Why I don’t believe Michael Mann

The extreme heatwaves and wildfires wreaking havoc around the globe are “the face of climate change”, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has declared, with the impacts of global warming now “playing out in real time”.

Climate change has long been predicted to increase extreme weather incidents, and scientists are now confident these predictions are coming true. Scientists say the global warming has contributed to on the scorching temperatures that have baked the UK and northern Europe for weeks.

The hot spell was made more than twice as likely by climate change, a new analysis found, demonstrating an “unambiguous” link.

Extreme weather has struck across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, and across the world, from North America to Japan. “This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists. “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”

“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” he told the Guardian. “We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that.”

Hmm.

It is not too late to make the significant cuts needed in greenhouse gas emissions, said Mann, because the impacts progressively worsen as global warming increases.

“It is not going off a cliff, it is like walking out into a minefield,” he said. “So the argument it is too late to do something would be like saying: ‘I’m just going to keep walking’. That would be absurd – you reverse course and get off that minefield as quick as you can. It is really a question of how bad it is going to get.”

I have actually had a run in with Mann before now, directly. He challenged me to produce a better piece of science than a James Hansen estimation of what a carbon tax should be. I did this easily*. He’s not responded since.

But OK, this is climate change then. And we know what the most effective cure for climate change is, every economist on the planet has been shouting it for decades now – a carbon tax. So, Professor Mann is out there shouting we must have a carbon tax, is he?

No, no, he’s not. Thus I don’t take him seriously.

* Mann’s claim was that Hansen had shown that a carbon tax should be $1,000 a tonne. It was trivially easy to show that actually, he’d shown that it could be as much as that. The actual, from Hansen’s own calculation, rate would be not $1,000 but more like $100. Hansen has gone “If every thing goes wrong, if sensitivity is very high etc, then what should he rate be?” which is interesting. But the calculation of the actual rate must be weighted by the probability of that set of things happening. Which Hansen didn’t do.

31 thoughts on “Why I don’t believe Michael Mann”

  1. What has made me irredeemably sceptical of this whole malarkey is their definitions.

    The hockey sticks don’t really work so let’s call it climate change. Then whatever the weather does we can blame it on the plebs and big biz and fossil fuels.

    If there’s not enough extreme weather we gently explain to the plebs the difference between climate and weather.

    And now the chief conman has broken cover. Wait until the temperatures drop. Then Mann will never have said this and weather will be just weather again.

  2. I think most people have noticed that they can’t grow oranges and bananas in their back garden and that the 48 months to save the Earth passed without catastrophe. However, little Mick E Mann has to keep grants flowing regardless.

  3. The extreme weather in the Arctic was ports being iced up in summer.
    I’ll take some notice of Mann if he ever releases the data which he says supports his conclusions. Sure it’s his private property, I believe he did gather it in his spare time, but as long as he keeps it to himself he can keep his conclusions to himself.

  4. The Guardian article is of course being eagerly retailed by the BBC, who are entirely impartial of course, since investment in green technologies has no part whatsoever in their pension fund.

    Oddly enough, they were silent on this topic last winter when the country ground to a halt, gas supplies were said to be critical, and everyone’s bollocks froze solid. Obviously an oversight on the part of the entirely impartial BBC, who are also eagerly retailing the idea that there must be a crackdown on the democracy-threatening scourge of fake news.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    For years the atmosphere doesn’t perform as predicted and we are told weather is not climate. Fair enough, climate is something that is measured over decades if not centuries because the signal:noise is very low.

    Now we get one “phew wot a scorcher!” summer and suddenly weather is not only climate but is proof positive that all the models are correct.

    This subject is far too important to be left the charlatans and hucksters who currently hold sway in the debate and control the funding.

  6. This is the same Michael Mann who sued Mark Stein for a sceptical article in National Review, expecting him to settle. Instead Steyn countersued, in the interests of science and freedom of speech. Of course the science now has to be examined, something MM is mysteriously reluctant to do, dragging out retrial discovery for years.
    On the robustness or not of MM’s “science “ may I recommend The Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montfort and Mark Steyn’s anthology of other scientists on MM, A Disgrace to the Profession.
    MM gives even charlatans a bad name. That he is still employed is a sign of the politicisation of science.

  7. Yup, if this hot weather is ‘proof’ of climate change or whatever the boogie man is called these days, then the Beast from the the East was ‘proof’ of a new Ice Age. As was the polar vortex thingy a few winters ago that broke all time records for cold in the US.

  8. The Greek Fires are arson.

    And at least one group of migrants has been caught red-handed setting a fire or trying to.

    Mann is a liar–and its his pants that are on fire.

  9. If this hot summer has been caused by Global Warbling, then the same must apply to that other wonderful hot summer in 1976 yes?
    So Global Warbkling was just “as bad” 40 years ago, and hasn’t changed since, yes?
    Or if you argue 1976 was not a consequence of Global Warbling, but just weather, why does the same not apply this time round?
    It’s a nice summer, at last. Enjoy it.

    NB Why do people not quote negative values for a “carbon tax”. Surely, issuing plant food into the atmosphere, therby increasing crop yields, is a public good…isn’t it? 🙂

  10. ‘This subject is far too important to be left the charlatans and hucksters who currently hold sway in the debate and control the funding.’

    Disagree. It’s not important at all. It’s completely made up.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Disagree. It’s not important at all. It’s completely made up.”

    It is important because our political elite have bought in to it and are using it to control us. $ms are spent on proving its existence and describing the effects and $Bs are potentially wasted by useless policies that will have little effect if if it turns out to be true.

