Climate Change

DC Court Grants Summary Judgment for CEI In Michael Mann Defamation Suit

Another significant loss for the controversial climate scientist, though his cases against two remaining defendants will continue.

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Over nine years ago, on July 13, 2012, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) published a brief item on its "Open Market" weblog about Penn State University's exoneration of climate scientist Michael Mann, creator of the so-called "hockey stick" climate temperature graph. Notoriously, the post's author, Rand Simberg, suggested Penn State was no more diligent investigating Mann than it had been investigating Jerry Sandusky. Mark Steyn quoted and elaborated on the CEI post with a post of his own on National Review Online.

Mann was understandably upset by these posts and, as is his wont, he filed suit against all involved alleging libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Nearly nine years later, the litigation continues, though it is now limping along. The Supreme Court took a pass at reviewing one of the preliminary rulings in 2019, and a DC court granted National Review's motion for summary judgment in March, on the grounds that "actual malice" could not be imputed to National Review on the basis of its decision to publish a blog post. (Mann's separate claims related to an article by NR editor Rich Lowry had been previously dismissed on appeal.)

Today, Mann suffered another loss as the D.C. Superior Court granted CEI's motion for summary judgment on similar grounds. Wrote Judge Irving:

Plaintiff has failed to offer evidence that CEI acted with actual malice in publishing the Simberg Article sufficient for a reasonable jury to find in his favor. "Our profound national commitment to the free exchange of ideas, as enshrined in the First Amendment, demands that the law of libel carve out an area of breathing space so that protected speech is not discouraged." Harte-Hanks Communications, 491 U.S. at 686. The First Amendment requires that a defamation claim pursued by a public figure be supported by a showing of particularly bad-faith behavior by a defendant, lest the freedom of speech be infringed and the press be dissuaded from participation in important national conversations. Indeed, media defendants have the right to publish pieces from outside writers, as CEI did here, on matters of public concern. Plaintiff's failure to show actual malice is the result of the nature of the blog in which the Simberg Article appears: It is a blog designed for low-effort management on the part of CEI, where outside writers enjoy a platform for their opinions, with only cursory review by a relatively low-ranking CEI employee prior to publication.

Today's decision was not a total loss for Mann, however, as the court denied the motion for summary judgment with respect to Simberg, who authored the original post.

Early on in the opinion the court noted that "evidence of 'personal spite, ill will or intention to injure on the part of the writer'" is generally insufficient, by itself, to support a claim of actual malice. As the court cautioned, "Some circumstances may justify reliance on evidence of ill-will, but only where the probative value of that evidence will outweigh the risk that 'such evidence will chill honestly believed speech.'" Nonetheless, the court later concluded that summary judgment should be denied because Mann offered "significant evidence that Mr. Simberg held ill-will for Plaintiff and that he was zealous in advancing his side of the climate change debate," and that such evidence could suffice to establish actual malice in front of a jury. I would not be surprised if Simberg appeals on this point.

Mann also prevailed against defendant Mark Steyn in a separate opinion denying Steyn's motion for summary judgment. This was in a separate opinion because Steyn went his own way in this litigation some time ago.

DISCLOSURE: As I've noted in prior posts on this case, I am a contributing editor at National Review Online, which means I have a fancier byline when I submit articles to the publication and occasionally contribute to The Corner and Bench Memos. It is not a salaried position. I also worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute from 1991 to 2000 — many years before the events at issue in this litigation. If either of these facts makes you suspect bias on my part, so be it.

Note that while I was once something of a climate skeptic (much like Jerry Taylor), my views have changed. Today I have profound disagreements with CEI on the subject of climate change, having argued in defense of the scientific "consensus" on climate change and in favor of a carbon tax, among other measures to address the climate threat. My interest in this litigation arises from this implications for robust debate on matters of public concern, as I explained in this post.

NEXT: Judges “Need Not Accept a Prisoner’s Self-Diagnosed Skepticism About the COVID-19 Vaccines”

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  1. So ill will isn’t enough, but ill will plus zeal is?

