Welcome Michael E. Mann (RealClimate.org) (PennState – Director ESSC), and Host Kevin Grandia (Founder, Center for Democracy in Government)

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

A Book Scientists Shouldn’t Have to Write

The late Andrew Breitbart once stated outright that the United States should put to death a climate scientist. The loudmouth of the right-wing tweeted: “Capital punishment for Dr. James Hansen. Climategate is high treason.”

Shortly after, Dr. Michael Mann, renowned climate researcher and author of the new book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, received this death threat in his Penn State University email inbox:

You and your colleagues who have promoted this [climategate] scandal ought to be shot, quartered and fed to the pigs along with your whole damn families.

Science is under attack on many fronts and it has never been this personal. At the center of this hate lies a single study published by Dr. Mann and his colleagues Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes that has become know as the “Hockey Stick.” In a nutshell, the hockey stick is a graph that shows a relatively stable global average temperature over the past 1,000 years. The blade of the hockey stick graph is an abrupt jump up in temperature in the last 100 or so years as human civilization embraced the industrial revolution and began pumping tons of greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere by burning oil and coal.

Burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal releases carbon dioxide, and this carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere – it’s simple science and not a new finding at all. In fact, the discovery of the greenhouse effect was made in 1896 by a guy named Svante Arrhenius.

Mann’s Hockey Stick study was published in 1998, and 14 years later right-wing anti-science ideologues (many of the same people who think dinosaurs roamed the earth 6000 years ago) still attack it. But it is not just the hard-right that attack Mann’s study; in fact, they are more an outcome of a much more nefarious and deliberate plot by some very large corporations who have a lot to lose if we stop burning oil and coal.

Mann details this campaign in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars and it is a campaign more insidious than the war leveled against cancer science by tobacco companies in the 1970′s – that war only cost millions of lives. The war against climate science, sponsored by major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Peabody Coal, puts the entire existence of the human race as we know it in jeopardy.

Strategizing on how the tobacco industry could fight back against the science linking cancer to cigarettes, a tobacco executive wrote in 1969 that:

Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public.

The parallels between the attack on cancer science and the attack on climate science is exact. As Mann writes in his book:

Rather than concede the potential threat climate change posed and the necessity of ultimately reducing fossil fuel use, they [oil and coal companies] would instead engage in a massive, media-savvy public relations campaign. The strategy was simple: While presenting a seemingly forward-thinking, pro-environmental face, oil companies and allied economic and political interest would, behind the scenes, use various means to sow doubt about the underlying science on climate change.

The method of science is quite simple: a scientist proposes a theory, he or she tests the theory and then presents evidence proving or disproving that theory to colleagues. If the colleagues agree that the process of testing was rigorous then it is published in a scientific journal. This simple process is how, for hundreds of years, we as a human race have advanced our understanding of the world.

Notice that in that process there is no media analysis, opinions of politicians or religious institutions? That’s because none of them are involved in advancing the scientific understanding of the world around us, they can’t be because:  a) they have not been formally trained, and b) they are tainted by ideology and personal bias. It is irrelevant whether politicians, media or religious leaders “believe” in a scientific finding because science is not about belief, it is about discovering and documenting reality as we know it. Quite frankly, I have always found the statement that “I believe global warming is happening” to be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.

If science had not been subjected to this deliberate attack and this manufactured requirement that we “believe in global warming,” Mann would never had to write The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, and most likely we would be much further along in creating a carbon-free economy.

But here we are with scientists like Dr. Mann getting death threats and having to defend their science in the public realm instead of in the annals of science. The attacks are not over, groups like Americans for Prosperity, who receives millions a year from the profits of fossil fuel giant Koch Industries fighting against regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and right-wing nut jobs still attacking the realities of global warming, despite mass drought and wildfires.

With no end in sight, I have no doubt that 500 years from now high school kids will be reading about the vicious attacks on Michael Mann and other climate scientists much like today they read about the attacks on Galileo in the 1600′s.

Mann’s book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, chronicles the attack on him and his colleagues; and while it is depressing that he even had to write it in the first place, it is so important that his story be documented in the hope that maybe, just maybe, someday in the future we humans will begin to learn from our past mistakes.


[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

149 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Michael E. Mann, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines”

BevW October 7th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Mike, Welcome to the Lake.

Kevin, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

thanks Bev–really looking forward to the book salon event :-)

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Thanks and hello Bev and Mike. Good to be here.

dakine01 October 7th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Mike and Kevin and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Mike, I have not read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but how ludicrous is it that we have people like you describe sitting on Congressional Science and Technology committees when they don’t even believe in science? (Thinking of both Todd Akin, Paul Broun, and Jim Inhofe but know there are many others in both House and Senate)

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

So I reserve the right to first question Mike

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank you, Michael and Kevin, for joining us at Firedoglake, this evening.


Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hi Kevin–thanks so much for the thoughtful commentary. Really looking forward to engaging w/ you and the various other participants!

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I want to know to why you wrote this book. Wouldn’t it be better to just ignore all these attacks and go back to the lab?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:04 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

thanks Dakine–well, it is worrying indeed that this is the case. I fear it is symptomatic of a larger problem we face today, the fact that people do indeed now feel that they are “entitled to their own facts” (to quote the great former Senator Daniel P. Moynihan). I hope that this is just a difficult phase that we are going through in our politics and our political discourse…

Elliott October 7th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Welcome to the Lake
And thanks for the work you do on the science of global warming.

How do we combat the actual enemy?
and overcome the brainwashing of their minions?

greenwarrior October 7th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

What kind of reception, if any, have you gotten from the mainstream book reviwers?

dakine01 October 7th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to Michael E. Mann @ 9

(It does make the whining from businesses and Congress Critters about how US is “falling behind” in math, science, and technology seem to be so much BS when they are all contributors to this ‘education gap’)

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 8

thanks Kevin. Yes–and in fact, in the book I describe my evolution over time from someone who thought that my job was done when I published an article or presented my findings at a scientific meeting, to someone who now does very much believe that scientists have a key role to play in informing the public discourse over this critical issue—climate change, and what to do about it. I felt I needed to tell my story to try to make people aware of the dangerous forces that are at work today seeking to poison the dialogue. Perhaps because of my unique experiences as a climate scientist, I had an opportunity to tell my story and use it as a somewhat novel vehicle for talking about the science, the politics, and the unfortunate things that happen when powerful interests look to discredit science that proves inconvenient to their agenda…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 11

thanks Green Warrior. Well, we’ve been very pleased with the critical reception. We got a rare “starred” review from Kirkus and a glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly. We also got very positive reviews from New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Science, Nature, New Scientist, and many others. The only truly negative media review was–quote predictably–the Wall Street Journal, which I take to task in the book for the role they have played in advancing the disinformation agenda. You can find links to reviews, etc. at my book page here: http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/Mann/books/hockeystick/index.php

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Well said, and so very true, Michael; those who actually know can make a genuine difference to understanding and consciousness.

