Mann slams Cuccinelli, Sensenbrenner, Issa: “My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science.”

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"Mann slams Cuccinelli, Sensenbrenner, Issa: “My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science.”"

Memo to all scientists, all who care about science, and all who are concerned about the health and well-being of our children and countless future generations:  You have a big stake in the upcoming election.  You sit on the sidelines at your peril.

Dr. Michael Mann makes that clear in a must-read op-ed  in the Washington Post today, “Get the anti-science bent out of politics,” which opens:

As a scientist, I shouldn’t have a stake in the upcoming midterm elections, but unfortunately, it seems that I — and indeed all my fellow climate scientists — do.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has threatened that, if he becomes chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he will launch what would be a hostile investigation of climate science. The focus would be on e-mails stolen from scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain last fall that climate-change deniers have falsely claimed demonstrate wrongdoing by scientists, including me. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) may do the same if he takes over a committee on climate change and energy security.

Mann deserves to be heard — and not just because he has been the focus of the most incessant and deceitful anti-science attacks, and not just because  is probably the most thoroughly vindicated  climate scientist in the country both  in his academic practices and scientific research (see “Much-vindicated Michael Mann and Hockey Stick get final exoneration from Penn State”  and “Two more independent studies back the Hockey Stick: Recent global warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause“).

Mann deserves to be heard because he is one of the country’s leading climatologists.  As the independent Penn State panel noted

His work “clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field”¦. Dr. Mann’s work, from the beginning of his career, has been recognized as outstanding.

Mann writes:

My employer, Penn State University, exonerated me after a thorough investigation of my e-mails in the East Anglia archive. Five independent investigations in Britain and the United States, and a thorough recent review by the Environmental Protection Agency, also have cleared the scientists of accusations of impropriety.

Nonetheless, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is investigating my previous employer, the University of Virginia, based on the stolen e-mails. A judge rejected his initial subpoena, finding that Cuccinelli had failed to provide objective evidence of wrongdoing. Undeterred, Cuccinelli appealed the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court and this week issued a new civil subpoena.

What could Issa, Sensenbrenner and Cuccinelli possibly think they might uncover now, a year after the e-mails were published?

The truth is that they don’t expect to uncover anything. Instead, they want to continue a 20-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none.

Cuccinelli, in fact, rests his case largely on discredited claims that Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) made during hearings in 2005 at which he attacked me and my fellow researchers. Then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) had the courage and character to challenge Barton’s attacks. We need more political leaders like him today.

We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change.

The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.

Burying our heads in the sand would leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate. The only sure way to mitigate these threats is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next few decades. But even if we don’t reduce emissions, the reality of adapting to climate change will require responses from government at all levels.

Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome — indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking.

But the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.

How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing?

America has led the world in science for decades. It has benefited our culture, our economy and our understanding of the world.

My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too.

Hear!  Hear!

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67 Responses to Mann slams Cuccinelli, Sensenbrenner, Issa: “My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science.”

  1. mike roddy says:

    Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Mann, for your work, your courage, and your integrity. I hope other scientists join you in moving from the sidelines and into public policy deliberations.

  2. john atcheson says:

    I hope scientists heed Dr. Mann. There is more at stake than simply climate science — although that would be enough. The Republican assault includes stem cell research, evolution, birth control; and it dips into the earliest levels of education. They seek noting less than to roll back the Enlightenment, and eviscerate Bacon’s New Organon — replacing it with a teleological world view straight from the Dark Ages. Literally.

    They must be confronted and the logical end point of their absurd philosophy exposed.

    If we don’t succeed we will have the best medieval science in the world, and our economy will reflect that dubious status.

  3. Andy says:

    Really excellent article by Dr. Mann. And writen in clear, decisive language that will make sense to the average reader; yet without ever overstating his case. Very well said.

  4. Dennis says:

    It’s time for AAAS, NAS, UCS and other scientific organizations to come out with a joint statement that both provides complete support to Mann for his published science, and publicly calls attention to Cucinnelli’s actions for what it is: a witch hunt .

  5. caerbannog says:

    Dr. Mann,

    If you end up testifying in front of those GOP yahoos (again?), don’t give an inch. And don’t be shy about calling them out on the fraudulent Wegman Report (which turned out to be not much more than a mediocre student term-paper with lots of plagiarized material). I’m sure that you are already aware of the investigative work of John Mashey and Deep Climate that uncovered all those Wegman report shenanigans (see http://www.deepclimate.org for details).

    So if you appear in front of Congress again, “tear ‘em a new one” for all of us!!!

