27 October 2010

Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists

Daniel Greenberg, the widely respected journalist and author who focuses on science policy and politics, was invited by Nature to review my book, The Climate Fix.  Little did he know that review would bring him up close and personal with the activist wing of the climate science community.  After writing a positive review of my book, Greenberg found himself under attack by Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Stefan Rahmstorf on the pages on Nature.

What followed was an email exchange that provides some insight into the mindset of the activist wing of the climate science community.  Greenberg shared this exchange with me with the following message, published here with his permission:
Roger, Re my stirring experience of jousting with Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf: What a scurrilous bunch. My sympathy to you and anyone else who has to deal with them. They're gravediggers of science. Nature will soon publish my riposte and, I think, a disclaimer of any ties to me by the Marshall Institute. Below, my further exchanges with the low-life trio. Best regards, Dan
Here is Greenberg's email to Michael Mann that concludes the exchange, reproduced with his permisison:
Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,

Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion. Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not. Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists. Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.

Sincerely, Dan Greenberg
If Michael Mann thinks that he has been treated unfairly by my decision not to publish his side of the exchange, I will be happy to post up his emails with his permission.  Somehow I doubt that he will be as forthcoming as Greenberg.  The repeated character assassination and behind-the-scenes attacks of a small segment of the climate science community gives the entire field a black eye, and it continues unabated.  Greenberg is right, these guys could make apple pie and motherhood come under public suspicion.


  1. Please please please please let us read them. Pleasepleaseplase?
    I will summarize my position on AGW again, for the record:
    AGW is a social movement that uses a veneer of science to push a social agenda.
    As you point out in your book a significant number of AGW ideas are not about fixing the perceived problems of CO2, but are designed to 'social engineer'.
    Mann & gang's reaction to a *book review* demonstrates that they are not even paying attention to the discussion but are guardians of their movement, enforcing strict compliance like evil parodies of catcher's in the rye.

  2. This is Bob Ward country. Smearing by association with right wing wackos (think tanks). Of course it all depends on your definition of right wing wackos.

    The really scary thing is that these people know they can get away with this and no one is going to say boo to them (because they are terrified of putting their head in the line of fire).

    My argument has been that scientists are employees and that was always a potentially vulnerable situation. Today it is real.

    Major kudos to those who are standing up for themselves. I know how difficult that is, and ultimately I took the opportunity to leave my situation (with financial compensation to be honest). I was surrounded by those who agreed, but couldn't say . If the foundations of the system are rotten, then it is very understandable to keep quiet.

  3. For us old timers, the politicization of climate science is really disturbing. Post normal science was a leap in the wrong direction. I don't know how we get back to normal science but it has to happen.

    These machinations to keep you from speaking just seem totally paranoid and unscientific. What are they afraid of?

  4. Sounds terrible and as I've said before, though to really know we would need to see emails from both sides, not just the last one.

    But it is not one-sided. As you yourself have pointed out re Cuccinelli, there are attacks of various types on both sides. If you think you and Curry and others are getting worst of it, that will likely change if a new Congress starts investigating Mann and others. I give you credit for standing up for Mann (or against C if you prefer) and it would be nice to see somebody critical of your writings or opinions to nonetheless match that. But Nature is printing it, right?

    As I said elsewhere, there doesn't seem to be any venue where issues can even be discussed, let along resolved. Tempers are too frayed on too many sides, and each episode just feeds the next.

  5. It is interesting that Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf were more than prepared to falsely accuse Daniel Greenberg of being in league with so called 'deniers'.

    The climate community have developed a seige mentality lashing out at every perceived slight with a torrent of abuse and falsehoods.

    Such extreme behaviour means that skeptics have very little to do in convincing others. All we need do is point to the likes of Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf, and say, "See what I mean!"

  6. Wow...is all I can say. Great one liners, and yeah, it's certainly an eye-opening experience to learn about the tactics of 'The Team.'

  7. Ahhh Dan, you had me until your childish drive by smear at the end "You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos"

    Reality must be very challenging for your fragile intellect.

  8. I know nothing about Greenberg, but certainly, as with their attacks on Fred Pearce, and The Guardian, and now Curry, and so on, the RealClimate team really know how to shoot themselves in the foot.

