Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Was it wrong for me to feel schadenfreude last week after infamous climatologist Michael Mann’s second court defeat? Maybe, but I savored it anyway.

It was only five years ago that the litigious, pretentious, and hypersensitive climatologist signed his April 29, 2016 letter to the Conway Daily Sun as: “Michael E. Mann, Distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University.” After Mann had sued multiple critics over the previous ten years, it looked as though he would add me to his list of defendants which included The National Review, New Hampshire columnist Mark Steyn, Canada’s Dr. Timothy Ball, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others.

Mann’s 500-word screed against me began with: “An individual named Tom McLaughlin did a tremendous disservice to your readership by spreading falsehoods about the topic of human-caused climate change, and about my scientific work specifically, in his misguided recent commentary (“Campus craziness” published April 28).”

That column was about loopy developments on American college campuses in general. I mentioned Michael Mann in only one paragraph but he immediately fired off his letter to the Sun

Mann is the creator of the now-debunked “hockey-stick graph” first made famous by former Vice President Al Gore’s film: “Inconvenient Truth” and then cited by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Whenever anyone publicly criticized Mann for his faulty scientific reasoning, he sued them. The suits dragged on almost ten years costing defendants millions, but they’re finally being settled.

Last week, Mann’s suit against National Review was dismissed. In 2019, a Supreme Court judge in British Columbia dismissed Mann’s suit against Dr. Timothy Ball with prejudice. That judge also ordered Mann to pay Ball’s court costs which run into the millions. It’s possible Mann will have to pay National Review’s court costs as well, but that hasn’t been decided at this writing. His suits against Mark Steyn and the Competitive Enterprise Institute will likely be dismissed soon with similar results.

David Suzuki

I don’t know how deep Mann’s pockets are, but I think wealthy climate Cassandras like Canada’s David Suzuki who backed him will have to pay Mann’s victims now. I’m no lawyer, but I think that’s how it works. Suzuki said politicians skeptical of anthropogenic climate change “should be thrown in the slammer.” Democrat politicians in the United States have also called for jailing climate skeptics. These court defeats would seem to indicate that if anyone is going to the slammer, it’s more likely to be Michael Mann. Dr. Timothy Ball was right when he said: “Mann belongs in the state pen, not Penn State.”

There’s little doubt that our climate is warming. Portland [Maine] Harbor used to freeze regularly but it rarely does now. The question is whether human activity [burning fossil fuels] is causing it. The left believes it is while conservatives generally do not. Conservatives see the left using the issue to justify expanded government control over the energy sector of our economy. The new Biden Administration is populating the federal bureaucracy with officials who believe they can prevent global warming by phasing out coal and petroleum products in America and substituting expensive alternative energy sources like wind and solar for them.

Public concern about alleged anthropogenic climate change has waxed and waned over the years since Columbia University’s James Hansen predicted doom back in 1988. When scientists like Mann are challenged, mainstream media goes after skeptics. On 60 Minutes last year, Mann said: “There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.”

Mann's hockey stick cannot be reproduced without his data

If Mann is that confident in his position, why has he refused for more than a decade to turn over the data he used to compose his hockey stick? The scientific method requires that for a theory to become scientific fact, hypothetical experiments must be reproducible with the same results. That, of course, would be impossible because Mann won’t release his data despite court orders to do so. His refusal was cited by both judges in his two recent court defeats.

Even though neither the polar ice caps nor the Himalayan glaciers have disappeared as predicted by green Chicken Littles, mainstream media habitually trumpet climate Cassandras like Mann and attack his skeptics. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that media have ignored Mann’s legal defeat versus Dr. Timothy Ball in British Columbia. They’ve been ignoring Mann’s loss against National Review so far as well. Both contradict media’s “We’re all gonna die from catastrophic climate change!” narrative.

When Mann’s remaining suits against Mark Steyn and the Competitive Enterprise Institute are also thrown out, should I try to suppress my inevitable resurgence of schadenfreude?

Greta Thunberg

Nah. I’m going to savor it.


Uber_Fritz said...


You do know your German!


Peter said...

