Open letter from Michael Mann to Heartland Institute

Here’s a too-precious open letter from Michael Mann and the RealClimateers to the Heartland Institute.


An Open Letter to the Heartland Institute

As scientists who have had their emails stolen, posted online and grossly misrepresented, we can appreciate the difficulties the Heartland Institute is currently experiencing following the online posting of the organization’s internal documents earlier this week. However, we are greatly disappointed by their content, which indicates the organization is continuing its campaign to discredit mainstream climate science and to undermine the teaching of well-established climate science in the classroom.

We know what it feels like to have private information stolen and posted online via illegal hacking. It happened to climate researchers in 2009 and again in 2011. Personal emails were culled through and taken out of context before they were posted online. In 2009, the Heartland Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said. Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen emails. When more stolen emails were posted online in 2011, the Heartland Institute again pointed to their release and spread false claims about scientists.

So although we can agree that stealing documents and posting them online is not an acceptable practice, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the Heartland Institute has had no qualms about utilizing and distorting emails stolen from scientists.

We hope the Heartland Institute will heed its own advice to “think about what has happened” and recognize how its attacks on science and scientists have helped poison the debate over climate change policy. The Heartland Institute has chosen to undermine public understanding of basic scientific facts and personally attack climate researchers rather than engage in a civil debate about climate change policy options.

These are the facts: Climate change is occurring. Human activity is the primary cause of recent climate change. Climate change is already disrupting many human and natural systems. The more heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that go into the atmosphere, the more severe those disruptions will become. Major scientific assessments from the Royal Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, United States Global Change Research Program and other authoritative sources agree on these points.

What businesses, policymakers, advocacy groups and citizens choose to do in response to those facts should be informed by the science. But those decisions are also necessarily informed by economic, ethical, ideological, and other considerations.While the Heartland Institute is entitled to its views on policy, we object to its practice of spreading misinformation about climate research and personally attacking climate scientists to further its goals.

We hope the Heartland Institute will begin to play a more constructive role in the policy debate. Refraining from misleading attacks on climate science and climate researchers would be a welcome first step toward having an honest, fact-based debate about the policy responses to climate change.

Ray Bradley, PhD, Director of the Climate System Research Center, University of Massachusetts
David Karoly, PhD, ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia
Michael Mann, PhD, Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University
Jonathan Overpeck, PhD, Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona
Ben Santer, PhD, Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Gavin Schmidt, PhD, Climate Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Kevin Trenberth, ScD, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

33 thoughts on “Open letter from Michael Mann to Heartland Institute”

  1. Interesting. The signatories have taken a position which seems extreme even by the standards of the IPCC. Although perhaps not extreme by the standards of the Guardian (London) or the TAZ (Berlin).

  2. In the several years I’ve been following climate issues, I’ve never once read of Trenberth, Mann, or Santer ever once engage in any kind of “honest, fact-based debate” or “civil debate about climate change” or any kind of debate whatsoever.

    Kremlin-like diktats and pronouncments, sure. Continuous insults of “deniers,” of course. Bizarre Khmer Rouge-like paranoia (e.g., Mann’s new book), no doubt. But “civil debate”? Not that I recall.

  3. “We hope the Heartland Institute will begin to play a more constructive role in the policy debate.”
    Sure, Hartland will stipulate to this on the condition you stipulate everything written after that is a pack of unmitigated and unsubstantiated lies, and that it’s nothing more than several fallacious conclusions wrapped in the form a request. The request is quite frankly a laughable, and is not meant to ‘mend fences’ so to speak.
    Is this the best these climate “scientists” can do? Really? This is something like an unrepentant child would write. Maybe skeptics are giving these guys way to much credit, this whole AGW nonsense is caving in on their head. This is desperation folks, pure and simple.


    This cooling of the North Atlantic means GHG-AGW << natural cooling. Because the cooling was preceded by warming, that had to be mainly natural too. Conclusion, CO2 climate sensitivity is much lower than the IPCC claims.

    My view is that it's near net zero because the IPCC has made four basic mistakes in the physics, two elementary, two more subtle, and to counter vastly exaggerated predicted warming the models use double real low cloud optical depth and that net AIR = net AGW, hence no rise in air temperatures.

    This is ludicrous. Every process engineer who sees what is claimed about the heat transfer realises instantly that that the concept of 'back radiation' as an energy source is to claim perpetual motion. I explain why on Tallbloke's blog. This subject needs new, competent leadership.

  5. Simple…
    A hypothesis – and human caused global warming is a hypothesis as to date all temps are within normal ranges – needs to be only proven wrong once to be invalid.
    Mann’s theory is proven wrong every day.