  6. Adrian says:

    Excellent. Shout it out! Maybe we can get a large, loud, impossible-to-shut-down movement going here.

  7. Esop says:

    Very well written indeed.
    European newspapers are now taking note of the direction that the Tea Party/GOP is trying to steer the US: straight back to the Dark Ages. Horrifying.

  8. John Mason says:

    Excellent clearly written article.

    Read some of the comments in the WP and quickly concluded there was a bad case of troll-infestation over there!

    Cheers – John

  9. Jeff Huggins says:

    An Incorrect And Damaging Premiss!

    Sigh! Although I applaud Dr. Mann’s point and activism — bravo! — he begins with an entirely incorrect and confusing premiss. In so doing, he perpetuates its existence.

    He says:

    “As a scientist, I shouldn’t have a stake in the upcoming midterm elections …”

    Yes, we understand that the implementation of the actual scientific quest and process, in the lab and experiments and via scientific thinking and so forth — are meant to be (as much as humanly possible) an unbiased and “indifferent” quest for the truth, so to speak. Yet, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW FROM THAT that “a scientist” — a full human being — should not have a stake in an election. Nor does it follow that scientists should stay silent on important matters. Indeed, with understanding comes responsibility. Scientists not only have a big stake — as humans AND as scientists — in the upcoming election, they also have an immense responsibility TO speak out on matters of science in order to help the public make responsible scientifically informed decisions. There is a Positive Responsibility to do so. Not doing so is very much like walking by while you watch a child drown in a lake, without jumping in to save her. Period.

    The whole notion that scientists should not have a stake in important public decisions, or should normally not speak out, is completely invalid and misleading. It is NOT based on sensible reasoning and basic understanding. Indeed, if scientists applied the same sort of “reasoning” that causes them to accept that view, in their scientific endeavors themselves, we’d still be in the Dark Ages.

    That view is based on a confounding of the steps involved in (and the intent and actions of) the scientific quest itself — as PROCESS, intent, and search for truth — with the important notions of broader human responsibility, the responsibilities that all humans share. Does a scientist — as human — not have a very real responsibility to her/his children? Scientists ARE humans, and there is no such thing as a “scientist as NOT human”. What there is, of course, is the practice of the scientific quest, in the lab and study and lounge, and often on a walk. Scientists, in the scientific process, should not let their “preferences” influence their scientific process and the interpretation of their findings. But, being a scientist does not limit one, or excuse one, from her/his broader human responsibilities.

    Indeed, nearly everyone (but with differing reasons and motivations) either accepts or hides behind the same sort of silo-ing of responsibilities. Rex Tillerson (the Chairman of ExxonMobil) might possibly think that, given his role, his responsibilities to shareholders, (which he sees as) making profits, period, somehow displace his broad responsibilities to humankind. Similarly, a journalist (shall we name names?) might think that his higher responsibility is to implement some sort of false “balance” and to live within conventional journalistic paradigms, even as he can see that Rome is burning and that the public isn’t “getting it”, partly because of those same confused paradigms.

    In short, we (nearly all disciplines) have so cut-up and silo-ed responsibilities that, well, that’s one of our biggest problems! We think of ourselves as responsible TO our “professions” and “disciplines” and correspondingly LESS responsible to humankind itself. Enough of that. Enough!

    If I haven’t put the matter clearly enough, please let me know, and I’ll try again. It’s a vital matter. I do hope that Donald Brown and as many other ethicists as possible provide input on this. The fact that we (in our specialized disciplines) have a tendency to “silo” not only our intellectual activities, but also our perceived basic human responsibilities, is very damaging. And indeed, it’s also dehumanizing to those who do it.

    Anyhow, I applaud and appreciate Dr. Mann’s actions and work and points, but (in my view) we mustn’t carry along, and repeat, an unhealthy and misinformed paradigm. Scientists DO have an immense stake in this, AND an immense responsibility. With understanding comes responsibility. This is not just true in the case of the upcoming midterms: It is true today, and in all elections, and at all times when there is an important scientific and human matter at stake, which is almost always.

    Thanks, and Cheers,

    Jeff

  10. I guess they don’t understand that their on the same planet as the rest of us.

  11. It would get drowned in the cesspool of WaPo unmoderated trolling, so I’ll say it here:
    Thank you, thank you, Dr. Mann for standing up clearly for scientific principle over ideological ignorance.

    P.S. WaPo, you still haven’t atoned for Will’s willful ignorance.

  12. MapleLeaf says:

    I cannot claim to improve on the excellent comment thus far.

