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Fri, 2013-08-16 05:00Steve Horn
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Law Firm Behind Removal of YouTube Tar Sands Satire Fundraiser Tied to Big Oil

Law Firm Behind Removal of YouTube Tar Sands Satire Fundraiser Tied to Big Oil

DeSmog Canada recently revealed Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis - two political satirists in the spotlight for their ongoing spoofery of the Alberta tar sands project - had an Indiegogo fundraising promotional video for their upcoming “vacation” to the Alberta tar sands ordered removed from YouTube due to an alleged copyright violation.

Alleged because under U.S. legal precedent (YouTube is a U.S. company), it's almost impossible to claim copyright damages for parody and/or satire. That won't keep Travel Alberta, the province's tourism bureau, from trying.

“The original inspiration for our project is that industry PR around the tar sands seems like a cross between a travel ad and oil company ad, inviting us to 'come to Alberta' and see for ourselves,” Mike Damanskis told DeSmog

Demanskis has provided DeSmog with a copy of Travel Alberta's complaint, a screenshot of which can been seen below.

Sun, 2013-03-10 16:25Graham Readfearn
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Climate Denial Industry Hits Courts And Hollywood As Threats Fly

THE climate science denial industry doesn't like Penn State University's Professor Michael Mann very much.

Mann is the scientist behind the famous “hockey stick” graph that first appeared in the journal Nature in 1998. Mann and two other scientists Professor Raymond Bradley and Professor Malcolm Hughes had reconstructed temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere from the year 1400 to present day using data mainly from tree rings, ice cores and modern temperature readings.

The following year, the same three scientists extended their study to reconstruct 1000 years of temperatures and published this in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Each time the team plotted their data on graphs and each time the plots showed what is the now famous “hockey stick” shape with a sharp uptick in temperatures towards the end of the century.

Thu, 2012-07-26 11:52Brendan Demelle and Richard Littlemore
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Affidavits in Michael Mann Libel Suit Reveal Astonishing Facts About Tim Ball Associate John O'Sullivan

Affidavits filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court libel litigation brought by climate scientist Michael Mann against climate science denier Timothy Ball reveal that Ball's collaborator and self-styled “legal advisor” has misrepresented his credentials and endured some significant legal embarrassments of his own. 

The affidavits also reveal that Tim Ball was “aware of the charges against John O'Sullivan almost from the start” and has tried to distance himself from his erstwhile advisor and writing partner.

The affidavits [12] come from research of science and medical writer Andrew Skolnick, who documents O'Sullivan's misrepresentations, backtracking and questionable behavior.

Tim Ball and John O'Sullivan had a close working relationship, even before Mann sued Ball for libel in March 2011. For example, they co-authored the climate science denial book Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, which was published in 2010.

Skolnick's evidence shows that O'Sullivan made a series of false claims, including:

  • that he was an attorney with more than a decade of successful litigation in New York State and Federal courts;
  • that he was employed by a major Victoria, B.C.(Canada) law firm that is representing Ball in the libel action;
  • that he is a widely published writer, with credits in Forbes and the National Review;
  • that he had received his law degree from the University College, Cork, Ireland and/or from the University of Surrey (O'Sullivan's actual legal accreditation, apparently obtained after the Mann-Ball action commenced, comes from an online degree mill, Hill University, which promises delivery in two weeks);
  • that he is a member of the American Bar Association.
Thu, 2011-06-30 11:12Michael Fisher
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Denial-a-Palooza: Where Are All the Scientists That Deniers Love To Talk About?

Where are all the scientists?

Wake up and smell the fossil fuel funding. That’s right, it’s that time of year again: the Heartland Institute is hosting its Sixth (annual?*) International Conference on Climate Change over the next two days in Washington D.C.

DeSmogBlog already revealed some of the oily sponsors behind the event. Now it’s time to take a look at the so-called scientists Heartland has rounded up to accomplish this year’s theme of “Restoring the Scientific Method.”   

Thu, 2011-04-14 17:52Richard Littlemore
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Lindzen Slipping from Ranks of "Credible" Scientists

Has the once-respected professor “gone emeritus”?

Richard Lindzen has long been the “skeptic” community’s scientific poster boy. In a world stuffed with deniers for hire such as S. Fred Singer and Tim Ball, who lecture on the topic of climate change regardless that they bring little or no relevant expertise to the subject, Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT and has served (many years ago) as a lead author on a chapter in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But increasingly, his trenchant denial that climate change is a concern is casting him further from the ranks of people who can be taken seriously - particularly as he shows increasing willingness to say things that are simply and demonstrably not true.

Take as an example this recent radio interview, in which Lindzen tells Australian commentator Chris Smith that his country’s effort to tackle climate change by implementing carbon tax is “a bit bizarre.”

