Big Picture Science – Political Scientist: Michael Mann / Activist Scientist

by Gary Niederhoff on April 16, 2018

Big Picture Science – Activist Scientist
click to listen (TRT 13:24)

Click above to listen to part 3 of Skeptic Check: Political Scientist, featuring Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science, and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, describing what’s driven him, somewhat reluctantly, into the political domain.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Richard April 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

How dare Michael Mann of “hockey stick” fame use “Climate Change” and Evolution in the same breath, as if to say that “Climate Change” is a theory, well defined and proven as Evolution is. This is the kind of linguistic sleight of tongue confidence tricksters use, dropping names or facts to con people into believing their own dubious claims.
Climate “scientists” alone in the science community demand taxes to be imposed on the world community essentially to enrich their coffers. By stating that he has a 10 year old daughter and cares for her future, he is essentially implying that anyone who is sceptical about his claims does not care about their children or their children’s future. Is his advocacy all that altruistic? What about the (very remote) possibility that Mann maybe advocating “Climate Change” for his own personal gain and funding?

avatar Richard April 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

Again the linguistic sleights of tongue: Clean air – we do not want pollutants in the air, Michael Mann CO2 is unclean, chlorofluorocarbons are harmful to life, Mann – CO2 is harmful to life, etc etc. “…as long as they are willing to accept what the science has to say….” looks like what science has to say is manipulated at times. Does the science say we have to tax people because of “climate change”?

avatar Sandra Duffy April 19, 2018 at 10:39 am

Richard your only issue is one of greed. You want to continue to ignore the science because it might effect your pocket. And the science regarding Anthropogenic Climate Change is as determined as that for evolution whether it is called a ‘Theory’ or not. It is simple physics. Prof Michael Mann is one of the very few Americans I admire. He has withstood years of persecution in your country at the hands of fossil fuel interests and their stooge politicians.

avatar Chris Jones April 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Oh Richard. Haven’t you heard the news? The major oil companies IN COURT have admitted climate change is happening & humans are responsible! They should know, their OWN researchers have been telling them that since the 1970s. Glad to see them join all world science academies and climate scientists (except the few who join the denial machine for rea$ons of their own).

Dr Mann would be much richer today if he had just joined an oil company – where the money is.

CO2 is great at the right concentration – stops the earth being a frozen iceball and is required for plants. Double that amount & you greatly increase heat, floods, storms, etc. Not great for plants despite the extra CO2.

The science does not say anything about taxes. But should we allow companies to emit pollution with no penalty?

There are things YOU can do to reduce your CO2 footprint. Stuff like solar power on your house & hybrid cars will in the medium term even save you money!

avatar Richard April 26, 2018 at 6:46 am

@Sandra “the science regarding Anthropogenic Climate Change is as determined as that for evolution whether it is called a ‘Theory’ or not.”
If that be so can you, or Michael Mann, or anyone else
Explain it to me?
What testable and falsifiable predictions has it made?
How have these predictions been tested?
Have these predictions been verified like say Evolution or General Relativity?
How accurate is it?

avatar Richard April 26, 2018 at 1:58 pm

@Chris Jones – “climate change is happening & humans are responsible!”
Climate change has happened throughout Earth’s history. Of course humans have and are making an impact on Climate, but are we solely responsible for the Earth’s climate? If you believe so that is the height of arrogance.
“Dr Mann would be much richer today if he had just joined an oil company” – did they offer him a job? At what pay? How much has he earned off “Climate Change” aka global warming? Once I have all these facts and figures I could calculate if your assertion is true.
“Double that amount [of CO2] & you greatly increase heat, floods, storms, etc. ” Where is the proof of that? A 50% increase in CO2 and Global warming, for whatever reason, (there are natural cycles too), has proved greatly beneficial to the Earth so far.
I am of course interested in reducing polution but not at all interested in reducing my “carbon footprint”. The best way to reduce the Earth’s carbon footprint, as life is carbon based, is to extinguish all life. Think of the beautiful worlds of the moon or Mars.

avatar Chris Jones April 27, 2018 at 12:11 am

@Richard Climate change has happened throughout Earth’s history
Of course, however recent calculations show natural influences excluding industrial civilization would have the earth cooling slowly to a new ice age. Instead the earth is warming past 1 Celsius above pre industrial levels.

