says:

    “REPLY: If there was no offer of working out new wording together and no offer to simply ask for a retraction, you might have a point – Anthony”

    That was just pro-forma. If you want to increase your chances of winning a libel suit it looks good to a judge or jury if the aggrieved party first politely informs the offending party that they wrote something untrue, state how the writing is damaging, and request a formal retraction/apology to reduce or eliminate the damage. Bluntly stating they would settle for a retraction looks really good.

    This is generally true in most tort cases – you greatly increase your chance of winning in court if you first make a reasonable attempt to limit your damages. Otherwise it looks like gold digging.

  76. Poptech says:

    Are RealClimate hypocrites about libel suits?

    In particular, you should mention that the publisher of a libel is also liable for damages – that might make Sonja B-C be a little wary. Of course, if it does get published, maybe the resulting settlement would shut down E&E and Benny and Sonja all together! We can only hope, anyway. So maybe in an odd way its actually
    win-win for us, not them. Lets see how this plays out…

    RealClimate is of course always available to you as an outlet, ” – Michael E. Mann

    REPLY: Thanks, good catch – Anthony

  77. Kip Hansen says:

    Anthony,

    re: ‘Consider supporting the journal by purchasing a subscription.’

    With the yearly subscription going for 416 British Pounds (or US $ 617.50) for the ‘on-line only’ version, it’s a bit steep for me — given I can’t even leave them laying around on the coffee table to make myself look educated and well-read.

    I’ll have to stick with the abstracts and the coverage on WUWT.

    Kip

  78. JD Ohio says:

    Anthony “REPLY [to JD]: I think it’s a matter of professional background. As an attorney, you see the word libel and automatically connect it to lawsuits.”

    You make a number of good points based on your experience. However, a big part of the issue is whether Gavin has reasonable fears of being sued based on the letter. I think he does. In particular, the reference to “settle” indicates to me that a lawsuit is being threatened. Personally, if I was advising Gavin in my legal turf, I would suggest that going public might be a valid way to gain the initiative. Lots of times public information is more effective than legal responses. I would also add that Gavin’s experience with retractions as a scientist might be different than your experience as a broadcaster.

    JD

    JD

    REPLY: All good points, see the comment upstream from Poptech on the Climategate emails. I don’t think Gavin and the team have any fear at all, which is essence, the whole problem – Anthony

  79. JDN says:

    The note sent is a non-threatening threat. It’s perfect bluster, really well done.

    I was just discussing the libel protection in the US with a law student. It gives one the option, if one is sued by a foreign entity, to basically retry the case under U.S. federal statutes. It’s a great advance, in my opinion, for American justice. Obviously, if you defame a business by claiming that it is incompetent or delivers a shoddy product, American law will find you liable as well.

    However, Gavin’s statement was qualified as “substantive” peer review. That makes it a matter of opinion as to what is substantive. So, he is protected in the U.S. because he is expressing an opinion but probably not in the U.K. Also “effectively” is another way of saying ‘not actually’. The problem I see is that Gavin implies unfairness by the journal, a thing that is damaging to its core business. If you print that a journal is giving a free pass to people that have an ‘in’ with the editor, people may not want to publish there. So, for that, I think Gavin might be in trouble.

  80. James Sexton says:

    Poptech says:
    February 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    None of my comments went through on RealClimate, ……….
    ========================================================

    Now that’s a real shocker. BTW, good work Pop!!!

  81. Kate7 says:

    The worst of rc is that they are untouchable. One cannot post there and expect it will be accepted.

    Judith Curry has this up at her website, and Gavin took the bait. Her readers responded well.

  82. Dave Springer says:

    Steve says:
    February 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “With weasel words like “effectively” and “substantive”, Gavin’s got all kinds of room to prove that his meaning of what he said is correct.”

    Ah, that was the phrase I was looking for – “weasel words”. I agree. I don’t think E&E really has a case either and if I were Gavin I’d have told them the same thing – go pound sand. Of course if I were Gavin I’d have also realized I was projecting and not accused someone else of effectively abandoning substantive peer review when I’d working towards subverting the peer review process myself. I loathe the hypocrite.

  83. len says:

    yawn … more interesting doing research on the activities of Maurice Strong … double yawn.

    Need more ‘space climate’ and interesting controversies like alternative gravity theories and maybe we haven’t found dark matter because it doesn’t exist. You know where there is REAL Science on both sides of a question. Climate science is going to be dull, dull, dull until this Solar Grand Minimum beats them into the dirt for a few years. In the mean time the warmist assertions are even losing their laughable quotient.

  84. vigilantfish says:

    Wow, between this post and Judith Curry’s repudiation of Gavin’s interpretation of ‘hide the decline’ over on Climate Etc. (http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/), I’m wishing I had fewer crowns – the popcorn just keeps getting stuck between my teeth. Still, time to pop some more!

  85. Gary Pearse says:

    All very interesting but what particular paper(s) brought this on? From the fact that no one has commented on this suggests I should know (M and M? O’Donell?)

  86. ferd berple says:

    Readers of WUWT may wish to have a look at Dr Curry’s blog:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

    Pope Gavin has been forced from the castle of RC to attend the court of Judith “the heretic” Luther. We are seeing history in the making.

  87. Brian Rookard says:

    Just on the first reading I think there was a veiled threat of a lawsuit.

    The reference to damaging charges. The call for a retraction.

  88. Mark Wagner says:

    For more fun and games with Gavin, see my latest post at Climate Etc “Hiding the Decline” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

    just read it. holy cow! I mean…really… holy cow!

  89. Patrick Davis says:

    “Gavin, remember, thou art mortal (and a public servant).”

    In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, these people are called civil servants. I met two of these “civil servants” once in New Zealand. One said to me, while discussing aspects of the sale of public, taxpayer funded assets, to private companies, in a sort of derogatory tone, and then chuckling a little afterwards said…

    “Anyway. I don’t have to be civil nor do I have to serve anyone.”

    I believe Gavin may share the same attitude (Taxpayer funded).

  90. Doug in Seattle says:

    It’s really simple folks. Gavin and the TEAM have never forgiven E&E for publishing McIntyre and McKitrick’s devastating deconstruction of the hokey schtick.

    It was the only respected climate related journal that the TEAM did not either directly or indirectly control. They have tried very hard to destroy E&E for the last 6 or so years and have lead a fairly effective boycott that was succeeding until climatgate broke.

    I would like very much to see RC and TEAM sued for libel by E&E. With the climategate emails referring specifically to E&E or to its editor (Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen) as evidence of past bad behavior, E&E’s lawyers would have difficulty establishing a solid record of past bad actions to support their new claims.

