Scientist Pursued By Crazies

STORY BY James Sullivan

Published: November 4, 2013

In the years since the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth, and even a decade prior to President Clinton's warning of el nino effects throughout the approaching millennium, we've long heard of the threat of global warming, seen the people who panicked at the idea that one day Miami and New York would somehow end up underwater and heard the preaching of impending doom.

We've had warnings, detractors, and storms of seemingly biblical proportions in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Sandy. The last bit of evidence came down rather difficult to swallow, pushing most of the hardest skeptics who doubt the existence of global warming to come to terms with the fact that climate change is real and it is happening.

Worse, the overwhelming majority of its progression is related to human activity. Up to a certain point, skepticism over its happening was fairly healthy, as no one, myself included, likes to immediately go into panic mode over news they hear. 

Sure, people have been in denial over some unpleasant things before – but I've never been one to panic in the event of a doomsday scenario – and I saw the Rapture and New Years' Eve 2012 coming about a mile away. 

However, despite overwhelming evidence, particularly the fact that the 2000s remains among the hottest decades on record, a UT energy poll indicates a 6% drop in the number of people who accept man-caused climate change since March. 

At the same time, rather than propose solutions, the existence of global warming remains a political issue (there's been a drop in both the numbers of Democrats and Republicans who accept.) Enter Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University and author of The Hockey Stick Climate Wars, his book describing the findings of the infamous 2001 hockey-stick shaped line graph, and in which he notes that "only when human factors were included could the models reproduce the observed warming, both the overall magnitude and its geographical pattern over Earth's surface and its vertical pattern in the atmosphere.”

His work was condemned by organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and even the National Review magazine, which accused him of not only fudged data, but also fraud in the wake of 2009's climate-gate scandal. 

Not only have high end organizations defamed his work, but along with his other climate scientist colleagues, he has been subject to numerous death threats and hate mail, furthered by assertions that Mann and his colleagues are lying about statistics for their own political and monetary gain when it comes time for their budgets.

Deciding they have gone too far, Dr. Mann recently filed a defamation lawsuit against both National Review and CEI. According to the deposition made available by Climate Science Watch: “Having been investigated by almost one dozen bodies due to accusations of fraud, and none of those investigations having found Plaintiff’s work to be fraudulent, it must be concluded that the accusations are provably false.  Reference to Plaintiff, as a fraud is a misstatement of fact.” [at 19]

In other words, the lawsuit was green lit by the courts. Rather than political parties banding together to decide the best precautions that we can take against global warming and efforts to reduce CO2 levels, Dr. Mann was subject to hateful slander. While the outcome may be in his favor, the most we can hope for is that this lawsuit sets a good precedent: that never again will hard working researchers like Dr. Mann be subject to this abuse and that well researched efforts to claims however high they might be, will be taken seriously.

Other Stories by James Sullivan
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