    1. I think this is correct. This is still in summary judgement. Discovery is very limited and they are not putting any facts into dispute. This only says that if we assume everything Mann claims is 100% right, libel may have been committed. This says that even in the worst case, of bare-faced absolutely malicious lies, only the author is responsible.

  2. The way the writers of this site swallow the bad faith climate alarmism of the far left makes me want to vomit. What pathetic quislings.

    1. Who’s stopping you from vomiting?

      Go ahead.

    2. What pisses me off is that sites like NPR, BBC, and all the mainstream news sites push science misinformation that they would scream about if we’re covid or vaccines.

      As one example both BBC and NPR claim that California’s and Australia’s wildfires are being made worse by global warming. But the IPCC says in it’s official assessment that their is “low confidence” that either droughts or wildfires are being made worse by global warming. The IPCC defines “low confidence” as “neither more likely or less likely”. And the IPCC is what defines the scientific consensus on global warming.

      1. Your example is a good case in point. I fully expect that PBS and NPR would blame a new eruption of Mt St. Helens on “climate change.”

        1. Actually, there was a researcher who already claimed that increased volcanism will result from climate change. His “study” is based on the assumptions that:
          1. there is a rapid rise in sea levels (there isn’t) and
          2. rapid loss of mass in glaciers (there is but not nearly as unprecedented as he claimed) which
          3. will change the distribution of mass in the crust (true) which
          4. will lead to increased tectonic movement and volcanism (maybe at the margins but probably not to any significant degree).

          As a piece of scholarship, it was all speculation supported by unvalidated computer models. He had no actual data to support his conclusions.

  3. How the hell does it take nine years to get to summary judgement? Nine months should have been too long to get to this point in the process. This is a travesty.

    Sadly, it is hardly unusual in that regard.

    1. I’ve been following this case from the beginning. Back when the two cases had not yet been separated, Dr. Mann got the court to postpone discovery in the case, which would have required him to reveal his notes purporting to prove things that were … I’ll be nice and say “elided” … in Mann’s published scientific papers. For all I know, that postponement is still in effect in Mann v. Steyn, although there seems to me to be zero rational or legal basis for it, then or now.

      CEI and NR separated the cases because both of those defendants just wanted the case dismissed by way of an anti-SLAPP law (I’m not sure which jurisdiction’s version of it), and today they seem to have finally gotten their wish. But for Mark Steyn the whole thing seems to be a matter of pride, and he has been waiting all these years for the court to let him proceed with discovery because he thinks he can prove fraud by Mann, and do it in open court for all to see. And having read books on the case I think he can, too. (I recommend Montford, The Hockey Stick Illusion.

      1. I think it’s really unfair to compare Mann to Sandusky.

        Mann is doing to the entire modern world what Sandusky did to a relatively small number of prepubescent boys. Of course, I’ve seen no evidence that Mann doesn’t do *that* as well.

    2. The judge should be discharged for bad behavior, and introduced to tar, feathers and a rail. This is justice only for the attorneys playing this game, not for the people involved – no matter which position you support.

      1. the judge that has taken over the case seems to be fairly reasonable.
        The first two judges were very biased and incompetent.

  4. he thinks he can prove fraud by Mann, and do it in open court for all to see.

    That’s fine if he can, of course. But let’s be clear that that means he is accusing Mann of scientific fraud, not just carelessness or something, as some of his defenders have argued.

    1. Mann has never made his data available. In the Tim Ball case in Canada (under loser libel laws), Mann lost because he was unwilling to allow Ball access to the data, which was required under disclosure. That is what Steyn is banking on: Either Mann will again fold or he will have to release his data. Either is a lose-lose for Mann, in my view. But nine years and we are not even to this point. Don’t know where Steyn’s money comes from, but Mann has lots of supporters funding him apparently.

      1. Mann is a fraud, pure and simple.

      2. Johnny B
        July.22.2021 at 8:31 pm
        Flag Comment Mute User
        “Mann has never made his data available.”

