Talk:Michael Mann (climatologist)

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Nobel Prize Claim[edit]

He is widely thought to have claimed his certificate (discussed below) was a joint award of the Nobel Prize to himself and several others. Is there any reliable source for this claim? If so, it should be put in the article. Also, whether he had a mistaken perception, or deliberately inflated his list of awards. Half the time, when I see his name, it is attached to some humorous comment like , 'Dr. Mann, the Nobel fantasist', so there is some interest in this. The Wikipedia article should be a source of reliable information on this point. (talk) 23:21, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Per WP:BLPTALK you'll need to provide good quality reliable sources verifying your claims before going any further: Wikipedia biographies are not a source for unpublished gossip. You appear to be misinformed at best, see below: many scientists were given the impression that they shared in the award of the prize to the organisation which they were part of. As for the gossip you're reading, climate change deniers are indeed putting such stuff about, but we need a published reliable secondary source before even considering discussing such smears in the article. . . dave souza, talk 23:49, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

That is the point, a source is needed. There are no claims made, but requests for info. Do you have a source for your gossip that 'many scientists were given the impression that they shared'?

I, too would like to know if Mann ever really said he had won a Nobel Prize. A report from a reliable source is needed before putting that statement in the arcticle. If his supporters will not confirm or deny, no doubt others will do the needed research.

And look below and see they have. Is there any case for *not* saying that Mann made a false claim to be a Nobel winner, and later covered up by saying 'everyone else was doing it'? (talk) 16:05, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

The case is set out in WP:BLP: we don't include accusations of misconduct unless there is a very good source complying with that policy. Why are you making these false statements? . . dave souza, talk 19:10, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
What accusations of misconduct? The IP said "that Mann made a false claim to be a Nobel winner." That is true, Dave, and you know it. I would soften the term "false claim" into "mistakenly believed himself," but he did claim it and the claim did turn out to be false. Mann himself is an unimpeachable source for this; his Facebook advocacy page where he calls himself a public figure and actively presents his ideas is a perfectly reliable source for this information, as is his original lawsuit. Primary sources CAN be used, with care. Yopienso (talk) 00:53, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I personally put quite a bit of effort into editing the mistaken notion that Mann was a Nobel laureate, again with due care as a BLP, and my efforts seem to have been satisfactory. The blogosphere made some stir about the issue, but IIRC the MSM did not. Therefore, our responsibility is to record Mann's actual part in the awarding of the prize but not the sniping about whether he personally was a laureate. Yopienso (talk) 23:44, 19 February 2014 (UTC) Yopienso (talk) 03:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm striking my own comment because I do not wish to participate in this kind of editing. The IP asked a good question and got shut out. Mann himself admitted to and explained that he thought he could call himself a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize until the IPCC issued its corrective. Yopienso (talk) 16:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
The Nobel Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to Al Gore and the IPCC.[1] If you are reading what you say you are, you are obviously not reading news sources. I recommend actual news sources instead of blogs. TFD (talk) 08:04, 20 February 2014 (UTC)


Yes, IP, it is true this was a topic of considerable interest to Mann's opponents.

Dave and TFD, I doubt you'll agree, and I will not push this issue, but since we all know Mann did claim to be a Nobel Prize recipient, causing the topic to be bandied about a great deal by his opponents, we should also acknowledge that the "sniping," as I put it above, was with heavy enough guns to prompt an official response from the Nobel Committee IPCC. The brouhaha was covered almost entirely by sources not up to WP:RS standards, so it would be wrong to cite to them or even mention them, but I think we should note the Nobel Committee IPCC's statement.

I also submit for your consideration this telephone interview (and transcript) between a professional journalist and whoever answered the phone in Norway. The journalist is Charles C. W. Cooke, with the National Review Online--yes, the very outfit Mann is suing. Still, it's a credible report.

For the record, Mann has corrected his website(s) and CV on the matter. His legal complaint, filed Oct. 22, 2012, in which he referred three times to having received a Nobel Prize, is available online.

  • p. 2 parr. 2: "As a result of this research, Dr. Mann and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
  • p. 3 parr. 5: "a Nobel prize recipient" (referring to Mann)
  • p. 6 parr. 17: "In 2007, Dr. Mann shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the other IPCC authors for their work in climate change, including the development of the Hockey Stick Graph."

My specific suggestion is to expand the brief paragraph about the Nobel Prize:

In celebration of the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and to Al Gore, the IPCC presented Mann, along with all other "scientists that had contributed substantially to the preparation of IPCC reports", with a personalized certificate "for contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC." To clarify subsequent questions as to whether the scientists who worked on the IPCC reports were themselves laureates, the Nobel Committee issued a statement explaining, "The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC." Yopienso (talk) 01:39, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the research, Y. Your suggestd add looks good to me. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 03:36, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
According to Cooke's transcript, he was speaking to Nobel Committee on the phone. Unusual to find a committee so unequivocal, so to speak: as you say, he was actually speaking to whoever answered the phone.
Mann's legal complaint, filed Oct. 22, 2012, was written by his lawyer, it's submitted by Cozen O'Connor and signed by John B. Williams. Obviously I'd expect Mann to have agreed to it, but the wording didn't ring any alarm bells at the time. Unsurprising considering that AP announced the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as "Gore, scientists share Nobel Peace Prize" and quoted Pachauri as saying "All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates who have been recognized and acknowledged by the Nobel Prize Committee".
You suggest we should note the Nobel Committee's statement: that's actually an IPCC statement, which we cite as references 55 and 56.
Do you have a reliable secondary source connecting the 2007 IPCC certificate and the 2012 IPCC statement specifically with Mann's bio? There's a danger of synthesising the argument put in the unreliable National Review Online that this was in some way nefarious behaviour by Mann, and hence producing a BLP violation from primary sources. dave souza, talk 07:39, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The Nobel Committee is unequivocal about the issue. However, the entire Nobel Committee did not answer the phone. Presumably, the person who answered is a staff member and not an actual committee member. This well-known blogger whom you respect got a written answer straight from the top. So did this RS wrt to Monckton, not Mann, but including a general statement.
When you quibble about the legal complaint made on Mann's behalf by his lawyer and when you blame Mann's erroneous claim on Pachauri, you are adding to the perception that our article is a hagiography.
I totally goofed on labeling the IPCC's statement, and am correcting it in this same post. Thanks for catching it.
Your third point also adds to the hagiography perception. We have the same problem at the Thomas Jefferson article with an editor who sees his duty as protecting TJ's image. (Yes, I know that is not a BLP; same defense-of-an-image principle, though.) I think the NRO is reliable, but agree it has a COI. Any speculations as to how Mann came to make his erroneous claim would be inappropriate; I make none.
Finally, what do you think of my suggested expansion? Cheers! Yopienso (talk) 18:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Much as I respect the prof. bunny, he's not a reliable source for this. His article does indicate that Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute, was asked a personal question by "swift-boater" Marc Morano and gave a reply with falsehoods about Mann. Not wise, if true. dave souza, talk 20:19, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The bottom line is, "I take note of what you write and that the IPCC issued the diploma in question. It still stands that Mr. Mann is not a personal Nobel laureate." Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I merely point out what the AP reported, as discussed below, a rs is needed to start connecting this to Mann. While I've not got a rs to hand, my understanding is that his lawyers redrafted the legal complaint leaving out the Nobel issue, as a revised complaint. . dave souza, talk 20:19, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
On the rewrite proposal, the first part is the same as the existing wording but in a different order. That looks ok to me. The second part is similar to the wording in footnote 55, " The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and the prize was not an award to any individual involved with the IPCC." If I recall, someone moved that from the body text into a footnote. You've added "To clarify subsequent questions as to whether the scientists who worked on the IPCC reports were themselves laureates" which looks like original research, guessing at the motives of the IPCC which are not mentioned in their statement. Source? . . dave souza, talk 20:30, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
This is obvious. The statement is corrective. We could say, "To answer subsequent questions" or "To correct misconstruals."
Larger context: The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC offiicial, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner.” Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Regarding the last point, if Good Lord, Monckton is no Nobel laureate | Article | The Punch is a rs, something I've not checked, then Nobel Peace Prize Committee secretary Geir Lundestat was asked about the issue in 2010, so that might have caused the issue of the IPCC statement. Of course Monckton isn't a scientist and wouldn't have qualified for the IPCC certificate, so that's maybe unfounded speculation. Got a source for what purpose made IPCC issue the statement? . . dave souza, talk 20:55, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
As above, the IPCC issued the statement to correct the notion that any officials or scientists were Nobel laureates or prize winners. Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I forgot to mention the alarm bells. The lawsuit was precisely what sounded them. Mann had been calling himself a Nobel laureate for almost five years on Facebook, his faculty bio, and IIRC, his CV, with only his opponents calling him on it. It was making the claim in a legal document that prompted the statement from the IPCC. (Also see this hostile, non-RS opinion piece for context. As you noted in a recent edit summary, the law weaves tangled webs. As WP editors and human beings, we need to be sure we are reflecting reality and not adjusting it on technicalities to suit our preferences.)Yopienso (talk) 19:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You don't consider it relevant that other scientists who contributed to AR4 also made the same mistake? Sourcing is a problem because the media did not consider the issue noteworthy, but that is no reason to at least not consider the background in which the error was made. Can you kindly produce a source that says it was a legal document that prompted the statement from the IPCC, as opposed to bloggers and critics who contacted them directly? — TPX 19:50, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I do think it's relevant. Not having a source, I won't press the argument that the legal document prompted the statement. My understanding is that bloggers and journalists contacted them after the document was made public. Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
It might also be noted that the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said that Pachauri had sent a letter to lead authors of AR4 saying that he had "been stunned in a pleasant way with the news of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC. This makes each of you a Nobel Laureate and it is my privilege to acknowledge this honour on your behalf". Despite that, I've not seen any instances of Mann calling himself a Nobel laureate: all the quotes I can recall are along the lines of he shared the prize with all the other IPCC scientists. Got a source otherwise, as well as a source for whatever prompted the IPCC to issue its new statement? . . dave souza, talk 20:19, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You're bordering on tendentiousness there, about not seeing Mann call himself a laureate. It's the kind of lawyerliness that is unconstructive. I used the word to mean the many times and places he claimed to have been awarded or shared in or received the prize. These are synonyms for being a laureate. Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Not having a source, I won't press the argument that the legal document prompted the statement. What we know is that the statement was a corrective. Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
This non-RS lists 12 AR4 contributors who have used imprecise language when proudly referring to their IPCC work. Christopher Monckton made the same mistake, though the site owner missed or omitted his name. Richard Warrick is another researcher at fault. [2] By focusing on Michael Mann, and only on Michael Mann, his critics (including NRO) get to imply there is something uniquely unpleasant about him, whereas broader context shows the error is widespread. — TPX 20:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
No, others were faulted, too; I saw a number of them when I was looking into this a year or two ago. Above, I've linked to a hostile article that started out with Jaccard and finally got around to Mann at the end. Yopienso (talk) 04:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Bottom line: there are undoubtedly blogs speculating that Steyn or his lawyers seized on the wording of Mann's original defamation suit to allege that he'd misrepresented himself as a Nobel Laureate, and so was a liar who would therefore lose his case. Anything suggesting this argument is clearly contentious, and so cannot appear in Mann's bio without a reliable secondary source. The generic issue of the IPCC issuing a clarification is fully and appropriately covered at 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, reliable sources covering multiple scientists could be used to add to the coverage in that article. . . dave souza, talk 08:32, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The following quote appears on the Courthouse News website in an article dated November 7, 2012. It should be noted that Courthouse News is considered a reliable secondary source by Wikipedia. Here is the quote(I apologize for the length):