    Just wanted to drop by and voice my support for the scientists and Dr. Mann.

  13. Scotty (#10),
    They are living on another planet, an imaginary one.

  14. Donald Brown says:

    Thank you Dr. Mann for your clarity and courage. If there is a need for further investigation it is the need to examine the enormously well funded disinformation climate science campaign that continues to make claims that the mainstream scientific view has been “completely debunked”, a claim that is being made by people who usually know nothing about the numerous attribution and fingerprinting studies, a claim that is clearly untruthful, and is leading to putting millions of people in poor countries around the world at great risk to their lives and the natural resources on which their lives depend. Although skepticism in science is not bad there are ideologically driven skeptics that are guilty of crimes against humanity. Skepticism in science is needed but skeptics must play by the rules of science: They must publish in peer-reviewed literature and not make claims that are not supported by the evidence. The ideologically driven climate change scientists are causing huge potential harm.

  15. Breaking news:

    GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch confirms that the university, located in Fairfax, Va., is now investigating allegations that the Wegman report was partly plagiarized and contains fabrications. Last month, a 250-page report on the Deep Climate website written by computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif., raised some of these concerns. Mashey says his analysis shows that 35 of the 91 pages in the 2006 Wegman report are plagiarized (with some of the text taken from a book, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, by Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts) and contain erroneous citations of data, as well.

    frank

  16. Tim says:

    As good as Dr. Mann’s editorial was, it could have taken an even harder line. Had he wanted to he could have demonstrated how those who fund deniers are not acting in good faith. Multibillionaire coal and oil men could use their pocket change to finance research efforts that would more than match the NOAA, NASA’s climate change group, every climate scientist funded by the NSF, etc. Do they do that? Of course not – they would either end up confirming (for the umpteenth time) what has already been discovered or they would have to lie or distort their results. So Instead they spend many millions in spreading propaganda – pouring their money into fake “think tanks” and political hacks – because on the science, on the truth, they lose.

  17. Doug Bostrom says:

    One little ray of hope shining from this affair is that even some of the most die-hard public skeptics have weighed in, condemning Cuccinelli. Unfortunately, these condemnations fall short of connecting some important cognitive dots and are themselves a hint as to where commitment may be found, whether interest in this matter concerns political affairs or scientific integrity.

    The deafening silence from contrarians regarding a prima facie demonstration of exactly who is willing to actually insert politics into the world of science is quite conspicuous. We’ve heard about the IPCC being a “political body,” we’ve heard endless charges of science being twisted by some undemonstrated plot in order to exaggerate the threat of climate change. Remarkably, when we’re treated to a stark example of actual political interference into science, tampering that has clearly been the overarching objective of the anti-science movement, contrarian cognition seems to be asleep.

    The very people whose radar is tuned to ultimate sensitivity for any sign of policy-driven distortion of scientific research suddenly are deaf to the broader conclusions stemming from Cuccinelli’s crusade. Cuccinelli is clearly the apex of a pyramid of pundits, PR hirelings, bought-and-paid for congressional staff, endless exertion of effort to steer policy, yet do we hear this obvious observation from contrarian luminaries? No.

  18. MapleLeaf says:

    Frank @15,

    That is fantastic news. Have you let DC and John Mashey know?

    I hope that Dr. Romm highlights this….

  19. BBHY says:

    After reviewing the latest Tea-publican congressional candidates, I have come up with this idea:

    We need to implement a system where if a state sends someone to congress who is completely insane, has no contact at all with reality, whacko to the point of being dangerous, then the other states must have veto power.

    I propose a constitutional amendment that if two-thirds of the states declare your state’s congressperson to be unfit, then you have to remove that person from office and find someone else.

  20. M says:

    On the one hand, I would want ClimateProgress to highlight the new Wegman news: on the other hand, I urge some amount of caution. While the publicly availably evidence is orders of magnitude stronger for plagiarizating on the part of Wegman compared to any evidence about fraud on the part of Mann or non-FOIA related misdeeds on the part of CRU, I think the proper thing to do is note that presence of the investigation and urge restraint until the investigation is completed and all details are available. This would nicely highlight the contrast between the science and evidence based community and… those other people.

    -M

  21. MapleLeaf says:

    Good points M.

  22. BillD says:

    The far right is just wacko. I hope that the some what disinterested mainstream of this country wakes up before the election.

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    Deaths rose by quarter in Russia’s summer heatwave: official

    Amid record temperatures and rampant wildfires, the death rate nationwide shot up 27.4 percent in August compared with the same month last year, the state statistics office said in figures published on its website.

