I mentioned the other day Dr Judith Curry's New Year predictions:
In terms of global temperature, I expect the hiatus to continue at last another decade, but won't pretend to predict year to year variations. In terms of U.S. politics, I expect the Republican dominated Senate to hold more congressional hearings related to climate/energy issues. I don't expect much to be accomplished in the Paris UNFCCC meeting. And finally I predict that Michael Mann's lawsuit against NRO/CEI/Steyn won't be resolved in 2015.
I'll come back to that last one - personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Mann's suit against me lasts as long as "the hiatus" and then some. And I'll return to the first one, too. But let's start with that third one - the upcoming Paris meeting of the UNFCCC. When I first started seeing headlines about the Pope pushing for action on climate change, I assumed the College of Climate Cardinals had had a whip round and decided to buy Michael E Mann a funny hat and a big balcony to make up for the implosion of his self-conferred Nobel Prize. But no, this isn't His Hockiness but His Holiness - the real, actual Pope:
This March, following a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis will publish an encyclical on the environment that insiders say will tackle the issue of global warming head on. Pope Francis is hoping to have some impact when world leaders meet to discuss climate change in Paris next year…
So the pontiff wants to get a piece of the climate-change action. Do carbon offsets qualify for papal indulgences?
I'm not a Catholic, and so my views on the Vicar of Christ are neither here nor there. In the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is generally regarded as a camp joke on a par with the leading panto roles, but I understand that not all "faith traditions" are the same in this respect. Nevertheless, I'm not a big fan of the present pontiff. Pope-wise, I like the other fellow - the Pope Emeritus or whatever you call him. Yet, putting personal preferences aside, the notion of a papal encyclical on climate change in order to "impact" a UN conference is utterly depressing in its cobwebbed banality.
And also kind of decadent at a time when some of the oldest Christian communities on earth are being systematically extinguished. That's a real present-tense crisis, not one of those Al Gore if-we-don't-act-now-time-is-running-out-to-save-the-polar-bears crisis. It's happening now, now, now. Oughtn't that to take priority for the Bishop of Rome? Is the Pope Catholic?
Nor is the onslaught on Christians confined to the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East. Today's paper includes an account of the ransacking of a Italian church by a man uttering certain phrases in Arabic. He smashed the baptismal font, two altarpieces, a painting of the Assumption, statues of the Madonna with child, our Lady of the Sorrows, our Lady of the Rosary, and St Joseph. No doubt he was just another of the "mentally ill". Maybe all these mentally ill Koran-quoters would be worth an encyclical.
But no: The Pope's decided to "tackle the issue of global warming head on". Maybe he could just give Michael E Mann a fake papal knighthood instead...
~To return to the third of Dr Curry's predictions: she expects at least another decade without "global warming". That would be over a quarter-century with no warming. At what point does climate hysteria simply become (as the eco-crowd likes to say) "unsustainable"? Or will middle-aged men and women, for whom "global warming" ended when they were in grade school, still be shrieking that "climate change" is the greatest threat the planet faces? Will thirty-year-olds, who have lived their entire lives in a non-warming world, still be convinced that the planet is about to broil?
My bet is that the hysterics will be fewer but nuttier. More and more scientists - honest, chastened or merely prudent - understand that, after the wholesale failure of the climate models, something different is required. But the hardcore activists are digging in, and demanding papal infallibility for peer-reviewed encyclicals. In my beloved Quebec, something called le Regroupement Contre la Désinformation Climatique - the Coalition Against Climate Disinformation - is demanding that an opposing group called Friends of Science be deprived of their right to freedom of speech. (Full disclosure: among the members of Friends of Science is Dr Tim Ball, who's also being sued for defamation by Michael Mann.) Le Regroupement argues:
Alors, comment pouvons-nous empêcher de telles organisations de véhiculer des informations mensongères pour servir leurs intérêts, au détriment de celui de la population? La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés protège le droit fondamental à la liberté d'expression, que l'information exprimée soit fausse ou véridique. Toutefois, en vertu de l'article 1 de la Charte, l'État est autorisé à légiférer afin de limiter cette liberté lorsque nécessaire à l'épanouissement de la société démocratique.
Which means more or less:
So how can we prevent such organizations from conveying false information to serve their interests at the expense of the people? The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental right to freedom of expression, whether the information expressed be false or true. However, under Section One of the Charter, the state is authorized to legislate in order to limit this freedom when necessary to the development of democratic society.
