Update - see below. The WUWT report is now up.
I know that after my last article you'll all have been expecting a new conciliatory tone from Anthony Watts. Well maybe some of you were. Okay, fair enough. No-one was. And it looks as if no-one was wrong. Just as I was able to report some of John Cook's lecture where Anthony Watts, who was paid to attend, failed. Now I can report a bit more about Michael Mann's Cabot Institute lecture in the Victoria Rooms at the University of Bristol yesterday. Anthony hasn't even bothered to write one article about it, or not so far anyway. The lecture was called:
The Hockey Stick and the climate wars - the battle continues
|Victoria Rooms, Michael Mann Lecture venue Credit: Katy Duke|
Anthony hasn't reported back to his funding bodies but he has shot off a couple of tweets. He tweeted (somewhat deceptively):
@ElBuehn We never got a chance to ask Mann questions, only 5 were taken, and those seemed pre-selected. Lewandowsky directed Q&A in audience
— Watts Up With That (@wattsupwiththat) September 23, 2014
Two things. Maybe three (the third being that Anthony can't count). You may recall, Leo Hickman was sitting right behind Anthony and from this tweet (and confirmed) Anthony didn't even attempt to ask a question. He didn't raise his hand once. Anthony chickened out again. That's why I say he was being deceptive. Leo Hickman tweeted:
@BarryJWoods but how would he know who was who? Just lots of hands up, but why not Watts? @theresphysics @MichaelEMann @cabotinstitute
— Leo Hickman (@LeoHickman) September 24, 2014
And to be certain, I asked Leo Hickman if Anthony raised his hand to ask a question (and if James Delingpole did the same, though I figured the latter would be too ashamed after he embarrassed himself in front of the entire world). He replied:
@SouBundanga no, he didn't raise his hand. I didn't know JD was even there until afterwards
— Leo Hickman (@LeoHickman) September 24, 2014
Anthony's deflected any criticism of him not asking one of his "many" questions by claiming that Stephan Lewandowsky seemed to have "pre-selected" them. That's some conspiracy ideation. Not just "selected" but "pre-selected". Now questions came from the audience downstairs and upstairs on the balcony. Did Stephan know all the people who he selected? I'd be surprised if he knew who was who. He might have been able to make out one or two people. Unlikely, but possible. But all four? And "pre-selected'? (Remember, Professor Lewandowsky is relatively new to the UK. He's been in Australia and the USA and Canada, but he's only been at Bristol since last year.)
|Michael Mann at Bristol Credit: Katy Duke|
It sounded as if three of the four people asking Michael Mann a question didn't introduce themselves. Whether they were Dorothy Dixers or not (and I've been informed they were not), the questions weren't bad, but not as hard-hitting as Michael Mann or some in the audience would have liked. In particular, there didn't seem to be any questions from fake sceptics, which was probably a disappointment to Michael Mann and the organisers. They ran out of time to take more questions. In any case, I'm not surprised that Anthony was reluctant to be shown up as a something of an idiot.
Three questions were from women and one from a man. Here's a taste for those of us who weren't there.
One person asked about tipping points and Michael responded by giving some examples. He went on to explain how we will need to be aware that there will be different "points of no return". For example, the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. We don't know how quickly it will happen, but it is likely that we are already beyond the point of no return. Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than it was predicted only a few years ago. He said that knowing we've already passed some tipping points is no cause to give up because there are tipping points that we haven't yet crossed. So there is time to prevent them.
Someone asked if there was any argument that could be used to persuade "sceptics" of climate change. Professor Mann made the point that all scientists are sceptical, that scientific processes are designed to be self-correcting. As he said, the term "sceptic" has been misappropriated by people who don't apply sceptical analysis to their own arguments. That's denial, not scepticism. He pointed out that with a lot of science there is much debate and/or large uncertainty. For example, how is climate influencing the jet stream. He also made the point that uncertainty is not a reason for inaction. There is a lot of debate about details but no debate about the fact that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing climate change. Or that this is happening so quickly there will be little time to adapt.
There was one question from Alex Wilks from Avaaz, who asked about the "outrageous intimidation" to which Professor Mann's been subjected, and how it affected Dr Mann as a person. Secondly he asked whether he felt there was a "hockey stick" or surge in public interest in climate change again.
Michael Mann responded, referring to his "deepest and darkest" periods when he started to think about continuing or not, but on reflection, he wouldn't make any different choice. He considers himself blessed to be in the position he is in, being able to inform the public about climate change and the risks we are having to manage. He sees some very hopeful signs of renewed public support, referring, among other things, to the recent announcement by the Rockefeller Foundation that it is divesting its funds in fossil fuel industries.
Finally, where Michael Mann is, you're bound to find lots of hockey sticks, maybe even a hockey league :)
|Michael Mann, Bristol Credit: Katy Duke|
PS I think that the Cabot Institute has recorded Michael Mann's lecture and John Cook's lecture on video, and they will be released in a couple of weeks. If so, I'll let you know.
PPS Anthony's tweets could have been a lot worse. Maybe his scientific dinner did have some effect.
Disclaimer: I didn't attend either lecture. I've tried to be accurate but any errors in reporting are mine.
Anthony has finally written an article about Michael Mann's lecture. Or should I say he's copied and pasted a report from someone else who wrote about Michael Mann's lecture.
Their main complaint seemed to be that Professor Mann talked about "The Hockey Stick and the climate wars - the battle continues" instead of something else that they wanted (expected) him to talk about. Perhaps they should have read about the lecture topic before signing up. (Archive here.)
Sou 25 September 2014
From the WUWT comments