Search the KHIT Blog

Friday, February 9, 2024

Climate Science News: Dr. Michael E. Mann

Punitive Damages Awarded to Climate-Change Scientist Dr. Michael Mann in Decade-Long Defamation Case

We secured a decisive victory in our long-standing defamation claims against an adjunct scholar with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Rand Simberg, and a TV/radio personality who wrote for the National Review, Mark Steyn. Following a four-week jury trial, we were awarded punitive damages of $1,000 against Simberg and $1,000,000 against Steyn by a jury in the District of Columbia Superior Court. 

Dr. Mann’s trial team was led by John Willian1s, a Washington, D.C. based defamation lawyer, and Pete Fontaine, a Philadelphia-based environmental lawyer with Cozen O'Conner. Williams and Fontaine were joined by Patrick Coyne of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP and Amorie Hammel of Cozen O'Connor.

Today's verdict followed 12 years of litigation by Dr. Mann and the entire legal team.

Dr. Mann, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and currently a Presidential Distinguished Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was a lead author with Dr. Raymond Bradley and Dr. Malcolm Hughes of groundbreaking research in 1998 and 1999 which demonstrated a sharp increase in global temperatures linked to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Mann’s research reconstructed historical temperatures over the past 1,000 years using national temperature archives. That temperature reconstruction is represented on a graph shaped like a hockey stick lying on its side with the blade pointing upward. The graph, which came to be known as the "Hockey Stick" graph, was prominently featured by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2001 report on climate change.

Dr. Mann filed his defamation suit in 2012 after Rand Simberg writing for CEI and Mark Steyn writing for National Review published articles comparing Dr. Mann to the convicted child molester arid fo1mer Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky. The articles asserted that Dr. Mann had falsified his Hockey Stick research and called Dr. Mann "the Jerry Sandusky of climate science" who "molested and tortured data" arid committed “scientific and academic misconduct.”

Under the Supreme Court's New York Times v. Sullivan standard, Dr. Mann was required to show by clear and convincing evidence that the defendants published their writings with “actual malice," a heavy burden under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The trial team showed that the defendants either knew or recklessly disregarded multiple investigations clearing Dr. Mann of misconduct in the wake of the 2009 ClimateGate controversy involving stolen emails from a research unit in the United Kingdom. Two of those investigations were key pieces of evidence in the case: one completed by Pennsylvania State University (where Dr. Mann was a professor for 17 years) and a second by the National Science Foundation, which funded the research.

According to Mr. Fontaine, "Today's verdict vindicates Mike Mann’s good name and reputation. It also is a big victory for truth and scientists everywhere who dedicate their lives answering vital scientific questions impacting human health arid the planet."

According to Dr. Mann, "I hope this verdict sends a message that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protected speech." 
In this sweeping work of science and history, the renowned climate scientist and author of The New Climate War shows us the conditions on Earth that allowed humans not only to exist but thrive, and how they are imperiled if we veer off course.
For the vast majority of its 4.54 billion years, Earth has proven it can manage just fine without human beings. Then came the first proto-humans, who emerged just a little more than 2 million years ago—a fleeting moment in geological time. What is it that made this benevolent moment of ours possible? Ironically, it’s the very same thing that now threatens us—climate change.

The drying of the tropics during the Pleistocene period created a niche for early hominids, who could hunt prey as forests gave way to savannahs in the African tropics. The sudden cooling episode known as the “Younger Dryas” 13,000 years ago, which occurred just as Earth was thawing out of the last Ice Age, spurred the development of agriculture in the fertile crescent. The “Little Ice Age” cooling of the 16th-19th centuries led to famines and pestilence for much of Europe, yet it was a boon for the Dutch, who were able to take advantage of stronger winds to shorten their ocean voyages.

The conditions that allowed humans to live on this earth are fragile, incredibly so. Climate variability has at times created new niches that humans or their ancestors could potentially exploit, and challenges that at times have spurred innovation. But there’s a relatively narrow envelope of climate variability within which human civilization remains viable. And our survival depends on conditions remaining within that range.
In this book, renowned climate scientist Michael Mann will arm readers with the knowledge necessary to appreciate the gravity of the unfolding climate crisis, while emboldening them—and others--to act before it truly does become too late.

I've cited Dr. Mann numerous times.


No comments:

Post a Comment