Senior Petroleum Geologists according to Forbes earn as much as $425,000 pa. Even recent graduates earn $92,000 pa. Exxon oil executives get between $11,000,000 and $25,000,000 pa in their total packages according to

Compare that to researchers at Penn State Uni where Dr Mann works. In 2012, new hires got about $70,000 pa. Average tenured professors earned about $120,000 pa – if they manage to get grants which are quickly used up by facilities and administration costs, equipment, grad student support, conferences, and publishing costs.

Now, sea level during the ice ages (when CO2 concentration dipped as low as 180 ppm) was up to 394 feet below the current level.

Pre-industrial CO2 concentration was about 280 ppm. Doubling it to 560 ppm (we have passed 410 ppm) would take us past 2 degrees Celsius warming. In the Pliocene just 3 million years ago when temperatures were about that, sea levels were 10 to 40 meters above present levels.

Glad to hear you are interested in reducing pollution. You may not be interested in reducing your carbon footprint, but you probably ARE interested in saving money. Where circumstances permit, solar panels will start saving you money in just a handful of years.

avatar Richard April 27, 2018 at 3:50 pm

@ Chris Jones “…natural influences excluding industrial civilization would have the earth cooling slowly to a new ice age. Instead the earth is warming past 1 Celsius above pre industrial levels.”

I think it is less that 1 C, but I fail to understand why you consider an ice-age as the ideal state for the Earth to be in for human civilisation. Why would you want New York, Washington DC, London and the capitals of Europe covered with mile thick ice sheets? Even today winter is a tough time for people in the higher latitudes. Agriculture grinds to a halt and people eagerly either await the warmer seasons or migrate to warmer regions if they can afford to.

Besides our present warm period, there have been several warm and cold periods during our present Holocene, which is an intermission between ice ages. Invariably the warm periods, such as the Holocene Climate Optimum, the Roman warm period and the Medieval Warm Period, have been associated with the rise of agriculture and civilisations and the cold periods with their retreat. The most recent cold period was the Little Ice age. The population of Europe decreased, the Vikings in Greenland were wiped out. The Icelanders barely hung on with their average height shrinking by 5 inches.

During our present warm period since 1850, as our temperatures have risen the world population has risen 7 fold to 7.5 Billion and our food supplies have kept pace. Yet the so called “Catastrophic Climate Changers” have hysterically screamed for cooler temperatures as if it is in our control in the first place, or a desirable goal.

I think we are headed towards an unsustainable future, but that it has nothing to do with CO2, in fact quite the opposite. Like Svante Arrhenius I believe that CO2 has saved us, at least temporarily, from the inevitable colder times to come, which will be hard times for human survival.

Our unsustainable future is engendered by uncontrolled population growth. The solution is prosperity which western nations have achieved and not the squalor and misery which goes hand in hand with population growth, which climate changers want to push us into.

The theory of “Climate Change” is more like a religion than a science. It fits right into the Christian narrative and thus warmly embraced by the general western population. Mankind has sinned, simply by being successful and leading comfortable lives. We owe something to those not so successful and need to pay for our sins. The slogan “there is no planet B” implies that the warmer climate we have created due to an extra layer of CO2, is putting us on a path of total destruction and annihilation, something that climate “scientists” such as Michael Mann try desperately to convince us. Any argument or evidence to the contrary invokes Pascals wager, despite its obvious logical fallacy.

You have failed to convince me that Michael Mann could have earned more with the petroleum companies. He is not a Petroleum Geologist and thus it is unlikely they would have hired him. Petroleum Geologists have to prove their worth unlike climate scientists who need prove nothing and can manufacture hockey stick graphs by sticking thermometer data onto the end of the reconstructions from other data, such as tree rings or ice cores. The end of the reconstructions showed a downward trend in the graph, but not to worry, the climate scientists came up with “Mike’s Nature Trick” to “Hide the decline”. From the email of Prof Phil Jones “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. “

avatar Chris Jones April 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm

I fail to understand why you consider an ice-age as the ideal state for the Earth
You don’t understand, because of course I didn’t say that! Small numbers of humans can survive in an ice age (say 5 C below pre-industrial), or in a ‘tropical’ age (say 5 C above), but modern civilization would certainly collapse. Currently we are cranking up the temperature so by the end of the century we will be 2 C to 4 C above pre-industrial (depending on mitigation efforts).

