Bad Idea

From Virginia:

No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli  directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

Yeah, I get it that this was public money, so one can claim this is an accountability exercise, but in practice this is pure intimidation and harassment of an academic whose work one disagrees with.  Errors in Mann’s work should be dealt with through criticism and replication, not through legal actions by grandstanding politicians.

I am the last one to defend the dumb ass academic projects that government money often goes towards funding, but once granted, scientists and academics need some room to pursue truth (even incorrectly) without being harassed by elected officials.  I would have no problem with the entire state grant program being evaluated for effectiveness, or some investigation into UVA’s financial or academic controls it exercises over its research.

For skeptics cheering this on, would you be OK with Eric Holder going after, say, Roy Spencer in the same way?  Do you really think that if the guys in Virginia establish the precedent, the Chicago-trained folks in the White House aren’t willing and able to go one better?

Update: This seems a more productive approach.  Why not go after the University for its data sharing practices on publicly funded studies, rather than try to go after a scientist one disagrees with on criminal charges.  If we tried every academic for not fully disclosing data potentially contradictory to their pet theory, we would empty out the universities.  We handle these issues by replication and challenge by other academics.  Therefore, the better approach is to focus on release of data required to do the replication and verification.

  • I agree.

    The best way to counter bad science is with honest peer review, which means skeptics and alarmists must have the data needed to replicate or refute the study. If the scientist fails to provide these he may be liable for misuse of government funds.

    BTW: I hope Mike Mann sues the producers of the “Hide the Decline” video. To win he would have to prove that he didn’t hide the declining tree ring temperatures in recent years.

    He cannot do this because he has already admitted it. [He was explaining why he did it.]

    Sue away and I will laugh when he fails.

  • Congratulations on being the first person to criticize this I’ve seen who did not sound like he wanted to see the AG hanged for this.

  • Wally

    I’m not sure here. There is such a thing as criminal misuse of funds. I don’t know why we have to wait until we can’t replicate someone’s work to investigate that possibility should there be some reason to believe it may have been going on. Though, don’t we already know we can make the hockey stick, given the various adjustments, from random data? Now, I’m not sure what kinda of stipulations came with those state grants, but if he was manipulating data in order to make good on his grant proposal, I’m guessing we could call that criminal misuse of funds.

    I also don’t by the argument of what would you think if this was happening to your guy? We’ll if he was manipulating data, I’d say he had it coming… I have no tolerance for that, and do not simply believe the peer review process is equipped to handle such things alone. If someone is shown to be misusing funds and/or preforming knowingly incorrect analysis in order to favor a pet theory we need to get them out of science. They need to lose their jobs and do jail time. They took public money both for their research and for their livelihood (yes their salaries do come from grants and other public moneys guys) under the assumption that they will do good science. Now there are honest mistakes, but if they intentionally violate that duty, they are criminals and need to be treated as such.

    So if Mann intentionally created the hockey stick at the outset, despite what they data may be, and I do believe we have a reason to suspect that, I absolutely support a criminal investigation.

  • Skeptic

    This is not about making an honest scientific mistake, it is about investigating the possibility of deliberate malfeasance to advance political goals, recognition, grant money, academic advancement, etc. in deference to the science. Unfortunately, the official whitewash inquiries have failed to recognize these problems and it has to be done by an Attorney General, but so be it. Mann also continues to arrogantly dismiss multiple criticisms of his work as unfounded, and falsely claim that e.g. the NAS report vindicated him and gave his hockey stick “a clean bill of health”. How can Mann be concerned with the scientific method with emails such as:

    “As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all, its about plausibly deniable accusations”.

    Mann’s email to Phil Jones on June 4, 2003, stating “it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP” [Medieval Warming Period], even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back”

    etc etc

  • Stevo

    I’ll ask the same question I asked Steve McIntyre.

    If the government employ me to produce, say, unemployment statistics, and I save myself the cost and effort by publishing random numbers (undercutting the competition and making a vast profit), are you saying that the government has no come-back? They employed me to produce a product, I lied to them in saying my random numbers were the product they wanted, and they paid me for it. You’re really saying you don’t see anything legally wrong with that, that it’s just a matter of honour between gentlemen of science?

    If I produce statistics on my own funding, for my own reasons, and government takes note (even to the tune of trillions) they clearly have no legal complaint if it turns out I made them all up. But if somebody *pays* me to produce those statistics, is it still *legally* OK taking their money if I *knowingly* provide them with junk?

    Because it’s science, and therefore science has sole jurisdiction?

  • ADiff

    The AG is perfectly within his purview to order a review of the work, with an eye, perhaps, to modifying such awards in future or the accountability and reporting requirements associated with them. To suggest a search for some (vaguely outlined) malfeasance associated with work from a past grant is, I agree, nothing but base political grandstanding, and amounts to political harassment. A through review should be sufficient to assess whether public funds underwrote anything more akin to political or ideological advocacy (shocking I tell you, just shocking, eh?)…intimations of punitive proceedings is not only premature, but seems like a possible retroactive adjustment of terms extended in past on its face.