        That is a common misconception – though both sides misrepresent what data Mann has made publicly available.
        Most of Mann’s data has been made available.

        What has been withheld by Mann is the R2 stats which show the results to be not robust (invalid , noise, etc)

        1. The algorithm that Mann used pretty much turns anything into a hockey stick.

          Which is why it’s knowing fraud

          1. Greg,
            You’re right. You can generate a sequence of thermal noise and Mann’s algorith does turn it into a hockey stick. That experiment has been tried and discuss on line by Lubos Motl–a cracked pot but a good physicist.

        2. I don’t understand. Are you saying that even though the data is available the methods he used aren’t?

          That sounds strange.

          1. both the data and the methods has been made available.

            What has not been made available is the r2 verification stats which show that the results of his methods do not support the results. Basically that the results are noise.

    2. It’s pretty hard to scientifically defend Mann’s decision to terminate the line showing the calculated temperatures of his tree ring data 50 years before the present because it showed temperatures going down, then splice in the temperature records that did show temperatures rising.

      If tree ring data can show temperatures back a thousand years within 2/10’s of a degree C, then what could make it suddenly unreliable for the last 50 years. The answer is tree ring data not a reliable temperature record. It is likely showing rainfall, droughts and temperature, with no dominant signal.

      Which of course why in Mann et al, emails they discuss his Nature Trick, and hiding the decline.

      1. It’s pretty hard to scientifically defend Mann’s decision to terminate the line showing the calculated temperatures of his tree ring data 50 years before the present because it showed temperatures going down, then splice in the temperature records that did show temperatures rising.

        That’s not an accurate representation of what happened there. Mann’s “Nature trick” was to include both the reconstructed data going back 1000 years and the recent instrumental data on the same graph. But the graph clearly labeled which data was which. It wasn’t simply “spliced” in. (Phil Jones was apparently saying that he used this “trick” for a graph put on the cover of some 1999 World Meteorological Organization report. A group reviewing the “climategate” email controversy did criticize that graph for not clearly labeling that the data had been spliced in, but Mann himself had never done that. And more prominent publications that did the same thing, like the IPCC reports, clearly labeled what it was doing.)

        And that was not done to “hide the decline” [in some tree ring data from higher latitudes], but to provide context for what the reconstruction was showing relative to recent temperature trends. This “climategate” meme is trying to make it something nefarious where there isn’t anything of the sort happening.

        The decline is in some tree ring data, not all of it. And scientists have been discussing this ‘divergence problem’ in peer-reviewed literature since before Mann’s first “hockey stick” paper was published. The IPCC reports also make note of this issue. Nothing is actually hidden, despite what that email said. Potential explanations for why some high latitude tree ring data show this divergence, when they tracked temperature quite well prior to 1960 include: different responses to drought stress than trees elsewhere, increases in sulfur dioxide (acid rain), reduction in ozone causing increases in UV reaching the ground, and it could be a combination of many factors, including purely local effects down to individual trees.

        This is why reconstructions that use multiple proxies, rather than focus only on one thing, like tree rings, are done. And none of this contradicts what we know has happened to temperatures in the last 150 years from many other lines of evidence.

        If tree ring data can show temperatures back a thousand years within 2/10’s of a degree C, then what could make it suddenly unreliable for the last 50 years. The answer is tree ring data not a reliable temperature record. It is likely showing rainfall, droughts and temperature, with no dominant signal.

        And this is what I was saying. You don’t have to answer that question yourself with a guess, you can look and see what the research into this problem actually has to say. Nothing has ever been hidden about this.

        1. ‘And that was not done to “hide the decline” [in some tree ring data from higher latitudes], but to provide context’

          Ah, yes, the great story line of liars everywhere, I wasn’t lying, i was “providing context”.

          https://www.justfacts.com/globalwarming.hidethedecline.asp

          http://junksciencearchive.com/Hide_the_decline.html

          So, please provide a link to the graphs published by Mann in Nature that clearly showed the downward line in the tree core data from 1961 on.

