Year 2, Month 10, Day 9: Say That To His Face, Why Don’cha?

Michael Mann kicks some serious butt in the October 1 issue of the Vail Daily (CO):

An individual named Martin Hertzberg did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues in his recent commentary in your paper.

It’s hard to imagine anyone packing more lies and distortions into a single commentary. Mr. Hertzberg uses libelous language in characterizing the so-called “hockey stick” — work of my own published more than a decade ago showing that recent warming is unusual over at least the past 1,000 years — as “fraudulent,” and claiming that it “it was fabricated from carefully selected tree-ring measurements with a phony computer program.”

These are just lies, regurgitation of dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers, and those who do their bidding by lying to the public about the science.

The highest scientific body in the nation, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed my research findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006 (see e.g. “Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate,” New York Times, June 22, 2006, among many others).

Dozens of independent groups of scientists have independently reproduced and confirmed our findings, and more recent work by several groups shows that recent warmth is unusual over an even longer time frame.

They have a 500 (!) word limit. It’s always fun to stand up on behalf of the good guys. Sent October 5:

By rights, Michael Mann should sound a lot angrier than he does in his rebuke to Martin Hertzberg. It isn’t every day that a responsible researcher with a lifelong record of scientific integrity has his work and findings impugned so cavalierly.

Well, let me qualify that. Such irresponsible public treatment isn’t on the menu for most scientists — but it is now the norm for climatologists, whose message appears highly unwelcome to the fossil fuel industry. The giant multinational corporations which have grown rich from building a petroleum addiction/delivery mechanism into our society are naturally resistant to anything that will end their profitability, and they have invested millions upon millions of dollars to build a denialist infrastructure which has successfully muddied the debate, delaying action on what is certainly the gravest threat our species has faced in recorded history.

Provoked by their paymasters, the unhinged voices of talk radio hosts and mendacious professional dissenters have created a working environment in which climate scientists now regularly receive death threats along with frivolous lawsuits and public mockery. Are there any other scientists whose work is treated so badly? The only parallel in recent history is the defamation campaign waged against the researchers who uncovered definitive links between smoking and cancer. It is illuminating to realize that many of the same individuals who spread calumnies about these conscientious investigators are now in the pay of Big Oil and Big Coal — once again taking fat paychecks in exchange for misleading the public.

Considering that his lifework has been derided, his integrity has been impugned, and he’s been subjected to frivolous investigation after frivolous investigation, Dr. Mann’s rebuke to Martin Hertzberg’s misrepresentations is extraordinarily civil. My hat’s off to him; under analogous circumstances, I could never be as courteous.

Warren Senders

UPDATE: And I’m in print, although they decided I was from Medford, Oregon.

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