Thank you for having the courage to act and the insight to realize the importance of so doing.


bluewombat October 7th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Welcome to the Lake, Professor Mann, from a fellow Columbia U. Press author.

I have a well-educated friend who, despite the fact that she lives in Texas, is ordinarily quite liberal on most issues.

But global warming or climate change is an exception. As a result of those hacked East Anglia e-mails, she’s convinced global warming is a hoax. I’ve tried to explain that the e-mails just showed the East Anglia professors grousing about troglodytes and that just about any scientist not on the Exxon-Mobil payroll says global warming is real and caused by human activity.

Do you have any arguments, any websites, any charts I can present to win her over to an empirically based position on this issue?

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

In my review I predict that 500 years students will be reading about this persecution (there’s no other name for it when high profile Republicans are calling death). What do you think?

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Welcome Michael Mann and Kevin Grandia

I’m reading the book now and I’m impressed at the calm, level presentation. Very readable and careful and detailed.

Seeing how it is a response to outrageous and determined attacks from people with a well funded and aggressive agenda, I admire your composure.

It must have been shocking to be exposed to global assault for private conversations between researchers.

Is this phenomena going to affect the open sharing of information and discussions between groups of scientists on the internet?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:12 pm
In response to Elliott @ 10

thanks Elliot, well I guess the first stage is making sure that scientists aren’t intimidated about speaking out and standing up to vested interests who have sought to mislead the public and politicians, and pollute the discourse with dishonest climate change denial propaganda. This was part of the reason I wrote the book (to return a bit to a question posed earlier by Kevin G), to perhaps set an example for other colleagues to follow…

greenwarrior October 7th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

How wonderful! I’m very gratified, as I’m sure you must be too. And I’m surprised. Hopefully, this will mean that the word gets out.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:14 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 15

thanks DW–part of what has given me the energy and drive to fight back against the attacks is the support from thoughtful people like yourself. It really makes a difference. A few thoughtful notes of support and encouragement outweigh the hundreds of nasty email messages (much of it coordinated it seems, sadly) full of vitriolic, mindless attacks…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to hpschd @ 18

thanks HPS, well I don’t frankly know how far this will go. What I do know is that many austere and staid institutions like AAAS, the National Academy of Sciences, etc. have spoken out forcefully against the “war on science”. As I say in the book, one possible silver lining (and unintended consequence) is that the forces of denial and deceit may have “awakened a sleeping bear”…

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 17

I would suggest that you might be a wee bit optimistic, Kevin, for I consider that it shall be a very close thing, whether our species may find the wit and wisdom to act … beyond the model of exploitation of the environment and the extensive rather than intensive use of resources.

We need planet earth, which, for our purposes ought to be seen as paradise, while earth has little need of us, as do many of the other species which inhabit this wonderful place, the only place we can realistically call “home”, in all the immensity of the universe.

Perhaps, before we might make genuine headway, we shall have to change the exploitative “nature” of the current economic system, which system impacts all aspects of our lives, including, education, well-being, our legal “system”, where the Rule of Law is essentially moribund and, as well, our political “system”?


Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 17

I don’t know Kevin. But as I do allude to in the book, I do believe that we will look back at those who sought intentionally to confuse the public into not acting on the greatest threat society has arguably ever faced, as the villains that they truly are. But that would be a bittersweet victory at best, wouldn’t it? Hopefully our policymakers will wake up to their duty to confront this threat despite the well-funded efforts to forestall action…

greenwarrior October 7th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Do you know of other scientists you have inspired to speak up?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to bluewombat @ 16

hey blue wombat, thanks for the question. funny, I just returned from Texas (a series of talks and panels in Austin and College Station).
posted to my facebook page a photo of the aftermath of the devastating fire (on the drive from College Station to Austin) that resulted from the record heat & drought of summer 2011: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=430523810337160&set=a.221233134599563.54502.221222081267335&type=1

As for debunking the dishonest “climategate” talking points, the best resource to start with is “skepticalscience.com”. See e.g.:

They provide excellent responses and at three different levels (introductory, intermediate, advanced) depending on the background/level of the reader. They have an app you can even download to your iphone!

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thirty years from now science will be the province of people who are now 10 to 20 years old. How well do you think we are preparing our young people to do science, to think critically, to speak out? How can parents (and us grandparents) help?

lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Professor Mann, do you have any comment for the scientist who was hired by the Koch Brothers to disprove global climate change, spent a year looking at the data, and then to the Koch’s consternation, announced that he agreed with the data – that climate change not only was happening but that he also agreed that man was responsible?

Seems that when scientists actually are allowed/do look at the actual data even the so-called denialists can be convinced.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 25

yes–there are many. James Hansen, Ben Santer, Steve Schneider (who sadly passed away), in Canada there is Andrew Weaver. Many, many other scientists in recent years have become far more active and willing to jump into the fray despite the fact that they know they will be attacked from the forces of disinformation. This is part of why I felt it was important for me not to back down. That would hardly be a good example for other scientists who too find themselves under attack simply because their research is seen as a threat to powerful vested interests…

bluewombat October 7th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Ah, good stuff. Thank you very much.

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 27

Superb and very important question, HotFlash.


Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Do we need to train scientists to be media savvy or do we need to figure out how to make the media more science savvy?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 27

well, we’re clearly not doing as good a job as we could. The National Academy wrote a scathing report a few years ago about how the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world in science and technology. Part of this is of course that we’re not putting as much resources into science education as we need to, but also I think its because there are powerful forces in society who see science as a threat, and actively promote antiscience and disinformation. So, as I look to put it, we’re not fighting to inform the public in a vacuum (which would be difficult enough), we’re facing a stiff headwind by those actively looking to confuse the public. That having been said, when it comes to climate change I feel as if the younger generation “gets it” in a way that my generation (and older) did not. Unfortunately, if we wait until they are in a position to influence and make policy, it will be too late…

emptywheel October 7th, 2012 at 2:31 pm


I’ve just barely cracked the book so I don’t know if you cover this.

