Nobel fantasist Michael E Mann has made much in his complaint against me, and in the discovery requests to which I responded last Wednesday, of the million trillion bazillion investigations of him around the world that have "exonerated" him. This assertion was taken at face value by our first and extremely slapdash judge, Natalia Combs Greene. Without wishing to disclose my discovery responses (which I don't think I'm supposed to do), I don't accept Mann's brazen characterization of these "investigations". Nor does Steve McIntyre:
Mann's claim that the Oxburgh panel "exonerated" Mann on counts ranging from scientific misconduct to statistical manipulation to proper conduct and fair presentation of results has no more validity than his claim to have been awarded a Nobel prize for his supposedly seminal work "document[ing] the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s."
That line gave me a laugh, too. The Oxburgh panel was set up by the University of East Anglia in the wake of the Climategate emails. It was certainly not an "exoneration" of Mann - as he recognized at the time. Indeed, like many of the investigations, it wasn't principally about Mann, as the only passage his lawyers actually quote from the Oxburgh report makes plain:
In April 2010, the University of East Anglia convened an international Scientific Assessment Panel, in consultation with the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, 38 and chaired by Professor Ron Oxburgh. The Report of the International Panel assessed the integrity of the research published by the CRU and found "no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit."
The CRU is in East Anglia on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Notwithstanding Mann's peculiarly insecure narcissism, surely one of his highly remunerated white-shoe lawyers must know that, whatever the merits of that finding, it has nothing to do with their client or his lawsuit. So what did the Oxburgh panelists have to say about Mann? On April 14th 2010 Lord Oxburgh and Professor David Hand, then President of the Royal Statistical Society, held a press conference to report their findings. As Steve McIntyre writes:
At the press conference, Hand severely criticized Mann's reconstructions for "exaggeration" and it was these criticisms that were the story publicized in the international media...
Louise Gray of the Daily Telegraph, generally highly sympathetic to green causes, reported that Hand had accused Mann of using "inappropriate" methods that had "exaggerated" the threat from climate change, an accusation emblazoned in the article's headline:
'Hockey stick' graph was exaggerated
The 'hockey stick' that became emblematic of the threat posed by climate change exaggerated the rise in temperature because it was created using 'inappropriate' methods, according to the head of the Royal Statistical Society.
Professor Hand globally warmed to his theme:
He said the graph, that showed global temperature records going back 1,000 years, was exaggerated - although any reproduction using improved techniques is likely to also show a sharp rise in global warming. He agreed the graph would be more like a field hockey stick than the ice hockey blade it was originally compared to.
"The particular technique they used exaggerated the size of the blade at the end of the hockey stick. Had they used an appropriate technique the size of the blade of the hockey stick would have been smaller," he said. "The change in temperature is not as great over the 20th century compared to the past as suggested by the Mann paper."
Other publications had the same takeaway. The New Scientist:
He said the strongest example he had found of imperfect statistics in the work of the CRU and collaborators elsewhere was the iconic "hockey stick" graph, produced by Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in University...
Hand pointed out that the statistical tool Mann used to integrate temperature data from a number of difference sources – including tree-ring data and actual thermometer readings – produced an "exaggerated" rise in temperatures over the 20th century, relative to pre-industrial temperatures.
Even The Guardian acknowledged the point:
At a press conference to launch the review's findings, Hand re-ignited a long-standing row about a high-profile study published in 1998 by scientists led by Michael Mann at Penn State University, US. The paper featured an emblematic graph known as the "hockey-stick" that showed temperature rise in the twentieth century was unprecedented in recent history. Hand said the study gave him an "uneasy feeling" because it used "inappropriate statistical tools".
Did Michael Mann at the time regard this as the exoneration he now claims it as? No. He swung into action and did what he always does - demonize his critic and demand that the criticisms should not be given any publicity. So he told The Guardian that Professor Hand's was a "rogue opinion" that "should not be given much attention or credence".
Okay. So I'm a "denier". Fair enough, I'm just a know-nothing blowhard. And Steve McIntyre is guilty of "pure scientific fraud". Well, he's Canadian like me, isn't he? And Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a member of the National Research Council's Climate Research Committee and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, represents the forces of "anti-science".
And the head of the Royal Statistical Society is just a fringe kook no one should pay any heed to.
So Mann then followed up with a bullying barrage of emails designed to intimidate Professor Hand into "correcting the record". In public, he claimed, as he always does, that everyone else had given him a clean bill of health:
"I would note that our '98 article was reviewed by the US National Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific authority in the United States, and given a clean bill of health," he said. "In fact, the statistician on the panel, Peter Bloomfield, a member of the Royal Statistical Society, came to the opposite conclusion of Prof Hand."
As Steve McIntyre points out, that was news to Peter Bloomfield:
Instead of opposing Hand's remarks (as Mann had asserted), Bloomfield said that he had quickly reviewed the findings of the NAS report and did not locate any conclusions that differed from Hand's:
A quick rereading of the report didn't reveal any place where I, or any other member of the committee reached any conclusion with which you [Hand] would differ. If you're aware of any, I'd be glad of a reminder!
Hand's characterization of the hockey stick is correct. And Bloomfield's characterization of the NAS report is correct.
And Steve McIntyre is correct to note that Mann's characterization of these investigations is as false as his claim to be a Nobel Laureate. In the Climate Change echo chamber, if you're as brazen as Mann, you can just about get away with this stuff. It won't be so easy for him on the witness stand.
~Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who's swung by the SteynOnline bookstore in recent days to help fund my end of the case. We had a customer from the Falkland Islands today, anxious to chip in and stick it to Mann. I'm gratified to know that even in Port Stanley the malodorousness of the hockey stick gets up their noses. And a reader in Norway bought one of our new SteynOnline gift certificates to send as a thoughtful present to Dr Mann. Can't wait to see which books of mine he decides to spend it on. Don't forget the new Kindle edition of Lights Out came out at the weekend, and the royalties from any copies you pick up at Amazon.com and Amazon sites worldwide will also go toward inflicting on Mann a thorough and decisive courtroom defeat.