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Discussion > Merry Christmas, Mr Steyn


Thank you for the research - very interesting to me as a lawyer. I'm not surprised that the US system is so different to the UK (or at least English & Welsh) system, but I am surprised that the US rules contemplate discovery being complete so late relative to the trial date. The Civil Procedure Rules in England & Wales are very much aimed at helping the parties to reach agreement wherever possible, thereby minimising the issues in dispute at trial, and most particularly at helping the parties to understand early in the case the relative strengths and weaknesses of their cases. This is all with a view to encouraging early settlement and avoiding (a very expensive) trial if possible.

Indeed, our system actively discourages parties going to trial, with much emphasis given to mediation as the preferred means of settling disputes (you can go to trial and win, but if your opponent wanted to mediate and you refused, then unless your refusal was for a VERY good reason, you are likely to be clobbered on costs by the trial judge despite having won on the substantial issue).

It seems the focus in the US system is rather different. Interesting.

I think we are agreed that Mann -v- Steyn et al won't reach trial this year or next!

Jan 8, 2017 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

EM I don't think you're quite up to date, Steyn wants to get to trial asap, he therefore has already responded to Mann's request for discovery on 12th February 2014, he can't wait to get to court. Mann is doing everything in his power to avoid a court case, and I would if I was in his shoes. So far he's claimed Steyn's words to be "defamation of a Nobel Laureate", which he claimed to be three times in his original deposition, he also claimed to have been exonerated by the UEA, NOAA and the UK government, none of which had investigated him, or the hockeystick, let alone exonerated him. He also claimed Oxburgh exonerated him in his brief to the court, but on page 235 of his own book he says that Oxburgh didn't mention the hockeystick.

If you look at the latest judgement you will see that the DC court accepted that these bodies had indeed cleared Mickey of wrongdoing. Strange.

The ease with which he lies in the depositions is indicative of a man who has no intention of going to court. If he does he'll have to prove malice, in other words that Steyn knew what he said to be untrue (he doesn't) or that Steyn published with a reckless disregard of what he said was true, or false. Mann has already published a book called "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars" and is well aware that his work was controversial, so it is clear that some people had drawn conclusions about the validity of the graph. This from the climategate emails:

Tom Wigley

Phil, I have just read the M&M stuff critcizing MBH. A lot of it seems valid to me. At the very least MBH is a very sloppy piece of work -- an opinion I have held for some time. Presumably what you have done with Keith is better? -- or is it? I get asked about this a lot. Can you give me a brief heads up? Mike is too deep into this to be helpful. Tom

Unfortunately for Mann Steyn wants to get to court. I believe the Ball case comes to court in BC next week, should be interesting, worst case the jury finds for Mann and gives trivial compensation is my guess.

Jan 8, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Whether the judges accepted Mann's false claims has little to do with what the jurors will think of the same false claims when tested in court.

Jan 8, 2017 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"defamation of a Nobel Laureate"


I think I remember the Nobel Foundation (or some such organisation) said, in response to a query, "the name Michael Mann appears nowhere in our records of recipients" (or equivalent words). Then not long after

Michael Mann Retracts False Nobel Prize Claims in Humiliating Climbdown

Disgraced Penn State University (PSU) climatologist, Michael Mann, concedes defeat in his bogus claims to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Mann’s employer this weekend began the shameful task of divesting itself of all inflated claims on university websites and official documentation that Mann was ever a Peace Prize recipient with Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I have observed that people, like organisations, are generally consistent in their behaviour.

Jan 8, 2017 at 11:02 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Golf Charlie

Do I detect a double standard? You object to Dr Mann saying something negative about Dr Curry, but you do not object to Mark Steyn saying something negative about Dr Mann.

Jan 6, 2017 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - the two situations are very different, so if you were to detect a double standard, that would indicate a major malfunction in your double standard detector.

Mr Steyn is a journalist. So long as it is not too far from the truth, journalists are free to report and comment as they see fit.

Michael Mann was denigrating a fellow climate scientist. In *normal* professions, the rules of professional conduct forbid such behaviour.

