A reply to Michael Mann and Eugene Wahl

Michael Mann has responded to my piece in The Daily Caller accusing Penn State of whitewashing ClimateGate. Mann’s response is typically off point from the question:

The claim by fossil fuel industry lobbyist Chris Horner in his “Daily Caller” piece that I told Eugene Wahl to delete emails is a fabrication — a lie, and a libelous allegation. My only involvement in the episode in question is that I forwarded Wahl an email that Phil Jones had sent me, which I felt Wahl needed to see. There was no accompanying commentary by me or additional correspondence from me regarding the matter, nor did I speak to Wahl about the matter. This is, in short, a despicable smear that, more than anything else, speaks to the depths of dishonesty of professional climate change deniers like Chris Horner, Marc Morano, Stephen McIntyre, and Anthony Watts.

Please state where I “claim . . . that [Mann] told Eugene Wahl to delete emails,” and also what is libelous, Mr. Mann. If you do the latter, I am happy to retract it.

But, “Wahl says Mann did indeed ask Wahl to destroy records, and Wahl did” doesn’t do it, unless you want to crop off one end of the sentence (“Wahl says”) and replace it with something more appealing to your thesis (an inside joke for those familiar with the whole Hockey Stick saga). Chuckle.

Your allegation is false until you somehow demonstrate otherwise, and your problem lies with the NOAA inspector general whose transcript indicates these events transpired.

A guy who has clearly lawyered up probably ought to call his lawyer to see what libel means before accusing someone of it. It actually doesn’t mean accurately using someone’s name in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

Similarly, Eugene Wahl, the NOAA employee who worked for Alfred University (a place that I understand gave Ward Churchill an honorary PhD — while we’re busy making associations — though I’m not sure it was in climate) at the time he deleted the emails, writes in his public reply to the piece:

The Daily Caller blog yesterday contained an inaccurate story regarding a correspondence that was part of the emails hacked from East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

Mr. Wahl, please state what the inaccurate statement was. You forgot to.

Wahl goes on:

For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails. At the time of the email in May 2008, I was employed by Alfred University, New York.  I became a NOAA employee in August 2008.

The emails I deleted while a university employee are the correspondence I had with Dr. Briffa of CRU regarding the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of which have been in the public domain since the CRU hack in November 2009.  This correspondence has been extensively examined and no misconduct found.  As a NOAA employee, I follow agency record retention policies and associated guidance from information technology staff.

But he did delete emails after receiving Jones’ request. He says he deleted the emails cited in the request that Mann forwarded to him from Jones. In response to Jones’ request that Mann ask Wahl to delete emails. But — and here’s where us non-scientists are missing the boat, it seems — Jones’ request was to Mann. You see? To, well, to ask Wahl to do what Wahl did. In response to which Mann forwarded the request. From Jones.

So, really, Mann never asked him to delete the emails, just like you can never be “alone” with someone in the White House. See?

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  • papertiger

    What ? Nothing more to say Jack?

    Guess he wasn’t expecting to run into a “denier” who really understands the scientific data, analysis and findings presented in the IPCC reports.

    • Jack Greer

      Wow. It takes a lot of nerve to project this attitude from you after your waiting more than 19 hours to reply to my last post. First, let me say that the Daily Caller is not a site that I frequent, and that my recent posts here were prompted after learning of the latest in a long history of propaganda efforts of Mr. Horner. I checked several times for your reply to my post but gave up after awhile … of course, you didn’t see me making a whining posting about your lack of responsiveness.

      Second, I promise you a reply to the solar forcing issue, that you thoroughly misrepresented … and be assured that I have plenty to reply with. But before I do, I want you to come clean on your global warming position. I find that most deniers don’t stand on a firm position. Instead they resemble a band of Keystone Cops individually flinging spaghetti against a wall to see what sticks – they don’t even agree with each other. (Mr Horner doesn’t care about a unified position – he’ll distort anything to generate confusion and doubt. That’s his job.) Your reply seems to indicate that you believe warming is happening, and that it’s caused by natural solar activity. Please shine a clearer light on your position, PT.

