Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins $1 Mil Defamation Case

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins $1 Mil Defamation Case

Postby admin » Wed Feb 14, 2024 1:31 am

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins $1 Million Defamation Case Against Right-Wing Climate Deniers
by Amy Goodman
DemocracyNow!
February 13, 2024
https://www.democracynow.org/2024/2/13/ ... transcript

We speak with world-renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, who was just awarded more than $1 million in a defamation lawsuit against two right-wing critics who smeared his work connecting fossil fuels to rising global temperatures. He joins us to discuss the importance of resisting climate denialism through free scientific inquiry and expression. “We all pay the price when scientists don’t feel empowered to speak out about the implications of their science,” says Mann. Mann says he hopes his legal win will protect others who have been silenced by the threat of defamation so that “scientists will feel more comfortable in leaving the laboratory and speaking to the public and policymakers.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We turn now to the climate crisis. Dozens were arrested Monday outside President Biden’s campaign headquarters in Delaware as members of Sunrise Movement called on him to declare a climate emergency. Some held signs that read “Fund climate, not genocide.”

This comes as world-renowned climate scientist Michael Mann has been awarded more than a million dollars in a defamation lawsuit settled last week. Mann initially filed the case in 2012 against two right-wing critics. Rand Simberg, then with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote that, quote, “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data,” unquote. Of course, Sandusky is the convicted child molester and former football coach at Penn State University, where Mann was a professor at the time. Mark Steyn, a contributor to National Review, cited Simberg and called Mann’s research, quote, “fraudulent.” Dr. Mann said he hopes the unanimous verdict in his defamation case against the two makes it clear that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protected speech.

He’s joining us now from Philadelphia, where he’s the presidential distinguished professor of Earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania.


Professor Mann, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain what just happened and this major victory being awarded, a million dollars, by a Washington, D.C., jury, after suing these two right-wing climate deniers?

MICHAEL MANN: Yeah. Thanks, Amy. It’s good to be with you.

You know, as you quoted me before, this is a line in the sand. It’s one thing to disagree with the findings of scientists. You know, people have the right to do that. It’s one thing to criticize scientists. And within the scientific community, good-faith criticism, skepticism is a good thing. But what’s not allowed, what you can’t do, is make false allegations about scientists in an effort, of course, to promote an agenda, an agenda in this case of climate change denialism. And this is something that we’ve encountered for decades, efforts by the fossil fuel industry and their hired guns to attack and attempt to discredit scientists, to prevent meaningful action on climate. And so, this is a line in the sand.

And I think it goes beyond climate science. I think it also applies to other areas, public health science. Today we see bad-faith attacks on public health scientists like Anthony Fauci, my good friend Peter Hotez. That is not protected speech. You can’t engage in false and defamatory attacks on scientists. And so, I like to think that this will create some space now, that scientists will feel more comfortable in leaving the laboratory and speaking to the public and policymakers about their science and about the implications of their science, knowing that there are some basic protections.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I wanted to ask you: In your conversations with fellow scientists, what is the mood or the sense of how these attacks are affecting their ability to do their work?

MICHAEL MANN: Well, you know, especially young scientists, what I fear is young scientists see these very visible attacks, these denunciations of their fellow scientists in the public sphere, and that sort of chills the public discourse. It makes them basically afraid to speak out and to speak up. And so, I do think that these attacks have had a chilling effect. And that was their intended impact. Of course, the climate change disinformation machine has used vilification as a way to intimidate scientists, to — again, to sort of — you know, to create fear that they’ll be attacked if they speak out about the implications of their science. That’s been going on for far too long. It’s now infected our entire body politic, where today misinformation and disinformation runs rampant. And when it comes to the great challenges we face, whether it be climate change or the public health threat of pandemics like COVID-19, it is absolutely essential that scientists feel free to speak to the public and to policymakers about these mounting threats. And I hope, once again, that this decision will create a little bit more space now for my fellow scientists to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you see your case setting precedent for political leaders who attack climate science — to attack climate science? And how badly were you injured? I mean, this horror of comparing you to this known molester who destroyed so many young men’s lives at Penn State.

MICHAEL MANN: Yeah, well, you know, I was certainly — there was an emotional toll that it took on me, for certain. You know, it didn’t prevent me from speaking out about the climate crisis. I have embraced that opportunity. My recent book, Our Fragile Moment, is my latest attempt to communicate the threat of climate change to the public and to policymakers. I’ve been able to do that. But at the same time, it’s taken an emotional toll and, once again, has sort of created this chilling effect, where other scientists, seeing me attacked in this way, have probably backed off and have shied away from the spotlight. And we all pay the price when scientists don’t feel empowered to speak out about the implications of their science.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36136
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins $1 Mil Defamation Ca

Postby admin » Wed Feb 14, 2024 1:42 am

The Climate Election: Mark Hertsgaard on Why 2024 Must Focus More on Climate Crisis
by Amy Goodman
DemocracyNow!
February 13, 2024
https://www.democracynow.org/2024/2/13/ ... transcript

We speak with The Nation's environment correspondent Mark Hertsgaard, executive director of Covering Climate Now, about how journalists under attack by climate deniers must not let fear of retaliation stop them from covering the subject, especially during an election year. “It's not our job as journalists to censor ourselves because one party or one candidate decides that they’re going to deny climate science. We owe it to the public to report that to the public without fear or favor,” he says. Hertsgaard also discusses the role of climate policy in the 2024 election and the fifth anniversary of progressive lawmakers’ first attempt to pass a Green New Deal.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to bring into this conversation Mark Hertsgaard, executive director of Covering Climate Now and the environment correspondent for The Nation, where his new piece is headlined “It’s the 2024 Election Season. Where’s the Climate Story?”