          I’ll wait

        2. You: Mann’s “Nature trick” was to include both the reconstructed data going back 1000 years and the recent instrumental data on the same graph. But the graph clearly labeled which data was which

          Steyn Statement of Undisputed Facts:
          https://www.steynonline.com/documents/10974.pdf

          41: The description accompanying Figure 2.21 did not disclose the deletion of post- 1960 data from Briffa’s reconstruction or that the Briffa Data reflected a decline in temperatures that was inconsistent with the instrumental temperature record. IPCC TAR at 134.

          If all of Briffa’s data had been included, there would have been a very clear green line going down from 1960 on. There wasn’t. There was no “clear label” that the Briffa data was stopped at 1960, generating the impression that the green line was merely somewhere in there with the other lines going up.

          IOW: you’re lying, to defend clear and willing fraud

        3. Jason – nice deceptive mischaracterization of the
          “hide the decline”
          ” mikes nature trick”

          Hide the decline was the technique to show the “supposedly high correlation” with the tree ring reconstruction with the hide the decline/divergence problem.

          Mike nature trick was to splice the low resolution reconstruction data with the high resolution thermometer data to make it appear that the low resolution data was in sync with the instrumental data

  5. That’s because it was fraud by Mikey. Hence the evasion of discussion in open court by the fraud.

  6. “Notoriously, the post’s author, Rand Simberg, suggested Penn State was no more diligent investigating Mann than it had been investigating Jerry Sandusky”

    1: The “Hockey Stick” was a complete and utter scientific fraud.
    2: The only way that Penn State could have found for Mann is if they carried out a complete whitewash, just like they did with Sandusky
    3: I am very happy for this to not be summarily dismissed, because I’m looking forward to teh discovery. Where Steyn and Rand will get to demonstrate the fact that Penn State did engage in a complete whitewash

    4: You really are gullible, aren’t you

    1. Gregg J -“3: I am very happy for this to not be summarily dismissed, because I’m looking forward to teh discovery.”

      There has been a lot of discovery going on in the case,
      See various motions filed in January 2021 referencing the discovery

      1. In my copious freed time, I will.

        Thank you

        1. Quoting:

          Mann’s motion seeking partial summary judgment on falsity founders on indisputable facts. The three statements Mann sued Steyn about (Amended Complaint ¶ 28) are, insofar as they are capable of being verified, true. Aware of this insurmountable barrier of truth, Mann does not move against those three true statements. … He compounds this confusion by combining the straw man he builds with premature “inferences” drawn by the Court of Appeals when resolving an appeal to which Steyn was not party, and which preceded discovery. That discovery conclusively established the truth of Steyn’s comments, which requires denying Mann’s motion.

          Mann’s motions ignore what this Court has ruled is the “main idea” of Steyn’s post: “the inadequate and ineffective investigations conducted by Pennsylvania State University into their employees, including Jerry Sandusky and Plaintiff [Mann].” Oct. 22, 2019 Order at 1-2. Steyn “used the investigations to support his viewpoint that the institution is corrupt and is prepared to cover up the alleged wrongdoing of its ‘stars.’”

          Discovery has revealed grave deficiencies in Penn State’s investigation of Mann. As more fully discussed in Steyn’s motion for summary judgment, depositions of three University officials and emails among the lead investigators show that Penn State deliberately avoided a fair and full investigation of its “star” Mann. Both phases of Penn State’s investigation—the Inquiry Committee and the Investigatory Committee—flouted official Penn State policy requiring the charges against Mann to be investigated “thoroughly”, and were riddled with fundamental defects.

