Science, Free Speech, and the Courts

“All of the claims about global warming are … inaccurate to the point of being purposefully deceptive.” – Alan Caruba

Science, Free Speech, and the Courts

Cartoon - Global Warming Hoax

By Alan Caruba

The public, after decades of global warming advocacy, now called “climate change”, has begun to conclude that claims of a massive warming trend were dubious and that real climate change is the natural response of the planet to forces well beyond any impact of the human race.

The fact is that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for some 17 years based on lower rates of solar radiation as the Sun undergoes one of its natural cycles, a reduction in the number of sunspots or magnetic storms on its surface.

AA - National Review CoverThe May 5th edition of the National Review devotes its cover story to “The Case Against Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick and Free Speech” by Charles C.W. Cooke because the creator of the “hockey stick” graph purporting a massive warming is suing the magazine, commentator Mark Steyn, along with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Rand Simberg. In his suit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court, Mann asserts that “in making the defamatory statement” they acted intentionally, maliciously, willfully, and with the intent to injure Dr. Mann, or to benefit (National Review) and Steyn.”

Mann is asserting a “narrow form of libel that American law prohibits” said Cooke. “As a seminal Supreme Court case, New York Times v. Sullivan, outlined in 1964, using the law of libel, to drag journalists into court for expressing their sincere views on matters of major public importance is entirely inconsistent with our ‘national commitment to principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open.’”

Mann’s feelings are hurt and he believes that any criticism of the questionable science he applied to the creation of his now-famous global warming graph is libel. I believe the court will conclude that using the charge of libel to silence his critics is wrong. That’s what makes the case important, in particular for a basic principle of science, and in general for the public understanding that global warming and/or climate change depends on vigorous debate.

Science depends on being able to reproduce the results of an assertion by other scientists. Suffice to say that Mann’s graph has been extensively disputed and found lacking in the methods used to produce it.

As Cooke reports, the graph “purports to depict global temperature trends between the years A.D. 1000 and 2000” and takes its name from “a mostly flat line of temperature data from the year 1000 until about 1900 (the handled of the hockey stick), followed by a sharp uptick over the 20th century (the blade).” The graph was published in the 2001 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since then the IPCC has been retreating from its vehement claim that global warming posed a major threat to life on Earth.

In 2009, the leak of many emails between members of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Center and others engaging in the global warming claims revealed that “Mann and his colleagues have processed their data in a way that makes global warming appear more severe than the evidence suggests on its own.” Most damning was Mann’s use of tree ring data and the way other data was ignored in order to make his claims about global warming appear to be valid. “The leaked emails suggest that some members of the IPCC were well aware of these inconsistencies—and even may have sought to conceal them,” notes Cooke.

Aside from the dubious science cited, the issue before the court is whether publicly questioning Mann can or should be deemed libelous. If it concludes that it is, then the most fundamental principle of science will be destroyed and the courts will fill up with similar cases whose purpose would be to censor and silence the debate that is the life blood of science.

Mann has claimed to have been a Nobel Prize laureate, but Cooke notes that the Nobel Committee “explicitly said that he is not.” He has claimed that the National Academy of Sciences and that the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit investigations into his conduct and his work “have fully vindicated him “when they in fact have done no such thing.”

Worldwide, people have been subjected to the greatest hoax of the modern era and 17 years of cooling demonstrates that carbon dioxide, a “greenhouse gas” plays no role in heating the Earth. All of the claims about global warming are demonstrably wrong, along with all of the computer models and other “proof” inaccurate to the point of being purposefully deceptive.

At the heart of the case against the National Review is whether a scientist can silence his critics and one can only hope for the sake of science, free speech, freedom of the press, and the truth that Mann loses.

Editor’s note: The testimony of climate scientist Dr. John R. Christy of the University of Alabama before a 2011 U.S. House hearing on climate change addresses how and why Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” became such a prominent part of the IPCC Third Assessment Report in 2011. It is available at:

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Exposing the global-warming con job.

Alan Caruba’s commentaries are posted daily at Warning Signs, and shared on dozens of news and opinion websites. His blog recently passed more than 3.1 million page views.

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8 thoughts on “Science, Free Speech, and the Courts”

  1. Obama who holds the prestigious award of Nobel Peace Prize has fired more smart missiles at 3rd World Nations than any standing PEACE recipient in history as well!!
    What a shame the recipients of such AWARDS have fallen so low :{.

  2. Hopefully Steyn et al will defeat Mann, but I have little faith in the US courts as they have proven time and time again that they are influenced by the prevailing political view, and especially so whenever the prevailing political doctrine of global warming is challenged. I’m afraid the US judges will find a way to rule in the co2 high priests favour, they have done thus in other climate cases.

  3. I find it inconceivable the case can succeed but I don’t know what was published.

    Generally if a statement is true AND demonstrably in the “public interest” it is usually not libellous or slander.

    As Michael Mann has made himself a public figure through his very public promotion of global warming he is considered “fair game” for critical comment.

    For a true statement about a public figure to be regarded as slander or libel it would have to be beyond the bounds of “normal decency” and unrelated to the topic of why the person is a public figure. Any ridicule would have to be extreme.

    I’m not certain this applies here but time will tell – the science is immaterial as usual when the legal profession is involved.

    I also wonder what damages Mann can establish as recompense for loss is the main reason for initiating legal action.

    Given the polarised nature of the climate “debate” he has lost nothing either monetarily or reputation wise- those who agree will not change their position over a perceived insulting joke as those who disagree will likewise be unaffected.

    The only reason is an attempt to stifle free speech.

    Surely it cannot succeed in a country with legal protection of fair comment.

  4. I think we need to kick it up a notch…, not only are they being purposefully deceptive, but they are trying their best to attempt mass murder. The #1 dream and goal of the elite environmentalist is the massive depopulation of earth. They created the global warming hoax for one reason… make sure people are unprepared for the massive crop failures to come. Do you really think they are stupid enough to believe this crap? Oh, and they might as well make a few bucks while they are achieving their goal. With the world presently in a state of controlled economic chaos, minimum inventories kept in stores, and “terrorism”, a hair trigger is left to pull. Throw in a very bad harvest, and massive starvation will result. The elite will take an extended vacation, and return after the smell goes away.

    • There aren’t any safe havens in that scenario, for that to happen on a world wide scale would need an additional factor to a solar slowdown.
      Two such events could be Yellowstone erupting – unlikely at present, and the African Rift Valley being inundated from the Red Sea. The latter event would disrupt the ocean heat circulation routs leading to a massive cooling in the Northern hemisphere, similar to the Younger Dryas events. It’s possible, that when the Mediterranean filled a similar cooling event took place in the Northern Hemisphere

  5. The White House has just come out with an new “climate change” report. They are doubling down on human-caused climate change. (Sea levels to rise 1-4 feet, no summer ice in the arctic, etc.) If this winter didn’t show them anything, maybe the next one will. Again, as I’ve said before, by shutting down coal-fired energy plants, the “Warmists” will only really hurt the poor and elderly. Maybe that’s their real goal, a kind of “Let them eat cake,” attitude. Only the “cake” is solar and wind energy which the poor and elderly won’t be able to afford.

  6. Mucker: I’d like to be a reincarnated fly on the wall when they return from their vacation.

    And realize they have to take out their own trash, repair their own houses and clean their own chimneys… But of course that’s dirty work for the unskilled working poor…

    Why are they late for work? Don’t they know it’s a weekday? Ahh, just fire them and hire someone el…um. Wait.

  7. Arl: Why do you think there’s a huge push for automation and AI technology? The elites plan to replace us with automation. They won’t need us at all.

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