Jan 8, 2017 at 11:22 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A, claiming to have been awarded a Nobel Prize, is quite a remarkable claim, for someone claiming to be an honest, trustworthy and reliable scientist, in papers submitted as part of a Legal Case, and must have impressed his Lawyers.

Is there any record of Mann apologising about this particular false claim, that he allowed to be repeated many times, or does he remain in Denial?

Jan 8, 2017 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"RR, as EM detailed, it was Steyn's codefendents filing an anti-SLAPP motion that delayed proceedings, not Dr Mann.

Is that so? Curious, but from my presently very limited access to the internet, it does still look as though it is Mr Mann who is holding up the proceedings to some degree."

Not for the first time EM is correct the anti-SLAPP motion delayed proceedings in the Steyn - Mann trial. Mann asked for and got a stay of the Steyn - Mann trial because of the anti-SLAPP case. So yes there was a delay, but it was at Mann's behest.

Jan 8, 2017 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The case is proceeding under US law. This is different from English law, but has provisions which come to something very similar in result.

In English law, if you sincerely believe on evidence that a given proposition is true, even if the evidence you took to support it was invalid, you have a defence against defamation.

The test is different in the US, but it comes to something very similar. There are two tests. If the person defamed is a private citizen, then you have only to have been negligent in your verification of the charges. This is a weaker standard than if he is a public figure. In that case you have to have engaged in 'actual malice', which is going to mean that you either deliberately or recklessly failed to investigate whether your allegations were true.

You can see that in practice this is going to come to something very similar. If you investigate sincerely and come to conclusions that the evidence points in a certain direction, you are going to have a defence. More or less convincing, depending on how public the person was that you made your allegations about.

It is pretty obvious that Mann is a public figure. So the issue is not whether Mann was exonerated by various bodies. The issue is truth. But the issue is also whether it would have taken actual malice to think him guilty of fraud, given all the evidence, including the exonerations. Which, as MacIntyre has pointed out, were considerably less convincing than his defenders claim.

People do not believe it will come to trial, for this reason. The problem is that in the allegations of truth, Mann is going to have to produce the HS MBH98 algorithm. If he has refused to do so for so long, there is probably a reason for it, it will probably be rather inconvenient. He will also be cross examined on matters like the selection of proxies and the infilling of data points. It will be quite bad, and very risky. And all the time, even if he succeeds in maintaining there was no fraud, or the evidence does not point decisively to fraud (which he probably will manage) the question will be whether Steyn could only have come to the conclusion of fraud due to actual malice.

That is one he is probably going to lose on. Then, as with Oscar Wilde, the true disaster will start. Because this will have a halo effect. Its irrelevant to warming and to the climate science field, but all the same, if he loses, both will hit the skids big time.

Its a very odd situation. He is probably going to lose in a needless suit on an irrelevant matter. By losing he is going to 'kill the thing he loves'. And it will be on a matter where everyone but a few die hards in the Guardian have moved on, and abandoned defending him. Because make no mistake about it, the profession has dropped this like a hot potato. Its only the Guardinistas and people like Nuccitelli who are still obsessively defending the HS at this point.

Jan 8, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Jan 8, 2017 at 12:14 PM | michel

Nicely put!

If the Court Case started and finished next week, irrespective of any verdict, Climate Science loses.

Trump wants the US economy freed of Climate Science ASAP. He doesn't want to wait until 2018 at the earliest. Climate Science is going to lose money in a few weeks, and losses will mount. Climate Science will have "Lost", before Mann v. Steyn gets to Court.

It would be poetic justice if Shukla and the RICO 20 fiasco , freezes Climate Science. Permanently.

Jan 8, 2017 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Its only the Guardinistas and people like Nuccitelli who are still obsessively defending the HS at this point."

And Phil Clarke.

I think there is good reason to believe that the hockey stick was fraudulent if you believe the evidence of McIntyre and Mckitrick to the NAS panel here.

2) (b) What are the principal scientific criticisms of their [Mann, Bradley and Hughes] work and how significant are they? (c) Has the information needed to replicate their work been available? (d) Have other scientists been able to replicate their work?