  • ADiff

    Skeptic, If clear non-compliance with terms is demonstrated after review, then proceedings in response may be justified. The primary matter is the terms in force under that prior agreement. To speculate on possible results of a review in advance of its even starting is so premature as to be unprofessional, is obviously political grandstanding, and could very easily (and very reasonably) be viewed as presumption to assess on the basis of a political or ideological basis. That’s very ill-advised. It would have been sufficient to proceed with a review of compliance with terms. The AG is not an arbiter of objectivity or even scientific merit of work done under grants, but can assume the role of assessment of fitness to past terms to goals of producing non-ideological endeavors, with an eye to any desirable changes to that end. How can the AG predict possible proceedings on the basis of terms which haven’t been reviewed against outputs yet?

  • Pat Moffitt

    I’m not an attorney but this just feels like one of those roads you don’t want to go down.

  • Jay

    Having read these comments and quite a few more on McIntyre’s site, I have to wonder why so many people I consider unusually intelligent have expressed the opinion that scientists should be exempt from the laws that govern the rest of us. From my perspective, Mann has accepted public funding under the guise of performing scientific research, yet he has intentionally manipulated the results of his research to advance public policy consideration he strongly advocates. These policies, if fully implicated, will have a devastating effect on the world’s primary economies, a fact of which Mann is well aware.

    If Mann were merely often wrong, or his methods were sloppy, or if it turns out he is just not the sharpest knife in the drawer, then clearly no civil or criminal action is warranted. However, it seems to me that there is strong probable cause that Mann and others intentionally manipulated their research to provide the results they seem to have predetermined, then the investigation is warranted (there is in fact ample evidence of an organized conspiracy to do so in the Climategate emails).

    The threat of prosecution should intimidate those who intentionally falsify research produced with public money, even a scientist shelter behind the ivy covered walls of academia. Perhaps Mann, Jones, Briffa and others would have been more transparent and circumspect in their research if they understood that their actions had personal and professional consequences.

  • Chuckles

    Stevo and Jay,
    Hear, hear, well said. If you believe that the investigation is wrong, then petition to remove or amend the legislation under which it is being instigated.
    Anything else is special pleading for ‘scientists’ or ‘academics’ being above the law.
    The law under which the documents are being requested is in fact a civil statute, so no criminal penalties would apply, even if malfeasance was found.

  • Jeff Id

    The first person criticizing this was Tom Fuller, that I’m aware of.

    On the 29th.

    I agree with the point that prosecution is not worthwhile.


    I have a climate blog almost entirely because of Mannn08. I literally spent two years complaining about the SOB. If anyone believes Mann might have committed fraud, it’s me. But prosecution with the intent to get money back, is useless. It’s pointless because we’ll spend more money than we would ever get back, but more importantly, because no matter what they conclude we won’t be any closer to people understanding the truth.

    Mann’s HS work is clearly bad, to find out if there was intent is physically impossible because only he is inside his head. Thank god for that little miracle.

    Why would we waste money proving what we already know, on an effort that will convince nobody either way. Perhaps the attorney sees it as another opportunity to clear Mann, after so many climategate whitewashes, did they change your mind?

    Nope, this is just junk for the sake of people with hidden motive. That’s why we shouldn’t support the self aggrandizing crap.

  • gallopingcamel

    I’m with Jeff Id on this one so I hope you won’t mind me (lazy beast) copying the following comment from is blog:

    It feels strange to find myself defending Michael Mann but the Cuccinelli lawsuit is just grandstanding. If Mann were being sued for sloppy work, incompetence or hubris I could support it, but those things are probably not crimes.

    One type of lawsuit that should be used against NASA, NOAA, UEA, Penn State and the usual suspects is their reluctance to respond to “Freedom of Information” requests. You may think that such lawsuits are too trivial to do any good but nothing could be further from the truth.

    For many years I lived at the public trough (research funded by the US government) and became familiar with the leverage that research contracts give to funding agencies. For example, the Department of Defence once forced my university to raise membership fees at its excellent golf club!

    Once you have a finding in Federal court against an organisation with US government research contracts, related payments can be frozen until the issue is resolved. At present it is the government that uses this kind of arm twisting but the boilerplate in the research contracts is written in such a way that Steve McIntyre or Willis Eschenbach could use the same approach.

  • Stevo

    “Mann’s HS work is clearly bad, to find out if there was intent is physically impossible because only he is inside his head. Thank god for that little miracle.”

    There are all those emails, though.

    Suppose an email is found in which Mann says something like:
    “p.s. I know I probably don’t need to mention this, but just to insure absolutely clarify on this, I’m providing these for your own personal use, since you’re a trusted colleague. So please don’t pass this along to others without checking w/ me first. This is the sort of “dirty laundry” one doesn’t want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try to distort things…”

    That would indicate that he *knew* there was something potentially wrong with the reconstruction, and that he was trying to hide it from public view. The residuals showed properties that were *well known* to indicate the wrong statistical model was being used, and he didn’t want the sceptics pointing it out.

    And if the Mannomatic was used in subsequent papers, after M+M came out, they would *definitely* have known there was an issue.

