Ted Nordhaus takes no prisoners in the article on our favorite foil, when Mann starts to diss even people on his own side of the aisle.
His subtitle sums it up. Josh sums it up pretty well too. Like Josh’s work? Buy him a pint.
You can’t defend the truth with lies
Nordhaus explains some of his interactions with the Hockey Team leader.
I’ve never met Michael Mann, corresponded with him, or written anything about him. Nor have I ever had any particular beef with the hockey stick graph or his work as a scientist. But a few months after I signed up for Twitter in 2014, I discovered that he had blocked me. A few years after that, I learned that he had alleged in a 2016 book that Breakthrough was funded by fossil fuel interests.
Mann’s accusation about our funding is false. The entirety of the claim refers to a single small grant we received in 2014 from the George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation, a charitable foundation that, like many other prominent environmental philanthropies, has an endowment that traces back to a fossil fuel fortune.
He gives Mann a little bit of credit, not for the right reasons, but a little.
Anyone even a little bit familiar with Mann’s personal history will appreciate the irony in his deliberate misrepresentations of our work. Mann has himself been the target of slanderous and defamatory attacks from actual opponents of climate action. He figured prominently in the “Climategate” hack; has been investigated by the former Republican Attorney General of the State of Virginia, Ken Cuccineli, and by Senator James Inhofe; and has sued the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Frontier Center for Public Policy, and the National Review for libel.
One might think that having been on the receiving end of this sort of thing, Mann would not want to traffic in mistruths and disinformation himself. All the more so as a scientist who has risen to prominence in no small part as a leading tribune of the claims that climate science makes upon policy. One need not believe that scientists should abstain from politics to think that how they engage in politics and public discourse matters.
One can excuse Nordhaus’s ignorance of the history and actions of Mann.
Michael Mann did not deserve these assaults on his work or his integrity. And I can understand why, having been subject to them, he would be angry and prone to see many other things through those experiences. But Mann goes well beyond that, basically reducing the entirety of the struggle to address climate change globally to his personal history. For Mann, climate change is a Manichean struggle between greedheaded corporations (and the craven shills and right-wing ideologues they underwrite) and heroic climate scientists fighting to save humanity from ecological catastrophe, the latter personified by Michael Mann.
But he does have a relatively clear view of the current state of things.
This is not accidental. Mann has, in recent years, become the patron saint of the most vocal and ideological climate advocates, those who see the world’s continuing dependence on fossil fuels as, at bottom, a gigantic conspiracy by the fossil fuel industry. James Hansen, whose Congressional testimony in the late 1980s put the issue on the map and who, as a government scientist, was repeatedly muzzled by Republican administrations, was once similarly exalted by many climate activists. But Hansen has always carried his status as an eco-celebrity uncomfortably, and his more recent criticisms of carbon trading and renewable energy and his advocacy of nuclear energy have made him an unreliable totem
Mann, by contrast, is much more reliable ideologically and can be counted upon to conflate climate science with green technological and policy preferences and to wrap it all up in a sweeping narrative inseparable from his personal history. Doing so has served Mann well, establishing him as the go-to climate scientist for many of the big green NGOs, particularly those on the environmental Left. And it has served the interests of the most dogmatic wing of the climate advocacy community, who seek to delegitimize as climate denial any challenge to the claim that addressing climate change requires expansive government regulation, global governance regimes, and a rapid transition of the global energy economy to one powered exclusively by renewable energy.
Nordhaus’s summation is a thing of beauty.
Over the last decade, Mann has now published what is essentially the same book three times, once, literally, in cartoon form. What the ritualized incantations of his personal history and its political meaning actually serve is to enforce ideological discipline within the Left/environmental bubble that pays attention to him, to warn his disciples away from impure thoughts, and, perhaps most importantly, to keep himself at the center of it all.
Full story here: https://thebreakthrough.org/articles/the-folly-of-mann