The news this last week reminded me of a piece of mine from May, called "Michael E Mann: Liar, Cheat, Falsifier and Fraud" (I toned down the headline upon the advice of counsel). Therein I wrote:
It's always fun in a legal battle to have something bigger at stake than a mere victory. In Canada, we put the "human rights" system itself on trial, to the point where the disgusting and indefensible "hate speech" law Section 13 was eventually repealed by Parliament. It seems to me that in this particular case the bigger issue is the climate of fear that Mann and his fellow ayatollahs of alarmism have succeeded in imposing on an important scientific field.
I confess that, until Michael E Mann sued me, I was not fully aware of quite how thoroughly "Shut up, he explained" is now the First Law of Climate Science:
If you're a younger scientist, you know that, if you cross Mann and the other climate mullahs, there goes tenure, there goes funding, there goes your career: you'll be cut off like Briffa's tree rings. I've been stunned to learn of the very real fear of retribution that pervades the climate world.
Well, that was last year, when the Warmanos waiting in the back alley took the hockey stick to, among others, Lennart Bengtsson and Nate Silver. Bengtsson was a former director of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, winner of the Descartes Prize and a WMO prize for groundbreaking research, and even a friend and collaborator of Mann's at scientific conferences. But he made the mistake of, ah, seeking to expand his circle of climate acquaintances, and so Mann was forced to sneeringly dismiss him as "junk science". Nothing personal, you understand. Just taking care of business. Nate Silver is the hipster who became a hero to the American left because of his statistical predictions of the 2012 election and then set up his own "538" website dedicated to "data journalism" - just the data, the facts, the numbers, the analysis... Mann was obliged to explain to him that these considerations do not apply to climate science.
But this year the Warmanos are taking it to a whole new level. It began with a peer-reviewed paper published in Science Bulletin by Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David R Legates, and William M Briggs. The paper was entitled "Why Models Run Hot" and sought to provide an explanation for the most salient fact about the climate-change debate: why the turn-of-the-century climate models were all wrong and failed to foresee the two-decade global-warming "pause". Monckton, Soon et al posit that the models themselves are flawed and over-simplified, and that, in the case of the IPCC's latest projections, overstate future global warming by as much as three times.
The Big Climate enforcers could have countered the argument, marshaled their own facts, and demolished the paper. But that's not how they roll.
Christopher Monckton is a famous scourge of the Clime Syndicate, and they expend a lot of energy attempting to marginalize him as a kook and a weirdo, including strange claims that his hereditary viscountcy, conferred on his grandfather by HM The Queen on February 12th 1957 (if you'll forgive a little peer review), is not a real peerage.
Willie Soon, on the other hand, is inside the system: He has a part-time gig at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. If Soon were to get away with publishing papers with Monckton in peer-reviewed journals, there's no telling what other scientists might follow. Let Soon pull that off, and, before you know it, the settled science could get all unsettled. So it was necessary to make an example of him.
What, you mean by forensic dissection of his inaccurate science?
Ha-ha, don't be ridiculous. By raising questions about his "funding" from "fossil-fuel interests". As Steven Hayward puts it:
Let's start by axing a simple question: If I say "two plus two equals four," does the truth of that proposition depend on whether I've received a grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation?
Yes, it does. As Michael E Mann sees it, once you've taken #KochMachine#Scaife#Murdoch#YourNameHere money, two plus two can never equal four ever again.
So Willie Soon wound up on the front of The New York Times, and Mann & Co may yet succeed in destroying him. Yet, even if they don't, they've taught a valuable lesson to any young scientist minded to co-author a paper with Christopher Monckton.
But then they figured: Hey, why stop there? It's pretty exhausting taking the hockey stick to every punk who steps out of line on a case-by-case basis. Maybe we can get a group discount, and take a big bunch of them out in one fell swoop.
Enter Raúl Grijalva, Democratic Representative from Arizona and Ranking Member of the House UnEnvironmental Activities Committee. Commissar Grijalva has targeted seven individuals for investigation - Robert Balling, John Christy, Judith Curry, Steven Hayward, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke Jr. What crimes did they commit? Well, let Grijalva explain:
As Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I have a constitutional duty to protect the public lands, waters and resources of the United States and ensure that taxpayers are able to enjoy them. I write today because of concerns raised in a recent New York Times report and documents I have received that highlight potential conflicts of interest and failure to disclose corporate funding sources in academic climate research...
My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships. Please respond to the following questions and requests for documents. Please ensure your response is in a searchable electronic format and that your reply quotes each question or request followed by the appropriate response. These inquiries refer to activities conducted between Jan. 1,2007, and Jan. 31, 2015.
1. What is the institution's policy on employee financial disclosure? Please provide a full copy of all applicable policies, including but not limited to those applying to Prof. Curry.
2. For those instances already mentioned and others that apply, please provide:
a. all drafts of Prof. Curry's testimony before any government body or agency or that which, to your knowledge, she helped prepare for others;
b. communications regarding testimony preparation.
