Mark Steyn and Judith Curry

Two items related only because these two seem to like each other and there are coeval happenings.

Mark Steyn and Dr. Michael Mann's book

Michael mann wrote a great book called The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. It really is a good book, I highly recommend it.

Mark Steyn is a right wing talking head and shock jocky guy whose behavior is that of a seventh grader. Since Mann's book was published, numerous anti-science and anti-environment Internet trolls have posted bogus, harassing, one-star reviews on Amazon of Mann's book. Often, these reviews come in groups and have had the appearance of a coordinated attack. In many cases, Amazon has recognized this and deleted those reviews.

Now we know that Mark Steyn is behind these attacks, or at least, he is behind an attack happening right now, not so subtly goading others to not only buy his own merchandise but to focus on Mann's Amazon page. He has coordinated attacks on Mann before, such as his goading of his followers (and they really, truly are followers, which is probably not how they see themselves) to ruin a public Twitter discussion with Mann (hashtage #AskDrMann).

(I know how this works because it happened to me as well.)

If you've read "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars" and you've not left a review on the Amazon page, and you are concerned about climate change and the practice and politics of science denialism, then you need to know the lack of your voice is meaningful. Go speak up. Only if you've read the book, of course (and I'm sure you liked it)

Judith Curry In Denial

Not long ago Judith Curry wrote a rather appalling editorial for the Wall Street Journal. Just now, Michael Mann has published a resonse, "Curry Advocates Against Action on Climate Change."

She ties her argument to a new study she has co-authored, as well as the global warming speed bump (or faux pause). Neither offers a compelling reason to avoid reducing emissions. Her study looks at recent temperatures and uses them to try and determine how much the atmosphere will warm from our CO2 emissions.

The result is a figure low enough for contrarians to trumpet, but still not really that far from the official figures provided by the UN's IPCC, the gold standard of climate science. This is why the new study (and the others very similar to it) have elicited only a collective yawn from serious academia.

So the piece repeats the same tired claims about lowered sensitivity, using the "pause" meme and her own study as justification for delaying action.

Go read the whole thing here, it is quite interesting.

More like this

Great quote from Mann's response:

Union of Concerned Scientists' Peter Frumhoff describes it eloquently, saying that Curry's call for delay [to phase out greenhouse gases] "is like refusing to treat a patient because you can't tell if their fever is 103 or 104 degrees."

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 17 Oct 2014 #permalink

I found this remark from John Mashey's link particularly interesting:

“On that last matter [Mann's suit against Steyn], he [Mann] might yet win, and I will be over and out. Such is the crapshoot of US justice, especially in a choked toilet of a system like the District of Columbia's.”

Steyn is now preparing his supporters for a possible loss, exculpating himself and blaming an inconsistent and unreliable judicial system for that possibility. The tones that issued from him before were decidedly more triumphant:

“I want to get to court as soon as possible, and put Michael E Mann, PhD (Doctor of Phraudology) on the stand under oath. I haven't wasted two years on this guy to be denied my moment in court. That's one reason I've countersued Mann. He thinks the DC Superior Court is competent to litigate his fraudulent 'hockey stick'. Fine, let's get it to a jury - before the sclerotic DC "justice" system's procedural delays go on as long as the global-warming 'pause'.”…

If you want to verify the quote, but don't wish to click on Steyn's website, the same quote can be found in a horrendous piece from the Washington Post.…

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 18 Oct 2014 #permalink

From the Mann post that Greg linked to:

“She [Curry] ties her argument to a new study she has co-authored, as well as the global warming speed bump (or faux pause).”

If it hadn't been the new study, it probably would have been something else. Curry's WSJ op-ed is worth reading. It's behind a pay wall, but is reproduced in full on Curry's blog.…

To appreciate the extent of her transformation, I suggest comparing it to the Washington Post op-ed from 2007 in which she criticized Bjørn Lomborg, and reflected on the need to focus on climate risks.

“Lomborg's attitude toward risk is also troubling. He focuses only on the middle range of the panel's projections, dismissing the risk from the higher end of the range. But if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small...

The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security -- providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced...

There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. Lomborg is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.”…

As one of factors behind Curry's current insouciance is her claim that climate sensitivity is lower than generally claimed, I thought I might add this: The paper “Challenges to Providing Quantitative Estimates of the Environmental and Societal Impacts of Global Climate Change” deals primarily with the difficulty of establishing a social cost of carbon that accounts for the consequences of climate change. However, it also questions basing evaluations of future climate impacts on sensitivity, because sensitivity tends to average things out, whereas the real impacts of climate change will hit different places at different times to different degrees.…
See section 2.1 Characteristics of the climate system

Using sensitivity as one of two deciding parameters tends to downplay that the most vulnerable and least resilient parts of the globe will be slammed before the developed mid-latitude areas, and they'll be less able to cope. Averages – global temperatures as well – can enable one to overlook or explain away an unfolding catastrophe.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 18 Oct 2014 #permalink

cosmicomics @3

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 18 Oct 2014 #permalink

You "misunderestimate" Steyn.

Quote from Dr Curry

"I guess if you don’t have any real arguments against my article, you can always criticize me for the company I keep."

By Delurked Lurker (not verified) on 18 Oct 2014 #permalink

This post does not make an argument. It points to a well done commentary. That should be obvious. You can go find all the arguments you want there.

I have a review of Dr. Mann's book on Amazon (verified purchase) as well as on my own Web site. (Some authors don't like my reviews because I get down into the nitty-gritty: dangling participles and such. But Dr. Mann comes off pretty well.)

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 19 Oct 2014 #permalink

Good for you. That is a situation up with which we shall not put.