I feel it should be made clear that Mann has not lost these cases on the basis of science. In the case of The National Review, they were let off because they were found not liable for an article by a writer who is an independent contractor. The case against Dr. Timothy Ball used the same defense that is being used now by Donald Trump's "election fraud" lawyer, Sidney Powell who is claiming her comments were so outrageously untrue that no reasonable person would have taken them seriously. Citing a list of careless inaccuracies in Ball’s article, the judge said it lacked “a sufficient air of credibility to make them believable and therefore potentially defamatory.” This defense was also used by Fox News lawyers defending Tucker Carlson: that the “general tenor” of Mr. Carlson’s program signals to viewers that the host is “engaging in ‘hyperbole’ and ‘nonliteral commentary.’” The judge added: “Given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism’. Probably not how Fox would like to have their "news" seen, but it worked to get Carlson off.

We all know now how Big Tobacco spent years manipulating science research and the debate about its harmful effects. Why would we think that Big Oil is not doing the same? Fool me once, shame on you...

Tom McLaughlin said...

All that is true, but the primary objection of the judges is Mann's refusal to turn over the data he used for his "scientific" hockey stick graph. That is the antithesis of science. Timothy Ball is a climatologist who follows the scientific method. Mann simply isn't. He's a charlatan.

Peter said...

Michael Mann is really not even that important in the whole scheme of things. Climate deniers like to make it seem like the entire weight of evidence for climate change rests on the hockey stick, but it only provides one thread of evidence among many for what we're doing to the planet.

There is no case for casting doubt on the scientific value and integrity of the studies by Mann – they have been replicated by other scientists, the data and the computer code are available in the public domain...


...and many other studies with different data and methods have confirmed the prime conclusion.

The real question we are faced with is not whether humans are changing climate. The science on this is clear, and decades of research have culminated in a scientific consensus on this point. The real question now is what we need to do about it.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Only in the left media, which is almost all of it, is there a scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change There are plenty of scientists don't believe this. It's ultimate hubris to think we can do anything to slow it down or speed it up. It's way beyond human control.

Peter said...

Tom, the media has nothing at all to do with a scientific consensus, but if you think you are being lied to about what they are reporting then just skip them and go directly to what the scientists are saying. The NASA site for instance states that:

"Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree*: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities." They then go on to list the statements of 18 major scientific societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.


So this is not the media telling us. It is America's and the world's scientists. The 3% who disagree can maybe called "plenty", but you cannot deny the 97% that NASA, not the media, lists. The media is responsible for sowing doubt though. One of the most mainstream media outlets of all, FOX, have a tendency to pump up the 3% while trying to cast doubt on the 97%. There are also other big monied interests, as there were with Bog Tobacco, that are fighting the science to protect their profits.

Kafir said...

Professor David Dilley is the only person I trust when it comes to any discussion of “climate change”. There are others, of course, but I rely on him because he has no political agenda and his video presentations are not only informative but very amusing. He lives in the Tampa, FL area but also has a summer home in Cornish, ME and would gladly agree to an interview. Until that happens, you can visit is website at:

Tom McLaughlin said...

In case you're interested, Ian Tuttle did a pretty good analysis of what the 97% figure came from:


The 97% claim has become sacrosanct, I understand, but I'm not persuaded, especially when dissenters like Georgia Tech's Judith Curry are pilloried as heretics. Academics are not the most courageous bunch. Any others who harbored doubts about the "97% consensus" are going to keep their mouths shut after watching what Curry went through.

Academics are willing to go along to get along -- and to get grants. Grants are awarded to members of the club, not boat-rockers.

Peter said...

Thanks for the link Tom because I really would like to dig as deep as I can into this. Nobody likes to have fallen for a bunch of lies, so I'm hoping it's not me. I'll have to wait to respond further after I have time to check out the National Review take on it.

Peter said...

I have had some time now to read through the National Review article. It seems that their main quibble was the sample size of some of the surveys, mentioning that only 79 scientists were in one survey. But to me, having 77 out of these 79 agreeing is pretty convincing. And there were other sources that arrived at the same conclusion. I understood the questioning of Cook’s survey in which so many did not bother to express their opinion on the matter. The explanation I saw was that the fundamental science is so settled that it would be like an evolutionary biologist not stating support for Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

But no matter how we look at this it is clear that the majority of scientists believe in human caused climate change. Even the National Review column ended by saying that it was a “vigorous and vocal minority” that believe otherwise. Is the number exactly 97%? I’m not sure, but since I am not a scientist myself I see no reason for me to doubt what the majority of scientists believe. I wouldn’t bet my life on being correct, but we all are betting one way or the other on the lives of descendants.