Our answers to these questions are as follows.

(b) With respect to Mann et al. [1998, 1999] (MBH98-99), our most important objections [see McIntyre
and McKitrick, 2003, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c, 2005d and] are:

• The study used “new” statistical methods that turned out to “mine” for hockey stick shaped series. These methods were misrepresented and/or inaccurately described in important particulars and their statistical properties were either unknown to the authors or unreported by them.

• The reconstruction failed an important verification test said to have used in the study. This failure was not reported and the statistical skill was misrepresented both in the original article and by the IPCC.

• Dominant weight was placed on proxies known to be inappropriate temperature proxies, along with, at best, misleading information about their impact and, at worst, actual withholding of adverse results;

• The method of confidence interval calculation leads to unrealistically narrow confidence intervals;

(c) No. Systematic obstruction was placed at every step of the way of replication attempts. The underlying data were exceedingly hard to identify and obtain. The methodology was not accurately described in the paper and the computational code was withheld until the intervention of a Congressional investigation.

(d) No. Some authors (Ammann and Wahl) claim to have replicated the MBH results. Contrary to their representations, they have not confirmed MBH claims of statistical skill and robustness or dealt with all relevant aspects of MBH. Their emulation of MBH is almost identical to ours. Differences between us pertain entirely to the characterization of the results, rather than to the calculations themselves. In fact, their code actually confirms our claims about MBH verification statistics.

We have also carefully studied the data and methods of the major multiproxy studies used in the reconstruction of surface temperatures for the past millennium [Mann et al., 1998; Mann et al, 1999; Jones et al 1998; Crowley and Lowery 2000; Esper et al, 2002; Mann and Jones, 2003; Jones and Mann, 2004; Moberg et al, 2005; Osborn and Briffa, 2006]. We will focus our discussion on the most prominent of these studies, MBH98-99, which was heavily relied upon by the IPCC, but we will also itemize issues regarding the other studies, that should be of concern to the Committee.

Our concerns with other studies frequently cited in support of MBH are related to the above. For every study, there are pointless obstacles to replication, causing long delays to any statistical researcher attempting to evaluate the results. The studies are neither independent in authorship nor in proxy selection. None of the studies describe objective protocols for proxy selection. Because they have very small populations, their results are highly sensitive to proxy choice. The repetitive use of proxies know to be questionable as temperature proxies, but which happen to have a hockey stick shape (such as the bristlecone growth index), raises questions about potential bias in proxy selection. There is also evidence of considerable instability in well-known site chronologies depending on sample (e.g. the Polar Urals pre- and post- recent resampling), yielding remarkably divergent results even from the same site.

We can only briefly survey these questions and will leave list of major issues and questions for the Committee to consider.

With regard to Rep. Boehlert’s question (3b):

3) How central is the work of Drs. Mann, Bradley and Hughes to the consensus on the temperature record?

MBH is the origin of the claims that 1998 was the “warmest” year and the 1990s the “warmest decade” of the millennium. It was relied upon both by the IPCC and then, subsequently by national governments, including Canada. It became a standard for every subsequent multiproxy study and is included in all representations of millennial climate. Its results and methods continue in use, directly affecting papers released as recently as last month.

Jan 8, 2017 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"MBH is the origin of the claims that 1998 was the “warmest” year and the 1990s the “warmest decade” of the millennium. It was relied upon both by the IPCC and then, subsequently by national governments, including Canada. It became a standard for every subsequent multiproxy study and is included in all representations of millennial climate. Its results and methods continue in use, directly affecting papers released as recently as last month.

Jan 8, 2017 at 2:24 PM | geronimo"

All the more reason for Trump to pull the rug out from underneath the feet resting on the Hockey Stick. As he can't intervene in a Civil Court about the Hockey Stick, he may drag Climate Scientists into court, feet first. If they then stand their ground on the Hockey Stick, Mann gets called to a Criminal Court, as a Witness, under Oath.

In the UK, giving false evidence in court is perjury. See R v. Jeffrey Howard Archer

Jan 8, 2017 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

geronimo "Phyically" should have been "Psychically" I believe my evil spellchecker is both authoritarian and right wing.

