Ken Cuccinelli versus 810 academics

Guest Commentary by Paul Driessen

Figure 1. Chart from professional paper analyzing Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graphs that purported to find average global temperatures suddenly skyrocketing at an exponential – and physically impossible – rate in recent decades. Willie Soon, David Legates and Sallie Baliunas, “Estimation and representation of long-term (>40 year) trends of Northern-Hemisphere-gridded surface temperature: A note of caution,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 31, 2004.

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,” insists University of Virginia environmental sciences professor David Carr. “If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this.”

Carr and 809 other Virginia scientists and academics signed a petition launched by the activist Union of Concerned Scientists, protesting Commonwealth Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann. The American Association of University Professors likewise opposes Cuccinelli, who is seeking documents from UVA, to determine whether there are grounds to prosecute Mann for violating the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, by presenting false or misleading information in support of applications for state-funded research.

Carr claims Cuccinelli is attempting to “drown out” scientific debate.” Others have accused the AG of conducting a “witch hunt,” engaging in “McCarthyite” tactics, and “restricting academic freedom.”

It’s time to clear a few things up.

Mann is the former UVA professor, whose “hockey stick” temperature chart was used to promote claims that “sudden” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming “threatens” human civilization and Earth itself. The hockey stick was first broken by climatologists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, who demonstrated that a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were clearly reflected in historic data across the globe, but redacted by Mann. Analysts Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick later showed that Mann’s computer program generated hockey-stick patterns regardless of what numbers were fed into it – even random telephone numbers; that explained why the global warming and cooling of the last millennium magically disappeared in Mann’s “temperature reconstruction.”

The Climategate emails revealed another deliberate “trick” that Mann used to generate a late twentieth-century temperature jump: he replaced tree ring data with thermometer measurements at the point in his timeline when the tree data no longer fit his climate disaster thesis.

Not surprisingly, he refused to share his data, computer codes and methodologies with skeptical scientists. Perhaps worse, Climategate emails indicate that Mann and others conspired to co-opt and corrupt the very scientific process that Carr asserts will ultimately condemn or vindicate them.

This behavior certainly gives Cuccinelli “probable cause” for launching an investigation. As the AG notes, “The same legal standards for fraud apply to the academic setting that apply elsewhere. The same rule of law, the same objective fact-finding process, will take place.” Some witch hunt.

There is simply no room in science, academia or public policy for manipulation, falsification or fraud. Academic freedom does not confer a right to engage in such practices, and both attorneys general and research institutions have a duty to root them out, especially in the case of climate change research.

Work by Mann and other alarmist scientists is not merely some theoretical exercise that can be permitted to “play itself out” over many years, if and when the “academic arena” gets around to it. These assertions of climate crisis are being used right now by Congress, states, courts and the Environmental Protection Agency to justify draconian restrictions on energy use and greenhouse emissions. They would shackle our freedoms and civil rights and hammer our jobs, economy, health, welfare and living standards.

If the science is wrong – or far worse, if it is manipulated, fabricated, fraudulent and covered up – then grave damage will be done to our nation, liberties and families, before the truth gets its boots on.

As to “scientific debate” over global warming, there has been virtually none in the academic arena. The science is viewed as “settled,” debate has been squelched, and those who seek to initiate debate are attacked, vilified, harassed and shipped off to academic Siberia.

Dr. Patrick Michaels, another former UVA climate researcher, was fired as Virginia State Climatologist by then-Governor Tim Kaine for raising inconvenient questions and facts on climate science. When Greenpeace demanded access to Michaels’ emails, UVA promptly acceded – before contesting AG Cuccinelli’s request for Mann’s.

The 810 protesters and their UCS and AAUP consorts were silent. Their principles and objections do not seem to apply to shrill activist groups infringing on the academic and scientific freedom of “politically incorrect” researchers, even when there is no suggestion of dishonesty. Other “skeptical” climate researchers have met with similar fates. The pungent scent of hypocrisy fills the air.