      Mine is one of general alignment with consensus findings outlined in the IPCC reports. After decades of study, the extensive and ever growing body of world-wide research has lead to a converging set of findings with ever increasing degrees of confidence/certainty. The planet’s energy imbalance and resulting warming is real. Natural processes are almost certainly not the cause. Instead, warming is the result of rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric GHGs. The increasing atmospheric GHG levels are primarily causes by human activity. Further, the impact rapid, significant, and prolonged warming on Earth’s life forms and social structures is very likely damaging and dangerous, and justifies immediate action toward a global mitigation plan.

      I await your reply, PaperTiger.

      • papertiger

        There’s a scene in the movie Inglorious Basterds where a Nazi Colonel sells out the high command of Germany for the promise of a ticket out of the war and a grub stake in America. Looks like he’s going to get his way, then he finds out it’s not going to be that easy.

        Brad Pitt playing Lt. Aldo Raine says;

        Y’know… Utivich ‘n myself heard that deal you made with the brass. “End the war tonight”?… I’d make that deal. How ’bout you Utivich, you make that deal?
        Pfc. Smithson Utivich: [busy scalping Herrmann] I’d make that deal.
        Lt. Aldo Raine: I don’t blame ya! Damn good deal! And that purty little nest you feathered for yourself. Well, if you’re willing to barbecue the whole high command, I ‘spose that’s worth certain considerations. But I do have one question. When you get to your little place on Nantucket Island, I ‘magine you’re gonna take off that handsome-lookin’ S.S. uniform of yours, ain’tcha?…

        That’s what I thought. Now that I can’t abide. How ’bout you Utivich, can you abide it?
        Pfc. Smithson Utivich: [finishes scalping Herrmann] Not one damn bit, sir.

        Lt. Aldo Raine: I mean, if I had my way… you’d wear that goddamn uniform for the rest of your pecker-suckin’ life. But I’m aware that ain’t practical, I mean at some point you’re gonna hafta take it off. So. I’m ‘onna give you a little somethin’ you can’t take off.

        Then Lt Raine takes out his Bowie knife and cuts a swatika into the Colonel’s forehead.

        This is my regard for you Jack. If I had my way you would have to wear your crummy Malthusian, misanthropic, servile, beliefs on your forehead, so all your neighbors could at a glance see the lack of regard you have for them, and the shallow pretext you would assert to destroy them and their way of life, if you could.

        There is no world temperature that can be measured by the means available to scientists today (Snake oil peddlers like Hansen and Schmidt are feathering their nest at the expense of everyone else, fooling the gullible by fiddling with numbers and squiggles, pretending exactitude when the error bars exceed the ability of their measuring stick by design+. Hence we get outlandish claims of hottest year ever while the entire country is buried in snow.)
        Co2 is plant food, with the only measurable effect on the environment being increased health and vigor of forest, glens, and meadows.
        Even if co2 were causing a warming effect, warm conditions historically are beneficial to all life on our planet, and only a fool or a luddite would want to prevent that from happening.

        “…and be assured that I have plenty to reply with.
        the extensive and ever growing body of world-wide research has lead to a converging set of findings with ever increasing degrees of confidence/certainty. The planet’s energy imbalance and resulting…”

        Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

        Who do you think you’re kidding? If you had an answer regarding the IPCC’s shabby treatment of TSI (it really needs a defence) you would have posted it, regardless of my beliefs. It’s always the same with you guys.

        Talking crap about great gobs and heaps and mountains of evidence, but when it comes time to put up… you got nothing to show.

        Try skeptical science blog – they keep a stockpile of warmist bilge, readily available for empty headed troglodytes like yourself to cut and paste from.
        Or you could continue attacking Chris Horner’s character – whatever’s easiest for you (par for the course).

        I’m out of here.

        • Jack Greer

          So you equate those with which you disagree with a Nazi … my, that is very clever, very novel. Your regard for me certainly has zero meaning but your seething anger, use a movie scene depicting violent expression of that anger, and your bellicose name calling is a bit odd and disturbing.

          Thanks, PT, your reply has saved me from needlessly wasting time pointing out the detail you are already aware of but purposely ignore. I’ll make my reply relatively brief.

