Climate Hockey-Stick Lawsuit

On the subject of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) I follow the UN, several Pro-AGW sites, and a number of skeptic sites. I probably know more about the studies, claims, fake and real science, and political moves going on than most of the debate’s audience.

One of the main players in the debate is Michael Mann, the ‘scientist’ that came up with the tree-ring based chart showing the temperature jump commonly known as the Hockey-Stick. The UN and various government agencies have relied on the chart as evidence for making drastic policy decisions. Al Gore made it famous.

Skeptics have attacked the ‘Stick’ with a vengeance. For observers it has been an obtuse subject hidden in a blizzard of claims and counter claims too massive to dig through and verify or debunk. It is like an endless storm of chaos and conflicting statements, debunking and debunking the debunks ad infinitum. Too many people with various reputations have weighed in on the subject to allow the layperson to come to a reasoned conclusion of what is or is not true based on personalities.

The idea of a consensus is taking a beating as more and more scientists abandon green house gas theories and new CO2 studies contradict ‘accepted’ science. Decision by personality or consensus is hard to justify as the scientific community divides. Plus consensus is just the Argumentum ab Auctoritate debate tactic.

To get to the truth of science, we examine the studies and reports along with the data they are based on. We look at the methods of analysis used to reach conclusions. It is the basic scientific method that has accelerated human progress since the escape from the dark ages and the jailing of Galileo.

In Gaileo’s time, a supposed period of enlightened thought, the Catholic Church’s Roman Inquisition banned discussion of heliocentrism as they felt it disagreed with scripture. A process similar to the inquisition is in play today and free speech is being attacked on many fronts. This is not a clean cut issue, but one in which annually tens of billions of dollars are at risk to those involved. If you can not prove your point, silence the other guy. Screw free speech.

Court Case

One of the questions I’ve always asked is if Mann is right and the Hockey-Stick is accurate, why not sue the skeptics for defamation of character for their attacks? This question has become so popular Mann did just that with the help of big money backers. But, he was not the first to try a lawsuit as a tactic to, depending on your viewpoint, silence his opposition or protect his reputation and push back the wackos.

It is reported that in 2006 a case was started in Canada by a Dr. Andrew Weaver against a skeptic Dr. Timothy ‘Tim’ Ball. I can’t find it in the BC Court docket where it is supposed to be. But I do find the February 2011 filing. (Vancouver Law Courts file: 110682 – C$6 to view)

If we were to just compare the participants’ reputations we would run into some interesting trends. The AGW side runs smear campaigns against Ball and the same can be said for AGW skeptics attacking Weaver. You will soon realize there is so much chaos it is a major task to sort out who is telling the truth. If you do not understand how propaganda is written, you aren’t seeing the warning flags and will remain hopelessly lost as to who is spinning what. It is possible to find the truth, but it is not easy.

If you research both sides, you will find massive coverage of the AGW side, pro Weaver, and anti-Ball issues. But, digging into the net past mainstream media one begins to find the skepic’s coverage and their links to public records, court cases, government investigations, hidden analysis of events with more links to hard facts, who did which investigations and where their conflicts of interests lay, and behind the scenes goings on that tie things together.

It is difficult finding the truth. I won’t try to convince either side here. But, the court cases I am pointing out are public record and the various judges’ finding are published. It is possible to connect the dots with little effort. The main point being we have some very hard evidence that raises some tough questions and may eventually reveal an answer to a more than decade old debate.

Ball is said to have folded under the upward spiraling legal costs in the Canadian 2006 case. I can’t verify that.

Dr. Ball is retired and has been for some years. His income is limited. In spite of often repeated claims he and his work and organizations are funded by oil companies, there is no evidence to support those claims. Many suggest Dr. Ball was targeted as an easy opponent lacking the funds to battle a lawsuit. He certainly was not the only one making disparaging comments about Dr. Weaver or Dr. Mann.

In 2011 Dr Mann attempted to jump on the same wagon as Weaver via the Canadian court. That proved to be a disastrous move for Mann in many ways.

First a grassroots outpouring of support and fund raising for Dr Ball, a 72-year-old pensioner, had Ball hanging in when it was expected he would fold. He proved not to be the pushover expected. An interview is here. Lots of details can be found in a Forbes article: ClimateGate Star Michael Mann Courts Legal Disaster. The complete story can be found in an article posted on the Puget Sound Radio site: Victoria’s Dr. Tim Ball hammers climate scientists.

