Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vail Valley Voices: Dr. Martin Hertzberg disputes evidence for global warming

I've been quite busy and distracted this past month, haven't written anything or even had a chance to keep up on developments. 

Sunday I finally had a break and did some catching up and what a surprise to find my old pal Dr. Martin Hertzberg ~ the explosives, not climate expert ~ is in the news.  I know Martin because we were both delegates to the 2008 Colorado Democratic Convention where I circulated my little "Memes Courier."

After reading it Martin contacted me, voicing support for my opposition to the Village at Wolf Creek boondoggle, but taking me to task for my summation of the Manmade Global Warming situation. 

He initiated a short "educational" correspondence, expecting me to adopt all of his opinions without review.  When I replied with thoughtful, polite, science focused objections to his assertions he became, shall we say touchy, then breaking off all communication.  I'll admit I thought it was mighty petty of him and indicative of the profound hollowness that seems part and parcel of the whole "denialist" movement.  Specially considering Martin initiated our correspondence.

The memory of Martin's disingenuous approach, as highlighted by his running and hiding from simple science based considerations still raises my hackles.  What are we to make of someone who makes very certain statements, while ridiculing the pros... but then refuses to reply to serious questions regarding flaws in his oh so certain broadcasting?

Thus I share the following... as another example of the deceit infused "global warming denial community."
Along with an open question: Dr. Hertzberg if your claims are real why won't you stand up and defend them in a serious polite discuss of facts and observations rather than the rhetorical emotionalizing displayed in your opinion pieces?

The text of his letter can be found at the Vail Daily:
Vail Valley Voices: Researcher disputes evidence for global warming
Martin Hertzberg

... and in the following post where I've taken the liberty of annotating Dr. Hertzberg's dubious presentation with comments and links to authoritative information sources.

In this posting I want to share something I’ve bootlegged from WottsUpWithThat
along with Dr. Michael Mann’s response to Hertzberg’s slanderous lies.
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From: WottsUpWithThat
Thanks to Michael Mann’s response, a newspaper censors a letter to the editor ex post facto

“Thanks to Michael Mann’s response, a newspaper censors a letter to the editor ex post facto“ (2011-10-02). Anthony Watts tells us that Michael Mann, lead bully of “the Team”, has forced the proud Vail Daily to withdraw a Sept. 30th, 2011 Letter to the Editor from the skeptical mind of Martin Hertzberg, titled Vail Valley Voices: Researcher disputes evidence for global warming.

Could it be that Dr. Mann found Hertzberg’s analysis so embarrassingly accurate that he had to use his secret power connections to eradicate the hated thing? Hmm. No. Dr. Mann never made any such request.

What did he do? He wrote a response on Oct. 1st, 2011 that effectively started with this:

“It’s hard to imagine anyone packing more lies and distortions into a single commentary.”

Someone at the Vail Daily, whose brain cells happened to brush up against each other, had a look and realized that Dr. Mann was right. Really, really, right. The issue suddenly wasn’t about the noble rights of the upstanding Martin Hertzberg, self-identified ”long-time denier of human-caused global warming”, to tell whopping great malicious lies. It was about whether the Vail Voice was legally exposed for carelessly spreading his false and defamatory statements. They chose to put as much distance as possible between themselves and what was clearly a piece of crap.

Anthony can’t even keep his indignation straight. He starts off implying that the Vail Daily is a noble vehicle for free speech, but turns on them with a series of nitpicking remarks intended to impugn their professionalism (does Dr. Mann live in Vail? I think not! Why the obsequious one day turnaround for Mann’s response? Why did the paper call Hertzberg a “denier”? Oh, that’s his self-description. Etc).

After all the howling it seems that the Vail Daily has re-posted the offending Letter to the Editor, apparently with some of the stupider things removed. What do we learn about Martin Hertzberg? He’s a big fan of the deceptive Oregon Petition. He knows that the greenhouse effect is “fear[ ]mongering hysteria… devoid of physical reality.” He considers anthropogenic CO2 emissions “about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane.” He’s heard of the Medieval Warm Period. He knows that diplomats and bureaucrats “have huge egos and a lust for power.” Finally, he’s a co-author of the idiotic Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, so he’s already had his ass kicked repeatedly on the same topics. I think Martin’s journey to the dustbin of history will be a short one.

In my opinion it’s better to leave these things “up” as originally posted and insert a correction at the start so they are in legitimate context and not left as unchallenged assertions. That way Anthony’s link to the Wikipedia entry for freedom of speech need not be indignantly displayed. I think he should have, uh, censored the sentence “In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on libel, slander, obscenity, incitement to commit a crime, etc.” though, because that’s the exact issue here.

P.S. Anthony, I think your Latin’s a bit over-enthusiastic. Also the Sherlock Holmes-by-screen-capture schtick is wearing thin, especially in light of your coy pretense of ignorance about Martin Hertzberg’s denialist contributions. Don’t bury the lede.

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Here is Michael Mann's letter to the Vail Valley Voice Editor:

Vail Valley Voices: Global warming denier's claims are falsehoods
Michael E. Mann
Vail, CO, Colorado

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An individual named Martin Hertzberg did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues in his recent commentary in your paper.

It's hard to imagine anyone packing more lies and distortions into a single commentary. Mr. Hertzberg uses libelous language in characterizing the so-called “hockey stick” -- work of my own published more than a decade ago showing that recent warming is unusual over at least the past 1,000 years -- as “fraudulent,” and claiming that it “it was fabricated from carefully selected tree-ring measurements with a phony computer program.”

These are just lies, regurgitation of dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers, and those who do their bidding by lying to the public about the science.

The highest scientific body in the nation, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed my research findings in an exhaustive independent review published in June 2006 (see e.g. “Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate,” New York Times, June 22, 2006, among many others).

Dozens of independent groups of scientists have independently reproduced and confirmed our findings, and more recent work by several groups shows that recent warmth is unusual over an even longer time frame.

Mr. Hertzberg then continues the smear by lying again about my work, claiming that “when those same tree-ring data actually showed a decline in temperature for the past several decades, Mann and his co-authors simply ‘hid the decline' by grafting direct measurements (inadequately corrected for the urban heat island and other effects) to his flat tree-ring line.”

That is, once again, a string of lies tied together. This statement falsely equates my work, which was not based on tree rings but rather a diverse network of different types of “proxy” climate data, with tree-ring work by an entirely different scientist, Keith Briffa of the University of East Anglia.

And it is is a highly dishonest characterization of his Briffa's work, as well, since the “decline” was a well-known problem with those particular data that Briffa was the first to describe and attempt to deal with, in the scientific literature.

Mr. Hertzberg's lies are pernicious. Their intent appears to be to do convince you that there is no harm in our continued unfettered release of carbon into the atmosphere.

It is not only us, but our children and grandchildren who will suffer the consequences of devastating changes in our environment in the years and decades to come if we listen to charlatans like Mr. Hertzberg.

Readers interested in the truth behind the science, rather than the falsehoods and smears perpetuated by people like Mr. Hertzberg, should consult the scientist-run website www.realclimate.org and www.skepticalscience.com, or scientifically-based books on the topic like my “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.”

Michael E. Mann is a professor in the Department of Meterology at Penn State University and director of Penn State Earth System Science Center.

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