Lindzen says a number of silly things (in more detail below), but he flat out lies about the state of polar ice in Greenland and Antarctica saying, “there is no evidence of any significant change.”

Tue, 2011-03-29 17:22Richard Littlemore
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Michael Mann suing Tim Ball for libel

Update: Notice of Civil Claim now attached below

Dr. Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, is suing the climate change denier Dr. Tim Ball and the think tank/web site Frontier Centre for Public Policy for libel - and particularly for suggesting that Mann is somehow guilty of criminal fraud for his part in what has come to be known as “climategate.”

In the interview, an anonymous questioner (“John Doe” in court documents, says this to Ball: Various government and academic agencies have whitewashed the Climategate scandal so far. Do you think anyone will be prosecuted for fraud?” Ball responds, “Michael Mann at Penn State should be in the State Pen, not Penn State.”

The Frontier Centre is a Canadian version of the Heartland Institute. The website was reportedly given an opportunity to apologize for the slight, which they declined - although they cleansed the interview of the quote featured above. (It originally appeared directly after the line: “There is a move amongst the Attorney Generals in the States to start prosecuting.”)

The suits are also stacking up for Ball, who is already facing a similar action from the Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver.

Tue, 2011-02-08 12:56Richard Littlemore
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Tim Ball Stands By His Slander

Facing a libel suit for an article slandering University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver as someone who “knew very little about climate change” and is therefore unfit to teach, Tim Ball has told the New York Times, “I stand by the story.”

The NYT also wrote: “The apology and retraction of the story by Canada Free Press ‘hung me out to dry,’ Dr. Ball added, saying he was in the process of hiring a lawyer to fight the lawsuit.”

Ball admits that he was incorrect in also saying that Weaver was “abandoning the sinking ship” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Weaver is, in fact, a lead author in the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report). But he dismisses this as “one small mistake.”

Ball’s “small mistake” may be in thinking that he can continue to say any darn thing he likes, about climate change or the people involved in legitimate research, and never have to account for its accuracy. Not for much longer ….

Fri, 2011-02-04 11:53Richard Littlemore
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Andrew Weaver Sues Tim Ball for Libel

University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis, has filed suit for libel against freelance climate change denier Tim Ball.

The suit (attached below) arises from an article that Ball penned for the right-wingy Canada Free Press website, which has since apologized to Weaver for its numerous inaccuracies and stripped from its publicly available pages pretty much everything that Ball has ever written.

In the article, Ball, a former geography professor at the University of Winnipeg with an indifferent academic record and a lifetime peer-reviewed literature output of just four articles (none of them in atmospheric physics), assailed Weaver as uninformed about climate, unqualified to teach and compromised by his lavish funding, accusations for which he offered no proof whatever.

Weaver, a member of the Royal Society of Canada who has authored more than 190 papers, was also a lead author on three of the four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC), and is lined up as a lead author on the fifth. He’s also won pretty much all the academic and teaching awards that are available to a Canadian professor who has not yet had his 50th birthday. Ball, famously slow to notice the obvious, apparently didn’t realize that he was overmatched.

Fri, 2011-01-21 11:32Richard Littlemore
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CanadaFreePress Apologizes to Dr. Andrew Weaver

Website retracts Tim Ball’s BS

The website Canada Free Press has issued a retraction and apology (full text below) to University of Victoria climate modeller Dr. Andrew Weaver for the content of an article written by Dr. Tim Ball.

Ball, whose own unspectacular academic tenure ended with a fizzle in 1996, has found a second career pretending to be a world-renowned climatologist (he once wrote to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin that he was “one of the first climatology PhDs in the world” - a statement that is purest fiction). In addition to signing on as a “science advisor” to energy industry front groups such as the Friends of Science or the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Ball has written and spoken extensively, seldom passing up the opportunity to libel real scientists. (Though, when the going gets tough, the dishonest get going.)

One of Ball’s favourite targets has been Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria in Ball’s B.C. hometown.

Wed, 2010-11-17 15:44Richard Littlemore
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ICSC Climate Scientists' Register: Usual suspects; usual tactics

The tired, old climate-change deniers who keep trying to get themselves taken seriously have launched another petition claiming that “having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, (they) do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.”

This new laundry list of paid skeptics and ideologues is yet another instalment in the periodic petition process that has confused the climate conversation since Dr. S. Fred Singer launched the first such stunt in 1992. In fact, usual suspects such as Singer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels and Sherwood Idso are on both lists.

Connoisseurs will recognize more names, perennial Canadian deniers like Tim Patterson and Tim Ball, both alumni of an evolving series of oil-backed astroturf groups including the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project. The oily lobbyist and former APCO Worldwide PR guy Tom Harris, who was prominent in both of those organizations, is also the “brains” behind this effort.

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