    So were they doing the equivalent of being employed by the taxpayers to produce a certain product, and *knowingly* providing something they knew was probably not what had been asked for? *Knowingly* making false statements in public in order to keep getting paid for what they had produced?

    I agree that the law has no business in the matter of determining scientific truth. I agree that it is totally unreasonable to prosecute scientific mistakes honestly made – that is how science progresses. I even agree that this particular action is unlikely to succeed, and has been done for impure political motives. But science-done-for-money has to follow the same rules as everything else being done for money.

  • MikeC

    This action by the AG is Civil, not Criminal.

  • hunter

    The skeptics who are criticizing the AG’s investigation are making a huge error.
    Look at how Mann has misused the legal system to suppress a simple (and funny) parody that borke no laws at all, and violated no copyrights that he owned.
    Do you actually think you will earn any sort of grudging respect from the con-artists and charlatans who have been promoting AGW for decades?
    Don’t kid yourselves.
    It is long past time to follow the money in AGW promotion. This is not a witch hunt, it is not a fishing expedition. It is a lawful, appropriate investigation into something that has cost tax payers literally billions of dollars over many years.
    Do you think scientists are above the law?
    Wake up.
    The AG of Virginia is taking a good first step. He should be supported, and more importantly, joined by other states and the Federal government as well.

  • I think the skeptics are wallowing in self-importance. They seem to be falling over one another trying to score points with the warmists that they have a sense of climate justice too.

    James Delingpole is right on the money with this issue.

    Yes, there are bad things in this world.Yes – this is not how science is done. But the hockey stick is not science.

    I don’t know how it is a done deal that the population should silently get their teeth kicked in by the hockey team and their carbon credits.

  • Jay

    Virginia’s AG Cuccinelli would not have been my first choice to launch a governmental investigation into probable malfeasance by mainstream climate researchers. Possibly his motive are based on gaining favorable publicity and political name recognition. I doubt he knows the difference between a climate forcing and cake frosting. There is also a chance, as others have pointed out, that this investigation could elevate Mann into the ranks of martyrdom. Maybe.

    But having followed the hollow, superficial investigation of Dr. Jones and the CRU Climategate mess in Great Briton, and the laughably illusive inquiry so far into Mann’s work at Penn State, I became concerned that these artificial exonerations would further embolden these scientists continue carrying on with impunity, although no doubt more secretive. Perhaps this Virginia investigation, even if it goes nowhere, will send a message that public funded climate research is public property, and the data, code, note books and communications between scientists are public domain. Perhaps these scientists will consider that they will not always face a jury stacked with their colleagues, co-authors and department chairs, but by government investigators more concerned with the truth than future grant money. It’s a shot across the bow that I believe is worth firing.

  • A C Osborn

    Sorry, in what other way can you find out if laws have been broken?

  • Waldalorian

    What I have to wonder, folks, is how many of you would be screaming police state if Cuccinelli suddenly decided to investigate Mr. Meyer (who for once I am in agreement with), or McIntyre, or perhaps the hacker who broke into the CRU, or even any of you? Wally, perhaps we should send an attorney general to investigate your lab – after all, how do we know that you haven’t broken the law? The deniosphere is full of melodrama (Mann breaking the law, really?) and a very one-dimensional view of the science involved, but some the comments here have turned the dial on wacko. The investigation will never come to anything anyway – Cuccinelli is simply bucking for the limelight. How silly.

  • DrTorch

    Skeptic wrote pretty much what I was going to say.

    A mistake is one thing. Perpetuating that into a career built on fraud, is quite another.

    I respect your healthy concern for this government official to take things too far. That too certainly has precedent.

  • ADiff

    It’s important again to note that the Virgina AG is perfectly correct to investigate the compliance of Mann’s work with terms in force for public funding of this kind, and proceed as the finding indicated.

    But very premature to presume results, especially since the issues relevant to the review are compliance to terms, not scientific legitimacy of social utility.

  • hunter

    As to the appropriateness of the investigation into skeptics- just how many skeptics are receiving millioins of tax payer dollars and signing agreements to handle the money according to the laws of those taxpayer funded orgs?

  • papertiger

    The way I see it the university had their chance.
    The peer review system has had literally decades to unfuck this.

    The IPPC is a collaborator.

    If not the Attorney General of Virginia, then who?

  • papertiger

    You remember how Tom Delay was convicted of that crime he was accused of?

    Yeah I can’t quite remember what sort of crime it was. For that matter I can remember hearing anything more of it after Tom stepped down from being the House Majority Leader.

    If nothing else happens except Michael Mann’s name is scrubbed from the pages of Wikipedia, it will be time and resources well spent.

  • hunter

    The comparison between Mann and Delay is hilarious. Thanks.
    Maybe Mann can do “Dancing with the Stars”?

  • Stevo

    “What I have to wonder, folks, is how many of you would be screaming police state if Cuccinelli suddenly decided to investigate Mr. Meyer (who for once I am in agreement with), or McIntyre, or perhaps the hacker who broke into the CRU, or even any of you?”

    Did any of them take money from the Virginia state taxpayer to provide their results? If not, the taxpayer has no standing for such an investigation.