  91. crosspatch says:

    From Dr. Curry’s article:

    It is obvious that there has been deletion of adverse data in figures shown IPCC AR3 and AR4, and the 1999 WMO document. Not only is this misleading, but it is dishonest (I agree with Muller on this one). The authors defend themselves by stating that there has been no attempt to hide the divergence problem in the literature, and that the relevant paper was referenced. I infer then that there is something in the IPCC process or the authors’ interpretation of the IPCC process (i.e. don’t dilute the message) that corrupted the scientists into deleting the adverse data in these diagrams.

    I would think it would seem quite obvious what the difference is. The IPCC report was to be what amounts to an executive summary for decision makers around the world. That is, the people with their hands on the public purse. Any uncertainty in the IPCC report might be reflected in uncertainty on the part of policy makers to allocate funds or assign priorities to “climate” related expenditures. It would seem that the purpose of this report was to create a sense of urgency of required action and certainty that it was actually happening. Any mud in the water might put hundreds of billions of dollars at risk, from their perspective.

    They knew full well that the policy makers would not dig through the literature. They would rely on the IPCC to do that for them and would have assumed that is what happened and that they (the policy makers) were getting the correct picture from the IPCC report. I think the authors of that report realized this. It wasn’t designed to mislead scientists, it was designed to mislead politicians.

  92. Smokey says:

    Brian Rookard says:

    “Just on the first reading I think there was a veiled threat of a lawsuit.”

    Actually, it simply gave the Schmidthead the option to back off a little from his unsupported statement. So the ball is now back in Gavin’s court.

    Hughes is being reasonable, no?

  93. Mark T says:

    Theo… you completely missed my point.

    A good guess: Hughes contacted a lawyer before sending his letter.

    A curiosity: isn’t Gavin a UK citizen?

    Mark

  94. Person of Choler says:

    Peter says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm, “Another thing: I think you are confusing “defiant chutzpah” with what most people would call “cajones”.”

    “COjones” is what people oughtta call ‘em.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cojones

    ¿Entiende usted?

  95. Poptech says:

    All my comments at RealClimate go into the spam filter or never show up, so I will have to respond to them here,

    Clippo (UK) says: 22 Feb 2011 at 2:42 PM, “Back on E & E topic, I’m surprised the well-known blogger Poptech, hasn’t popped up to defend E & E – a good proportion of his ? 750 ? scientific papers debunking AGW are listed there and he has argued E & E’s case, (usuccessfully), all over the blogosphere.

    I showed up almost immediately (only 10 comments were there) but all of my comments have been censored.

    The list is 850 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm not “750” and Energy & Environment only represent 14% of the list. There are over 700 papers from 236 other journals on the list.

    The only way you could consider that I have argued their case unsuccessfully is if you are willing reject the truth.

    Pete Dunkelberg says: 22 Feb 2011 at 4:33 PM, “Greenfyre is amusing on E&E’s publishing methods: 450 more lies from the climate change Deniers and Poptart’s 450 climate change Denier lies. By the way Poptech popped up at Skeptical Science recently and his list of 450 peer reviewed deiner papers has almost doubled to 850 in just two years. The rest of us must be missing a lot of great papers!

    Too bad Greenfyre did not get anything right,

    Rebuttal to “450 more lies from the climate change Deniers”
    Rebuttal to “Poptart’s 450 climate change Denier lies”

    It is correct that I recently showed up at Skeptical Science but it was to utterly embarrass them,

    Google Scholar Illiteracy at Skeptical Science

    And the list did not almost double in 2 years but rather a little over 1 year.

    Hank Roberts says: 22 Feb 2011 at 6:53 PM, “Poptart has been toasted: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/

    I didn’t get toasted, Lambert banned me when I started embarrassing his followers.

  96. Ron Cram says:

    I have to agree that the letter is a demand for a retraction. If he doesn’t get the retraction, he seems prepared to file suit – but the threat is not explicit.

    I think the demand for a retraction, even if an explicit threat of a lawsuit was present, is reasonable. The claim E&E does not practice peer review is demonstrably false and made seemingly without any regard to the facts. While I am not attorney and live in the US, the letter by Hughes is far less demanding than it could have been. Gavin and the PR folks at RealClimate should issue the retraction and call it a day.

  97. wobble says:

    Dave Springer says:
    February 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    “REPLY: If there was no offer of working out new wording together and no offer to simply ask for a retraction, you might have a point – Anthony”

    That was just pro-forma. If you want to increase your chances of winning a libel suit it looks good to a judge or jury if the aggrieved party first politely informs the offending party that they wrote something untrue, state how the writing is damaging, and request a formal retraction/apology to reduce or eliminate the damage. Bluntly stating they would settle for a retraction looks really good.

    Well, if it was just pro-forma then it wasn’t a threat.

  98. John Brookes says:

    Maybe Bill Hughes should have been a bit more conciliatory, something like:

    “Look Gavin, you know as well as I do that E&E is barely proofread, let alone peer reviewed, but please, can you keep it to yourself?”

  99. wobble says:

    JDN says:
    February 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    However, Gavin’s statement was qualified as “substantive” peer review. That makes it a matter of opinion as to what is substantive. So, he is protected in the U.S. because he is expressing an opinion

    I appreciate your input JD, but it seems obvious that you’ve never litigated a libel case.

    Gavin sets an objective standard for what he considered “substantive” peer review in the quoted sentence. His standard for “substantive” is the peer review given to papers that don’t follow the editor’s political line.

    I suppose, Gavin could try claiming that, in his opinion, papers that do follow the editor’s political line should receive higher scrutiny than papers that don’t follow the editor’s political line, but any judge in this country would simply chuckle as he denied Gavin’s motion to dismiss. Therefore, the burden of proof would shift to Gavin to demonstrate that E&E’s peer review process is less substantive for papers that fit the editor’s political line.

  100. wobble says:

    The bottom line is that if Gavin can’t handle the threat of a libel suit, then he should choose his words more carefully.

  101. Michael R says:

    You make a number of good points based on your experience. However, a big part of the issue is whether Gavin has reasonable fears of being sued based on the letter. I think he does. In particular, the reference to “settle” indicates to me that a lawsuit is being threatened. Personally, if I was advising Gavin in my legal turf, I would suggest that going public might be a valid way to gain the initiative. Lots of times public information is more effective than legal responses. I would also add that Gavin’s experience with retractions as a scientist might be different than your experience as a broadcaster.

    Generally speaking when someone threatens to begin a lawsuit relating to libel they first seek legal advice – as most are not current with libel law and case law – and the letter of demand for a retraction based on Libel is worded vastly differently then a personal letter from one person to another.

    I usually always try to read both sides of a story before making up my mind and having read the letter offered, and the response on the RC blog and I have to say the response at RC and the response at RC would make a good case study in over reaction and how not to behave professionally.

