The “Discovery” of the EPA Inquiry

One of the essential elements in Mann’s reliance on EPA findings is his assertion that his supposed exoneration by EPA had been “widely available and commented” on in the media and had been “read by the Defendants”:

All of the above reports and publications were widely available and commented upon in the national and international media. All were read by the Defendants.

The claim that all nine “inquiry” reports had been “read” by Steyn and the other defendants is surely a fantasy on the part of Mann and his lawyers. While Steyn seems to be a man of eclectic interests, somehow I can’t picture him poring through the dreck of the turgid “reports” from the various inquiries.

I am particularly dubious of Mann’s claim that Steyn (and Simberg) had read the EPA documents. Some climate blogs took notice of the EPA decision denying various petitions for reconsideration of the EPA Endangerment Finding when it was issued, but none understood it to supposedly be an “investigation” and “exoneration” of Michael Mann, something which would have occasioned great interest in July 2010, then only a few weeks after the Muir Russell and second Penn State reports. The EPA denial decision was first included in a list of inquiries in an unmarked Feb 2011 revision of a November 2009 post by SKS, but really was brought to public attention for the first time in Mann’s Statement of Claim itself. It seems very improbable to me that Steyn (or Simberg) were aware of EPA’s supposed findings in connection in Mann (not that Mann’s characterization is accurate, but that’s a story for another day), or why they would be obligated to be familiar with them. Given Mann’s allegation that Steyn, Simberg and others were supposed to be aware of EPA’s investigation and “exoneration” of Mann, the contemporary unawareness of this supposed EPA investigation – especially at SKS and Real Climate – is really quite remarkable.



The Decision Denying Petitions for Reconsideration of the EPA Endangerment Finding

The draft EPA Endangerment Finding was issued in April 2009, within a few months of the new administration. The final Endangerment Finding was issued in December 2009, a few weeks after Climategate, and attracted very little commentary on climate blogs, then still astonished by the Climategate emails.

In February 2010 (60 days after the Endangerment Finding), ten petitions for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding were filed, including one in which CEI was a party. In the EPA Endangerment Finding, the EPA had been very wary of relying on Mann’s work or even recent paleoclimate. It showed a spaghetti graph (from the NAS 2006 report) that did not include the MBH98-99 hockey stick and placed caveats on recent paleoclimate. EPA’s guardedness was noted in one petition (Peabody Energy) who nonetheless argued that EPA was obliged to consider the controversies of MBH98-99, an invitation that EPA evaded as much as possible.

Blog Reaction to the EPA Decision

On July 29, 2010, the EPA announced the decision denying reconsideration of the various petitions. Given the centrality of this decision in Mann’s pleadings, it is remarkable that climate blogs (including Real Climate) were completely unaware that the EPA was reporting on an “investigation” and “exoneration” of Michael Mann, a topic then of considerable interest (Muir Russell and the second stage of Penn State had just reported and were widely commented on.) Climate blogs were aware that the EPA had referred to the “inquiries”, but not that EPA purported to be reporting on its own “investigation”.

Anthony Watts reported on the EPA decision here. Anthony quoted from Administrator Lisa Jackson’s statement, which referred to “clean energy”, “green jobs”, “oil addiction” and “national security”, all important issues, but ones that are not relevant to the investigation of academic misconduct. Indeed, the use of such language raises questions about the impartiality of EPA in their investigation.

“Defenders of the status quo will try to slow our efforts to get America running on clean energy. A better solution would be to join the vast majority of the American people who want to see more green jobs, more clean energy innovation and an end to the oil addiction that pollutes our planet and jeopardizes our national security,” she added

Anthony observed that EPA had referred to the “inquiries” (Muir Russell, Oxburgh, UK Parliamentary Committee and Penn State) being known to readers, but there is no evidence that Anthony had any inkling that EPA purported to have done its own “investigation” of Mann’s conduct:

Jackson claimed that the scientists had been cleared of wrongdoing by multiple whitewashes investigations.

At Climate Audit, I wrote a two line notice of the EPA decision, a denial that, needless to say, had been expected. I noted that EPA had referred to the “inquiries”, but was unaware that the EPA report could itself be construed as the report of an “inquiry”:

The EPA, as expected, has denied the various petitions for reconsideration of their Endangerment Finding. They refer to the various “inquiries” on some points. Interesting reading here

http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions.html

Joe Romm published an article endorsing the EPA decision a couple of days later, but likewise did not seem aware that the document contained a report on an “investigation” and “exoneration” of Michael Mann, whose name was not mentioned.

But most tellingly, Real Climate itself did not report the news that EPA had “investigated” and “exonerated” Michael Mann. The EPA report did not attract a headpost, but was mentioned in several comments in a thread about Andrew Montford’s then recently published book. Of much more interest to blog commenters at the time was the astonishing news from Gavin Schmidt that, after months of Schmidt denying that the Tiljander sediments impacted the Mann et al 2008 reconstructions, Schmidt finally admitted that the contaminated Korttajarvi sediments did impact Mann’s vaunted no-dendro reconstruction. Schmidt’s admission did not impact the EPA documents which cited Mann’s nodendro reconstruction on several occasions as a supposed refutation of the divergence problem and hide-the-decline (adding to the interest in whether Schmidt was a reviewer of the EPA documents.)

In September 2010, Ross McKitrick wrote a thorough review of the Climategate inquiries, cited at WUWT on Sep 15 here: McKitrick reviewed the Muir Russell, Oxburgh, Parliamentary Committee and Penn State inquiries, but was unaware of the EPA and UK Department of Energy and Climate Change reports as relating to investigation of Michael Mann or other Climategaters. In the same month, Andrew Montford also published a report for the GWPF entitled The Climategate Inquiries, considering the same list as McKitrick and likewise being unaware of the supposed EPA “investigation”.

SKS
1_herrcookAs the first anniversary of Climategate approached, Stephen Lewandowsky and his proteges at SKS were pondering methods of “re-framing” Climategate so that attention was drawn away from the offputting spectacle of climate scientists deleting data to hide the decline and destroying documents to evade FOI requests.

On November 17, 2010, Stephen Lewandowsky puffed that there had been “six vindications”:

Not one, not two, but six vindications. This comes as no surprise to anyone with passing familiarity of the distinction between private chat and public actions.

But Lewandowsky’s list of six did not include EPA: in addition to the three known UK inquiries, it counted the two Penn State stages as separate investigations and added a previously unknown report by UK Department of Energy and Climate Change to the list.

The first inclusion of the EPA inquiry on the SKS list appears to have occurred in January 2011 as an an unmarked revision of the SKS webpage – it is mentioned in a January 2011 version in here , but absent in the preceding archive from December 2010. The SKS description of the EPA inquiry consisted of a short quote from the EPA Press Release as follows:

In July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency investigated the emails and “found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets.”

As an editorial note, this language does not occur in the EPA denial decision itself or in any of the supporting volumes: it appears to be spin from the EPA press office and appears to owe more to Real Climate than the formal EPA documents.

Between early 2011 and July 2012, SKS added two more inquiries to their list, bringing their total to nine by July 2012, when it was consulted by Mann’s lawyers.

