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The Ball is not in his court

28 Aug 2019 | OP ED Watch

Canadian climatologist Tim Ball has been on the receiving end of several lawsuits because of his often acerbic criticism of alarmists including Michael Mann and Canada’s Andrew Weaver. So it’s worth noting that he just won decisively against Mann (including being awarded costs) and has also prevailed against Weaver although an appeal is pending. It takes courage, and sometimes deep pockets for legal fees, to oppose orthodoxy. But as a society we claim to cherish the iconoclasts. So Tim Ball’s victories ought to be headline news and cause for celebration.

Many years ago someone (we think it may have been Samuel Johnson but cannot find the quotation; if you know the source please email us) wrote that if a man accosted him in the street and tried to steal his watch he would fight him for it. But if the man threatened to sue him for it, he would hand it over and think himself fortunate. The ugly phenomenon of SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suits, from all sorts of directions, deserves attention and condemnation and an argument could be made for wholesale reform of the legal system. (Which we won’t make here beyond noting that when a profession is allowed to write its own enforceable rules, directly or in closed-door cahoots with politicians, the public is never served except with a savoury sauce.)

Tim Ball is not a young man. His grueling, stress-inducing lawsuit against Michael Mann lasted nine years he can never get back. And he’s still facing a court date in the Weaver appeal.

At some point could we debate climate in laboratories, newspapers and lecture halls not courtrooms? Assuming of course that devotees of climate orthodoxy also want to have a discussion not just silence the heretical “deniers” by any means available.

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