    The response at RC contains no less than 4 implied or direct malicious statements that , TBH, if I was the one that wrote the original letter and did wish to take it further, would be jumping for joy at the ths post as on this one blog post alone sufficient evidence is present to file proceedings for libel.

    Oh and by all means, if you like Gavin’s response and feel it was appropriate, I sincerely request that you continue to support such actions as there is nothing that anyone on this site – or others on the web – could do to better undermine the “Cause” of RC.

  102. Jeff B. says:

    Gavin’s just touchy because he knows most of the world doesn’t take him seriously anymore.

  103. Andrew W says:

    “I’ve been in contact with Hughes, and even he doesn’t see it as a threat. – Anthony”

    Fantastic, so Bill Hughes will be commenting on this thread to confirm that E&E is has no intention of pursuing this issue in the courts??

    REPLY: That’s up to him, maybe you should ask your chum Gavin to come over and explain why he went over the top -A

  104. Andrew30 says:

    wobble says: February 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm
    “I suppose, Gavin could try claiming that, in his opinion..”

    This is a statement of opinion:
    “The evidence for this is in precisely what I THINK happens in venues like E&E that have, IN MY OPNION, effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.”

    This is a statement of fact:
    “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.”

    See the difference.

  105. Andrew W says:

    Michael R, your comment, as you probably realise, says little to support Anthony’s belief that Hughes is not threatening legal action.

    I’ll agree that Gavin’s response was excessive, but I suspect that his probable defense of fair comment would be successful.

  106. Andrew30 says:

    Gavin should have used some of the standard climate science paper phrases (could, might, may, perhaps, someday, evidence suggests, models, etc.) that way no matter what he wrote it could be interpreted as exactly the opposite of what was written.

    Then he would be in the clear since the statement would not be falseifiable, just like everything else in AGW.

  107. Andrew W says:

    Andrew30
    This is a statement of fact:
    “The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line.”

    Indeed it is, and you can’t be successfully sued for making factual statements (unless you’re breaching privilege).

  108. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Put on your rubber boots, everyone, and get you down to the barnyard!
    There are the roosters on the dunghill plumping their chests and fluffing their plumage.
    It might just be me, but it looks like there’s one scruffy little banty cockerel with a scruffy tail, a tattered comb and a tired, strident little voice. His opponent, I can’t see clearly but he seems fresh, confident and unsullied.
    It’s posturing, people! Put your money on your favourite, but hang on to your sense of humour.

  109. Warren says:

    I have grandchildren, this is what they do at kindergarten, I am so past being interested in what Gavin, Judith, et al think is important

    The whole AGW, CAGW, CCC, IPCC has been shown to be a total farce

    Either, admit it, and go silently into the night

    or, continue on the path to personal, public and total opprobrium

    It isn’t happening, your hysterical claims are getting more strident, the disasters you predict are not happening, while the rest of us are getting with living our lives to the seasons we know unconcerned with your continuing appeals to faith, belief and Gaia

  110. Andrew30 says:

    Andrew W says: February 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm
    “Indeed it is, and you can’t be successfully sued for making factual statements (unless you’re breaching privilege).”

    As long as you can prove that it is true in a court of law, you will not be found guilty.
    The burden of proff is on the author of the statement, not the harmed party.

  111. Eric Anderson says:

    “At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate.”

    But….

    And if that doesn’t happen…?

    Isn’t he implying something more…?

    Just saying.

    ———————

    The approach is called preserving your rights during an attempt at an amicable solution. They have to preserve the right to do something else later, rather than offering an outright statement that all they want is a retraction. Gavin, stupidly and immaturely, spit on the offer of an amicable solution. I highly doubt E&E would ever sue, but Gavin sure isn’t making it less likely with his puerile tantrum.

  112. David Walton says:

    Real Climate is a disgrace. Thanks Anthony for continuing to do the heavy lifting.

  113. crosspatch says:

    “Gavin having another hissy fit?”

    I don’t know for certain but this smacks of “Gavin Schmidt is pretty much irrelevant at this point”. He seems to be making himself something of a target of ridicule and further seems to have forgotten the “stop digging” rule when one is in the hole.

    Dr. Curry’s direct approach to this seems to imply she has even more than she has let out of the bag on this issue. I don’t believe she would have written that without expecting some sort of response from Schmidt.

  114. David Falkner says:

    Sour grapes. RC is not inclined to retract any posts. The comment crowd would have a collective aneurysm. What does it say that one man sends another man an email only to have it published on the internet with a claim that it is a lawsuit threat? If it were, it would be called a “cease and desist” notice. But hey, I am sure that trying to stop someone from misrepresenting your work is a horrible intention, worthy of all the scorn RC and its twelve readers can muster.

  115. MangoChutney says:

    Just posted at RC:

    In the Late 50’s Eugene Parker tried to publish a paper in the Astrophysical Journal. The peer review process rejected the paper, because the reviewers simply didn’t believe Parker. The paper was saved by the editor Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (who later received the 1983 Nobel Prize in physics) and published.

    The paper was Parker’s hypothesis on the now widelt accepted solar wind

    Should Parker’s paper have been rejected or published?

    /Mango

  116. Glenn says:

    Gavin’s comments are essentially the same as saying “Company X’s hamburger has dog meat in it, don’t eat it.”

    Going to the source for more context:

    “The many existing critiques of peer review as a system (for instance by Richard Smith, ex-editor of the BMJ, or here, or in the British Academy report), sometimes appear to assume that all papers arrive at the journals fully formed and appropriately written. They don’t. The mere existence of the peer review system elevates the quality of submissions, regardless of who the peer reviewers are or what their biases might be. The evidence for this is in precisely what happens in venues like E&E that have effectively dispensed with substantive peer review for any papers that follow the editor’s political line – you end up with a backwater of poorly presented and incoherent contributions that make no impact on the mainstream scientific literature or conversation. It simply isn’t worth wading through the dross in the hope of finding something interesting.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/from-blog-to-science/

    Paraphrasing, E&E doesn’t do real peer review, and isn’t worth reading.

    Unless this is true, sure sounds like a clear case of libel to me. I suspect Gavin would have much difficulty providing the “evidence” he claims exists, objectively. An editor’s
    “political line” could be associated with any paper approved by any editor.
    “Poorly presented and incoherent contributions” are irrelevant to the charge of an absence of peer review, as is also what if any impact the journal has on “mainstream scientific literature or conversation.”

  117. Richard Tol says:

    For the record, I have published a few papers in E&E. Each was peer-reviewed as usual. I’ve also reviewed a number of papers for E&E.

  118. Andrew W says:

    In a civil action the burden of proof is usually on the plaintiff.

