Truth(?) in testimony and convincing policy makers

From Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on June 27, 2019 by curryja |

by Judith Curry

Some reflections, stimulated by yesterday’s Congressional Hearing, on the different strategies of presenting Congressional testimony.

Yesterday’s Hearing provided an ‘interesting’ contrast in approaches to presenting testimony, when comparing my testimony with Michael Mann’s.

What are the purposes of expert testimony?

There is an interesting document entitled A Guide to Expert Testimony for Climate Scientists, funded by the US National Science Foundation.  Most of this is related to court room hearings, but some is relevant for Congressional Hearings.  Excerpts:

<begin quote>

Experts may do one or more of the following:

  • Provide the decision-maker with factual information and background to provide the decision-maker with an adequate context for the decision.
  • Apply expert knowledge to the facts of a case and render an opinion about the facts, such as whether certain conditions actually caused an effect.
  • Explain scientific principles and theories to the decision-maker.
  • Extrapolate from the actual facts or hypothetical facts and rendering an opinion regarding the likelihood of an event or occurrence. Experts may speculate on events or occurrences because of their special knowledge or training.
  • Provide an opinion that contradicts or undermines the opinions or conclusions of an expert who testified for the opposing party.

If you are assigned to cross-examine an expert, you should prepare questions that test and challenge the witness on the following subjects :

  • Lack of thoroughness in investigating the facts or data;
  • Insufficient testing of the facts or data;
  • Lack of validity and reliability in testing of facts or data;
  • Existence of other causes or explanations for conclusions or outcomes;
  • Show differences of opinion among experts

<end quote>

‘Opinion’ or  ‘evidence’ for Hearings?

In my own testimony, I referenced (and even quoted) the IPCC AR5 and the US National Assessment report about a dozen times.  I also provided my (forthcoming) Report on Hurricanes and Climate Change, which includes about 100 references (nearly all are refereed journal publications) plus links to other review articles that provides further references.

Whatever happened to climate scientists using the IPCC and National Assessment Reports in their analyses, either to support their arguments or otherwise refuting specific statements in these Reports?  It seems that only scientists of the non-alarmist persuasion are citing these Reports any more.

Congressional testimony is not the place for scientists to present new, primary research.  Rather, it is an opportunity for scientists to present analyses of relevance to the topic at hand, related to their personal expertise.  This may take the form of an opinion piece (op-ed) or an analysis supported by evidence.

Mann took a different approach from mine.  His testimony reads like an op-ed, and he even cites his op-eds as supporting evidence.  Yes, it is readable, but it is not well documented.

Mann did not provide a bibliography for his testimony or any footnotes; rather he included hyperlinks.  I clicked on each of these, to see what sources he was using.

His links include 3 references to his own journal publications, plus two links to publications by other authors.  One link is provided to a NOAA statement. Several links are made to the StonyBrook University blog, describing unpublished analyses.  This selection was criticized by Andreas Schmittner on twitter:

All of the other links (~20) are to news articles, some of which are op-eds written by Michael Mann himself or articles that interviewed Michael Mann. The list of sources used by Mann in his written testimony:

Climate Central, PBS, Time, Slate, LiveScience, PennLive, The Guardian,  Scientific American, New Observer, Washington Post, NYTimes, ScienceNews, National Geographic, RollingStone, NewsWeek.

I understand the difficulty that policy makers have in wading through peer reviewed journal articles.  This is why Assessment Reports are useful for policy makers (although I am not a fan of the oversimplified, cherry picked conclusions in the Summary for Policymakers).  News articles are much more easily read by policy makers, but many of them are misleading at best.  And it is hard for me to imagine any of these articles being seriously considered as ‘evidence.’

Now several of these news organizations generally do a credible job in reporting on science, although they invariably suffer from single study syndrome in their individual articles.  But such articles are hardly a substitute for published primary journal articles or carefully considered assessments — or better yet, national or international assessment reports.

Although Mann’s testimony extensively referred to hurricanes, there was not a single reference in Mann’s testimony to the IPCC, the U.S. National Assessment Reports or the numerous review articles on hurricanes and climate change that have been written by teams of experts.

Yes, the published literature is sufficiently broad and diverse to support numerous narratives about climate change, and there are many reasons that rational scientists disagree:  insufficient data and disagreements about its quality; relative weighting of different types of evidence; and different logics for linking the evidence.

But when you open this up to include in a dominant way news articles and op-eds, then anything goes.

As summarized in the recent review by Knutson et al. on the issues of hurricanes and global warming (discussed in the Extremes blog post), there is a very substantial range of perspectives among scientists who have primary expertise in the climate dynamics of hurricanes.

Is it appropriate in Congressional testimony to present only your own perspective, without acknowledging other perspectives, disagreement, uncertainty?  Including both myself and Mann in the Hearing provides ‘dueling’ perspectives, but this hardly represents the range or distribution of perspectives in the community. Unlike a court case, there is insufficient time to probe all this.