    Speaking for myself, they’re welcome to come round any time. In fact, we have processes in place to make sure it’s easy for them, in case they do. All the data/code is organised by project and archived to keep it accessible. All our emails in and out are archived and subject to monitoring and disclosure. It’s standard practice.

  • papertiger

    “What I have to wonder, folks, is how many of you would be screaming police state if Cuccinelli suddenly decided to investigate Mr. Meyer (who for once I am in agreement with), or McIntyre, or perhaps the hacker who broke into the CRU, or even any of you?”

    So is it a hope to keep a low profile that led you to become a blogger, Mr Meyer?


    Just imagining the first question from the inquiry.

  • ADiff

    I’m unaware of Mr. Meyer’s having received any Public funds with enforceable terms of performance compliance with which would be proper subject to such investigation. If I’m mistaken, then any such investigation would be entirely appropriate, as it is in Mr. Mann’s case.

    On another note, once again the mythical CRU “hacker” raises his nefarious head! And again it should be pointed out there’s no evidence the CRU was in any way at all ‘hacked’. The information released from CRU appears to have been accessed via normal authenticated access (i.e. someone with the password and access)…which suggests an ‘inside job’, either from outside using credentials provided by an insider, or from inside, with the data being transferred out by someone at CRU who saw fit (for some reason) to do so. There was no ‘hacker’ and no ‘hacking’. No one ‘broke in’ to the CRU system. The best guess is someone at CRU felt this data needed to be public and made it available…which is hardly surprising under the circumstances. That may have been a violation of CRU’s information security policies, perhaps, but it is NOT ‘hacking’.

  • Mike

    Jeff ID:

    “Why would we waste money proving what we already know, on an effort that will convince nobody either way. Perhaps the attorney sees it as another opportunity to clear Mann, after so many climategate whitewashes, did they change your mind?”

    Because it isn’t about the$500k. It is about the untold $millions/billions spent and the cost to society that may or may not occur based on his fraudulent work. Which, I assume, is at least a little bit of the reason you spent so much time with your blog/website.

    Yes, it isn’t about the $500k he ripped off, or the few million it will cost to prosecute. It is about the $billions in opportunity attempting to be stolen from you, me, our children and grandchildren.

    If Mann committed fraud, as many people, including me and I believe you, he has to be held accountable to the law, just like you and I have to be.

  • papertiger

    “Why not go after the University for its data sharing practices on publicly funded studies, rather than try to go after a scientist one disagrees with on criminal charges.”

    Because the backers of this fraud make it almost a tenant of their religion to hide themselves behind important sounding acronyms, like IPCC, NASA, GISS, WWF, NRDC, HADCRUT, CARB, AAAS. Never poking their heads out to speak up for their convictions, under the mistaken belief that by hiding behind others they can excape culpability.

    I hope Ken Cuccinelli fucks Mike Mann’s ass with a blowtorch, just for the clensing effect it will have on the rest of those lying assholes.
    Stand the fuck by John Holdren. We’re coming for you next Steve Schneider.

  • Waldieke

    Ah, got it – it is the issue of public money being used. Okay: y’all would be screaming bloody murder if the Pielkes were suddenly and aggressively investigated by John Suthers (Co. attny. general) and, please, spare us the dramatic rhetoric about how suddenly concerned you all are with the use of public funds. Your problem is actually the issue of public money being used to come to scientific conclusions that you do not want to believe in.

    Then there is perhaps the most intelligent commentary yet on this blog:

    “I hope Ken Cuccinelli fucks Mike Mann’s ass with a blowtorch, just for the clensing effect it will have on the rest of those lying assholes. Stand the fuck by John Holdren. We’re coming for you next Steve Schneider.”

    Yeah, I’m really rethinking AGW after reading this…as I’ve already posted, CS is getting weirder and weirder.

  • hunter

    And of course you are the sole voice of reason. As if.
    I think papertiger was out of line with his over heated rhetoric.
    But his para compares not at all with the AGW true believer who posts under my name. And at least papertiger makes rational sentences.
    As usual you dodge any substance with well practiced success, but you always do it so transparently and childishly.
    Let the Pielke’s get investigated. See whether or not they have complied with the laws regarding their public finance.
    Or are you now going to assert that scientists are above petty things like financial responsibility and compliance?

  • Douglas Cohen

    The basic problem is the incentive structure inherent in government funding of scientific research. From the government-funded research team’s point of view, their (economic) goal is always to generate new results that make the case for more funding and not to discover something that undercuts the funding story. A government-funded research team would, for example, have a strong incentive to keep working only until they find something that justifies more money and then stop — if they keep on doing research they might stumble onto something that cut the wrong way. This sort of attitude can dominate the team’s behavior without anything specific being said and without anyone being more than vaguely conscious of their conflict of interest. Is making decisions that are strongly influenced by these sorts of unspoken and ignoble motives research fraud, or just bad scientific judgment? If you go on to the next step in protecting your funding and, like the climate alarmists, try to influence who does your peer reviews, are you trying to game the system in a fraudulent way or just trying to uphold what are, in your mistaken but professional view, best scientific practices? Our legal system is by and large designed to punish bad acts, not bad motives (although some misguided politicians are trying to change that with the passage of “hate crime” laws, etc.), because in the real world most decisions arise from a mixture of motives — some commendable, which we are willing to talk about, and some not so commendable, which we are not.