"Though Mann claims in his complaint that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his research on global warming, one of the actual 2007 winners recently repudiated that claim. In 2007, the Norwegian Nobel Committee split the Peace Prize between former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had released its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that year. 'The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC,' the IPCC said in a statement. 'Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner. It would be correct to describe a scientist who was involved with AR4 or earlier IPCC reports in this way: 'X contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize In 2007'"(italics mine).

I will reiterate, Courthouse News IS a reliable secondary source, thus those claiming that Mann "never claimed to be a Nobel Laureate" or that they have never "seen any instances of Mann calling himself a Nobel Laureate" can no longer do so, unless they plan to lie or laughably assert that Mann had no involvement whatsoever with the legal filing in question. Of course, if such a pathetically disingenuous defense is proffered, those defending Mann will have to answer the question as to how Mann's lawyers came to labor under the impression that he was a Nobel Laureate. Also, I find it unusual that the same people who are employing the "Mann never claimed to be a Nobel Laureate" defense are also stating that numerous OTHER IPCC scientists also made that mistake. Obviously, you can't argue that Mann never claimed to be a Nobel Laureate and then turn around and say, to paraphrase, "hey, he did, but so did everyone else". As the above quote makes clear Mann did, in fact, make such a false claim. Mann has being calling himself a "Nobel Laureate" for years, and as this piece in Courthouse News makes clear, he even did so in a filing before the court. Anyone familiar with the case will know that Mann was forced to refile after Steyn and his lawyers pointed out to the court that Mann was lying about being a Nobel Laureate, again, something Mann had been doing for years. Regarding the claim that it was an honest mistake because multiple IPCC members did the same, why are we not provided with this supposed list of scientists who are claimed to have made such a mistake by those making that very assertion in defense of Mann? Those who are defending Mann are demanding that RELIABLE secondary sources(an important distinction) be provided to back claims that Mann was peddling the Nobel Laureate falsehood, yet we are just to supposed to accept at face value an assertion made concerning these supposed "other scientists"(if you are going to demand reliable sources, you can't cite unreliable ones). Sorry, it doesn't work that way. All I have seen in regard to these scientists is one opinion piece naming precisely three people, Mann among them. Furthermore, that opinion piece STRONGLY implies that the three named scientists were being dishonest in failing to correct the false impression they were Nobel Laureates. Another commenter states that there is a non-RS(an inherent problem right off the bat)source listing a dozen individuals who have used "imprecise language" concerning their Nobel status. That assertion is just plain false, as a cursory perusal of that site will reveal. The source in question indicates that 12 individuals have been falsely labelled as Nobel Laureates, while only a few of them have referred to themselves in such a fashion. Thus the claim that 12 people called themselves Nobel Laureates is not even supported by the non-RS "source" that is cited. The only reliable secondary source that has been provided names Mann, and Mann only, as an IPCC member who falsely called himself a "Nobel Laureate". Therefore, the declaration that Mann has improperly been singled out is, in a word, garbage. Furthermore, approximately 9000 people contributed in some way to the IPCC report. Even if we take the false claim, based on a non-reliable source, that 12 people also wrongly called themselves "Nobel Laureates" at face value, the notion that 12 out of 9000 people somehow represents a "widespread" error is simply asinine. In closing, I would like to add that I cited this source on the talk page for this entry approximately a year ago, and the same person now pretending he has the final say regarding the editing of this page pretended the same then. But that is irrelevant. I will also concede that my claims about Mann that are not backed by a reliable source are not relevant. I am making such concessions so that no one can attack the statements that are backed by reliable secondary sources by pointing to statements I have made that may not be backed by such sources. What is relevant is that multiple editors have demanded a reliable secondary source detailing Mann's claims of being a Nobel Laureate and whether he made such a claim in a legal briefing. The source provided unequivocally answers those questions. Simply fascinating that this editor now pretends that he knows of no reliable secondary source that can provide the answers he demands, despite the fact he was made aware of this very source months ago. (talk) 00:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

This is an issue of the detailed wording of Mann's lawsuit, and the arguments put on both sides: Wikipedia isn't the place to exaggerate or give undue weight to such arguments when used against a living person. The assertion that Courthouse News Service "IS a reliable secondary source" looks dubious, context has to be taken into account and as a source the most recent discussion I've found suggests it's questionable.[3] The linked article is a news piece which looks rather stale, if this is such an important point what more recent coverage discusses it? Note that the article is dated Wednesday, November 07, 2012, and a footnote adds Editor's Note: In its original report, Courthouse News reproduced statements from the complaint that characterized Mann as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It put these references in more accurate context on Nov. 20.. . . dave souza, talk 03:36, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Sloppy, is how I would characterize the section of your reply that pertains to me. The point here is that nobody has done a comprehensive survey of how many scientists made the same mistake. And such an undertaking would be impossible, now that people have had time to correct the record. Do you believe for a single moment that NRO or Mark Steyn are interested in informing their readers that other scientists, from different fields, committed the very same mistake? Of course not. Their sole purpose is to direct negative attention to Michael Mann. Single him out. Smirch his character. All the more reason to request multiple high quality sources before articulating the issue as broadly and as fairly as possible. — TPX 10:34, 19 August 2014 (UTC)


Did anybody click on the link to Mann's own Facebook page I posted above on 28 Feb. 2014? Here's the most pertinent part of his longish post:

After the receipt of the award, the IPCC sent certificates to coordinating lead authors, lead authors, review editors, and IPCC staff congratulating them for “contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC.” A number of IPCC authors, including myself, understood from this commendation that it was appropriate to state that we either "shared" or were a "co-recipient" of the award.