Authority

So, which of the dueling experts is the Congressional Committee to believe?  Well that is almost certainly predisposed by their political party, to the extent that I have to wonder why we were even invited to this Hearing.

In the follow up to yesterdays Hearing, there has been some discussion on twitter related to Mann’s extensive emphasis on his own credentials in both his written and verbal testimony.

His verbal testimony spent almost a  minute listing his own credentials, out of an alotted 5 minutes (the Chair allowed Mann’s testimony to go over the time allotment).  Mann defended this by saying

I’m not interested in playing Mann’s little game re expertise.  But it is a tough argument to convince anyone that he has greater expertise than I on hurricanes.

Apart from someone’s political bias, that leaves the substance of our written testimony as a basis for being convinced by one versus the other.

I continue to have this naive, idealistic view that carefully crafted  and communicated analyses with credible documentation is what policy makers want and need.

So does Mann’s focus on his own credentials and publications  trump my analyses, documentation and references to the US National Climate Assessment, etc.?  At that Hearing and with that Committee, maybe it did.

Truth(?) in testimony

When testifying before Congress, each Witness signs a Truth in Testimony statement.  At yesterday’s Hearing, the witnesses were asked to stand and verbally agree to this (first time I recall doing this in a Congressional Hearing).

What does ‘Truth in Testimony’ actually mean regarding a controversial topic in science?  Yes, there is much disagreement about aspects of climate science, that is not what I am concerned about here.

In yesterday’s Hearing, Mann made a factually incorrect statement in response to a question:

90:13 “I want to correct a number of fallacies that we’ve heard here today when it comes to the connection between climate change and extreme weather events.  First of all, you sometimes hear this myth about there having been a supposed hurricane drought and there’s some sleight-of-hand going there because what’s going on Superstorm Sandy was a strong category 3 and then weakened to a category 2 hurricane off the coast of the US east Coast now it did go as they say extra-tropical it was technically no longer a hurricane when it made landfall but it was spinning off the East Coast for several days as a strong hurricane building up a very large storm surge and as we know it was this storm surge that was so devastating to the Jersey coast into New York City so its extremely misleading when you hear statements like that”

Mann’s statement misled the Committee with his statements about the drought in major hurricanes, Hurricane Sandy, and about my testimony being fallacious.  There was no opportunity for me to speak up in the Hearing.  I was shaking my head no, this was noticed by a Republican member, who asked for an opportunity for me to reply, but the Chair gave me no opportunity to respond.  Below is my response to Mann’s statement about my testimony.

My written testimony included the following statement:

“However, it was rarely mentioned that 2017 broke a drought in U.S. major hurricane landfalls since the end of 2005 — a major hurricane drought that is unprecedented in the historical record.”

This one is simple to fact check.  Go to the NOAA website and count the number of major hurricanes (Cat 3+) between Hurricane Wilma (2005) and Hurricane Harvey (2017).  Zilch.  Here is a graph of the data from the National Hurricane Center that was included in my written testimony:

With regards to Hurricane Sandy as an alleged ‘drought buster.’ Hurricane Sandy (2012) is included in the list of U.S. landfalling hurricanes with an * since technically it wasn’t a hurricane at landfall.  Sandy’s max wind speed at landfall is listed at 65 knots (Cat 1 territory).  As stated in my testimony, the  large storm surge associated with Sandy was caused by her transition to a horizontally large extra-tropical storm, not by her brief resurgence to a Cat 2.

I remember the details of Hurricane Sandy in excruciating detail, since my company CFAN was forecasting hurricanes (our Sandy forecast was exceptionally accurate relative to government provided forecasts).

In any event, even apart from the classification of Sandy as a hurricane or not, the terms ‘landfalling hurricane’ and ‘major hurricane’ (Cat 3+) have very clear and specific meanings, and Hurricane Sandy wasn’t a major hurricane at landfall, and only briefly reached low-end Cat 3 status near Cuba.  See the NHC’s Summary Report on Hurricane Sandy

There is no question that Hurricane Sandy was catastrophic for New Jersey and New York City.  Sandy illustrates how unprepared these cities were for even a Cat 1 hurricane with a significant storm surge.  Sandy is not a good poster child for manmade global warming, but rather supports the arguments made in my testimony about not being prepared for current or historical hurricanes.

JC verdict on Mann’s statement:  Five Pinocchios

Other rhetorically effective but misleading strategies used by Mann’s testimony were to cherry pick a single study and to imply that speculation about a linkage of some storm with global warming is actually a well accepted conclusion.  I will give one example here, that arose in the questioning, which is related to the high-profile issue of whether Category 4/5 hurricanes have been increasing:

“I actually co-authored an article in the journal Nature about 10 years ago where we use geological information from sedimentary deposits left behind by ancient hurricanes so we can actually reconstruct the history of landfalling hurricanes along the U.S. East coast along the Caribbean and so we have this rich archive of information that tells us in fact the increase in intensity that we’re seeing today does appear to be without precedent as far back as we can go.”

