Sunday, October 10, 2010

Michael Mann Responds

Michael Mann, the climate researcher from Penn State who first published the “Hockey Stick” graph, has been under attack.  Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli has been investigating Mann’s previous employer, the University of Virginia, based on emails that were stolen from a climate research institution in Great Britain.  Cuccinelli’s fist subpoena was rejected by by a court, but he’s trying again.  It’s clear that Cuccinelli is on a one-man crusade against climate science and Mann.

On Friday Mann responded to attacks by Cuccinelli and others in an editorial in the Washington Post.  Read it – it’s excellent.  At a time when every single Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate denies the science of anthropogenic climate change, these words resonate:

“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.

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.”

Mann also brings up another chilling point that I hadn’t thought of:

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?”

Are these ideological witch hunters going to be successful in discouraging good scientists from conducting needed research on climate change?  That would be tragic.

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