– August 10, 2017

The Penn State University climate scientist known for his “hockey stick” computer model and hair-trigger litigiousness has suffered a stiff check within the Canadian court arena. According to a story on the educational website Principia Scientific International, Dr. Michael Mann is defying court instructions to turn over data used in creating the model, whose upward-pointing blade is supposed to prove the reality of global warming. The effect is produced using cherry-picked data, the article says.

Mann’s refusal came during a libel trial he brought against Dr. Tim Ball, a climatologist based in Canada. Though Ball is the defendant, the fact that Mann is defying the court means Ball has the right to pursue punitive sanctions against Mann for (among other things) acting with criminal intent when using public money to commit climate-data fraud.

Ball is being sued in another libel case by Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver. That case is supposed to move forward in October although it’s complicated by the fact that Weaver is now a sitting legislator representing the British Columbia Green Party in the provincial legislature. Playing on Mann’s professional affiliation, Ball stated publicly that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State.”

The Principia Scientific article, penned by John O’Sullivan, former editor of the conservative magazine National Review, says Ball’s research contrasts favorably with Mann’s in part because it includes a graph that uses “more reliable” and widely available public data. Published July 4, O’Sullivan’s piece makes no attempt to hide its glee at Mann being knocked off his skates. “Mann’s imminent defeat is set to send shock waves worldwide within the climate science community as the outcome will be both a legal and scientific vindication of U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that climate scare stories are a ‘hoax’,” O’Sullivan writes.

Mann, who heads Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, will “likely” become the subject of a criminal investigation, O’Sullivan writes. While Mann appears to be sprawled on the courtroom ice, he is still one of the climate change partisans’ most feared enforcers.

Dr. Judith Curry has submitted a legal brief in a case Mann brought against Mark Steyn, a former Canadian who has become one of the stars of conservative media through speaking, writing books, and occasionally guest-hosting “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Curry, a prolific American climate researcher who left her Georgia Tech job on January 1, gives among her “deeper reasons” for leaving “my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists,” as she writes in a recent blog post.

Author of (among many other publications) the book “The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars,” Mann has praised former President Obama’s climate policy. He has also criticized Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Trump administration and climate change skeptic. Pruitt “wants to stack the deck against mainstream science by giving his cronies & lobbyists a place at the table,” Mann wrote. “No reputable scientist should participate in this sham.”

Mann has used so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation, including the one filed in Washington, D.C., against Steyn to silence climate change critics, O’Sullivan alleges. Steyn is confident Mann’s slow-moving strategic lawsuit will go wide of the mark. The case has been going on for six years, the commentator notes.

Steyn compiled and edited a book called “A Disgrace to the Profession.” The zinger was aimed squarely at Mann and his hockey stick model, which has been used by United Nations climate bureaucrats, former Vice President Al Gore, and various governments wanting their citizens to look more favorably on the Kyoto Accord. “Mann’s whole hockey shtick is to present himself as the very embodiment of science, or – in his more modest moments – climate science: Le climat, c’est moi,” Steyn writes on his website. “On the whole, science is disinclined to play along, which is the point of my book.”

Mann’s being sent to the penalty box may put other climate change partisans on thin ice, O’Sullivan opines: “Many hundreds of peer-reviewed papers cite Mann’s work, which is now effectively junked. Despite having deep-pocketed backers willing and able to feed his ego as a publicity-seeking mouthpiece, Mann’s credibility as a champion of environmentalism is in tatters.”

Mann’s downfall may move the climate change debate to an entirely new arena — one with a less chippy style of play — which would be welcome. Civilized science, which means few if any lawsuits and sticking to research amid generous debate, should be the name of the game. 

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