No surprise there. The massive US government climate change research gravy train alone totaled some $9 billion in grants during 2009, courtesy of hardworking taxpayers. IPCC, EU & Company climate grants – plus billions more for renewable energy research – fatten the larder still further. Now that money, prestige and power are threatened.

Climategate and other revelations about the lack of evidence for the “manmade climate disaster” thesis have sent belief in AlGorean gloom and doom plummeting. Global warming consistently comes in dead last on any list of environmental concerns. Three-fourths of Americans are unwilling to spend more than $100 a year to prevent climate change. China, India and other developing nations properly refuse to sign a carbon-cutting economic suicide pact.

The public is rightly concerned that in-house investigations by Penn State University (Mann’s current institution), East Anglia University (home of Phil Jones and the Climategate emails) and the IPCC have the patina of a Tom Sawyer whitewash. Independent investigations like Cuccinelli’s are absolutely essential, to ferret out fraud and misconduct – which may be rare but must be dealt with when it happens.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield falsified studies to create a connection between autism and trace mercury in vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella. Britain stripped him of his right to practice medicine. But meanwhile, a lingering stench remains over double standards; World Wildlife Fund press releases and rank speculation masquerading as peer-reviewed science; computer models enshrined as “proof” of looming climate disasters; and billions being squandered on research purporting to link global warming to nearly every malady and phenomenon known to man.

We the taxpayers are paying for this work. We the people will pay the price – in soaring energy bills, fewer jobs, lower living standards and lost freedoms – for draconian energy and emission laws enacted in the name of saving the planet.

We have a right to insist that the research be honest and aboveboard. That the work products stay in the public domain, available for scrutiny. That researchers share their data, computer codes and analytical methodologies, and engage in robust debate with skeptics and critics. That those who violate these fundamental precepts forfeit their access to future grants. And that our tax dollars no longer fund bogus acne-and-climate-change studies and alarmist propaganda. (Talk about budget cutting opportunities!)

It’s certainly understandable that scientists, academics, eco-activists and the AAUP and UVA would line up behind Mann and against Cuccinelli. There’s a lot of power, prestige and cash on the line. But it is essential that the attorney general and law-abiding citizens insist on transparency, integrity, credibility and accountability in the climate change arena.

We should support what Ken Cuccinelli is doing – and demand that Eric Holder and other state AGs take similar action.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

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DR

“45 degrees F per century” …I don’t think so (and does not agree with the graph). And there’s nothing physically impossible about 4.5 degrees F per century.
REPLY: I agree, and I think it’s just a misplaced decimal point. Removed it until I hear back from the author -A

sagi

Damn right!
As a Virginia citizen and thus a co-funder of the institution involved, I want its science and integrity to return to a place of respect … and full disclosure is the only way to regain it.

P Walker

Right On ! Academics who suppress dissent and debate in any field on any level should be taken to task , especially when the stakes are as high as they are in this case .

I note that UVa is properly contesting the AG’s action.
The anti-Mann diatribe in this post is ridiculous (starting with the 45F/century), but that aside, the question is, where does the Va AG come in? Cna any state AG make similar demands?
The claimed basis for the AG’s demand is a possible breach of state FATA – misuse of Va taxpayers funds. But as the UVa response points out, of the five grants cited, four were from federal bodies, and the one state-funded grant had nothing to do with hockey sticks, was awarded to a different principal investigator (with Mann as a co-investigator), and pre-dated FATA anyway.

Ron Pittenger, Heretic

Wow! Brilliant essay! Lays out all the points unanswerably. Which doesn’t mean it will prevail in a politically controlled forum, of course. Thank you, Paul Driessen.

DR,
Mr Dreissen refers to the 4.5° per decade prediction, and extrapolates that to 45° per century. As he explains, “During [Mann’s] UVA tenure, he employed other sly statistical tricks to generate a purported, and truly unprecedented, CO2-driven warming of 2-4.5 degrees F per decade (1-2.5 degrees C).”
But you’re right, the graph does not agree. Somewhere there’s a typo.

