Today I'm launching a fund and I wonder whether anyone would like to contribute. Please, I implore you all, PLEASE chip in to help finance Professor Michael Mann's suit for defamation against sinister, right-wing Canadian climate-change denier Mark Steyn and the fascist-denialist organ for which Steyn writes, National Review Online!
I don't think Mann is going to win his case, not for one fraction of a millisecond. That's why I think it's so important that we give him all the financial encouragement we can at this sensitive early stage. There's a danger that Mann may yet take advice from his lawyers, realise that there's about as much chance of his defending the integrity of his ludicrous, comedy "Hockey Stick" curve as there is of George Galloway winning the Random Stranger I'd Feel Most Safe Sharing A Bed With While Completely Fast Asleep award (as annually voted by the readers of Mumsnet) – and pull out.
This must not be allowed to happen.
From obscure beginnings and with little discernible talent, Michael Mann has risen to become arguably the best loved comedy figure in the entire field of climate science, like Fatty Arbuckle, Pee Wee Herman and Coco the Clown rolled into one.
He singlehandedly invented Mann-made global warming using his amazing Hockey Stick curve – the one programmed using the ingenious algorithm whereby, whatever information you fed into it – fudged paleoclimatological reconstructions, the latest football scores, tofu futures – it always came out in the same, scary-looking This Is The End Of The World And We've Got To Act Now By Pumping Gazillions More Money Into Climate Research shape.
He gave us the phrase "Hide The Decline" – and starred in the hilarious song and video written in homage by a fan club called Minnesotans For Global Warming.
He described the battle between (apparently) well-funded "sceptics" like myself and "scientists" – ahem – like Michael Mann as "literally like a marine in battle against a cub scout."
But of all the comedic pleasure this veritable Mickey Mouse among "climatologists" has given us so far, none comes even close to matching the joy and entertainment he will surely give us if he goes ahead with his court action against NRO and Steyn.
Why? Well as Tim Worstall notes, Mann going to court to defend his scientific honour looks about as quixotic as Oscar Wilde's libel action against the Marquess of Queensbury over the outrageous suggestion that he (the famously heterosexual Oscar) had been 'posing as a somdomite' with young Lord Alfred Douglas. (Though of course, as Worstall is careful to add, Oscar Wilde HAD been conducting homosexual relations with Bosie whereas Mann is whiter than white, one of the world's greatest scientists and has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to hide, etc)
Mann's lawyer clearly thinks he does. Here is what he said when NRO told him to "get lost."
The response of the National Review is telling with respect to the issues it did not address. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann's research has been extensively reviewed by a number of independent parties, including the National Science Foundation, with never a suggestion of any fraud or research misconduct. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann's conclusions have been replicated by no fewer than twelve independent studies. It did not deny the fact that it was aware that Dr. Mann has been repeatedly exonerated of any fraudulent conduct.
Regular readers of this column may sense the flaw in this defence. It was the same flaw that resulted in the University of Easy Access (aka University of East Anglia) having a complaint rejected by the Press Complaints Commission regarding certain true words written in this column.
Just to remind you what happened, here's what I said about the UEA's Professor Phil Jones (of its infamous Climatic Research Unit). I described him as “disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method abusing”. The UEA reported me to the Press Complaints Commission – thus requiring me to waste vast quantities of time demonstrating to the PCC that my remarks were not without foundation.
And guess what? The PCC found in my favour.