Since 1996, Michael Mann has been at the forefront of the climate change “debate.” That was when he published the first “hockey stick” graph showing the intense upward trend of warming on Earth.
(The graph was recently updated, and is even more striking.)
Mann works at Pennsylvania State University, where he directs the Penn State Earth System Science centre.
Being at the forefront of your field’s public persona isn’t all glory, though, especially when it is as controversial as climate change.
Mann just published a a blog post for the magazine “The Scientist” about his decades-long persecution at the hands of climate deniers.
Here are some interesting excerpts of what he said.
On attacks on him personally:
Politicians have demanded I be fired from my job because of my work demonstrating the reality and threat of human-caused climate change… and was the target of what The Washington Post referred to as a “witch hunt” by Virginia’s reactionary Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
I have even received a number of anonymous death threats.
On the oil companies:
This cynicism is part of a destructive public-relations campaign being waged by fossil fuel companies, front groups, and individuals aligned with them in an effort to discredit the science linking the burning of fossil fuels with potentially dangerous climate change.
Investigations into his work:
In 2003, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) denounced my work on the Senate floor and called me to testify to his committee under hostile questioning. Two years later, House Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) attempted to subpoena all of my emails and research documents from my entire career, and the correspondence and files of both my senior coauthors, presumably looking for some way to both intimidate and discredit me. Inhofe and Barton are two of the largest recipients of fossil fuel money in the U.S. Congress.
On the silver lining:
I’ve become an accidental public figure in the debate over human-caused climate change. Reluctant at first, I have come to embrace this role, choosing to use my position in the public eye to inform the discourse surrounding the issue of climate change.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.