          The Inquiry Phase Shortcomings
          A recused faculty member with a close relationship to Mann participated actively in the Inquiry Committee process. The Committee disregarded evidence that Mann encouraged colleagues to delete emails even though one of the charges asked whether Mann participated in any actions to “delete, conceal, or otherwise destroy emails.”5. Before dismissing three of the four charges, Inquiry Committee members found evidence that Mann “compromised” and “breach[ed] ethical standards,”; expressed support for a “censure,”; and stated discomfort with calling Mann “innocent” of the charges. The Committee’s tune changed dramatically after Committee Member Henry Foley secretly provided a draft of the Committee’s Report to former Penn State President Graham Spanier—the same ex-President now on his way to prison for his role in the Sandusky coverup—without notifying other Committee members. Spanier suggested numerous changes and “urge[d]” Foley to take into account the prospect of “international media attention” and “the firestorm of elected officials.” Foley promised to make Spanier’s edits, and the draft ballooned from two-and-a-half to ten pages. After Spanier and Foley’s clandestine back-and-forth, the Inquiry Committee, contradicting its prior statements, found “no credible evidence” that Mann committed the acts alleged and “no basis for further examination.” It referred only a fourth, opaque “catch-all” charge alleging violation of “accepted practices” to the Investigatory Committee for further review.

          It goes on, but I think that’s enough to cover the charges, no?

        2. Greg

          FWIW – I have tried several times to link to all the january 2021 motions, but keep getting blocked

          at least you have been able to link to Styens response to Mann’s motion for partial summary judgment

          1. the link is at williams lopatto

          2. FWIW – I have tried several times to link to all the january 2021 motions, but keep getting blocked

            You can’t include more than one URL in a post here without being blocked. It’s like the Stone Age.

      2. For those looking for more:
        Steyn Statement of Undisputed Facts (filed with the Court. Feel free to provide a court document claiming that any of those facts are disputed):
        https://www.steynonline.com/documents/10974.pdf

  7. “Note that while I was once something of a climate skeptic (much like Jerry Taylor), my views have changed. Today I have profound disagreements with CEI on the subject of climate change, having argued in defense of the scientific “consensus” on climate change and in favor of a carbon tax, among other measures to address the climate threat. My interest in this litigation arises from this implications for robust debate on matters of public concern, as I explained in this post.”

    Thus explaining why although I’ll call myself libertarian, I’m not a Libertarian, or Republican, or Conservative… and certainly not left wing.

    Science is not done by consensus, because creating consensus is just one fraudster away.

    Science is a system where one proposes a theory then sets out to falsify it. That entire process has been distorted and pervert as it applies to the carbon cycle and the global average temperatures.

    1. If it’s settled, it ain’t science.

      If it’s science, it ain’t settled.

      1. Cute, but overly simplistic

        1. Please point out what is wrong with it. Don’t just snark. Be constructive.

          1. Some examples.
            The existence of black holes is now settled science. No competent physicist anywhere will say any different. Of course, there are many open and disputed questions about black holes. Yet how did the massive black holes at the center of galaxies get so big within the lifetime of the universe (a number that is settled science)?

            The resolution of the twin paradox of special relativity is settled science as are the resolution of many apparent relativity paradoxes. That does not say that the careful analysis is simple, but just that no competent physicists doubt those.

            What there am inflationary period in the universe, most physicist think so, but there is no experimental proof (the observation of B-modes in the cosmic microwave background). Sceinec yet not settled.

            Does that help?

            1. Should have read “Was there am inflationary period…”

            2. Funny you should mention black holes, since earlier this year there was a new paper suggesting that what we think they are may not be accurate…

              1. I’d be interested to read that.
                Do you have a citation?

                1. I have had a look at this manuscript. It is an interesting conjecture that does not supplant black holes with quasi-black holes, but relies on a solution of the Einstein equation without an event horizon surrounding the object. It must rely on a special variety of dark matter.
                  As I mentioned there are many open (unsettled) questions about the nature of black holes, which are a straight forward solution of the Einstein equations. Whether these naked black holes can satisfy all astrophysical constraints such as observed gravitational lensing is not addressed.
                  Thank you for the citation.

    2. Science is not done by consensus, because creating consensus is just one fraudster away.

      Uh, the whole point of “consensus” is to get a conclusion from a wide variety of scientists on what they can all agree is correct. “One fraudster” would not be able to convince enough other scientists to create a false consensus.