Jan 8, 2017 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Golf charlie. " In the UK, giving false evidence in court is perjury." I believe the correct form is "In the UK, KNOWINGLY giving false evidence in court is perjury. Mark could advise.

Previous post (3.18pm) in error - wrong discussion thread.

Jan 8, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Mark Hodgson

I think we are agreed that Mann -v- Steyn et al won't reach trial this year or next!

It depends on the parties' attitudes to the discovery process. If both are keen to go to trial and willing to expedite discovery, then it could go quickly and we could see a trial this year.

If one side or both want to make life difficult, the process could drag on for years. For example, one side can inundate the other with hundreds of thousands of pages of marginally relevant information, forcing them to spend years of effort and a fortune just winnowing chaff. There is also the possibility that discovery is seen as a means of digging for dirt by both sides and gets bogged down in rrelevancies.


Not for the first time EM is correct the anti-SLAPP motion delayed proceedings in the Steyn - Mann trial. Mann asked for and got a stay of the Steyn - Mann trial because of the anti-SLAPP case. So yes there was a delay, but it was at Mann's behest.

Mark Hodgson might be better able to answer this. Would it be appropriate to begin discovery on a countersuit while a motion to dismiss the original suit was still undecided?

Since suit and countersuit involve the same matter, it would seem more efficient to combine the two discovery processes, and try them together.

Jan 8, 2017 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Supertroll, I think you are correct about UK Law, but I don't know!

The UK, especially Newspapers and the BBC have been very good about not reporting on a crime, once someone has been arrested and charged. The US was happy to run a trial by television, running concurrently with the OJ Simpson Trial.

The presenters AND producers of Have I Got News For You have done very well (in my opinion) about pushing the nerves of BBC In-House Lawyers to the limits. In so many legal cases, or just matters of public interest and intrigue, there is frequently a "back story" that is not reported on, because of Legal threats, unlawful threats, and some downright illegal ones. On balance, I prefer the UK system.

As Climate Science has/has tried to abuse US Law, most recently with the RICO 20, it seems fair and reasonable for investigations into fraud and corruption amongst the RICO 20 and know associates, to be given more scrutiny. This will connect with Hockey Teamsters.

US Democrats need to drain their own swamp. The UK Labour Party is still arguing about which side of the swamp needs draining.

Meanwhile, Mann is quite happy, knowing he has at least another year before he allows himself into Court for the Legal Case he instigated. I think Mann may be summoned to give evidence before then, though I don't think anyone yet knows the name of the case.

Jan 8, 2017 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf Charlie

IIRC Mann V Ball comes to trial in British Colombia on February 17th.

Jan 8, 2017 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Section 1(1) of the Perjury Act 1911:

"If any person lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceeding wilfully makes a statement material in that proceeding, which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be guilty of perjury...".

Hope that helps..

EM - interesting development regarding Mann -v- Ball, if you read correctly. Thanks for the update. Watch this space, then!

I'm not really in a position to comment on American law & procedure, especially as I have been surprised to learn how late in the day it seems US Court procedure envisages discovery taking place. All I would say is that discovery can voluntarily be made at any time, and failure to do so in a timely manner MIGHT be indicative of a lack of desire to move a case towards trial.

If the case against Ball does proceed to trial next month, maybe the speed of progress in the case against Steyn et al will be a function of which side wins north of the border!

Jan 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Entropic Man & Mark Hodgson

EM, thanks for the reminder about Mann v. Ball. I was actually thinking about cases currently unknown!

I presume Mark Hodgson is quoting UK Law reference perjury?

Mann has also stated that he was cleared of various wrong doing. Though Climate Audit suggests otherwise.

The first link in the Thread leads to a previous Climate Audit Post following Oxburgh. Steve Mcintyre is Canadian, and has done well to reflect differences in Law between different Countries.

Mann has not appeared in a UK Court or any other Legal setting within the UK (to the best of my knowledge) so has not committed Perjury, and cannot be accused. Those who have relied on Mann and his Hockey Stick when giving evidence in a UK Court, have not committed Perjury, unless they knew it was false.

