Well, that didn’t take long.
Yesterday, I covered the exoneration of Michael Mann by the Penn State University “climategate” inqury. And I wondered (mostly rhetorically, I admit) whether this would give impetus to allegations of “whitewash”.
Lo and behold, Marc Morano of Climate Depot has come through right on schedule, even comparing Mann to disgraced investment fraudster Bernie Madoff and calling Mann the “posterboy of the corrupt and disgraced climate science echo chamber” . And, the denialosphere’s star scientist, MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen, has weighed in right behind him, echoing Morano’s “whitewash” characterization.
Can the rest of the denialosphere be far behind? Oh, the sad – and presumably unintentional – irony of it all.
The PSU report must be a big deal; indeed, a it’s very rare event for Marc Morano to actually rouse himself and write a press release. Usually he just slaps a misquote on top of a convenient link, and sends it around the blogosphere.
Climate Depot’s Executive Editor Marc Morano on Penn State’s inquiry into Michael Mann:
‘This is not surprising that Mann’s own university circled the wagons and narrowed the focus of its own investigation to declare him ethical.
‘The fact that the investigation cited Mann’s ‘level of success in proposing research and obtaining funding’ as some sort of proof that he was meeting the ‘highest standards’, tells you that Mann is considered a sacred funding cash cow. At the height of his financial career, similar sentiments could have been said about Bernie Madoff.
“Mann has become the posterboy of the corrupt and disgraced climate science echo chamber. No university whitewash investigation will change that simple reality.”
Wow: Mann = Madoff. That one’s off the the charts on the hyperbol-o-meter, even by Morano’s standards. Never mind that the passage in question was specifically addressing whether Mann had strayed outside accepted practices in proposing research. That charge was not even alleged, and only addressed by the PSU inqury committee in an effort to address every possible violation of the code of conduct. Trust Morano to misrepresent this peripheral finding as the central argument of the report.
And there’s another new equation: Peer-reviewed science = climate science echo chamber. That’s unbelievable audacity coming from the Great Posterboy for Climate Science Disinformation himself, who has probably done more than anyone else to create the anti-science echo chamber, the real one, in its current form of symbiosis between the blogosphere and the right-wing press.
Compared to Morano, Lindzen’s outbursts seem almost tame, but are nevertheless outrageous. As I mentioned yesterday, Lindzen appears to have nearly lost it in his interview with PSU investigation committee:
When told that the first three allegations against Dr. Mann were dismissed at the inquiry stage of the RA-lO process, Dr. Lindzen’s response was: “It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these are issues that he explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?”
Lindzen answered his own question in an email to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, giving his reaction to the PSU report:
But Richard S. Lindzen, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of meteorology who disagrees with Mann’s work, called the school’s investigation a “whitewash.” Lindzen was interviewed by the Penn State panel during its investigation.
“Penn State has clearly demonstrated that it is incapable of monitoring violations of scientific standards of behavior internally,” Lindzen said in an e-mail from France.
As far as I know, Lindzen has not cited any specific evidence of wrongdoing; apparently, he’s in the “emails speak for themselves” school of thought. (Never mind that the various “climategate” accusations have been proven false over and over again). As far as I know, the closest Lindzen has come to substantiating his insinuations was in his Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, a couple of weeks after the release of the stolen CRU emails.
Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes. [Emphasis added]
At least it’s clear that Lindzen thinks it obvious that temperature data sets or reconstructions have been fudged. Shouldn’t someone call him on the lack of any actual evidence for this extraordinary assertion?
Morano, of course has no such qualms about Lindzen’s reliability. Indeed, Morano’s covering his bets by pointing to Lindzen’s recent comments as well as his own. After reading Morano’s screed, many Morano contacts may find Lindzen’s comments downright mild and reasonable. Others, especially in the blogosphere, may prefer Morano’s own over-the-top rhetoric. Either way, Morano gets his message out.
This is not the first time Lindzen has played a key role in propagating, and even crafting, contrarian memes. Lindzen is an indefatigable proponent of the “global warming has paused” meme; for example, in the same WSJ piece referenced above he claimed:
Consider that the measurement used, the globally averaged temperature anomaly (GATA), is always changing. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, and occasionally—such as for the last dozen years or so—it does little that can be discerned.
Less known is the fact that Lindzen actually originated the bogus “no statistically siginificant warming since 1995″ talking point that later tripped up CRU scientist Phil Jones. That particular gambit started out as a March 2008 email coaching Anthony Watts in the finer points of disinformation (a.k.a. rhetorical statistics):
Look at the attached. There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995. Why bother with the arguments about an El Nino anomaly in 1998? (Incidentally, the red fuzz represents the error ‘bars’.)
This time, it probably won’t take that long. Now that Morano and Lindzen have told them what to say, and even given them a menu of rhetorical options, will the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the National Post keep silent for long? Not likely.