But one thing I always wish we did more of was holding people accountable. Sort of a list of people to hold responsible for future American deaths (and I say American only bc so many AMericans are so provincial).

When I’ve fought w/deniers online, I say two things: that they making America week, refusing to defend the country. And also that they’re preventing our President from shoring up the next half century of energy as Roosevelt did w/oil in 1945 (for all the Faustian bargain that was).

That sort of works. It seems we need to do more fearmongering to get anywhere with this crisis.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 33

great question. This is a topic tackled in an interesting book a few years ago by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum (“Unscientific America”). The bottom line is that we can’t turn all scientists into communicators, and we shouldn’t try. Many scientists have neither the interest nor the proclivity to do so, and making it a sort of requirement could lead to a backlash. What we *do* need to do is provide the resources necessary to make sure that those scientists who *are* interested in outreach and communication can be trained how. Groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists are doing a great job providing resources and training sessions for scientists aimed at making them more effective communicators. Sadly, we lost our greatest ambassador to the public when Carl Sagan passed away in the late 1990s. There are others, like Neil Degrasse-Tyson, who do this well. But there are too few and far between…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 35

well put empty. I actually speak to this quite directly in the epilogue ;-)

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to BevW @ 32

thanks Bev :-)

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Climate change deniers are, I think, similar to flat earthers. Who knows what their motivation is, it certainly isn’t rational, and rational argument won’t convince them. However, if flat earthers continue to belive, that won’t harm anyone — there are still a few, and yet satellites continue to orbit. But unaddressed climate change can kill, is already killing, and ignoring it may will cost billions of lives (your insurance analogy from the book — I am reading over hpschd’s shoulder).

It is like trying to wrest the wheel from the busdriver who says that’s not a brick wall ahead, it’s just TP. JHC on a pogo stick, aren’t there any grown-ups running this place?

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Might you, Michael, elaborate as to specifically who comprise “those actively looking to confuse the public”?

Is it merely political “operatives”, or is it also corporate “interests”, realizing, as well, that the “media” which six corporation, essentially, in this nation “own”, is somewhat, or more than somewhat, actively involved in the deceit?


RFShunt October 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hello Doctor Mann,

I haven’t read your book, but I applaud your courageous decision to fight back against an obvious smear campaign. More power to you.

Would you care to comment on the scientists, many of whom come from weapons research, who seem to have made a career of denialism. I won’t name names, but these are people who have consistently spread doubt about the danger of tobacco, ozone depletion, and now climate change.

What’s up with that?

emptywheel October 7th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 17

Sort of. But I think the mainstream doesn’t take this seriously. Take Steve Coll’s book on Exxon. He avoids ever giving Exxon full responsibility for their part in this. In just one example, he asserted (with no proof of any kind) that scientists who are funded by Exxon are no more influenced by Exxon’s ideology than people whom Soros funded are influenced by his ideology.

If someone like Coll suspends critical thinking in the name of “balance,” how is history going to note this properly?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to lokywoky @ 28

thanks loky. Yes, I spoke to this on my facebook page (and was quoted in several articles) about Richard Muller. While I thought it did some good, I was also deeply troubled by many things that Muller continues to say and do. While claiming to accept the science (decades late in fact), he does a disservice to the seriousness of the topic, and the risks climate change poses, in many of his comments. See e.g.:

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 35

Great question emptywheel (sorry MIke I have to jump in here). I ran DeSmogBlog.com for 5 years and sometimes I would repost or post on old stories and people would ask me why. It was for the exact reason you mention – so we can have an accurate as possible history of the people that were paid to deny climate change — there will be a day when these people are held to account in a court of law.

Lorraine Watkins October 7th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Great discussion and thanks for coming.

Just a drive by:

As a psychiatrist I am skeptical that enough of us will become wise enough to go about dealing in a rational way.

However I am coming to believe the political and economic systems will break before the changes become massive. As a biologist I have no doubt as to just how catastrophic passing through some tipping points to irreversible change can be. So I certainly hope so.

I find hope in that I am seeing IMO many indications that ordinary people are beginning to consciously and unconsciously incorporate some of the ways of living that will become necessary and will prevail when the Galt crowd completes its destruction.

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 35

Fear mongering?

Why, EW, I am somewhat surprised that you would suggest appeals to fear, as that, too often, smacks of appeals to un-reason, as well, although honestly, I do consider that I understand what you mean.

As you have often made plain, the state of the environment, the capacity of planet earth to support the human species is, very clearly, on the “bottom line”, and the quarterly “report” little cares to consider the longer term realities.


lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 40

Some of it is our media-generated “controversy”-driven news cycles. The false-equivalency of 1000 scientists on this side and one idiot over there and that means there is a genuine controversy. It makes for an exciting news story but nothing else.

And then there is the falsely generated controversy. You get one of the idiots to say something completey falso or twisted about an actual scientists paper or writings. When the actual scientists protests – presto! A controversy exists and then that gets promoted as if it is real.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 40

thanks DW–I spend a lot of time talking about it in the book, but Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway in “Merchants of Doubt” (and Kevin G’s former colleagues at DeSmogBlog James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore in “Climate Cover-Up”) also do a real nice job of laying out the history of professional climate change denial, how many of the same industry front groups and paid advocates not only worked for the tobacco industry, but the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry, etc., the one unifying motive being an interest in discrediting any science that might prove harmful to those industries, and opposing essentially any regulations aimed at protecting the public and the environment. I name names. Its the Kochs, the Scaifes, the American Petroleum Industry, ExxonMobile (though they’ve recently ramped down their funding of antscience front groups like the “Heartland Institute” because of heavy public criticism)…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 44

no reason for apologies. Thanks for weighing in Kevin!

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Mike, I know you’re not an etymologist, but as you know I recently moved to east coast and I am wondering if global warming will someday eradicate these bastards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scutigera_coleoptrata

Please be careful in your answer as it may sway me to help accelerate global temperature rise.

