Michael Mann vs. NRO and Mark Steyn: It's Time to Rumble

National Review Online (NRO) is currently running an ad/article explaining that Professor Michael Mann, the creator of the highly questionable "hockey stick" graph that global warming alarmists latched onto to pummel the entire world with dour warnings about the effects of man-made CO2 emissions on life as we know it, is suing NRO and Mark Steyn for defamation of character:

Let me recap: A lawsuit has been formally filed by Professor Michael Mann against National Review and Mark Steyn. You know Mann: The Penn State academic and self-proclaimed (and bogus) Nobel Peace Prize awardee best known, famously and infamously, for the "hockey stick" graph that allegedly proves that recent years were the hottest on record for more than a millennium.

Of course, he is also known for the scandal about embarrassing e-mails, pried out of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.

According to Thomas Richard at examiner.com,

The suit is based on articles written by different authors at different times and can be found herehere, and here.

Richard goes on to say,

In the lawsuit, Mann makes the claim that he has been "awarded the Nobel Peace Prize" in the complaint itself (page 2, paragraph 2). He premises much of his argument/suit that by winning such a prestigious prize, he has the right to sue the aforementioned authors for defamation of character.

I contacted the The Norwegian Nobel Institute to find out if Mann was indeed a Nobel Laureate, winner, etc... My questions were:

1. Was Prof Michael Mann 'awarded' a Nobel Prize of any sort at any time? Is he a Nobel Laureate as implied elsewhere in his legal brief?

2. Did he receive a certificate "for contributing to" the IPCC Nobel Peace Prize? Is the photo of the certificate authentic? [see photo]

3. Is there a difference between stating you "were awarded" the Nobel Peace Prize as indicated by Mann in his legal brief and "contributing to" as shown in the attached photo of the certificate?

Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute emailed me back with the following:

"1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.
3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007."

Lundestad goes on to say that, "Unfortunately we often experience that members of organizations that have indeed been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize issue various forms of personal diplomas to indicate that they personally have received the Nobel Peace Prize. They have not."

Anthony Watts, publisher of Watts Up with That?, the heralded website that's devoted to unearthing the facts about climate change, has said that he thinks the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit is lying about "global warming" data:

In the over 7,000 published stories here on WUWT, I have never used the word "liar" in the headline to refer to CRU and the Yamal affair. That changes with this story.

I've always thought that with CRU, simple incompetence is a more likely explanation than malice and/or deception. For example, Phil Jones can't even plot trends in Excel. In this particular case, I don't think incompetence is the plausible explanation anymore. As one commenter on CA (Andy) said

"I suspect the cause of all this is an initial small lie, to cover intellectual mistakes, snowballing into a desire not to lose face, exacerbated by greater lies and compounded by group think. "

Given what I've witnessed and recalled from the history of the Yamal affair with Steve McIntyre's latest investigation, I'm now quite comfortable applying the label of "liar" to the CRU regarding their handling of data, of accusations, and of FOIA.

Watts is not alone.  Other serious scientists have serious reservations about the goings-on at CRU:

Scientists at the heart of the Climategate row were yesterday accused by a leading academic body of undermining science's credibility. 

The Institute of Physics said 'worrying implications' had been raised after it was revealed the University of East Anglia had manipulated data on global warming. 

The rebuke - the strongest yet from the scientific community - came as Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the scandal, told MPs he had written 'some pretty awful emails' - but denied trying to suppress data.

The Climategate row, which was first revealed by the Daily Mail in November, was triggered when a hacker stole hundreds of emails sent from East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. 

They revealed scientists plotting how to avoid responding to Freedom of Information requests from climate change sceptics. 

Some even appeared to show the researchers discussing how to manipulate raw data from tree rings about historical temperatures. 

In one, Professor Jones talks about using a 'trick' to massage figures and 'hide the decline'. 

In 2010, Professor Jones made a stunning admission:

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now - suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no 'statistically significant' warming.

In an article for American Thinker, Marc Sheppard called Jones' admission "climate fraud".  He was correct.  There is no other responsible way to interpret the facts.  It prompted Eduardo Zorita, a senior scientist at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht's Institute for Coastal Research, to call for barring Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and Stefan Rahmstorf from further IPCC participation.  He was correct, as well.

Given the facts of the case, it's more than a little peculiar that Michael Mann would sue anyone for defamation of character.  Why he chose to aim his animus at NRO and Mark Steyn instead of the host of others who have condemned his work is a mystery, but this much is clear: the "science" behind the argument that man-made CO2 emissions are the cause of "global warming" is suspect at best. 

The editors at NRO included this statement in their piece:

Like his [Michael Mann's] claim to be a Nobel laureate, the charges against NR are baseless and very much worth fighting. 

They are right.  This battle is worth fighting, and it may even help to uncover the truth about "global warming" and prevent us from diverting trillions of dollars to a baseless and worthless cause.


Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.



National Review Online (NRO) is currently running an ad/article explaining that Professor Michael Mann, the creator of the highly questionable "hockey stick" graph that global warming alarmists latched onto to pummel the entire world with dour warnings about the effects of man-made CO2 emissions on life as we know it, is suing NRO and Mark Steyn for defamation of character:

Let me recap: A lawsuit has been formally filed by Professor Michael Mann against National Review and Mark Steyn. You know Mann: The Penn State academic and self-proclaimed (and bogus) Nobel Peace Prize awardee best known, famously and infamously, for the "hockey stick" graph that allegedly proves that recent years were the hottest on record for more than a millennium.

Of course, he is also known for the scandal about embarrassing e-mails, pried out of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.

According to Thomas Richard at examiner.com,

The suit is based on articles written by different authors at different times and can be found herehere, and here.

Richard goes on to say,

In the lawsuit, Mann makes the claim that he has been "awarded the Nobel Peace Prize" in the complaint itself (page 2, paragraph 2). He premises much of his argument/suit that by winning such a prestigious prize, he has the right to sue the aforementioned authors for defamation of character.

I contacted the The Norwegian Nobel Institute to find out if Mann was indeed a Nobel Laureate, winner, etc... My questions were:

1. Was Prof Michael Mann 'awarded' a Nobel Prize of any sort at any time? Is he a Nobel Laureate as implied elsewhere in his legal brief?

2. Did he receive a certificate "for contributing to" the IPCC Nobel Peace Prize? Is the photo of the certificate authentic? [see photo]

3. Is there a difference between stating you "were awarded" the Nobel Peace Prize as indicated by Mann in his legal brief and "contributing to" as shown in the attached photo of the certificate?

Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute emailed me back with the following:

"1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.
3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007."

Lundestad goes on to say that, "Unfortunately we often experience that members of organizations that have indeed been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize issue various forms of personal diplomas to indicate that they personally have received the Nobel Peace Prize. They have not."

Anthony Watts, publisher of Watts Up with That?, the heralded website that's devoted to unearthing the facts about climate change, has said that he thinks the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit is lying about "global warming" data:

In the over 7,000 published stories here on WUWT, I have never used the word "liar" in the headline to refer to CRU and the Yamal affair. That changes with this story.

I've always thought that with CRU, simple incompetence is a more likely explanation than malice and/or deception. For example, Phil Jones can't even plot trends in Excel. In this particular case, I don't think incompetence is the plausible explanation anymore. As one commenter on CA (Andy) said

"I suspect the cause of all this is an initial small lie, to cover intellectual mistakes, snowballing into a desire not to lose face, exacerbated by greater lies and compounded by group think. "

Given what I've witnessed and recalled from the history of the Yamal affair with Steve McIntyre's latest investigation, I'm now quite comfortable applying the label of "liar" to the CRU regarding their handling of data, of accusations, and of FOIA.

Watts is not alone.  Other serious scientists have serious reservations about the goings-on at CRU:

Scientists at the heart of the Climategate row were yesterday accused by a leading academic body of undermining science's credibility. 

The Institute of Physics said 'worrying implications' had been raised after it was revealed the University of East Anglia had manipulated data on global warming. 

The rebuke - the strongest yet from the scientific community - came as Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the scandal, told MPs he had written 'some pretty awful emails' - but denied trying to suppress data.

The Climategate row, which was first revealed by the Daily Mail in November, was triggered when a hacker stole hundreds of emails sent from East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. 

They revealed scientists plotting how to avoid responding to Freedom of Information requests from climate change sceptics. 

Some even appeared to show the researchers discussing how to manipulate raw data from tree rings about historical temperatures. 

In one, Professor Jones talks about using a 'trick' to massage figures and 'hide the decline'. 

In 2010, Professor Jones made a stunning admission:

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now - suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no 'statistically significant' warming.

In an article for American Thinker, Marc Sheppard called Jones' admission "climate fraud".  He was correct.  There is no other responsible way to interpret the facts.  It prompted Eduardo Zorita, a senior scientist at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht's Institute for Coastal Research, to call for barring Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and Stefan Rahmstorf from further IPCC participation.  He was correct, as well.

Given the facts of the case, it's more than a little peculiar that Michael Mann would sue anyone for defamation of character.  Why he chose to aim his animus at NRO and Mark Steyn instead of the host of others who have condemned his work is a mystery, but this much is clear: the "science" behind the argument that man-made CO2 emissions are the cause of "global warming" is suspect at best. 

The editors at NRO included this statement in their piece:

Like his [Michael Mann's] claim to be a Nobel laureate, the charges against NR are baseless and very much worth fighting. 

They are right.  This battle is worth fighting, and it may even help to uncover the truth about "global warming" and prevent us from diverting trillions of dollars to a baseless and worthless cause.


Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.



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