  119. Ralph says:

    >>>Mike says: February 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm
    >>>The subject line is Subject:: E&E libel! I think that is
    >>>pretty clear. (Boldface mine.)

    Hey, Mike, you completely misunderstood the title of the email. A libel is: “a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation.”

    It is E&E who have been libeled, not RealClimate.

    The title is a confirmation that E&E consider that they have been libeled by RealClimate, and not the other way around.

    Talk about an edgy editor, who likes pointing his defensive gun at his own feet.

    .

  120. Steeptown says:

    Colonel Gavindaffi springs to mind. Defiant speeches from a bombed-out site.

  121. Ken Hall says:

    “In particular, you should mention that the publisher of a libel is also liable for damages – that might make Sonja B-C be a little wary. Of course, if it does get published, maybe the resulting settlement would shut down E&E and Benny and Sonja all together! We can only hope, “

    [bold is my emphasis]

    Hmmmmm, that appears to me to be a clear, prima facie case of intention to cause harm, or loss, to E&E and Sonja.

    Anyone else have a view on this?

  122. Brian H says:

    crosspatch says:
    February 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    It wasn’t designed to mislead scientists, it was designed to mislead politicians.

    How sweet and naive! Is it “misleading” when you deliver exactly the justifications for massive expansion of taxing and regulatory power that the pols requested and most deeply desire?

  123. Ken Hall says:

    “They knew full well that the policy makers would not dig through the literature. They would rely on the IPCC to do that for them and would have assumed that is what happened and that they (the policy makers) were getting the correct picture from the IPCC report. I think the authors of that report realized this. It wasn’t designed to mislead scientists, it was designed to mislead politicians.”

    Indeed that is the case. This is why the “summary for policy makers” (the only part of the report that politicians and policy wonks read) was 100% selling the ‘man-made catastrophic climate change is settled science’ line even when many chapters in the actual report cited work which refuted or at least questioned that summary. The summary was misleading and did not accurately reflect what the totality of the science has been showing.

  124. Jane Coles says:

    Schmidt is (or was) a UK citizen so he may still have money or property in the UK. Failing that, Environmental Media Services or Fenton Communications may have a UK subsidiary. Time to call Carter Ruck.

  125. Copner says:

    If I received that letter, I would interpret it as a legal threat. The reason is the use of the magic words “libel”, and “settle”. IANAL, but I see it as a pre-litigation settlement offer.

    (That said, I wouldn’t see it a particularly serious one, because it’s sent by email – not registered mail or courier – and was sent by a director, rather than the company’s lawyer. Furthermore, if RealClimate viewed this as a serious threat, or one they couldn’t defend, they would have to be stupid to continue to make blog posts on this topic).

    But isn’t this EXACTLY the type of thing the defamation lawsuits are intended to deal with: Somebody made a negative FACTUAL assertion about a somebody else’s professional practices. Assuming for a moment that the assertion is untrue – the second person needs to have a right at law to correct the assertion and undo any damage resulting.

    FWIW, I am a long-standing member of the UK’s Campaign for Libel Reform. But I particularly object to the RealClimate phrase “unjustifiable UK libel suit”

    Yes issues such as jurisdiction, costs, damages, burden of proof, and fact/opinion all need to be looked at – but even a reformed, improved, corrected libel law in the UK would still exist – and should & would still be usable to defend people’s reputations against allegedly unfounded factual assertions. A case involving an allegedly unfounded factual assertion against a professional reputation would be, as far as I am concerned, entirely justifiable.

    Furthermore, I also object to the way that the UK is referred to in the article. The implication is that UK jurisdiction on such a case would be inappropriate or malicious. However, seeing as the allegedly libelled party is not some foreign oligarch with a tenuous connection to the UK – but a UK-based business – UK jurisdiction is entirely appropriate IMHO.

  126. JohnH says:

    Subject:: E&E libel
    is a simple statement of fact ie we consider to have been libelled, there is no treat of legal action.

    Rest of the text is allowing indeed inviting RC a way out of their predicament, they are too stupid to take the soft option and have chosen the hard route. As RC is on the internet and not blocked from being read in the UK E&E have the option of using the UK courts for a Libel action, as has been said before the intital reation to a libel being pointed out and with an offer of retraction does have a bearing on the level of damages so RC are down already in the courts eyes.

  127. Michael Larkin says:

    I’m no lawyer, but if the statement Gavin made actually was libellous (and “libel” as a word stands in its own right without a necessary legal connection), then why not call it by that word?

    I think there’s more than a hint of legal recourse being sought in the event of a failure to retract. But so what? If libel there has been, then the one libelled has that option. It wouldn’t look good in court, should any action materialise, if the defendant, having been offered the chance to reach an accommodation through retraction, had rejected it. Nor would it look good for the plaintiff if such an offer hadn’t been made.

    It’s plain as a pikestaff: Gavin has alleged E&E doesn’t properly peer review papers that fit a certain preferred narrative. Which we all know is a laugh because one could name journals as well as scientists on the orthodox side that have gamed the peer-review system in the service of orthodoxy. We have actual evidence of this in the climategate emails, after all.

    It’s hard not to detect malice if only because the allegation was made publicly and in print on a site that is well known to be hostile to sceptics. What possible non-malicious function did it serve? Was it somehow complimentary of E&E? One can feel sure that had Gavin had anything complimentary to say about it, he wouldn’t have posted about it on RC.

  128. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Re Mark T says: February 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    A curiosity: isn’t Gavin a UK citizen?

    Yes, and unless he’s also a US citizen it could make his defence under UK libel a little more challenging. So if he were to lose his job in the US and had to return to the UK, he could find a nasty judgement and costs waiting. He really should be more careful with what he says given E&E have a duty to defend their reputation.

  129. DaveS says:

    RockyRoad says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm
    “A “bad hair day” for a guy with very little hair? ”

    At least there’s been no attempt to hide the decline…

  130. Tom in Florida says:

    Just wondering if Gavin, as a government employee, has any “libel insurance” . In Florida certain public figures receive some protection from libel suits as State law places a limit on the maximum award that can be recovered and protects the accused personal property from being used to satisfy the award. The caveat is that the award must come from a judgment handed down pursuant to an actual law suit.

  131. JDN says:

    wobble says:
    February 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm
    I appreciate your input JD, but it seems obvious that you’ve never litigated a libel case.

    Ya got me. Have you? And in which country?

  132. Poptech says:

    Looks like some scientists are calling Gavin’s bluff,

    Richard Tol says: 23 Feb 2011 at 3:22 AM

    For your information, I have published a few papers in E&E. All were peer-reviewed as usual. I have reviewed a few more for the journal.” – Richard S. J. Tol Ph.D. Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

  133. Noelle says:

    “Notice the missing key word ‘lawsuit’. It does not appear in that letter anywhere.”