The paper that Mann refers to is [here].  Perhaps Mann hasn’t kept up with the literature on paleotempestology, which I summarized here.  Here is a summary paragraph from my Report on Hurricanes and Climate Change:

“Summary. There has not been a timeline or synthesis of the Atlantic hurricane paleotempestology results for the past five thousand years, either regionally or for the entire coastal region. However, it is clear from these analyses that significant variability of landfall probabilities occurs on century to millennial time scales. There appears to have been a broad hyperactive period from 3400 to 1000 years B.P. High activity persisted in the Gulf of Mexico until 1400 AD, with a shift to more frequent severe hurricane strikes from the Bahamas to New England occurring between 1400 and 1675 AD. Since 1760, there was a gradual decline in activity until the 1990’s.”

So, by cherry picking one paper (his own) that examines geologic data at only one location, Mann misled the committee regarding whether or not the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes has been increasing relative to the geological record.

JC verdict: two pinocchios

In Mann’s Congressional testimony two years ago [blog post], he made two statements in the questioning period that contradicted what was in his written testimony and his c.v.; for documentation of this see the links at  WUWT, Warmist Michael Mann tells whopper at Congressional Science hearing.

It was much more difficult for Mann to get away with  factually incorrect statements in a Hearing chaired by the Republicans than in a Hearing chaired by the Democrats.

JC reflections

I have often criticized the Congressional testimonies of other climate scientists as being normative, in the sense of advocating for specific policies related to climate change.

In hindsight, normative testimony seems pretty tame when compared with ‘assertion from authority’ testimony from scientists.  This style of testimony extensively establishes the witness’ expertise, and then makes a series of assertions with little or no documentation.  In short — appealing to their own authority.  This strategy is often accompanied by attempts to tear down the credibility of opposing witnesses.

If such testimony by assertion was presented in a legal trial, it would receive a severe grilling on cross-examination.  In a Congressional Hearing where the witness supports the majority’s perspective, the witness pretty much gets a pass, even by the opposing party. The minority members tend to focus their limited time on questioning  the witnesses invited by their own party.

This Hearing is certainly making me rethink my participation in future Hearings. I very much enjoy the challenge and opportunity of preparing written testimony and communicating my analyses of the issue at hand to policy makers.  However, I am not cut out to be a politician. I have a bad habit of answering any question as accurately and honestly as I can, rather than using my 90 seconds to refute my opponent or to emphasize my own point.

This makes me wonder what the Democrats are really trying to accomplish with these hearings on climate change.  If they are so convinced the science is completely settled, why do they bother with these Hearings?  Do they think they are going to convince the Republicans with a witness such as Michael Mann? The politics surrounding climate change make little sense to me.

Acknowledgements.  I would like to thank Larry Kummer for providing a transcript of the Hearing and for providing comments on earlier drafts of this post.

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71 thoughts on “Truth(?) in testimony and convincing policy makers

  1. The personal attacks launched by Mr. Mann are a huge red flag to show who is to be believed. Skeptics such as myself use facts and reason to show how the way and are constantly met with ad hominem attacks as a result. When this occurs at such a hgh level one really has to wonder how the person doing so has any credibility regardless of party lines etc.

    • Read the NSF guidelines:

      Extrapolate from the actual facts or hypothetical facts

      hypothetical facts , WTF are those??

      Extrapolation of hypothetical facts , that has to be the perfect moniker for climatology.

      • “Hypothetical facts” fits in with the failures of the science profession to maintain understanding of the method. Often biologists, especially perhaps evolutionists who otherwise do a proper rendering, say –“Evolution is a Fact.” We could get into semantics, and there are lots of facts there, but evolution is a complex of them put together to form successful, reasonable, and in some cases, but not in the big picture very well, predictions. I had a little experience on and off from the early 70s through late 2000s as an “expert” dealing with the legal profession both with plaintiffs and defendants. They confirmed what I saw as a degradation of their profession along with ours. The closest to direct government was testifying about fish at one state hearing where I filled for a colleague, although I worked with various agencies.

        Importantly, proper law is related to proper science, a very similar process, but they called our conclusions, opinions, which may be part of the confusion. You learn a lot about science dealing in the legal process and what I saw was similar to what happened in the climate situation, also an important, but relatively smaller and more widespread, version. First, both professions need to clean up their language which many, and maybe most of us try to do, as also the rules of logic. Tolerating all this certainty in conclusions (opinions) is nonsense.

    • The personal attacks launched by Mr. Mann” ……. was part of the plan.

      by Judith Curry:

      Mann’s statement misled the Committee with his statements about the drought in major hurricanes, Hurricane Sandy, and about my testimony being fallacious. There was no opportunity for me to speak up in the Hearing.