Googling "Muir Russell" and "Oxburgh" the two UK Inquiries, along with "Climate Audit" and "Bishop Hill" produces many interesting examples of how it was that neither Mann nor his Hockey Stick were ever investigated, and therefore never cleared, just something else that Mann has not been honest about, like his Nobel Prize.

I don't think Trump will want to wait too long for the subtleties of US, and Canadian Civil Law to play out. It would seem sensible for Mann v. Bell to play out first, if it is quick, thereafter US Criminal Justice can get to work on the RICO 20 for financial fraud, or even Al Capone's favourite, tax evasion.

Trump does not need Mann's head on a (Hockey) Stick, but disgruntled Hockey Teamsters and Democrats may deliver it. Trump just wants to get rid of Climate Science, for good, and I expect he would be happy to take out various State Governors and State Attorneys, with as much Democrat embarrassment as possible.

RICO 20 provides his list of suspects, plus co-conspirators, plus signed admissions of involvement. Not all of them committed financial fraud, but there is enough to get started.

Jan 8, 2017 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not a Legal or Court ruling, but interesting that the UK Press Complaints does NOT uphold a complaint by an Ocean Acidification Alarmist

Jan 9, 2017 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


The Post is interesting. So are the comments. So are the 30+ Trackbacks at the end.

Jan 9, 2017 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Yes, gc. Perjury Act 1911 is English law. I'm almost clueless when it comes to US law!

Jan 9, 2017 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

"Since suit and countersuit involve the same matter, it would seem more efficient to combine the two discovery processes, and try them together."

One of us is confused. Let me try to understand what you're saying. Mann asked for a stay on discovery because of the upcoming SLAPP case, because it would be more efficient to combine the two discovery processes? So the SLAPP case is now over, but nothings been "combined" Steyn still hasn't got Mann's evidence of tort. In any event despite Phil Clarke's assertions that he was, Steyn was not party to the appeal, and trial would have gone ahead anyway, regardless of the outcome of the SLAPP case. Steyn is raring to get into court, in my view for two reasons, first he would have Michael Mann's work examined by more rigorous, less benign and impartial lawyers and judged by a jury less inclined to close ranks than the NAS panel, second he believes that he can't lose, for reasons we have argued at length, and that if he should lose the DC case it will go the the Supreme Court as a First Amendment issue.

Jan 9, 2017 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The SLAPP motion to dismiss did not involve Steyn, but did involve his co-defendants. Steyn chose not to be involved.

I am not clear how you expect things to proceed now.

Should discovery for Steyn have proceeded independently of the other defendants?

Should discovery for each of the four defendants proceed independently or should they combine their efforts?

Is Steyn planning to combine discovery with the others or continue to go his own way?

Is Steyn planning to do discovery twice, for the suit and his countersuit, or combine them?

Remember that each duplication increases the time and the cost.

he would have Michael Mann's work examined by more rigorous, less benign and impartial lawyers and judged by a jury less inclined to close ranks than the NAS panel,

Please adjust your dress. Your bias is showing.

Jan 9, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Golf Charlie

Googling "Muir Russell" and "Oxburgh" the two UK Inquiries, along with "Climate Audit" and "Bishop Hill"

You advised me recently to choose my sources carefully. Perhaps you should do the same. Getting all your information from Climate Audit and Bishop Hill is only reading one side of the case.

Jan 9, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM, correct!

If it had not been for Steve McIntyre (and Andrew Montford, and many others) Climate Scientists would never have found any of their own mistakes, even with the help of their Peers to double check and review.

I think that is one of the reasons why Trump is unlikely to wait for Mann v. Steyn to get to court. If Climate Scientists can't be relied upon to correct each others work, why should Taxpayers have to fund any of it? Climate Scientists get all the money, yet the fault finders get none.

Remember that Mann claims to have been exonerated by Muir Russell and Oxburgh. This is strange, as they managed to avoid considering anything relevant, presumably because their terms of reference were suitably adjusted

Jan 9, 2017 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie