Month: March 2017

A newcomer’s first opinion of Michael Mann in the context of science discourse

A newcomer’s first opinion of Michael Mann in the context of science discourse

via Watts Up With That?

Bill Stoltzfus leaves this comment on the post Hump Day Hilarity: Mann-o-War at the House Climate Science Hearing

I thought it was worth elevating for the general readership.

Bill Stoltzfus 2017/03/31 at 9:01 am

I listened to the entire hearing yesterday, and while I don’t have any individual experience with any of the people on the panel, I can now understand why Dr. Mann is not liked, and globally not liked at that. For a scientist he speaks very well, very little equivocation that one would normally associate with having personal or professional doubts about the subject, seems to transition smoothly from one topic to the next, almost glib, which is strange for a profession that should be characterized by caution and hesitancy to over-reach. I saw those qualities in the other 3 panelists, but not Dr. Mann.

He seemed to have no problem veering off into innuendo and personal attacks and weaved them into the threads of his testimony. And of course there was the preening megalomania of him reciting his CV again, even though the chairman had already done that for everyone (no one else saw the need). I heard all the science words and phrases but the one thing I did not hear from him was uncertainty, about anything, as though reading from a well-memorized script and the only thing he had to worry about was the presentation style. And then going off on Pielke and Curry repeatedly, right out in the open in one of the halls of Congress, while still portraying himself as the victim.

He had absolutely the biggest whoppers I have ever heard from a scientist, including the proposition that “climate change denier” and “climate science denier” were 2 fundamentally different things that should not be confused. Not to mention that it’s perfectly OK to label someone either way in any event. But of course my favorite whopper was that the consensus has the same acceptance rate in the scientific community and the public at large as the theory of gravity. Wow! Just Wow! Does anyone here care to step off a climate science cliff?

So yeah, now I understand. I hope I never meet him. I do hope to meet Dr. Curry, Dr. Christy , and Dr. Pielke at some point—I think they handled themselves well, refrained from personal attacks like adults should, gave their opinions without advocacy, and generally tried to be good stewards and citizens.

Anthony comments:

I’ll add to that. When Dr. Mann said in his testimony:

But I’m here today because I’m also passionate about communicating what we know to the public and to policymakers. I have become convinced that no pursuit could be more noble.

The first thing that went through my mind is that Dr. Mann may be an unwitting practioner of Noble Cause Corruption

John P. Crank and Michael A. Caldero (2000) define noble cause corruption as

“corruption committed in the name of good ends”

While written about police conduct, the paper is germane to the climate debate because people who are convinced that they are “saving the Earth” often have the same issue with noble cause corruption as police officers police officers planting evidence to put away somebody they “know” is a bad guy. The “end justifies the means”, as we saw demonstrated in the Climategate emails.


via Watts Up With That?

March 31, 2017 at 08:00AM

‘Deniers,’ lies and politics

‘Deniers,’ lies and politics

via Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

House Science Committee Hearing:  where the so-called ‘deniers’ behave like scientists and the defender of the establishment consensus . . . lies.

Well, I’ve returned home following the recent Hearing, and have had a chance to reflect, as well as follow the twitter and media responses to Hearing.

Response from the media

A representative sample:

Mother Jones: A scientist just spent 2 hours debating the biggest global warming deniers in Congress [link]

Pacific Standard:  The House Science Committee Flouts Science [link]

BBC’s uncritical interview of Michael Mann [link]

Scientific American:  House Science Committee Calls on Alt-Science to Drive Policy [link]

HuffPo: GOP Congressman Turns Science Committee Into Platform for His Own Science Views [link]

A relatively balance summary is provided by EOS.

Minorities and victims

Much ado has been made about the lack of balance among the witnesses, with three ‘deniers’ and one ‘establishment’ scientist supporting the consensus.  Well if everybody agrees with the consensus and with each other, I don’t see why they need more than one scientist on the consensus side.

Ironically, being the only witness called by the Democrats played to Mann’s favor.  All of the Democrat members fed Mann ‘red meat’ questions, and some of the Republican members also asked Mann questions.  Mann probably got more air time in the questioning than Christy, Pielke, and myself combined.

But even though Mann is in the majority with his claimed 97% consensus, he still claims victim status as a minority.  From Julie Kelly’s NRO article:

In his testimony to the House Science Committee on Wednesday, Michael Mann, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, told the story of Trofim Lysenko, a plant scientist who worked for Stalinist Russia:

Lysenko was a Russian agronomist and it became Leninist doctrine to impose his views about heredity, which were crackpot theories, completely at odds with the world’s scientists. Under Stalin, scientists were being jailed if they disagreed with his theories about agriculture. And Russian agriculture actually suffered, scientists were jailed, many died in their jail cells and potentially millions of people suffered from the disastrous agriculture policies that followed from that.