          Summarizing PT’s responses …

          – Claims ”I stick to what can be proven” yet links the NIPCC site, a repository of thoroughly discredited & debunked climate misinformation and denier canards.
          – Implies current warming might have been caused by solar activity … yet PT knows that for the past 35 years total solar irradiance has leveled off or slightly decreased while global temperatures continue to rise. Even scientists who would describe themselves as GW skeptics don’t buy into PT’s solar assertion. At the March 8th Energy and Power Subcommittee session on EPA regulation of GHGs, Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. and Dr. John Christy were point-blank asked to name a competing, credible theory other that GHG induced warming that would explains the Arctic warming/melting we’re seeing now … Dr. Christy was mum. Dr. Pielke Sr. suggested further research into the role Black Coal’s (byproduct of fossil-fuel combustion) albedo effect may play … no mention of natural solar causation, or any other natural causation for that matter.
          – Asserts the IPPC consensus re: solar forcing was formed by a single non-solar physicist who simply approved her own work … yet PT knows there have been 15 major peer-reviewed studies since 1998 re: solar influence on Earth’s climate, none of which attribute solar influence as the cause of Earth’s recent warming. BTW, all contemporary and pre-2007 studies were cited in the 2007 IPCC AR4 report. (it ain’t solar)
          – Asserts the denier canard that policies to reduce CO2 emissions would destroy our economy and ruin our way of life.
          – Asserts the denier canard that historic temperature records aren’t valid.
          – Asserts the denier canard that CO2 is simply plant food with no deleterious effects on climate.
          – Asserts the denier canard that even if CO2 causes warming, the warming would be “beneficial to all life on our planet”.
          – Asserts the denier canard that climate scientists all over the world are “fixing the data” to line their pockets.

          Bravo, PT, you’ve hit on many of the debunked canards on your checklist.

          Note that I predicted PaperTiger, as a denier, wouldn’t take a firm GW position. Instead he is that Keystone Cop I described, flinging individual strands of denier spaghetti against a wall to see what sticks … what might cause confusion, what might stir doubt … very characteristic of a denier lobbyist … very Horner-esque.

          • papertiger

            Thanks, PT, your reply has saved me from needlessly wasting time pointing out the detail you are already aware of but purposely ignore.

            Sifting though the great gobs of “evidence” Jack comes up with exactly NOTHING.

            Par for the course.

          • papertiger

            California and the other states are seeking court orders requiring [out of state] power companies to reduce carbon emissions by 3 percent a year for 10 years.

            The companies operate 174 plants in 20 states. None is in California, but the suit says they produce 2.5 percent of the world’s emissions, thereby warming the planet and melting the Sierra snowpack earlier. That affects the state’s drinking water supply, the suit says.

            Higher temperatures also increase smog-related illnesses and deaths and contribute to beach erosion in California and elsewhere, the states said.

            The companies and the Obama administration argue that the states have no tangible interests at stake, that courts are ill-equipped to set emission levels, and that power plant regulation is a political question.

            The states contend that until the EPA acts, they can rely on their long-standing legal authority to protect their residents from harm inflicted across state lines. – –
            http://www.sfgate – Calif. seeks right to sue other states over greenhouse gases

            Ten Solutions for Climate Change: Scientific American

            1. Forego Fossil Fuels
            2. Infrastructure Upgrade
            3. Move Closer to Work
            4. Consume Less
            5. Be Efficient
            6. Go Vegetarian
            7. Stop Cutting Down Trees
            8. Unplug
            9. One Child
            10. Future Fuels – ethanol derived from crops
            11. Experiment Earth


            “Suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effects has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something.

            Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover-with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there’s just no other alternatives right now. – Noam Chomsky

            (page 388 – Understanding Power: The Indespensable Chomsky)

            You can see the story arc, the direction it is going, and still they say let’s not be too hard on the Nazis.

  • J Baustian

    I appreciate that Penn State and the University of Virginia have investigated Professor Mann and reported: 1) nothing illegal or unethical was done, and 2) Professor Mann has promised not to do it anymore.

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  • Tenney Naumer

    Horner is employed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is a faux “think” tank set up by the Koch brothers and funded by fossil-fuel companies and ultra right-wing money.

    Who ya gonna believe? Horner or Wahl and Mann?

    That’s a no-brainer.

    • Jack Greer

      Mr. Horner is a key player associated with multiple ultra-right/fossil-fuel industry front groups, not just the CEI. His “propaganda skills” are central to the advancement of their objectives.