    The surge saw 41,262 more people die than during August 2009, while the previous months’ figures showed no significant rise year-on-year.

    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Deaths_rose_by_quarter_in_Russias_summer_heatwave_official_999.html

  24. paulm says:

    I support you Dr. Mann.

  25. Jeff Huggins, #9: You are absolutely right!

  26. I agree with Jeff Huggins that Michael Mann and all scientists involved in climate research need to get much more political and do it immediately to make sure that the science-denying wackos don’t get elected. They must follow the example of Mann as far as writing op eds and just getting in the news anyway they can such as Jim Hansen has done by getting arrested (again!) while protesting mountain top removal and all things coal based. Having the Congress revert back to Republican control when the majority of Republicans in Congress seem to have bought into the denier mentality will mean another two years surely lost in coming up with any meaningful climate legislation that should have been passed 20 years ago. If that happens, I can’t see any way that we can mitigate the worst effects that will most surely come as tipping points are passed right and left. To quote James Longstreet in the movie “Gettysburg”, “It’s just a mathematical equation after all.” He was referring to the inevitability of the coming disaster (for the Confederacy) that became known as Picket’s Charge. He could clearly see what was coming for his divisions involved in the suicidal assault on Union lines, but could not persuade Robert E. Lee or any of the other corps and division commanders that “There’s not a military force in the world that could take that hill!” in the face of the superior Union position. We all know that he was ignored and that the Confederates suffered the consequences after losing their last real chance to win the Civil War. If we let the Republican deniers have another two years (and probably longer given the mood of the country) to block and harass the science and the scientists, there won’t be a legislative body in the world that will be able to pass anything meaningful that will prevent our children and grandchildren from having a horrible existence if they survive at all. We’re already seeing the consequences of our global stupidity, but we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!!!

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    Irony –

    Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Queensland’s wettest September in 100 years has prompted concern that further rainfall may crimp coal output from the Australian state and drive up prices, according to a report from UBS AG.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-10-07/queensland-s-record-rain-prompts-coal-supply-concern-ubs-says.html

  28. peter whitehead says:

    The Age of Reason is ending. Are you now, or have you ever been, a scientist? Remember Bruno was burned at the stake for ‘preaching’ Copernicanism, the medieval version of climate science.

    These people are not interested in evidence, research, or data – only in opinion. We are now in a society when the opinion of a golf club bore is of equal value to that of Nobel Prize winners like the Sec for Energy.

    This is about McCarthyism, and the Inquisition. It is not about science, or proof, or evidence.

  29. Scrooge says:

    Really impressed by Dr Manns integrity and character. This is on par with Dr Hansen willing to get arrested in DC. You guys are going to get a lot of us old duffs to get out of our chairs to support you where we can.

  30. adelady says:

    From my perspective, the push to control what is and isn’t acceptable for scientists to discover and report is not a move to the Dark Ages.

    It looks a lot more like the old hardline control and repression of science and scientists in the worst days of the USSR. Genetics is the best known case. No,no,no, research and results must conform with state ideology.

    If these people get their way, they’ll be into show trials with fabricated evidence and outrage about the recalcitrance of non-complying scientists who refuse to change their results to suit the ideology.

    There is one eternal truth in politics. When an ideology, left or right, becomes extreme, the behaviour of its leaders is indistinguishable from the hated extremists of the other side. These people may say they hate and fear “Communism”, but they’re driving themselves straight into the carpark of the state controlled science shopping mall.

    The security staff should bar them entry.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    Harmful algal blooms have the potential to lay waste to coral reefs.

    Scientists studying coral reefs in the Gulf of Oman have issued the warning after being shocked by the impact of one large-scale bloom, which destroyed a coral reef in just three weeks.

    Around 95% of the hard coral beneath the algae died off and 70% fewer fishes were observed in the area.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9070000/9070148.stm

  32. Sarah says:

    Can we have suggestions on where to send letters of support for Dr. Mann and real science? The Post? The court? U Virginia? Here we are talking to ourselves.

    Sarah

  33. Eli Rabett says:

    For the best discussion of corals go to maribo

  34. PSU Grad says:

    Here’s the contact information for the Penn State President, the Dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the head of the Meteorology Department, and Dr. Mann.