The gist of Mann’s anecdote was that scientists who challenge the ruling government’s diktat on any given scientific issue are demonized and punished while innocent bystanders suffer. In the here and now, this would seemingly apply to the minority of scientists brave enough to question the reigning dogma of climate science. After all, these are the folks who have been threatened by top law-enforcement officials, personally and professionally attacked by their peers, and even driven out of their academic positions due to the harassment.

But astonishingly, Mann was not talking about those scientists: He was talking about himself. In his alternative universe, he and other climate scientists are the martyrs, oppressed and silenced by the Politburo. Never mind that Mann — a tenured professor at one of the country’s top public universities — opened his testimony by reciting a prodigious list of awards he has won, books he has authored, scientific organizations he leads. He is celebrated by the media and environmental groups around the world, and yet in front of Congress he talked like a guy on his way to the Gulag. It takes a special blend of hubris, juvenility, and dishonesty to portray yourself as a victim when you are really the bully.

I also find Mann’s musings on the Serengeti Strategy.  From his testimony:

I coined the term “Serengeti Strategy” back in 2012 in “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” to describe how industry special interests who feel threatened by scientific findings—be it tobacco and lung cancer, or fossil fuel burning and climate change—single out individual scientists to attack in much the same way lions of the Serengeti single out an individual zebra from the herd. In numbers there is strength, but individuals are far more vulnerable. Science critics will therefore often select a single scientist to ridicule, hector, and intimidate. The presumed purpose is to set an example for other scientists who might consider sticking their neck out by participating in the public discourse over certain matters of policy-relevant science.

Mann is a master of the Serengeti Strategy, as he illustrates in his written testimony by going after me:

Bates’ allegations were also published on the blog of climate science denier Judith Curry

That includes the study28 led by Zeke Hausfather of the “Berkeley Earth” project—a project funded in part by the Koch Brothers and including29 as one of its original team members, climate change contrarian Judith Curry. (JC note:  footnote 29 is the source watch slime job on me )

Well, that was a first . . . being called a ‘climate science denier’ in the Congressional record.

Lies, damned lies and more lies

I always thought that there would be consequences for lying during Congressional testimony.  I guess not.  Mann got caught out in several blatant lies during the Hearing.

This is pretty classic:  Mann denies calling me a denier [link]

A number of statements have been attributed to me. I don’t believe I’ve called anybody a denier

when he states this in his written testimony:

Bates’ allegations were also published on the blog of climate science denier Judith Curry

Mann ‘denies’ being associated with the Climate Accountability Institute [link].  Julie Kelly writes in an article Michael Mann Embarrasses Himself Before Congress

Turns out Mann appears to be a bit of a denier himself. Under questioning, Mann denied being involved with the Climate Accountability Institute even though he is featured on its website as a board member. CAI is one of the groups pushing a scorched-earth approach to climate deniers, urging lawmakers to employ the RICO statute against fossil-fuel corporations. When asked directly if he was either affiliated or associated with CAI, Mann answered “no.” [JC note:  Mann also lists this affiliation on his CV]

Some additional ‘porkies’ are highlighted in an article by James Delingpole.

Venal motives

Michael Mann’s testimony plays to the theme of the evil oil companies and Koch brothers being responsible for climate denial.  I’m still waiting for my check (according to Mann, I’ve earned one).

Lets take a look at Mann’s venal motives.  A little birdie dropped this in my mailbox this morning:



The sent time  on the email is just moments after the Hearing.  Apparently Michael Mann now has a Political Action Committee (PAC)  314.action

I imagine that my receiving this information will intensely provoke someone’s paranoia.

Red Teams

Well I have to say that I feared our key messages got lost in all the bickering and nonsense of the actual Hearing.

I was very heartened to see this article by Chelsea Harvey in the WaPo:  These scientists want to challenge climate research.  Congress is listening.  This article is basically about the ‘Red Team’ strategy discussed by Christy and myself.  It is a good and article, and I would like to thank Chelsea Harvey for writing this.

I will have lots to say on this topic in coming months.

JC reflections

Well, the Hearing was rather bizarre.  I don’t think anyone got out of it what they wanted (other than MM with his PAC donations).  I hope that my written testimony will result in reflection by some scientists.  And it seems possible that the Red Team idea will develop legs.