Mann’s Lawyer Copy SKS, August 2012
In July 2012, Simberg published his blogpost on Mann and the Penn State inquiry, noted up soon afterwards by Steyn. Following criticism of Simberg’s Sandusky image, CEI removed two “inappropriate” sentences from its blogpost. Nonetheless, on August 21, 2012, Mann’s lawyers sent a letter to CEI saying that the “damage from the original post…has already been done” and that they intended to “pursue all appropriate legal remedies”.

In their letter, Mann’s lawyers copied SKS’ list and descriptions of the nine inquiries almost verbatim (though neither SKS nor John Mashey, to my knowledge, have accused Mann’s lawyers of plagiarism. For example, Mann’s only slightly revised description of the EPA inquiry was as follows:

In July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency investigated the [certain] emails [that supposedly formed the basis of the allegations against Dr Mann] and “found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets.”

Mann’s Statement of Claim, October 2012
For eight of the nine inquiries, Mann’s Statement of Claim in October 2012 (and Reply Memorandum of January 2013) stuck more or less to the SKS script. For their description of the Muir Russell inquiry, Mann’s lawyers even used the same fake quotation that SKS had used.

However, for the EPA, Mann’s lawyers departed from the SKS script, though one may question the “value added”. Whereas the EPA “inquiry” had been unknown to Montford, McKitrick and Lewandowsky in their lists of Climategate inquiries and only one of nine in the SKS list, it was promoted to a pre-eminent status in the pantheon of inquiries in the Mann Statement of Claim – it was the Zeus of inquiries, so to speak. The Statement of Claim included an extended quotation from the EPA (taken from the Myths versus Facts webpage, rather than the decision documents), while, for seven of nine inquiries, no quotation whatever had been provided. Oddly, the “money quote” selected by Mann’s lawyers was a declaration by the EPA press office that allegations that “temperature data and trends had been manipulated” was a “myth”, a declaration that seems oddly irrelevant to Mann’s actual research, which concerned proxy reconstructions rather than “temperature data”, except for the fact that Mann’s lawyers had previously misrepresented Mann’s research as being about temperature data, even declaring that Mann had been “one of the first” to “document” the increase in observed temperatures in the 20th century. The complete except is given below:

22. Notably, in July 2010, CEI, a defendant in this case, and others, filed a request entitled Petitions to Reconsider the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency published a summary of its findings, entitled “Myths vs. Facts: Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act,” which stated:

Myth: The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) emails prove that temperature data and trends were manipulated.

Fact: Not true. Petitioners say that emails disclosed from CRU provide evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate data. The media coverage after the emails were released was based on email statements quoted out of context and on unsubstantiated theories of conspiracy. The CRU emails do not show either that the science is flawed or that the scientific process has been compromised. EPA carefully reviewed the CRU emails and found no indication of improper data manipulation or misrepresentation of results.

Myth: The jury is still out on climate change and CRU emails undermine the credibility of climate change science overall.

Fact: Climate change is real and it is happening now. The U. S. Global Change Research Program, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have each independently concluded that warming of the climate system in recent decades is “unequivocal.” This conclusion is not drawn from any one source of data but is based on multiple lines of evidence, including three worldwide temperature datasets showing nearly identical warming trends as well as numerous other independent indicators of global warming (e. g., rising sea levels, shrinking Arctic sea ice). Some people have “cherry- picked” a limited selection of CRU email statements to draw broad, unsubstantiated conclusions about the validity of all climate science.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Decision Document, Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act” (July 29, 2010). Available at http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions/decision.html

Later, in the segue from background to discussion of the disputed blog articles (paragraph 25), Mann again relied uniquely on the EPA investigation that:

“CEI’s claims of data manipulation were labeled a “myth” by the EPA in 2010”.

Both CEI and National Review appear to have puzzled, to say the least, at the relevance of the declaration by Mann’s lawyers that their clients should have been cowed by EPA’s press kit statement about “temperature data and trends” and did not discuss the EPA inquiry in their initial memoranda of December 2012. Their lack of interest in this seemingly irrelevant EPA declaration caused Mann’s lawyers to go ballistic in their Reply Memorandum of January 2013, but that is a story for another day.

Conclusion:
In general, it seems doubtful to me that Steyn (or Simberg) read “all” nine reports from the various “inquiries”. Indeed, it seems entirely possible that they hadn’t read any of them. It seems particularly questionable that Steyn (and/or Simberg) read the EPA denial decision together with its three volumes of supporting documents. Indeed, it seems entirely possible to me that neither Steyn nor Simberg were aware from contemporary reporting of the EPA denial decision that EPA had supposedly “investigated” and “exonerated” Michael Mann, given that no such claims had been made at the time at any climate blogs (including Real Climate) and that none of the contemporary reviews of the Climategate inquiries knew of or discussed the supposed investigation by EPA.

Postscript: Subsequent to the announcement of the EPA denial decision on July 29, 2010, I touched on the EPA decision in two posts. On October 4, 2011, I noted with amusement that EPA had conceded to the Office of the Inspector General that the peer review procedures for the Endangerment Finding and key assessment reports relied on in the Endangerment Finding had not complied with Office of Management and Budget policies for peer review of “highly influential scientific assessments” – a topic that had been raised in many of the petitions. EPA defended themselves by claiming that the Endangerment Policy had not been a “highly influential scientific assessment” and that they therefore did not need to comply with OMB policies. Given the far-reaching consequences of the Endangerment Decision, EPA’s argument seems laughable, both at the time and in retrospect.

In November 2011, I wrote a post discussing EPA’s citation and reliance on the no-dendro reconstruction of Mann et al 2008 (upside down Tiljander). In that post, I quoted from and linked to the supporting volumes of the denial decision. I don’t recall what prompted me to consider the EPA report in that particular context. By that time, I was aware that the EPA documents discussed many paleoclimate controversies and many emails, but I certainly didn’t consider them to have carried out an independent, non-partisan investigation, as opposed to recapitulating Real Climate talking points. In respect to the Mann et al 2008 no dendro reconstruction, their reliance was, to say the least ironic, as almost concurrently with the announcement of the EPA decision, Gavin Schmidt, after months of arguing the contrary, had disclosed that Mann’s no-dendro reconstruction was impacted by upside-down and contaminated Tiljander after all. Schmidt then had a hissy fit and said that the topic didn’t matter.


86 Comments

  1. seanbrady
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 7:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The assertion that Steyn read all the EPA reports is certainly a strange claim to make. I can’t imagine a lawyer would think that it would even sound convincing, let alone be provable. Could it be that they are baiting Steyn into responding that he did not read the reports, and then, claiming that there is a factual issue, somehow demand discovery of Steyn’s hard drives, to see if he downloaded the reports?

  2. Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The chickens are coming home to roost!

  3. Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Eli Rabett ran a 15-part series on the EPA responses, plus quite a few other posts. This search captures many of them.

    Steve: is there anything in this series that suggests that EPA “investigated” and “exonerated” Mann or are you just throwing a spitball against the wall

    • Skiphil
      Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 11:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Nick, the notion that any serious person could waste time reading 15 posts of Eli Rabbett on any subject at all poses credibility problems of its own.

    • jim z
      Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Nick,

      I wasted my time reading all the way through the search results of the link that you provided. Nothing.

      So what *exactly* do you think is significant, that Eli Rabett says anywhere at all?

      • Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        jim z,
        This post said that the release of EPA comments attracted little blog notice. I noted that Eli had run a 15-part series, so it wasn’t so little. Of course, Eli in 2010 was not making points about Mann vs Steyn.

