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Lauren Johnson
02-09-2014, 05:01 PM
Real News Network interviewed climate scientist Michael Mann, who has come under vicious and persistent attack by right-wing groups who decided to play a reductivist game and focus their attack on one chart Mann developed which became important in popular discussions of climate change.

One of the things that I find remarkable is when some readers at NC and people in the comments section at other sites claim that climate scientists are saying climate change is real and in large measure caused by human activity either because that’s a profitable position for them to take or that they are under peer pressure. As for the “follow the money” notion, the oil industry has vastly deeper pockets than any other industry group involved in this debate and has been actively funding anti-climate change PR, some of it pretty crassly. For instance, from a 2007 post (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2007/02/scientists-offered-cash-to-dispute.html):


Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered…

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”.

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

“The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice,” he said.”

As for peer pressure, reader sittingstill pointed out (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/tom-engelhardt-ending-world-human-way-climate-change-anti-news.html#comment-1853675),


As a scientist myself, in a field overcrowded with Phd’s jockeying for limited positions, I’ve noticed the opposite of what you describe – there is a sizable vocal subset of professionals that will go far out on theoretical contrarian limbs in order to professionally distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd. This is much more pronounced in fields of study where the theory is more ambiguous than AGW. Conversely, the effect is less pronounced where the underlying theory is less ambiguous. On a macro scale, AGW fits best into this latter category. Timing and degree, though likely more severe than we want to hope, are still up for debate, but not the central tenet. I know many clear thinking scientists who switched over from the skeptical side 10 years ago.


And finally, Real News Network’s summary of Mann’s bio:


Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News’ list of fifty most influential people in 2013. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Mann is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pizGf7HEIA8

Magda Hassan
02-09-2014, 10:52 PM
I think I posted this before elsewhere but it fits here too.

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science An epic saga of secretly funded climate denial and harassment of scientists. by Jim Sallinger Jan 24 2014, 2:25am EST

(http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/01/an-insiders-story-of-the-global-attack-on-climate-science/?comments=1)