Some establishment scientists are calling for climate scientists to boycott these Hearings.  Well, that would be fine with me.  Scientists who don’t want to engage in respectful discussion and debate should stay home, and preach to their choirs.

Here is some advice for Lamar Smith.  If you hold another Hearing on climate change and the democrats invite Mann, either cancel the Hearing or call Steve McIntyre and/or Mark Steyn as witnesses.  Several times during the Hearing, the thought popped into my mind that I wished Mark Steyn was here.  Who could forget his performance at Ted Cruz’s previous Hearing [link].

And finally, here is Josh’s cartoon:

via Climate Etc.

March 31, 2017 at 07:50AM

China’s coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi

China’s coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi


By Paul Homewood




According to analysis from Citi, coal power generation in China continues to grow, despite claims to the contrary from official Chinese sources:


China’s coal-fired power generation as a percentage of the total energy mix is on the rise for the second year, despite the push towards renewable capacity additions in the country, Citi analysts said Friday.
The share of thermal power in the generation mix declined to 73% in 2015 from 83% in 2011.
Thermal has since grown to 74% of the mix in 2016 and to 78% in January-February this year, the analysts said.

"Hydropower generation was down 5% year on year in January-February 2017 and that contributed to thermal power growing faster than overall power demand," they said.
A 5% growth in China’s coal-fired power generation would mean an additional consumption of about 65 million mt of coal, with the size of the entire seaborne market at about 850 million mt, the analysts said.
China’s January-February total coal imports have surged 48.5% year on year to 42.61 million mt, according to customs data.
Nuclear and wind — which account for about 4.8% of the mix — and solar, which accounts for less than 1%, are continuing to grow at double-digit percentages, but they are "still a small proportion" of the overall electricity demand balance, the analysts said.
"While the renewables and hydropower have priority over the grid, then all the demand growth above 1% year on year overall power demand growth has to be met through thermal power generation if hydropower does not grow," the analysts noted.
The analysts said they expect the demand outlook for coal to remain strong for at least the early part of this year.


Adding to the riddle is this story today from the South China Morning Post:



At least 3,119 polluters have faked emissions data and even resisted checks from environmental inspectors, the ministry of environment said, summarizing its latest efforts to tackle the smog that often shrouds the north of the country.

Many local governments still “don’t act, or act blindly” to clean up air pollution, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said a statement published on its website.

In one example, the local government in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province still has a “green path” to approve and encourage the installation of new coal furnaces.

The ministry dispatched 260 inspectors in 18 teams to visit 8,500 polluters in the north of the country, most of them factories, mines and heating energy providers.

The inspections were in 18 of the most polluted cities in China, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang from February 15 to March 18.

The problems exposed by the ministry show the challenges ahead for Beijing to clean up the nation’s toxic air, such as cadres who target economic development over clear skies, state-owned enterprises disrespecting local environmental checks and the lack of a systematic legal or administrative approach to curb air pollution.

Many areas in the cities and provinces inspected, which also included Henan, Shandong and Shanxi provinces, have no systems in place to meet government requirements to reduce or shut industrial production on heavily polluted days, the inspections found.

Gu’an, a steel production town south of Beijing only had one anti-pollution plan to cover all companies and industries, rendering it effectively useless, the ministry said.

An economic development zone in Tangshan in Hebei province randomly copied and pasted plans from other regions, even including the wrong place names from other regions in their anti-pollution strategy.

Gujiao and Qingxu county, two coal mines zones in Taiyuan in Shanxi province, are still using plans draw up in 2013, the ministry found.

In many places, air quality control regulations were simply ignored, the ministry said.

A huge number of small manufacturers are operating in Shijiazhuang without any pollution control equipment and pump “black smoke” directly into the atmosphere.

In one village in Xingtai , more than 80 food processing companies were found using primitive gas furnaces, devices emitting polluted air, and none had equipment to control emissions.

Environmental violations among companies were widespread, the ministry found, including at many big state-owned enterprises.


I mentioned just the other day that there are grave doubts whether regional and local governments in China are reporting accurate data to Beijing. While this story specifically relates to pollution, there can be little doubt that the problem is much wider.

Can any data relating to coal use, CO2 emissions etc be relied on?


March 31, 2017 at 07:30AM

More on China SO2

More on China SO2

via Scottish Sceptic

First let’s show the maps that make me so excited SO2 emissions as seen via satellite: Now let’s focus on that Chinese plume which I’ve highlighted in green: Now let’s see the temperature trend map for this area: As you … Continue reading

via Scottish Sceptic

March 31, 2017 at 07:08AM