      The truth is that scientists are all highly motivated to disagree with each other and compete for attention, grants, and respect. They all think that they are really smart and want to be the first one to discover something new that holds up to further scrutiny. They look at each other’s work with skepticism because if someone else got it right before they did, then that is a lost chance to be first. When they can all agree to something, it is most likely going to be because that thing has held up to all of those that were challenging it, trying to see if it was wrong, so that they could do better.

      1. “The truth is that scientists are all highly motivated to disagree with each other and compete for attention, grants, and respect.”

        Lie. The truth is that scientists are all highly motivated to get attention, grants, and respect. The truth is that the WAY you get “attention, grants, and respect” is to push the fraud of “global warming” / “climate change”.

        Because the government funding bodies that provide most of the grants are run by bureaucrats who prefer “research” that says “the government should have more power.”

        And, as we learned from the ClimateGate emails, the people in control of the publishing process in geophysics are all global warming pushers, and they work to block papers by anyone who disagrees with them, regardless of the scientific validity of the papers.

      2. “The truth is that scientists are all highly motivated to disagree with each other and compete for attention, grants, and respect. They all think that they are really smart and want to be the first one to discover something new that holds up to further scrutiny. They look at each other’s work with skepticism because if someone else got it right before they did, then that is a lost chance to be first. When they can all agree to something.”
        More oversimplification. You’re most likely not a scientist.

      3. Uh, the whole point of “consensus” is to get a conclusion from a wide variety of scientists on what they can all agree is correct.

        No. The point of “consensus” is for partizan rubes to have talking points from the priesthood to push politically driven solutions using science they don’t really understand and cannot argue because they don’t understand it.

        Scientists have technical arguments and an understanding of those arguments. Partizans have “consensus” where “consensus” is a fully sarcastrian moving definition. Who actually makes up the consensus and what the consensus actually believes is typically a shell game that twists and moves in an attempt to push a narrative.

  8. I think it is funny how Adler pretends he would be allowed to have any other opinion on CAGW and still be allowed to move in the circles he does.

    People tend to believe what their paycheck requires them to believe, and what allows their wives to not be social outcasts from their class. The only people you can be certain made a principled decision based on the facts are the ones who are out of work, or on the outs with the elite class. This sort of ideological enforcement would not be necessary were things really as settled as we are told to believe.

  9. Plaintiff’s failure to show actual malice is the result of the nature of the blog in which the Simberg Article appears: It is a blog designed for low-effort management on the part of CEI, where outside writers enjoy a platform for their opinions, with only cursory review by a relatively low-ranking CEI employee prior to publication.

    Whenever that kind of argument comes up, it has to be read as advocacy for reckless disregard of the truth as a defense against a libel charge, instead of as an aggravation of the offense. What legal hocus-pocus it took to get from NYT v. Sullivan to that feckless conclusion I have never been able to understand.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the plaintiff wants you to believe that we committed reckless disregard of the truth when we published that he was found guilty, when in fact he was found not-guilty. That is a gross distortion of what happened. In fact, our editing process is designed for low-effort management, and it is performed only by relatively low-ranking employees. In short, our disregard of the truth is always deliberate, and thus never reckless—it is customary. We cannot be held responsible for failure to achieve what we never attempt.”

    1. I think the point that readers expect different levels of care from different publications is actually trivially obvious. E.g., it would be extremely difficult to win a defamation suit against The Onion.

      But I do agree with you that on some level, publications that purport to be making factual claims have to comply with the actual malice standard, even if they are perceived as taking lower standards of care. After all, there have been many successful defamation suits against the National Enquirer, despite the fact that it is actually entirely reasonable to claim that many or even most Enquirer readers understand that its reporting standards are different from those of a reputable big city newspaper.

      1. Its like suing Reason for a post put here by Adler or Volokh. It is Reason’s site but Adler and Volokh post at will using their own logins without Reasons prior, or post approval.

    2. What legal hocus-pocus it took to get from NYT v. Sullivan to that feckless conclusion I have never been able to understand.