There is no question that Mann claimed to be a Nobel laureate, and everyone on this page knows it.

Look at footnote #17 on this old version of the BLP; a CBS headline blared, Mann, Nobel-Winning Climate Scientist, Cleared of Wrongdoing.

Courthouse News Service is certainly a reliable secondary source: the LA Times and the Boston Globe subscribe to it, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. The entry on the RS Noticeboard Dave linked to casts no aspersions on the CJR but merely shows the Bradley Manning case was outside its purview of civil litigation.

Wrt to "stale" news, most topics in WP are not covered in recent news articles. The news about Mann's initial claim that he was a Nobel laureate and his later withdrawal of that claim is stale news, but just because the flap occurred a couple of years ago doesn't mean we should ignore it.

This BLP is about Michael E. Mann. The fact that other scientists also claimed the awarding of the Nobel Prize to the IPCC made them co-recipients is irrelevant to this article. Yopienso (talk) 05:03, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

The 'Courthouse News Service article was about the case in general, it was later amended to make the correction, which appears to have been seized on by opponents of Mann as a slur on his character. There was a good reason that the various scientists including Mann thought the earlier description reasonable: in 2007 the chairman of the IPCC had announced that "All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates who have been recognized and acknowledged by the Nobel Prize Committee". The clarification was issued by the IPCC in a statement of 29 October 2012. As you've noted earlier, when Mann received that clarification, he issued a statement acknowledging the clarification of proper terminology, while noting that "A number of IPCC authors, including myself, understood from this commendation that it was appropriate to state that we either "shared" or were a "co-recipient" of the award. What make this a big enough deal to highlight it as part of Mann's biography? It's an issue of IPCC language which is appropriately covered at 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. If it's only covered in passing in one courthouse news report, that seems inadequate for a BLP. . dave souza, talk 07:12, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
What makes it a big deal is the media coverage:
  • Courthouse News Service: "Though Mann claims in his complaint that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his research on global warming, one of the actual 2007 winners recently repudiated that claim."
  • CBS News
  • Mark Steyn at the National Review--who Mann is suing
  • Mann's legal complaint: "As a result of this research, Dr. Mann and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize." (p. 2) ". . . to attempt to discredit consistently validated scientific research through the professional and personal defamation of a Nobel prize recipient." (p. 3)
  • Mann on Facebook 1. Claiming the prize. 2. Acknowledging his error.
  • Counterpunch, just last week: "The modus operandi of this orchestrated climate denial syndicate is to go after high profile targets, like Nobel Peace Prize winners, people like Michael E. Mann, climatologist, Pennsylvania State University (creator of the “hockey stick” in 1998), who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with other scientists who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”)."
The issue isn't properly confined to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize article; the issue was huge with Mann, and Counterpunch shows it lingers.
I couldn't find your point about Courthouse News. I was responding to your statement that it looked "dubious" as a reliable secondary source. The editor who discussed its coverage of Bradley Manning may have been mistaken about its limited purview; read the last paragraph here about its increasing scope. In any case, it has U.S. Senate Press Gallery credentials. Only "bona fide correspondents of repute in their profession" are accredited. Yopienso (talk) 09:51, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, we have a test for determining if something is important: How much coverage of this topic has been published by reliable sources and what balancing aspects are there? This is an important point given the amount of vitriol directed at Michael Mann from a distinct minority. — TPX 09:36, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Current version (i.e. with no mention of Nobel claim) seems appropriate to me, given the various considerations of notability, reliable sources, and BLP. It has been common for people to misunderstand/misinterpret how IPCC contributors should be acknowledged. Search my WP contributions (Special:Contributions/TimOsborn) for "Nobel" to find many pages that I've corrected in this respect, not just Mann's. I don't see that its notable if Mann made such a claim and then corrected it in a legal dispute that is as yet unresolved. Yopienso attempts to bolster its notability by listing "big deal" media coverage. The first one listed seems OK but the rest are irrelevant and thus notability of this issue is still lacking (CBS and Counterpunch make their own claims about the Nobel prize but say nothing about what claims Mann made; Mann's facebook page -- really?! you think that counts as big deal media coverage? Mann's legal complaint isn't media coverage; and Steyn/National Review -- really?! you think that counts as a neutral view when they are parties to the legal dispute?). TimOsborn (talk) 00:17, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The court case apparently began on 22 October 2010. Courthouse News Service covered it on 7 November, then on 20 November amended wording "that characterized Mann as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize" to "put these references in more accurate context". That's stale because the complaint was amended and submitted to another court: we'd need the context of further coverage in Courthouse News Service, and if they're not longer highlighting this issue, neither should we.
CBS News is from 1 July 2010 so precedes the IPCC's repudiation of its chairman's earlier statement that "All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates". The headline referred to "Nobel-Winning Climate Scientist', but headlines written by copy-editors are notorious for being exaggerated, the body text rightly says "The review also noted that Mann's work on the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received recognition (along with several hundred other scientists) in the form of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize."
Steyn's piece is a blog, even if he was praising Mann we couldn't use that source in a BLP, and he's clearly making defamatory statements.
Mann's legal complaint is a primary source. I don't think we can use such legal documents in BLP articles, and it is superseded by the revised complaint which apparently revised the wording we're discussing.
As Tim indicates, Mann's facebook page is a primary source and not independent coverage.
Arguably, Counterpoint this August worded their article poorly when mentioning "high profile targets, like Nobel Peace Prize winners, people like Michael E. Mann .... who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with other scientists who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”)." They should have checked it more carefully, but that's their error and not Mann's. Wikipedia isn't the place for righting this great wrong and they obviously didn't base that on our articles, if anyone's concerned, better to write to Counterpoint to tell them about the IPCC's 2010 guidance. . dave souza, talk 11:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I repeat: There is no question that Mann claimed to be a Nobel laureate, and everyone on this page knows it.
I am not discussing WHY Mann thought he was a Nobel laureate, but that he DID think he was. Both Tim and Dave agree he did.
With all due respect, Tim (and I do respect you), as a colleague of Dr. Mann's, your opinions and comments are hardly neutral.
History doesn't go "stale." I am not alleging Mann still claims to have won a Nobel prize, but suggesting we include the fact that he did previously claim to. Many people read what Mann's opponents wrote about the issue, and when they come to Wikipedia to find the facts, those facts should be here.
Steyn's piece is a valuable and acceptable source for this claim. "The Corner" is a WP:NEWSBLOG by professional journalists in the NRO, a RS; it's not some random blog by Randy in Boise.
Wrt to sourcing from Mann's Facebook page, which he uses as a public forum to advocate his views, see WP:SOCIALMEDIA. Yopienso (talk) 07:09, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
When I google ""mark steyn" "michael mann"" I get lots of hits in mainstream media about how Steyn made claims against Mann's research and has now been sued for defamation. But when I google ""mark steyn" "michael mann" "nobel prize"", the only hits are from the echo chamber. I think you need to show that the Steyn's claim, true or not, has received coverage in reliable secondary sources in order for us to include it. Steyn is not so significant on his own that every comment he utters should be added to articles about every subject that he comments on. TFD (talk) 07:38, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I follow your logic. In this case, though, Steyn is very significant to Mann's lawsuit, and the Nobel claim is very significant to Steyn's rhetoric against Mann. Steyn's and Mann's own writings are reliable for their own opinions without secondary sources. Part of "the echo chamber" is being sued by Mann; he's not ignoring them, so therefore our BLP shouldn't. As you know, the chamber consists mainly of climate blogs and conservative and libertarian organs. The blogs are RSs for their writers' opinions, most of whom Mann mentions in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. (On p. 199 he names McKitrick, Watts, Fuller, Delingpole, and Horner, who "spread the allegations in 'the Internet echo chamber'.") Again, they are very significant to Mann, and therefore to his BLP. Yopienso (talk) 16:35, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
You're saying that the echo chamber is relevant to the article, therefore everything that emanates from it is relevant. But it is only relevant to the degree that it is reported in reliable sources. Why should we repeat Steyn's claims (or observations) that are not mentioned in mainstream media? "Due and undue weight" says, "Neutrality requires that each article...fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources." There's an intellectual fairness to the policy. The discussion of the quality of the research exists in mainstream media, hence we can present various views. But the Nobel Prize story does not exist there so we only have Steyn's view. Similarly climate change skepticism is relevant to the topic of climate change, but that does not mean that articles about climate change science must include each and every objection. TFD (talk) 17:10, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Not exactly. The "Nobel Prize claim" is central to the lawsuit. If we discuss the lawsuit, we need to mention the "Nobel Prize claim" there, and the actual commentary [that the claim that he is a "Nobel Prize" winner is completely untrue). — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:43, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
How can it be central to the lawsuit? It's not even part of the amended complaint, the original case it was part of is done. Hence the need for a source if you're claiming it's a live issue, or indeed significant to Mann's bio. . . dave souza, talk 20:47, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @TFD: I'm saying the controversy in the echo chamber between Steyn and Mann is relevant to the article and that their own writing is a RS for their opinions and comments. Clearly, everything that emanates from it is not relevant.
We should repeat Steyn's comments even if not reported in the MSM because Mann attaches such importance to them.
We also have Mann's view of the Nobel Prize story. Yopienso (talk) 17:51, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Whether or not the Nobel issue is central to the lawsuit, mainstream media do not mention it. That btw is why all those conservative blogs exist, so that people who think the mainstream media is dominated by liberals or the new world order or whatever have a place where they can read the truth. There are Wikis that summarize these views. But the policy here is that what is relevant is what the mainstream determines is relevant. So comments by Steyn or even Mann are only important if the MSM say they are. TFD (talk) 18:11, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
As above, the Nobel issue is no longer relevant to the continuing lawsuit. Apart from that, fully agree regarding sources. . dave souza, talk 20:47, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @TFD: While WP holds to the mainstream scientific and academic views in its articles, major MSM are not our only RSs. Both the American Thinker and the NRO are RSs, as are other conservative and libertarian organs. A source doesn't have to be liberal in order to be a RS; it just has to be, well, reliable. (Wow! They've really overhauled WP:5 since I last looked.) Notice how the word "mainstream" is twice used at WP:NPOV.
I think this issue presents an appropriate time to ignore all rules: by including it, sourced to Mann's Facebook page, Steyn's columns at NRO, the American Spectator, American Thinker, The Blaze, the NRO, etc., we can properly inform readers who have heard about it there or in the climate blogs. By "properly inform" I mean acknowledge there was confusion about Mann being Nobel a laureate, but that he quickly rectified his claim when apprised of the actual nature of his certificate. We improve WP when we clear up an issue for readers looking for sourced facts.
@ Dave: You are correct that Mann has deleted the Nobel issue from his lawsuit. That, however, doesn't change the fact that he initially pressed it, or that his detractors seized upon it. This is what some readers will want to know about. It's simple: after Pachauri's announcement and the receipt of the certificate, Mann started saying he had won or shared in a Nobel prize. Once the Nobel Committee and the IPCC clarified the issue, he not only stopped saying that, he updated his documents. That sounds, um, noble to me. Face-smile.svg Yopienso (talk) 21:07, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Or he decided he had better stop saying it after he got caught. It all comes down to: what was his state of mind? Did he knowingly make false statements? I am genuinely unsure, but it is sure that the statements were false. I do not think more than that can be put in the article without proof, or at least citing a published essay on the subject that goes through all the evidence. (talk) 16:19, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not include accusations from mind-readers, see WP:BLP for the standard of sources required. Thanks, dave souza, talk 19:10, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
They are not reliable sources. But even if they were, they would represent an insignificant fraction of reliable sources. And that is the relevant policy - "neutral point of view" - "in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint." Readers don't come here to find out what CNN etc. aren't telling us. I assume you believe global warming is a hoax and this is smoking gun evidence, which makes it really important. But this is not the forum to alert the public. TFD (talk) 22:12, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm suggesting that even if they aren't RSs--and the NRO and Thinker probably are--we Ignore All Rules in order to better serve our readers, i.e., improve the encyclopedia. I think readers come here to check out the allegations made in the echo chamber. I know I did.
Your assumption is incorrect; I'll email you with more details. Yopienso (talk) 00:26, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If we can find a single reliable source for the fact that he claimed to be a Nobel Laureate, and that he removed the claim after being told he was wrong, we could consider adding the material, although it might be WP:UNDUE weight. I consider it "interesting". There's no requirement that a significant number of the thousands of available sources mention the subject; only if some reliable sources contradicted the statement, would we have to consider the question under WP:BLP. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

