Wednesday, May 9, 2012


cc: Jonathan Overpeck <>, Caspar M Ammann <>, Raymond Bradley <>, Keith Briffa <>, Tom Crowley <>, Malcolm Hughes <>, Phil Jones <>, Tim Osborn <>, Kevin Trenberth <>, Ben Santer <>, Steve Schneider <>,
date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 23:18:30 -0400
from: "Michael E. Mann" <>
subject: Re: letter to Senate
to: Tom Wigley <>, Michael Oppenheimer <>

Thanks for your email, and your (and Ben's) thoughtful comments on all of this...
I think the Eos piece has gone a long way to discrediting the 'science' behind the "BS"
papers (well, technically, "SB", but I prefer the reverse order too). The paper Phil and I
have in press in GRL (hopefully to appear within a few weeks now) will reinforce this. But
the BS papers certainly got a lot more mileage than they should have. The fact that the
forces of disinformation were able to get that much mileage out of these two awful papers
written by those clowns should remain a real cause for concern.
Their ability to repeatedly co-opt the Harvard news office remains a real problem. Nobody
I've talked to at Harvard is happy about this, and there's been talk of action on the part
of various of the faculty, but nobody seems willing or able to mount enough of an effort
to get anything done about this. Apparently there was a threat of a lawsuit against Harvard
last time folks there tried to do something about Baliunas, and so they may have lost their
nerve. But I know our Harvard colleagues are not happy about continually having their
institutional name dragged through the mud. If someone has close ties w/ any individuals
there who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I'd highly
encourage pursuing this.
Re, an NAS committee--this is an interesting idea. But I wonder if a committee on BS would
be overkill, perhaps giving these fools just the stage that they're looking for. An
alternative would be, as you say, to take this on in the context of another more general
NAS panel. Coincidentally, there is already a panel on "Radiative Forcing Effects on
Climate" which convenes this falI. I believe the panel makeup is now in the public domain
(or will be within days, on the NAS website) so there's no secret here. I'm on the panel.
Daniel Jacob will be chairing it, and others on it are Jeff Kiehl, Francis Zwiers, Roni
Avissar, Judith Lean, Stuart Gaffin, Lynn Russell. Also on the panel will be Ramanathan,
Pielke Sr, Gerard Bond, Ulrike Lohmann, and Hadi Dowlatabadi (whom I don't know). Its a
somewhat odd makeup, and I suspect that consensus will not be easy (there are at least a
couple obvious trouble spots), but there is certainly a core group of reasonable folks on
the panel, and this could be an opportunity to clarify the state of the science on
long-term forced variability (including e.g. comparisons of model simulations and
reconstructions of the past 1000 years). This, at least indirectly, would deal w/ the BS
I'm interested in the thoughts of others on any of the above.
At 08:13 PM 7/23/2003 -0600, Tom Wigley wrote:

Here are some thoughts about the Soon issue, partly arising from talking to Ben.
What is worrying is the way this BS paper has been hyped by various groups. The
publicity has meant that the work has entered the conciousness of people in Congress,
and is given prominence in some publications emanating from that sector. The work
appears to have the imprimateur of Harvard, which gives it added credibility.
So, what can we as a community do about this? My concerns are two-fold, and I think
these echo all of our concerns. The first is the fact that the papers are simply bad
science and the conclusions are incorrect. The second is that the work is being used
quite openly for political purposes.
As scientists, even though we are aware of the second issue, we need to concentrate on
exposing the scientific flaws. We also need to do this in as authoritative a way as
possible. I do not think it is enough to speak as individuals or even as a group of
recognized experts. Even as a group, we will not be seen as having the 'power' of the
Harvard stamp of approval.
What I think is necessary is to have the expressed support of both AGU and AMS. It would
also be useful to have Harvard disassociate themselves from the work. Most importantly,
however, we need the NAS to come into the picture. With these 4 institutions, together
with us (and others) as experts, pointing out clearly that the work is scientific
rubbish, we can certainly win this battle.
I suggest that we try to get NAS to set up a committee to (best option) assess the
science in the two BS papers, or (less good, but still potentially very useful) assess
the general issue of the paleo record for global- or hemispheric-scale temperature
changes over the past 1000 years. The second option seems more likely to be acceptable
to NAS. This is arguably an issue of similar importance to the issue of climate
sensitivity uncertainties which NAS reviewed earlier this year (report still in
I am not sure how to fold AGU and AMS into this -- ideas are welcome. Similarly, perhaps
some of you know some influential Harvard types better than I do and can make some
suggestions here.
The only way to counter this crap is to use the biggest guns we can muster. The
Administration and Congress still seem to respect the NAS (even above IPCC) as a final
authority, so I think we should actively pursue this path.
Best wishes,
Michael Oppenheimer wrote:

Dear All:
Since several of you are uncomfortable, it makes good sense to step back and
think about a more considered approach. My view is that scientists are fully
justified in taking the initiative to explain their own work and its relevance in
the policy arena. If they don't, others with less scruples will be heard
instead. But each of us needs to decide his or her own comfort zone.
In this case, the AGU press release provides suitable context, so it may be that
neither a separate letter nor another AGU statement would add much at this time.
But this episode is unlikely to be the last case where clarity from individuals
or groups of scientists will be important.
Tom Wigley wrote:

I am inclined to agree with Peck. Perhaps a little more thought and time
could lead to something with much more impact?
Jonathan Overpeck wrote:

Hi all - I'm not too comfortable with this, and would rather not sign -
at least not without some real time to think it through and debate the
issue. It is unprecedented and political, and that worries me.
My vote would be that we don't do this without a careful discussion first.
I think it would be more appropriate for the AGU or some other
scientific org to do this - e.g., in reaffirmation of the AGU statement
(or whatever it's called) on global climate change.
Think about the next step - someone sends another letter to the
Senators, then we respond, then...
I'm not sure we want to go down this path. It would be much better for
the AGU etc to do it.
What are the precedents and outcomes of similar actions? I can imagine a
special-interest org or group doing this like all sorts of other
political actions, but is it something for scientists to do as individuals?
Just seems strange, and for that reason I'd advise against doing
anything with out real thought, and certainly a strong majority of
co-authors in support.
Cheers, Peck

Dear fellow Eos co-authors,
Given the continued assault on the science of climate change by some
on Capitol Hill, Michael and I thought it would be worthwhile to send
this letter to various members of the U.S. Senate, accompanied by a
copy of our Eos article.
Can we ask you to consider signing on with Michael and me (providing
your preferred title and affiliation). We would like to get this out ASAP.
Thanks in advance,
Michael M and Michael O

Professor Michael E. Mann
Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
e-mail: Phone: (434) 924-7770 FAX: (434) 982-2137

Attachment converted: Macintosh HD:EOS.senate letter-final.doc
(WDBN/MSWD) (00055FCF)

Jonathan T. Overpeck
Director, Institute for the Study of Planet Earth
Professor, Department of Geosciences
Mail and Fedex Address:
Institute for the Study of Planet Earth
715 N. Park Ave. 2nd Floor
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
direct tel: +1 520 622-9065
fax: +1 520 792-8795

Professor Michael E. Mann
Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
e-mail: Phone: (434) 924-7770 FAX: (434) 982-2137

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