Defending Science on the Climate War’s Front Lines

Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles and events posted prior to July 1, 2020 refer to the School's name at that time.

Michael Mann (’98 PhD) didn’t intend to thrust himself into the middle of the national debate over climate change.
But after he helped produce the so-called “hockey stick” graph — an image published in 1998 that illustrated the unprecedented rise in warming over the last century — that’s precisely where Mann found himself.
The graph, which was borne out of work Mann started as a Yale graduate student in the 1990s, became an iconic symbol of human-caused climate change after it was featured prominently in an International Panel on Climate Change report. And it would make Mann a popular target for political attacks, media ridicule, and media pundits.

Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and author of the book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines,  recently returned to Yale as part of the F&ES Research Seminar speaker series. In his speech, he described what he calls a coordinated campaign by climate skeptics and some in the fossil fuel industry to foment doubt about his work and the mainstream climate science in general. “As happens to icons in the climate change debate,” Mann said, “they get attacked.”

After his lecture, the F&ES media team caught up with Mann to talk about what he sees as a “growing anti-science movement” and why scientists and environmentalists must stand up against these anti-science forces.

– Kevin Dennehy    203 436-4842