      This strategy is often accompanied by attempts to tear down the credibility of opposing witnesses.

      This Hearing is certainly making me rethink my participation in future Hearings.

      It appears to me that Judith Curry was blindsided intentionally by Michael Mann and the Democrat Committee …….. by her speaking 1st and Mann 2nd …. and permitting him to discredit her testimony without fear of any reprisal.

      The next time, …. if one, …. Judith Curry should do so only if she speaks last.

    • We live in the era of “moral relativism” … hence … the “truth” is whatever you want it to be. I have no doubt but that Mr. Mann’s “morality” is relative. Relative to his own paycheck. Relative to his political leanings. And most of all … relative to whomever he HATES.

      • You are correct, you dear little doggie, Kenji, but not re: the meaning of Pilate’s remark.

        Pilate’s point (no doubt said with a cynical snort) was that truth is, but truth is disregarded. Power (the religious leaders then) and Money (the “renewables” scammers today) grind truth under their feet.

        *****************

        In the end, nevertheless…

        TRUTH WINS! 🙂

        “He is not here. He is risen!” 🙂

        Hallelu Jah!

    • ‘“What is truth?”, said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.’ (Francis Bacon, On Truth).

    • There will not be a relief in this nonsense until persons like Dr. Man would be put on trial for their missdeeds and jailed.
      (I would even support a pillory kind of punishment involving a frozen hockey stick)

  2. I love her unit for truthfulness, the Pinocchio.

    Dr. Mann earns five Pinocchios for one of his whoppers. Maybe that’s the max or maybe it’s a logarithmic scale.

  3. Why bother with science if you are not seeking the closest aproach to correct information available? Judith Curry obviously understands that and many others are burdened with theirvown agendas which are at odds with the truth . Keep on truckin, Judith because the truth will eventually be obvious.

  4. The reason the Democrats are having these hearings is to give the pliant media a chance to keep the narrative running in their reporting… because the obvious question would be (if they weren’t having hearings), “If climate change is an existential crisis why isn’t Congress interested and holding hearings to do something?”

    So this is all a Democrat-run House can do. Hold hearings. It has no other powers. Legislation such as taxes or the environment are in other committees, and if those committees put out something and the House passed it, its DOA in the GOP-run Senate. And it will be even worse next year, an election year.

    Thus Climate Change turned Climate Crisis requires Marketing 101 strategies. Hold hearings. Get reporters to report just one side stories. And make sure the stories carry credentials of that one side are on display. Mann’s peacock strutting, accolades on display was almost certainly directed to him from the GreenSlime marketing-communication strategists that are running this entire climate disinformation campaign in the shadows.

    Marketing 101 stuff. The Green Slime NGOs that are quarterbacking all of this have communications degree holders, marketing experienced people. This is about the propaganda – the message becomes the truth in the ears of the ignorant masses if it is repeated enough.

  5. Someday Judith Curry is going to be held up as an example of science done right and as an up holder of ethics and standards of a true scientist against fierce criticism nd savage attacks. Mann will be at best a footnote to her story.

    • “Someday Judith Curry is going to be held up as an example of science done right and as an up holder of ethics and standards of a true scientist against fierce criticism nd savage attacks.”

      I would say, she has this status already.

      • She won’t have truly achieved that status until the alarmists have finally been exposed for the charlatans they are.

  6. This makes me wonder what the Democrats are really trying to accomplish with these hearings on climate change.

    Answer: Business development and promotion for: solar — wind — electric vehicles and other “investments” which cannot EVER (given current or reasonably foreseeable technology) cover their costs of production and maintenance with a fair market price.

    Cui bono

    ****************************************
    That said:

    Thank you, Dr. Curry.

    Thank you for speaking truth to power. YOU DID MUCH GOOD. All that hard work marshaling data and on-point cites along with your well-informed, careful, intelligent, analysis was a beautifully cut gem dropped into the pool of science, of knowledge. The turbulence stirred up by others’ twisting of the truth did not completely obliterate its effect.

    Your light may not have sent the rats scurrying into the corner, but it did expose their existence. And there are many voters who still have their eyes (and minds) open.

    Don’t give up.

    Ultimately, our liberty is at stake.

    Don’t give up.

    Freedom and truth are worth fighting for.

    With gratitude,

    Janice

  7. I made a long comment over at Judith’s Climate Etc. So a very short version here. She makes a powerful and important ‘truth’ point. Mann provided the counterpoint, as expected.

    I dissected all this and more ( including the Richard Lindzen reviewed very long penultimate climate ‘wrap’ chapter) in my late 2014 ebook, The Arts of Truth. (Yes, deliberate homage to Sun Tzu and President Trump.)

    • I wish I knew how to include a clip from the film The Shooter which sums it up.
      The corrupt senator says ‘ The truth? The truth is what I say it is.’

  8. Thank you for your honest and thorough testimony, Dr. Curry!
    Your efforts are truly appreciated and respected! You have the support of far more friends and allies than you may realize!