I submit that his Facebook public figure activist page is a RS for this. He was very open first about asserting he was a Nobel laureate and then about retracting the claim when the IPPC and the Nobel committee clarified the issue. But I presently think this should be in a footnote due to the perception by some that there was something nefarious afoot, which never was. Yopienso (talk) 14:43, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
While I accept that you fully appreciate the need for any coverage to be careful, it's policy (WP:WELLKNOWN) that "If you cannot find multiple reliable third-party sources documenting the allegation or incident, leave it out." [italics in the original] Unreliable sources are trying to parlay this clarification into a smear, we need multimple reliable third party coverage before we make an issue of it. . . dave souza, talk 20:07, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Because, as the talk page has demonstrated, readers come here to find out the facts about the Nobel claim after reading about it elsewhere, I submit that the article would be improved by telling them. This would be a case of WP:IAR.
Some may have read about it on the back jacket flap on Mann's book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, which says, "In 2007, he jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize along with other scientists who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change . . ." Although Mann may not have written that himself, many readers would assume he did. In fact, most of us have probably read blogs pouncing on it as an Aha! moment. Mann makes no such claim in the book itself. It seems to me our article is improved by including the fact that he quickly clarified the point when it became an issue. Yopienso (talk) 21:35, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Dealing with the Nobel Prize[edit]

After almost a week I've looked at the article again and have several suggestions I think will be fairly uncontroversial:
  • The hockey stick is his best-known contribution to climate study, so should be named in the lede.
Suggestion: He is well-known for the "hockey stick graph," a product of his pioneering techniques to find patterns in past climate change and to isolate climate signals from "noisy data."
  • The Nobel Peace Prize is unquestionably prestigious, and Mann is proud of his contributions toward it, but it pales in comparison to other awards; first, because it is not scientific, and second, because his "share" in the prize is so small.
Suggestion for final sentence of first paragraph: The "hockey stick graph," based on the MBH99 paper, was highlighted in several parts of the report, and received wide publicity.
  • The Nobel Prize should be covered in section 2.2, about the IPCC report. No mention of the confusion over who won it should be made there. (I have no draft to present.)
  • The controversy over Mann's claim and clarification belongs in a new section under controversies.
Suggestion: Change the name of section 3 to "Controversies" and make section 1.1 the hockey stick and section 3.5 the Nobel Peace Prize. See my simultaneous post above. Yopienso (talk) 21:35, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • The hockey stick is already named in the lede, in a clearer manner than proposed above.
  • The Nobel Prize is covered under awards, why should it be covered in section 2.2 about the 2001 IPCC report? Don't forget it was awarded in 2007 for the IPCC work generally, not just that specific report.
  • The alleged "controversy over Mann's claim and clarification" still lacks the required third party high quality coverage to meet BLP standards. Making a section about this is wildly disproportionate. . dave souza, talk 21:57, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
After another brief hiatus, I find several flaws in my suggestions, such as misidentifying some sentences and paragraphs to which I referred. I believe I could write an improved edition of the lede and several portions of the article that you would appreciate, but have decided it's not worth my effort. We would continue to disagree, however, on the controversy about the Nobel Prize, which he touted on the book jacket flap and years later in his lawsuit, and which was reported in the National Review Online, a RS, and on his activist Facebook page, a RS for his own views. So be it. Yopienso (talk) 19:55, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not rs. It is a journal of "opinion and analysis", not news, and Cooke was writing for "The Corner", their on-line blog. His best-known contribution is "Teach Holocaust Denial and be Proud of It" (May 9, 2014.)[4] Opinion pieces do not meet rs. TFD (talk) 21:16, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Sure it is. The Corner, according to our article, consists of "postings from many of the site's editors and affiliated writers discussing the issues of the day." Any blog under the editorial review of a RS--which the National Review is--is reliable. Do you seriously suggest Cooke made up or distorted the phone conversation he reported? He's been with the NR for over 3 years and is no whacko.
Did you read Cooke's piece on the 8th-grade assignment on Holocaust denial, or were you fooled by the misleading headline? Yopienso (talk) 01:18, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I did read the article, although first I read a commentary about it in The American Thinker. It's a wacky idea and could be seen as holocaust trivialization.