        Steve: Nick, the post did not say that. (1) The post was bout the EPA Denial Decision not the EPA final Endangerment Decision and its commentsl and (2) it observed that blogs had noted up the Denial Decision but were unaware that it was supposed to have included an investigation and exoneration of Mann. You failed to distinguish between RTP documents and RTC documents and referred to something different as you conceded already. But please do not try to vindicate your error by blaming the original post.

        • Orson
          Posted Aug 31, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

          Spitballs, Nick.

          “Tar, feathers” as the redoubtable Instapundit editor, University of Tennessee Law Professor, Glenn Reynolds, would retort.

      • jim z
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Nick, I read to the bottom of the comments on this page to learn that you were mistaken and Rabett’s 15 part series is not relevant to the argument of Steve’s post.

  4. Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    CEI, at least, surely read the EPA response. They were among the petitioners.

    Steve: I agree that someone at CEI probably read the EPA response, but that doesn’t show that Steyn, SImberg or National Review read it. Not that reading the response yields what Mann’s lawyers maintain. The EPA finding, as I observed, avoided use of Mann’s work and as a result, the EPA denial decision and documents evaded opinion on Mann’s work as much as possible. Mann’s lawyers completely misconstrue some of the EPA findings as well. I have a forthcoming post on this. Nor, as ACLU argued, were any of the parties obliged in any case to accept EPA findings, which read too often as little more than Real Climate talking points.

    • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Here is a copy of CEI’s petition to the EPA. It makes a number of relevant accusations. For example, Section 3
      “These emails reveal coordinated efforts in both Britain and the US to suppress independent studies…”
      is obviously directed at Mann. More explicitly, they have Don Easterbrook on Mann “hiding the decline” with pictures.

      And the EPA answers these, saying, for example on “decline”,
      “Petitioners claim the CRU e-mails provide new reason to highlight this divergence issue as it may undermine the use of historical temperature reconstructions. EPA disagrees, and finds that the CRU e-mails demonstrate that the scientists were well aware of the divergence issue and addressed it appropriately in their research and publications.”

      On the “coordinated efforts, there are a number iof incidents to which the EPA replied in Sec 3.3, including those discussed in the previous thread.

      So yes, CEI was well aware that specific allegations were made against Mann (they made some of them), and on these at least, the EPA had exonerated him.

      Steve: I did a detailed examination of EPA’s discussion of hide-the-decline and EPA did not “exonerate” Mann. As I previously observed, they took the position that they had not relied on TAR and therefore evaded commenting on hide-the-decline. As too often, Nick, you are making stuff up. Plus, it isnt as though EPA conducted an impartial and independent investigation. As I stated above, their responses mostly did not rise above talking points.

      • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “As too often, Nick, you are making stuff up.”
        No, I quoted from the EPA summary the basis for my statement. The specific accusation from CEI ended:
        “This artful deceit, now exposed, indicates that the IPCC AR4 is scientifically questionable. The CRU emails leaked in November confirmed that this deception was deliberate.”
        The EPA responded
        “EPA disagrees, and finds that the CRU e-mails demonstrate that the scientists were well aware of the divergence issue and addressed it appropriately in their research and publications.”

        Sounds like an exoneration to me. You may disagree with the EPA, but they said it.

        Steve: read my post on this incident http://climateaudit.org/2014/05/09/mann-misrepresents-the-epa-part-1/. You need to watch the pea. Mann’s hide-the-decline incident occurred in AR3. The disclosure in AR4 was coopered up by Briffa, not Mann. Ironically, Briffa’s improved disclosure was done very grudgingly, in response to my criticism. EPA said that they had relied on AR4, not AR3 and therefore avoided a decision on Mann’s conduct in AR3, which had been a subject of Climategate emails.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

          “I agree that someone at CEI probably read the EPA response, but that doesn’t show that Steyn, SImberg or National Review read it”
          Or that the plaintiff himself read it or was particularly interested in it. The Endangerment Report is not primary science. The people who would be particularly interested in the Report, and in reading it very closely, are the lawyers and lobbyists entangled with cap and trade programs. Seemingly, these may include the plaintiff’s team. The Endangerment Report was the fundamental step for EPA direct regulation of CO2 via cap and trade. Jackson’s verbiage is just a smokescreen–none of the good energy aims she mentioned need CO2 regulation.

          The complaint, not written by Plaintiff, may reflect here its writers’ own attention to regulatory matters.

  5. stevefitzpatrick
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 8:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nick,

    You regularly complain at your own blog, Lucia’s, and elsewhere that you get put on moderation at WUWT. If you want to understand the kind of thing that will get you on moderation, you need look no further than the two comments you just made here. ‘Obtuse’ is too kind a description. Honestly Nick, this kind of drek is not worthy of your intellect.

    • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      SteveF
      ‘Obtuse’ is too kind a description.
      It’s a useless description. Are you saying the comments are not relevant? Wrong (how?)?

      This head post says
      “Given Mann’s allegation that Steyn, Simberg and others were supposed to be aware of EPA’s investigation and “exoneration” of Mann, the contemporary unawareness of this supposed EPA investigation – especially at SKS and Real Climate – is really quite remarkable.”

      The observation that Eli published a 15-part series at the time is surely pertinent. And the fact that the EPA was actually responding in part to a CEI petition, which was a big deal at CEI, surely says that they should have been aware of the response to those petitions.

      Steve: I take it that you agree that it is implausible that Steyn, Simberg or National Review “read” the EPA documents and this it is probable that they were unaware that EPA had “investigated” or “exonerated” Mann. I also take it that you agree that neither Real Climate nor SKS had contemporary awareness that EPA had supposedly “investigated” or “exonerated” Mann. And why is ELi Rabett’s series relevant to anything? I was unaware of his series. Why would Steyn or Simberg be aware of it? Nor does it discuss any EPA “investigation” or “exoneration” of Mann?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I further checked Nick’s reference to ELi Rabett and it is, as too often, more time-wasting by Stokes. The vast majority of posts in hte link http://rabett.blogspot.ca/search?q=endangerment&max-results=20&by-date=true were prior to the EPA denial decision. Only two Rabett posts subsequent to the EPA decision cited denial decision documents – one on Netherlands sea level http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2010/07/eli-can-retire-part-xv-bart-blushes.html
        and one on Africa http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2011/12/eli-can-retire-epa-on-africa-gate.html. Neither of them had anything to do with an “investigation” or “exoneration” of Mann. More digression from Stokes.

        • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

          The search I provided, as I said, captured many of the series. It also captured other stuff. . Eli’s series was mostly on the EPA findings. Part 1 begins
          “Thanks to Marcus, Eli has a ready source of pre-written posts, the EPA Endangerment Response to Comments.”
          and so on:
          Eli can retire: Part II – so much for Miskolczi
          Part 6
          Eli can retire Part VII – The EPA plays so’s your old man
          etc,

          But yes, not every part was on EPA. And they aren’t focussed on exonerating Mann. I was pointing out that the EPA fidnings did not go unnoticed.

          Steve: not only were they not “focussed” on exonerating Mann, Mann isn’t mentioned. Also, as I observed, nearly all the posts in ELi Rabett’s series were prior to the EPA Denial Decision on the petitions for reconsideration and could not possible provide notice to anyone of the Denial Decision. They were on the Endangerment FInding, not the Denial Decision. WHy dont you try reading what I say rather than wasting people’s time?


