By Joanne Nova reposted from JoNova

Climate deniers must be punished

For newcomers: Michael Mann’s hockeystick graph was wildly different from hundreds of studies of other studies and instantly became the pet graph of the IPCC. It used the wrong proxy, the wrong tree, and the wrong type of averaging. Whole books were written on how bad it was. But when Mark Steyn called it fraudulent Mann sued.

Twelve long years after the case was launched, the six person jury decided that Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg have defamed Michael Mann, but awarded Mann one whole dollar in damages, because he hadn’t been able to prove he suffered any damage at all. Remarkably, though, the jurors felt the skeptics had been so malicious they added punitive damages too. Usually these are limited to a mere four or five times the compensatory damage, but this time it was decided Simberg should pay $1,000 and Mark Steyn $1 million. It sets a new record.

According to punitive or exemplary damages are saved for truly dreadful acts:

exemplary damages n. often called punitive damages…  are damages requested and/or awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant’s willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless. These damages are awarded both as a punishment and to set a public example.

So the jury agrees that Mark Steyn did no material harm to Mann but criticizing climate scientists is itself an unforgivably evil thing.

The point is to silence you

The lawyer for Michael Mann had pushed for these punitive damages in his closing arguments (since there weren’t any real damages). John Hinderaker reported that Mann’s lawyer specifically asked the jury to deter “climate deniers” who were apparently as dangerous as “Trump election deniers”. And to a Washington D.C. jury, somehow that made sense. It took thirty years of televised propaganda to create this payday. Cheap namecalling on the news makes for a whole city of hate, ready to pass judgement.

The jury probably couldn’t even imagine how anyone could believe a climate expert might be wrong.

John Hinderaker points out there’s no evidence there was any malice involved:

In a sane world, this case never would have gone to the jury. The legal standard is actual malice, which means the defendants must have thought, subjectively, that what they said wasn’t likely true. In this case, there was no evidence whatever that Steyn and Simberg didn’t sincerely believe that what they said was true. Indeed, as Mark pointed out in closing argument, he has been saying the same things about Mann’s hockey stick for something like 21 years, and even wrote a book about it (pictured to the right).

As Mark Steyn so calmly explained at SteynOnline, he will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if he has to:

The latter number will likely get overturned at the United States Supreme Court, which generally reckons that “in practice, few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process” – and that’s when “the defamatory statements do not involve matters of public concern”. A “single-digit ratio” means four-to-one, five-to-one punitive-to-compensatory. Steyn’s jurors just set a record – a million-to-one ratio.

So, under the Supreme Court guidelines, the punitive damages of $1,000,000 could in theory be reduced to, er, four dollars. Mark may likewise be reduced, somewhat mortifyingly, to waving that US constitution around. Whether his health will hold out long enough to get him before Chief Justice John Roberts and the rest of the gang is a different question.

But as Mark has said in the past, the process is the punishment, and so this punishment will go on.

As Hinderaker explains, with these extraordinary punitive damages, Mann’s lawyer has succeeded in turning a defamation case into a free speech one. The whole point of the damages is to deter people speaking their minds freely:

… now Michael Mann’s lawyer has made it explicit: impose an arbitrary seven figure penalty on Mark Steyn, not to compensate the plaintiff Michael Mann, who didn’t suffer any damages whatsoever, but rather to deter anyone from ever again arguing that climate change alarmists are wrong, however flawed their science may be.

It is hard to imagine anything more anti-scientific or anti-American.

As Amy K. Mitchell points out, if the media can’t criticize a scientist, no one can:

Mark Steyn is a member of the media. As such he is supposedly afforded First Amendment protections. If a member of the media is no longer protected, what do you think that means for every day citizens? And it doesn’t matter if you are in DC or Montana — anyone can file in the jurisdiction of his or her choosing.

She quotes Justice Alito who accurately forecast how defamation suits in the right city could be used to silence dissent across the whole country on complex topics like climate change:

…the controversial nature of the whole subject of climate change exacerbates the risk that the jurors’ determination will be colored by their preconceptions on the matter. When allegedly defamatory speech concerns a political or social issue that arouses intense feelings, selecting an impartial jury presents special difficulties. And when, as is often the case, allegedly defamatory speech is disseminated nationally, a plaintiff may be able to bring suit in whichever jurisdiction seems likely to have the highest percentage of jurors who are sympathetic to the plaintiff ‘s point of view…

If citizens cannot speak freely and without fear about the most important issues of the day, real self government is not possible. To ensure that our democracy is preserved and is permitted to flourish, this Court must closely scrutinize any restrictions on the statements that can be made on important public policy issues. Otherwise, such restrictions can easily be used to silence the expression of unpopular views…

The sacred graph must be protected from critics

The HockeyStick graph underpins a trillion dollar industry. If the weather was just as warm in the medieval period then CO2 is not the control knob on Earth’s temperature dial and the models are missing some big natural drivers.

Even after all these years, the HockeyStick graph still forms a core part of the IPCC’s case, even though no one seems to be able to find any tree rings from the last 50 years so they can update it. We have no trouble finding 800 year old trees, but for some reason we can’t find ones alive today to tell us the temperature in 2023.

If only the planet still had trees, Mike wouldn’t need to use his Nature Trick to hide the decline.

In the immortal words of Professor Phil Jones himself:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

Judith Curry has written an extraordinary exposition of the whole sorry saga of the Hockeystick, with all its gory details. Unfortunately, ain’t it the way, it was not admitted in court as evidence. It’s all at her blog. Savage.

Readers, be aware the word fraud is moderated here, so best to use other terms – like misleading, inept, incompetent, and a travesty of science. There are plenty to pick from.

Heartland are hosting: Mann vs. Steyn: A Disgrace to the Profession – Climate Change Roundtable #97


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