As folks know, Dr. Michael Mann, the climatologist who’s best known for his climate change hockey stick graph, has sued the National Review and Mark Steyn for defamation for poking fun at Mann’s work as academic fraud. So, here Mann is pressing his legal case, arguing that someone has legally injured him by knowingly spreading falsehoods. You’d think Mann would understand the seriousness of defamation, and of course the legal elements to establish a defensable claim. You’d think. But this week, Mann couldn’t help himself, and tweeted out what appears to be libelous claims about Anthony Watts, whose blog, Watts Up With That, presents skeptical arguments about manmade climate change.
Linking to Jonathan Adler’s latest update on the Michael Mann defamation lawsuit against National Review. For those who haven’t followed this case, the partisan and outspoken climate scientist, Mann, took offense to comments made last year by NR’s Mark Steyn, who called Mann’s climate work “fraudulent” and called into the question his professional integrity, mocking Mann’s oft-repeated false claims in holding himself out as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Mann sued the conservative organizations NR and the Competitive Enterprise Institute for alleged defamatory statements made against him.
Although Mann’s climate theories and science may ultimately turn out to be correct, he’s about as good for the advancement of objective science as a large scary arachnid to a little girls’ tea party. Zealous advocacy, political partisanship, and thin skin, earning him the dubious title of “Climate Charlatan” by some, have made him an easy – and, yes, enjoyable – target for climate skeptics and opposing partisans.
In any event, a few weeks ago, NR’s and CEI’s request to have the lawsuit dismissed was rejected by a DC Superior Court judge. Adler, over at The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, provides interesting perspective on this case, as it potentially heads to trial. NR and CEI are being represented by their respective lead counsel, Shannen Coffin and David Rivkin.
My friend, Larry Schwieger of National Wildlife Federation, tweeted out his new year’s wish, “for a 2013 that ushers in a deeper understanding of how important it is for all to come together to solve the climate crisis. We owe it to our children and all those who may follow after us.” It’s a noble wish, and a conservative wish I might add, but one that has about as much chance of happening as hell freezing over. I have no doubt that Larry genuinely believes that climate change is the most serious threat facing the planet – but Larry’s problem, from my perspective, is that far too many don’t believe what he believes. It’s not because the object of his wish isn’t important and worthy of discussion or action. No, it’s because the issue of climate change has become so politicized that there is a paucity of credible, authoritative voices on the matter. Continue reading