    Dr. Graham Spanier
    President
    The Pennsylvania State University
    201 Old Main
    University Park, PA 16802

    Dr. William Easterling
    The Pennsylvania State University
    College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
    116 Deike Building
    University Park, PA 16802

    Dr. William Brune
    The Pennsylvania State University
    Department of Meteorology
    503 Walker Building
    University Park, PA 16802

    Dr. Michael Mann
    Professor of Meteorology
    The Pennsylvania State University
    523 Walker Building
    University Park, PA 16802

  35. Doug Bostrom says:

    Now that the Wegman fiasco is official, the denial community will pivot from ignoring his faults to elevating him as a martyr. We can expect to hear expressions of concern about “tribalism” from the usual quarters.

  36. Charles says:

    Like others, I want to offer my support for Dr. Mann. Cucinnelli’s efforts are not only an attack on science and scientists, they are an attack on the whole academic enterprise. As an academic in Canada, I, too, feel the cold chill of these witch hunts. The federal government here, as Maple Leaf and others have pointed out, has muzzled scientists, and the rest of us who work in the academy watch the muzzling and witch hunts with mounting concern.

  37. caerbannog says:

    Let’s look at two scenarios:

    Prof. Mann is found guilty of plagiarism and academic misconduct. He loses his job and reputation and finds himself trying to hustle part-time teaching gigs at community colleges.

    Wegman is found guilty of the same. He retires from GMU and gets a cushy “wingnut welfare” position with the American Enterprise Institute, plus a cushy part-time position as a Faux News “science” commentator.

    That’s called “asymmetry of accountability”.

  38. Jeff Huggins is eloquent. My hero in this battle between modern science and much of American society is Prof. James Hansen because he combines a long, fruitful scientific career in atmospheric physics (a field I worked in many years ago) with education and political action. My first hero, Galileo, combined education and science, but was denied political action.

    I strongly urge all scientists to actively stand up against the strengthening anti-science politics and culture taking hold throughout much of our country. Anti-science culture, religion, and politics will be deadly for our country’s future. We all must speak out.

  39. MapleLeaf says:

    The Washington Post has reported on the troubled Wegman report:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/10/gmu_investigating_climate_chan.html

    They make the connection between the Wegman report and Cuccinelli’s subpoena. I wondering if anyone at GMU or affiliated with GMU assisted Cuccinelli in drafting that subpoena?

  40. Mark says:

    I think that the incessant pounding from Joe, and the other sites, and from the other posters at this site, and the other sites, is having an effect on the likes of the Washington Post.

  41. Donald Brown says:

    `The ethical and moral crime of the climate change disinformation campaign is a new type of crime against humanity that we need a new word for that matches the depth of harm that it is likely causing without regard to the truth.

    If a person told a child who was laying on the tracks that no train was coming without checking to see whether a train was actually coming, and the child gets run over by a train, the evilness of the misinformation would be loudly condemned. Yet climate change threatens not one child but tens of millions of children. And given every Academy of Science in the World and all scientific organizations with expertise over climate issues have said the is a fast train coming, climate skeptics that are saying that we need not worry because there is no train coming and also claim there is “no evidence” that a train is coming or the evidence that there is a train is coming has been completely “debunked” are engaged in a heinous crime against humanity. We need a new word for this type of crime. It is one thing for a scientist to say that they believe climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the potential range, but it is a reprehensible human action to claim that there is “no evidence” that climate change will cause great harm or that the mainstream view has been completely “debunked” This is just untruthful and it is untruthfulness about something that great care must be taken as a matter of basic ethics. To make matters worse, some of the spread of this misinformation has been financed by fossil fuel interests. This is a crime against humanity.

  42. Nick Palmer says:

    Finally, the scientists are starting to speak out loudly and clearly in effective language instead of the too soft, circumspect, over-qualified (as in acknowledgement of uncertainties – not academic qualifications!) “science speak” that loses debates in the view of the public.

  43. Doug Bostrom says:

    By the way, the parallels between Watergate and the Wegman business– the mixture of prominent politicians, outside money and abuse of state power in the person of Cuccinelli– are much better than what was prematurely termed “Climategate.” We’re only now seeing the real Climategate emerge.

  44. Peter M says:

    Dr. Mann does a great job in this Op ED-

    I read some of the replies and they where mostly the same nonsense and subterfuge that comes from the right wing and their followers who know nothing about science- except the propaganda they hear on a steady basis from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    Its amazing how stupid a nation we have become- there will be a huge price for this in the future when the coming hell changes our benign society into chaos.

  45. MarkB says:

    A climate skeptic/plagiarizer on the defense?

    It’s buried, but USA Today has the story too.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wegman-plagiarism-investigation-/1

    On the front page of their website is a study on crop failures:

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/10/crop-failures-climate-change/1

  46. Wit's End says:

    Thank you Dr. Mann, and all scientists courageous enough to risk their reputations by speaking out about public policy.

