Michael Mann and the Path Forward on Climate Change

October 28, 2016

Perhaps aside from Al Gore, there may be no single figure who has been more severely battered by climate change deniers than climatologist Michael Mann. He’s been sounding the alarm about global warming for years, and has suffered an astounding barrage from slings and arrows. (“Metaphorically,” as my 6-year-old son would be quick to point out.)

tt091029Mann has coauthored a book on the climate crisis with political cartoonist Tom Toles, The Madhouse Effect, and it’s the latest in his efforts to wake up the electorate to the dangers we face.

Some of the sources of resistance he pointed out are strictly political; Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, enraged that Mann was part of the “hoax” of climate change, tried to get all of his emails subpoenaed to prove the global warming fraud. (This got shut down by the courts “with prejudice.”) Rep. Lamar Smith is the head of the House Science Committee, and Mann refers to him as an “equal opportunity science denier,” as someone who refuses to accept a litany of accepted science. He referred, too, to the Trump/Pence ticket as a “science denial dream team.”

But what was nice to hear is how much hope he has. Well, he called it “cautious optimism,” but really, you wouldn’t choose the path he has unless you believed there was a real chance to make things better. He cited of course the Paris accords, which he said “gets us about halfway there” to getting global temperatures within the safe range. He even touted the support of the Pope, “an equal opportunity science accepter.” (We have plenty of problems with the current Pope on science, however.)

Mann says, “We can now envision a path forward where we can solve this problem.” I didn’t expect to hear that. I’m almost afraid to believe it.