    And note the subject of the email: “E&E libel”

    If that isn’t about a lawsuit, Anthony, then what is it about?

  134. Noelle says:

    Richard Tol wrote:

    “For the record, I have published a few papers in E&E. Each was peer-reviewed as usual. I’ve also reviewed a number of papers for E&E.”

    Your degree is in economics. Do you believe that qualifies you to publish on and peer review articles in the natural sciences?

  135. Mike says:

    @Ralph says: February 23, 2011 at 12:57 am

    We agree. The point was so obvious that I did not elaborate.

  136. Copner says:

    If Gavin is a UK citizen, my previous comment about his complaints about UK jurisdiction for a possible libel case goes double. Triple even.

    A UK citizen allegedly libelled a UK company concerning a publication originating from the UK, on a web site (RealClimate) that has a significant UK readership – and somehow Gavin thinks UK jurisdiction is inappropriate or unfair?

    Yes criticize UK libel laws if you want… but if UK courts couldn’t take this case, I don’t see how they could take practically any libel case, all a publisher would have to say to escape jurisdiction would be to say “we have some readers and some web space outside the UK”.

  137. Jose Suro says:

    Anthony.

    I will have to go with JD on this one, not because I disagree with your interpretation as it applies to us here in the US, but because the use of the word libel carries a lot more weight in the country that coined the term. Their English is subtly different than ours in many ways. A private conciliatory gesture is also the proper and educated British way to originally approach the situation and is seen very favorably by magistrates.

    Nevertheless, this is an important post because it further spotlights the blinded fanaticism prevalent at RC. It shows not only the lack of common courtesy that should be given to other “peers”, but also the lack of foresight to the consequences of their lower brain instinctive reactions.

    Such reactions have been incorrectly described elsewhere here as “Cajones”. Incorrectly because both: I suspect that their reaction has a lot less to do with testicular virility than with the aforementioned blinded fanaticism, but also because the word “Cajones” really means “Boxes” in Spanish and the user of the term should at least had the wherewithal to check the spelling of a word not of his native tongue.

    And as an aside, the correctly spelled word is considered as offensive by most Spanish language readers as most four letter words are by English speaking ones and should NEVER be used in mixed/formal company. It is also in very poor taste – attempting to thinly disguise an offensive word by using a foreign language for vulgarism. Yes, we are all adults here…. or are we?

    Keep up the great work.

    Best,

    Jose

  138. Bloke down the pub says:

    ‘Gavin, remember, thou art mortal’
    Beware the ides of March

  139. Mark T says:

    Atomic Hairdryer says:
    February 23, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Yes, and unless he’s also a US citizen it could make his defence under UK libel a little more challenging.

    Technically, the US does not recognize dual citizenship.

    Mark

  140. Mark T says:

    Noelle says:
    February 23, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Your degree is in economics. Do you believe that qualifies you to publish on and peer review articles in the natural sciences?

    Gavin’s is mathematics. Pachuri is a railroad engineer. How about your degree?

    Mark

  141. Smokey says:

    Noelle says:

    “Your degree is in economics. Do you believe that qualifies you to publish on and peer review articles in the natural sciences?”

    And your degree is in… what, exactly? Sock puppetry? Give us your CV. Your qualifications must surely exceed Dr Tol’s.

    EE’s peer review is certainly more rigorous than CC’s, which is controlled by the conniving Michael Mann. Search “Tiljander, Mann” and you will begin to understand.

  142. Craig Loehle says:

    I have published at E&E and went through typical reviews. The only thing I can say is that they avoid reviewers who reject papers that are politically incorrect and instead review them on the merits, as should be the case.
    It is not good to become strident and hysterical in print…even on a blog…because people can read….

  143. Rod Everson says:

    Question for the lawyers among us: How close did RC come to libel by U.S. standards? It would seem likely that they would lose a UK libel case, unless they have some proof of their assertion about the editor’s behavior, but how about in the U.S.? Is the fact that the editor is a “public figure” of some sort sufficient to protect RC from anything they might assert? Just how far would someone have to go to actually lose a libel suit under U.S. law?

    Just curious.

  144. Noelle says:

    Mark T and Smokey:

    I make no claims that I am qualified to conduct research or perform peer reviews. However, Richard Tol has. I merely asked a question of a researcher to explain HIS qualifications for a particular area. What is your problem with that? I can’t ask a question without my own PhD?

    And Smokey — ad hominem attacks “sock puppetry” — are uncalled for.

  145. wobble says:

    Andrew30 says:
    February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    See the difference.

    Of course I see the difference.

    JD’s point was that his assertion of fact contains a subjective standard. For example, I’m certainly asserting a fact if I state that, “this restaurant doesn’t handle chicken carefully”, but JD was pointing out that such assertion of fact contains a subjective standard (an opinion) regarding what is “carefully.” In this situation the author could merely claim that what is defined as “carefully” is a matter of opinion and therefore his statement wasn’t libel. JD was pointing out that Gavin could claim that his standard of “substantive” is a matter of opinion and therefore his statement wasn’t libel.

    The problem is that a more accurate comparison would be a statement such as, “this restaurant doesn’t handle chicken carefully – as it does beef.” In this statement a standard for “carefully” has most certainly been set by the author. The author has offered the restaurant’s handling of beef as a standard of “carefully”. In a libel defense, the author would be forced to prove that the restaurant doesn’t handle chicken as carefully as they handle beef (if the author chose to pursue a truth defense – he could most certainly pursue a lack of actual injury defense – that the restaurant wasn’t harmed at all by the statement).

    Likewise, in Gavin’s statement, Gavin sets the standard of “substantive” as the peer review process which is applied to papers that don’t fit the editor’s political line. Therefore, Gavin would have a difficult time claiming that his statement is a matter of opinion.

  146. wobble says:

    Andrew W says:
    February 23, 2011 at 12:32 am

    In a civil action the burden of proof is usually on the plaintiff.

    Yes, but this isn’t true for a defendant claiming that their statement isn’t libel because their statement is true. In such a situation, the burden of proof is on the author of the statement.

  147. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Mark T says:
    February 23, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Atomic Hairdryer says:
    February 23, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Yes, and unless he’s also a US citizen it could make his defence under UK libel a little more challenging.

    Technically, the US does not recognize dual citizenship.

    Mark
    ————————————–
    I can’t imagine where you got that idea from. And I can’t imagine what the significance of “technically” could be.

  148. Physics Major says:

    Attorney: Mr Schmidt, it seems that you may be in the wrong here; my best advise is to accept their offer and apologize.

    Schmidt: Well I don’t want to apologize to those bas***ds. So what if I don’t?

    Attorney: Well, they could file a lawsuit for libel.

