Michael E. Mann


On his and Tom Toles’ book The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy

Cover Interview of March 29, 2017

The wide angle

Denial is something we encounter in many aspects of modern life, and there is an entire psychological literature dealing with the topic.  In this book, we are focused on a particular type of denial — the denial of the threat we face from human-caused climate change.

While this denial has features in common with other forms of denial, there is also something unique in this case. Fossil fuel interests have spent millions of dollars funding a disinformation campaign aimed at confusing the public and policymakers about the scientific evidence for human-caused climate change.

As a result, the public is substantially misinformed and confused about the degree of scientific consensus behind human-caused climate change.

While there is nearly unanimous acceptance by scientists that climate change is real and human-caused (97-99% depending on the assessment), most public polling reveals that only a bare majority of the public accepts the consensus scientific viewpoint.

A non-trivial 15-20% subset of the population actively attacks the science of climate change and is committed to promoting the idea that climate change is a massive hoax.  This notion is fed by conservative groups, right wing media outlets, and fossil fuel interests.  Such is the “Madhouse” that we describe, criticize, and ridicule in The Madhouse Effect.