BONUS EPISODE: Michael Mann’s Journey Through the Climate Wars


Today we're sharing an episode of a podcast we've been enjoying lately. Democracy Works, produced by Penn State's McCourtney Institute for Democracy, aims to rise above the daily news grind and take a broader look at issues impacting democracy — which can be just about anything.

If you’re looking for partisan bickering or hot takes on the news, this is not the podcast for you.

This episode is an interview with one of the most famous and vocal climate scientists working today. Michael Mann was on one of our earliest Trump on Earth episodes, but this conversation with him is a different take.

It’s not really about climate change. Well, not directly, anyway. Instead, the Nobel Prize winner and Penn State Distinguished Professor of Meteorology Michael E. Mann talks about his journey through the climate wars over the past two decades and the role that experts have to play in moving out of the lab and into the spotlight to defend the scientific process.

Doing so is more important now than ever, Mann says, as corporation-funded think tanks continue to churn out information that deliberately sows skepticism among the public about our role in climate change. But it does beg the question: How do you square the idea that in a democracy, everyone’s vote is equal but everyone’s opinion is not?

Mann was part of the team that created the now-infamous hockey stick graph that showed how quickly the rate of warming on the planet had accelerated during the latter half of the 20th century. In the 20 years since graph was published, he’s had his email hacked, been called to testify before Congress, and been hounded by Internet trolls long before social media existed.

He chronicled those experiences in his 2012 book The Hockey Stick and the Climate WarsDespite it all, he’s more passionate than ever about spreading the good word about science and cautiously optimistic that things might turn out ok after all.

LISTEN to the full episode here (or wherever you get your podcasts):


Trump on Earth is produced by The Allegheny Front, a Pittsburgh-based environmental reporting project.

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