The links within the articles lead to facts you won’t see reported in most media and can be checked by diligent searching and persistence.

A serious blow to both Dr. Weaver and Dr. Mann in the Canadian cases is their having claimed to have won the Nobel Prize for their work on climate. Just search either name and Nobel Prize. You will see the main stream media gives them credit for having won the Prize. But, the prize they claim, the 2007 award, was awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore.

You may be thinking they deserves some credit to the prize for contributing to the IPCC report. But, the director of the Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, said no. Quoting:

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.

But, in filing the lawsuit against Ball, Mann flat out stated he was a Nobel Prize winner and was thus entitled to win the defamation suit. So, did lie in a legal document? While some have said he forged a Nobel Certificate, it appears the UN created the fake certificates and awarded them to participants in the IPCC study. Apparently Lundestad did not know that.

You can see how confusing things can get and the difficultly in stating anything with any clarity. Did Mann win a Nobel Prize? According to the Nobel institute, no. According to the UN, yes. What are Mann and Weaver allowed to claim? The Nobel Institute is clear. But, I think many of us will see this as a matter of degree. However, in a court of law it smells of plagiaristic spin if not an outright lie.

When called into court, the Nobel Committee affirmed that both professors lied when each claimed to be co-winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Ouch. The institute is very clear on what it means to be a co-recipient of a Nobel award. They do not want it diminished, diluted, or degraded.

So, what has happened in these lawsuits in Canada? How were they resolved? It is actually pretty hard to find out as the cases were not won by Weaver and Mann and thus the media has ignored covering it. I’ll get back to this.

What little is being reported about the cases in the US is like the long story of a similar lawsuit in the US, which can be found in a recent article (Jan 2014) on the Mother Jones blog: A Win for the Climate Scientist Who Skeptics Compared to Jerry Sandusky. That’s harsh.

Mother Jones does not bother to point out the background of the more troubling aspects of the case or what happened in Canada with a similar suit. Robert Tracinski’s article in Real Clear Politics dives into the hidden agendas in the US. See: Mann vs. Steyn: The Trial of the Century. In America there is a huge free speech issue at stake.

I am not sure how many people understand libel laws in America. Other parts of the world are much more into restricting free speech. America allows us to speak our minds, right or wrong. We are free to make fools of ourselves and call each other liars.

We are free to state any opinion we may have. We are not allowed to make up lies and maliciously present them as facts. The keywords for a libel lawsuit being ‘malicious’ and ‘facts.’

In the US it is not libelous to erroneously report a false fact, provided you did it in good faith… you believed it to be true. But, when called to your attention, you MUST print a retraction. Otherwise it does become libelous.

We are also allowed to state any opinion we choose about facts. That includes a negative opinion of the person producing the facts, their thinking, and/or character.

So, saying Mann manipulated data, lied about the facts, and based his chart on facts he faked could well be libel or it could be protected speech. Whether or not it is depends solely on provable facts, provable in a court of law. If Mann lied, saying he did is true and not libel/slander. If he didn’t, stating it as fact is libel.

How does one prove data was or was not manipulated legitimately or illegitimately? Or whether or not statements made by Mann were lies? Is the Hockey-Stick chart based on good science or FAKED data? Do you think that question has already been answered? Think again.

Answering the questions is simple. Examine the data. The problem is that for over a decade Mann has refused to produce the data and methodology used to create the chart. Because of that refusal the chart cannot be verified or debunked and the controversy continues. 

3 thoughts on “Climate Hockey-Stick Lawsuit

  1. It is always entertaining to see what the proponents of anthropogenic global warming will do to silence rational discussion of the subject. I enjoy reading Watts Up WIth That? to hear the other side of the story. And I imagine Anthony Watts writing each article with a satisfied smile as he pulls another rug out from under another warmist. Being an agnostic is okay. Trying to silence your opponents is not. Thank you for writing about this important topic.

    • Warming is an important issue. Our free speech is a bigger issue. The intolerant liberals often move to fascist thinking and plans for silencing their opponents when they can’t defend their ideas.

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