    I would add to this portion of his op-ed:

    “We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer.”…

    that the false claims questioning the science of ozone are enough to cause mass extinctions well before the worst effects of climate change from CO2 emissions are felt in the developed countries. There is no dearth of documented, published research that ozone causes fatalities, both human and vegetative. There is less than for CO2 – but still plenty if you investigate a bit. And yet, the EPA is challenged constantly by polluting industries, with phony science and legal attacks, whenever the attempt to regulate the levels of tropospheric ozone with stricter standards – even up to the Supreme Court.

    Polluters, the legislature, and their toadies in government agencies have successfully derailed protections based on science instead of ideology and profits – and that’s why the ecosystem is collapsing, taking with it our source of food…plants.

    The best outcome, given that trees are dying everywhere around the globe at a rapidly accelerating rate and likely to go extinct in the very near future, is that civilization implodes from shortages of essentials, reverts to a precarbon state, and the air clears enough so the few remaining people can grow crops.

    I suggest everyone stock up on natural seeds.

  47. JonS says:

    I think this comment the physicist C. P. Snow made in his ‘The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution’ lecture is appropriate here:
    ‘But I believe the pole of total incomprehension of science radiates its influence on all the rest. That total incomprehension gives, much more pervasively than we realise, living in it, an unscientific flavour to the whole ‘traditional’ culture, and that unscientific flavour is often, much more than we admit, on the point of turning anti-scientific. The feelings of one pole become the anti-feelings of the other. If the scientists have the future in their bones, then the traditional culture responds by wishing the future did not exist. It is the traditional culture, to an extent remarkably little diminished by the emergence of the scientific one, which manages the western world.’

  48. Lazarus says:

    Hi Joe,

    This isn’t related to this thread but I’m not sure how to contact you more directly.

    Have you seen this?
    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/more-on-climate-change-and-the-smithsonian-exhibition/

    “Both Greg and P.Z. Myers have noted, in conjunction with others, that there may be an insidious connection between climate-change denialist David Koch, who largely funded the Smithsonian’s new human evolution exhibit, and the contents of the exhibit itself. (Greg doesn’t buy it.) After I learned that Koch was a denialist, I drew a connection between one or two of the displays I saw and Koch’s views. And according to Climate Progress, I missed other exhibits showing how wonderful climate change was for our evolution.”

  49. espiritwater says:

    4th attempt to post! How long do seeds last, Wit’s End?

  50. Wit's End says:

    espiritwater, I am not an expert or even very knowledgeable. There are a few seed banks designed to last for a very long time, but they have special facilities for storage. And it depends on the type of seed, some will last for a long time frozen, or dried, others not so much. You should google it! The intertubes are miraculous.

    For food with lengthy storage time (5 – 10 years), I recommend Survival Acres. I have never met the owner of that blog/business! But at a minimum, we will face periods of time, if not the rest of our days, with food shortages. So I personally have stocked up.

    Defending stored food is another issue entirely. Here’s a very thoughtful examination of how we might respond – or not! – to the challenges that lie ahead: https://www.adbusters.org/blogs/blackspot-blog/death-grass.html

  51. TomG says:

    It seems Mr Cuccinelli didn’t have enough rope the first time around.

  52. fj2 says:

    Scientists must confront the deniers headon.

    Aggressively.

    Relentlessly.

    Take no prisoners!

  53. Rob says:

    After fighting denialism on alt.global-warming and many climate denial blog sites across internet for the past couple of years, it is good to see so many people here supporting Michael Mann’s position and call for action to put a stop to these attacks on science.

    However, when you only post a line of support here, it does not change very much at all.

    There are many anti-science blogs where thousands of people sprouting anti-science statements which remain unchallenged.
    The internet is swamped with angry people in denial of the basic scientific findings that Michael Mann is talking about here, and it is time that the flaws in their reasoning and denial of basic scientific findings are exposed and corrected.

    So I am calling up everyone here to do something with by what Michael Mann told us : stand up and stop these attacks against science.

    How can you help ? Here is one way : Leave the confines of this blog and get out there in the real world.

    Go right to the core of the misinformation and smearing campaigns against out scientists : go to wattsupwiththat, climateaudit, alt.global-warming news group, and the dozens of other blogs that you already may know if will easily find which are feeding the public with misinformation, cherry-picking, straw-man arguments, red herrings, misleading statements and outright lies.

