Climate Scientist Michael Mann Faces Intense Attacks and Threats for Research on Global Warming

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – Michael Mann, a climate scientist and the director of the Center for Science, Sustainability & the Media at the University of Pennsylvania, has faced a barrage of attacks from oil, gas, and coal companies and climate change deniers. These attacks were prompted by Mann’s groundbreaking research, which included the creation of a graph known as the “hockey stick” graph. This graph illustrated the unprecedented rise in global temperatures and was incorporated into reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The disputes surrounding Mann’s research centered around the statistical analysis used to create the graph and the uncertainties associated with earlier centuries’ temperature data. Climate deniers sought to undermine Mann’s findings by arguing that if there were errors in the data from 1400, then the current data indicating a significant temperature increase could also be disregarded. To address these controversies, a panel of scientists convened by the United States National Research Council issued a report in 2006 that supported Mann’s findings with some qualifications.

In addition to facing scientific scrutiny, Mann became the target of aggressive attacks. Emails between Mann and another scientist were stolen and published on the internet in an attempt to undermine UN climate talks. Mann received threatening messages and even had to involve law enforcement after receiving an envelope containing suspicious powder. Despite these challenges, Mann remains determined to continue his work, driven by the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to protect future generations.

Mann’s case against climate change deniers and their backers reached a significant milestone when a jury ruled in his favor. The authors who had made defamatory statements about Mann were found to have acted with “actual malice” and were ordered to pay damages. Mann sees this verdict as a message that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protected speech.

However, while Mann’s legal victory is important, the larger issue of climate change remains unaddressed. Carbon emissions continue to rise, and the warnings of scientists like Mann have largely gone unheeded. The consequences of this inaction are already being felt as the Earth continues to heat up. Mann remains hopeful that the tide will turn, pointing to the support of hundreds of scientists who have signed a letter calling for an end to attacks on climate scientists.

In the face of relentless attacks and intimidation, Mann refuses to back down. He is driven by the knowledge that the future of the planet and the well-being of future generations are at stake. As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change, Mann’s perseverance serves as an inspiration for scientists and advocates alike.