That's a somewhat expansive reading of Section One of the Charter:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Now I've always regarded Trudeau's ghastly charter as nothing more than (as we constitutional scholars say) a worthless piece of crap. But that sentence above proved more and more troubling during my battles with the hideous "human rights" commissions to restore freedom of speech to a nation that should never have lost it so carelessly. Nevertheless, I would be surprised if even the Canadian Supreme Court would be willing to extend its definition of "reasonable limits" to shut down climate deniers. Le Regroupement Contre la Désinformation Climatique, however, thinks it has a strong case:
Les changements climatiques auront aussi d'importants impacts négatifs sur la santé et les activités humaines. Ces impacts incluent notamment l'augmentation des épisodes de chaleur accablante et leur effet sur les individus les plus vulnérables, notamment les ainés. S'y ajoutent les problématiques liées à l'augmentation du niveau de la mer, dont la disparition de nombreux États insulaires ainsi que l'augmentation des risques d'inondation, avec toutes les souffrances et les mouvements de population qu'elles impliquent. De plus, l'Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'Alimentation et l'Agriculture (FAO) met régulièrement en garde contre d'éventuelles famines d'envergure causées par les dérèglements climatiques…
Which translates to:
Climate change will also have significant negative impacts on health and human activities. These impacts include the increasing periods of oppressive heat and their effect on the most vulnerable, such as seniors. In addition the problems related to the increase in sea levels, including the disappearance of numerous island states as well as the increase in the risk of flooding, with all the suffering and population movements they imply. In addition, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) routinely warns of large-scale famines caused by climate disruption...
So, because some bureaucrat somewhere does a report saying that this or that low-lying bit of the Maldives might be underwater in a century or three, real actual free-born peoples have to lose their right to freedom of expression right now. In a way, this is worse than what the Canadian Islamic Congress enforcers tried to do to me: There's no pretense of "hate speech" or this or that "phobia" or "-ism" or any of the other mawkish, modish concerns of identity-group victimology. The strange groupthink eunuchs of climate change are simply demanding that their opponents be silenced for no other reason than that they hold a different opinion. Michael E Mann, an eminent person terrified of impertinent Tweeters, is a big part of the shut-up culture that has so deformed "climate activism" that calling on the state to criminalize dissent now seems entirely normal to them.
There'll be a lot more of this the longer "the pause" goes on.
~Finally on Doctor Fraudpants: Steve McIntyre continues his analysis of the unsatisfactory presentations at oral argument in the DC Court of Appeals, noting (correctly) the disastrous response of National Review's lawyer to a question about Climategate. Michael Carvin actually answered the question thus:
That has nothing to do with the Hockey Stick.
The Climategate emails have everything to do with the Hockey Stick: They were about insulating Mann's "science" from dissenting scientists through corruption of peer review, and from the broader community via their subversion of Freedom of Information laws. Climategate is who Mann is, and who Mann is is central to the case. I'll save that for another day, but I'd like to reference a second McIntyre post which makes an important point related to the Pope and those Quebec activists:
It seems to me that it is important and relevant that Mann is not just a limited-purpose public figure (like a celebrity), as he has conceded, but that the controversies in question largely arise from his contribution to government and intergovernmental documents: IPCC 2001 and WMO 1999, and thus pertain to Mann's conduct in public "service" – as an IPCC Lead Author and/or WMO author. In addition, Mann has been a frequent recipient of government funds, while, in turn, the U.S. government has cited and relied on his work, as, for example, the EPA Endangerment Finding, while disclaiming any reliance on Mann et al 1998-99 or IPCC 2001, did cite and rely on Mann et al 2008.
Our critique of Mann's work – the critique that Mann alleged to be "pure scientific fraud" – is inseparable from its "official" use in IPCC 2001. Similarly, Steyn's criticism of the "fraudulent hockey stick" surely is also inseparable from its "official" use, rather than private use and that criticism is of "official" and not "private" conduct.
That's true. Mann would just be any old climate scientist toiling away in obscurity were it not for the promotion of his work by official bodies, such as the EPA, IPCC, WMO and all the other alphabet soup. I think the "official use" (in McIntyre's words) of the hockey stick was certainly fraudulent. But Mann's argument is that because his work has the imprimatur of officialdom it is beyond criticism. That is an explicit assault on the heart of the First Amendment, whose core protection is for critics of the official, approved line. By the time Mann's through with the Bill of Rights, that crappy Trudeaupian charter will be looking more robust.
~If you'd like to be part of my pushback against Mann and his Clime Syndicate, I hope you'll consider our exclusive Mann vs Steyn trial merchandise, or an autographed copy of my free-speech book, or our SteynOnline gift certificates. I can assure you that neither I nor my counsel will be answering Climategate questions the way Mr Carvin did.