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Michael Mann and the Climate Wars

Physicist and CSI Fellow Mark Boslough interviewed noted climatologist and geophysicist Michael Mann, who will be speaking at CSICon Las Vegas.

MARK BOSLOUGH: To anyone who has followed the “climate wars,” your name is a household word. Deniers even coined the phrase “Mann-made global warming” in an attempt to make it synonymous with their belief that global warming is an elaborate hoax. From my vantage point as a scientist and skeptic, you seem to be the person they love to hate more than anyone else except perhaps Al Gore. Why do you think they have singled you out from the scientific community as their poster child for sustained vilification?

Michael Mann

MICHAEL MANN: Well—there are certainly other leading climate scientists who have been frequent targets of climate change deniers. But I suppose there are a few things that are different in my case. For one, I am directly associated with one of the most prominent graphs in all of climate science, the “Hockey Stick” curve that my coauthors and I published back in the late 1990s. That curve became an icon in the climate change debate. It told a simple story—that the warming of the planet we’re experiencing is unprecedented. That made it a threat to fossil fuel interests and, as I detail in my book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, it made me a direct target of the industry-funded climate change denial machine. The Eye of Sauron was fixed on me. Rather than shrink from the battle, I chose to fight back—by defending my work in the public sphere and by devoting myself to public outreach and education. That no doubt further antagonized climate change deniers. Ultimately, they provided me a platform for informing the public discourse over what is arguably the greatest challenge we have faced as a civilization. I consider that a blessing, not a curse.

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About Skeptical Inquirer

40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION PART II ODYSSEYS SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICISM NUCLEAR POWER and the Psychology of Evaluating Risk MICHAEL MANN and the Climate Wars Superstition Masquerading as Science