Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Legal Action Over Climate Change Denial Is Here

In 2005 I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, and he said


Today in the New York Times:


Image result for exxonmobil global warmingNo, this doesn't mean climate deniers will be rounded up and jailed (though you can be sure they'll try to play the victim), just as no blogger today is being jailed for writing that nicotine isn't addictive or that smoking doesn't harm health. Bloggers and writers are small potatoes in the big picture.
But one of the world's largest and richest corporations? That's different. For one thing, corporations have responsibilities to their investors that deniers do not have to their readers. And ExxonMobil is selling a product whose harms they have not disclosed, even though they knew otherwise and used that knowledge in their internal business decisions. Bloggers and other deniers aren't selling such a product -- just words that only poison minds. 

Should be fun to see what the investigation reveals about the Heartland Institute, Willie Soon, and possibly others.

ExxonMobile's stock price dropped 1.4% today.

10 comments:

Unknown said...

I know this is supposed to be a parallel with the case against the tobacco companies, but I don't get it. Oil companies don't know any more than anyone else about the risks of CO2 emisssions. And, it's no secret that fossil fuels emit CO2 when burned. AFAIK no oil company knowingly paid for falsified research or for falsified advertisements. So, where's the liability?

Mann's reference to "unlimited money" from oil interests was upside down. The amount of government and other money supporting alarmist research is orders of magnitude larger than the amount supporting skeptic research.

I, for one, am eagerly waiting for the lawsuit between Michael Mann and Mark Steyn to get to court. I expect it to be most entertaining. I think Mann will be embarrassed, since many prominent climate scientists have publicly criticized his hockey stick.

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

David, what makes you think Michael Mann won't come up with his own experts, including people from his field? Over 70 scientists co-authored the PAGES 2k study. The European Geophysical Uniom gave Mann a medal for his work

David Appell said...

PS: did you go learn about what causes the ice age fluctuations?

Unknown said...

David -- you have a good point. If and when the case comes to court, Mann probably will have experts defending his work. Based on my experience presenting technical material in legal settings, I suspect he'll even find experts who defend his "hide the decline" chart -- the chart that hid the fact that his tree rings were not doing a good job of matching temperature in recent years.

I know almost nothing about what caused ice ages fluctuations. My understanding was that scientists might have various theories, but there's no established science. E.g., AFAIK nobody can state definitively when the next ice age will begin.

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

"Hide the decline" was properly labeled on the charts. Instrumental records were also displayed. Only people who can't read graphs would be confused.

Besides, that is extraneous to Mann's suit.

You're wrong about the ice ages, and it's clear you didn't look anything. At least read the Wikipedia page, for fuck's sake, instead of claiming that scientists don't know what they're talking about. It's YOU who doesn't know what he's talking about, and who won't take 10 minutes to learn.

Unknown said...

David -- wikipedia said, "The causes of ice ages are not fully understood for either the large-scale ice age periods or the smaller ebb and flow of glacial–interglacial periods within an ice age." Maybe my wording wasn't clear, but that was the point I intended to make -- that the causes of ice ages are not fully understood.

If I had presented a chart like Mann's within my company, I would have been severely chastised. They would have expected me not to splice a chart with a piece on a different basis from the rest of the chart. In fact, they would have expected me to go out of my way to point out the poor fit between tree rings and temperature for recent years and to specifically tell them the implication that the relationship between tree ring characteristics and global temperature had a high degree of uncertainty.

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

The ice age fluctuations are understood as caused by Milankovitch factors, with snow and ice buildup around 65 N that increase the ice-albedo effect. The uncertainties -- as today -- are in the carbon cycle. BTW, about half the 8 C warming from a glacial to interglacial period is due to the increase in carbon dioxide.

Mann made his chart readable. It wasn't a presentation, it was a paper in a scientific journal, where the readers are expected to have time to ponder it and the expertise to do so. These experts also would understand tree ring paleoclimatology and the tree ring divergence problem, and a scientific paper on a specific subject would not be the place to present a tutorial of it.

You are only looking for excuses to blame Mann, when, again, you don't know the science are are left with only criticizing how he presented a graph.

Unknown said...

about half the 8 C warming from a glacial to interglacial period is due to the increase in carbon dioxide.

The conclusion of about half would seem to depend on climate sensitivity. How can about half be known, when the IPCC says we don't know the value of climate sensitivity? Is the conclusion of about half based on a specific assumed value for climate sensitivity, like 3.5 deg C? If so, wouldn't the impact of CO2 on ice ages have been quite different if climate sensitivity was really 1 deg C or 6 deg C?

Cheers
David in Cal

David Appell said...

No, it's about the temperature-carbon mutual feedback.

Climate sensitivity refers to the case, like today, when carbon leads temperature. In the ice age fluctuations, temperature leads carbon.

In any case, the carbon sensivity at CO2=180 ppmv would not be expected to be the same as when CO2=280 ppmv.

Dano said...

David, sounds like someone is testing arguments for some reason. Legal case, maybe?

Best,

D