    The problem of bad scientific attitudes generated by government funded research is described in more detail in “The Big-Science Poker Game,” (

  • papertiger

    Waldieke, you would have had to think about it the first time in order to rethink.

  • Neo

    I thought about this long and hard and came to the conclusion that the AG was looking to see if Mann had fulfilled the duties in his contract with UVA.
    To get a grip on this, consider just how much time Mann must have spent on IPCC related activities that may not fall under said contract.

  • Waldigger

    Ah little hunter, you funny guy.

    ****”you are the sole voice of reason.”

    No, there are a couple of others. There’s Shills, and NeilC, and Steveo. They’re also voices of reason. Please, hunter, try to pay attention.

    ****”at least papertiger makes rational sentences.”

    Really? Like this? “I hope Ken Cuccinelli fucks Mike Mann’s ass with a blowtorch”

    Sounds more like S&M homoerotica to me. Besides, hunter, you really shouldn’t be commenting on “rational sentences” until you can write one.

    ****”Let the Pielke’s get investigated. See whether or not they have complied with the laws regarding their public finance.”

    Okay, let’s do it. And if we find that the Pielkes (no apostrophe unless denoting possession, by the way) are taking public money for research simply to be contrarian, then what? Send them to jail? And what would the Meyer tribes of the world be doing then? Would be very intereting…

    Because ethics and laws tend to change in the deniosphere. Such as the release of private emails without the authors’ permission. If anyone hacked Mr. Meyer’s account, or his wife made his private correspondences public, or someone hacked into the Heartland Institute (or publicly posted private emails from the inside), I guarantee you ADiff would not be posting, “That may have been a violation of [Mr. Meyer’s] information security policies, perhaps, but it is NOT ‘hacking’.”

    BS, my friend. You are too smart to really believe that. Or maybe you’re not…

  • papertiger

    “If anyone hacked Mr. Meyer’s account, or his wife made his private correspondences public, or someone hacked into the Heartland Institute (or publicly posted private emails from the inside), I guarantee you ADiff would not be posting, “That may have been a violation of [Mr. Meyer’s] information security policies, perhaps, but it is NOT ‘hacking’.””

    If it was a case of hacking, why haven’t they produced the hacker yet?

    Don’t tell me that they can’t track this sort of thing, because we know for a fact they can and do.

  • Waltiger

    Well, paperkitty, I don’t know why “they” (whoever “they” are) haven’t produced the hacker…

    Perhaps the hacker was smart enough to use an anonymous web proxy, or perhaps (like my own IP address) it is unclear where I actually originate from without a search warrant, or perhaps it was an inside job – none of which makes it legal or ethical.

    Or perhaps the good people at CRU realized that the irrational, antagonistic deniosphere would simply make a martyr/hero out of someone who illegally accessed private emails, as such is the nature of the deniosphere.

  • papertiger

    “Or perhaps the good people at CRU realized that the irrational, antagonistic deniosphere would simply make a martyr/hero out of someone who illegally accessed private emails, as such is the nature of the deniosphere.”

    If CRU is all that then “they” have too much power, and needed taking down a peg.

  • Waldkitty

    What? That makes no sense, paperpuss’n’boots.

    hunter, was that one of your “rational sentences”?

  • hunter

    The e-mails were not private. They did not discuss private matters. They were work related and were produced on work owned computers and on work related e-mail accounts. The only question is were they released by an insider or an outsider or both working together?
    So BS on you.
    As to the money question: again, is Mann above having his use of public money audited or not? Or is it that you think Mann was taking public money simply to fabricate a phony piece of work to promote AGW, and so you are trying to make a symmetrical argument in a wasted attempt to claim equivalency?
    I have stated my position, and you seem unwilling to do other than put words in that I did not say.
    So at the end of the day you are left to evasion.
    And thanks as always for the grammar tips.

  • ADiff

    If someone at the Heartland Institute made available emails from their employer, either by uploading it elsewhere or making access available to an outsider, I’d say exactly the same thing: it would be a violation of Heartland’s internal policies, but definitely NOT hacking…just as was the case when the CRU emails were NOT hacked, but apparently released by an insider there.

    Of course I have a lot more sympathy for private information produced with private funds than for private information produced with public funds. In fact, unless someone can clearly demonstrate a reason it’s detrimental to the public interest, I’d be inclined to consider communications funded by the public ‘fair game’, even to real hacking….but even that purely personal opinion doesn’t apply in the CRU case, which really looks to be some kind of ‘whistle-blower’ rather than a ‘hacker’.

    What was Mann doing? He was doing anything possible to protect his theories, to make himself look significant and important and further his own career and the whole field he and his compadres has so invested their professional careers in….and the real ‘truth’ was never an issue, one way or another. And that’s my take on it, plain and simple. When one needs to believe something as badly as a lot of DAGW advocates apparently do, truth and lies lose any distinction outside of that imperative. Saving the World requires some compromises, including integrity, it seems.