      You can say that again!

    3. The problem with your claim is that having read Steyn’s statement of undisputed facts in the case (which are still undisputed WRT Rand’s case) https://www.steynonline.com/documents/10974.pdf it’s rather clear that Rand’s comments about Mann were entirely fair and true

      Which is a full defense against libel

  10. So, having read Steyn’s motion for summary judgment, his statement of undisputed facts, and his reply to Sandusky’s, I mean Mann’s motion for summary judgment https://www.steynonline.com/documents/11110.pdf I say that any judge who doesn’t grant Steyn’s motion is clearly failing in his or her duties.

    it’s not libel when it’s true. And, as Steyn noting in his motion for summary judgment:
    On that last point, while Mann claims he was defamed by Steyn’s linking him with the Sandusky case, in his just-published book The New Climate War, Mann thanks one of the convicted criminals in the Sandusky case.

    (The Reason posting sywtem won’t let me include 3 links. The other items are linked above

  11. Greg ‘s comment – it’s not libel when it’s true. And, as Steyn noting in his motion for summary judgment.

    Concur that truth is an absolute defense of slander and libel. Similarly, an honestly held belief that it is true is a defense of libel. In this case, there is substantial publicly available information that points to Simberg’s (and Styen repeating Simberg’ statement ) as true. It may or may not be true, but there remains substantial public information indicating the simberg’s statment is true.

    That being said, I do believe that Simberg intentionally insulted Mann with malice. However, because the statement is true or very likely true, it is not actionable libel.

  12. All data and methods necessary to replicate Mann’s work have been freely available for years.

    The claim that his algorithm generates hockey sticks from random noise is untrue.

    It came from McIntyre and McKitrick. Red noise is random or ‘white’ noise that has been treated to simulate a particular dataset. Clearly the red noise should have the same statistical profile as the data you are simulating. In fact M&M used data with an unrealistic degree of persistence. (Wegman, with an astonishing lack of diligence simply parroted the M&M result without trying to reproduce it independently. Professor David Ritson wrote to Wegman asking for details of the noise generation and is still waiting for a reply. Where is an auditor when you really need one?).

    Even with this data, the results had a tiny magnitude compared to the real hockey stick and half pointed down, not up. So M&M amended the code to ‘mine’ for hockey stick shapes and only plotted a selection from the 1% with the highest ‘hockey stick index’.

    If you run enough simulations you can find any pattern you want eventually, so it is not that meaningful an exercise, a better question is: using red noise with the variance and lag-one autocorrelation coefficients) as the actual North American ITRDB series, and applying the MBH98 PCA convention, how likely is one to produce the “Hockey Stick” pattern from chance alone? The analysis has in fact been done:

    “The Monte Carlo experiments were performed for both the MBH98 (non-centered) and MM (centered) PCA conventions. This analysis showed that the “Hockey Stick” pattern is highly significant in comparison with the expectations from random (red) noise for both the MBH98 and MM conventions. In the MBH98 convention, the “Hockey Stick” pattern corresponds to PC#1 , and the variance carried by that pattern is more than 5 times what would be expected from chance alone under the null hypothesis of red noise (blue curve at x=1: y = 0.07), significant well above the 99% confidence level (the first 2 PCs are statistically significant at the 95% level in this case). For comparison, in the MM convention, the “Hockey Stick” pattern corresponds to PC#4, and the variance carried by that pattern is about 2 times what would be expected from chance alone, and still clearly significant (the first 5 PCs are statistically significant at the 95% level in this case).

    So the facts deal a death blow to yet another false claim by McIntyre and McKitrick.”

    And r2 was not disclosed because it is a pretty useless metric in the context of climate reconstruction skill. The NAS panel on such reconstructions is quite clear on this.

    Keith Briffa’s data could not have been included in the original Hockey Stick papers because his study did not appear until several years later, some confusion here.

  13. From the judgement:

    “”This is not a lawsuit over the existence or legitimacy of climate change. Nor is it a lawsuit over the veracity of the hockey stick graph”

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