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 44

sometimes I would repost or post on old stories and people would ask me why

Exactly! If we have no history, then every day is a brand new day. *Blink!* I was in high school in the 60′s we were all Rachel Carson and Limits to Growth — this is not new stuff. In fact, the longer it can be delayed, the longer it can be denied. I shudder to think what will happen to us all when they ‘run out the clock’. Do they think they will

Oh, and while we are on the topic, can you elaborate on who ‘they’; are, and what their motives are?

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 44

You actually imagine, Kevin, that those who vehemently deny reality, on this front will be held to legal account when those who start wars based on lies, engage in torture, and criminal fraud on a massive scale are not?

You are much more hopeful than I … considering the fact that the environment, among other very important things, is getting very short shrift, even being studiously ignored in the Presidential election season.

I hold that the Rule of Law is under attack just as is the environment, and by many of the very same individuals, corporations, and the political class as a whole.


HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 45

ordinary people are beginning to consciously and unconsciously incorporate some of the ways of living that will become necessary

talkingstick, more please! Pro’ly not here/now, but linky or something?>

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 45

thanks TalkingStick, well that is of course a worry, that we already pass critical emissions thresholds (and possible climatic “tipping points”) by the time we act, condemning future generations to the harshest impacts of our choices. As I discuss in the book, one can look to history for some optimism, e.g. acid rain, ozone depletion–we did act, though arguably later than we should have. Similarly w/ tobacco, but how many lives were lost first? And how many could we have saved if the tobacco industry had come clean in the 1950s when they already understood the harmfulness of their product. We can still avoid breaching dangerous levels of CO2 in our atmosphere, but there isn’t a whole lot of time. We can’t wait for a “Cuyahoga River” moment…

lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you Professor Mann. He is and was being paid large sums of money to deny climate change for years, so I suppose he is having a hard time even though he has agreed that the data support the conclusion that has been reached. His “sponsor” is still making the argument that the economic costs are to great to actually do anything about it and I imagine that is where he is still trying to justify his salary, even though it is a massive contradiction.

(No reply necessary, thanks!)

Elliott October 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 50

But they are eating all the actual bad bugs!
They work for you.

Lorraine Watkins October 7th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

“They” are the narcissists who imagine their powers to much grander than they are. eg CEO of EXXON describing the problems of climate change just some engineering challenges. The longer they deny the more grandiose they become when denial is no longer possible, they don’t come to reason. They just become psychotic.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 52

I look back with hope to the days of Waxman’s tobacco hearings and the mass lawsuits against tobacco companies for their blatant and well designed attack on the science linking tobacco smoke to cancer. That I am an optimistic kind of guy – have to be in my line of work :)

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

You mention in the book that deniers are like defense lawyers – they only have to establish ‘reasonable doubt’. Well, since scientific research always considers ‘reasonable doubt’, you are always providing the deniers with their arguments (which they exaggerate and distort). They are not interested in any actual discussion, but rather attacking and undermining, there can be no reconciliation.

Combine that with ‘fair and balanced’ media coverage that presents nonsense as counterweight, you have an uphill battle.

Exposing the deep pockets of the deniers and the agenda of their masters might help. But their plans are working pretty well so far.

The question remains. Can we take immediate action without breaking the current established system based so heavily on fossil fuels? (as the powers that be they so clearly fear)

texan99 October 7th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Rather than concede the potential threat climate change posed and the necessity of ultimately reducing fossil fuel use, they . . . use various means to sow doubt about the underlying science on climate change.

Isn’t that a lot like saying, “Rather than agree with us, they present counterarguments”?

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to Elliott @ 56

I hear you – but those fuckers scare me.

Lorraine Watkins October 7th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 53

Thanks hot flash. I don’t have any good links, mostly just my observations but I have some faith in them. I will try to stir myself to perhaps do a diary.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 50

yikes–they are nasty looking little creatures aren’t they. We had a serious millipede problem in our basement ourselves this summer—can’t necessarily blame either on climate change. But when we look at human health impacts of more than 2C global warming, the look decidedly negative, increased spread of infectious disease in extratropical regions (like U.S.), and the Pine Bark Beetle infestation of western forests–which provided the “fuel” for the record Colorado Fire this summer (it was a climate triple whammy: lots of dead wood, record heat, and near record drought). As I describe in my previous book “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming”, Pestilence and Death both make an appearance (along w/ War and Famine) in the worst possible “no action” climate change scenarios…

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Great and boundless good on you, Michael!

Naming names, sweeping away the anonymity of the oppressive class, for that is what that class actually is “about”, is the first and very important step to bringing about accountability, personal accountability.

I must soon leave this Book Salon, Michael, to take my youngest to choir practice, however, I wish to thank you and Kevin for an exceptionally fine and inspiring Book Salon, especially if I do not make it “back” before you leave.

I invite you both to join us anytime that you might have time or inclination to do so.


Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 57

Yes–it was an improvement on Lee Raymond’s flat out denial the problem even exists, but not much of one…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 64

thanks so much DW—couldn’t agree more. Really appreciate you stopping by :-)

RFShunt October 7th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I heard Mueller on public radio (Diane Rehm program) actually say that the Northwest passage was ice-free for 3 years at the turn of the last century. He apparently was referring to the Amundsen expedition where Amundsen and his crew dragged a ship across the ice north of Canada for 3 years, lost a number of sailors and nearly died himself.

He presented that in an authoritative tone as some kind of evidence concerning warming. I nearly threw the radio against the wall.

greenwarrior October 7th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Thank you so much. The work you are doing is so very important.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Do you have regrets about choosing to do what you do? Many scientists do not stand up and fight like you do.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to texan99 @ 60

Yes, but I would call them “counterfactual” arguments ;-)

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 50

Hey – take is easy on those leggy guys.

I once watched one eat dozens of gnats in just a few minutes. I encourage them now.

Back on topic. Climate change has resulted in a great increase here in Toronto of TERMITES!

Pointing that out to people gets some attention to the effects of global warming!

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to RFShunt @ 67

Yes–Muller has spouted all sorts of nonsense in his various interviews, and much of it seems to feed a common narrative, i.e. that “yes, climate change is real, but its not that much of a threat really, and we can solve it by burning lots of natural gas”. Its naive at best, and mendacious or plain dishonest at worst :(

Phoenix Woman October 7th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to texan99 @ 60

So death threats and lies are counterarguments?

lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to hpschd @ 59

Some immediate action is already going on, albeit under the radar for most of us. That $90 billion for green technology that Romney was deriding in the debate went towards a goal of providing 25 gigawatts of green energy by 2020. That goal has already been reached. Another 25 gigawatts was planned for by 2050 – but I suspect that goal will be reached by 2020. This is how we do it. The new auto CAFE standards. The switch to more efficient light bulbs. Those new solar films that are being put on the roofs of all the big box stores that couldn’t hold up the old-style solar arrays. We just gotta keep going like this – only faster!