Phil's Dad

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,”
Oh! if only this had been true. But as soon as policy is based on the (interim) conclusions of such debate, it is clearly right that it become subject to the most rigorous scrutiny – in and out of academia.

Policyguy

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,” insists University of Virginia environmental sciences professor David Carr. “If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this.”
—–
Unfortunately this has become a religious debate first for “real” scientists and a scientific debate only for those referred to as deniers, skeptics, atheists and agnostics. Its clear that the unspoken guidelines of good scientific inquiry and robust challenge has been hijacked by a morally superior belief that we are on a mission – keep the faith.
It is still politically infeasible to openly challenge AGW in any public setting without being vilified and belittled. Very few of us have the credentials to avoid being tarred and feathered. So how many years of cold weather does it take to become climate? And by-the-way, look who controls the data, at least what is left of it. The same team that was implicated by the climategate data release. When will someone like Carr or the 807 letter signers challenge the homogenization (manipulation) of data points supposedly to deter the UHI affect, but which instead consistently makes remote locations appear warmer. The same team of individuals that destroyed the original unmodified historic data record to avoid allowing scientific critics from ever eventually demonstrating the mistreatment and misuse of base data.
I agree with the post’s basis that criminal activity is possible and that there is a line to define it. Remember that criminal fraud is usually considered to be a knowing misrepresentation or omission of a material fact with the intent to mislead. Mann’s tree-ring/temperature trick could be a good example. If I were a trust fund climate scientist I would welcome the efforts to ID and remove the bad actors from the game before all trust fund scientists are painted with the same harsh brush in the future. The field of climate study is already being looked on askance by other science based inquiry systems as cowboys who don’t want their work criticized and so hide the data and model codes.
I regret that I don’t live in Virginia so I could vote for Cuccinelli.

Analysts Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick later showed that Mann’s computer program generated hockey-stick patterns regardless of what numbers were fed into it – even random telephone numbers; that explained why the global warming and cooling of the last millennium magically disappeared in Mann’s “temperature reconstruction.”

That’s not true. We showed that Mann’s PC algorithm generated a hockey stick-shaped PC1 even when fed autocorrelated random numbers, which biased the benchmarking for his test statistic, that is, it overstated the significance of the model fit. It also mines a data set for hockey stick shapes and promotes them to the PC1 even when they are minor attributes of the data set, thus falsely representing the (in his case) bristlecones with their outlier shape in the 20th century as the dominant pattern in tree ring records. That allowed Mann to conclude that the hockey stick shape was the major pattern in his data set, even though it is only associated with a small regional subset of data that most observers (including the NAS Panel) caution should not be used for temperature reconstruction.
Mann’s algorithm won’t produce a hockey stick-shaped PC1 if fed white noise, or for that matter, his own data set with the 20 bristlecone pine series censored, which is what he had demonstrated in the famous “CENSORED” folder. Since phone numbers are likely uniform iid random numbers, I doubt they would produce a hockey stick either.
Also, the “trick” in the climategate emails was used by Jones. He attributed it to Mann, but Mann didn’t actually do what Jones attributed to him. Since Mann’s PC algorithm gave him an upward-sloping tree ring record he had no need to “hide the decline”.
There’s plenty to criticize in the world of IPCC science, but you have to be prepared to make the effort to go into the details and get them right. Nothing I have seen yet suggests that Cucinelli has done so, and I have yet to see any credible basis for his inquiry. I expect it will be thrown back in his face by a court. At the same time, UVa’s treatment of Pat Michaels’ privacy rights has been disturbing–I agree their double standard is loathsome and the silence of the UVa faculty is alarming. I hope they understand the precedent their university is thinking of setting, regarding the privacy of faculty emails.
But for those who hope for legal remedy for perceived damages arising from illegitimate climate science or faulty regulatory processes, they better be prepared to invest the time and effort to master the details before taking such actions public.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

A Scientology ad has been generated by Google :/

Dr A Burns

Excellent essay.

