I had a grand time at the Heartland Institute's tenth International Conference on Climate Change, and it was good to meet up with a half-dozen of my co-authors on Climate Change: The Facts, which I'm glad to see has been proving popular with readers. Incidentally, in the current issue of the Aussie mag Quadrant, Matt Ridley calls Climate Change: The Facts "a fascinating new book" and uses it for a marvelous tour de force on Big Climate's corrupting effect on science. It's a terrific read.
On Thursday evening, we held a group book-signing at the conference, and scribbled our Professor Sir John Hancock, FRS over some 400 copies before the dinner bell rang. That's us at right just before the delirious horde of non-Beliebers (or Deniebers) were let through the doors. Dr J Scott Armstrong was also there, but decided to eschew the group shot. The left-hand half's from the Commonwealth, right-hand from the US, but, if you'll forgive a touch of the Tim Hunts, I feel we could have done with some of our lovely co-authors from the distaff side - Jo Nova, Donna Laframboise, Jennifer Marohasy - to break up the blokeyness.
The proprietor of And Then There's Physics tried to look away but couldn't:
I also â€“ for my sins â€“ watched Mark Steyn's keynote speech. I'm not sure I would recommend doing it, if you haven't already done so. It was very strange. I could only watch it in small chunks. It might have actually been moderately amusing if it wasn't for the fact that Steyn appeared to think that what he was saying made some kind of sense, and that those in the audience seemed to be lapping it all up. Quite how someone can base a large part of their career on attacking another person is beyond me.
Well, golly, maybe it's something to do with that "other person" suing me for nine million bucks. Is it really so "beyond you" to imagine that that might occasion a smidgeonette of ill feeling? I gather the anonymous Mister And-Then-There's-Physics lives in the United Kingdom, so that's six million quid to you. [UPDATE: Apparently he's not anonymous: He's Ken Rice, an astronomy guy at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Observatory.] If you're still having difficulty imagining it, ask Michael E Mann to sue you, too. He's got active suits all over the map, but I'm sure he's got one or two open slots in his schedule.
As for my basing a large part of my career on attacking Mann, I do sometimes marvel at the way people who profess to be saving the planet can be so fantastically parochial. In 2001, I wrote about the then-newish hockey stick in Britain's Sunday Telegraph and Canada's National Post, and some five years later in The Australian. But, as far as I recall, until November 2009 I had never ever mentioned Michael E Mann's name in print. That was the month Climategate broke, of course, and I alluded to him a handful of times in the ensuing weeks. (Mann knows all this because I responded to his discovery requests almost a year-and-a-half ago, since when he's refused to respond to mine.) And after that handful of times, I never mentioned him again until a 2012 blog post for which he's suing me.
So now I mention him somewhat more often.
I assume Mister And-Then-There's-Physics thinks Mann is a genial sort content to shriek "Denier!!!" at those who disagree with him and then block them on Twitter. But in fact he threatens to sue - a lot. Many of his targets then simply fall silent, so in that sense the threats work. I tried to explain to his chest-thumping Big Tobacco lawyer (the one who last week tried to sneak into the conference without paying) that that's not how it would go this time:
A sharp post by Powerline's Steven Hayward concludes:
'By the way, hasn't Mann heard of the track record of people who haul Mark Steyn into court? It isn't pretty.'
Actually, I'll bet Michael Mann had never heard of me when he blew his gasket, and I'll wager his high-priced counsel never bothered doing two minutes of Googling. If they had, they'd have known that once they start this thing they'd better be prepared to go the distance.
And so here we are three years and a million dollars in legal fees later. Because, oddly enough, when a guy's demanding nine million from you, he gets your attention. The day Mann loses in court, I'll take a victory lap and then resume my life - from jihad to showtunes.
~In his amended complaint (the original had to be withdrawn because Mann fraudulently claimed to be a "Nobel prize recipient" - paragraph five et al), Mann complains how outrageous it is to compare a scientist of his eminence with Jerry Sandusky. Actually, nobody compared him to Jerry Sandusky*: Rand Simberg compared the whitewash of Penn State's investigation into Sandusky with the whitewash of Penn State's investigation into Mann, and he was right on both counts.
Still, I can understand why a chap wouldn't want to be associated with a sexual predator. On the other hand, that's becoming a bit of an occupational hazard - at least in the two most prominent bodies in the environmental movement. As noted previously re his fake Nobel "certificate", Mann has the only Nobel Prize awarded by a notorious sex fiend, the IPCC's now disgraced Rajendra Pantsdowni. Now we learn of similar problems at Greenpeace:
An ex-employee (name withheld) of Greenpeace alleged that she had to leave her job in 2013 after being sexually harassed and raped by her colleagues.
Narrating her ordeal, she said that it started a year after she had joined the NGO at their Bengaluru office. The first incident happened during an official trip in October 2012. "I got a call from a senior colleague at 11 pm, asking me to vacate my room and insisting that I sleep in his suite. In another incident, he approached me physically despite my discomfort, insisted on force-feeding me birthday cake,' she told IANS.
Though she registered a written complaint with the HR manager, she did not receive any verbal or written communication from the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the organisation, which looks into sexual harassment cases. To her shock, she learnt that the person was a serial offender and no action had been taken against him despite his misbehaviour with two other female employees.
Greenpeace are big supporters of Michael E Mann. It would seem to me statistically improbable that one could be hired by a man whose career was destroyed by a sex-abuse scandal, and promoted to global celebrity by an organization headed by another man whose career was destroyed by a sex-abuse scandal. And now Greenpeace...
If Tim Hunt is unfit for public life, when is Big Climate going to clean house?
But maybe global warming will take care of the problem. The Daily Mail reports that, like everything else these days, climate change leads to fewer men:
A Japanese study found that more baby girls are born, compared to boys, when temperatures rise in the country.
~Meanwhile, I thank you for your support as we slog on toward trial. Mann chose to sue me, and he can't dodge discovery forever. I thank all those from the glittering metropolitan fleshpots of New York and Toronto to imperial pinpricks like the Falklands and the Cook Islands who've helped keep me in the game by swinging by the SteynOnline store or picking up one of our gift certificates. As Matt Ridley reminds us in that Quadrant essay, the damage to science from Big Climate is real and profound, and the decisive defeat in a court of law of its most intolerant and bullying enforcer will be my modest contribution to helping turn the page.
*CORRECTION: In fairness, Rand Simberg did write that Mann "molested and tortured data" and therefore could be said to be "the Jerry Sandusky of climate science". My apologies: I was posting on the hoof. My point was that Mann was offended by being associated with a sexual predator by analogy, when he's actually been far more closely associated with one professionally.