July 12, 2010

Letters to the editor, July 12. 2010
'Hockey stick' creator rebuts critic

In a piece published in your paper on July 9 you allowed an individual named Dave Irons to do a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues.

click image to enlarge

Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann writes to say a Maine Voices column last Friday protrayed him and his work incorrectly.

Penn State photo

Mr. Irons' claim that global warming has been "almost entirely discredited" demonstrates an embarrassing lack of awareness of the overwhelming consensus behind the fact that humans are influencing the climate. Mr. Irons appeals to false allegations based on out-of-context quoting and cherry-picking of words and phrases from stolen private e-mails to level the false and defamatory claim that climate scientists have been engaged in an effort to "hide" data.

Such claims have now been dismissed by five different independent reviews in the United States and the Unied Kingdom. To individuals such as Mr. Irons, such findings of course are simply part of a grand international conspiracy. The more authoritatively his claims have been debunked, the grander of course the conspiracy must be!

Mr. Irons makes the specific defamatory allegation against me that work by my colleagues and me reconstructing past temperature trends is "fraudulent."

Both the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and my university, Penn State University, have exonerated me of the false allegations against me by climate change deniers like Mr. Irons. The National Academy of Sciences has furthermore affirmed my research findings, as have dozens of other independent groups of scientists.

Mr. Irons promotes the standard climate change denier talking point that climate scientists are making "billions" of dollars for their work.

Almost all government research funds obtained by climate scientists (and all other scientists for that matter) go to funding research, field work, etc. and the support of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff. Scientists do not financially benefit themselves from these grants.

That is to be contrasted with a handful of professional climate change deniers who are indeed typically compensated personally by industry front groups for their attacks against the science of climate change. In an Orwellian twist of logic, Mr. Irons actually cites several such individuals in support of his position.

Readers interested in the truth behind the science, rather than the falsehoods and smears perpetuated by people like Mr. Irons, should consult the scientist-run website, www.realclimate.org, or scientifically-based books on the topic like my "Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming."

It is ironic that Mr. Irons accuses scientists (including myself) of dishonesty.

It is those like Mr. Irons who spread false information about science and scientists -- whether knowingly, or by simply uncritically parroting the disinformation of others -- who do the greatest harm to the public discourse on vital issues such as climate change.

Michael E. Mann

Professor, Department of Meteorology, Penn State University

Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center

State College, Pa.

Everything was great on Eastern Prom July 4

On behalf of the 50,000-plus who attended or otherwise enjoyed the 2010 Patriotic Pops on the Eastern Prom, thank you to the sponsors who made this happen. The Maine Red Claws, Quirk Chevrolet, Portland Newspapers, Wright Express, and all of the others.

Your dedication to making this an A-plus event was highly successful. The Portland Symphony Orchestra was spectacular.

Thank you, and here is a toast to the beginning of something truly spectacular!

James D. Konkel

Cape Elizabeth

James Phinney Baxter would have loved to be on Eastern Promenade on Sunday night.

I sat on my porch and thought of the people that made Eastern Promenade Park a reality. James Phinney Baxter was the driving force in the creation of Eastern Promenade Park when he was the mayor of Portland between 1895 and 1905.

But even before that, in 1837, the citizens of Portland voted to create a very wide street, the street we still call the Eastern Promenade.

Most cities in the world squandered their valuable waterfront for private purposes, but not Portland, Maine. We have one of the most spectacular waterfront parks in the world in Eastern Promenade Park.

Next time you visit this great park, remember those who came before us and made this all possible. Former Portland citizens and political leaders bequeathed us some wonderful parklands and public spaces.

It is the responsibility of today's citizens and political leaders to be sure we protect the great legacy left to us by past generations. We must also strive to pass on to future generations a Portland that is even more wonderful. Let's get to work!

Dick Anderson

Portland

Arundel school changes should be left to students

I would like to give my opinion as a student on the recent school consolidation between Arundel and the Kennebunks. I think it's great to consolidate because that means bigger schools, which hopefully can get better teachers and offer lots of opportunites for students who want them.

The only problem with this for Arundel specifically is that Arundel has a contract for 10 years with Thornton Academy to go to middle school there. Making such a quick transition is pointless because Thornton built a school, used it for a couple years and then would have to shut it down because Arundel wants to consolidate.

I think they should let the contract go through, put some use into the school and plan how to most effectively transition into the new school system.

Also, as a note, the students don't really have a voice in the matter other than what I am doing by writing a letter to you. It should really be the students' decision. They get impacted the most out of this.

Personally, I would like to see my education through Thornton Academy because I don't want to change schools just as I'm getting used to one, and it is much more convenient due to its location close to my house and church. That is all I have to say. Thank you.

Elijah Abaroa

Arundel

 

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