  • AtomicAsphalt

    Of course he’ll “figure out where and how later,” as this is the same approach they’ve taken spreading their own particular branch of pseudo science. Make threats concerning the future, while scrubbing out or deleting the past. This peculiar brand of science seems to exist on bullying, not independent verification. But on the upside, it does appear the Global Warming Crowd is on the wane. Thank you Mr. Horner.

  • Jack Greer

    Of course, some on Dr. Mann’s list have had to “edit” their original reporting on this matter as they were most certainly treading libelous ground. Dr. Gavin Schmidt summarizes this situation quite well in response to a comment on the Real Climate site …

    “Given that all of the relevant data and code related to this have been available for years, and yet the mono-maniacal desire to find something (anything!) wrong continues unabated, it is clear to any objective party that this continued harassment has nothing to do with science or climate or data or replication, but everything to do with partisan personal attacks.”

    … this has nothing at all to do with the actual science underlying your headlines. Partisan personal attacks on behalf of powerful fossil-fuel interests is your job, Mr. Horner. That’s your chosen occupation.

    By the way, your readers should understand that the “hockey stick” lives on in an array climate proxy data, and Mann’s related analysis was vindicated after review by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, among other science review bodies. … something they’d never hear from you, as you’re prone to selecting only the “useful” parts of any story related to the climate issue.

    … I think we do understand quite well.

    • papertiger

      …and Mann’s related analysis was vindicated after review by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences…

      So the Medieval Warm Period didn’t exist after all, at least in California where Mann got his Bristlecone tree cores?

      Someone has to break the news to Beaty and Taylor. Their high-resolution charcoal analysis of the fire history in the Lake Tahoe Basin shows the MWP as a multi-century peak in fire episode frequency between 1000 and 600 years BP.

      But that can’t be because Michael Mann is really sure that the MWP didn’t exist, based on tree core evidence that might not be the best proxy for temperature (unless you hide the bit from 1960 through to the present that declined to show warming – then it becomes golden!) from one hundred sixty or so miles south of Tahoe.

      [Funny how it usually works the other way around – the further south you go the warmer it gets – except when we’re talking about Mann’s studies.]

      The Forbidden City, Angor Wat, Machu Pichu, the Easter Island Monoliths, the Great Zimbabwe, the Taj Mahal – it’s just a coincidence that all these wonders sprouted up during what used to be refered to as the Medieval Warm Period. Couldn’t have had anything to do with good weather, long growing seasons, and great harvests happening all over the world at the same time. And the written histories from China, where ancient scholars recorded bumper crop after bumper crop, and the empire could feed all of their people for the only time in their 4000 year history? Well obviously those Chinese guys living a thousand years ago were lying – just partisan oil company shills.

      Because Michael Mann says so. Never you mind the series of investigations, the refusal to show his work to peers, the refusal to archive the tree cores used to make his graph. Never mind the email kabuki dance.

      Mike said so. Stop arguing deniers.

      • Jack Greer

        Certainly there was a MWP, just not as you likely envision it. There were regions of warming, like the North Atlantic region, southern Greenland, parts of North America (include Tahoe area but mostly in the NE), south-central China, etc. … but there were also regional areas of cooling during the same time period, like the Pacific tropics, NW North America, Eurasia, parts of Antarctica, etc. Globally, on-net it was a warmer period but not reaching the warmth we are now experiencing.

        I find it curious that in your MWP argument you cite areas of the globe that are at warm latitudes to begin with – not sure how that supports your argument. Plus, for example, The Forbidden City is in an area that experienced slight cooling during the MWP span. Regardless, scientists understand the causes of the MWP: a period of slightly higher solar radiation, lack of volcanic activity, and likely shifts in ocean current patterns. IOW, natural cause. Natural causes do not explain current warming.

        Examine your MWP argument. Notice how you paint only half the picture – a very selective half … why is that? May I suggest that, in part, it’s because that’s what’s fed to you by the ideological echo-chamber that serves as your primary information source. That’s the business Mr. Horner is in … guess who he works for … who signs his checks. Look outside your echo-chamber, PT.