  • Harry

    Of course this investigation is politically motivated. But on the other hand, if Mann has obeyed all the rules theer is nothing to fear.

    Many research contracts include obligations to provide data on a website, as a database, whatsoever. Mann did refuse to reveal the source code of his analysis developed when at VA. This may be a single cause to prosecute. I do not know about American law, but under European law, one would be liable for breach of contract. So the mere fact that Mann did not reveal all the code, would be penizable according to European rules for Research Grants.

  • Wally


    Its the same here, at least with the federal grants. I don’t do research in VA, much less seen the specific grants Mann may have been award, but I highly doubt they are different in this regard.

  • Waldally

    Well gato de papel, look over the above responses. These reify at least one theory as to why “they” have not produced a hacker. As predicted, the deniosphere lionizes a person or people who hacked into a governmental agency for no other purpose than to cause dissension and embarrassment. And I’m sure everyone here knows that Mann et al have been officially cleared – which must really chap your collective hide (whether you will admit it or not).

    And I have to ask, folks, if anyone here has any hard numbers on how long Mann did work on IPCC materials (if at all – or did the IPCC simply use Mann’s research?), how much public monies Mann et al actually used, and where is their evidence of “fraud” outside blog postings in the deniospehere?

    I’m guessing no one has done any actually research or can make a claim of fact to any of these charges.

    And hunter…

    ****”Or is it that you think Mann was taking public money simply to fabricate a phony piece of work to promote AGW, and so you are trying to make a symmetrical argument in a wasted attempt to claim equivalency?”

    …are you attempting to sound like an intellectual all of the sudden? This is really something you need not try to do – I mean, really, for your own good, don’t try to sound intellectual.

    This is much more your style and diction:

    “So BS on you.”

    I’d stick to this – it’s actually kind of amusing.

  • papertiger

    Officially cleared?

    That’s funny. You are a funny guy waldo.

    “I’m guessing no one has done any actually research or can make a claim of fact to any of these charges.”

    Discovery will be coming soon.


    Why are we having this issue? Is the purpose to prove that one climate scientist is a fraud and therefore all other studies are irrelevant?

    It is one study that has been refuted on countless occasions through peer review, it is not the foundation of ‘global warming theory’. IPCC reports are based on many lines of evidence.

    When a report implies an unusual or equivocal conclusion, it is the purpose of peer review to illuminate the merits and/or flaws of those conclusions, as well as the data on which they are based. Hasn’t peer review succeeded in those goals with respect to Mann’s ‘hockey stick’? It has been scruntinised and debated to an extent where many now would disregard it.

    If you feel the study may be tainted, discard it, reject it and look elsewhere. There are countless other temperature records: using various methods from tree rings, coral annual banding, stalagmites, coring etc.

  • papertiger

    “It is one study that has been refuted on countless occasions through peer review, it is not the foundation of ‘global warming theory’. IPCC reports are based on many lines of evidence.”

    Not really. And the IPCC has never repudiated or removed Mann’s graph.
    The best they did was stick it in a “spagetti graph”, seeking to conceal it from casual discovery by the layman.
    Read here for more details

  • Waldawiki

    *****”‘IPCC reports are based on many lines of evidence.’” / Not really. And the IPCC has never repudiated or removed Mann’s graph.”

    Um…yes really. Are you honestly suggesting that the thousands of pages of IPCC literature is based on…Mann? And who repudiated what? McIntyre and McKitrick have themselves been repudiated.

    Actually, let’s take a look at Real Climate and what they say about this very debate

    MYTH #0: Evidence for modern human influence on climate rests entirely upon the “Hockey Stick” Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures indicating anomalous late 20th century warmth.

    This peculiar suggestion is sometimes found in op-ed pieces and other dubious propaganda, despite its transparant absurdity. Paleoclimate evidence is simply one in a number of independent lines of evidence indicating the strong likelihood that human influences on climate play a dominant role in the observed 20th century warming of the earth’s surface. Perhaps the strongest piece of evidence in support of this conclusion is the evidence from so-called “Detection and Attribution Studies”. Such studies demonstrate that the pattern of 20th century climate change closely matches that predicted by state-of-the-art models of the climate system in response to 20th century anthropogenic forcing (due to the combined influence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations and industrial aerosol increases).

    MYTH #1: The “Hockey Stick” Reconstruction is based solely on two publications by climate scientist Michael Mann and colleagues (Mann et al, 1998;1999).

    This is patently false. Nearly a dozen model-based and proxy-based reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature by different groups all suggest that late 20th century warmth is anomalous in a long-term (multi-century to millennial) context (see Figures 1 and 2 in “Temperature Variations in Past Centuries and The So-Called ‘Hockey Stick’”).