  9. Dr. Curry’s summary of the hearings reinforce my observations on Michael Mann’s character. Expecting honesty, humility, or respect from Michael Mann is just foolish. He will say and do anything necessary to bolster his own inflated ego and sustain the mann-made ‘Climate Change’ fraud. Both his paycheck and his perceived status depend on it.

  10. As did Joseph Goebbels, this vile specimen of a human will have the day(s) of retribution fall upon him and it won’t be pretty.

  11. What manniacal has proven beyond any doubt is that his mouth easily holds his feet with room for the feet of others.

    He and AOC are well matched in giant egos that much rather double and triple down on their falsehoods rather than admit their errors.

  12. I am not particularly religious but I do remember hearing from a wise man that the greatest of all sins is not being faithful to the truth.

  13. Amazing that Mann is still trying to use Hurricane Sandy as a symptom of “global warming”.

    Most hurricanes that form off the east coast of the United States, but do not come ashore in the Carolinas, tend to track to the NNE, with their eye remaining offshore past Nova Scotia, where they weaken over the cold water. If such a hurricane tracks east of the New Jersey shore, the winds are out of the north or northeast, and there is not much “fetch” (distance of open water) between the south coast of New England (Long Island out to Cape Cod) and the Jersey shore, so there is little storm surge. New York City rarely gets storm surge, unless the winds are perfectly aligned with Long Island Sound (out of ENE).

    Hurricane Sandy formed near Jamaica, then moved northward for a few days, then its progress was blocked by an unseasonably COLD anticyclone over the North Atlantic between Newfoundland and Greenland. Easterly winds around the south side of this anticyclone steered the eye of Sandy westward toward New Jersey, and it made landfall near Atlantic City.

    Along the New Jersey shore north of the eye, winds were out of due east to southeast, with a long “fetch” of open ocean, not protected by any land masses. This caused a major storm surge, which piled water up into Raritan Bay (between New York harbor and Sandy Hook) and the rivers that flow into it, causing massive flooding in New York City and northeastern New Jersey.

    The devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy cannot be blamed on “global warming”, because it was a COLD airmass that steered Sandy toward the New Jersey coast, without which the center of Sandy would have stayed offshore with a minor storm surge. As further proof of the unusually COLD conditions at the time, after Sandy made landfall, most of West Virginia received heavy snow in October.

    • Steve Z

      Hurricane Hazel followed an almost identical path in October 1954, probably driven by very similar meteorological factors. Hazel caused much damage and death in the area around Toronto, Ontario, a place where hurricanes are extremely rare. There has been none since – that’s 55 years of hurricane drought.

      • Except hurricane hazel was a category 4 storm when it made landfall. I remember reading about it in a book called The Coming Ice Age in 1971 which stated that hurricanes like that would become more common in a cooling world

    • As I recall, “hurricane” Sandy’s landfall also coincided with an exceptional high tide, which added several feet to the alleged “storm surge”

      It wasn’t CO2, it wasn’t global warming, it was exacerbated by the Moon (and steered by the cold airmass noted above)

      Mann is devious and despicable, not to mention unprofessional and a full-time jacka$$

  14. good Lord…we’re losing

    Politicians didn’t get past his first minute…..in their mind…he’s an expert..and they went back to sleep

    …Mann knows what he’s doing..he’s talking to a bunch of idiots

    • It’s not the politicians you need to convince it is the voters and there is a decided jump to the right with voters all over the world. That is why emissions have continued to increase and nobody except the lefties cares.

  15. Michael Mann’s testimonies, speeches, and referencing of his own work; should be given Zero credibility, until Mann releases all his data and work for review, and it passes review.

  16. If “government is force,” as Washington said, and science is a set of methods rather than a set of doctrines, then *any* link between science and government is dangerous. We have come to accept that our current, pitiful level of misunderstanding of the universe is the basis for using violence against people who have committed no crime.

  17. “However, I am not cut out to be a politician.”

    Thank goodness! That should be the first qualification of a scientist. The careers are diametrically opposed.

  18. I’ve testified before various House committees several times, and once before a Senate committee, on matters pertaining to commercial space transportation. I think the last time was in 2004. Back then, we were sworn in as one would swear in a juror – with the exception of the last time, when there was no swearing in. In fact, about halfway through someone on the panel made a whopper of a misstatement. I turned to a friend (and competitor) of mine on the same panel and whispered “You know, they didn’t swear us in.” But I never signed a “Truth in Testimony” statement. When did that become a thing?

    Also, there were times when the witnesses had sharp disagreements with one another, but in no case did they attack the other person. It’s weird that the science community has lower standards of conduct than do competing business people.