http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/wellington-640x360.jpg Stormy weather hits Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
Sean Hamlin
A recent headline—"Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss (http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/9600410/Failed-doubters-trust-leaves-taxpayers-at-loss)"—marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly funded climate denial, the harassment of scientists, and a tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.
It’s likely to be a familiar story to my scientist colleagues in Australia, the UK, the US, and elsewhere around the world.
But if you’re not a scientist and are genuinely trying to work out who to believe when it comes to climate change, then it’s a story you need to hear, too. Because while the New Zealand fight over climate data appears to finally be over, it’s part of a much larger, ongoing war against evidence-based science.
From number crunching to controversy In 1981, as part of my PhD work, I produced a seven-station New Zealand temperature series (http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/review/changes/seven-station-series-temperature-data) known as 7SS to monitor historic temperature trends and variations from Auckland to as far south as Dunedin in southern New Zealand.
A decade later, while at the NZ Meteorological Service in 1991-92, I revised the 7SS using a new homogenization (http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data/references) approach to make New Zealand’s temperature records more accurate, such as adjusting for when temperature gauges were moved to new sites. For example, in 1928, Wellington’s temperature gauge (http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/why-climate-data-sometimes-needs-to-be-adjusted/combining-temperature-data-from-multiple-sites-in-wellington) was relocated from an inner suburb near sea level up into the hills at Kelburn, where—due to its higher, cooler location—it recorded much cooler temperatures for the city than before.
With statistical analysis, we could work out how much Wellington’s temperature has really gone up or down since the city’s temperature records began back in 1862 and how much of that change was simply due to the gauge being moved uphill. (You can read more about re-examining NZ temperatures here (http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/why-climate-data-sometimes-needs-to-be-adjusted).)
So far, so uncontroversial.
But in 2008, while I was working for a NZ government-owned research organization—the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) (http://www.niwa.co.nz/)—we updated the 7SS. And we found that at those seven stations across the country, from Auckland down to Dunedin, there was a warming trend of 0.91ºC (1.63ºF) between 1909 and 2008.
Soon after that, things started to get heated.
The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Climate_Science_Coalition), linked to a global climate change denial group, the International Climate Science Coalition (http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/), began to question the adjustments I had made to the 7SS.
Rather than ever contacting me to ask for an explanation of the science, as I’ve tried to briefly cover above, the Coalition appeared determined to find a conspiracy.
“Shonky” claims The attack on the science was led by then MP for the free market ACT New Zealand (http://www.act.org.nz/) party, Rodney Hide, who claimed in the NZ Parliament (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1002/S00101.htm) in February 2010:
NIWA’s raw data for their official temperature graph shows no warming. But NIWA shifted the bulk of the temperature record pre-1950 downwards and the bulk of the data post-1950 upwards to produce a sharply rising trend… NIWA’s entire argument for warming was a result of adjustments to data which can’t be justified or checked. It’s shonky.
Hide’s attack continued for 18 months, with more than 80 parliamentary questions being put to NIWA between February 2010 and July 2011, all of which required NIWA input for the answers.
The science minister asked NIWA to reexamine the temperature records, which required several months of science time. In December 2010, the results were in. After the methodology was reviewed and endorsed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it was found that at the seven stations from Auckland to Dunedin, there was a warming trend of 0.91°C between 1909 and 2008.
That is, the same result as before.
But before NIWA even had time to produce that report, a new line of attack had been launched.
Off to court In July 2010, a statement of claim against NIWA was filed in the High Court of New Zealand under the guise of a new charitable trust: the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET). Its trustees were all members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition.
The NZCSET challenged the decision of NIWA to publish the adjusted 7SS, claiming that the “unscientific” methods used created an unrealistic indication of climate warming.
The trust ignored the evidence in the Meteorological Service report I first authored (http://www.niwa.co.nz/our-science/climate/information-and-resources/nz-temp-record/seven-station-series-temperature-data/references), which stated that a particular adjustment methodology had been used. The trust incorrectly claimed this methodology should have been used but wasn’t.
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nzherald-300x288.jpg (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nzherald.jpg)Enlarge (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nzherald.jpg) / The New Zealand weather wars in the news.
The New Zealand Herald
In July 2011, the trust produced a document that attempted to reproduce the Meteorological Service adjustments, but it failed to do so, instead making lots of errors. On September 7, 2012, High Court Justice Geoffrey Venning delivered a 49-page ruling (http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/nz%20climate%20science%20v%20niwa.pdf), finding that the NZCSET had not succeeded in any of its challenges against NIWA.
The judge was particularly critical about retired journalist and NZCSET trustee Terry Dunleavy’s lack of scientific expertise (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10834154).
Justice Venning described some of the trust’s evidence as tediously lengthy (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10834154) and said, “It is particularly unsuited to a satisfactory resolution of a difference of opinion on scientific matters."
Taxpayers left to foot the bill After an appeal that was withdrawn (http://www.niwa.co.nz/news/niwa%E2%80%99s-climate-science-vindicated-in-court-of-appeal) at the last minute, late last year the NZCSET was ordered to pay NIWA NZ$89,000 (US$74,000) in costs from the original case, plus further costs from the appeal.
But just this month, we have learned that the people behind the NZCSET have sent it into liquidation as they cannot afford the fees, leaving the New Zealand taxpayer at a substantial, six-figure loss.
Commenting on the lost time and money involved with the case, NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan said (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9600968/Failed-doubters-trust-leaves-taxpayers-at-loss), "On the surface, it looks like the trust was purely for the purpose of taking action, which is not what one would consider the normal use of a charitable trust."
This has been an insidious saga. The trust aggressively attacked the scientists instead of engaging with them to understand the technical issues, they ignored evidence that didn’t suit their case, and they regularly misrepresented NIWA statements by taking them out of context.
Yet their attack has now been repeatedly rejected in Parliament, by scientists, and by the courts.
The end result of the antics by a few individuals and the trust is probably going to be a six-figure bill for New Zealanders to pay.
My former colleagues have had valuable weeks tied up in defending against these manufactured allegations. That’s time that could have profitably been used further investigating what is happening with our climate.
But there is a bigger picture here, too.
Merchants of doubt Doubt-mongering (http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/) is an old strategy. It is a strategy that has been pursued before to combat the ideas that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health, and it has been assiduously followed by climate deniers for the past 20 years.
One of the best-known international proponents of such strategies is US think tank the Heartland Institute (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heartland_Institute).
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/heartland-640x384.jpg (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/heartland.jpg)Enlarge (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/heartland.jpg) / The first in a planned series of anti-global warming billboards in the US, comparing “climate alarmists” with terrorists and mass murderers. The campaign was canned after a backlash.
The Heartland Institute
Just to be clear: there is no evidence that the Heartland Institute helped fund the NZ court challenge. In 2012, one of the trustees who brought the action against NIWA said that Heartland had not donated anything (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10834154) to the case.
However, Heartland is known to have been active in NZ in the past, providing funding to the NZ Climate Science Coalition and a related International Coalition (http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=1 2&Itemid=45), as well as financially backing prominent climate “skeptic” campaigns in Australia (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/web-leak-shows-trail-of-climate-sceptic-funding-20120217-1tegk.html).
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hearland2-300x224.jpg (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hearland2.jpg)Enlarge (http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hearland2.jpg) / An extract from a 1999 letter from the Heartland Institute to tobacco company Philip Morris.
University of California, San Francisco, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
The Heartland Institute also has a long record of working with tobacco companies (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/heartland-institutes-corporate-shilling-is-nothing-new-20120222), as the letter on the right illustrates. (You can read that letter and other industry documents in full here (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jvy82i00/pdf). Meanwhile, Heartland’s reply to critics of its tobacco and fossil fuel campaigns is here (http://heartland.org/reply-to-critics).) Earlier this month, the news broke that major tobacco companies will finally admit that they "deliberately deceived the American public, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/deal-reached-on-tobacco-firm-corrective-statements/2014/01/10/bc960eca-7a47-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html)" in “corrective statements (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1004256-proposed-consent-order-on-corrective-statements.html)” that would run on prime-time TV, in newspapers, and even on cigarette packs.
It has taken a 15-year court battle (http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/with-1200-deaths-a-day-tobacco-companies-finally-agree-to-publish-ads-admitting-they-lied-about-dangers-of-smoking-140115?news=852174) with the US government to reach this point, and it shows that evidence can trump doubt-mongering in the long run.
A similar day may come for those who actively work to cast doubt on climate science.https://counter.theconversation.edu.au/content/21972/count.gif
This story originally appeared on The Conversation (http://theconversation.com/an-insiders-story-of-the-global-attack-on-climate-science-21972).