Michael E. Mann

 

On his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Cover Interview of March 14, 2012

Lastly

I would hope that readers, upon finishing my book, would be in a position to appreciate and understand the chain of events and experiences that have led to my evolution over time in how I view my role as a scientist.

A one-time adherent to the view that a scientist’s role ends at the lab room door and the publication of findings, I have over the course of my career increasingly been led to conclude that a scientist’s role potentially goes far beyond that.

In part due to the attacks against me and my colleagues by those looking to discredit the linkage between the burning of fossil fuels and the dangerous changes now taking place in our climate, I am led to believe that the scientific community cannot stand idly by while those with an agenda look to attack and misrepresent scientific findings and pollute the public discourse.

In areas where science and policy intersect, be it global warming, biomedical research, environmental pollution, evolution, or any number of other modern hot-button issues, scientific findings have deep implications for public policy.

Our media have becoming increasingly ill-equipped to cover these issues accurately and objectively.  This is due in part to the recent layoffs of the journalists on the science and environmental beat who are able to distinguish antiscientific propaganda from legitimate scientific discussions. Those with an agenda are more than willing to fill the void that has thus been created in the public discourse.

If scientists themselves are not willing to step in and help insure that discussions of policy are informed by an accurate, objective, and honest assessment of what the science has to offer, then there is little hope that we will act in time to avoid dangerous impacts on our climate—impacts that will mortgage the quality of life for future generations.

If nothing else, I hope readers will understand this predicament after reading my book.  And perhaps my story will inspire them to do more themselves to work toward a solution to this monumental challenge we face as a society.