"Climate Change Not A Top Worry In US," reports Gallup, deadpan. Washington's Potemkin parliament can hold as many pajama parties as it wants, but Big Climate absolutism is going nowhere, and the savvier scientists - the ones who haven't been seduced by political patrons and celebrity pals - are beginning to understand they need to figure out a different tack. Dr Judith Curry's recent post on "positioning skeptics" (drawing on a longer essay by Ben Pile) includes the following observation by Professor Jonathan Jones of Oxford University:
It has been amusing to watch the apparent surprise of many climate scientists at their discovery that many "climate sceptics" are actually lukewarmers. Taking a rough and ready definition, that lukewarmers believe in AGW but doubt catastrophic AGW, one could reasonably place many of the more famous sceptics (Liljegren, McIntyre implicitly, Montford, Watts explicitly) in that camp, together with a number of "maverick" climate scientists (Curry, Lewis, Lindzen).
Mustafa Prize winner Michael E Mann doesn't want you to think like this. In Mann's world, there are two teams - Scientists vs Deniers - and if you don't root root root for the home team you must be with the other fellows'. Thus, Dr Curry was a scientist until she found herself in partial disagreement with Mann, at which point he moved her on to the "#AntiScience" team. Michael Liebreich is on the UN Secretary-General's High Level Group on Sustainable Energy and the Clinton Global Initiative's Climate Change working group, but he linked to a piece by James Delingpole, so Dr Mann moved him into the "fan of uber-deniers" category, and for good measure added "#Damning #Unconstructive" (Dr Mann holds the Nobel Prize in Hashtags).
Mann's cheerleaders love this stuff and wave their pom-poms ever more frenziedly. So do a few dogmatic politicians (Gore) and airhead celebs in need of a cause sufficiently grandiose to validate their self-importance. But very few other people do. In reality, there aren't two opposing blocs of ideological rigidity. Within both the "Scientists" and "Deniers" camps, there is a wide spectrum of opinion, especially when it comes to public policy. Mann can't look at it that way because, once you do, it's obvious that he's a real outlier. An uber-outlier, as he would say. "Deniers" have a particular antipathy to him, well aired in public. But so do scientists, well aired in private - for the moment.
Michael Mann Climate Absolutism is increasingly untenable as the global warming "pause" heads toward the start of its third decade, and the soaraway climate models fail to pan out. In reality, "deniers" are already "working with" the scientists. Ben Pile again:
Matthew England's recent discovery of the 'missing heat' â€” right or wrong â€” in the oceans followed years of his somewhat angry criticisms of climate sceptics rightly pointing out the missing heat, leading to their claims, rightly or wrongly that climate science had erred. Once it became obvious that the heat was missing, England decided to go find it. Sceptics, far from distorting the scientific debate, had in fact, driven scientific discovery...
...and in an environment in which bullies like Mann enforced the climate science "consensus" ruthlessly:
Moreover, anyone suggesting that the missing heat had found its way to the oceans might have found themselves thrown out of the academy for suggesting such a thing.
What would it take to help real scientists climb in off the ever more wobbly branch they've been lured out on to? Professor Jonathan Jones lists the principal targets of the "deniers":
And straying briefly into more dangerous territory, lukewarmers can and do remain highly critical of the IPCC, the hockey stick, the climategate fiasco, the Lewandowsky nonsense, and the bizarre idea that sceptics are a bunch of "fossil fuel funded deniers". True peace in our time requires mainstream climate science to acknowledge a few uncomfortable truths.
What do all those things have in common? Who likes the IPCC so much he laid claim to their Nobel Prize? Who's the guy at the transatlantic end of the East Anglia emails threatening to blacklist journals and fire editors, and pushing Keith Briffa further than he wants to go? Who co-authored the Lewandowsky paper arguing in effect that climate "deniers" are mentally unbalanced? And who pumps out #KochMachineDenialMachineKochMachine codswallop on his Twitter feed all day long? Michael E Mann. On all the worst excesses of Big Climate absolutism, Mann has a perfect score. He's wearing every single item on Professor Jones' grubby laundry list. To reprise Judith Curry:
For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the 'war on science' and is standing up for academic freedom. It's time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann's science, critical of Mann's professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann's behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.
Perhaps Mann being tossed overboard is just the thing that climate science needs.
~Today I filed with the DC Superior Court an Amended Answer and Counterclaims to Mann's Amended Complaint. You can read it here. The new bit is the third counterclaim way down on page 21. We're moving toward trial, and if you want to support my pushback against Mann I hope you'll consider buying a SteynOnline gift certificate or one of our new Clash of Sticks products.