3. Please provide information on Prof. Curry's sources of external funding. "External funding" refers to consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies given to Prof. Curry that did not originate from the institution itself. Please include:
a. The source of funding;
b. The amount of funding;
c. The reason for receiving the funding;
d. For grants, a description of the research proposal and copy of the funded grant;
e. Communications regarding the funding.
4. Please provide all financial disclosure forms she filed listing the Georgia Institute of Technology as her affiliation.
5. Please provide Prof. Curry's total annual compensation for each year covered here.
Thank you for your attention to this issue. Please provide a full response no later than March 16, 2015. Direct questions to Vic Edgerton at [email protected] or (202) 225-6065.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources
Judith Curry has never testified before Commissar Grijalva's committee. But, because she appeared before some or other committee of the Emirs of Incumbistan, Commissar Grijalva claims the constitutional responsibility to know what travel expenses she received in 2007.
I've testified to the Canadian Parliament and other legislative bodies over the years, and I can tell you now I would not accept an invitation to testify before the United States Congress under the terms this repulsive thug demands. Of course, they have the power to compel testimony through subpoenas, and maybe they can compel proof of speaking-fee compensation from 2007, too. But, for all Grijalva's appeals to "constitutional duty", the men who wrote the US Constitution did not intend that citizens who come before the people's house should have to endure a career audit going back eight years (even the corrupt and diseased IRS only demands seven). It would be heartening to think all seven recipients of Grijalva's letter would tell him to take a hike, but I am not confident of that.
There is an intriguing phrase in that first paragraph: "documents that I have received". Commissar Grijalva is a bully but, it seems to me, a somewhat obtuse one. I would doubt that he came up with this scheme all on his ownsome. As he says:
My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships.
Likewise, the electorate cannot evaluate Grijalva's performance of his duties if it's influenced by undisclosed relationships. So who put him up to it?
~When the three investigations into my writing by three separate Canadian "human rights" commissions were finally over (with the acquittal by the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal), a lot of people commented along the following lines:
I don't know what Steyn and Maclean's are complaining about. They were investigated and acquitted. The system worked.
And that's true if you don't mind wasting a year of your life and a significant seven-figure sum. Most people do mind, of course. Which is why the real target of Big Climate's thuggery is not the individuals themselves, but the thousands of lesser-known scientists who may secretly, furtively half-agree with the targets of the Warmanos, but figure that, if they can do this to Willie Soon or Judith Curry or Richard Lindzen, what'll they do to Assistant Professor Wossname at the Podunk Institute of Meteorology? As Jo Nova writes:
Consider how hard-line the inquisition is. Roger Pielke Jr. accepts most of the consensus IPCC positions, even calling for a carbon tax, and supporting Obama's proposed EPA regulations, but he's under fire as much as those who question everything. The aim here is much larger than just stopping Pielke — the real audience are the thousands of silent borderline skeptical academics watching on. Imagine if they spoke their minds? The message to them is "don't even think it". All academics must be 100% believers, and even the smallest deviation from the permitted line will receive the same treatment.
As with the firebreathing imams who demand that a cartoon or a teddy bear or a swirl on a Burger King ice-cream carton must be punished by death, you're struck by the insecurity of the true believers. Nevertheless, as Jo says, it works:
The harassment and pressure work on whistleblowers. We are all human. Sadly even Pielke admits, despite having tenure, that the harrassment means he has changed the way he writes and researches:
'The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject.'
Maybe someone else will step up and take his place. Then again, Charlie Hebdo is having difficulty attracting new cartoonists.
I can stand almost anything except the guy who says: "You can't say that." That's why I'm battling on with Mann's crappy law suit after three years in the toilet of the DC justice system. Because, at some point, it becomes necessary not to "shift away" but to push back against a clique of bullies locked in malign alliance with powerful government agencies and political hacks like Raúl Grijalva. I understand Professor Pielke's situation, and I am in the fortunate position of having no nervous institutional employer. And I thank those of you who, at a very dark period in my life a year ago and in the months since, supported me and kept me in the game.
But the naked intimidation of Bengtsson, Silver, Pielke, Soon and on and on is evil, and remorseless. And so, even as the gulf between Big Climate's models and observable reality widens, the permitted parameters of debate narrow and shrivel.
~I will write a separate piece on what Commissar Grijalva calls "undisclosed financial relationships" in the next day or two.
~Full disclosure (just to avoid any subpoenas from Grijalva): Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, Jo Nova and I are all contributors to the new book Climate Change: The Facts, available worldwide in Kindle, Kobo and Nook formats.
Yes, yes, snaps reader Michael Woronoff from Los Angeles, but what about that print edition you promised?
In January, you wrote "Climate Change: The Facts will be available in paperback direct from the SteynOnline bookstore [in February]."
Still true? I dislike e-books and am happy to wait, but if that is all that will ever be available, I guess I'll have to break down.
Don't break down just yet. The paperback edition will be available in March, and in the next day or two you'll be able to pre-order personally autographed copies direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
That's "personally autographed" by me, I'm afraid. Soon and Lindzen and most of the rest will be banged up in Raúl Grijalva's re-education camp in the Arizona desert by then.