Atmospheric Scientist Mann to Discuss Climate Change Denial

Posted on 9/11/2019 9:10:29 AM

On Thursday, September 19, Michael Mann, distinguished professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, will give a talk titled “A Return to the Madhouse: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump.” The talk will take place 2:00–3:15 p.m. in the Eberly Auditorium (room 101).

This talk is sponsored by the Sustainability Studies Program and minor, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Science Inspires Speaker Series, and the departments of Economics and Geoscience.

In Mann’s words, the abstract of the talk is as follows:

“In fall 2016, I co-authored the book The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and Driving us Crazy with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles. At that time, many felt that climate change denial had been rendered irrelevant—that we were past it, and ready to tackle the problem head on. With the election as President of Donald J. Trump—an individual who rejects the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists that climate change is real and human-caused—denialism, however, has now officially infected the very highest level of our government. The official policy of the US government is distraction, denial, and delay, and doubling down on our headlong exploitation of dirty fossil fuel energy. I update the story told by The Madhouse Effect using humor, satire, and, where appropriate, ridicule, built around Tom Toles’ famously insightful, edgy, and provocative climate-themed cartoons in the Washington Post.

“I will review the scientific evidence of climate change, the reasons we should care, and the often absurd efforts by special interests and partisan political figures to confuse the public, attack the science and scientists, and deny that a problem even exists. Despite the monumental nature of the challenge we face, particularly in the era of Trump, I will explain why I’m cautiously optimistic we will prevail in the greatest battle human civilization has ever faced—the battle to avert catastrophic and irreversible climate change impacts.” 

With over 34,000 citations to his 200+ peer-reviewed and edited publications, op-eds, commentaries, and four books, Mann’s primary research focus involves using theoretical models and observational data to form a better understanding of Earth’s climate system.

Mann was a lead author on the “Observed Climate Variability and Change” chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Scientific Assessment Report (2001). Together with the other co-authors, Mann contributed to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore.

Mann has received numerous honors and awards including, but not limited to, the NOAA’s outstanding publication award (2002), the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union (2012), the national Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation (2013), and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union (2018).

Mann is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning science website

Please join us for this exciting talk on Thursday, September 19, from 2:00  to 3:15 p.m. with a guided question-and-answer session and/or open forum from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. in Eberly 101.