        Let me say that I believe some good will result from “Climategate”. There must be more openness re: scientific research data, algorithms, etc. I think that is happening now, and I hope it is established in a way that minimally impacts important scientific work … in a way that mitigates the malicious tactics used by paid guns like of Mr. Horner.

        • papertiger

          Notice how you paint only half the picture – a very selective half … why is that?

          Yeah, I stick to what can be proven. Like with the Forbidden City a thousand years ago, people living back then wrote the weather conditions down. They kept track of crop yields. But I like that you are going with the ancient Chinese scholars were lying argument.

          I like the slight changes in the Sun caused the MWP argument too.

          Greer might be an oil company shill.

          • Jack Greer

            Incredibly weak rebuttal, PT. Nonetheless, based on your criteria you should consider all the mainstream paleoclimate scientists at “oil shills” and embrace them as your brothers.

            I find that most deniers don’t really understand the scientific data, analysis and findings presented in the IPCC reports. You are clearly no exception to that experience.

          • papertiger

            Allow me to expand. We agree that small changes in the Sun and ocean currents can have profound effects on the climate.

            But the IPCC doesn’t think so. They thought so little of solar influence that the IPCC accessed solar activity in AR4 without asking solar physics or astronomers.
            Your assertion that “[slightly higher solar radiation] does not explain current warming” is supported by the “consensus” of a single astronomer, Judith Lean, who as the lead author of the IPCC chapter on solar radiation reviewed her own paper, and agreed with herself.
            On the basis of this “consensus of one” solar physicist, the IPCC proclaimed solar influences upon the climate to be minimal.

            Objections were raised by the Norwegian Government which said, “I would encourage the IPCC to [re-]consider having only one solar physicist on the lead author team of such an important chapter. In particular since the conclusion of this section about solar forcing hangs on one single paper in which J. Lean is a coauthor.”

            Judith Lean, along with Claus Frohlich, are responsible for a scandalous rewriting of graphs of solar activity which the IPCC used as the entire chapter on solar influence.

            Satellites showed that the TSI (measured in watts) between 1986 and 96 increased by about one third. Judith Lean and Claus Frohlich (authors of the single study noted above) “manipulated” the data. People who were in charge of the satellites and created the original graphs (the world’s best astrophysicists: Doug Hoyt, Richard C. Willson), protested in vain against such manipulation.

            Willson said, ” Fröhlich [and co-author Judith Lean] made unauthorized and incorrect adjustments… He did it without any detailed knowledge of the ACRIM1 instrument or on-orbit performance…The only obvious purpose was to devise a TSI composite, that agreed with the predictions of Lean’s TSI proxy model.”

            While the rest of the IPCC AR4 is rich in graphics, there is not a single graph of cosmic radiation, solar cycle lengths, or geomagnetism in the solar chapter – which is very strange because they are important indicators of solar activity. These indicators of rising solar activity 1970-1990s show global warming (in whole or in substantial part) can be explained naturally and is not the fault of humans. The IPCC deliberately hid these graphs from readers under the principle of hide the decline.

            Czech blogger & physicist Luboš Motl (The Reference Frame) states,

            “This is a typical story showing the character of the [IPCC] “consensus”.

            Whenever there are questions that really matter, the IPCC minimizes the number of people who have something to say about the subject. The goal is clear, the small number of authors (in this case, a single author) are expected to say that nothing aside from CO2 really matters – so that the important question isn’t even discussed. This task for Ms Lean was determined from the very beginning: after all, this task is what the IPCC is all about. She was selected for her ability to fulfill this task in a disciplined way which is what she has done, indeed.”

            Joe D’Aleo of Icecap blog says,
            “Claus Frohlich, meanwhile, constructed a composite time series from satellite observations of total solar irradiance (TSI) made since the late 1970’s. His composite, the so-called ‘PMOD’ model, modifies the published results of the Numbus7/ERB and ACRIM1 science teams to provide better agreement with the predictions of a statistical model by Judith Lean based on linear regressions against solar emission and absorption line proxies for TSI.”

            This is the reason I said “Greer might be an oil company shill”, because you are outside of the IPCC “consensus” on solar radiation, which is a good place to be when the “consensus” is actually a consensus of one hand picked climate change hack, chosen for her flexible morality and lack of professional ethics.

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