Climate expert Michael Mann slams climate deniers as 'villainous' and 'immoral' | RenewEconomy

Climate expert Michael Mann slams climate deniers as ‘villainous’ and ‘immoral’

Climate expert Michael E. Mann slams climate science deniers and expresses optimism that student strikes have shifted the conversation on climate change.

Image Credit: Investor Group on Climate Change

One of the world’s leading climate scientists has warned investors of the difficulties of trying to predict the financial implications of climate change tipping points, and labelled the denial of climate change science as ‘villainous’.

Michael E. Mann is the Director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University and has been a leading figure in climate science and understanding how global temperatures have evolved throughout human history.

Speaking to the IGCC Summit in Sydney, Professor Mann labelled corporate climate change denial as ‘villainous’ and ‘immoral’, and added that climate scientists had an important role in informing the public discussion about climate change.

“Acts of defamation and attacks on scientists, those may be offensive and inappropriate on a personal level, but climate change denial writ large is fundamentally villainous, because it is imperilling future generations,” Mann told the summit on Tuesday.

“It’s imperilling all of us now and it is putting our children and grandchildren at great risk. It is arguably one of the most immoral of modern corporate PR campaigns. The campaign to deny the reality and threat of climate change.”

Investors have been grappling with how to predict and plan for the impacts of climate change, including insurance companies who see a world of 4 degrees or more of global warming as effectively uninsurable. Professor Mann warned investors that simplistic models of future climate change impacted economies may not present an accurate picture of the risk posed to investments.

“Uncertainty is not our friend. We have to weigh on the side of assessing a potentially far greater risk than some of the simple linear models that are used might suggest. We really need to be thinking about the possibility that the impacts could be far greater than the models that are usually used to assess impacts and to assess risk,” Mann said.

Professor Mann said that the possible physical impacts of climate change were hard to predict, as it was difficult to model how the climate might respond to ‘tipping points’ that fundamentally changed the Earth’s weather systems, and which made it virtually impossible to predict the financial implications of possible future events like the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet.

“One of the things that we worry about is as we warm the planet beyond on certain thresholds, we will set in motion a potential tipping point responses, Irreversible responses,” Mann told the summit. “Even if we could somehow magically cool the planet back down, we wouldn’t be able to stop these things from happening.”

“In some cases the costs are effectively infinite, collapse the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and we get 20 plus feet of sea-level rise, that’s an absolutely catastrophic impact that is uninsurable.”

Mann expressed optimism about recent campaigns for climate action, particularly the emergence of a strong movement among young people and students, who have emphasised how climate change is fundamentally a moral challenge.

“Youth climate strikes around the world have shifted this conversation now. From simply a conversation about science and policy and economics to what it truly is. This is a matter of intergenerational ethics and preserving the planet for our children and grandchildren for future generations,” he said.

Professor Mann has been the at the centre of several legal challenges and has successfully taken on climate change deniers in defamation actions and hopes to spend more time in Australia during a sabbatical challenging climate change deniers and opponents to climate action.

“Because of the attacks against me, I found myself in a position to actually influence the larger conversation. And ultimately I’ve embraced that opportunity,” Mann said.

“It’s part of why I’m here right now, right down in Australia, and will be here for a sabbatical early next year to try to take on some of those same forces of denial or delay that we’re dealing with the United States here in Australia.”

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  1. ReverseConcaveSpoon 11 months ago

    Boy, the trolls like this one on your Facebook page. All kinds of denialist scripture coming out.

  2. johannes 11 months ago

    Much as I wish him well, Mann will need to have learned from his experience in mounting a legal case against Tim Ball. This was dismissed due to delays on Mann’s part, which has harmed his reputation, unfairly, as a voice of reason in the climate “debate”.

  3. John Wass 11 months ago

    If the Lying Nasty Party and Labor are in collusion in the endeavour to open more fossil fuel production. Will it not be more effective to campaign and protest outside their homes and electorate offices , perhaps we can shame them into action ?

    • John Saint-Smith 11 months ago

      Australia is in the midst of unprecedented drought and unseasonal fire emergency. Our major river system is on the point of collapse, whole towns and farming regions are suffering water supply crises, and the parliament won’t even declare a ‘climate emergency’. Meanwhile ordinary Australians are talking about driving right over the ‘inconvenience’ of the foolish XR demonstrators.
      Morrison has told his own children ‘Don’t you worry about that silly girl Thunberg, Daddy’s got it all sorted.’ He’s either delusional or demonic, either way, I doubt that he, his government or the Quisling Opposition have enough conscience between them for the destruction of the entire biosphere of the planet to register even a 1.0 on the Richter scale of shame.

  4. Ian 11 months ago

    The royal we in these sorts of discussions refers to Pax Americana, Pax Europa and a handful of their hangers-on. Politically disorganised Africa, South America and over populated Asia, and the Arab world are definitely pre-contemplative when it comes to climate change agendas. Many of these are still burning hardwoods for charcoal, paraffin for lighting and generally living miserable lives of overcrowded poverty to worry about some ivory tower professor;)

  5. Ian 11 months ago

    At least a renewables dominant energy system will improve access to energy, simply because the resource is abundant and renewable. Other limitations on resources will arise such as water, agricultural land etc will probably rapidly occur. But maybe energy won’t be one of them

  6. John O'Sullivan 11 months ago

    Climate crisis? Sea levels rising fast? President Barack Obama said the same BS while in office. Recently the Obamas spent $15 million on a beach front mansion. Prof Mann had his 8-year, multi-million dollar law suit versus Tim Ball tossed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia for. what the judge ruled was Mann’s “unreasonable delay”. Go figure.

    • Joe 11 months ago

      You can play the Mann ( a poor pun on words by me ) or you can open your eyes to what is happening on Mother Earth and what The IPCC has been reporting. “Climate crisis”, you ask., here’s a taste of affairs for your information. We saw record last summer temps across Northern Hemisphere and here in Australia, bushfire emergency in Australia that has seen rainforests burn ( never happened before!), worst drought on record in Australia, a never before water security issue in Capetown, South Africa as water security increasingly becomes a hot issue in many parts of the world. “Sea levels rising fast”, you query. Fast or slow, sea levels are rising and it will rise more with the Greenland icesheet melting. Talking of melts, Arctic summer ice levels continue the annual retreat to new lows and glaciers around the world are in retreat. You right…”Climate Crisis?”

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