Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Willie Soon – Michael Mann has complained about Climate “Deniers” being given a platform, when speaking at an event held to honour academics targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954.
Academic freedom lecturer takes on claims of climate change deniers
By Safiya Merchant
The University Record
Renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann took on those who deny climate change and highlighted the importance of acting to combat this environmental threat during Tuesday’s University Senate Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.
Speaking to a full crowd at the Law School’s Honigman Auditorium, the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University and director of its Earth System Science Center, said those on the front lines of the climate change debate “were dealing with fake news and alternative facts before they were in fashion.”
Throughout his lecture, Mann dissected the ways in which climate change is often portrayed as a debatable phenomenon.
For instance, when climate change is a news show topic, producers will host a scientist alongside a “climate change contrarian,” even though a vast majority of scientists agree climate change “is real, it’s human-caused, it’s already a problem,” he said.
He was speaking at the 27th annual lecture that honors three former U-M faculty members — Chandler Davis, Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson — who invoked their constitutional rights when called to testify before a panel of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954. All three were suspended from U-M. Markert subsequently was reinstated, and Davis and Nickerson were dismissed.
In introducing Mann, President Mark Schlissel said he hopes U-M will always be “an unalienable forum for discovery, debate and discussion — a place where respect and disagreement are complementary, where each makes the other stronger and where we all advocate for and learn from their confluence.”
A few questions Dr. Mann.
If the evidence for the threat of anthropogenic climate change is so overwhelming, why are you so adamant that “contrarians” should not be allowed a public platform for rebuttal? Surely greater publicity for the positions of contrarians and their “fake news and alternative facts” as you put it is the best way to expose any falsehoods?
Even if you believe climate skepticism is the fossil fuel conspiracy which Mann claims, think about previous high profile public debates, such as the debate about the link between smoking and lung cancer. Ask yourself; did the anti-tobacco campaigners win by preventing well funded tobacco advocates from speaking? Or did anti-tobacco campaigners challenge tobacco advocates, provide evidence to back their claims that tobacco is a health risk, and force tobacco advocates to reveal the weakness of their position in public?
Perhaps Dr. Mann is worried that allowing his opponents to refute climate advocate arguments in public debate reveals the weakness of his position.