Humanity certainly has serious problems to overcome in the next 100 years. Over-population, resource depletion, religious intolerance, nuclear weapons, and so on.

At least the problem of over-population be overcome if we don’t stabilize the climate. Not in the way nearly everyone would want though. Third world populations will be affected most quickly. The good thing for them is they can avoid a complete addiction to fossil fuels now. Take Costa Rica for example. Their electricity supplies are largely fossil fuel free, and now they are working on transport.

The theory of “Climate Change” is more like a religion than a science.
Most people will go with the near unanimous consensus of the experts who would love to prove themselves wrong but keep finding avalanches of data that confirms the physics.
Others will check for themselves with data easily available to them.

Sadly some will listen to the merchants of doubt funded by fossil fuel interests. They will ignore the great benefits of far less pollution, much lower bills, and yes a more stable climate. They will delude themselves with fabricated claims like “the hockey stick is broken”, when of course dozens of studies using all sorts of different data confirm it many times over.

At least some people like Dr Mann are prepared to put in the research AND advocate we change our ways. He did this instead of keeping silent. He decided as a student to take a scientific path of interest to him, rather than decide where to drill the next oil well. He decided not to take FF money to raise doubt. A stand-up guy in my books.

avatar Richard April 29, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Michael Mann does not behave like an expert “who would love to prove himself wrong” but rather like someone who would desperately want to prove himself right. Such people ignore all evidence to the contrary and even fabricate evidence to their support. If a person expresses doubt in what a scientist claims, it is the scientist’s duty to address those doubts. Michael Mann however calls people who doubt him “deniers”, equating them with holocaust deniers, the vilest of abuse. The credentials of a scientist who abuses sceptics and marches rather than explains are highly suspect.

Doubt is the stuff of science. Scientific theories are testable and make falsifiable predictions. Every heat wave, tornado, or drought is attributed to Climate Change, every cold snap or rainfall is similarly explained by climate change, like God, the infallible explanation of everything.

Newton’s Theory of Gravity held true for centuries. It was eventually disproved by a tiny error of 0.012 degrees per century in the drift of the orbit of Mercury. Since there are 360 degrees in a circle, an error of 0.000033% per year was enough to disprove Newton.

Compare that with the predictions of “Climate Change”. The temperature rise in response to a doubling of CO2 has been predicted by the IPCC as between 1.5 to 4.5 C with an average estimate of 3 C. The trend from 1978 to 2018 has been 1.6 C per century while current estimates say, the CO2 levels will double in about 50 years from the pre-industrial value of about 0.0275%. Another fact – the Earth’s surface temperature during the past 15 years, though still the warmest period on record, was relatively stable, while CO2 levels continued to accelerate.

Clearly there are huge uncertainties in the predictions, yet we are supposed to believe the theory is settled and the time for debate is over and the only solutions are draconian methods that will affect our economy and prosperity.

avatar Chris Jones April 30, 2018 at 5:19 am

Please. There are more than 150 known arguments trying to disprove climate change at all or if not then trying to disprove humans are responsible. They all have been found wanting.

There may be a natural reason for the warming but it has to fit the facts better than Anthropogenic Global Warming. Scientists really want to discover it and win the Nobel prize. Sadly after 40 or so years of trying, the tested facts all point towards AGW.

The only reason why more than a handful of cranks doubt AGW is the large amounts of money pumped into it by fossil fuel interests. I don’t think anyone really knows how much has been spent – $100 million USD or more probably. Doubt is what they are paying for and they have been spectacularly successful. They learned real well from the tobacco industry.

avatar Dougie Hanson May 20, 2018 at 6:44 am

Climate Deniers have Bird Brains.

avatar Richard June 18, 2018 at 10:11 am

Some birds are pretty intelligent. Far more so than followers of the climate alarmist religion, who have the enormous hubris to imagine they can control our climate through legislation and taxes. They smugly imagine they have won a debate by not addressing any of the arguments or facts but by simply regurgitating their liturgy and parroting their beliefs. They are supremely ignorant of the basics of science. They are the stupidest people on Earth. Evolution is a continuous process and while some humans will evolve into a more intelligent species, some will regress and go the way of the Dodo. That is the way of evolution and natural selection.

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