    Some proxy-based reconstructions suggest greater variability than others. This greater variability may be attributable to different emphases in seasonal and spatial emphasis (see Jones and Mann, 2004; Rutherford et al, 2004; Cook et al, 2004). However, even for those reconstructions which suggest a colder “Little Ice Age” and greater variability in general in past centuries, such as that of Esper et al (2002), late 20th century hemispheric warmth is still found to be anomalous in the context of the reconstruction (see Cook et al, 2004).

    MYTH #2: Regional proxy evidence of warm or anomalous (wet or dry) conditions in past centuries contradicts the conclusion that late 20th century hemispheric mean warmth is anomalous in a long-term (multi-century to millennial) context.

    Such claims reflect a lack of awareness of the distinction between regional and large-scale climate change. Similar such claims were recently made in two articles by astronomer Willie Soon and co-authors (Soon and Baliunas, 2003; Soon et al, 2003). These claims were subsequently rebutted by a group of more than a dozen leading climate scientists in an article in the journal “Eos” of the American Geophysical Union (Mann et al, ‘Eos‘, 2003). The rebuttal raised, among other points, the following two key points:

    (1) In drawing conclusions regarding past regional temperature changes from proxy records, it is essential to assess proxy data for actual sensitivity to past temperature variability. In some cases (Soon and Baliunas, 2003, Soon et al, 2003) a global ‘warm anomaly’ has been defined for any period during which various regions appear to indicate climate anomalies that can be classified as being either ‘warm’, ‘wet’, or ‘dry’ relative to ‘20th century’ conditions. Such a criterion could be used to define any period of climate as ‘warm’ or ‘cold’, and thus cannot meaningfully characterize past large-scale surface temperature changes.

    (2) It is essential to distinguish (e.g. by compositing or otherwise assimilating different proxy information in a consistent manner—e.g., Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1998, 1999; Briffa et al., 2001) between regional temperature changes and changes in global or hemispheric mean temperature. Specific periods of cold and warmth differ from region to region over the globe (see Jones and Mann, 2004), as changes in atmospheric circulation over time exhibit a wave-like character, ensuring that certain regions tend to warm (due, for example, to a southerly flow in the Northern Hemisphere winter mid-latitudes) when other regions cool (due to the corresponding northerly flow that must occur elsewhere). Truly representative estimates of global or hemispheric average temperature must therefore average temperature changes over a sufficiently large number of distinct regions to average out such offsetting regional changes. The specification of a warm period, therefore requires that warm anomalies in different regions should be truly synchronous and not merely required to occur within a very broad interval in time, such as AD 800-1300 (as in Soon et al, 2003; Soon and Baliunas, 2003).

    MYTH #3: The “Hockey Stick” studies claim that the 20th century on the whole is the warmest period of the past 1000 years.

    This is a mis-characterization of the actual scientific conclusions. Numerous studies suggest that hemispheric mean warmth for the late 20th century (that is, the past few decades) appears to exceed the warmth of any comparable length period over the past thousand years or longer, taking into account the uncertainties in the estimates (see Figure 1 in “Temperature Variations in Past Centuries and The So-Called ‘Hockey Stick’”). On the other hand, in the context of the long-term reconstructions, the early 20th century appears to have been a relatively cold period while the mid 20th century was comparable in warmth, by most estimates, to peak Medieval warmth (i.e., the so-called “Medieval Warm Period”). It is not the average 20th century warmth, but the magnitude of warming during the 20th century, and the level of warmth observed during the past few decades, which appear to be anomalous in a long-term context. Studies such as those of Soon and associates (Soon and Baliunas, 2003; Soon et al, 2003) that consider only ‘20th century’ conditions, or interpret past temperature changes using evidence incapable of resolving trends in recent decades , cannot meaningfully address the question of whether late 20th century warmth is anomalous in a long-term and large-scale context.

    MYTH #4: Errors in the “Hockey Stick” undermine the conclusion that late 20th century hemispheric warmth is anomalous.

    This statement embraces at least two distinct falsehoods. The first falsehood holds that the “Hockey Stick” is the result of one analysis or the analysis of one group of researchers (i.e., that of Mann et al, 1998 and Mann et al, 1999). However, as discussed in the response to Myth #1 above, the basic conclusions of Mann et al (1998,1999) are affirmed in multiple independent studies. Thus, even if there were errors in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction, numerous other studies independently support the conclusion of anomalous late 20th century hemispheric-scale warmth.

    The second falsehood holds that there are errors in the Mann et al (1998, 1999) analyses, and that these putative errors compromise the “hockey stick” shape of hemispheric surface temperature reconstructions. Such claims seem to be based in part on the misunderstanding or misrepresentation by some individuals of a corrigendum that was published by Mann and colleagues in Nature. This corrigendum simply corrected the descriptions of supplementary information that accompanied the Mann et al article detailing precisely what data were used. As clearly stated in the corrigendum, these corrections have no influence at all on the actual analysis or any of the results shown in Mann et al (1998). Claims that the corrigendum reflects any errors at all in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction are entirely false.