          Update: Nick has conceded that he was confused by government acronyms and that Eli’s comments prior to July 29, 2010 (nearly all of them) were not about the RTP documents.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

          Nick, by the way, I don’t know why your comments are going into moderation. I didn’t put on you on moderation.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

          Steve,
          “Also, as I observed, nearly all the posts in ELi Rabett’s series were prior to the EPA Denial Decision on the petitions for reconsideration and could not possible provide notice to anyone of the Denial Decision. “
          What is the relevance of that? The denial decision, on that part, just says:

          “E. Specific responses to the claims and arguments raised by petitioners
          EPA’s responses to the petitioners’ specific claims and arguments are summarized here, and provided in more detail in the RTP document.”

          And Eli is talking about the RTP document, which was already out. That’s where the specifics are.

          “Nick, by the way, I don’t know why your comments are going into moderation. “
          I think WordPress has been hearing bad things about me :(

          Steve: You are confused by government acronyms. The RTP documents were NOT “already out”. They were issued on July 29, 2010 accompanying the denial decision and could not possibly have been the subject of Rabett’s commentary prior to July 29, 2010 (nearly all of the comments that you pointed to.) Another set of documents (RTC documents) had been issued earlier and these were the source of Eli’s comments. Nope, your answer dowsn’t work.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

          “Steve: You are confused by government acronyms.”

          Indeed I was. Sorry about that. Eli was indeed commenting on the RTC – comments made on the finding itself.

      • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “Steve: I take it that you agree that it is implausible that Steyn, Simberg or National Review “read” the EPA documents and this it is probable that they were unaware that EPA had “investigated” or “exonerated” Mann.”

        No. Simberg in the post they are defending, said:
        “But their [Lindzen et al] criticism was ignored, particularly after the release of the NAS report, which was also purported to exonerate him. But in rereading the NAS “exoneration,” some words stand out now.”

        So he was aware that the NAS report “purported to exonerate”, and reread it. He also cited in some detail the OIG review of the Penn State report. The EPA response dealt with direct charges against Mann levelled by his own organisation. I don’t think it is implausible that he read to see what the EPA said about them.

        Steve: Nick, that shows that Simberg had read some of the inquiries that climate blogs had heard of. He didn’t mention the EPA inquiry. So this is hardly evidence that Simberg had read the EPA documents (let alone Steyn). There is no evidence that Simberg or Steyn read the EPA documents. This is bluster on the part of Mann and his lawyers. Not that reading the EPA documents would yield the results claimed by Mann’s lawyers.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

          Nick, let’s try it another way. DO you believe that (1) Steyn, (2) SImberg (3) National Review read the EPA documents? DO you think that (1) Steyn (2) Simberg (3) National review even knew that EPA had supposedly “investigated” and “exonerated” Mann? Do you think that Mann’s lawyers have any evidence or basis for their claims that (1) Steyn (2) Simberg (3) National Review had read the EPA documents? Or do you believe that their claim was either fabricated or bluster.

          Maybe you can give a straight answer as you did in agreeing that Mann’s lawyers had falsely claimed that Mann had been “one of the first” to document surface temperature increases.

        • Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

          Steve,
          As said, I think Simberg would have read the findings. This was a big issue at CEI. They petitioned the EPA for reconsideration, then appealed to the DC court of appeals (making similar allegations against Mann). The decision on that came down just before Simberg’s post.

          And CEI should have an editorial capability.

          But in any case, Mann’s attorneys wrote a letter inviting both NRO and CEI to retract, and listing all the inquiries that they should pay attention to. EPA was #6. That was surely an opportunity to brush up on what the EPA said. The responses:
          NRO Get Lost!
          CEI “In short, we’re not retracting the piece, and we’re not apologizing for it.”

          Steve: First, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe that CEI or the other parties are obliged to accept the EPA report as revealed truth nor, in particular, are they obliged to accept spins of the EPA documents by the EPA press office as revealed truth, a position that ACLU et al have forcefully argued. Second, Mann’s lawyers’ letter says that EPA had concluded that the Climategate emails were merely a “candid discussion” of the problems of large datasets. That’s a ludicrous assertion and I see no reason why CEI or anyone else should be obliged to acquiesce in it. Third, I do not agree that the EPA documents, if one reads carefully, demonstrate that EPA “investigated” and “exonerated” Mann. So even if CEI refreshed their understanding of the lawyer’s letter, I don’t see why they should have been cowed by it. Finally, in their original memorandum, CEI’s position was that Mann’s quotes in his Statement of Claim did not contradict anything that CEI had published in the Simberg blogpost – a position that seems correct to me though I’ve not posted on it yet. Mann’s lawyers frothed at the mouth in response to this and the virulence of their frothing is very curious and deserves analysis (which I propose to get to). Simberg’s blogpost did not use the word “fraudulent”. Once the Sandusky phrase is dismissed as “hyperbole” – as even J Weisberg conceded – most of the language in the Simberg document – terms like “data torture” and “manipulation” – is hard to attack.

          Also keep in mind that Mann’s assertions pertain to “all” of the defendants. Showing that CEI knew of the denial decision documents (which seems probable) does not show that Steyn or National Review knew that the denial decision documents contained statements that could be construed as an “investigation” and “exoneration” of Mann, particularly when so many observers that had examined the dispute closely (Montford, McKitrick, Lewandowsky, Watts, me, Real Climate) were unaware at the time of this supposed “investigation” and “exoneration”.

        • gober
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

          Nick,
          Giving you the benefit of the doubt here, you need to understand the basics of English grammar.

          “Passive voice” is different from “active voice”.

          “. . . after the release of the NAS report, which was also purported to exonerate him . . .” is passive voice and means that someone (unidentified in the quote you’ve given) claimed that the NAS report exonerated Mann but that the writer doesn’t believe that the NAS report did that.

          It does not imply, again from the quote you’ve given, that the writer “was aware” or believed in any way that the NAS report itself “purported to exonerate” Mann – i.e. that the NAS report made any claim about Mann having been exonerated. You’re taking one quote and reading into it almost the opposite meaning from what the words say.

          If we don’t give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that you misunderstood the quote, you don’t come out of this well.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

          “Showing that CEI knew of the denial decision documents (which seems probable) does not show that Steyn or National Review knew that the denial decision documents contained statements that could be construed as an “investigation” and “exoneration” of Mann”

          That is the theme of this blog post, and relates to the test of actual malice. But it seems to me that that test may well be applied at the point of time following the defendants emphatic decision to continue publication. Then there can be no doubt that the defendants were aware of Mann’s claim that those enquiries showed the defamatory statements were untrue. They may argue, as you do, that the enquiries didn’t show that, or if they did, they don’t have to accept it. But none can claim to be unaware.

          You’ve mention elsewhere that it is very rare for the test of actual malice to be passed. But it has very rarely been applied to the situation following a “Get Lost!” letter.


          Steve: In CEI’s response rejecting Mann’s request for retraction, CEI clearly asserted their opinion that the various inquiries had not “closely examined, let alone exonerated” Mann. Sam Kazman’s quote stated:

          However, we view the post as a valid commentary on Michael Mann’s research. We reject the claim that this research was closely examined, let alone exonerated, by any of the proceedings listed in Mr. Williams’s letter.

