What is Mann, That Thou Shouldst Magnify Him?

Eric Worrall had a post at WattsUpWithThat a week ago 

commenting on an interview with Michael Mann in the Observer, the Guardian’s Sunday sister paper. The Observer interview is no more than a boilerplate Graun-standard tree ring boyz band fan club rim job, enabling Mann to plug his new book. 

A sample exchange:

Q: Who is the enemy in the new climate war?

It is fossil fuel interests, climate change deniers, conservative media tycoons, working together with petrostate actors like Saudi Arabia and Russia. I call this the coalition of the unwilling.

Golly. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but in the accompanying photo Mann appears to be wearing a nylon shirt. Possibly made in China by slave labourers using fossil-fuelled power.

EricWorrall and the hundreds of commenters at WUWT had some fun at Mann’s expense, but not one of them mentioned the role of the interviewer, Guardian global environment editor Jonathan Watts. Watts starts his article by explaining what Mann is:

Michael E Mann is one of the world’s most influential climate scientists. He rose to prominence in 1999 as the co-author of the “hockey-stick graph”, which showed the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial age. This was the clearest evidence anyone had provided of the link between human emissions and global warming. This made him a target.

The hockeystick graph no more provided evidence of the sharp rise in global temperatures than Newton provided evidence that apples fall down and not up. The sharp rise in the hockeystick was obtained in the time-honoured fashion of measuring the temperature with a thermometer (between dates carefully chosen to cut out unwanted “noise.”) All Mann did was manufacture a graph with an upward blip at the end out of tree rings and upside down Finnish mud and adjust it to the temperature rise, thus demonstrating to an astonished world that nothing much of interest had happened to strip bark pines in Colorado or mud in Finnish lakes for the previous thousand years. From this it was deduced that the rise in global temperatures observed from 1880 to 1960 was unprecedented.

It’s possible that Jonathan Watts is not aware of that. 

Watts was previously the Guardian’s Far East correspondent, and has written what looks like an interesting book about China:

(There’s a Chinese language version available,in traditional characters, which are only used in Singapore and Taiwan, apparently published in Houston, Texas.)

Now I was under the impression that Watts was the Guardian’s Science editor, and I was going to write a completely different article. (That’s the trouble with being a rational, sceptical sort of person. When facts change you feel obliged to change your mind.) In fact Watts has a B.A. in English language and literature. Nothing wrong with that, of course. An acquaintance with the works of Sterne, Dickens and Lewis Carroll is probably a good grounding for understanding the Rusbridgers and Monbiots of this world.

His LinkedIn page informs us that he’s been endorsed by two colleagues at the Guardian, namely Shirley Ying Han, and Thais Cavalcante. Also by 36 other people, including Emily Li, a freelance Personal Transformation Advisor. (But not by Monbiot or Rusbridger, which is all to his credit.)

Five years ago he was the co-founder of the Rainforest Journalism Fund which is a:

Five-year, $5.5m fund to raise public awareness of the urgent environmental issues facing the world’s tropical forests. Initiated with journalists in Brazil, financed by the Norwegian ministry of climate and environment, and administered by the Pulitzer Center, this project provides grants to reporters wanting to cover news stories in remote locations in the Amazon, Congo and Papua New Guinea. More details here.

Raising $5.5 million in your spare time is well worth boasting about on Linked In. Especially for such a worthy cause as subsidising millions of air miles for journalists to go and watch the Amazon disappearing in order to raise public awareness, all at the expense of the Norwegian taxpayer. If only our big oil/Russian/Saudi Arabian funders were as generous!)

[The headline to this article comes from Job chapter 7 verse 17 (King James’ Version.) For context, the quote comes right after this:

So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me… I am full of tossings to and fro until the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome… 

My days .. are spent without hope. O remember that my life is wind: .. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more .. therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit: I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?..thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: So that my soul chooseth strangling and death rather than my life. I loathe it;I would not live always: let me alone; for my days are vanity.

…which is about as good a definition of Green psychology as you’ll find. And the “tossings to and fro” is a pretty fair description of Mann’s contribution to science.]

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via Climate Scepticism


March 8, 2021 at 10:26AM

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