    Schmidt: LAWSUIT, so that’s what this is about.

  149. G. Karst says:

    Other than lip service… I do not think Gavin really believes he is a public servant. I think, he truly believes he is a public savior. No one should be allowed to attack his graven image, and that He is the path to climate salvation. GK

  150. Claude Harvey says:

    (liable) + (retraction) = (settlement)
    (liable) – (retraction) = (What? An aardvark?) ; of course not.
    (liable) – (retraction) = (lawsuit)

  151. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From JD Ohio on February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm :

    JD

    JD

    Different article:
    From Julian Flood on February 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm:

    JF

    JF

    Is there some reason for both “Julian Flood” and “JD Ohio” to have the same repeated two-initials error on their posts, looking more curious given the rarity of posts ending with initials at all, or is it just pure coincidence?

  152. Craig B says:

    There seems to be an air of hysteria developing over at RC. Judith has certainly upped the anti with her excellent post on “hide the decline”. If this whole issue were not so important I would laugh at Gavin’s antics. Instead, I sit here looking askance at the antics of the Hockey Team and their acolytes. Thank you Anthony, Judith, Steve et al for keeping this as high profile as you clearly are.

  153. Chris Smith says:

    Gavin. Ha ha. Gavin. Ahhh. Chuckle.

  154. 007 says:

    Mike Mann suggesting threatening libel to the Team.

    From: “Michael E. Mann”
    To: Phil Jones
    Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: review of E&E paper on alleged Wang fraud
    Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 09:01:41 -0400
    Cc: Kevin Trenberth , Gavin Schmidt

    thanks Phil,

    I did take the liberty of discussing w/ Gavin, who can of course be
    trusted to maintain the confidentiality of this. We’re in agreement that
    Keenan has wandered his way into dangerous territory here, and that in
    its current form this is clearly libellous; there is not even a pretense
    that he is only investigating the evidence. Furthermore, while many of
    us fall under the category of ‘limited public figures’ and therefore the
    threshold for proving libel is quite high, this is *not* the case for
    Wei-Chyung. He is not a public figure. I believe they have made a major
    miscalculation here in treating him as if he is. In the UK, where E&E is
    published, the threshold is even lower than it is in the states for
    proving libel. We both think he should seek legal advice on this, as
    soon as possible.

    With respect to Peiser’s guest editing of E&E and your review, following
    up on Kevin’s suggestions, we think there are two key points. First, if
    there are factual errors (other than the fraud allegation) it is very
    important that you point them out now. If not, Keenan could later allege
    that he made the claims in good faith, as he provided you an opportunity
    to respond and you did now. Secondly, we think you need to also focus on
    the legal implications. In particular, you should mention that the
    publisher of a libel is also liable for damages – that might make Sonja
    B-C be a little wary. Of course, if it does get published, maybe the
    resulting settlement would shut down E&E and Benny and Sonja all
    together! We can only hope, anyway. So maybe in an odd way its actually
    win-win for us, not them. Lets see how this plays out…

    RealClimate is of course always available to you as an outlet, if it
    seems an appropriate venue. But we should be careful not to jump the gun
    here.

    Kevin: very sorry to hear about Dennis. Please pass along my best wishes
    for a speedy recovery if and when it seems appropriate to do so…

    Mike

  155. Glenn says:

    Noelle says:
    February 23, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Richard Tol wrote:

    “For the record, I have published a few papers in E&E. Each was peer-reviewed as usual. I’ve also reviewed a number of papers for E&E.”

    “Your degree is in economics. Do you believe that qualifies you to publish on and peer review articles in the natural sciences?”
    *********************
    “Energy and Environment is an interdisciplinary journal aimed at natural scientists, technologists and the international social science and policy communities covering the direct and indirect environmental impacts of energy acquisition, transport, production and use. A particular objective is to cover the social, economic and political dimensions of such issues at local, national and international level.”

    http://www.multi-science.co.uk/ee.htm

    Can you say strawman?

  156. JD Ohio says:

    Kadaka’

    My two signatures were a mistake. Have no idea who Julian Flood is.

    *********

    On separate matter, I would add that I have no reason to believe that Gavin’s charges are fair and accurate. I just feel that Gavin had justification in feeling like the letter to him was the first step in a lawsuit that may come in the future.

    JD

  157. 1DandyTroll says:

    It is hard to see it as a threat since E&E make such a point of settle with a simple apology. And besides doesn’t E&E has the legal right to make a legal “threat” of a lawsuit under civil law since it’s not really a threat to merely make an informed and rational decision to use ones legal rights and to inform the potential law breaker of such.

  158. TomRude says:

    Funny when they cannot attack a paper, they attack the journal, the age of the captain etc… as if readers cannot have their own appreciation…

  159. tallbloke says:

    Presumably Gavin’s publishing of Mr Hughes correspondence will now raise howls of protest from Deepclimate, Deltoid and the usual ranters? After all, it’s the Wrong Thing To Do according to them…

  160. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From JD Ohio on February 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm:

    My two signatures were a mistake. Have no idea who Julian Flood is.

    My apologies, such similarities look strange and make me suspicious. Which is not all that unjustified these days (ref).

  161. Mark T says:

    tallbloke says:
    February 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Presumably Gavin’s publishing of Mr Hughes correspondence will now raise howls of protest from Deepclimate, Deltoid and the usual ranters? After all, it’s the Wrong Thing To Do according to them…

    Hehe… riiiight. If anything it was a stupid thing to do as it may egg E&E on to follow up.

    Mark

  162. Eli Rabett says:

    Somewhere up there were some comments on the NASA budget. If you look at the players human space flight is centered on the rump Confederate Space Exploration Agency built around Johnson (TX), Kennedy (FL), Marshall (AL) and Stennis (MS but really NO, LA). Kennedy will, of course, be renamed Strom Thurmond Space Center. The house of rep members pushing more money for human space flight are all from those deep south states.

    OTOH, the earth science centered programs have strong defenders in the Senate, Milkulski (MD -Goddard), Schumer (NY-GISS), Warner (VA-Langley), Boxer and Feinstein (CA- Ames and JPL)

    However, Charles Bolden has put the cat in among the pigeons by moving responsibility for the space taxi program to Kennedy from Johnson. That is going to be a real dust up.

    Eli had some earlier comments on this in 2006

  163. Wondering Aloud says:

    All this arguement about the phrasing of the letter is silly ot me. It is pretty clear that Gavin did in fact libel E&E by US as well as UK standards. I just doubt there is enough monetary damage to make a lawsuit worthwhile.

    Thanks Gavin for using your tax funded position to libel E&E. You wouldn’t want to spend your time instead actually fixing GISS or aomething?

  164. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Re Mark T says:

    Technically, the US does not recognize dual citizenship.

