Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Michael Mann's New Book

Michael Mann has an new book out, The New Climate War*, which is already getting a lot of reviews.

*I don't earn anything from this link.

I think it's clear now that Mann is the obvious replacement for James Hansen regarding a universal spokesperson for global climate change, if there is to be a single person. He's constantly in the media now. He's all over Twitter, Facebook, a co-author on many papers, writing for Newsweek, speaking everywhere. 

In my view Mann has always been a pugilist. Unfortunately that's what was needed over the last 20 years, by both sides, and Mann fit the bill. Fortunately he came out on top. He fought back and survived all the attacks that came his way, because he and his co-authors Bradley and Hughes (which everyone ignores, for some reason) published a scientifically accurate graph that shows the startling rise in northern hemisphere temperature over the last two centuries. Their science was right.

I first met Michael Mann virtually when writing about the controversial (and wrong) Soon and Baliunas 2003 paper for Scientific American. After that we met a couple of times when I was living in New Hampshire and he and his wife, whose parents lived in southernmost Maine, came up for the Christmas holidays, and we would have coffee and talk in Portsmouth, NH. That gave me the idea to profile him for Scientific American, when I drove down to Charlottesville, Virginia in early 2005, where he was still employed at the time, at the Univ of Virginia. I like to think my profile was ahead of its time.

I've followed his work since as it's been clear the hockey stick remains correct -- it's been replicated numerous times -- and he's been attacked for purely political reasons, and triumphed over them all. 

I'm pretty sure that this blog gave Mann the idea to start the RealClimate blog with some colleagues, so there's that.

[OK, my ego boost for the night is done.]

I think Mann has earned every bit of his current position and stature, and he has dispatched all of those who have tried to take him on, like Steve McIntyre, Ken Cuccinelli, Joe Barton and Mark Steyn. Steyn is still trying to get Mann off his back. What a shame.

As I wrote, Mann is a pugilist, and were I in a foxhole, he's definitely someone I'd want in there with me. So I'm looking forward to reading his new book. In particular, I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to say about the new climate catastrophists, those, led by Jem Bendell, who seem very sure that civilization is headed for societal collapse -- hence their "deep adaptation," which I'm still not sure I understand. But it will be soon, they say. I've been reading them, and in a book I just finished titled This Civilization is Finished by Rupert Read and Samuel Alexander (all of 85 pages for $6.50), Read thinks that our current society will be done in about 20 years time by climate change. (Literally -- I'm not kidding.) 

How do Read, Bendell and many others come to this conclusion? By assuming large nonlinearities and tipping points in the climate system, and quickly, which climate scientists do not necessarily -- or usually -- methane clathrate melting in the Arctic, runaway permafrost melting, very strong ice-albedo feedbacks. 

So I want to see what Mann has to say about this. I'll likely be quoting from his book for awhile. Meanwhile I see many people pointing to it as an important book and it might be worth your while buying a copy and reading it. (Again, I don't get a penny for recommending it. I do this all because I have the best of hearts.) 

((I don't, of course, but wish I did, but as always am doing my best.))


MANTSH said...

I wonder where Mann would be if he hadn't been so ruthlessly attacked by the denialists. I doubt he would be such a household name. Luckily for everyone he had science and skills on his side and emerged as a leader.

I always found it ironic that the attack centered on his "hockey stick" contribution. His contribution was the shaft of the stick, but the problem is the blade!

Thomas said...

If we get anywhere near any of those catastrophic positive feedback scenarios I'm sure there will be plenty of new climate wars of the hot kind, as people struggle to find livable places, turning them unlivable in the process.

David Appell said...

MANTSH: I think you're right. Without all those attacks, Mann would probably never have achieved the attention he has today.

He was in the right place at the right time, if for the wrong reason!