          Myron Ebell’s quote stated:

          Penn State Professor Michael Mann’s lawyer claims that nine investigations of academic fraud have all exonerated Professor Mann. Most of these investigations did not examine Professor Mann’s conduct or even mention him, and Penn State University’s investigation was typical of that institution’s unfortunate tendencies.

          So turning the tables somewhat, Mann and his lawyers were clearly and explicitly on notice that the various inquiries had not examined Mann’s conduct, let alone “exonerated” him. (I have closely examined the various reports and agree with CEI on this point.) Despite being informed that many of the listed inquiries had not exonerated Mann, Mann and his lawyers nonetheless made the grossly false claim that Mann had been “investigated” and “exonerated” by the nine inquiries, even the Oxburgh inquiry where we’ve discussed the dispute between Mann and Oxburgh panelist David Hand.

          Mark Steyn has called these claims not merely false, but “fraudulent”. Nick, your drawing attention to the exchange in the lawyer’s letters would appear to support Steyn’s claim.

          As a legal issue, Mann’s lawyers letter asserted to CEI that the damage had already been done and that they intended to pursue their remedies regardless. Mann’s Statement of Claim to CEI did not specify the continued publication of the Simberg post following the lawyers’ letter as a cause of action, but the original post. Had the dispute been limited to the post-lawyer letter form of publication, Mann would not have been able to contest the Sandusky comparison that appears to have animated the dispute (though rejected by J Weisberg as rhetorical hyperbole.) So I don’t think that the notice of the EPA inquiry in the August 21 letter carries any weight for knowledge imputed to the various defendants in July. But the notice to Mann from CEI in August that the inquiries did not exonerate Mann would be prior notice if potential “fraud” in relation to Mann’s false claims to have been exonerated by various inquiries should become an issue.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

          Stokes writes:

          You’ve mention elsewhere that it is very rare for the test of actual malice to be passed.But it has very rarely been applied to the situation following a “Get Lost!” letter.

          Do you have any evidence to back up this assertion or are you just free-lancing?

          From my perusal of the case law (and I haven’t examined it with this issue in mind), My guess is that there is a stage in most libel litigation where the plaintiff confronts the defendant and the defendant does not accede to the plaintiff’s demands i.e. tells him to Get Lost. I would anticipate that this situation might be common rather than “rare”. Again, do you have any research support or refernces for your quotation or is it, at this point, merely another spitball?

        • stevefitzpatrick
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

          Nick,

          Your pointing to Eli’s blog posts was utterly irrelevant; you invited people to look for EPA’s ‘exoneration’ of Mann in those posts… an exoneration which was clearly not there; Mann was not even mentioned by the EPA. There was NO relevant information about the EPA ‘investigating’ Mann in Eli’s blog posts, which makes your invitation to look at those posts appear a willful misdirection. So it seems to me you were basically asking people to waste their time. And yes, that is obtuse. Were I Steve McIntyre, I would definitely be tempted to put you on moderation for that.

          Nick, you are a smart and experienced man. Many of the technical analyses you do at your blog are both insightful and informative. But efforts to cloud the waters on a post like this with irrelevant comments (Steve’s reference to throwing spitballs is about right I think), and then further wasting people’s time with tedious defenses of your original ‘spitballs’, is quite beneath you.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

          SteveF,
          “Were I Steve McIntyre, I would definitely be tempted to put you on moderation for that”
          You’ll be glad to know that the Gods of justice (or WP) have anticipated your request.

          “makes your invitation to look at those posts appear a willful misdirection”
          It’s a series on EPA’s responses to climate discussion issues. It ended with RTP responses, so it is any case not irrelevant. But it started with RTC responses, a distinction I missed, and for which I apologised.

          “further wasting people’s time with tedious defenses of your original ‘spitballs’,”

          I of course don’t think they are spitballs. But if people raise factual objections, I do try to respond. If that is a defect, I can probably blame Irish ancestry. I notice that quite a lot of people in climate blogging have Celtic surnames.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

          Steve,
          Again, do you have any research support or references for your quotation or is it, at this point, merely another spitball?”
          I believe that “Get Lost!” as an opening gambit in legal interaction is unusual, but no, I have no statistics. Do you have an example where that was a winning gambit?

          My real point, of course, is that it sharpens the actual malice issue. Since that relates to defendants state of mind in publishing, and publishing continued after the correspondence, it is an on the record statement about investigating truth.

          “So turning the tables somewhat, Mann and his lawyers were clearly and explicitly on notice that the various inquiries had not examined Mann’s conduct”
          There is no symmetry here. Steyn et al were being asked to refrain from a tort, which is a cause of action. The rest is just about how that action might proceed.

          Steve: CEI did not say Get Lost, but made the rational and valid observation that the various inquiries did not say what Mann’s lawyers alleged. Mann and his lawyers repeated their false claims about the exonerations nonetheless. It is my understanding that certain privileges attach to statements in litigation, but it seems odd that Mann and his lawyers could knowingly make false statements in their pleadings – I think that it is beyond cavil that they made false statements, the only issue is whether they did so knowingly or recklessly.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

          “I can probably blame Irish ancestry”

          Well, there is that isolated little isle called “Mann”

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

          “No Mann is an island” but this one could be about to get Donne.

        • AndyL
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

          Nick asks:
          Do you have an example where that ["Get Lost"] was a winning gambit?

          Arkell v Pressdram is a famous case in UK where a similar but more robust phrase was successfully used as an opening gambit. The exchange of letters is here http://www.nasw.org/users/nbauman/arkell.htm

          Steve: Nick’s retort is just a diversion from his opening comment where he made a supposedly factual statement without any knowledge or evidence, something that he often does. I had not argued that a Get Lost editorial was a “winning gambit” only that I asked evidence or references from Nick for his seemingly empirical statement that the rejection of Mann’s lawyers’ letter by CEI and NR affected the precedents. As I surmised, Nick had no references for his claim, but was simply asserting something as a fact on a topic where he had no specialist knowledge or references without a caveat that “it seems to me….”. Nick does this far too frequently. I’m used to it, but I still find it annoying.

        • Will J. Richardson
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre at Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM

          You speculated:

          My guess is that there is a stage in most libel litigation where the plaintiff confronts the defendant and the defendant does not accede to the plaintiff’s demands i.e. tells him to Get Lost.

          In most jurisdictions with statutory defamation causes of action, a retraction request is a condition precedent for bringing suit for defamation. Also, in those jurisdictions without such a statute the case law often requires a retractions request. I have not looked at DC’s law, to determine whether a retraction request is required there.

        • MikeN
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

          I doubt they read the EPA decision after hearing about it from Mann and his lawyers. The whole point was that the inquiries were a whitewash.

    • Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I find it entirely possible that Eli Rabett can go unread by any number of people. Not just because I don’t like his style, content or position. The entire climate blogosphere consists IMO of between 3,000 and 6,000 people wandering from one side of the ping pong table to the other, most of us fuming about something, anything.

      I doubt if people with normal lives are aware of Anthony Watts or Skeptical Science, the two highest traffic blogs on the subject. That they would be cognizant of something written on a Tier 3 blog (I was tier 4, so I can say that…) is a real stretch.

      This blog has broken free of the closely held climate blogosphere, thanks more to the rigor of Mr. McIntyre than (sigh…) commenters such as myself or even Mr. Stokes.

      I would think using Eli Rabett as both shield and buckler will not be credible in court.