    As I understand it, the question of citizenship is more about whether he may lose it. There seems to be plenty of standing for a case in the UK courts, but while Gavin is in the US, he may have some protection against enforcement under the SPEECH Act. Or even a route for a counterclaim if any libel case infringes on his right to free speech. But then the right to free speech doesn’t give the right to libel or defame. So if any of Gavin’s comments count as libel under US law, then I think a UK judgement could still be enforced in the US. Outside of the US, he would lose that protection. RC would still be protected I think as that’s a US entity, assuming it qualified for protection under SPEECH.

    But it’s all very complicated, and why it’s best to be nice. Especially given the costs charged by some of the top UK libel law firms.

  165. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Little bunny shouts to the hounds: “Quick, look over there!”

    Silly rabbit! “Tricks” are for Climate Scientists™!

  166. Poptech says:

    Noelle says: February 23, 2011 at 5:52 am, “Your degree is in economics. Do you believe that qualifies you to publish on and peer review articles in the natural sciences?

    Who claimed he reviewed papers dealing only with natural science issues? E&E publishes many papers dealing with environmental economics of which he more than qualified,

    Richard S. J. Tol, M.Sc. Econometrics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1992), Ph.D. Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997), Researcher, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1992-2008), Adjunct Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (1998-2008), Michael Otto Professor of Sustainability and Global Change, Department of GeoSciences and Department of Economics, Hamburg University, Germany (2000-2006), Visiting Professor, Princeton Environmental Institute and Department of Economics, Princeton University (2005-2006), Research Professor, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland (2006-Present), GTAP Research Fellow (2007-2010), Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (2010-Present), Member of Academia Europaea (2010-Present), Editor, Energy Economics; Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (2008-Present), Contributing Author and Expert Reviewer, IPCC (2001, 2007), Lead Author, IPCC (2001)

  167. Poptech says:

    Eli had some earlier comments …

    Don’t you mean “Joshua Halpern had some earlier comments…”?

  168. 007 says:

    Mike,The “context” provided by the subsequent E-mails doesn’t clarify anything. The email I quoted is quite clear.

  169. ferd berple says:

    “But it’s all very complicated, and why it’s best to be nice. Especially given the costs charged by some of the top UK libel law firms.”

    Here is the definitive answer for UK Libel.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0691359/
    Rumpole of the Bailey (TV series 1978–1992)
    Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation
    A notorious tabloid hires Rumpole to defend it in a libel suit being brought by a puritanical novelist it has accused of sexual promiscuity.

  170. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Mike on February 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm:

    007: Don’t hide the letter and it context.

    This letter?
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=811&filename=1188478901.txt

    Looking at all the included bits of other emails, it looks like Benny Peiser asked Phil Jones to comment about a paper alleging fraud by Wei-Chyung Wang. Jones then contacted Wang, who at that point had said paper on hand and sent it to others, then Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, and Gavin Schmidt are all talking about the paper and keeping it from being published, with refuting it on RC if needed.

    Wow. Imagine that played out in a different setting. FDA asks medical researcher about criticism received about a drug on the market. Researcher then directly contacts the manufacturer, provides them the evidence of the allegation, then proceeds to contact others who have a vested interest in keeping the drug on the market and shielding the manufacturer from criticism. Then they converse about how to keep the FDA from acting, and damage control if they do. Add in the talk amongst them of “maintaining the confidentiality.”

    Yup, you’re right. It’s so much more revealing in context.

    “Conspiracy? What conspiracy? Nah, this is just what happens in science, everyone does it!”

  171. ferd berple says:

    Rumpole’s libel case is based on UK law and created and written by the British writer and barrister John Mortimer, QC.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpole_of_the_Bailey

    According to the Rumpole case, if you fight a libel action in the UK and lose, this further increases the damages. The defense of limited readership might not fly in this case. As far as I’m aware, US law changed in recent years and dual citizenship is recognized.

    UKIP candidate wins £10,000 for internet libel
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article743741.ece
    He said that although the libels were available to the whole world through the internet, it was likely that few people had read them and many of those who did would have dismissed them as “ramblings”.

    Nevertheless, he awarded Mr Keith Smith £5,000 general damages plus £5,000 aggravated damages to reflect the way Ms Williams – who had met a request for an apology with contempt – had behaved

    He granted an injunction preventing the publication of the same or similar libels and ordered Ms Williams to pay the costs of the action, which Mr Keith Smith put at £7,200.

  172. Poptech says:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel), the full context of Keenan’s paper and discussion is discussed in this piece,

    Climate libel chill (Benny Peiser, National Post, Canada, March 13, 2010)

  173. Smokey says:

    I urge everyone to read Canada’s National Post article provided by Poptech above. It’s a short piece, and goes to the heart of the corruption by Mann’s conniving climate clique.

  174. EFS_Junior says:

    Type “libel” into the Google search engine.

    First hit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

    “In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false,[2][not specific enough to verify] and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images.[3] Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism.”

    Nope, no relationship whatsoever between libel and lawsuit. /sarc

    REPLY: That’s the best you can come up with? You’re as amusing as Jack Greer. – Anthony

  175. Poptech says:

    EFS_Junior, “Nope, no relationship whatsoever between libel and lawsuit. /sarc

    Try using Wikipedia as evidence in a court case, “Yes your honor my five year old son can edit that page at any time but I assure you no such thing like that ever happens because the Internet is only filled with honest people who know how to properly define words from the dictionary and no such corruption of Wiki pages ever happens on Wikipedia.”

    Now lets use a real dictionary,

    [b]libel[/b] (defined) “A false and defamatory statement expressed in writing or in an electronic medium. ” – Webster’s New World Law Dictionary

    Are all RealClimate supporters this computer illiterate?

  176. Poptech says:

    EFS_Junior, “Nope, no relationship whatsoever between libel and lawsuit. /sarc

    Try using Wikipedia as evidence in a court case, “Yes your honor my five year old son can edit that page at any time but I assure you no such thing like that ever happens because the Internet is only filled with honest people who know how to properly define words from the dictionary and no such corruption of Wiki pages ever happens on Wikipedia.”

    Now lets use a real dictionary,

    libel (defined) “A false and defamatory statement expressed in writing or in an electronic medium. ” – Webster’s New World Law Dictionary

    Are all RealClimate supporters this computer illiterate?

  177. Richard Tol says:

    @Noelle
    Your question is fair. It is not for me to decide whether I can publish in a journal. I can submit my papers where I like, but the editors and referees decide whether I get published.

    While my PhD is in economics, I was a professor in GeoSciences for 7 years, and have now been on the faculty of Earth and Life Sciences for over 3 years. I’ve published in journals like Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Journal of Hydrology, Environmetrics, Atmospheric Environment, and the ICES Journal of Marine Science. I’ve reviewed papers for these journals and for Advances in Meteorology, Journal of Applied Meteorology, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, and Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmosphere.