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 69

thanks for the question Kevin, its one I’ve gotten quite a bit over the course of the book tour, and my answer is that, well, its certainly not what I set out to do when I decided to major in physics and applied math in college. Never did I think that I was following a career path that was going to place me at the center of one of the most contentious and fractious societal debates in history. But my answer (see also the epilogue of the book) is that if I was allowed a “do-over”, I would make the same decisions for a simple reason. While it was not what I had set out to do, I can’t imagine anything more important that I could have do w/ my life than to put myself in a position where I had an opportunity to inform—positively I hope—one of the most critical issues society has ever had to contend with…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 68

thank you Green Warrior :)

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Elliott @ 56

But they don’t eat termites :(

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on natural gas. A Washington Post editorial the other stated that we should be encouraging natural gas b/c it emits significantly less carbon, but I have heard many mixed reports on how much less carbon is emitted from producing electricity from gas. And of course, like nuclear power, it may produce less carbon, but it is so environmentally damaging in other ways namely hydraulic fracturing.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 58

Not coincidentally, Waxman wrote the following blurb for the book jacket:

“As one of the nation’s leading climate researchers, no one has felt the brunt of the attacks from politicians and the fossil fuel industry more than Michael Mann. This is his personal account from the center of the maelstrom, documenting the lies and distortions about his work and his heroic efforts to stand up for scientific truth.”

— Henry Waxman, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

I was humbled by his words.

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to lokywoky @ 74

We got rid of our car. We ride bicycles everywhere, year-round. (The winters have been warmer lately)

When need a car or van – we use AutoShare

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

A ‘Cuyahoga moment’ is very different from the global warming situation. The Cuyahoga was only one river, at that time there were still unpolluted streams and rivers, we are now lookiing at a situation with a decades-long lag. If we did *everything* we know how to do right now, there is no guarantee that it is soon enough, and we are currently going backward, not forward, on actually doing anything about reversing climate change (witness Copenhagen). Governments that were precviously at least making the right noises have now withdrawn, murmuring about doubt and ‘insufficiently targetted’ and too big a scope.

When the bus is alrready over the cliff and on it’s way down, well, yes, we may get more people agreeing that something should be done. it is too late. No matter how strongly you believe in levitation, your belief will not make that bus hover. Well, maybe, but I don’t think it’s the way to bet.

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

the oil deluge in the Gulf,was my final straw

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 78

I have mixed feelings about it, and I’m particularly worried about headlong efforts to jump in w/ both feet. While it is true that natural gas, watt for watt, is nominally less carbon intensive than coal, it is also true that there is the potential for large amounts of “fugitive” methane–and even more potent greenhouse gas–albeit w/ a shorter atmospheric lifetime) to be released into the atmosphere during the process of recovery (aka fracking). The precise amounts are uncertain and the issue has become quite fractious (no pun intended) within the scientific community, but there is certainly the possibility that the methane leaks could offset much if not all of the co2 benefits of natural gas. There is also the worry that natural gas could end up crowding out/underselling renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.), and thus could end up putting us on the wrong trajectory. It seems ironic to me that while the rest of the world (China, India, etc) see that renewable non-carbon energy sources are the future of the economy, here in the U.S. (and now to some extent in Canada as well) the argument is instead over *which* fossil fuel we should be exploiting. It seems wrong-headed and misguided, but I hope that we’ll cross a tipping point in the public consciousness sometime soon when it comes to energy choices and priorities…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 81

Yes–I only meant a singular event that has the ability to capture the public consciousness. The Cayuhoga River catching on fire awakened the public to the reality of the dangers of environmental contamination in a visceral, rather than cerebral, way–and it helped us cross a psychological tipping point. Arguably, we have had many such moments now w/ climate change, particularly the events (record heat, drought, wild fires, ice melt) of this past summer, the record hurricane seasons we’ve seen in recent years, etc. And yet, the tipping point in the public consciousness has not yet clearly arrived. I blame this to some extent on the poor framing the issue has received by our media which cannot be separated from the powerful influence of a well-funded and well-organized disinformation effort funded by the world’s most powerful industry. I talk about all of this in the book…

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

In the weeks after “climategate” a science writer I know very well was frustrated saying something along the lines of: “If the science is so clear on climate change, why are all these scientists still sitting in a lab refining their measurements – they should be out convincing the world that is time to act.” I kind of agree with him.

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

HotFlash at 81

currently going backward, not forward, on actually doing anything about reversing climate change (witness Copenhagen)

The ‘ClimateGate’ attack was timed for the Copenhagen conference, as you mentioned in the book.

There has been a decline in ‘belief’ in climate change. Is it turning around again?

BTW, I agree with Kevin in his intro:

Quite frankly, I have always found the statement that “I believe global warming is happening” to be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I have heard the term “fugitive emissions” used around the science of natural gas and oil sands and shale. Can you elaborate for us on the term please.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 82

Yes—one would have thought that we saw, with the events that unfolded that year, all of the evidence the public would ever need of the hidden costs of our reliance on dirty energy sources. Even w/out considering the damages of climate change, there was the devastation of the Gulf of Mexico, the loss of life in the Murray Coal Mine collapse in West Virginia, the natural gas explosions in California. It was almost as if someone was trying to tell us something…But we didn’t really listen. It would have once again appeared to have been a “Cayuhoga Moment”. But it didn’t take…

lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

but I hope that we’ll cross a tipping point in the public consciousness sometime soon when it comes to energy choices and priorities…

That won’t happen as long as the meme that currently exists that the wind and solar industries must stand on their own feet with no subsidies to compete with the fossil fuel industries exists. In spite of the fact that the oil, gas and coal people have been getting subsidies for the entirety of their 100+ years of existence.

The only way it would ever happen is if the subsidies were removed from oil, gas, coal, and nuclear and consumers actually had to pay the true costs of each of those fuels. Then we would perhaps see what the realities of the market truly are. Gas at $10 per gallon. Heating oil at $15 per gallon. Nuclear energy would be so expensive as to be completey non-viable at all. Coal – don’t even bother. Wind and solar would be the only things cheap enough to be affordable then – even without subsidies of any kind.