    Expose the flaws and ideological biased opinions that have no factual basis and post rebuttals on these sites.
    We need to make our voices heard in support of science, and point out their flaws in reasoning.

    It is time ! Actually, it’s overdue.
    We need to get our voices heard, and the internet is the way to contribute as individuals.

    Just remember : the denial industry and the anti-science community discovered the internet a long time ago, and there are “professional deniers” out there that are very good at denial of some crucial part of climate science (for example deny that CO2 causes warming). They also are working by “truths” much different from rational thinking scientific minds.

    One word of caution : When you post on a AGW-denial blog site, you will get attacked and everything you say will be used against you. But regardless of the argument, please, please, do not insult, do not SHOUT, do not make assumptions, and most of all : do not take anything personal. In short : practice what you preach : we represent scientists and we should behave like that. Michael Mann’s letter is a very good example of the style that we should see in postings all through internet.

  54. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    A well-said/written editorial. Thank you Dr. Mann.

    I wish Canadian academics and researchers would speak out against the muzzling we’re running into more often now and show the Harper government a united front. Imagine not just climate scientists condemning the muzzling, but scientists from pretty much every discipline making their voices heard. I’m trying to stand up, but I just work contracts and my single voice isn’t heard beyond a small group.

  55. John Mason says:

    Interesting news on GMU and the Wegman report. Although it is ever, ever so tempting to say: “Aha! The REAL Climategate emerges!”, I would agree with M (#20) – regarding any potential outcome to the investigation – as M says, we are an evidence-based community, rather than a confirmation-bias-based one!

    Cheers – John

  56. Eve says:

    Dr. Mann is not only a top notch scientist, his writing is clear, to
    the point and “tells it like it is” in language non-scientists can
    understand. I am sending it to all those I know who have any doubts
    about the necessity to act now on climate change. I do remember when
    more people doubted the connection between smoking and lung cancer –
    now, almost no one does. Dont despair and dont stop making the case.

  57. Ricki (Aust) says:

    Bravo from Oz, Dr. Mann. Very well said and concise.

  58. Joe1347 says:

    To quote Mann from his article

    “reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity”

    “leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate”

    Near-certain and potentially dangerous. Do these so-called scientists actually know whether or not climate change is a real problem or not. Using weasel words like these in a main stream media article (that a lot of people read) certainly doesn’t help their cause. If you’re the general public – why should you worry about something that’s only ‘potentially’ dangerous and then consider spend trillions of dollars on it – if those dorky scientists are only ‘near’ certain. Wouldn’t you want to wait until those scientists getting all of those Government grant hand outs are both ‘certain’ and the problem is
    “really” dangerous. After reading Mann’s Washington Post article, Climate Change doesn’t sound like a big deal to me. Why worry, time to buy another big SUV. Wow. talk about a main stream media article that’s likely now done A LOT more harm than good for the cause.

    As I’ve preached before on this site, the climate change scientists need to learn how to a better job at getting their message across to the general public – otherwise – only scientists will both listen as well as understand them.

  59. PSU Grad says:

    @Joe1347 (#60):

    Let’s change your argument a little. Why should I buy auto insurance? Why should I insure my home against fire and other perils. Or why should I have health insurance for myself?

    After all, driving is only “potentially” dangerous, and it’s not at all “certain” that I’ll have a mishap. There hasn’t been a house fire in my neighborhood in the 22 years I’ve lived here (though having written that, of course……). I’m a pretty healthy guy, nothing will happen to me.

    Those arguments are, of course, absurd. And the science behind climate change involves principles of chemistry and physics that have been known and understood for quite some time. Those principles are not random, like a car accident, or an accident in the house which will cause a fire, or a broken leg from a misstep.

    Mann can’t say it’s “certain” if there’s even a sliver of a chance (and only a sliver) it could be something else.

    There’s only one absolute certainty in life, that being we’ll all die someday. Everything else contains some degree of uncertainty. It’s called the real world.

  60. Joe1347 says:

    To #61 PSU Grad. Remember, almost the entire US Public is science illiterate and the US Politicians cater to them. Unlike the general public – probably everyone that reads this site understands basic science and recognizes the degree of uncertainty inherent in science. But my point is that your message as a climate change scientist to the general public in a mainstream media publication – such as the Washington Post – has to be completely different than the wording that your would use in a peer reviewed climate change article.

    For example, how about – Climate change is real and is without a doubt being caused by humans. The situation is dire and the price to all of us – including those of us in the USA – by not acting TODAY will be infinitely greater by delaying action just one year. More importantly, acting now on climate change will create millions of jobs in the USA and eliminate mass unemployment in the USA.

  61. Scrooge says:

    Joe. My feeling is we have to have some confidence in the education of the American people. Even though the tea party indicates otherwise. We let our politicians lie with their certainties but I prefer that scientists keep their integrity or they fall into the same cesspool as the deniers.

  62. ken levenson says:

    An Edward R. Murrow moment? The darkest moment right before the dawn? I certainly hope so…may this be a very clear signal of a turning tide.

  63. Lewis C says:

    Scientists would reduce their effectiveness as communicators to the public if they spoke in terms of certainty rather than probability, as they’d immediately be attacked as scientifically fraudulent. And, technically, rightly so, regardless of the stakes of unprecedented genocide now in play. Which is not to overlook the fact that scientists can and do point out that a 95% probability of cancer will get people cut open in the expectation of removing a tumour.

    Yet the whole debate over “the need to raise scientists’ communications to the public” is based on a myopia that is convenient to our politicians. Specifically, it is scientists’ job to respond to formal scientific critique of those findings; it is politicians’ job to respond to corrupt political attacks on scientists’ findings and on their integrity –

    It is thus very wrong to blame scientists for the lack of communication to the public by our politicians. Consider: if the politicians were doing their job effectively, who would be blaming the scientists for a lack of effective communication ?

    With the president setting the pace of progressive politicians’ statements on climate, by giving less than one sentence a month on the issue thus far, it is he who warrants criticism, not Dr Mann, whose latest persecution has yet to win him any defenders at all from the ranks of progressive politicians (AFAIK).

    Thus the real and urgent question is not “Why are scientists such poor communicators ?”
    it is “Why is the president evidently opposed to ensuring by example that the US public is well informed on this most critical of threats to the nation ?”

    Three deficient propositions are commonly offered as explanations:
    – While Dr Hansen believes that Obama ‘doesn’t get’ the climate threat, Holdren and Chu, who work with him, have the opposite opinion. Neither Obama’s a lack of information nor his lack of intelligence can be cited as supporting Hansen’s opinion.
    – While many claim that fear of the opposition constrains Obama, around 70% of the electorate want real action on climate, and that figure includes swathes of republican and independent voters and of the vital democratic party activists. The ‘timidity’ thesis is thus patently nonsensical in light of these political advantages of strong visible leadership on climate.
    – While the charge of Obama’s lack ‘competence’ is gaining ground, it cannot sensibly be cited on an issue of the scale and contention of climate without some incompetent rationale for his inaction being proposed – With even the Joint Cheifs publicly informing both Bush and Obama of the rising security threat of global warming, it would be a nonsense to suggest that Obama simply hasn’t got around to addressing even the easiest of actions, such as public information: there would have to be some other unobserved reason, justifiable or not, that constrains him.

    I suggest that when that ‘unobserved reason’ starts to be investigated, then we’ll start to see some real, if belated, change occurring in the US politics of climate. Until then, its party on with party politics.

    In the interim, Dr Mann deserves our thanks for this excellent text and our support in resisting those who would mount a show-trial against him. To add to the shooting of climate messengers by criticizing him for speaking as a scientist rather than as a politician is both unfair and unhelpful.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  64. mike roddy says:

    Rob, #55:

    I agree, more of us should drop by WUWT and CA from time to time- I do it once a week or so. It’s kind of like dropping a bomb, and the reactions can be unintentionally funny. Be careful about getting into detailed arguments with them, though- they are skilled at rhetoric and citing bad data, and you would end up spending a lot of time posting links and facts that they will ignore anyway. It’s worth it, though, because you might plant doubt here and there, and there may be a few with open minds. Keep in mind that their “experts”- Watts, Lindzen, McIntyre, etc.- should be treated with scorn, and referred to as the blatant charlatans that they have been proven to be.

    As for scientists choosing language that is more decisive, yes, but only up to a point. Only a few scientists had the gift of speaking in forceful language that reflected and was verified by the evidence. Schneider was one, but there must be more whose talents have not been leveraged. These men are, after all, professors, with public speaking experience. The times call for them to step up and speak out, with the passion that this unimaginably crucial issue calls for. You should report to Romm or McKibben.

  65. Mark says:

    For many of us watching in Europe the uSA seems to be enntering a new McCarthyite Dark Age, though goodness knows we have enough extremist nutcases of our own to deal with. The difference is that few of them get elected and a bipartisan approach to scientific truth is common. US climate scientists may have to consider working abroad p[erhaps?