Mann-made Climate Changes

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

Penn State University professor and climatologist Michael Mann recently threatened to sue a group for its video satire of his climate science entitled “Hide the Decline.

“Michael Mann thinks he’s so smart/totally inventing the hockey stick chart/ignoring the snow and the cold and a downward line/Hide the decline….” states the video.

The video, created by Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) refers to an email from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit director, Phil Jones to Prof. Michael Mann and two other scientists.  “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie [sic] from 1981 onwards) amd [sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline,” writes Prof. Jones in the November 16, 1999 email.

Jones has temporarily stepped down from this position pending an investigation, although he was cleared in March in a British House of Commons inquiry (pdf).

Prof. Mann’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to one member of MG4W. It claims that “the use of Dr. Mann’s likeness” taken from the PSU webpage “is not authorized and infringes on various copyrights” and is being used by M4GW for “commercial exploitation.”

The video not only takes a picture off of the PSU website, but it appropriates significant footage from two Jib Jab videos, “Tree Slaughter” and “My Boss is a D—–bag.”

“Finally, the referenced video clearly defames Professor Mann by leaving viewers with the incorrect impression that he falsified data to generate desired results in connection with his research activities,” states the letter, dated March 3. “This false impression irreparably harms Dr. Mann’s personal and professional reputation.”

Dr. Mann is currently under investigation by his own University to determine whether he deviated from “acceptable faculty conduct” and undermined the public trust in his science. However, the inquiry committee dismissed three other allegations, as previously documented in an Accuracy in Academia special report, “Mann Overboard.”

It did not look into the science behind climate change or Prof. Mann’s research. “We are aware that some may seek to use the debate over Dr. Mann’s research conduct and that of his colleagues as a proxy for the larger and more substantive debate over the science of anthropogenic global warming and its societal (political and economic) ramifications,” states the February Penn State inquiry report. “We have kept the two debates separate by only considering Dr. Mann’s conduct.”

Penn State has a significant conflict of interest in conducting its investigation of Prof. Mann; he has been the principal investigator or co-investigator for over $4 million in grants since he was hired by Penn State in 2005, according to Dr. Mann’s curriculum vitae (pdf).

On April 29 Charlottesville, Virginia’s The Hook released pdfs of the Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s letter to Dr. Mann’s previous employer, the University of Virginia, regarding the grant money that he was awarded while working there.

The letter demands that UVA provide information regarding nearly half a million in grant funds given to Professor Mann between 1999 and 2005. Dated April 23, the Civil Investigative Demand asks that a comprehensive list of documents be sent back to the Attorney General’s office by May 27.

In an April 27 Fox News broadcast, Megyn Kelly, discussing the M4GW tape with Marc Morano, questioned whether Prof. Mann had a case, considering that he “…faced investigations both by Penn State and in England and both found his work to be acceptable…”  Morano, recipient of Accuracy in Media’s 2009 Reed Irvine Award, replied that

“In the case of Penn State it was actually just a local group of Penn State officials and they actually referred it to further investigation. … In the case of the U.K., it was run by someone named Lord [Ron] Oxburgh who actually has tied, vested interests in the green climate industry and people said it’s like Dracula guarding the blood bank. That investigation has been trashed even by…U.N sympathizers, as a whitewash. …”

“Climate sceptics questioned whether Lord Oxburgh, chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables, was truly independent because he led organisations that depended on climate change being seen as an urgent problem,” reported Ben Webster for the U.K. Times Online on March 23.

Lord Oxburgh and the other panelists who wrote the Science Assessment Panel (pdf) report issued this April interviewed members of the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit, focusing primarily on dendroclimatology, or determining historical temperatures from tree ring data. “After reading publications and interviewing the senior staff of CRU in depth, we are satisfied that the CRU tree-ring work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid,” states the assessment.

In contrast, Morano argued on Fox that “Michael Mann is facing serious, serious credibility problems and this is a man who’s had problems going back almost a decade now.”

“…the tree rings showed a decline in temperatures after 1960. [Mann] hid that decline and that’s what this is all about,” he said.

After Prof. Mann’s lawyers sent the cease and desist letter regarding the “Hide the Decline” video, M4GW removed it from their website and YouTube channel, but others continue to post the footage. The No Cap and Trade Group has since posted a remake of the “Hide the Decline Video,” called “Hide the Decline II,” in which the chorus sings “/It isn’t about truth at all/It’s about sounding plausible/Hide the decline…” (emphasis added). NCTG, a “alliance of organizations” against a cap and trade scheme, refers viewers of the two videos to read “Michael Mann: Defamed or defined by ‘Hide the decline’?

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.