I do not think that the argument of people just going along with it, even though they don’t believe in it, in order to get grant money holds up. Has it ever happened? Maybe a time or two. But don’t ignore the fact that many also receive funding from deep pocketed industries with a financial interest in ignoring climate change. Oil companies, coal-burning electric utilities, and other companies that make their profits from burning fossil fuels have funded denier organizations and scientists, just as tobacco companies funded people who claimed that second-hand smoke was safe.

A famous tobacco industry document from the late 1960s said, "Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact'. That seems to be the method of operation again. Do you honestly think this is not happening, that companies don't continue to do this to save their industries?

Tom McLaughlin said...

A thoughtful response, Peter.

Does the majority of scientists have genuine beliefs at all? Or, do they profess beliefs to go along and get along? Scientists, academics, writers, all publish. To get their work in print, they must submit to whatever standards a publication demands. If they want foundations to fund their research -- and most do -- they must submit to the standards of the foundation to which they apply for grants.

Foundations are the mother lode of grant money -- to the tune of hundreds of billions -- and we have to ask ourselves who runs them. While they may have been set up by wealthy, conservative industrialists like Henry Ford or John D. Rockefeller, they've since been taken over by liberal/left people who sit on their boards and decide how foundation money is distributed. If you aren't like-minded, you will get no grants. That's the lay of the land these days.

If we seek truth about anything, we first must believe there is such a thing as objective truth. Then we must wade through written and televised sources produced by biased individuals while searching. Everyone is biased, myself included. We must be aware of our biases and try not to be inhibited by them in our search for truth. We also have to know we're unlikely to ever get to absolute truth this side of heaven -- but we might get close sometimes.

Therefore, we must avoid claims of "settled science" in my opinion, especially in the realm of things we don't fully understand -- like climate. We must look at what scientists claim, but maintain our skepticism.

On another matter: I'm always looking for local people to debate on my small TV show: Left & Right. I don't know who you are, Peter, but if you're local and would be interested to appear on the show, email me at tomthemick@gmail.com.

Steve said...

I admit, I’ve read little on this subject, always meant too but haven’t gotten around to it, but I don’t think it’s hubris. I think it’s a genuine concern that we’re leaving our children and grandchildren a planet worse off than the one given to us. To say it’s way beyond human control is to assume the central question about climate change – is it man made or not – is settled. I don’t think the right has proven climate change isn’t man-made. If man is causing climate change, then, for certain, man can correct it. It wasn’t too long ago that the right took the position that there is no such thing as global warning or climate change, but when the trend of each decade being warmer than the prior decade become undeniable, the right modified their position. Instead of denying climate change, they adopted their current position, which is yes, climate change is occurring but it couldn’t possibly be the result of our activity. I think it’s a cop out to say we can’t affect climate, because it’s a way of saying, “Since my actions have no impact on climate, I don’t have to change my behavior in any way.” I can’t believe pumping tens of billions of tons of carbon and methane into the atmosphere and the oceans year after year has zero impact. Mankind, deliberately and accidentally, has enormous impact on the physical world. The dust bowl was man made. How many species of flora and fauna have we rendered extinct? The myriad shapes and sizes of canine breeds exist today from our manipulated breeding of a single animal – the wolf. There’s a beach in Thailand where a movie by the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. People besieged the place after the movie came out, and the Thai government had to periodically shut off access to it because of the extreme degradation we’ve caused. On a recent trip there, we took an all-day snorkeling excursion that made a stop at that beach during a rare period of accessibility. It was like an underwater moonscape. The coral was dead. The fish were gone. It was nearly devoid of life. A Google search would probably yield countless anecdotes about our deleterious impact to the natural world. Future generations depend on us; we don’t depend on them. That allows us to live our lives as recklessly as we want, because we won’t live to see the impact.

We will be drilling for oil for centuries to come. That likely won’t stop, but expanding the renewable market is only going to continue. I read a recent article on CNBC.com that predicted the worldwide investment in renewable energy will be in the neighborhood of $140T by 2050. As that technology is improved and expanded, we’ll either be the customer or the vendor.

CaptDMO said...

WOW! Gosh, I've read......
Global cooling!-No
Anthropogenic Global Warming-no
Man made climate change-no
Expensive, rushed "fixes" for climate change. Profits going to unusual places.
"Solution promises -"problematic"!
climate change-duh, all the time.