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

My grandfather told a story of pitching a match into the river in McKeesport PA, and setting it on fire.

The would have been about 1925.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to hpschd @ 86

Yes–well I frankly don’t like to frame it in terms of “belief” (because people are entitled to their own beliefs—but as I stated in a panel discussion at the SXSW Conference in Austin TX last week, the greenhouse effect is real whether you believe it or not), but I get your question. In terms of acceptance of the science of climate change, the polling I have seen indicates that we are near all-time high levels in the U.S. Some of that has been attributed to the record 2012 summer in the U.S., which provided a vivid glimpse of what the face of human-caused climate change looks like. Nonetheless, we’re only talking about 70% or so of the public that accepts that the planet is warming, whereas all of the major science societies and organizations (and essentially all scientists in the field) accept that this is true. So there is still a huge gulf between the scientific understanding and the public understanding. That gulf has been created in substantial part by a well-funded and well-organized disinformation effort, sadly. And groups like Koch Industries continue to spend millions of dollars trying to poison the public discourse on this issue.

seaglass October 7th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Considering the lags involved in the whole process I think we’ve already cooked ourselves and it’s just a matter of nature catching up now. The Ozone hole is a pretty good example of such a lag in a much smaller system and it’s still going to take hundreds of yrs. for that to close back up. Given the size of the atmosphere and time scales involved what’s your take on how long a period would it take even if we stopped burning everything tomorrow afternoon?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:22 pm
In response to lokywoky @ 89

Well–you are absolutely correct that the market cannot act in a way to solve the problem until the externalities of fossil fuel burning are internalized in the economy, so that the playing field is leveled to the point where non carbon energy–wind, solar, etc—can compete fairly. Arguably the only way to do that is to place a price on the emission of carbon which incorporates the “social cost of carbon”. What form that should take is a topic of worthy discussion and debate. But whether or not we need to do that, is not…

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

the equivocal press didnt ,if you will…PRESS it…God help us all

EdwardTeller October 7th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Sorry, but I have no time to enjoy this discussion as I would like.

I’m taking a break from rebuilding my snow blower to get ready to go to the opera. I’m looking forward to reading this book – it is on my short list.

I’ve been documenting the travails of Dr. Charles Monnett here at firedoglake, Dr. Mann. He has been hounded in a way different from the ways you have been assailed. He’s one of the scientists – Rick Steiner is another – being savaged by Shell Oil as they seek to make examples of prominent or iconic scientists who question their right to extract oil from the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

And I agree we need to make lists of those who have willfully endangered the human species and others for greed. They keep lists with our names on them, so we must do the same.

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
In response to hpschd @ 90

jeebus…this beautiful,blue and green planet….where do these F-tards think THEY will move to?

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 95

hey ET…Renaissance Man, carry on

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to seaglass @ 92

Yes–there is what we call the “committed warming”, which is the warming that is already in the pipeline due to historical emissions and there is nothing we can do about. The best estimates are that this is likely about 0.5C. If you add that to the 1C warming we’ve already experienced, that’s still below the level often defined as “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate (2C), but not much below it. So it tells you that we don’t have a lot of wiggle room if we are to avoid breaching that limit. And even w/ less warming, climate change will be catastrophic for many. As I discuss in the book (and was quoted the other day in the Guardian), less warming than that likely already imperils many island nations that are already facing the threat of saltwater intrusion and erosion and will soon literally be inundated by sea level rise.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 95

“I’m taking a break from rebuilding my snow blower to get ready to go to the opera.”

Don’t hear that every day.

Tammany Tiger October 7th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Some of most virulent right-wing anger I’ve seen in online forums and comment threads has been on the topic of climate. What are the causes of this anger, and how much of this anger is paid for by energy companies and right-wing organizations?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 95

thanks ET (not the extraterrestrial, but the right-wing physicist), I am familiar with (and greatly angered by) the Monnett ordeal. It is another example of how deep-pocketed interests (who presumably have some sway w/ BOEMRE) are literally to do just about anything they can to scientists whose findings prove inconvenient to them..

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

In our capitalist system, corporations rarely consider ‘externalities’ – things they did not build, but use for profit.

Make them pay for the environmental damage they do, the resources they exploit, the garbage they produce, the poisons they spread – as the cost of doing business, not as the result of interminable lawsuits and investigations and fines. No more externalities!

They did not build that. They did not put the oil in the ground. They do not create life (GMO). If they are persons – persons are responsible for the messes they make!

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 100

me suspects……..alot…$$$$$$$$$$ talks

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 96

Oh–I think they believe in elaborate geoengineering schemes that will magically back us out of a corner, and heck–we can just terraform Mars, right? The scary thing is the belief that we can find a magic technological fix to any problem we create—history is littered with examples of how that isn’t the case. The nearly-failed (and way too delinquent) capping of the Deep Horizons oil leak should have been a wake-up call. Sadly, many just hit the snooze button :(

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
In response to hpschd @ 102

IMO….ALL NATURAL RESOURCES should be nationalized

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

i voted for Obama,cause he had 2 precious daughters,i thought he would move mountains to ensure a rosie future for them…….and us

bigbrother October 7th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Dear Prof Micheal Mann:
Thank you for all your dedicated work and Kevin and Bev.
I think that a series of books charting the pathway out of the dilemmas brought on by climate change is important. Sustainable communities has been offered. Reducing personal carbon footprints and public transportation. Ride sharing has been on for decades. Changing our way of living and doing business is painful. The New Age philosophers in the 60s describe alternative life styles. Home gardening and community organic gardening may help world hunger. Taking on the mantle of responsibility personally is a big part of the solution. But a viable pathway with logistics is needed. Any ideas?

seaglass October 7th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

McKibben atlks about 350ppm as the line we cannot cross or face dire planetary wide changes in the environment. Haven’t we already crossed that and aren’t presently at 392 ppm? If so, what will it take in your opinion to get us back down to under 350 ASAP?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 100

I think much of it is manufactured. Some of those commenters are likely sockpuppets and shills whose job it is to flood newsgroups, blogs, and online comments sections with disinformation. The HB Gary saga showed that this sort of thing (astroturf online campaigns) really is happening. But at the same time, I think that there are folks there who are having a tough going during these times of economic stagnation, and they are looking for a scapegoat. This is what the front groups and fossil fuel industry advocates are looking to tap into, they try to convince these disaffected citizens that its those evil climate scientists who are trying to take away their personal liberties for financial gain (e.g. the “gravy train” of government grants, etc) that are responsible for their ills. As Kevin G notes in his intro, this is what is being sold on Fox News, Glenn Beck, and the right-wing noise machine. Sadly, a lot of people buy this bill of goods..

