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EPA on Mann’s “Fraud” Invective

Michael Mann, now feigning sensitivity towards Mark Steyn’s use of the word “fraudulent”, used identical language in the Climategate emails against critics without the slightest compunction. Mann’s hypocrisy has been widely noted.

Unpublicized thus far is a discussion by EPA, in which EPA concluded that Mann’s accusations of “scientific fraud” were within the scope of “acceptable and appropriate” scientific exchange and that it is “entirely acceptable and appropriate for scientists to express their opinions and challenge papers that they believe are scientifically flawed” in such terms.

The EPA’s finding appears to be inconsistent with Gavin Schmidt’s recent tweet arguing that such language is “per se defamatory”:

Saying that ppl [people] are frauds is per se defamatory. Goes beyond disagreement/error/dislike.

The EPA’s consideration of Mann’s invective arose because one of the petitions for reconsideration of the EPA Endangerment Finding (Peabody here) had challenged the conduct of Climategate scientists on the grounds that their actions fell “far short of the standards to which EPA is subject in preparing its Endangerment Finding”. Among their list of alleged misdeeds were the unprofessional denigration of critics by the Climategaters. One of their examples was Mann’s email to Andy Revkin shortly after publication of McIntyre and McKitrick (2005 GRL), in which Mann wrote:

The McIntyre and McKitrick paper is pure scientific fraud. I think you’ll find this reinforced by just about any legitimate scientist in our field you discuss this with. To recap, I hope you don’t mention MM [McIntyre and McKitrick] at all. It really doesn’t deserve any additional publicity.

According to Gavin Schmidt’s criteria, Mann’s accusation was “per se defamatory”.

This incident was considered by EPA in Comments 3-33 and 3-34 in RTP Volume 3. In the RTP volumes, EPA had attempted to synthesize criticisms from the various petitions, providing sort-of responses to each synthesized criticism, though, too often, the responses read more like inline comments at Real Climate than the results of impartial deliberation.

In Comment 3-33 in Volume 3, they introduced the conduct issue arising from Mann’s various defamatory comments as follows:

Peabody Energy argues that Michael Mann engaged in “a pattern of scholarly intimidation” against those whose research challenged his own, and that this affected the way other researchers presented their results in journal articles….

Peabody Energy concludes that the goal of the CRU e-mail authors’ “intimidation/bad-mouthing [was] to influence scientific development” and effectively prevent “dissenting scientific voices from being heard” at conferences or in the climate science literature.

In Comment 3-34, they directly cite Mann’s defamatory email to Revkin about us, introducing it as follows:

In addition, Peabody Energy claims that Michael Mann “continued his battle” against climate change “skeptics” like Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick in the press, quoting an e-mail from Mann to New York Times reporter Andy Revkin, sent on February 8, 2005:

The McIntyre and McKitrick paper is pure scientific fraud. I think you’ll find this reinforced by just about any legitimate scientist in our field you discuss this with. To recap, I hope you don’t mention MM [McIntyre and McKitrick] at all. It really doesn’t deserve any additional publicity.65


Peabody Energy concludes that the goal of the CRU e-mail authors’ “intimidation/bad-mouthing [was] to influence scientific development” and effectively prevent “dissenting scientific voices from being heard” at conferences or in the climate science literature…

In Response 3-34, the EPA completely pooh-poohed any suggestion that there was anything untoward about Mann’s accusations, which, according to Gavin Schmidt’s criteria, were “per se defamatory”. The EPA stated that these remarks merely “reflect[ed] his scientific judgement that the McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) paper was flawed” and that it is “entirely acceptable and appropriate” for scientists to “express their opinions” on papers that they “believe to be flawed”:

Regarding the e-mail from Michael Mann to Andy Revkin, Mann’s statements reflect his scientific judgment that the McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) paper was flawed. As discussed thoroughly in our previous responses (e.g., 3-23), it is entirely acceptable and appropriate for scientists to express their opinions and challenge papers that they believe are scientifically flawed. It was on this basis that Mann recommended that McIntyre and McKitrick were not worth interviewing because their paper was flawed.

One feels that the authors and reviewers of these EPA documents would make excellent witnesses in the Steyn proceedings. Unfortunately, the names of authors and reviewers of the RTP documents were not reported. Perhaps Steyn can identify them through an FOI. (Reviewers of the original Endangerment Finding were reported and included Gavin Schmidt.)

Postscript: In Response 3-34, EPA stated: “We note that we have responded to the scientific arguments presented in McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) as well as numerous other issues related to paleoclimatic reconstructions, both in the RTC document for the Endangerment Finding and in Volume 1 of this RTP document.” In fact, neither McIntyre and McKitrick (2005 GRL) nor McIntyre and McKitrick (2005 EE) was cited or listed in the lengthy bibliographies of the RTC or RTP documents; EPA’s response was nothing more than a reference to Wahl and Ammann.

Source: 
Climate Audit

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