  19. It is instructive to compare the written testimonies of the two presenters. In Mann’s case (10 page paper), the title page and the first page and a half record his achievements. He then walks through recent extreme weather events and credits them to AGW. In addition to Nature, his references include the venerable bastions of scientific rigor: the Guardian, The Washington Post, the NYT, the Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Slate, the PBS NewsHour, etc. His paper is devoid of any data, graphs, or charts. Curry’s paper is 18 pages long, with the first paragraphs briefly outlining her credentials. She presents graphs and charts from published sources and provides extensive footnotes to document her points. This is typical. The alarmists tell frightening stories about recent extreme weather events, declare them unprecedented and chalk them up to AGW. In stark contrast, skeptics report data using graphs and charts to show that these weather events are normal weather patterns observed in the past. They acknowledge the challenge of detecting the signal for AGW. For the alarmists, the complexity of climate science has been reduced to a trace greenhouse gas.

  20. “It was much more difficult for Mann to get away with factually incorrect statements in a Hearing chaired by the Republicans than in a Hearing chaired by the Democrats.” This quote tells anyone all they need to know about the “Climate Change” apocalypse, if they were searching for the truth this would not be the case. Some time ago the IPCC made perhaps the only truthful statement that could be attributed to them, that is that the “Climate is a nonlinear chaotic system, the future states of which is impossible to predict”. Yet despite this statement there is no shortage of corrupt politicians and pseudo scientists who are more than willing to make false predictions (lies) of climate catastrophe to achieve their political and financial ends by instilling fear in the populace. Do not fall for it!

  21. Mann reminds me of the character Dr Harold Hill from the “Music Man” where the mayor was always searching for his credentials. Mann boasts of his credentials but when comes down to the Mann’s presentation, it seemed rather shallow.

    Thank you Dr. Curry for your excellent posting.

  22. I would like to thank Dr Curry for her integrity and perseverance in following the objective trust as much as we can know it.

    Mann, doesn’t deserve “Dr” before his name, he’s a sleazy con artist in my opinion, his ego is massive and massively fragile, which is why he uses the block button so much

    What is concerning is this in my opinion, con artist Mann, recently got an award for his scammery

  23. Judith, great stuff, but don’t even let them get away with saying that Sandy had Cat-I strength at landfall. I monitored buoys and weather stations carefully at the time, and none were at 65 knots.

    By the way, an interesting study you can do to go some way to proving “hurricane inflation” is to compare NOAA wind speed estimates with central pressure (the latter being easier to measure than the former). You will find that recent (supposedly) major hurricanes have higher pressures than earlier ones, as if the laws of physics had changed. But hey, perhaps increasing CO2 affects the laws of physics…

    If you wish, contact me via WUWT on this.

  24. Judith, the most unnerving thing a politician has to face is a person who will tell the truth. They cannot be bribed, they cannot be battered into changing their view, unlike most of the people the politicians meet for whom money or something else will make them change their mind, none of the normal tools available to a politician has any effect on those who will tell the truth.

    And because the truth is such a foreign land to politicians – they are clueless as to what may or may not be said by those telling the truth. Politicians much prefer those who will mould the facts to fit a very clear political object – because that is either easily support, or easily attacked – whereas the truth is not political partisan.

  25. Mann couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. Lying is in his DNA. His reliance on his “qualifications” is just an example of Argument From Authority (his), and is both a form of lying, and a feeble attempt at covering up the fact that he has no actual science defending his position.

  26. “The politics surrounding climate change make little sense to me.”
    Perhaps some motives in politics began in the 70’s when general pollution worldwide always showed the US as the most polluting (not per capita). A direct result of being the largest economy by far. The US economic success was in large part because we had the lowest cost, most robust (many fuels), most available and reliable energy supplies in the world. A great advantage. The idea that the US economy had to be made smaller was seen as a cure for world pollution. It wasn’t stated openly that bringing down the US economy would help the socialist, authoritarian, less free market countries that had overpromised and underdelivered to their people. Just a possibility on motives.
    Recall the continuing attacks on energy utilities over the years: the fears of nuclear winter, cancer from electric lines, acid rain, mercury, and more. Blocked sitings, pipelines, and transmission lines. The target seemed to be coal and oil fired electric generation, but eventually the common denominator became CO2.
    The war on coal, oil, nuclear, and now gas generation eventually became standard fare in education, media, and a certain political view.

  27. “The politics surrounding climate change make little sense to me.”
    Perhaps some motives in politics began in the 70’s when general pollution worldwide always showed the US as the most polluting (not per capita). A direct result of being the largest economy by far. The US economic success was in large part because we had the lowest cost, most robust (many fuels), most available and reliable energy supplies in the world. A great advantage. The idea that the US economy had to be made smaller was seen as a cure for world pollution. It wasn’t stated openly that bringing down the US economy would help the socialist, authoritarian, less free market countries that had overpromised and underdelivered to their people. Just a possibility on motives.
    Recall the continuing attacks on energy utilities over the years: the fears of nuclear winter, cancer from electric lines, acid rain, mercury, and more. Blocked sitings, pipelines, and transmission lines. The target seemed to be coal and oil fired electric generation, but eventually the common denominator became CO2.
    The war on coal, oil, nuclear, and now gas generation eventually became standard fare in education, media, and a certain political view.