The ""News organizations" section of the "Reliable sources" policy is clear. "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact." The reason is that publications do not have editorial control over the "facts" presented in them. Many partisan columnists have in the past not correctly reported spoken words, the most well known lately perhaps was "You didn't build that." It could be that Wikipedia's standards for reliability and neutrality are too high, but that is an argument for the policy pages.

TFD (talk) 03:59, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

"Rarely" ≠ "never."
Again, do you seriously suggest Cooke made up or distorted the phone conversation he reported? Has the editorial staff retracted or amended the piece?
The Romney campaign's spin on Obama's poorly enunciated idea has no relevance to Cooke's report of his phone call to the Nobel Committee. Yopienso (talk) 15:50, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Probably not, although I have no idea if it is an exact transcription of the call. Cooke does not say to whom he spoke, nor does the voice identified as "Nobel Committee" claim to have read Mann's claims. In any case it is a primary source. Indeed there are exceptions to policy on editorials, but our desire to discredit a living individual in order to discredit climate change science is not one of them. Wikipedia standards require that sources used for facts are reliable, that articles be based on secondary sources and that facts presented are considered significant in mainstream sources. It is especially important for biographies of living persons, regardless of whether they support or oppose mainstream science. In fact I have argued against editors who have tried to bend the rules to put right-wing writers in a bad light. TFD (talk) 19:50, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for a direct, although inconclusive, answer on whether you are suggesting Cooke invented or distorted the phone conversation. Since you read the actual piece, you will have noticed Cooke included a recording of the conversation. The transcript omits some ums and ahs and minor interruptions. It says "an" once when the speaker said "this." But it's as faithful as such transcripts generally are. I categorically state I believe the call was genuine and the transcript is reliable.
Our "desire to discredit a living individual in order to discredit climate change science"? Not your desire nor mine; to whom are you speaking? As you know--if you read the email I sent you a month ago--I do not dispute anthropogenic warming, and I wrote 2 1/2 years ago, "I suggest the following as a compromise that maintains Mann's integrity and is informative to our readers." I was subsequently accused of "blatant whitewashing."
This conversation is not productive so far as improving the article goes, so I'll desist now. At least I made a stalwart, if vain, attempt to bring common sense into this issue. Please feel free to have the last word. I wish you well. Yopienso (talk) 20:21, 20 September 2014 (UTC)


Nothing in the article about Mann's lawsuit with National Review? Very little about the claim allegedly made by him that he is a "Nobel Prize Winner"? Okay, I guess pending lawsuits involve a lot of tricky questions for Wikipedia, but many people would never have heard of Michael E. Mann without the suit and would come here looking for more information about his case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

  1. See the section above: reliable sources are only now becoming available, we need to review these and write cautiously as required for a BLP.
  2. You mean the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which was welcomed by the IPCC chair with the words "All the scientists that have contributed to the work of the IPCC are the Nobel laureates who have been recognized and acknowledged by the Nobel Prize Committee", and IPCC certificates were sent to those who had contributed substantially to the preparation of reports. Quite a few of those who received the certificates thought they had jointly received the prize along with the other scientists, but after a stushie in 2012 the IPCC issued a clarification that "it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner".
  3. Doubtless some people managed to pay no attention to all the attacks, publicity, congressional hearings and legal cases about Mann and somehow only heard about this lawsuit. We can only include information about the case that has been published by reliable sources, and must not give it undue weight. At the moment it's achieved far less prominence than the Cooch case. . . dave souza, talk 18:05, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Agree that lawsuit should be included as RSs become available, with due care as a BLP and remembering WP is not a newspaper. Yopienso (talk) 23:44, 19 February 2014 (UTC) Yopienso (talk) 03:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'ts now included, and I've clarified it using Newsweek as one of the sources. Maybe it goes into excessive detail of the CEI/NR allegations, we could trim that a bit by briefly describing the allegations rather than quoting them. . dave souza, talk 07:44, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Looks good. Yopienso (talk) 04:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

CEI and National Review won their appeal. It probably should be noted in the article that the ACLU and several Reporters organizations have filed Amicus Briefs in the case. The court accepted the ACLU's argument in favor of CEI and National Review in its totality, actually order the ACLU brief be filed as its response. Here is the order. [5]Poodleboy (talk) 22:16, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