      • MikeN
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Forget about the general public. One writer about global warming, wrote that he suspected Peter Gleick, and said he had never heard of Steven Mosher when I suggested he stole the accusation.

  6. TerryMN
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 8:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nick Stokes Eli Rabett ran a 15-part series on…

    Yes, I’m sure that was seen by many, many ( 3? maybe 13? ) people. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http%3A%2F%2Frabett.blogspot.com

  7. sue
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, under “Mann’s Lawyer Copy SKS, August 2012″, second paragraph: should be John Cook not John Mashey.

    • John M
      Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sue, that’s an inside joke. Mashey made it his life’s work to “get” Wegman and his student for plagiarism.

      • sue
        Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

        ok, thanks. I get it now.

        • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

          It was one of the things that got me through to the end.

  8. thisisnotgoodtogo
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What does “all” mean?

    “Steven Mosher | March 1, 2014 at 11:03 am |

    Thisisnot.

    All means some.”

    It means some. Mosher says.

  9. Craig Loehle
    Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 9:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Being a grown-up and knowing what a white-wash is and recognizing one when I see one, I do not now and never have believed a word uttered by any of these “inquiries” and have been disinclined to read any of them since it makes me nauseous. I would not be surprised based on what I have read of Steyn to find that he feels similarly. Therefore to demand that Steyn et al “should have” read these supposed exonerations (and accepted them) is simply fantasy land.

    • Orson
      Posted Aug 31, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Loehle – I could only stomach reading Ross McKitrick’s arduous fileting of the supposed climategate “investigations.”

      That was wretching enough for this mere mortal. I cannot imagine Steyne doing but a tiny, tiny fraction of what the fantasy-victim Mann imagines him to have done – if that.

      Last month, I finally caught up with Mann’s “presentation” at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado from June 2013. The man strikes me as paranoid with delusions of persecution, bordering on the psychotic. (My own father was in such a state, prior to his psychotic depression and premature death by suicide.)

      That Mann’s writings and ravings have led him there lead me to the conclusion that he is a very, very sick puppy.

  10. Posted Aug 24, 2014 at 10:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    For my part, when I sat down to make notes on all the inquiries, largely to document the commonalities of how inadequate the procedures were and how meaningless the results were, I took note at the time of all the supposed inquiries in general discussion. I never heard of the EPA “investigation” and remain unconvinced that one even took place. For instance, if they had investigated matters, there would have been a call for evidence in some form, and I would have made a submission, as I did to the others whenever permitted. But there were no terms of reference, there was no call for evidence, there was no identified panel of investigators, there was no record of interviews, there was no record of evidence reviewed, and there was no protocol for cross-examining witnesses or fact-checking claims by participants. To coin a phrase, if it doesn’t walk like a duck, and doesn’t make noise like a duck, and looks nothing whatsoever like a duck, it isn’t a duck.

    • KNR
      Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      You mean they carried out an investigation in line with normal practice for climate ‘science’ !

    • JN
      Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “…and doesn’t make noise like a duck…”

      What if you were to re-noun the word for a noise like a duck, would that work?

      Jest trying to figure out why I am having difficulty posying.

      • JN
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Besides spelling that is…

  11. Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 2:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Whereas the EPA “inquiry” had been unknown to Montford, McKitrick and Lewandowsky …

    Now that’s not a team of three earnest seekers after truth one expects to see very often.

    … in their lists of Climategate inquiries and only one of nine in the SKS list, it was promoted to a pre-eminent status in the pantheon of inquiries in the Mann Statement of Claim – it was the Zeus of inquiries, so to speak.

    That also helped to get me through, till I got to Ross:

    … it isn’t a duck [inquiry].

    It is unbelievable what Mann has argued. Steyn and his team must be lapping these posts up.

  12. jaffa
    Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 3:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I find it astonishing that professional lawyers are involved in this and that they seem to have taken Manns word for it, perhaps with the support of a few blog posts, without even fact-checking quotations.

    I know they’re in it for the money, but did Manns lawyers do any checking at all? Even the most cursory look at anything criticizing Mann should immediately raise a red flag that Mann may have considerable capacity for self aggrandizement. It ought to be obvious to normal people that Manns narcissism is so extreme he doesn’t just blow his own trumpet, he’s convinced he invented the trumpet.

    It seems that in Manns mind, anything written about climate, anywhere, by anyone is about him. He’s hilarious.

    Steve: it is my understanding that Jaffa’s comment about Mann being convinced that he invented the trumpet is rhetorical hyperbole and not a statement of “fact” – that Mann actually believes that he invented the trumpet.

    • Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Surely there’s a US government report on brass instruments that, without mentioning Professor Mann explicitly, completely exonerates him from the baseless and malicious allegation that he didn’t invent the trumpet?

      • j ferguson
        Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Richard, He could have invented it, certainly well before “Birth of the Cool” See Miles Davis.

        • j ferguson
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

          Make that HEAR Miles Davis

      • michael hart
        Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Nor did he invent the brass neck.

        • tomdesabla
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

          Well, maybe he didn’t invent the trumpet, but with his vast knowledge of all things, he could at least be a trumpet historian. There is precedent for this. He already has established himself as a keyboard historian hasn’t he?

        • Patrick M.
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

          If Mann had invented a trumpet it would have been shaped like a hockey stick

      • EdeF
        Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

        need to know, baby……….need to know.

  13. KNR
    Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When you get down to it, just who did exonerates Mann in the way he claims they did ?

    • David Jay
      Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Penn State did.

      This is the institution that also exonerated a certain individual of locker room fame. Hence certain rhetorical hyperbole.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

        What’s the matter? Afraid to say it clearly lest you be sued or something?

        • Carrick
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

          More like, if you say it too clearly, it will give certain people a chance to play the victim card again.

        • David Jay
          Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

          I was playing off of the interplay between Jaffa and Steve above.

      • KNR
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

        True and here are the notes form the invesigation

        Penn State, ‘your holiness with apologises for asking such a stupid question but did you in even the tiniest way do anything wrong’
        Mann , ‘you have no right to ask me that question for I am a ‘God’ therefore I can do no wrong . ‘
        Penn State ., ‘well that is good enough for us , once again our apologises for daring to even think you would be wrong.’

        Although to be fair they made it clear that has Mann was bringing a load of money into the University it was not just his god-like status that meant they just took his word for it , even when he bare-faced lied to them and they knew it.

  14. Craig Loehle
    Posted Aug 25, 2014 at 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If the EPA report “exonerated” Mann by simply referring to the previous enquiries in a favorable light, then dozens of newspapers also “exonerated” him by reporting on the enquiries. I stand in awe of a Mann who has been so thoroughly “exonerated”.

  15. jim z
    Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 12:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This issue or question of the EPA ‘exoneration’ of Mann has been made irrelevant, at this point in time, by Steyn’s pilling-it-on. He has defamed Mann much worse, and many more times, since Mann’s action.

    The issue now is malice, not negligence. In for a penny, in for a pound. The limits on free wielding speech will be tested, if this gets to trial.

    Steve: tort concepts of “negligence” and “malice” are not applicable to US libel law, in which “actual malice” in respect to a public figure requires, more or less, that you are saying things that you do not believe. Steyn clearly believes what he is saying. As to the “aftermarket” statements, it would be my understanding that Mann would have to amend his pleadings to include allegations that they were libelous. In the case of, for example, Steyn’s withering commentary about Mann’s false claims in his pleadings, Steyn has the obvious defence of truth, so I think it unlikely that Mann would dig a deeper hole.

    • Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 1:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      jim z (12:58 AM):

      This issue or question of the EPA ‘exoneration’ of Mann has been made irrelevant

      Surely that’s not right. And I think you need to quote Steyn. What I’ve read has been contentful as well as critical (and frequently hilarious). Where precisely has he been spreading falsehoods?

      • jim z
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 1:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Richard, I should have written “defamed” within apostrophes, I used the word facetiously.

        I won’t quote, my posts quoting Steyn and linking to his columns have been every time removed from here…

        I’ve read *all* his writing, he has not backed off, but he has repeated the offence many times and written more and worse/stronger language. All can be found at his site. (won’t say more per my second sentence)

      • jim z
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 2:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Richard, Steyn is protecting the limits of speech. Not the limits of truthful speech. Not the limits of accurate speech.

        The best explanation of his idea, that I can make: He does not accept the idea that there is any fairness, or balance of interests, in speech. E.g., A government official said that there is a right to free speech, but that “right to free speech” must also be balanced against the feelings of a group of people being spoken about, that speech shouldn’t hurt them. Steyn says that the right of free speech is irrelevant when we agree, or when we agree to disagree, or when we say ‘I respect your opinion’, etc.

        Steyn says the right of free speech is important when one person says something that *everyone else* doesn’t want to hear. Free speech is that one person can say something that everyone thinks is hateful, or offensive, or wrong.

        Steve: you have to be careful in how you characterize things. Steyn believes in the truth of what he is saying. It is my understanding that he believes that right to be protected and that he is not defending a right to say things that you “know” to be false. In addition, Steyn, CEI, ACLU and others argue that you are not required to accept findings of a government inquiry as “facts” (especially if there are defects in its procedures.)

        • jim z
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          snip-

          Steve: you’ve used a blacklisted word, not in a disparaging way, but one that is a hard blacklist. Look, I don’t want to debate an issue as abstract as “free speech”. Blog policy is against abstract discussions and I’d prefer that that be done elsewhere. My interest here is in discussing more specific issues pertaining to the present dispute, issues in which knowledge of the facts and documents – of which, by bad luck, I have detailed knowledge – is relevant.

        • PhilH
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

          Jim Z: you say:

          “Richard, Steyn is protecting the limits of speech. Not the limits of truthful speech. Not the limits of accurate speech.

          The best explanation of his idea, that I can make: He does not accept the idea that there is any fairness, or balance of interests, in speech. E.g., A government official said that there is a right to free speech, but that “right to free speech” must also be balanced against the feelings of a group of people being spoken about, that speech shouldn’t hurt them. Steyn says that the right of free speech is irrelevant when we agree, or when we agree to disagree, or when we say ‘I respect your opinion’, etc.”

          Steyn is of course absolutely right. If a government official said what you quote, that the right to free speech must be balanced against the Feelings of a group of people being spoken about or that speech shouldn’t hurt them, he or she should be transferred to the dog catcher section. That is exactly what Steyn was fighting against in Canada, which led to the repeal of that odious law. What kind of standard is it that postulates that something you say cannot “hurt someone else’s feelings?” It is a bottomless pit, that’s what.

          Phil

        • jim z
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          Thank you. I didn’t know about that, my apologies.

          This is the best blog. thanks again.

  16. thisisnotgoodtogo
    Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/03/exclusive-climatologist-says-he-deleted-e-mails-not-manns-behest

    ” ScienceInsider can reveal that the scientist, Eugene Wahl of the National Climatic Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, admits to deleting the e-mails, which was done during his tenure at Alfred University in New York.
    (…)
    But online reports on the investigative files have misconstrued a central point, he says, assuming that embattled climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State Univeristy told him to do so. On the contrary, Wahl says, he was responding to a request by East Anglia’s Phil Jones that Mann forwarded to him “without any additional comment…
    (…)
    The scientists’ correspondence was about a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that they were working on, and for which Briffa was a lead author. In May 2008, University of East Anglia climate scientist Phil Jones, who had been a lead IPCC author the year before, was faced with a U.K. Information Act request for correspondence related to the IPCC report. He asked Mann to delete e-mails “you may have had with Keith,” and asked him to forward the same request to Wahl. Mann responded the same day, saying that he would “contact Gene about this ASAP,” and he forwarded Jones’s note to Wahl.
    (…)
    A story on The Daily Caller said that the quotes from the Wahl interview showed that the Pennsylvania State investigation, which exonerated Mann of any misconduct, was a “whitewash.”

    Mann, reached on vacation in Hawaii, said the stories yesterday were “libelous” and false. “They’re spreading a lie about me,” he said of the Web sites. “This has been known for a year and a half that all I did was forward Phil’s e-mail to Eugene.”

    Yet in the PSU investigation, Mann had not admitted that he forwarded the delete request. He was not forced to fully and truthfully answer the question asked. How would it be known for a year and a half, when Wahl had just admitted?

    • MJW
      Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      But online reports on the investigative files have misconstrued a central point, he says, assuming that embattled climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State Univeristy told him to do so. On the contrary, Wahl says, he was responding to a request by East Anglia’s Phil Jones that Mann forwarded to him “without any additional comment…

      I guess in Wahl’s moral universe, a mafia lieutenant is blameless if tells an underling, “The boss says, ‘Kill him.’”

      • Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect forwarding an email which contains an order involves implicit cooperation with such an order. If the order itself was incorrect then the person forwarding the order can be considered a party to the incorrect actions which followed.

        I’m making the comment as a former engineering authority in a large organization. My job involved making sure we had the engineers trained to write as well as follow the proper policies and procedures. This of course was intended to avoid having the wrong instructions issued and executed, and thus to follow the law and company policy.

        I find the scientific world to be somewhat loose in this regard. Maybe it’s because when they goof they don’t cause accidents and/or get people hurt?

        By the way I have been discussing Dr Mann’s hockey stick and False Hope article in a blog, and it appears I received a veiled threat implying I may be hurting his career. Is this common? Maybe I misunderstood what this person wrote but it sure sounded quite KGBish.

        Steve: your interpretation that the person forwarding the email is party is one that makes sense to anyone with practical experience – it is only contested by climate scientists. can you give a link for the threats. BTW quite a story at your blog about the quicksand. I once got stuck in quicksand up to my thighs in British Columbia while I was by myself in the bush and got pretty nervous. I was in Caracas during the failed Chavez coup in 1994 (or so). My hotel was attacked and all guests were evacuated to the basement restaurant and placed under tables. The next day, I was pinned in an alley by gunfire from a sniper downtown before being rescued by government forces.

        • Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          Background: I was invited to participate in a discussion at a blog by a “Fergus Brown”.
          [snip]

          http://whogoeswithfergus.blogspot.com.es/2014/08/open-invitation.html

          III. Choice comments I found threatening, and made me more cautious

          Fergus Brown 24 August 2014 22:43

          It is important to be careful about how you express yourself, Fernando. The way you have written it makes it into an accusation of improper practice. This accusation was tested and found to be false.

          BBD 25 August 2014 19:18

          FL: “The difference lies in my refusal to swallow the propaganda and the lies coming from all sides.”

