“A lot of us would much rather be spending our time doing science, but an increasingly large amount of our time is spent on defending ourselves against bad-faith attacks. Over time, I have come to embrace that.”—Michael Mann
In a development that could change the nature and tenor over the debate about climate change, Michael Mann’s suit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is moving forward.
The events leading up to the suit were recently covered in Kurt Eichenwald’s article in Newsweek. Michael Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, has long been accused of misrepresenting scientific data by climate change skeptics and denialists. These accusations reached a fevered and rather ugly pitch when Rand Simberg of the CEI equated Mann, who teaches at Penn State, with Jerry Sandusky. Simberg wrote, “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”
The CEI’s article was picked up by Mark Steyn, a writer for the National Review Online, who in addition to picking up on the child molester references, also said that Penn State failed to adequately investigate Mann’s scientific work. Citing libel, Mann has since sued both the National Review and the CEI, who initially wanted the cases thrown out, citing their first amendment rights.
Michael Mann, along with other scientists, has long contended that climate change denialists and skeptics have misrepresented scientific findings as well as e-mails exchanged among climate scientists. As he recently argued in the New York Times , Michael Mann believes it is time that scientists become more active in fighting back the efforts of climate skeptics.
Eichenwald concludes his article by writing:
Mann says he is frustrated about the bitterness of the years of disputes between climatologists and the skeptics but now accepts that responding to attacks will be part of the job for all of them.
“A lot of us would much rather be spending our time doing science, but an increasingly large amount of our time is spent on defending ourselves against bad-faith attacks,” he says. “Over time, I have come to embrace that.”