That's a different court, and doesn't say what you think it says: their appeal was rendered moot, confirming the case was to go before a new judge. In January 2014 the appeals court under the new judge made the ruling discussed in the article. . dave souza, talk 22:37, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
The arstechnica article is a better source than the newsweek article, it probably should be used instead or in addition, since the details are clearer in it. Perhaps the order should be added as a reference as well. It will be interesting if the ACLU's continues to make filings in the case. Poodleboy (talk) 23:05, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Good point, I've added the Ars ref in addition to Newsweek. I've a vague memory that the ACLU was concerned about the right to appeal in principle rather than specifics of the case, no doubt we'll hear eventually. . dave souza, talk 23:53, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Amazing how some people's selective memories always redound to the benefit of Mann. The brief signed by the ACLU, along with many others, did not just concern itself with when one could file an anti-SLAPP appeal. It also addressed the merits of the case, as this quote from Reuters makes clear: "A broad array of civil liberties groups from the right and the left, along with two dozen media companies and journalism organizations, has turned out to back National Review and CEI, arguing that free speech will be endangered if defendants can’t dispose of libel suits via anti-SLAPP motions. They also argue that the National Review and CEI attacks on Mann were opinions about matters of public importance..."(italics mine). The assertion that the briefs only concerned a broad "right to appeal" is simply false which comes as no great surprise given the rest of the BS in defense of Mann that appears on this talk page. (talk) 00:39, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Reuters? Link, please. We cover the issue in "The CEI and National Review argued that the case should be dismissed under SLAPP legislation, and that they had merely been using exaggerated language which was acceptable against a public figure". The case is still in progress and obviously this isn't the place to give undue weight to attacks on a living person, or the generic principle that such attacks are supposedly a matter of free speech. . dave souza, talk 03:23, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Dave on this issue; amicus attacks on the merits of the case do not appear legally relevant at this stage; if the ACLU supports the publishers at a later stage, that might be of interest. If the ACLU made a public statement of support, that might also be of interest, but the amicus briefs do not appear relevant. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:53, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • A further paragraph was added about the 11 August 2014 amici curiae brief which I reworded to comply with the court filing which had been put in as a source, but then I realised that WP:BLPPRIMARY policy is specific that we "Do not use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person." I've tried hunting for a better source, but the best was another court document, like the brief put online by factions opposing Mann. Please find a good secondary source and discuss it here before readding information about this most recent appeal against SLAPP dismissal. ... dave souza, talk 20:27, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Sean Higgins wrote in the Washington Examiner about the brief. This is not the best of sources, but the most recent discussion of whether the Examiner is a RS was inconclusive, and centered on its recruitment of amateur writers. Higgins, however, is a paid professional who previously wrote for Investor's Business Daily. Therefore, I suggest it as the secondary source you request. Yopienso (talk) 21:45, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Here's a better one: "Groups rally around think tank, publication being sued for global warming views" by Barnini Chakraborty, Aug. 14, 2014,
Also, Mark Steyn himself makes the same assertion, so the court document supports the living person's own assertion.
We know this brief was, in fact, filed, so let's say so. Yopienso (talk) 22:20, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Sources are required to have a reputation for fact checking and accuracy, and Chakraborty's second paragraph is blatant nonsense undermining his reputation. This is Mann's bio, not Steyn's, so we can't use Steyn's self-published claims, but I've left the name of his counsel in, hoping that a better source turns up. . dave souza, talk 14:22, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Here's the blurb on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press website. Yopienso (talk) 08:12, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
I think we can probably accept that as a reasonably reputable source and a straightforward statement, so have edited accordingly. The section was getting overweighted with arguments against Mann's case, so I've added a statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists showing scientific and journalistic support for him. Ir this keeps expanding, we may have to reduce it to a summary and split the content off into a sub-article. . . dave souza, talk 14:22, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't see how you can call this "blatant nonsense undermining his reputation":
Michael Mann, a prominent professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, has long been a target of climate change skeptics for his work claiming temperatures have risen dramatically in recent decades, and has sued before when groups tried to debunk his data.
I can imagine you would object to the word "claiming" and would prefer "demonstrating," but that would be a quibble, not blatant nonsense. Since everything in the paragraph is true and verifiable, I'm adding the article as a source.
  • Also, I'm reinserting Kornstein's page showing that he is representing Mark Steyn.
  • I disagree that "the section was getting overweighted with arguments against Mann's case. In fact, I don't see any, so am putting one in.
  • FYI, but not as something to add to the article, Time, Inc., NBC, NPR, Gannett, McClatchy, News Corp, The NYT, The WP, The National Press Club, Dow Jones (!!), the ACLU, and many others, are amici curiae of the National Review and CEI.
  • If the section gets bloated, I suggest eliminating details about Steyn, particularly his counsel. Yopienso (talk) 15:40, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Regarding the blatant nonsense, Mann's work is paleoclimate, not "work claiming temperatures have risen dramatically in recent decades". Mann uses data collected and published by others, not "his data", and when has he sued groups about trying to "debunk" it?
  • The defense is covered by "they had merely been using exaggerated language which they said was acceptable against a public figure", and "the comments at issue were constitutionally protected as opinion". The Fox News sourced opinion merely states the same thing in exaggerated language, so I'll remove that. As for counsel, previously Steyn's site was highlighted, the link to the counsel's page looks ok. . . dave souza, talk 16:27, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Are you biased against using Fox News as a source? That isn't an opinion piece, but an article in their political section. Our article agrees, He was promoted to full professor in 2009 and to "Distinguished Professor of Meteorology" in 2013. Doesn't say "paleoclimatology." His whole mission has become to convince Americans that temperatures have risen dramatically in recent decades because of human activity and that we need to reverse the trend. P. xvi of his book The Hockey Stick . . . says the graph shows "that a sharp and highly unusual rise in atmospheric warming was occurring on Earth." On March 18, 2014, he wrote in Scientific American, "The dramatic nature of global warming captured world attention in 2001, when the IPCC published a graph that my co-authors and I devised, which became known as the 'hockey stick.'" The data Mann collects becomes "his data." He sued Tim Ball and the Frontier Center For Public Policy for libel. Ball makes a living out of trying to debunk Mann's data. Principia Scientifica--associated with Ball, writes, "Ball was the underdog made into the accidental hero of the climate wars story. He helped pave the way towards a new open platform for principled scientists on the Internet so that independent, unpaid researchers debunking the so-called 'greenhouse gas theory', the cornerstone of the pseudo-science of all global warming alarmism are finally being heard." That's their perspective, as Mann well knows. And so do you; I honestly don't get your objection. I'm restoring the Fox article as a source along with the link to the court document.
Shulman speaks for scientists, not journalists; virtually the entire US MSM has signed up in support of Steyn. Or rather, of Steyn's right to express rubbish. Yopienso (talk) 17:34, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso, Mann analyses (proxy) data collected by others, his work shows a declining trend in temperatures over the past thousand years or so. This contrasts with th modern instrumental record put together by others, which shows that "temperatures have risen dramatically in recent decades". The famous MBH99 Hockey stick graph uses the instrumental record published by Jones and Briffa and credits them accordingly. I've not seen a reliable source for Ball's claims, but you should realize that data isn't theory: debunking "the so-called 'greenhouse gas theory'" says virtually nothing about Mann's work, the only connection is that his paleoclimate findings are consistent with the theory put together by others. Shulman speaks for scientists and for himself as a journalist, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press ably speaks for journalists. Hence some approximate balance. We can hope for some better sources to cover the outcome of this interminable law case in the New Year, so best wishes for then. Speaking of lawsuits, I think I'll now listen to The Makropulos Affair again, in holiday mood. All the best, . dave souza, talk 18:06, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not biased against using Fox News as a source, but I still recognise the piece is poorly researched. I'm perplexed by your decision to support the misleading suggestion that Mann initiated legal proceedings against Tim Ball simply for trying to debunk his data (which is nonsense). Really Yopienso, your reasoning here is very unsound. — TPX 18:11, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────But, Dave, Mann's work shows an abrupt upturn at the end of the declining trend! He became an activist about the sudden warming, not the slow cooling.
One way Ball and Steyn try to "debunk" is by casting aspersions, just like Greg Laden and Richard Littlemore do in return. (Nasty blogosphere out there! Defame = debunk?)
Note how the SA refers to "Mann's data points," "his raw data," and "his data."
But let's not spend the holidays fussing over semantics. :) The section looks quite good to me now. Cheers! Yopienso (talk) 21:30, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Happy New Year! Just to note that if Chakraborty had written of Mann's work "claiming" that the measured 20th century upturn came at the end of a millenial declining trend, she'd have been right, but she didn't.
Mann started trying to show that the recent upturn was partly due to cycles including the AMO, but came under attack and by arguing back "became an activist" (instead of an inactivist?). In my understanding, defame means personal attack, debunk means disprove: Steyn's method is defamation by libel.
The SA quotes you cite are from a sentence starting with "A community skeptical of human-induced warming argued that Mann's data points...", this describes the contrarian arguments which Chakraborty repeats uncritically. Before that, the SA article correctly says the MBH method "analyzed paleoclimatic data sets" etc. . . dave souza, talk 13:17, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

