June 28, 2012
Last month I received a worried telephone call from a government official in California. An Orange County government agency was holding a water summit, just days away, and one of the speakers was throwing a last-minute hissy fit about a fellow speaker scheduled for his panel. According to the official, the speaker throwing the hissy fit, Climategate central figure Michael Mann, was expressing indignation that the other speaker allegedly did not have the scientific credentials to share a stage with him. The official worried that Mann would back out of his speaking appearance, after Orange County had extensively advertised Mann’s appearance there, if they did not remove the scientist to whom Mann objected. As cameraman Larry exclaimed after a Phil Connors hissy fit in the movie Groundhog Day , “Prima Donna!”
The government official was hoping for some good scientific give and take on the panel. Accordingly, he asked me if I could identify highly qualified scientists who could give a different perspective on global warming than alarmist Mann, and at the same time match Mann’s inflated view of his own credentials.
The Michael Mann hissy fit, I advised the government official, likely had little to do with the other speaker’s credentials. From my own experience with Mann and other politically driven global warming alarmists, they will go to great lengths to avoid appearing on the public stage in a format that requires them to debate or defend their alarmist assertions in the presence of scientists who actually focus on facts rather than scare tactics. I nevertheless gave the government official a list of highly qualified skeptical scientists and wished him good luck with his upcoming conference. “Don’t be surprised, however, if Mann refuses to take the stage with any of these scientists, or anybody else who will ask him challenging questions on the panel,” I predicted. “I know that scientists are supposed to encourage and celebrate critical thinking and open debate, but alarmists like Mann are scientists in only the loosest sense of the term.”