The author and eminent climate scientist on the deniers’ new tactics and why positive change feels closer than it has done in 20 years
Michael E Mann is one of the world’s most influential climate scientists. He rose to prominence in 1999 as the co-author of the “hockey-stick graph”, which showed the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial age. This was the clearest evidence anyone had provided of the link between human emissions and global warming. This made him a target. He and other scientists have been subject to “climategate” email hacking, personal abuse and online trolling. In his new book, The New Climate War, he argues the tide may finally be turning in a hopeful direction.
You are a battle-scarred veteran of many climate campaigns. What’s new about the climate war?
For more than two decades I was in the crosshairs of climate change deniers, fossil fuel industry groups and those advocating for them – conservative politicians and media outlets. This was part of a larger effort to discredit the science of climate change that is arguably the most well-funded, most organised PR campaign in history. Now we finally have reached the point where it is not credible to deny climate change because people can see it playing out in real time in front of their eyes.
It’s frustrating to see scientists being blamed. We’ve been fighting the most well-funded PR campaign in human history