The defamation lawsuit section is poorly written. First, these sections should not begin by outlining alleged defamatory statements but by saying that Mann has filed suit for defamation. There is also excessive detail. No one except a tiny group of people with idiosyncratic views about cares what the National Review or Mark Steyn have to say about anything. And if the mainstream media, except for Fox News, ignores the details of the case it is because they are unimportant and fail weight. This is all better placed in a website dedicated to things like smoking does not cause cancer, the moon-landing was faked and professional wrestling is real. TFD (talk) 02:25, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Ok, while the more detailed context can help understanding and may eventually be useful, there's an argument for trimming it drastically, as I've suggested above. Want to have a go at it? . . dave souza, talk 13:17, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Dave, Chakraborty wasn't outlining Mann's whole career; she was telling the reader what skeptics have been so upset about, which is his assertions of dramatic warming in recent decades. I.e., his hockey stick graph and its economic, political, and social ramifications. Not AMO. Here you can see that Ball made his allegedly libelous statement in the context of trying to disprove global warming. Chakaborty's assertion,"has sued before when groups tried to debunk his data," seems to refer to Mann's suing Ball and the FCPP. Like bloggers on the other side, Ball and Steyn and others blend defamation and debunking into a nasty mix.
  • I quoted from the SA to show that it is normal to refer to data a researcher uses as "his" (or hers) regardless of who collected it. In his own voice, Appell said, "More recently, Mann battled back in a 2004 corrigendum in the journal Nature, in which he clarified the presentation of his data." That piece, btw, shows that attacks against Mann are because of the hockey stick, not his previous work. And yes, he's an activist, as he laid out in the NYT. That's why he started a climate blog and a Facebook page and wrote a book.
  • TFD, the section reads chronologically. I agree it would be better to start with a topic sentence on Mann's bringing a suit, and then explain why. As I said above, details about Steyn are unnecessary, although his alleged libel does need to be treated. Fox News is reliable for news. Michael Mann isn't in the MSM much, either, except for his own writing. Not much secondary stuff on him outside the blogosphere. Yopienso (talk) 20:36, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure, Fox News is rs, but the issue is not rs, it is Balancing aspects. For example, one could write a reliably sourced article Obama where 90% of it was about his relationships with Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright. But it would not be a neutral article because it would place undue emphasis. That Fox News and only Fox News gives it so much coverage is evidence that its emphasis promotes a U.S. conservative bias. If people want their sources of information to present that bias, they can always tune into Fox News. TFD (talk) 20:52, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
It has been said several times before, but let me repeat it. Mann's claim to fame are his reconstruction of temperatures over the last about 2000 years. These are based on various proxies. They make up the "handle" of the hockey stick - a very slight decline with some variation. The "dramatic upturn" is from actual measured temperature records, and is essentially the same for the all the major instrumental temperature records, including HadCRUT, NASA GISTEMP, and Berkeley Earth. It's not the result of Mann's work, although he does, of course, cite the instrumental record. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:06, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
TFD, faulty logic there; you can't reject a RS because other RSs haven't covered the issue.
Stephan, WP isn't a scientific journal. The section of this encyclopedic article is about Mann's defamation suit against Mark Steyn. As Mother Jones puts it, "Michael Mann, the perennially embattled climate scientist best known for his "hockey-stick" temperature graph. . ." That's what his book is about. The thrust of his activism is to defend the hockey stick, not his research in paleoclimatology. Steyn isn't disputing that. (I don't think you'll mind my indenting your text.) Yopienso (talk) 22:47, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Yopienso, the hockey stick IS paleoclimatology. That's why Fox News is a bad source for this specific case, a business journalist with apparently no knowledge of the science opining on a scientific issue, and misleading readers. . dave souza, talk 23:26, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
The UPTURNED BLADE of the hockey stick. We're all aware of the controversy over how he combined proxy data with instrumental temperature records. Yopienso (talk) 23:50, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Yopienso, see Balancing aspects: "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to the weight of that aspect in the body of reliable sources on the subject." In this case since only Fox News reports it, the policy would mean we should exclude it. TFD (talk) 06:56, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Just to note that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is cited for the basics of the amicus brief, Fox News is a party to that brief, clearly isn't a third party source, and doesn't really add anything. I've left the Fox reference there, but would be happy to see it removed. . dave souza, talk 10:44, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Taking into account the suggestion of The Four Deuces above, I've revised the section to tighten it a bit and start with the context that "Attacks on the work and reputation of climatologists continued, and Mann discussed with colleagues the need for a strong response when they were slandered or libelled." I've trimmed the alleged defamatory statements to what I think is a reasonable minimum for readers to understand the issues. . . dave souza, talk 10:44, 3 January 2015 (UTC)


Seems like a lot of the entry is shilling for the guy. I'm not particularly interested, but the sentiment and the language use indicate that it's pretty biased towards him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. The only way to fix that is for enough like-minded editors to participate. Yopienso (talk) 04:29, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

In the news[edit]

This article has been in the news. Bearian (talk) 15:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Well, that is a blog, and probably not a WP:NEWSBLOG, so it doesn't need that much notice. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:37, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Google News shows: this in Ars Technica and this in The News & Advance. -- SEWilco (talk) 16:55, 14 July 2014 (UTC)


The numbers in the first sentence of the current revision do not add up:

Michael E. Mann (born 1965) is an American climatologist and geophysicist,[1] currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, who has contributed to the scientific understanding of climate change over the last two thousand years.

Do the math. I have. If Mann has been contributing to the science of climate change for two thousand years, he cannot have been born in 1965. -- ô¿ô 00:04, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Re-jiggered to avoid longevity and odd 2000/1000 conflict with the hidden link. Vsmith (talk) 02:13, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

"They cleared Mann of misconduct, stating there was no substance to the allegations..."[edit]

The article currently states, "They cleared Mann of misconduct, stating there was no substance to the allegations...", however the article neglects to mention what the allegations actually were. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:16, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I've added the allegations, quoting from the cited document (Foley, Scaroni, and Yekel) that exonerated him. Yopienso (talk) 23:12, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Reiterating false accusations looks like an attack page, I've simplified it to what the cited document summarises it as, accusations of research misconduct. . . dave souza, talk 23:22, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Nonsense; it's part of the story. Bill O'Reilly's very much alive, and we repeat allegations of conversations about vibrators and sexual fantasies. We repeat allegations of "willful, wanton, arbitrary, and egregious official misconduct" against Chris Christie. We repeat allegations of sexual misconduct against William Kennedy Smith that were dismissed. Etc., etc., etc. Please restore. Yopienso (talk) 23:59, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
On second thought, I'll just tuck them into the footnote. Yopienso (talk) 00:11, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
The Thereza Imanishi-Kari BLP provides an example of repeating allegations of scientific research against a living person. Yopienso (talk) 00:29, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
That was a really bad example, with a focus on the allegations rather than her exoneration, and misrepresentation of sources. Have tried to bring it up to BLP standards. . . dave souza, talk 10:40, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
If I were into barnstars I'd give you one for that clean-up. But your improvement still tells the reader what the accusation was--you didn't leave it at professional or research misconduct, but specified the fraud unit "accused Dr. Imanishi-Kari in 1991 of falsifying data." To me, that's proper, because the reader should know what the investigation was about. I put the allegations against Mann into the footnote as a compromise; feel free to move them up into the article. Yopienso (talk) 11:16, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Inconsistent criteria for sources[edit]

Tillman, you just removed the qualifier, "who has called the science of man-made climate change a hoax," after the name of Senator Inhofe, with the edit summary, "WP:BLP." Can you please explain your rationale? It sets Inhofe's request in context, and I can't see how it's out of place in a BLP on Mann. Neither do I see how it's wrong to ascribe that to Inhofe; I sourced it to his 2012 book entitled, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

But I don't have particularly strong feelings about that line. What bothers me is that in considering it, I went to Jim Inhofe's BLP, where I found the use of kinds of sources that are never allowed in this one on Michael Mann. Personally, I think if we know something is true, the 5th pillar WP:IAR lets us ignore the most stringent rules on sourcing, like not using blogs or tabloids. But that's just how I "plead the 5th." :) Nonetheless, we should be consistent--if the BLPs on climate activists, specifically, Mann, can be cited only to impeccable sources, so should the BLPs on climate deniers, specifically, Inhofe, and vice versa.

Technically unqualified sources I found in one section:

  • Inhofe on Voice of Christian Youth America's radio program 8 March 2012 James Inhofe Says the Bible Refutes Climate Change
This poorly cited ref is from Right Wing Watch, the organ of a partisan advocacy group.
  • Leber, Rebecca (November 5, 2014). "Congratulations, Voters; You Just Made This Climate Denier the Most Powerful Senator on the Environment". Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  • Plumer, Bradford (February 10, 2011). "Is This What The Climate-Change Debate Has Come To?". The New Republic. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
The New Republic is an editorial magazine.
  • "James Inhofe proves "flat Earth" doesn't refer to Oklahoma.". Chris Mooney. The American Prospect, April 13, 2004."
  • Charles P. Pierce. "In Praise of Oklahoma". The American Prospect. February 23, 2005.
The American Prospect is a partisan political magazine.
  • Four refs cited to primary sources--Inhofe's speeches in the Senate, whereas at this article "use primary sources with care" generally means "Don't use Mann's own words unless several MSM articles repeat them." Three are now dead links, while the fourth lists Marc Morano as a contact. Nothing bearing Morano's name is permitted on Mann's article.