  178. Alexander K says:

    Having just read Benny P’s Piece in Canada’s ‘National Post’, I am utterly amazed at the dishonesty and utter lack of principles held collectively by The Team. Schmidt is anything but conciliatory with regard to E&E’s suggestion that they were libeled on/by RC. The man is clearly doing what all spoiled children do when they have been asked to apologize for behaving badly, i.e. stamping feet and shouting that people are being mean to him. His behavior is best described in Antipodean vernacular as ‘Spitting the dummy’. He has lost what little sense of reality he ever had, IMHO.

  179. The Pedant-General says:

    Everyone calm down – this is really really simple.

    IANAL but…
    Libel is about printing/publishing (as opposed to speaking) some untrue and defamatory or damaging.

    If you are libelled, you may want to take steps to undo that damage.

    One way of doing that is to go to law. The lawsuit is to determine whether the libel occurred – the libel is not the lawsuit: it is the publication.

    This is really basic stuff.
    Let’s try, pace Gavin and his hurricanes, an analogy.

    Person A breaks into person B’s house and takes their TV away. That is theft. Saying it is theft is not a lawsuit – it’s a description of what happened.

    Person B writes to Person A, with the title “Theft of TV” and says, “give me TV back (and possibly repair the damage to my window) and we’re done”.

    There is indeed a clear threat that if the TV is not returned as an absolute minimum, then further action may be taken. That further action might include a lawsuit. Since that lawsuit might involve Person A not only having to return the TV but also go to jail, Person B is being generous and sensible in offering to settle the matter without a lawsuit.

    To suggest that Person B is threatening Person A with jail because he writes “Theft” in the title and reserves his right to action IF person A does not want to be sensible is simply perverse.

    The very act of writing is specifically saying to A that he does NOT need to go court if he is sensible.

    Theft != lawsuit/jail
    Libel != lawsuit/damages

    They are merely descriptions of what has happened.

  180. Mr Lynn says:

    Late to this party, but there was clearly the implied threat of a lawsuit in the letter:

    At the moment, I’m prepared to settle merely for a retraction posted on RealClimate. . .

    Gavin’s bluster is a preemptive attack, aimed at disarming the enemy by making him appear ridiculous. If I were the publisher, I’d proceed with the suit, just to make Gavin wet his pants.

    /Mr Lynn

  181. The Pedant-General says:

    “Gavin’s bluster is a preemptive attack, aimed at disarming the enemy by making [him] appear ridiculous.”

    You could read that either way: Gavin is indeed making himself look ridiculous.

    “Look at me!! I’m studiously ignoring the fact that I am being offered a way to settle without a lawsuit so that I can claim I’m being taken to court!!!”

    that does indeed make him look ridiculous…

  182. Noelle says:

    Richard Tol,

    I’ve looked over your long list of publications (http://www.ae-info.org/ae/User/Tol_Richard/Publications). Many are economic (and that supports your formal training and many of your appointments over the years). Others appear to be interdisciplinary. Which peer-reviewed papers would you consider as contributions to the understanding of the natural sciences as they relate to climate science (e.g., geophysics, meterology, etc.?)

  183. Hu McCulloch says:

    Michael Larkin says:
    February 23, 2011 at 4:53 am
    ….
    It’s hard not to detect malice if only because the allegation was made publicly and in print on a site that is well known to be hostile to sceptics. What possible non-malicious function did it serve?

    I’d guess that it’s the first step in a move to have E&E blacklisted as a “peer-reviewed journal” for AR5 purposes.

    Just guessing.

  184. The Pedant-General says:

    “I’d guess that it’s the first step in a move to have E&E blacklisted as a “peer-reviewed journal” for AR5 purposes. ”

    I think that counts as malicious intent Hu…

  185. wobble says:

    EFS_Junior says:
    February 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Type “libel” into the Google search engine.

    First hit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

    “In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false,[2][not specific enough to verify] and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images.[3] Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism.”

    Nope, no relationship whatsoever between libel and lawsuit.

    So what?

    Lack of payment results in lawsuits sometimes, too.

    So if a company sent an email to someone with a subject line, “Lack of Payment”, and the email discussed what could be done to settle the payment.

    None of that implies lawsuit.

  186. Richard Tol says:

    @Noelle
    My earlier work is about detection and attribution of climate change.

  187. Hu McCulloch says:

    Re my comment above on 2/23 @ 10:31AM, I have had two articles published by E&E, both linked at http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/AGW/ .

    My “Irreproducible Results in Thompson et al. (PNAS 2006), ‘Abrupt Tropical Climate Change: Past and Present,'” Energy and Environment Vol, 20, No. 3 (April, 2009): 369-375 was published as a “Technical Communication”, and therefore not necessarily subject to the same reviewing as a regular article, by E&E’s rules.

    Nevertheless, it was sent out to a reviewer and revised in response to the comments, even though it might have counted as a paper that “follows the editor’s political line,” as Gavin put it. So this is one counter-example to his blanket assertion that E&E has “essentially dispensed with effective review” for such papers.

    The reviewer did express surprise that E&E did not send the paper to Thompson et al for reply. Given, as I had already indicated to E&E when I submitted the note, that I had previously e-mailed Thompson and most of his co-authors three times asking for clarification of the discrepancy I had found, with no reply at all, I doubt that they would have responded to E&E either, and perhaps E&E felt the same way. However, it would have been preferable, IMHO, if E&E had, just for the record, sent it to them in addition to (or even before) a reviewer. But if I’ve made an error, Thompson is still free to reply in E&E or elsewhere, and has not.

    In the second article, I was just the second author on a correction to an article originally by Craig Loehle, who as lead author communicated with the journal. He reports above,

    Craig Loehle says:
    February 23, 2011 at 7:43 am
    I have published at E&E and went through typical reviews. The only thing I can say is that they avoid reviewers who reject papers that are politically incorrect and instead review them on the merits, as should be the case.

    The correction, BTW, benefitted greatly from detailed “blog-review” comments by Gavin himself in a post on RC.

  188. Poptech says:

    An interesting new comment as RC,

    “I would just make one comment though – you say that the ISI Master List is an ‘official’ list of journals, and this is repeated in the Guardian piece. It is nothing of the sort. It is a list run by a private commercial enterprise that prides itself on rejecting large numbers of perfectly decent journals every year on the basis of its own (opaque and unaccountable) ‘priorities’. Unfortunately, it has become the basis of academic assessment exercises worldwide, but we should not keep allowing Thomson-Reuters the power to decide which journals are ‘worthy’ and which are not.”

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