    False claims of the existence of errors in the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction can also be traced to spurious allegations made by two individuals, McIntyre and McKitrick (McIntyre works in the mining industry, while McKitrick is an economist). The false claims were first made in an article (McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003) published in a non-scientific (social science) journal “Energy and Environment” and later, in a separate “Communications Arising” comment that was rejected by Nature based on negative appraisals by reviewers and editor [as a side note, we find it peculiar that the authors have argued elsewhere that their submission was rejected due to ‘lack of space’. Nature makes their policy on such submissions quite clear: “The Brief Communications editor will decide how to proceed on the basis of whether the central conclusion of the earlier paper is brought into question; of the length of time since the original publication; and of whether a comment or exchange of views is likely to seem of interest to nonspecialist readers. Because Nature receives so many comments, those that do not meet these criteria are referred to the specialist literature.” Since Nature chose to send the comment out for review in the first place, the “time since the original publication” was clearly not deemed a problematic factor. One is logically left to conclude that the grounds for rejection were the deficiencies in the authors’ arguments explicitly noted by the reviewers]. The rejected criticism has nonetheless been posted on the internet by the authors, and promoted in certain other non-peer-reviewed venues (see this nice discussion by science journalist David Appell of a scurrilous parroting of their claims by Richard Muller in an on-line opinion piece).

    The claims of McIntyre and McKitrick, which hold that the “Hockey-Stick” shape of the MBH98 reconstruction is an artifact of the use of series with infilled data and the convention by which certain networks of proxy data were represented in a Principal Components Analysis (“PCA”), are readily seen to be false , as detailed in a response by Mann and colleagues to their rejected Nature criticism demonstrating that (1) the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction is robust with respect to the elimination of any data that were infilled in the original analysis, (2) the main features of the Mann et al (1998) reconstruction are entirely insensitive to whether or not proxy data networks are represented by PCA, (3) the putative ‘correction’ by McIntyre and McKitrick, which argues for anomalous 15th century warmth (in contradiction to all other known reconstructions), is an artifact of the censoring by the authors of key proxy data in the original Mann et al (1998) dataset, and finally, (4) Unlike the original Mann et al (1998) reconstruction, the so-called ‘correction’ by McIntyre and McKitrick fails statistical verification exercises, rendering it statistically meaningless and unworthy of discussion in the legitimate scientific literature.

    The claims of McIntyre and McKitrick have now been further discredited in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, in a paper to appear in the American Meteorological Society journal, “Journal of Climate” by Rutherford and colleagues (2004) [and by yet another paper by an independent set of authors that is currently “under review” and thus cannot yet be cited–more on this soon!]. Rutherford et al (2004) demonstrate nearly identical results to those of MBH98, using the same proxy dataset as Mann et al (1998) but addressing the issues of infilled/missing data raised by Mcintyre and McKitrick, and using an alternative climate field reconstruction (CFR) methodology that does not represent any proxy data networks by PCA at all.


    Cook, E.R., J. Esper, and R.D. D’Arrigo, Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years, Quat. Sci. Rev., 23, 2063-2074, 2004.

    Crowley, T.J., and T. Lowery, How Warm Was the Medieval Warm Period?, Ambio, 29, 51-54, 2000.

    Esper, J., E.R. Cook and F.H. Schweingruber, Low-frequency signals in long tree-line chronologies for reconstructing past temperature variability, Science, 295, 2250-2253, 2002.

    Jones, P.D., K.R. Briffa, T.P. Barnett and S.F.B. Tett, High-resolution palaeoclimatic records for the last millennium: Integration, interpretation and comparison with General Circulation Model control run temperatures, Holocene, 8, 455-471, 1998.

    Jones, P.D., Mann, M.E., Climate Over Past Millennia, Reviews of Geophysics, 42, RG2002, doi: 10.1029/2003RG000143, 2004.

    Mann, M.E., R.S. Bradley, and M.K. Hughes, Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries, Nature, 392, 779-787, 1998.

    Mann, M.E., R.S. Bradley, and M.K. Hughes, Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations, Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762,

    Mann, M.E., Ammann, C.M., Bradley, R.S., Briffa, K.R., Crowley, T.J., Hughes, M.K., Jones, P.D., Oppenheimer, M., Osborn, T.J., Overpeck, J.T., Rutherford, S., Trenberth, K.E., Wigley, T.M.L., On Past Temperatures and Anomalous Late 20th Century Warmth, Eos, 84, 256-258, 2003.

    Rutherford, S., Mann, M.E., Osborn, T.J., Bradley, R.S., Briffa, K.R., Hughes, M.K., Jones, P.D., Proxy-based Northern Hemisphere Surface Temperature Reconstructions: Sensitivity to Methodology, Predictor Network, Target Season and Target Domain, Journal of Climate, in press, 2004.

    Soon, W., and S. Baliunas, Proxy climatic and environmental changes over the past 1000 years, Climate Research, 23, 89-110, 2003.

    Soon, W., S. Baliunas, C, Idso, S. Idso and D.R. Legates, Reconstructing climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years, Energy and Environment, 14, 233-296, 2003.

  • Waldkitty

    By the way, I thought y’all might find this interesting reading:

    After all, CS loves the Guardian. Some interesting news on reconstructions and repetition of results – which I know is a sticking point.

    I haven’t investigated the claims made here – has anyone?