Welcome back, Mark, to Democracy Now! Lay out what you’re calling for in this election year, 2024.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Thanks, Amy.

And I have to say that the comments that Michael Mann is making right now about how the climate denialism has intimidated scientists into not speaking about their findings, that has happened exactly the same way within our profession of the news media. For too many years, many of our colleagues in the media have been intimidated by these right-wing attacks and have come to think that, “Well, I don’t really understand climate science. I guess I better not talk about it.”

And you see that now in the election, 2024 election, which is that there’s a lot of coverage, obviously, about the campaigns, especially here in the United States, at the presidential level, but very little connection of the fact that these elections are essentially going to shape humanity’s climate future, and not just in the United States.
About half of the world’s population is entitled to vote in various elections around the world. We just heard Allan Nairn’s report from Indonesia, very important election there. India is coming up, European Union, U.S., South Africa, Mexico. These elections are going to decide which governments are in power, or not in power, over this next critical five-year period, when we absolutely have got to bend the climate pollution trajectory down, if we’re going to preserve a livable planet on this future. So these elections could not be more important, from a climate perspective. And yet a lot of the media is still not making that connection.

And I can tell you that part of the reason is a fear on their part — I just had this conversation the other day with a very prominent journalist — fear that we will look partisan if we point out, for example, that here in the United States one of the major political parties is still, essentially, denying climate change. That’s the Republicans, of course, and Donald Trump, who has pledged to “drill, baby, drill” from the first day back if he were to be returned to the White House. It’s not our job as journalists to censor ourselves because one party or one candidate decides that they’re going to deny climate science. We owe it to the public to report that to the public without fear or favor.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I wanted to ask you, Mark, in terms of how the Democratic Party has been handling the issue of climate change during this election season, because there couldn’t be a more stark difference between the two candidates in terms of climate science, at least in terms of their acknowledgment of the crisis that we’re facing.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Right.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But is the Democratic Party really pushing forth as strongly as it could on this issue?

MARK HERTSGAARD: You know, Juan, I think it’s hard to know, because so much of what we in the public hear about from the Democratic Party or from the White House is filtered, again, through the prism of the news media. And, for example, the Inflation Reduction Act, certainly the biggest climate legislation ever passed, probably in the world, certainly here in the United States, and passed, by the way, by a Democratic president, through a Congress that still has a lot of Republican control in it — the White House has been very frustrated that the general public does not know about that, and the White House has tried and tried, it says, to put Biden on the road to talk about this. And it’s not getting the kind of press coverage that at least I would have expected.

So, I think that you’re certainly right that there is a huge contrast between a Democratic and a Republican approach to this. Is Biden’s climate record perfect? Far from it. The U.S. is still now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world. You know, he greenlighted the Willow project, oil project, up in Alaska. But he just put a pause on liquid natural gas export facilities across the Gulf Coast. So, as voters, I think it’s very important for people who are out there as citizens to remember that, to quote my colleague Rebecca Solnit, “When you’re thinking about your vote, your vote is not a Valentine” — with all due respect to Valentine’s tomorrow. “Your vote is not a Valentine. It’s a chess move.” You don’t have to approve of everything a certain candidate does, in order to say, “I’m still going to vote.” If you care about climate, vote. If you care about fairness, vote. If you care about peace, vote.

AMY GOODMAN: This week, Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez marked the five-year anniversary of the introduction of the Green New Deal.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: We are going to go, and we have to go to every single frontline community and ensure that they are not left behind. We’re going to create millions of unionized jobs across the United States of America. We are going to revamp our transmission lines, install solar, commit to geothermal. And we are going to transition this country to clean and renewable energy, and create a sustainable working class in the process of doing it.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard, we just have 30 seconds. But again, that’s AOC celebrating now five years since Green New Deal was introduced.

MARK HERTSGAARD: And that Green New Deal is what gave us the Inflation Reduction Act, somewhat trimmed down from the original vision of the Green New Deal, but that’s where, again, elections are important. AOC ran, took on a moderate Democrat who everybody said was unbeatable. She beat him and injected all of this new energy and great ideas into the American political discourse, like the Green New Deal. And I think that’s exactly why we in the press have to be paying much more attention to the climate issue here in 2024.

AMY GOODMAN: As the Northeast is shut down by what is expected to be a monster storm, it just recently started snowing here in the city. The schools are closed from here to Boston. Mark Hertsgaard, executive director of Covering Climate Now, we’ll link to your new article in The Nation, “It’s the 2024 Election Season. Where’s the Climate Story?” And thanks so much to Michael Mann, professor of Earth and environmental science at University of Pennsylvania, just awarded $1 million in a defamation lawsuit.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36136
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to A Growing Corpus of Analytical Materials

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 3 guests