Generalfeldmarschall

Union of Communist Scientists – or did you not notice the defence of the USSR’s policies (prior to its collapse)?

pat

Like all the rational Warmists I know, they have given up on facts and are using irrelevant argument, conjecture, name-calling, and willful blindness to cover up the fact that the hated ‘Deniers’ appear more right than wrong. Particularly in view of the massive ideologically based fraud uncovered that went to the very core of the Warmists hypothesis. The progenitors of AGW: Hansen, Jones, Briffa,Mann are all liars and hoaxsters .

Marc Blank

It’s wrong to politicize (or, worse, criminalize) the science on either side; as imperfect as the peer review/funding process has been, at least we can expect that eventually the science will work itself out based on the preponderance of evidence. I really love your site, Anthony, but you can’t really believe that politicians should be given free rein to investigate results that they don’t agree with. And that’s surely what you seem to be suggesting.
If there has been malfeasance on MM’s part, it should be handled within his profession. If his profession won’t deal it with, then the profession will fall into disrepute (as appears to be happening). To turn this into a question of criminality (which implies “beyond a reasonable doubt”) strikes me as ultimately counter-productive. Do we want a liberal AG in Massachusetts to investigate Dr. Lindzen?
There’s a very slippery slope here; I agree with R Pielke, Jr. that this is a very dangerous precedent and that we skeptics should fight against it.
Best regards,
Marc (a liberal skeptic)

RH

Hopefully, Steve McIntyre reads this.

Generalfeldmarschall

A direct (verbatim – cut & paste) quote from the Royal Society’s latest statement:
“Any public perception that science is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect “

Now that’s a backtrack!

Henry chance

It looks like the University claims to operate above the law. In some ways. I ccan picture a judge laughing at the university. This is exactly one of the resons to force us to be suspicious.

toby

I understand the University of Virginina has petitioned the court that the SG’s subpoena be set aside on the grounds of academic freedom, and lack of grounds under state law.
“…FATA does not authorize the Attorney General to engage in scientific debate or advance the Commonwealth’s positions in unrelated litigation about federal environmental policy and regulation. This is particularly true where, as here, the information requested goes to the core of academic research otherwise protected by law. Unfettered debate and the expression of conflicting ideas without fear of reprisal are the cornerstones of academic freedom; they consequently are carefully guarded First Amendment concerns. Investigating the merits of a university researcher’s methodology, results, and conclusions (on climate change or any topic) goes far beyond the Attorney General’s limited statutory power. The CIDs at issue thus exceed the limited investigative authority granted to the Attorney General under FATA. Permitting them to be used in the sweeping fashion attempted here would impair academic freedom in the Commonwealth.”

Icarus

Clearly what happened here is that Cuccinelli was disappointed to see that none of the mud slung around in recent months has stuck. The stolen UEA emails revealed no conspiracy, no malpractice, no revelations casting doubt on the truth of global warming. The manufactured scandals over misinterpreted and out-of-context quotes have evaporated. So, Cuccinelli has started this unfounded and unjustified ‘investigation’ to try to invent some new ones. It’s that simple, and the only right thing to do is to quash it immediately.

Generalfeldmarschall

Oh – citation:
commences in the eight line from the end.

Generalfeldmarschall
Peter Miller

It will be a breath of fresh air to have a truly independent examination into the manipulation and misinterpretation of climate data.
The recent whitewashes by warmist committees of alarmist activities and publications are simply no longer acceptable to an increasingly sceptical public.
No wonder the alarmist camp will put up procedural and any other legal hurdles they can think of to try and stop any real investigation into their bad science.

“As far as I can tell, skepticism involves doubts about a plausible proposition. I think current global warming alarm does not represent a plausible proposition.” -Richard Lindzen
Lindzen’s quote rings more and more true the more I look into it. I recently read a Climategate email between two paleoclimatologists where it is basically stated that Mann is too personally involved to be honest about his work anymore:
http://pediawatch.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/mann-is-the-man-at-wikipedia/

David, UK

Best of luck to Mr Cuccinelli – although, of course, luck should have nothing to do with it. But this is not just”Ken Cuccinelli versus 810 academics” – this is Ken Cuccinelli versus 810 academics, the US Government, the UN(IPCC), the MSM, and a zillion other organisations with a vested interested in the official status quo. They know that to bring down Mann and all his questionable papers would be a seriously big nail in the AGW coffin – not that they’ll admit it when that happens. So we know this is gonna get dirty. Interesting times.

Policyguy

Ross McKitrick says:
May 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm
“Also, the “trick” in the climategate emails was used by Jones. He attributed it to Mann, but Mann didn’t actually do what Jones attributed to him. Since Mann’s PC algorithm gave him an upward-sloping tree ring record he had no need to “hide the decline”.”
——
Thank you for participating in this post. The information above that you provided is excellent insight that is not apparent based on Jones’ email. I don’t know how any of us would have known what Mann actually did. You are intimately familiar with the stick issue and I have no doubt that you are correct. I wonder what Jones may have been referring to.
I also agree that Cuccinelli had better have his facts and law straight. Criminal fraud is particularly difficult to prove because it requires proving that the person charged, purposely mislead individuals with the mental intent to do so. Virginia is a fairly sophisticated state. I would expect that the AG’s office attracts high talent. I would also expect that he would use his best talent to work on this issue. Granted, he’s using the issue for personal name recognition, but I doubt he wandered into such a high profile controversy of state vs. science without having his staff thoroughly research the facts and the law. The stakes are too high for a ready, shoot, aim approach.

Henry chance

Moving the goal posts. The “pretend scientists” are outraged.
This is an AG that has the audacity to question science.
No. He is a hero. He is questioning funds obtained by potentially false pretenses.
Science willl find what it finds. Don’t give false conslusions to a fabricated hypothesis and claim you are untitled to unlimited funding and moneys without accountibility.

Ed Snack

I’m afraid that this is a poorly researched article, and undermines rather than adds to any action being taken by Cuccinelli. Ross McKitrick has pointed out the same, Mann’s errors are at least reasonably well understood by those who take the time to study them, but they don’t include (in the context of MBH98 & 99, 2003, & 2008) substituting instrumental temperatures for proxies or using a statistical method that generates “Hockey Sticks” from white noise.
Junk, from any side, should be called out, and this is junk; sorry.

Ron Cram

Scientists do not make good lawyers. Cuccinelli is not attempting to settle a scientific debate. And he is not trying to put Mann in jail. He is attempting to get back money for the state of Virginia. No doubt Cuccinelli read the CRU emails and their discussion of research funding and was not impressed. And he knows Mann was closely associated with the CRU5. This is not guilt by association but it is suspicion by association, a tactic with a long tradition among prosecutors. Cuccinelli probably also read the excellent article in the Dutch science journal about the Hockey Stick and learned Mann had failed to disclose the failed R2 verification statistic. If he can Cuccinelli can find something like that on one of the five studies published funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, he can get some money back from Mann. Cuccinelli is well within is rights to investigate Mann.

sagi

” … The CIDs at issue thus exceed the limited investigative authority granted to the Attorney General under FATA. Permitting them to be used in the sweeping fashion attempted here would impair academic freedom in the Commonwealth.”
Well, no.
Academic freedom is not the issue here. Academic freedom and First Amendment protection of academicians remain untouched. They can do that on their own dime any time they want to.
What we are talking about here is fraud, falsity, and using public grant monies to advocate, as trusted authorities, sweeping national and global policy changes not justified by the facts … grant-funded facts that we paid for, and that are being kept from the rest of us.

Ron Cram

Also, at the risk of being Captain Obvious, these scientists are self-interested in this issue. If Mann can be investigated and forced to pay money back to Virginia, then they also could be investigated and forced to pay money back. This is not a precedent they want to see set. But I do not hold to the view researchers are above the law. I wish Cuccinelli every success in his efforts.

Dr. John M. Ware

Cuccinelli may or may not win his case, but he has certainly brought the issue to the public. The problem with “letting the peer review process do its work” is that it is both chancy (it may or may not happen) and slow (even if it does happen, by then the laws imposed on us as a result of the bad AGW “science” will be in effect). Too late. Cuccinelli may not be a scientist, but he is right to bring action now. I hope he is informed of the matters brought up in this thread.

harrywr2

Nick Stokes says:
May 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm
“The anti-Mann diatribe in this post is ridiculous (starting with the 45F/century)”
Even 4.5 degrees F per century is of questionable possibility.
The known world coal reserves at the current annual extraction rate of 7 billion tonnes per year will be exhausted in 122 years. The IPCC A1F1 scenario requires tripling CO2 emissions by 2,100. If we triple our extraction rate we run out in 2050.
Same goes for oil, same goes for natural gas. The A1F1 emissions scenario’s depend on magical discoveries of fossil fuel reserves extractable at magical prices.

Adolf Balik

If he made the same with account reports he would rot in a jail. The fact the report wasn’t substantiated by the source documents and methods of creation would be the poof enough. If it was an accounting the only millions or billions of dollars would be in stake. In case of the fraudulent hockey-stick report there are at least trillions in stake. Why the swindler should have softer conditions then a normal report maker?

Aren’t those emails a “public record” as they were paid for by government grants?
Thanks
JK

u.k.(us)

Icarus says:
May 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm
“The stolen UEA emails revealed no conspiracy, no malpractice, no revelations casting doubt on the truth of global warming.”
=============
It’s not so much the global warming part, it’s the “catastrophic” part, that is in dispute. Also, the rush to implement changes that will bolster the “new economy”.
Green energy/Green jobs/Green taxes, it’s the new business model.
Only one problem, everybody is broke.
The E.U., and the Euro are hanging by a thread, the rest of the world is buried in debt.
Spending “money” on climate change is just another tax.
Subsidies (taxpayer supported) make unprofitable ventures, profitable.
Sooner or later, the taxpayers will not be able to pay for the “giveaways” made by their elected officials in order to get re-elected.
Government has turned into a giant Ponzi Scheme, god help us all.
O.K. I’m done.

jorgekafkazar

Icarus says: “Clearly what happened here is that Cuccinelli was disappointed to see that none of the mud slung around in recent months has stuck. The stolen UEA emails revealed no conspiracy, no malpractice, no revelations casting doubt on the truth of global warming. The manufactured scandals over misinterpreted and out-of-context quotes have evaporated. So, Cuccinelli has started this unfounded and unjustified ‘investigation’ to try to invent some new ones. It’s that simple, and the only right thing to do is to quash it immediately.”
“Clearly,” Icarus has read the leaked Climategate papers with his eyes closed. They provide overwhelming evidence of at least the desire to subvert science via a full spectrum of “tricks,” including thwarting of FOI requests.
If “academic freedom” (a dubious concept in the real world) gave no protection or support to Dr. Patrick Michaels, then it’s apparently a dubious and politicized concept in academia, as well, so let it die a quiet death. It’s already been mortally wounded by silence.
Ross McKitrick is clearly right when he says that the post has some factual discrepancies. They’re rather obvious to anyone who has been following these threads. It’s vital to get the science right FIRST, then do the politics.

Icarus says:
May 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm
Clearly what happened here is that Cuccinelli was disappointed to see that none of the mud slung around in recent months has stuck. The stolen UEA emails revealed no conspiracy, no malpractice, no revelations casting doubt on the truth of global warming.

Several lies (er, deliberately incorrect and exaggerated statements) in just those two sentences:
The emails were RELEASED apparently by a university inside source from a folder deliberately created and named explicitly FOR the FOIA files being dumped into it from the university computers, program source files and email. Thus, the released emaiils were NOT “private” because only ones released by the whistleblower were related to the climate research coverups and deliberate throttling of other research by skeptics. Nothing was “stolen” – except our money for bad research, and the time spent covering up the bad research.
Skeptics do not doubt global warming – The world appears to have been warming itself the past 400 years all by itself very successfully . What is being debated is the amount of actual temperature increase, the rate of that increase, the basic cause of that 400 year increase in temperature – because man COULD NOT have caused the previous 350 years.
However, to score political points and allow politicians and his fellow academics to control the world’s economy to the deliberate harm of billions, Mann decided he would falsify data to make it appear that (1) ALL of the increase had occurred in fifty years, and (2) man’s CO2 caused all of that increase.
Note that ALL of who have signed this petition have benefited directly and indirectly from the AGW funds going to Penn State and UVA and the other academic groups who have received 79 billion in tax-payer monies.
To claim there is no malpractice is simply and deadly wrong. CO2 limits and taxes based on AGW hype are deadly threats.

sagi

Marc …
Yes, it would be wonderful to have a liberal AG in Massachusetts investigate Dr. Lindzen. On the record, cross-examination and all.
BRING IT ON!
With the press there, having to report the facts as they emerge, as they are. In public.

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,” insists University of Virginia environmental sciences professor David Carr. “If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this.”
The problem is in this portion. What the public, and many it seems in the science world, are seeing is that the scientific debate is stifled and or controlled with bias. While Mann’s work may eventually be universally discredited what is the time span for that to happen? Before or after we straddle this nation with economically destructive policies? Before or after Mann receives 10’s of millions of more dollars in research money which may well be a waste?
There exists, today, reasonable question to his methodology and results. Should his career be further advanced via the public dole? Should other, more ethical, scientists be squelched out of funding while Mann continues to bathe in a dubious limelight and masses of public funds?
The problem is the scientific community is NOT addressing the problems it has regarding the broken peer-review process, the silencing of real scientific debate, the credibility and ethics of participants, etc. The IPCC, the Mann, Jones, Schmidt, Hansen cult, and others with them do science no favor. They do mankind no favor. I see little movement in the science world to correct that.
Cuccinelli may not have a solid case, he may not have a case at all. However, the public is getting frustrated with the conduct of many in the climate science sphere. The public wants answers. The science / academic world is not properly addressing their concerns. I mean really…. a Penn State review of Mann? They have a vested interest to the tune of millions of dollars in research funding to guide their opinion of exoneration.
The pubic is providing massive amounts of money to climate science. They deserve credible work in return. When it is not delivered they deserve answers. When neither are provided they deserve a path of recourse.
I appreciate Ross McKitrick clarifying / correcting incorrect comments. Truth is essential … for both sides of the issues. It is time for everyone in the climate science arena to strip away the hidden walls (including pay walls). Get rid of the over estimations, the over confidence levels, and the cloud of hysteria over things they truly have little understanding of.
If science will not do it…. sooner or later public and the courts will. That event would leave the science world hard pressed to find future funding and all of mankind will be the poorer for it.
Ask people who they trust the least:
Politicians
Lawyers
Bible Salesmen
and now the latest addition:
Climate Scientists
Perhaps David Carr and Michael Mann will stand up and advocate a new openness and restored ethic to the field? Perhaps they won’t.

Jeff C.

“Dr. Andrew Wakefield falsified studies to create a connection between autism and trace mercury in vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella.”
While I fully agree Dr. Mann should be investigated, please provide links and quotes to back up the potentially libelous statement regarding Dr. Wakefield quoted above from the article. It has never been shown Dr. Wakefield “falsified studies”; the GMC charges regarding Wakefield involved allegedly unethical practices in his recruitment of subjects for the study.
I have no desire to hijack a thread, but if you are going to casually trash a man’s reputation, you better get your facts straight.

Robin Kool

Ross McKitrick said:
“…. for those who hope for legal remedy for perceived damages arising from illegitimate climate science or faulty regulatory processes, they better be prepared to invest the time and effort to master the details before taking such actions public.”
Thanks Ross, for your comment. I hope you will keep being an active part of the discussions here.
IMO, taking bad science to court is immensely important. And it had better be done very, very carefully or it will seriously backfire.

R. Craigen

Has the post been amended? (If so it isn’t marked) Several commenters are quoting phrases purportedly from it that do not appear for me. It appears that there is a minor disagreement over a typo — but that typo appears to have been expunged.
As for the point in contention, Driessen does not appear to claim the authority to pronounce the impossibility of Mann’s claims about temperature change — he merely cites three authors who DO have such authority, including Harvard astrophysicist Willie Soon. They may be right or wrong in their assessment, but I have seen no comments that address their argument as it is posed — namely in terms of the laws of physics and known properties of the climate system.
On the matter of the court case against Mann, Stephen McIntyre, on his blog, gives pretty good reason to believe that it is misguided, overzealous and counterproductive. While his points are worth considering, I think a lawsuit like this might be the only way scrutiny of the climate alarmist behavior can be forced. It is too bad it has to be Mann, who is not the worst in the alarmist camp, and whose behavior is probably not criminal, though in my opinion at times it has verged on being unethical, and until the discovery phase we will not really know whether or not the case has sufficient merit. I suspect Mann and UVA’s lawyers, however, will do anything to avoid submitting to discovery, which is really the main point of the case.

Jeff C.

I might also add that Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper that was the subject of the GMC inquiry had nothing to do with mercury, but involved the finding of the measles virus in the intestines of autistic kids. It was also not “vaccines” but a single “vaccine”; the MMR vaccine.
This is an embarrassment. As someone who has studied the autism issue in detail, that single sentence in rife with errors and potentially libelous. I’m a strong AGW skeptic, but it makes me wonder if the rest of the post was as poorly researched.

Roger Knights

Marc Blank says:
If there has been malfeasance on MM’s part, it should be handled within his profession. If his profession won’t deal it with, then the profession will fall into disrepute (as appears to be happening). To turn this into a question of criminality (which implies “beyond a reasonable doubt”) strikes me as ultimately counter-productive. Do we want a liberal AG in Massachusetts to investigate Dr. Lindzen?
There’s a very slippery slope here; I agree with R Pielke, Jr. that this is a very dangerous precedent and that we skeptics should fight against it.

I agree. Initially I supported the AG’s request, but that was when I thought he had a tipster who had given him info. about a purely procedural No-No. Even if Mann had committed “scientific fraud,” prosecutors should not get involved. It’s too dangerous a precedent. What’s needed instead is a massive, year-long court of inquiry by some scientific body that can hear debates on the 1001 topics and subtopics in this issue and try to clarify and/or adjucicate matters.

Brownthunder

Here is the original graph. The one in the article one has a mistake.

Brownthunder
Fred

I just want him to find out how Mann went from obscure, wet behind the ears PhD with no background in Climatology to poster boy and senior IPCC dude in such a very, very, very short time frame.
Maybe he was smart enough to see the writing on the wall, realize he could become a “star” if he could produce the right research and the rest is history.
Or maybe he just figured out how to milk the R&D Gravy Train and ended yup getting made famous beyond his plan. Which would explain why he can’t release his data & methodologies to independent scientists for verification,,
Until there is independent verification, he is a suspect.

Brian H

With responsibility and power comes accountability. Either the courts or reality will enforce it. Once the Warmists began to claim they had justification for a wholesale takeover of the planet’s economy, everything became fair game for challenge. And the data do not support CAGW. Plus, physics denies even the possibility of making the kind of forecasts of chaotic non-linear systems that the tinkertoy video-game CRU models purport to generate.
Scenarios (illustrations of pre-cooked conclusions) are not projections. Periods.

Brian H

Erratum: that would be “Period.” Unless multiple periods add emphasis ….. 😉

Anthony Cox

As a lawyer I can tell anyone who is interested that anything is better than going to court and that if someone takes court action then Voltaire’s dictum that “it is a rare litigant who recognises his own case” applies.
My first recommendation is always mediation, which in most jurisdictions can be an alternative not just a precursor to court proceedings. It seems to me that some sort of mediation has occurred in this matter with the various enquiries over two continents into the e-mails. How did everyone find those?