    Shouting it isn’t true is pissing in the wind and just adds to their assertion about climate deniers. What we need is more open academic research where scientists are free to try to disprove its existence rather than the academic and scientific group think that passes for the current debate.

  12. BiND: good luck finding someone willing to risk their future career prospects on disproving global warming IF they are able to find someone immune to the lobby willing to fund it. It’s like declaring apostasy in a mosque.

  13. Man has the subject of numerous threads on the ClimateAudit blog.

    He is thick, profoundly thick and I would not believe a single thing he says. Neither do his colleagues in their private emails.

  14. ‘…one of the world’s leading climate scientists has declared, with the impacts of global warming now “playing out in real time”

    Except the temperature data is showing no global warming, the so-called ‘Pause’ since 1995. So how can the ‘impacts’ of something that is not happening be ‘playing out in real time’.

    Nor is there any evidence of changes to climate around the World outside normal variation.

    The change in global temperature in the last century was between, 0.65C and 1.2C (how about that for a margin of error) which means in fact ‘the world’s leading climate scientists’ have no clue what the actual temperature increase is. And they certainly do not know what it will be or if.

  15. “Shouting it isn’t true is pissing in the wind and just adds to their assertion about climate deniers. What we need is more open academic research where scientists are free to try to disprove its existence rather than the academic and scientific group think that passes for the current debate.”

    Agree on the first bit. Accuracy matters.

    But I don’t think any more research is needed. The existing case was comprehensively debunked, any academic with a shred of integrity knows it – although few are going to make themselves targets by saying so publicly – the international negotiations died back in ’97 with the Byrd-Hagel accord, and the rest of the campaign is now effectively dead.

    Fifteen years ago, if we’d had a heatwave like this, the TV and newspapers would have been going into global warming meltdown frenzy. But today, it’s just a few old diehards like Mann, which isn’t even news. Global warming is history – the big question is what is their next campaign going to be? Plastic?

    By the way, Mann wasn’t the one who hid his data (that may be Phil Jones you’re thinking about), he was hiding his algorithms.

    And a carbon tax wouldn’t be the best way of dealing with it (because people disagree on the correct price of the externality), what would work better is a ‘climate futures’ market. Hypothetically, if any of it was true.

  16. Less wildfires here than last year, which was a truly bad year for fires.
    Also studies have shown that the rate of major fires was actually higher in the past before the area was occupied to any large degree

  17. @Tim the Coder, July 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

    NB Why do people not quote negative values for a “carbon tax”. Surely, issuing plant food into the atmosphere, thereby increasing crop yields, is a public good…isn’t it?

    +1

    Also, we’re reintroducing some of the CO2 the atmosphere lost – reintroducing is good we’re told: wolves, bears, lynx etc

  18. The original Global Warming predictions were simple: temperatures would increase at night, in winter, at high latitudes.

    Because “the science is settled” these predictions are immortally infallible. Therefore a summer heat wave is nowt to do with Global Warming. QED.

  19. A square mile or heath burns, it isn’t newsworthy so it isn’t reported.
    A square mile of swamp floods in a hurricane, it isn’t newsworthy so it isn’t reported.
    A square mile of slums burns or floods, this has at most a “those poor poor people” story, so it isn’t reported.
    A square mile of upmarket suburb burns or floods, now that’s climate change!
    Actually it should be a sign of rejoicing at the overall growth of prosperity, 10 years ago, that valuable real estate was worthless heath or swamp!

  20. Bloke in North Dorset

    Gamecock,

    I don’t know what that links trying to prove other than people are bored with climate change, or more likely bored with the way its reported.

    WUIWT is exactly the point I’m trying to make. They do some good stuff but get pilloried as climate deniers instead of getting access to funds to do further research.

    Anthony Watts’ first project of demonstrating that a lot of the early warming data was actually caused by UHI as weather stations had been surrounded by buildings, tarmac etc over the years and needed moving. Rather than getting applause, and payment, he got pilloried and excluded.

  21. Be extremely careful around Michael Mann – as I think another poster pointed out he has been engaged in litigation against the great Mark Steyn for six years and astern envisages the case taking the rest of his life. A more dangerous man than Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong- un. Tread carefully

  22. “I don’t know what that links trying to prove other than people are bored with climate change, or more likely bored with the way its reported.”

    The neo-Malthusian eco-authoritarians have been generating a very long series of eco-scare stories, which all follow the same pattern. They warn of some way that modern technology and industrialisation is threatening the planet, all the media jump on the bandwagon (end-of-the-world drama sells papers), the government sees the public mood and follows suit, various people sneak through a few laws and regulations in the name of whatever the latest scare is, grab a pile of public money, and then when the predictions fail to happen, it quietly disappears. There’s never any grand refutation. The media just quietly stop mentioning it, and within a few years the public forget it ever happened. So when the next eco-scare starts up, nobody remembers the previous history and it all happens all over again.

    Global warming has drifted into this final stage. There are a few people with careers wrapped up in it still pushing it, but otherwise it’s dead. WUWT and others like them won the scientific argument. I stopped contributing to that debate a few years ago.

    The important thing now is to watch out for the rise of the *next* one.

  23. @NiV

    The next scare scams are already up & running with Gov’t backing:

    Plastic is evil and kills animals

    Air Pollution is killing adults & children

  24. “Air Pollution is killing adults & children”

    Indeed. The PM 2.5 hoax marches on. I expect the EU to ban diesel cars in cities soon.

    Government has no shame.

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