  28. Mann’s modus operandi is not surprising. The generally unimpressive intellectual (and sometimes moral) standards of promoters of panic over CO2 have been a feature of this politically-driven campaigning for decades. A bunch of examples can be found here: http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2101561. I think I should this one as well, although I make no claims to being able to keep up with the floods of them – I add to the list just now and then. Others are welcome to add to it as and when they can.

    But three cheers for Judith Curry, for her high standards and her staying power.

  29. Michael Mann is stereotypical Greenshirt academic fanatic. While he appears poorly compared to Dr.Curry what harm is done by these inside the margins of warmist conventions disputes??

    Mann’s attacks on the most moderate of skeptics is calculated to disqualify vast pools of actual hard line skeptics. It helps frame the debate on warmist terms and therefore makes Dr. Curry a tool. The limit of dissent for so many leftist activists.

    It’s this particular brand of equivocation science that fails to address the wholly corrupt formation of the climate change political belief culture that should remain the central focus of every policy discussion. Dr. Curry is representing skeptics as David Brooks at The NY Times represents Republicans. Straw dissent compared to the depth climate fanaticism is plainly apparent.

    It’s really a feeble posture to try to elevate Dr. Curry who largely an establishment go along without a credible explanation of entire Green cult climate history that she was in fact very much part of and remains useful to this day. All the high praise found here another confirmation that marginal and weak skeptics are as large an issue as the Mann extremist section. These frictions between extreme leftists and older establishment leftists while amusing will not frame the debate in a more accurate way. Just the opposite in fact.

    When she was labeled “consensus” she was considered a useful idiot by Mann and his goals, a climate control terror state. Now she is largely considered a defector to “skepticism”. Call it progress but her views still enable Mann wing by supporting so many of the hog wash AGW presumptions.

  30. Was it M.Mann that ran around the planet claiming he was a Nobel Laureate ? He didnt make that claim at these hearings. Was that claim a fib?

  31. “But it is a tough argument to convince anyone that he has greater expertise than I on hurricanes.

    Hardly. With the pathetically uninformed masses more interested in what someone they don’t really liking what they had for dinner? The corrupt mainstream media can and will accomplish the task faster than she can type that sentence.

  32. “However, it was rarely mentioned that 2017 broke a drought in U.S. major hurricane landfalls since the end of 2005 — a major hurricane drought that is unprecedented in the historical record.”

    The U.S. coast is in an unprecedented hurricane drought why this is terrifying –
    The Washington Post August 4th 2016

  33. Another issue with Mann’s Hurricane Sandy characterization is when evaluating things statistically, one has to have one single standard. His introduction of anecdote (“Sandy had a large surge”) for one single storm ignores the fact that throughout history other storms which were no longer hurricanes at landfall may have had similar surges. You can’t say “Yeah, but…” as Mann did, without accounting for all the other “Yeah, buts” in the historical record. I mean if the standard measured is “hurricanes at landfall”, then that’s the standard. If the standard is “hurricanes at landfall + yeah buts”, then *that’s* the standard and ALL the historical “yeah buts” must be included in the core measurement. That’s just how science is done, Mr. Mann.

  34. Congressional hearings are not designed to find out anything. They are designed to generate video and sound bytes to be used to score political points. Facts are irrelevant, appearance is everything, and conclusions are predetermined.

    Mark Steyn has quite a bit to say about the hearing he attended.

  35. “The politics surrounding climate change make little sense to me.”

    Dr. Curry, I admire your willingness to focus on the scientific method and to not become compromised by the huge pressure to accept the funding-rich assumption that man-made CO2 has a meaningful impact on climate.

    In the dozens, if not hundreds, of articles and blog posts of yours I’ve read you often refer to “policy makers” and “decision makers” in way that comes across to me as having an air of respect and a belief that such people are important and have important work to do.

    If I may say, you need to read and learn more about the history of government and politics. Start with the famous aphorism, “Power corrupts…” read the deep thinking the Founders of this country did in setting up our government. Their belief: a stable, free, and just society requires government… but, as little as possible. Emphasis: AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

    There were many reasons to come to this deeply considered opinions and none of the reasons they had have changed despite the very different technological world in which we live.

    Bottom line, government will ALWAYS become corrupt and seek absolute power and the people in government who over time drive government in that direction are not always evil or have bad motives; quite with opposite.

    I urge you to rethink any respect you may have for policy makers or decision makers. As individuals, yes; but as elements in an inevitable evolution towards undermining your freedom, no.

    The politics of CO2 are simple. It gives those who think they are smarter or in a better position to “help us” a way to exercise that superior knowledge and position with force. They can force us to do things they think better, irrespective of what we may think.