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 107

thanks BB, I appreciate the comment. at the risk of sounding a like a typical author, let me say that I *do* provide some thoughts about this in the book :-)
And I think some of my other comments above touch on this too.

seaglass October 7th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 105

What would that solve if the people who manage said resources act just like the Soviets did for 70 +yrs.? The mess they left in Eastern Europe is still there and disgusting. Those people that just want to blame Capitalism for this had better explain to me why State Socialism has been any better in this regard, because as I’ve said the record shows it to be otherwise. Oh and look at China’s record as well in this regard, not very good is it?

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to seaglass @ 108

Yes–this comes from James Hansen’s arguments about paleoclimate implications for the sustained long-term CO2 levels that might e.g. melt much of the major ice sheets, etc. This is needless to say a contentious issue. To achieve 350 PPM we would not only have to stop emitting cold turkey, but we’d have to actively take CO2 out of the atmosphere (e.g. through expensive air capture technologies). I guess the real point is that what we’re currently headed toward is something like 720PPM by the end of this century. And even 450 ppm is an uphill battle (we’d need to bring emissions to a peak within next few years, and ramp down dramatically over next few decades). But its not too late, and this is the target I’ve argued that we must, at the very least, seek to achieve. Even 450 ppm likely gives us around 2C total warming, and a number of very damaging projected climate change impacts…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to hpschd @ 102

Yes–this is the point. Its the tragedy of the commons. They won’t take into account those externalities as long as they are truly external to the economic decision making process. that’s why the must be *internalized* e.g. through some sort of tax/trading scheme/etc. There is room for a vigorous debate about what vehicles are most effective and fair. But there is no room for a debate over whether climate change is real or whether it represents a threat. And unfortunately, its the latter where we are currently stuck in U.S. politics :(

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:45 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 106

well this is the way I often frame the problem. I have a six year old daughter and talk about her in the epilogue of the book. The decisions we are making today are going to influence the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren. To me, that makes climate change an issue of ethics as much as of science, economics, or policy…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to hpschd @ 90

thanks–wasn’t aware of that. Its a little closer to home for me (we’re right in the center of PA)…

hpschd October 7th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to seaglass @ 111

At the risk of going OT

The Soviets were capitalists, as are the Chinese -
State-run capitalism.

In both cases, a lot of pollution and environmental damage results.

Socialist, worker managed companies are less likely to poison their own soil and air and water.

As my mother said: “Don’t shit where you eat.”

perris October 7th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

the climate change deniers remind me of the true documentary marketed as a comic book titled “superman”

whence the hero’s father is a scientist who insists their planet is undergoing a change that will destroy it, the corporate and political powers move to silence him

so he sent is child to earth before their planet perished.

I am therefore building a star ship to send my son somewhere, now I just need a women who will breed my said child

these are sociopaths in the worst sense of the word, they know there is climate change but they think they will be long gone before it does real harm.

what to do

seaglass October 7th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Oh my. Having spent some time speaking with one of the Ex. VPs ( for exploration) of Exxon-Mobil now retired since 2002 about this I think if he’s representative of the attitude in that Industry, without literally rounding these folks up and imprisoning them for crimes against humanity and by extension Mother Earth we’re f*cked. He told me that his ilk would like to do the same to people like us that want to stop them and they are and have been actively suggesting just such action to the Feds. The label eco-terrorist isn’t an ideal threat.

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 105

Good to “see” you here, sadly.

Yes, the resources necessary to life ARE the common-wealth, and should be so treated, that they may be available to many generations as yet unborn …

Indeed, wee must think of resource management in terms of hundreds of years.

I propose that we engage in understanding that a resource “inventory” and a protection of same, is a fundamental responsibility of my generation, we who are in our sixties, as an atonement for our many years of failing to rise to the challenge of our responsibility to all of life AND the meaning and purpose of life, which is NOT to amass obscene amounts of money or seek unrestrained power.

However, I fully realize that many people never contemplate the fact that we inhabit a small planet which is just the proper distance form its star, which star “our” planet revolves and rotates around, at precisely the right rate to, magically, in a most awesome sense, permit our existence.

Who dares feel the earth move, under our feet, as we swim at the bottom of that rare “accommodation” of an ocean of “air”?

How many grasp how very lucky and fortunate we are to be alive? To be sentient beings in a vast and amazing universe? … (said the old atheist)

None of these thinks have anything to do with “belief”, they have to do with simple, unadorned appreciation.

Again, so very good to have your voice with us, this evening, sadlyyes!


Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 87

ah, sorry. missed this earlier. discussed fugitive emissions in some comments above. Basically, its the methane that escapes through the fractures in the earth created during the process of hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”). Because there have been no widespread field campaigns to measure this precisely, we don’t know how just how much methane is released into the atmosphere. But there is some work form scientists at Cornell for example, that suggests it could be quite large. Since a methane molecule is about 10x effective as a CO2 molecule when it comes to its “greenhouse potential”, increasing atmospheric methane in this manner could well offset the gains from the smaller CO2 footprint of natural gas (as compared to coal).

Peterr October 7th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Michael, who among the media would you consider the top tier people when it comes to making science accessible to the broader public, especially with regard to climate change?

Tammany Tiger October 7th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Following up on your comment, I live in the Detroit area, where a high percentage of people depend on the auto industry for their jobs. These people are highly susceptible to the “tree-huggers want to take away your SUV” argument. Middle-aged men in particular (full disclosure; I’m one) seem personally threatened by anything that would abridge their God-given right to drive as big a vehicle as fast and aggressively as possible.

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to seaglass @ 118


I wonder why your comment does not surprise me, seaglass, in the least?


lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I’m just worried that we are already past a lot of the “tipping points”, possibly without knowing. I keep reading that the predictions and climate models are being outpaced by years and even decades by actual events which leads me to think that the predictions about the tipping points have already been surpassed due to our complete and total inaction on the subject.

