Attention has been drawn today to Mann’s request to other Team members for suggestions as to how to take direct action at Harvard against Soon and Baliunas. Not noticed thus far is that Kevin Trenberth reverted almost immediately with suggestions and that Mann followed up on these suggestions. Later, Soon’s supervisor has a small cameo when we (Ross and I) enter on the scene.
The email reported today (4032, 276) was dated 2003-07-23. It was by no means an isolated attempt.
On April 24, 2003 (email 1999), Mann complained to a very large email distribution list that Soon and Baliunas’ association with Harvard-Smithsonian added damaging prestige to their article:
This latest assault uses a compromised peer-review process as a vehicle for launching a scientific disinformation campaign (often viscious and ad hominem) under the guise of apparently legitimately reviewed science, allowing them to make use of the “Harvard” moniker in the process.
On May 14, 2003, (email 2524), Mann wrote to Trenberth and other “colleagues” alleging that Soon and Baliunas had “hijacked” Harvard’s public relations office. Mann requested contacts at Harvard:
Baliunas and co. appear to have successfully hijacked Harvard’s PR office on this. Any of you have contacts there you might be able to get some information from? Both of these appeared in the “Harvard Gazette”:
That provides the appearance of Harvard’s stamp of approval for unsound claims which have otherwise been ignored by any other mainstream media outlets (despite the repeated attempts of the authors and their promoters to get wider coverage, the story has generally only been picked up by right-wing online sites and Murdoch-owned newspapers).
Trenberth wrote back suggesting Dan Schrag and Paul Epstein.
On May 15, Mann wrote Epstein as follows (email 2524), claiming that there was an “investigation” into the practices of editor de Freitas.
Kevin reminded me that you would be a good person to contact. I don’t know if you have followed this story. Baliunas and company have published these two terrible paper which purport, without any credibility whatsoever, to undermine IPCC conclusions. The papers were published in “Energy and Environment” (an industry shill) and “Climate Research” (with help from some dubious individuals on the editorial boards–there is an investigation now into the practices of the editor in question, Chris DeFrietas of New Zealand, who rights anti-IPCC and anti-Kyoto op ed pieces in New Zealand). They are making some headway within the beltway, though the mainstream media and scientific community recognize the stuff for what it is [I'll resist using the appropriate words here, because my message might then not make it through the email filters].
Any insights you might have into the goings on within the PR office at Harvard would be of interest. It is disappointing to see Harvard’s press office allow itself to be used as a pawn in this transparently political, pseudo-scientific, and industry-backed stunt…
thanks in advance for any help or insight you can provide,
Epstein immediately sent back a cordial response, copying Eric Chivian, James McCarthy and Trenberth:
Dear Michael Mann,
It is indeed a great pleasure to receive your message (showing your famous graph for the last millennium so often in talks). My feelings — and those of Eric Chivian, our center’s director — are mutual. It is appalling what Baliunus et al. are doing, using the past 50 year window for example, to tell their distorted story. And of course the story is used by those who’s interests have become self evident.
Have you spoken with Mike McElroy and Jim McCarthy? I know that Dan S is steaming mad and I do suggest a call to Mike to encourage a response from the Harvard University Committee on the Environment. I have discussed this with both Mike and Jim, but a note from you might help move things along.
I look forward to hearing back and would certainly be open to developing a response based on climatology and the accumulating biological and health responses to climate change.
With best regards, Paul
The emails shed no light on further developments. Harvard is next mentioned in the Wigley email (1700, 4032) of July 23 to which attention has been drawn. Wigley, as Mann had done in April, complains about the Harvard association and asks what they “as a community” can do:
The work appears to have the imprimateur of Harvard, which gives it added credibility. So, what can we as a community do about this?
Wigley goes on to say that it would be useful to have”Harvard disassociate themselves” from the article:
It would also be useful to have Harvard disassociate themselves
from the work…
Similarly, perhaps some of you know some influential Harvard types better than I do and can make some suggestions here. The only way to counter this crap is to use the biggest guns we can muster.
As too often, Mann was once again inflamed by Wigley, responding immediately (4032, 276 – July 23, 2003), asking for suggestions on “Harvard colleagues” who might help the Team “take action” against Soon and Baliunas:
Their ability to repeatedly co-opt the Harvard news office remains a real problem. Nobody I’ve talked to at Harvard is happy about this, and there’s been talk of action on the part of various of the faculty, but nobody seems willing or able to mount enough of an effort to get anything done about this. Apparently there was a threat of a lawsuit against Harvard last time folks there tried to do something about Baliunas, and so they may have lost their nerve. But I know our Harvard colleagues are not happy about continually having their institutional name dragged through the mud. If someone has close ties w/ any individuals there who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I’d highly encourage pursuing this.
Two weeks later (3013. 2003-08-04), Mann reported about the recent Senate EPW hearings (taking enormous pleasure in the news of the von Storch resignation announced at the hearings) to Pachauri, the Australian correspondents involved in the April emails (Nicholls, Whetton, Francey, Etheridge, Smith, Torok, Bouma, Ayers, Bailey, Pearman) as well as MacCracken, Crowley and Bradley. In the email, Mann reported that “something is up” in connection with their campaign against Soon and Baliunas at Harvard:
There is a rumour that Harvard may have had enough w/ their name being dragged through the mud by the activities of Baliunas and Soon, and that “something is up”. Baliunas and Soon, as alluded to in the WSJ article, are now no longer talking to the media. Will keep you posted on that…
The Climategate-2 emails do not return to this point.
In the Climategate-1 emails, the first reference to McIntyre and McKitrick 2003 came in an email from Mann to his closest associates. Mann had received a copy of our still unpublished article from a confidential informant:
From: “Michael E. Mann”
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL Fwd:
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 13:47:44 -0500
This has been passed along to me by someone whose identity will remain in confidence.
Who knows what trickery has been pulled or selective use of data made. It’s clear that “Energy and Environment” is being run by the baddies–only a shill for industry would have republished the original Soon and Baliunas paper as submitted to “Climate
Research” without even editing it. Now apparently they’re at it again…
My suggested response is: 1) to dismiss this as stunt, appearing in a so-called “journal” which is already known to have defied standard practices of peer-review. It is clear, for example, that nobody we know has been asked to “review” this so-called paper 2) to point out the claim is nonsense since the same basic result has been obtained by numerous other researchers, using different data, elementary compositing techniques, etc. Who knows what sleight of hand the authors of this thing have pulled. Of course, the usual suspects are going to try to peddle this crap. The important thing is to deny that this has any intellectual credibility whatsoever and, if contacted by any media, to dismiss this for the stunt that it is..
On Oct 28, Eugene Avrett sent an email to Mann about the new paper (see email 4469) described by Mann as follows:
This seems to be the HTML version of McIntyre’s paper. (I got this unsolicited from Gene Avrett, Soon & Baliunas’s boss at Harvard
You may be interested in the article by McIntyre and McKitrick just published in Energy and Environment which questions the validity of the Mann et al. (1998) study that provided the basis for the claim that 20th century warming is unprecedented. See http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/trc.html.