    Politicians are not scientists. They really don’t care about truth the way you do. They care about exercising their power because that’s who they are and that’s what they do. You are a pawn in their game.

    Read “Rules for Radicals” if you haven’t. It’s a handbook for those who believe they “know better” and want to use legitimate force (i.e., government) to implement what “they know” is “better for us.” Those who resist—like those who question whether we know enough about CO2 to force people to do something (i.e., pay taxes to support government action or obey regulations to do what those others think is right, even if against our natural wishes).

    “Rules for Radicals” will spell out that trashing the reputation and ruining the lives of those who “resist” is an important strategy to pursue.

    But realize many truly believe they are “right,” and if “people” are allowed to do what they want that “society” will be worse off—in some cases existentially so. Therefore, they are justified in doing what they do. Since some, like Michael Mann (and many others in the thrall of CO2), believe CO2 is an existential threat to humanity, there is nothing, morally, that should constrain them in their efforts to do what is needed to ensure their view prevails.

    Therefore, Mann and others work to de-legitimize you because that’s the way to win.

    Politics is not about facts, it’s about winning. Facts are only useful if they are relevant to convincing the populace to support someone in power or seeking power. Sadly, too often, the populace is not as responsive to or understanding of facts as a scientist is. That’s why propaganda exists. Since the science surrounding CO2 is highly uncertain in its existential implications, the right strategy is to propagandize, not debate facts.

    Mann and many others have, indeed, succumbed to. Only cause corruption.

    Please become more politically savvy so you can be more effective using your command of facts to counter questionable—even dangerous—actions by those to whom we’ve entrusted with our sacred trust to exercise legitimate force; i.e., government officials.

  36. Comment edit: “Mann and many others have, indeed, succumbed to noble cause corruption.”

  37. “Do they think they are going to convince the Republicans with a witness such as Michael Mann?”

    Excellent question. I’d wondered why they get him, of all people, to testify. He does a disservice to the side he is supposed to represent.

  38. One can understand Dr. Curry’s frustration, with Mann being able to make scientifically unsubstantiated statements with impunity.

    Go to the link below from CSPAN to see the testimony. When AOC get her turn, she give the floor to Mann at around the 57.30 mark:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?462073-1/climate-change-disaster-preparedness

    Mann states that he co authored a study that appeared in the Journey of Nature that used sediment deposits and other geological information going back as far back as we can go, that showed that the intensity of recent hurricanes is unprecedented.

    He is wrong about that. Hurricane history tells us that the most intense hurricane occurred in 1780. While there was no instrumentation to measure this hurricane, there is plenty of information and near universal agreement by hurricane experts that indicate this was stronger than any hurricane experienced since then.

    Ironically, “The Great Hurricane of 1780” occurred during the Little Ice Age:
    Little Ice Age:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

    Great Hurricane of 1780:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Hurricane_of_1780

    As hurricane expert Jeff Masters stated: “A ‘black swan’ hurricane – a storm so extreme and wholly unprecedented that no one could have expected it – hit the Lesser Antilles Islands in October 1780,” Masters wrote to open the post. “Deservedly called The Great Hurricane of 1780, no Atlantic hurricane in history has matched its death toll of 22,000. So intense were the winds of the Great Hurricane that it peeled the bark off of trees – something only EF5 tornadoes with winds in excess of 200mph have been known to do.”

    Then, Mann states that based on tree ring specialists, the epic drought in California during the last decade is unprecedented going back over 1,000 years. He is wrong again based on authentic/objective data.

    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/california_drought_timeline.png

    Even global climate models project that California will be WETTER this century from climate change, indicating that his position is anti authentic climate science:

    https://phys.org/news/2017-07-california-wetter-century.html

    He merely takes recent extremes in hurricanes, wild fires and droughts and uses them as evidence of human caused climate change making these events worse…………when the authentic, historical facts/science, shown above do NOT support that……….and in some cases, show the complete opposite.

    Great job Dr. Curry in using authentic science to base your statements on. Please don’t let those able to manufacture a fake climate crisis and control politics using fraudulent science and self serving scientists who will use junk science and cherry picking in their testimony, effect your enthusiasm for continuing to fight for climate and scientific honesty and integrity.

    Thank you for your testimony and your commitment.

  39. Experts may do one or more of the following:

    -Provide the decision-maker with factual information and background to provide the decision-maker with an adequate context for the decision.

    -Apply expert knowledge to the facts of a case and render an opinion about the facts, such as whether certain conditions actually caused an effect.

    -Explain scientific principles and theories to the decision-maker.

    -Extrapolate from the actual facts or hypothetical facts and rendering an opinion regarding the likelihood of an event or occurrence.

    -Experts may speculate on events or occurrences because of their special knowledge or training.

    -Provide an opinion that contradicts or undermines the opinions or conclusions of an expert who testified for the opposing party.

    Amendment:

    -don’t destroy your countepart’s believe in being worthwhile.

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