These tipping points were projected to happen in this decade – but since everything else that was projected for this decade has already happened – and happend last decade or so, I don’t see how we are not already too far gone to really have a chance to stop or even slow down this fast train to destruction.

Not to say that we shouldn’t try – there’s no sense in making things even worse. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Wow – so it is methane escapes. I understand that methane active in the atmosphere for far less time than carbon – but if I remember correctly it is on a magnitude of 100′s of years versus 1000′s of years for carbon. Which when it comes to climate change really doesn’t matter.

BevW October 7th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Mike, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the battles you have fought in the Climate Wars.

Kevin, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Mike’s website(s) (RealClimate.org) (PennState – Director, Earth System Science Center) and book (The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars)

Kevin’s website (Center for Democracy in Government)

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

i will get the book,the future is now

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to seaglass @ 118

that is truly sad seaglass :(

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to seaglass @ 111

i guess you find it impossible to believe,we can do better

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to Kevin Grandia @ 125

yes–this complicates the matter. methane has a residence time of about a decade, while CO2 persists for centuries. So it depends on the target. If you are trying to avoid crossing some peak near-term warming (and possible tipping points) then methane is a big player. If you’re worried primarily about the long-term warming we’re committed to, then CO2 is the key player…

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 127

thanks sadly

sadlyyes October 7th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to hpschd @ 116

you said it very well.

Elliott October 7th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Thank you both so much, enlightening discussion

DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to seaglass @ 111

The people of the Russian republics did not understand, any more than did the French, that changing the power structure, did NOT change the underlying exploitation or… wait for it, the power structure itself … and neither did our forebears, and that was part of what Franklin meant in his “… if you can keep it”, response. He, Jefferson, and John Adams fully grasped the pernicious “influence” of money and what we, today, call “corporations”.

As, later, did Marx and Dickens.

Even today, that understanding has been under attack, however hard that may be to imagine, seaglass.


Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to BevW @ 126

thanks Bev, Kevin, and all the great folks who participated in this book salon event. the questions were thoughtful and provocative, and I apologize that I couldn’t quite keep up w/ the them (there is much more to be said about many of the issues raised in the comments). I hope folks will check out the book, which does go into greater depth about many of the matters discussed in this thread, and please do check out the other resources Bev Mentions.

By the way, you can also follow me at twitter (@MichaelEMann) where I am quite vocal and active :)

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to Elliott @ 133


DWBartoo October 7th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Thank you again, Michael and Kevin.

Thank you, Bev, as always.

And profound thanks to all the freedom fighters who have gathered here.


lokywoky October 7th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank you Professor Mann, for all that you are doing.

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 4:00 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 122

hi TT–yes, there are interesting demographic issues w.r.t. to who accepts vs. denies the science. There is a very interesting study done by the folks at Yale & GMU about this (“The Six Americas…”) that is worth checking out. You should be able to track it down via the google…

seaglass October 7th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I know, I agree. These people are so full of their own personal success I fear nothing short of revolutionary action on a massive scale will stop them. They equate success with being right and some of them like him are even scientists! Even the younger generation like CEO Rex Tillerson, who know better scientifically really believe that we can burn all this crap and then somehow adapt our way out of the consequences. I’m afraid It’s going to take as the police say “prior restraint” to stop these people.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Well. It’s been 2 hours and it looks like this could go on all night! Dr. Mann thank you so much for taking this time to answer FDL community question on what is surely the most important global issue of our time.

Kevin Grandia October 7th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Oh. And Bev can I get a “Free Bradley Manning” shirt :)

Michael E. Mann October 7th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

OK Folks, well I’m told I’m late for dinner. So I’m going to have to sign off now, but lets continue the discussion. Please visit my facebook page:
or follow me at twitter (@MichaelEMann)

And please do check out “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”:

for the basics of climate change, you might also check out my previous book “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming” which breaks down the science for a non-technical audience:

thanks everyone–I really enjoyed all of the thoughtful and provocative questions!

signing out,
Mike M

Tammany Tiger October 7th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thank you very much, Professor Mann. I read your book earlier this year, and have recommended it to several friends.

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 4:36 pm
In response to lokywoky @ 74

I truly wonder if this is the answer. Solar arrays on the roofs of big-box stores, meanwhile they are shipping and trucking their inventory in from the farthest reaches of the earth, and their customers are driving miles and miles to buy the stuff. Oh, and my neighbor is responding to climate change! == he has installed central air conditioning. And in today’s flyer from local hardware chain/franchise: electric wine-bottle opener, electric carving knife (fer yer terkey), electric food-slicer, electric beverage blender, electric coffee grinder — these are all very simple mechanical processes. opener old-fashioned corkscrews, knives, swizzle sticks or shakers and grinders won’t do the job or can’t be used by people with disabilities (I am getting close to not being able to operate an regular can-opener due to arthritis in my hands/wrists), then fix them. But really, an electric knife? wine-opener, can-opener? Srsly, this stuff should only be available with a prescription.

bigbrother October 7th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/ What you can do to help!

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 6:44 pm
In response to lokywoky @ 89

I bullfrog here in Toronto. Since Dec 2010 I have voluntarily paid just a little over $1000 *OVER AND ABOVE* my regular electricity bill to subsidise renewable energy. They have just announced a similar project for natural gas, and I will sign up for that. We do a voluntary ‘zero carbon’ surtax on our Autoshare kilometrage.

Meanwhile, the Ontario govt has decided to meet its alt/renewable energy commitments by giving a 10% reduction on people’s electricity bills over two yrs (so far), which most of my neighbours don’t even know is there. Not surprising, my last Hydro bill had 17 line items. So, instead of concentrating and collecting this money, which is probably from a govt or mandated source, to do something useful and lasting, like convert homes to solar, wind and geo, it is being pissed away. People are not even using it to get fluorescent light bulbs, let alone lED’s.

So sorry for late posting, had to get dinner and all, came back to maching=e and I hadn’t hit submit.

HotFlash October 7th, 2012 at 6:50 pm
In response to perris @ 117

Sorry peris, I’m past the monopause, but I think there should be good women who will agree with your goal. And, of course, there are nice petri dishes. But what if it’s a girl?

Lorraine Watkins October 7th, 2012 at 6:59 pm
In response to HotFlash @ 147

You are lucky. Georgia rate payers are paying about the same to finance two new nuclear reactors.

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