  6. I am really starting to wonder about Dr Mann, as I cant believe this letter is from him or any of these guys as its not rational. 1st he retweets one of the stupidest things I have ever seen tweeted by anyone in this field, ( Heidi Cullens tween about the earth being pissed off and showing it with the Japanese earthquake and Irene.. apparently she is oblivious to far stronger hurricanes that did not weaken up the east coast like 38,44, Carol, Edna, Hazel, or Donna which caused hurricane force winds to every state Fla to Maine, or there have been earthquakes since the start of time. ). Then he claims that the winter being ignored in the US as a sign of climate change is journalistic malpractice, completely unaware apparently that the global temp has plummeted below normal and this is the 3rd straight severe winter in Europe. now this?
    Say what you want, the guy really did some great work before if you read his papers, but its like he has thrown in the towel and is going Hansen on everyone. Basically, the coming 20-30 years have a chance for him to be proven right or wrong given the cyclical changes that most of us expect, I cant figure out why he is doing some of the things he is doing and saying them. This letter cant be real, given the circumstances that Heartland is privately funded for one and for two, some of the documents look to be obvious frauds. Why would these guys jump in and set themselves up like this. It makes no sense.

    Is this for real.

  7. Hey Bradley etal.,
    Why not just state clear, concise, proof that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming?

    And please don’t waste our time with all those things that are NOT actual evidence: unusual weather is NOT evidence of its cause, melting ice is NOT evidence of its cause, drowning polar bears are not evidence of man’s CO2, CO2 FOLLOWS temperature in Al Gore;s ice cores, nature emits about 97% of the annual CO2 emissions, water vapor causes about twice as much greenhouse effect as CO2, correlation is NOT evidence of causation, and climate models are not evidence for a variety of reasons including the fact that they are considered crap by the top climate scientists in their emails. )


  8. If they could just be honest enough to admit that their science is not proof, that observations refute the mechanisms of their theories, that observations prove they cannot predict, that they have misrepresented the past, that they mistakenly used CO2 correlation as one of their most persuasive pieces of evidence when it is evidence of the opposite, that they steer to conclusions rather than allow the science to do that, that they work against honest scientiests and honest debate, …. Well then we could have that debate. Oh wait, Heartland’s been hosting those debates and wiping the floor with the activists for years.

    Heartland is one of a very few organizations that concentrate on the scientific part of the issue. And they want them neutered. Tends to happen when you go out on a limb and get all excited about “informing” economic, ethical, ideological, and other considerations. Do that, and you aren’t a scientist anymore. Exposing the fact that you’re out on an activist limb along with your scientific shortcomings is science. Someone’s doing some misleading here and it isn’t Hearland or anyone quoting climategate e-mails verbatim and in context.

    The warmists have just about milked that unfalsifiable aspect of their non-science to death. But they are activists with everything to lose. Not so with Heartland or any skeptic. Just come up with real, honest science and separate the “informing” part from the science part. It’s the only way for people to determine whether the science is both reliabe and adequate. And if it is unpersuasive, then it’s unpersuasive. So far, it’s unpersuasive by itself, wrong in many respects, and dishonest. It is not the responsibility of science to inform policy but it is the responsibility of policy makers (we the people in many places) to distinguish between fact and belief. Mann ain’t helping.

  9. Hey Bradley etal.,
    You said—-“In 2009, the Heartland Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said. “

    Please gives us some examples of your alleged “false allegations”.
    Perhaps you would like to give us more details on this Phil Jones email. Is he somehow NOT asking others to destroy evidence?
    Thu May 29, 2008, Subject: IPCC & FOI: Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise. (1212073451.txt)

    Perhaps I mistook the meaning of the below. Does it say something other than hiding data that does not support a desired conclusion?
    16 Nov 1999: I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. ( 942777075.txt)

    I could go on, but this should get you started.
    Actually, why don’t you go through 10-20 of the most damaging emails and explain why we are mis interpreting them?


  10. Ray Bradley, PhD, Director of the Climate System Research Center, University of Massachusetts
    David Karoly, PhD, ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia
    Michael Mann, PhD, Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University
    Jonathan Overpeck, PhD, Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona
    Ben Santer, PhD, Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Gavin Schmidt, PhD, Climate Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    Kevin Trenberth, ScD, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

    It is UNBELIVEABLE that NOT ONE of them understands that they are rumbled! We, who understand BS when we are fed it, DO NOT BELIEVE them ! The more they continue to BS us the greater the contempt in which we hold them !

    Steve McIntyre is right when he says that any corporation which tried to get away with what they feed us in an IPO would be run out of town, probably to the nearest, most secure penitentiary !!

  11. Sorry, but you are wrong. If you truly are a process engineer, think about this. It is similar to the effect of increasing the insulation on a pipe. You add no energy to the system, but increased infrared absorption in the atmosphere (and subsequent emission to Earth) acts to increase the total heat in the system without violating any laws.

    I’d expect a Chem E to have better comprehension of thermodynamics.

  12. I don’t know. I’ll echo your points as well. You’d expect people with doctorates and degrees out the wazoo to be better able to write without logical fallacies and present a sound and rational basis for their work.

  13. Unlike conventional physics, ‘climate science’ uses ‘forcings’ rather than potential gradients and impedances. It also imagines the earth emits radiation according to S-B in a vacuum not realising the sum of convective and radiative heat flux should at equilibrium match input energy flux. The imaginary~398 W/m^2 radiation is then used to fix other energy flows assuming ‘back radiation’, really ‘Prevost Exchange Energy’, is from an energy source!