          The propaganda and lies are emanating from the FF industry and have been for over two decades. When this was drawn to your attention, you denied it and accused a researcher of fuelling conspiracy theories. Another absolutely unfounded accusation of professional misconduct.

          dhogaza26 August 2014 14:17

          FL: “Suggesting that I be forced to answer questions as if I were in a KGB dungeon is quite human. And it´s also what we should oppose. ”

          In other words, FL wants the freedom to accuse Mann of scientific fraud, a serious charge that could lead to the end of his career if it were to be shown true.
          But he doesn’t want the responsibility of backing up his claims of scientific fraud.

          And characterizes requests that he be forced to back up such claims with evidence as being equivalent to being questioned in one of Stalin’s torture chambers.
          Nice. It makes me think that FL’s vaunted “ethics” are somewhat different than mine.

          OFF SUBJECT: Getting stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere was indeed scary. But I have to emphasize I was horrified thinking about my potential inability to put Horacio´s corpse in the car.

          Steve: virulent attacks on even mild questioning are very common in the field. Welcome to the climate blogosphere. I’ve snipped some of your post for editorial reasons.

        • Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

          I´m used to virulent attacks. I did try to use the exchange as a very delicate bridge to see if I could discuss things in a civilized fashion. However, I think I have failed. It seems to be a very politically charged atmosphere. And thank you for your comments about Llancanelo.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

          Interesting that it is claimed that denying that the FF industry is behind all the “de_ial” needs proof. Rather turns the way proof is normally required on its head. Mann has been claiming this funding nonsense for years without a shred of evidence (and in fact some big oil company funded CRU if I am not mistaken).

    • John M
      Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yep, all he did was forward an e-mail…which he himself knew to be inappropriate.

      ”I wish in retrospect I had told him, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t even be thinking about this,”’ Mann told The Morning Call in his first interview since the university last month launched an investigation into his conduct. ”I didn’t think it was an appropriate request.”

      http://articles.mcall.com/2010-03-28/news/all-a1_5warming.7216773mar28_1_mails-e-mails-global-warming

      I don’t remember the gory details, but I seem to recall that Penn State recast Allegation 2. I believe it originally referred to “participation” in an effort to delete e-mails, but he was “exonerated” of actually deleting e-mails himself. Of course, there is no evidence that anyone at Penn State actually looked at his e-mails.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Since the whole affair involved an effort to cast the M&M paper (which criticized Mann’s work) as “debunked”, aiding in the deletion of evidence was something that should have been seen as a decision that profited Mann.

      • HaroldW
        Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Allegation 2 was: “Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?”

        The Finding: “After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data related to AR4, as suggested by Dr. Phil Jones. Dr. Mann has stated that he did not delete emails in response to Dr. Jones’ request. Further, Dr. Mann produced upon request a full archive of his emails in and around the time of the preparation of AR4. The archive contained e-mails related to AR4.”

        It seems to me that forwarding Jones’ request would fall under “participated directly or indirectly”, but perhaps there are other meanings to those words to which I’m not privy.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

          Findings:

          “On January 12, 2010, the inquiry committee (Foley, 00Yekel, Scaroni) and Dr. Brune met with Dr. Mann to interview him. Dr. Mann was asked to address the four allegations…
          (…)
          In an interview lasting nearly two hours, Dr. Mann addressed each of the questions…
          (…)
          Throughout the interview, Dr. Mann answered each question carefully:

          He explained the content and meaning of the emails about which we inquired;
          (…)

          He explained that he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other
          scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;

          He explained that he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones…”

          Surely he did answer “carefully”, but the committee allowed him to not answer the question as asked.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

          this incident was discussed at length when the NOAA Inspector General report came out in 2011. I suggest that interested readers consult and bump the topical thread.

          Also readers should recall that Easterling, who was later said to have recused himself from the proceedings, did not actually recuse himself (according to information provided to me by a member of the Inquiry Committee who has asked that his identity remain confidential) and that Easterling actively influenced the Inquiry Committee not to interview me or other critics about allegations against Mann. So it’s not hard to support severe criticism of Penn State procedures.

  17. Tim Osborn
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps of some relevance to the issue of when and how widely publicised the EPA’s investigation findings were:

    Around mid-August 2010, shortly after the EPA denial decision was released, the EPA investigation findings were reported at UEA in the list of reports relevant to the CRU email hacking controversy. Six pages of quotes relevant to CRU work were extracted and highlighted, while noting that the EPA investigation was broader than this. See under “Other Reports” here:

    https://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements

    In September 2010, the EPA overall finding was also highlighted on the homepage of the CRU website together with a link to the above webpage. A copy of the CRU homepage from 23 October 2010 is archived here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20101023223627/http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/

    Both webpages were prominent during and after the email hacking controversy, the former as the place where all official UEA statements on the matter were made public.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Tim, thanks for commenting. I agree that you’ve shown UEA and CRU were aware that the EPA documents included commentary on Climategate emails.

      Mann’s assertion was:

      All of the above reports and publications were widely available and commented upon in the national and international media. All were read by the Defendants.

      You observed that UEA has a webpage entitled CRU Statements and that this webpage contains a link entitled Other Reports and that, since September 2010, the Other Reports webpage has included a UEA statement regarding the EPA denial decision documents.

      You also observed that CRU’s homepage in October 2010 contained a reference to the EPA investigation. The quotation is as follows:

      careful examination of the e-mails and their full context shows that the petitioners’ claims are exaggerated and are not a material or reliable basis to question the validity and credibility of the body of [climate] science” (US Environmental Protection Agency)

      I checked and confirmed that this language remained until July 2012, but was removed shortly after the Steyn and Simberg articles.

      However, I don’t believe that UEA or CRU qualify as “national and international media”. And while you say that the Other Reports webpage was “prominent”, the UEA statement about the EPA doesn’t appear to have been noticed by climate blogs on either side of the aisle, let alone “national and international media”. There is only one non-UEA google reference to UEA’s statement https://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/otherreports/epareport. See here.

      Nor does the mention at UEA contradict the lack of notice by climate blogs of the EPA inquiry as a supposed inquiry into Climategate. UEA personnel have done Real Climate posts, but didn’t do one on the EPA as an “inquiry”. Real Climate is radio silent on the topic.

      Given the lack of awareness of the EPA “inquiry” at climate blogs, I do not see any plausible basis for Mann’s assertion that Steyn and Simberg had read the EPA documents. (Nor do I believe that they had done so)

      Since you’ve been kind enough to comment, it would also be helpful if you could confirm from the perspective of someone who’s been involved with temperature data whether you endorse the following statement:

      he was one of the first to document the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s. As a result of this research, Dr. Mann and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Peace

      Regards,
      Steve McIntyre

      • Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Been busy during the day in England so only noticed this interaction with Tim Osborn. Bumping the post in case others also missed it. Good final question!

  18. Orson
    Posted Aug 31, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    ‘”careful examination of the e-mails and their full context shows that the petitioners’ claims are exaggerated and are not a material or reliable basis to question the validity and credibility of the body of [climate] science’ (US Environmental Protection Agency)”

    The relevant point bears repeating: when IPCC authors voice questioning of Mann’s methods in the climategate emails, like Briffa did, one is indeed entitled to think these disclosures reveal uncertainties about IPCC science not disclosed by their formal reports.

    And one is behooved to ask “Why didn’t they?” Which remains inadequately defended or explained.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

*
*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,380 other followers

%d bloggers like this: