Elevated from a comment. Roger Sowell describes first hand what led up to Mann denying a TV interview about his work. Apparently, for Dr. Mann, Disneyland is not “the happiest place on earth”.
Thanks, Anthony, for posting my small part in this rather interesting episode. I appreciate the link to my little blog, too! The Orange County Water Summit (at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel) was actually quite interesting, as water is also a favorite topic with me.
Regarding the question I asked, I tried to stay as close to the two short paragraphs as stated in the body of this post. I wrote it out on a piece of paper, and read it when my turn to ask arrived.
Here is what I asked to the best of my recollection (this can be confirmed if and when the video/audio is available):
“My question is for Dr. Mann. Dr Mann, in your 1998 paper co-authored with Dr. Briffa and Dr. Hughes, you showed a warming since 1960. The same hockey-stick graph was shown earlier today. However, you chose to not use tree core data after 1960 but instead to splice on the instrumental temperature record to in effect “hide the decline” of the trees after 1960.
How do you respond to the charge that the tree ring data was cherry picked to show a desired result, and that Mr. Steve McIntyre has falsified your work by showing that the premise of a hockey stick falls apart when all of the data is used?”
Mann then proceeded to state that my question had false information, since it was Bradley, not Briffa as co-author. OK, we can grant him that small point. He went on to say, as I emailed Anthony and shown in the post above, the decline is well-known but not understood; research is on-going; then dodged the question and called it “specious;” then made a plug for his book (about the third or fourth time, I believe) saying the warming is real and he addressed all this in his book.
There were a couple of other questions from skeptics, one related to Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT. Mann replied that Lindzen is a maverick, and that the consensus is what we follow in science.
He stated that we don’t believe in Evolution theory simply because Darwin proposed it, but because it has withstood the test of time and many scientists’ verification for more than 100 years (I think I have his answer pretty close to verbatim).
Now, about the Nobel-prize: Mann stated at the outset that he did not win the Nobel prize, and explained that he merely shared in it as a contributing scientist to the IPCC, which organization did win.
I actually enjoyed Mann’s presentation, because it reminded me a bit of being in a final exam in university, where the goal is to spot the errors, omissions, and misleading statements. Mann’s presentation was full of such things. For example, he showed a graph of Arctic ice decline, during a segment on the many threads of evidence that proves the globe is warming. His graph stopped at 2007, at the lowest point in the record. He did not explain that the graph was for summer minimum extent, which I think it must have been. That cherry-picked endpoint made the graph take a dramatic downward trend, and was most impressive. And, very misleading because the minimum extent has stabilized and slightly increased since then.
Another was the latest 12 months in the USA being the hottest 12 month period on record. No mention of Europe or Asia, though, which just ended brutally cold and bitter winter.. Again, misleading.
Another was the intense rainfall on the East coast from hurricane (or was it tropical storm?) Irene. Mann stated that the intense rain was due in part to global warming, since the Atlantic Ocean was unusually warm when Irene passed over it and collected water vapor to dump on shore as rain. That raised my suspicions, since I have never heard that before; perhaps it is true; I just don’t know.
He also presented a graph to show how superbly well the climate models match the actual temperature trend since Dr. Hansen made his speech to congress in 1988. What he didn’t mention, though, is that the “actual data” has been severely manipulated and approximately half the warming is due to adjustments. His “actual data” also either 1) stopped before the recent leveling off, or 2) showed a warming for the past 12 or so years; I could not read the time-scale on the chart from my seat near the back of the room. Either way, that was (again) very misleading.
Finally, he showed the (is it obligatory?) photo of a polar bear on a tiny ice floe. He spent some time talking about his little daughter and how he wants to leave a good world for her. The polar bear on the ice floe was displayed during this portion of the speech. Again, extremely misleading since polar bears have plenty of ice on which to sit, and their numbers are growing, not declining.
Mann tied in global warming to the water topic, saying the models forecast a much more arid climate for the US southwest. This, of course, will make the existing water shortages in California and other Western states much, much worse. He then confused us all by saying it was not clear if more La Niñas or El Niños would prevail. He noted that global warming creates warmer oceans, which would mean more El Niños, which almost always bring more rain, not less. I must note, here, that the existence of multiple models, as Mann mentioned, is a clear indication that the science is not settled. My words not, not Mann’s, but if a person on a journey had 12 different maps, and took the average of the 12 routes and directions to his destination, one must wonder if he would reach the destination at all.
Thank you to all the commenters above for the kind words on my speech to the AIChE. That speech was a lot of fun, and it was rewarding to have a few college students from California State – Long Beach in attendance. They seemed to not be aware of any of the points I made, and it came as somewhat of a surprise to them.
Just a few words about the television interviews, that Dr. Mann declined and I accepted. I was asked by a very nice young lady to step out of the convention hall into the hallway, where she confirmed that I had asked the question of Dr. Mann. She then said that was an excellent question, and a news reporter from PBS would like to interview me, would I consent to the interview? I said I would be happy to do so. I met the reporter, David, and I apologize to him that I didn’t catch the last name. He’s a very interesting and quite nice fellow. We went through the preliminaries, my name, occupation, and he asked my affiliation. I told him I’m in solo practice and was here on my own, not representing any organization. That seemed to perplex him, and I stated that I am just one of many thousands of climate skeptics. Some others wanted to attend today but could not for various reasons, so I came alone. He seemed more relieved when he asked what kind of law I practice and I told him Climate Change law.
David (Nazar) then decided he wanted to interview Dr. Mann first, then me second to get the skeptic view. He asked me to step away and return in 10 minutes. I went back to the presentation and took my seat. I could see Dr. Mann across the room, and he went out for a few minutes then returned. So, I went back out to find David and his camera-man. At that point, David told me that he did not interview Dr. Mann after all. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that Dr. Mann refused the interview and got angry. I believe David told him that he was to be interviewed first, then me, although I was not identified by name but by the question I asked. It could be that Dr. Mann did not want to be interviewed then have a skeptic follow him, with no opportunity to rebut. This is just speculation on my part, though.
In the actual interview, David asked me a few of the questions he had intended to ask Dr. Mann, such as what is global warming, and what role does mankind play in this? I can’t recall my exact words, which should be available soon if and when the video is aired and placed on-line, but here is what I believe I said.
I said that global warming is the fact that the world has warmed somewhat, perhaps one degree F, in the past 150 years. The cause of the warming is mostly natural forces, since mankind has not placed much CO2 in the air until the past four decades.
He asked other questions, such as what is the skeptic view. I told him that I don’t believe that CO2 causes much, if any warming, and that the more important issue is global cooling due to the weak solar cycle.
David ended by asking why I thought Dr. Mann was so rude in his refusal to be interviewed, and I replied that I don’t know, but I do know he is party to some litigation. It is possible his attorneys have advised him not to do interviews. This is a pure guess on my part.
UPDATE: here’s a photo from Mr. Sowell at the event. Dr. Mann at the right under the “R”.