    This is an elementary fail. The mistake is to imagine radiation is directly thermalised, not true. It is first absorbed by vibrational coupling in the IR density of states, loses its identity [see ‘Gibbs’ Paradox’], then those states comply with the Principle of Local Thermal Equilibrium and the Law of Equipartition of Energy.

    You show this by radiative equilibrium of two bodies in a vacuum at equal temperature. There is no net radiative exchange yet Prevost Exchange, equal to S-B corrected for emissivity and view factor, is real and bidirectional. It’s a standing wave coupling the IR densities of states. At each body, the rate of transfer of kinetic energy from internal molecular motion to vibrational energy equals the rate of conversion of quantised vibrational energy from absorbed radiation to internal kinetic energy; no temperature change.

    Now reduce the temperature of one of the bodies. Its radiative flux falls so at the hotter body, fewer IR states are occupied by incoming radiation, hence the proportion of energy emitted as radiation from its internal kinetic energy increases and net radiative flux to the cooler body increases so it warms.

    So, Prevost Energy does no thermodynamic work. ‘Climate science’ is unique in claiming otherwise. There are other ramifications. The assumption of 100% local thermalisation of IR absorbed by GHGs is wrong because you can’t transfer energy quanta in dribs and drabs to symmetrical molecules. What really happens is that another GHG molecule ejects a photon of the same energy in a random direction at the same time, restoring LTE. Will Happer apparently warned of this in 1993 but was ignored. Because of this I have no sympathy now ‘climate science’s’ predictions are failing.

    These photons are thermalised at second phases at lower temperature, mainly cloud droplets [which have gettered local CO2] with some to bare aerosols. I won’t go into the details here but from this you derive the physical mechanism by which IR optical depth [the measure of IR impedance to space] is kept near constant for a water planet – the IR is thermalised only in the middle and upper clouds which are also the main emitters of Prevost energy to the Earth’s surface. There can be general gaseous ‘hot spot’.

    Real GHG warming is ~9 K, the rest being lapse rate warming. I have no quibble with the GCMs. However, ‘climate science’s’ bolt on physics is amateur. The vastly exaggerated heat generation is then hidden by double real low level cloud optical depth and negative net AIE, the latter based on incorrect physics.

    In reality, GHG-(A)GW is very small. Climate science as presently formulated is a dog’s breakfast.

  14. “Piltdown” Mann would be better served explaining why he hides his government funded data in derogation of every rule of science regarding verification.

  15. Although this letter does seem to be too childish to be true, looking at the signatories from an Australian perspective it’s just the sort of stupid response “legend in his own lunchtime” David Karoly would make. His numerous idiotic alarmist pronouncements are perhaps only exceeded by PM Julia Gillard appointed Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery who is an absolute joke in Australia and now drowning in his infamous “no more rain and even if it does, the soil will be too hot to allow any runoff” predictions.

    Whether genuine or not, looked at dispassionately the list of alleged authors is almost a “who’s who” of some of those most responsible for absiolutely trashing the brand of real science!

  16. I’m just an array language programmer who can only envy Mydogsgotnonose’s background in thermo , but , Ben , your analogy is simply irrelevant , to be kind .

    The earth is radiantly heated from the outside . If you want me to believe you can construct a ball such that its interior comes to a higher mean temperature than that calculated by SB , given its absorption/emission spectra and those of its radiant sources , surely , as Mydogsgotnonose asserts , we can solve our energy problems forever by learning to construct such a perpetual heat source .

    Mydogsgotnonose is correct ; what needs explaining is the 9 or 10 kelvin we are warmer than a gray ball in our orbit .

  17. There are two facts and two only. The climate is always changing and that man has much to do with it is only a theory and not a fact!

  18. Mann et. al compare apples to oranges — an age-old trick of rhetoric that is unworthy of anyone claiming to speak or write as a scientist. Here’s the elephant in the elevator these Climategaters choose to ignore.

    Government-funded research, like that done by the Climate Reseach Unit (CRU), is subject to freedom of information laws; the internal deliberations of privately-funded research and advocacy groups are not. As we know from the climategate emails, Phil Jones and the gang at CRU stonewalled FOIA requests for years to prevent independent researchers from checking their data and methodologies. That was a bona fide scandal, not only because the behavior was unlawful, but also because the real heart of the scientific enterprise is external validation of published results by independent researchers.

    Leaking the CRU emails — whistle blowing — was the only way to (a) produce documents responsive to valid FOIA requests, (b) expose CRU’s willful evasion of FOIA, (c) ensure CRU ‘science’ could meet the essential test of reproducibility.

    There is no analogy between climategate and the theft of the Heartland documents because (1) Heartland has no legal obligation to share its internal deliberations with the public, and (2), unlike collusion to evade FOIA, strategizing about fund raising is not a crime!

    There is no valid analogy The Mann et al. open letter should only confirm the public’s mistrust of the self-anointed “scientific consensus.”

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