Penn State University’s Michael Mann, one of the central figures in the Climategate scandal, has threatened legal action against Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) over the group’s popular satirical YouTube video “Hide the Decline.” The No Cap-and-Trade Coalition, a group that includes M4GW, responded today at an event at the National Press Club, releasing Mann’s threatening letter and an updated version of the “Hide the Decline” video.
“We understand why Michael Mann is eager to silence public discussion of the hockey stick scandal,” said Jeff Davis of No Cap-and-Trade, “but truth is an absolute defense.”
The original “Hide the Decline” video, which had more than 500,000 viewers, was removed today from YouTube by M4GW’s Elmer Beauregard. It received national attention when Rush Limbaugh played it on his radio show and was later featured on CBS Evening News in the wake of the Climategate email scandal. “Hide the Decline” parodied Mann, the Penn State professor who is largely responsible for the creation of the now debunked “hockey stick” graph, which purported to show a dramatic spike in average global temperature during the 20th century after 900 years of relatively constant temperature.
The video spotlighted a phrase from one of the central “Climategate” e-mails in which the University of East Anglia’s Phil Jones explains how he used Mann’s “Nature trick” to “hide the decline” of key temperature data. The hockey stick graph relied on “hiding this decline.”
When asked why he removed the video, Beauregard said “Right now, the last thing I need is a lawsuit. I can barely afford my electric bill.” Beauregard recently converted M4GW’s world headquarters (a recreational vehicle parked in Northern Minnesota) from propane to wood heat. “Mann should be glad to know that we don’t burn fossil fuels anymore – just trees,” said Beauregard.
“M4GW was started to poke fun at Global Warming because I knew it was a joke, it’s hard to believe in Global Warming when you live in a place like Minnesota. During last winter we all wished we had some global warming, hence the name of our group,” said Beauregard. As global warming developed into a political issue, M4GW has tried to educate the public that CO2 is not harmful but part of the natural carbon cycle.
Minnesotans for Global Warming did comply with Mann’s cease and desist demand, taking the “Hide the Decline” video down from their YouTube account and webpage. The No Cap and Trade Coalition unveiled a new video they’re calling “Hide the Decline II,” however. It was screened at a press conference on April 20th and is available on YouTube and NoCapAndTrade.com.
“If Doctor Mann decides to sue,” said Davis, “we would welcome the opportunity to do legal discovery. I believe he’s hiding more than just ‘the decline.'”
Speaking at the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition press conference was M4GW spokesman “Chicken Little,” a man in a chicken suit who goes to rallies crying “The globe is warming, the globe is warming!”
When asked about the situation, Chicken Little said, “I used to believe in global warming – of course, I used to believe the sky was falling too, but Elmer set me straight.” Chicken Little went on to say, “I think it’s horrible that Elmer had to take down the video. Can’t a person have a little fun on YouTube anymore? Those Global warming guys sure don’t have any sense of humor.”
At the press conference, the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition handed out a historical review of the hide-the-decline controversy entitled, “Michael Mann: Defamed or Defined by Hide-the-Decline?” as well as mini-hockey sticks that read “Mann-Made Global Warming: Why We Should Be Worried About the Intellectual Climate.”