The person who was most instrumental in debunking Climategate scientist Michael Mann‘s hockey stick chart, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, said last night that he did not believe his scientific misrepresentations rose to the level of fraud. At the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago, McIntyre delivered a compelling account of his adventures in trying to obtain temperature data and in successfully challenging Mann’s work, but then left much of the ballroom disappointed by letting Mann off the hook. My Heartland colleague Dan Miller recounts:
Citing a particularly controversial email in the Climategate emails that referred to hiding an unexpected but inconveniently inexplicable decline in global temperatures, McIntyre concluded, “To the extent that things like the ‘trick’ (to “hide the decline”) were common practice, the practices need to be disavowed. The scientists do not need to be drummed out, but there has to be some commitment to avoiding these sort of practices in the future.”
But the audience was having none of McIntyre’s forgiving rhetoric, and questioner after questioner pressed the Canadian to acknowledge legal, if not moral, culpability.
“I don’t even think in those terms,” McIntyre insisted.
As Miller and Heartland president Joe Bast noted, it was an extremely odd audience reaction: McIntyre received a standing ovation upon his introduction, thanks to his dogged research and unrelenting demand for information and accountability, but then his blase’ attitude about scientists’ behavior — particularly Mann’s — left most of the audience cold and some even angry. The applause for McIntyre was tepid upon the conclusion of his remarks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
McIntyre said he believed expressing emotions and anger over the episode was counterproductive and even self-indulgent, and that simply proving Mann and others wrong was sufficient. Perhaps if McIntyre personally lent or gave a few million dollars for Mann to indulge in his deceptive research, instead of taxpayers footing the bill, then he might feel more self-indulgent himself.