The Latest Smear Campaign Against Michael Mann

Fri, 2010-01-15 11:41Mitchell Anderson
Mitchell Anderson's picture

The Latest Smear Campaign Against Michael Mann

The climate denial echo chamber is again in high gear trying to assassinate the character of respected scientist Michael Mann of Penn State. Their latest ruse is to squawk that Dr. Mann is the indirect recipient of federal stimulus dollars.

That is not at all surprising since last year $3 billion in federal stimulus funds was provided to the National Science Foundation in addition to their normal budget of about $6 billion. That means that about one third of all research grants from the NSF nation-wide benefited from stimulus money.

Lets drill a little deeper into this smear campaign. Penn State and the University of Hawaii both shared a grant of $770,000 for a research project called “Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing: Combining Paleoclimate Proxy and Instrumental Observations with an Earth System Model”.

Of this money, Dr. Mann received $57,000 (or 7.5%) over a three-year period, or $19,000 a year. Clearly these climate scientists are in it for the money…

Doing the math, Dr. Mann personally received 0.0006% of the total NSF budget, or more fairly, 0.0002% since it is spread over three years.

You would never know that of course reading the tripe being trotted out by carbon cheerleaders of the world. The charmingly titled website thundered that “a half a million dollar grant awarded to Penn State Professor Michael Mann.” How they arrived at this $450,000 error is unknown – it is puzzling when such free market capitalists clearly can’t operate a calculator…

The National Center for Public Policy Research chimed in, demanding that the funding be returned to the US taxpayer. “It’s shocking that taxpayer money is being used to support a researcher who seemingly showed little regard to the basic tenets of science - a dispassionate search for the truth,” said Tom Borelli.

Since Mr. Borelli brought up funding, who is paying his salary? ExxonMobil has granted the NCPPR at least $100,000 since 2002, including $30,000 for their ‘global climate change/EnviroTruth website.

It’s also interesting that Borelli mentioned the principle of “dispassionate search for truth” in science. BorelliThat personal conviction must have served him well when he was the manager of Philip Morris Corporate Scientific Affairs Department in the 1990’s.

This video shows Dr. Borelli assuring viewers that second hand tobacco smoke is actually quite harmless. Who knew?

Last year, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that Imperial Tobacco in 1992 destroyed dozens of internal research documents (including those related to second hand smoke) “that could expose the company to liability or embarrassment.”

The tobacco industry and their representatives are hardly renowned as a bastion of dispassionate scientific inquiry.

Yet many of these are the same people that presumed to question the science behind the so-called “hockey stick” graph published by Mann and others in the journal Nature in 1998.

Besides being published in the most respected scientific journal in the world, this research was later assessed and exonerated by the National Research Council. However it seems that some interests have little interest in the truth, instead relying on repetition rather than reality.

And who were the main critics of this research? Steve McIntyre, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and spent his career in the mining and petroleum industries, and Congressman Joe Barton who accepted $834,386 from oil companies between 2000 and 2007, and another $121,050 from the coal industry.

But as I often ask, what does money have to do with anything?

It seems that in addition to impeccable scientific credentials, climate researchers must now also possess the hide of a rhino in order to endure public attacks like this, from the likes of Borelli.

Previous Comments

The data is good, the science is good. So attack the scientists. It’s all the doubt industry has, so this card will be played.

It clearly shows what the deniers truly are: bullies, paid by their masters the fossil fuel industry to subvert science in the most disrespectful way.

It’s this kind of hypocrisy that would drive me insane if I didn’t have such a keenly developed sense of humor. :-)

It should be pointed out that Mann, or anyone else funded by NSF, does not directly get the grant money. The grant goes to the institution, in this case Penn State. Penn State sets up an account which then covers the costs as detailed in the grant proposal (cover portions of grad student, post doc, PI and support staff salaries, equipment costs, computing time, etc.).

Hi Mitchell, I’m not sure that you have the right grant there. There were three working links at from your link, and I couldn’t make the figures add up from them to reach 770,000. Nor was there a grant title matching yours (Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing: Combining Paleoclimate Proxy and Instrumental Observations) in the three briefs.

Here’s the grant for $541,184 to Penn State, as reported by the National Center for Public Policy:

I found it by typing the amount in the search box.

I’m curious to know how you derived Mann’s salary portion of the grant you posted on. Are you able to figure out the same for this one?

I couldn’t find a more detailed money trail. All we have is that $541,000 went to Penn State for research on paleoclimate. I’m not sure this grant was for three years, either.


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