Research by US physicist and climatologist Michael E. Mann demonstrating an increase in global temperatures infuriated climate change deniers. Photograph: Greg Rico
Research by Michael E. Mann confirmed the reality of global warming. Little did he know that it would also expose him to a vicious hate campaign.
The scientist who has borne the full brunt of attacks by climate change deniers, including death threats and accusations of misappropriating funds, is set to hit back.
Michael E. Mann, creator of the “hockey stick” graph that illustrates recent rapid rises in global temperatures, is to publish a book next month detailing the “disingenuous and cynical” methods used by those who have tried to disprove his findings. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars is a startling depiction of a scientist persecuted for trying to tell the truth.
Among the tactics used against Mann were the theft and publication, in 2009, of emails he had exchanged with climate scientist Professor Phil Jones of East Anglia University. Selected, distorted versions of these emails were then published on the internet in order to undermine UN climate talks due to begin in Copenhagen a few weeks later. These negotiations ended in failure. The use of those emails to kill off the climate talks was “a crime against humanity, a crime against the planet,” says Mann, a scientist at Penn State University.
In his book, Mann warns that “public discourse has been polluted now for decades by corporate-funded disinformation ,“ not just with climate change but with a host of health, environmental and societal threats.” The implications for the planet are grim, he adds.