N.B., I am not contesting the use of those sources; I'm protesting that reliable partisan sources or Mann's own words aren't admitted here. Yopienso (talk) 07:23, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

I removed this clause, as it was tagged for a cite, which wasn't supplied (and the tag removed). In any case, it's a gratuitous swipe that's irrelevant to that para.
Yes, I've also noted the double standard. Worth persevering to remove unsourced or poorly-sourced BLP material. Even for politicians. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 07:59, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Somehow you missed that I added a cite to his book titled Hoax, etc., 13 min. after you tagged it. About an hour later Dave added a ref that quotes Inhofe thusly: "NOAA’s report, released in February, was requested by U.S. Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who called the theory of man-made climate change a hoax. The report found no evidence of 'manipulation of data.'" He's now undone your revision, which I think is proper. Without the clause, Inhofe's motive is misunderstood. It seems clear that he called for the investigation not so much as an impartial Senator concerned with fraud, but as a climate denier in a position of power. That's how I interpret this 2010 article in The Guardian.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Yopienso (talkcontribs) 08:54, 7 January 2015‎
  • Inhofe speech July 28, 2003, in which he disputed Mann's work: "With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it."[6] . . dave souza, talk 09:39, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm unclear as to why you posted that, but I rather doubt it was to provide a precedent for including as a reference in this article a court document in which Mann's paid counsel wrote on his behalf, "As the result of this research, Dr. Mann and his associates were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize" (p. 2, paragraph 2). Yet that's precisely what it does, if you're saying that's a RS for Inhofe's views. I agree it is, and so is the lawsuit for Mann's. And so are his public figure (not private individual) Facebook page, the jacket flap of his book, and his old Penn State web page.
We all know that Inhofe has repeatedly called global warming a hoax, and that, until the IPCC issued the clarification, Mann repeatedly claimed to have won, or to have shared in the award of, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Yopienso (talk) 16:13, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Posted it simply as a source confirming Bloomberg's (and our) wording, it's a public statement by Inhofe. Thanks for providing a reference to Inhofe's book, either source seems good to me. It's not a court document, and as discussed earlier there's specific WP:BLPPRIMARY policy that we don't use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person.
If what anyone has said about sharing the IPCC's half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize is significant, there will be reliable secondary sources explaining the significance: we shouldn't go hunting for what they've said and adding it to all their bios. That's the difficulty with a developing situation, much appreciate your help with this. . . dave souza, talk 16:56, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
It is fine to say that Inhofe called global warming a hoax because that is in the Bloomberg article.[7] The relevance is that he was an opponent of Mann's opinions and thought that an investigation would discredit it. It is not a good idea however to use primary sources, since they could inject synthesis. Adding that someone thinks global warming is a hoax tends to discredit anything they say or do. That is why right-wing media are eager to discredit Mann over alleged Nobel claims. If he was wrong on that, he is wrong on global warming. TFD (talk) 17:06, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
No one (except Mann) denies that he once claimed to have shared the Nobel prize. No one (that I can think of) claims that Inhofe does not claim that global warming is a hoax. However, the first is more relevant to this article than the second. That the sources that support the first are more right-wing than those that support the second shouldn't affect reliability or significance. To clarify, there are no unbiased reliable sources which support the significance of the second, and no sources which support its significance to this article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:09, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm not aware of Mann denying that he erroneously believed/claimed he had won part of a Nobel Prize. As soon as the IPCC defined the matter, he accepted that he had "contributed toward" the prize but had not "been awarded" any portion of it. To me, the fact that he changed documents and stopped making the claim was the best way he could rectify his prior error. My rub is with WP editors who deny (or suppress the fact on technicalities) that he initially made the claim. Yopienso (talk) 05:01, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Care is needed with accuracy about language here, and I've not seen Mann claiming he "had won part of a Nobel Prize". The flysheet of his 2012 book says "he jointly received", the lawsuit press release he put on his Facebook page says "he was awarded". Of course in both instances the third person implies that it wasn't written by Mann. . . dave souza, talk 10:26, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
"Balancing aspects" says, "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to the weight of that aspect in the body of reliable sources on the subject." It does not say that we should balance mainstream media with U.S. libertarian blogs. While it maybe that Bloomberg News is a biased left-wing source, it nonetheless is considered mainstream media. Note that they do not mention Inhofe's views on global warming in order to challenge his judgment, but to explain why he challenged Mann. Certainly you do not think he would have challenged the report if happened to support his views on global warming. I doubt too that it would have attracted the attention of so many editors. TFD (talk) 18:51, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I have little doubt that Bloomberg News wouldn't have mentioned Inhofe's views if they didn't consider it relevant, but they didn't say it was relevant, and many, even academic, papers have digressions not really related to the theme of the article. It still seems synthesis to assert its relevance even to the extent of using it. In addition, it's even more of a "passing mention" than comments about the Peace Prize in mainstream media. In other words, Mann's statements about the Nobel Piece Peace prize are relevant, but not important. Inhofe's views on global warming are, perhaps, important, but not relevant. (They almost certainly should be mentioned in Inhofe's article.) We probably should include neither here, in the absence of reliable sources asserting facts and relevance. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:04, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Inhofe has a history of attacking Mann's work going back at least to 2003, so his intervention is relevant, as discussed by Bloomberg. As you say, good sources are needed for anything about the "Nobel" allegations, which should really be discussed in a new talk section if you're proposing some. . dave souza, talk 09:57, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

In response to Dave's comment of 16:56, 7 January 2015, thanks for explaining why you posted the source. But you're doing just what I'm talking about--presenting a public document, forbidden by the excerpt you pasted in from WP:BLPPRIMARY, and without the requisite secondary source. ("Where primary-source material has been discussed by a reliable secondary source, it may be acceptable to rely on it to augment the secondary source, subject to the restrictions of this policy, no original research, and the other sourcing policies.") And, to use your word, it's "stale." Why is all that OK for a BLP about Inhofe, but not for one about Mann? Again, because both men have repeatedly made their opinions abundantly clear in public, I think WP:IAR applies. To both. Yopienso (talk) 04:35, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

I should perhaps have made it clearer at the time that this is a primary source supplementing the Bloomberg article. Regarding "stale", this was discussed above with reference to a legal news posting that was superseded by the more recent appeal hearing and the revised defamation suit filed by Mann's lawyer. Don't know if that source has discussed the changes, if it's important I'd have expected them to note it. . dave souza, talk 09:57, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Reliable sources[edit]

Multiple reliable sources are available to confirm Inhofe's reputation for making claims that global warming science is a hoax. His own April 1, 2012, book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future is evidence of that, but it's really a primary source and the publisher WorldNutDaily Books has a dubious reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
The most academic source I've found so far is John S. Dryzek; Richard B. Norgaard; David Schlosberg (18 August 2011). The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-19-956660-0. The single most prominent Republican when it comes to climate change denial is Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, famous for claiming in a Senate speech that global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.'   My understanding is that OUP books like this are peer-reviewed.
With greater relevance to Mann and the CRU email inquiries, a scholarly book published by Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies: Gerald Kutney (3 February 2014). Carbon Politics and the Failure of the Kyoto Protocol. Routledge. pp. 107–109, 110–111. ISBN 978-1-317-91466-2. His infamous 'hoax' accusation appeared at the start of this long speech, and three more times near its end . These included "I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax" as well as "With all the hysteria, all the fear, all the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? I believe it is." In October 2004 he repeated on the Senate floor "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." He issued a 20-page brochure under the seal of the US Senate, The Facts and Science of Climate Change which repeated the hoax claim and in a section titled "The IPCC Plays Hockey" disputed what it said was Mann's flawed, limited research. In August 2005 Inhofe invited fiction writer Michael Crichton to speak in the Senate as an "expert witness" disputing Mann's research. Inhofe had a leading role in a minority group Senate report, "Legal and Policy Issues in the CRU Controversy", published in February 2010. It presented claims that emails demonstrated unethical and possibly illegal behaviour, and listed as "Key Players" 17 scientists including Mann and Jones. On 26 May Inhofe formally requested the OIG to investigate the issues in relation to NOAA, it found no major issues or inappropriate actions. In his 2012 book The Greatest Hoax, Inhofe proposed slashing the budget of the "rogue" EPA, and stated "My point is, God's still up there…. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."
That's a mixture of quote and summary by myself, it seems to me a better source than Inhofe's book for the statement we've already attributed to Bloomberg, so I'll substitute it. The detail should be useful in the Jim Inhofe article, though the book also covers other aspects less directly related to Mann. . . dave souza, talk 14:34, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

We need a source for relevance. I'm sure one can be found, but it is needed. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:08, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Both Kutney and Bloomberg show clear relevance: the latter states "NOAA’s report, released in February, was requested by U.S. Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who called the theory of man-made climate change a hoax. The report found no evidence of “manipulation of data.” Alternatively, we could summarise Kutney's account of how Inhofe as a long-term opponent of Mann's work used the emails to make further allegations before going a step further and arranging the investigation. Either way, it's important to show the context that this investigation was arranged by a politician opposed to Mann's science. The various accounts of the NOAA investigation take care to show Inhofe's position on the science. . dave souza, talk 21:56, 8 January 2015 (UTC)