  9. Dean,
    I have to point out to you and Roger and apparently many others that what Cuccinelli is doing is the appropriate cure for actions of Mann & gang: the full weight of the legal system to assess their honesty, integrity and transparency. From their own actions over many years up to an including today they are broadcasting very clearly that their actions have problems in all three of these areas.
    They are acting as a con-artist would act when their con is falling apart.
    And since these people have built their careers using public money, their behavior and actions are in fact areas of legitimate legal review.
    Cuccinelli, and people like him, are those appropriate, legitimate holders of the offices that need to reign in this madness.

  10. Interesting that Daniel Greenberg appears to be a bit of a lefty himself yet Mann & Co. are so out there that they even managed to get on his bad side. I hope that Greenberg isn't out their selling himself as a "non-biased journalist". With his seemingly unfounded disparagement of Tea Party people and "climate-change wackos," which I presume that he's refering to skeptics.

  11. This right wing whacko thing is a very deliberate political tactic. Exxon gave money to Heartland to stigmatise opposition to carbon trading (right wing extremists), Koch Industries have recently associated themselves with the Tea Party for the same reasons. Exxon and Koch stand to make billions from carbon credits.

    Here is Noam Chomsky on extreme right wing wacko, Barack Obama. Chomsky went to Harvard as a result of his academic ability, unlike Obama who was recommended by Muslim propagandist Khalid Al Mansour (according to former Black Panther lawyer Percy Sutton).*


    “Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” Chomsky said.

    And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained.

    “The financial industry preferred Obama to McCain,” he said. “They expected to be rewarded and they were. Then Obama began to criticize greedy bankers and proposed measures to regulate them. And the punishment for this was very swift: They were going to shift their money to the Republicans. So Obama said bankers are “fine guys” and assured the business world: ‘I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.’


    *You meet some really far out dudes in the CIA !

  12. eric144,
    It is causing a great deal of dissonance to find myself on the same side of an issue as Noam Chomsky, even to the limited point that I too have noticed lately that while Obama talks about helping the poor and keeping Republicans in the back seat, he only somehow actually helps the bigest of the big. Think of the fat hog GE gets to slice up with every wind turbine they build.

  13. FOFF

    As far as I am concerned Obama, Bush, Gore Palin, Clinton, Beck, Mann, Exxon, BP, Goldman Sachs and Gavin Schmidt are all on the same side. The corporate side. There is nothing left wing or statist about global warming economics. Enron did not create carbon trading to enrich the federal government. Wall Street did not select Barack Obama to implement cap and trade or health care legislation in order to benefit the taxpayer.

    Beck and Palin were sent in to destroy the Tea Party.

  14. Left wing, right wing, bah. They're all wing nuts.

  15. Paul Ehrlich is still around? He hasn't made a correct prediction about anything in forty years.

  16. Doubtless posted before, but soooooo relevant to Mr Greenberg these days:


  17. As I have started seeing this meme a bit (both from Dean and repeated in Keith's Blog), I think a comment is order.

    Dean says: "As I said elsewhere, there doesn't seem to be any venue where issues can even be discussed"

    This is categorically untrue. There are plenty of places the discussions "could" take place. The area of friction is that the type of discussion desired by both sides is fundamentally different and neither side will accept the form of "discussion" offered by the other.

    It strikes me that the best of skeptic blogs have a classically liberal comment format. If you are on topic you are going to be heard.

    The main stream warmist blogs have a decidedly illiberal (progressive ?) comment policy. The bloggers message from the pulpit is paramount and inconvenient questions are snipped along with the off topic items.

    As a skeptic, I have no interest in a format in which scientific discussion cannot be played out due to "strategic pruning" on the part of the moderator. I suspect the warmist have no interest in a format in which inconvenient questions can be ask as it detracts from the talking points. Thus we have an impasse that we cannot get beyond. It has nothing to do with location as any blog will have policies one group or the other simply cannot live with

  18. I just recently read Daniel Greenberg's phenomenal tome "Science, Money, and Politics" -- his opinion of the "gravediggers of science" carries much weight with me.

  19. Very sad, but unfortunately not surprising. I know that when I first started looking at climate and worked with my mentor (Chris McKay) it seemed like a certainty that we were "doing bad things" to the environment. Now I see interviews where there's the uncertainty of what is being done to the environment.