Michael E. Mann is a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. He co-authored, with Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles, “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy.”
My Penn State colleagues looked with horror at the police tape across my office door.
I had been opening mail at my desk that afternoon in August 2010 when a dusting of white powder fell from the folds of a letter. I dropped the letter, held my breath and slipped out the door as swiftly as I could, shutting it behind me. First I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands. Then I called the police.
It turned out to be cornstarch, not anthrax. And it was just one in a long series of threats I’ve received since the late 1990s, when my research illustrated the unprecedented nature of global warming, producing an upward-trending temperature curve whose shape has been likened to a hockey stick.
I’ve faced hostile investigations by politicians, demands for me to be fired from my job, threats against my life and even threats against my family. Those threats have diminished in recent years, as man-made climate change has become recognized as the overwhelming scientific consensus and as climate science has received the support of the federal government. But with the coming Trump administration, my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.…
By Todd Cort December 19 at 12:32 PM
Todd Cort is a lecturer in sustainability at the Yale School of Management and faculty co-director of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
Excerpt: Over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016). Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.
In atmospheric carbon dioxide terms, the eight years of the Bush administration represent the rise from 370 parts per million to 385 parts per million as result of global emissions (about 13 percent of the rise in carbon dioxide since the days of Brearley and about 0.15oC average global rise in temperature).
Not only did those eight years contribute to the issue, they represent a missed opportunity to address the challenge that is now upon us. The administration could have moved on climate change to not only reduce U.S. emissions, but to engage and lead the global community to slow emissions from China (which has now become the largest emitter), India, the European Union and elsewhere.
The Obama administration did not solve climate change, but it did make significant strides both domestically and in international agreements.…