Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann believes President Donald Trump’s “denial” of man-made global warming has the potential to destroy civilization as we know it.
Mann told News.com.au Trump might be the “last hurrah” for global warming “denial,” but could still delay policies and technologies needed to stop global catastrophe.
“Trump is maybe signifying a larger nationalist, nativist political wave, like we see with Brexit, that poses a particular kind of threat to activities that require global co-operation,” said Mann, who rose to scientific fame for his “hockey stick” curve of global temperature rise.
“Trump is a threat to a larger global movement,” Mann said. “The next election will be a critical decision — do we want global co-operation or a divided world?”
“Even a temporary setback of four years could be enough to make it impossible to meet critical targets,” Mann said.
Mann has been an outspoken opponent of Trump, and Republicans in general, for years, and has become an icon in the environmental movement: A scientist who’s been attacked by the right for warning about catastrophic global warming.
But Mann’s also built a reputation of attacking colleagues who disagree on global warming. Mann recently attacked climate scientist Judith Curry for “routinely engaged in character attack, ‘confusionism and denialism’ and eroded scientific discussion.”
He offered no evidence of Curry engaging in such behavior, but others have pointed out Mann’s own indiscretions.
“The last time Judith Curry spoke, he was hashtagging away,” conservative pundit Mark Steyn said in December. “He came up with the ‘anti-science‘ hashtag for her. He’s the king of the hashtag. She’s not anti-science.”
Mann sued Steyn about five years ago for questioning the validity of his “hockey stick” graph. Media outlets came out against the suit, citing First Amendment concerns.
Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado-Boulder, noted in a Wall Street Journal oped that Mann was one of those who celebrated when he was forced out of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com for challenging a major left-wing talking point on global warming.
“The mob celebrated,” he wrote. “ClimateTruth.org, founded by former Center for American Progress staffer Brad Johnson, and advised by Penn State’s Michael Mann, called my departure a ‘victory for climate truth.’”
Mann’s also been called out in the past for falsely claiming to have co-won the Nobel Prize in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.
Mann claimed in his lawsuit against conservative pundit Mark Steyn and National Review that he was a Nobel Laureate, but the Nobel committee has consistently rebuked this claim.
Mann told News.com.au Trump was delaying “important questions about nuclear fuel, pricing carbon and renewable energy opportunities.” Those delays could speed up the melting of Antarctica’s western ice sheet, he warned.
“We’re talking massive loss of coastal civilisation. That could be catastrophic for Australia and New Zealand,” Mann said.
“That’s a tipping point we’re very close to, if we haven’t already crossed it,” he said. “Every bit of carbon makes a difference. What is it that will put us over the edge?”
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