Prominent scientist and climate activist Michael Mann appealed to an asserted scientific consensus to chastise President Donald Trump on CBS’s 60 Minutes program last night. Ironically, Mann himself ignored clear scientific consensus in order to promote his own, out-of-the-mainstream climate change theories.

While interviewing Mann, CBS’s Scott Pelley said, “There have always been fires in the West. There have always been hurricanes in the East. How do we know that climate change is involved in this?” Pelley followed up with, “The president says about climate change, ‘Science doesn’t know.’”

Replied Mann, “The president doesn’t know, and he should know better. He should know that the world’s leading scientific organizations, our own U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and national academies of every major industrial nation, every scientific society in the United States that’s weighed in on the matter. This is a scientific consensus. There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.”

Mann’s description of the conclusions of the “scientific consensus” however, is exactly the opposite of what scientific bodies report.

As documented in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expresses “low confidence” in any connection between climate change and changes in hurricane activity.

Similarly, as documented in Climate at a Glance: U.S. Wildfires, U.S. wildfires are much less frequent and severe than they were in the first half of the 20th century – 100 years of global warming ago. Moreover, the IPCC reports a decrease in drought conditions – which is the primary climate factor regarding wildfires – in the global region including the U.S. West. Moreover, the IPCC finds no evidence of an increase in drought globally, either.

Ultimately, data, evidence, and scientific facts are far more indicative of scientific truth than a real or imagined consensus of scientists. Yet, to the extent Michael Mann wishes to invoke consensus as a scientific argument, the clear consensus of scientists is that Mann is promoting extreme climate theories that have no basis in reality.

James Taylor is Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

1 COMMENT

  1. Unfortunately, what we have is the conflation of “physical” science with political science. Also, you have an enabling mainstream media that (mostly) no longer engages in actual journalism…questioning & actually “vetting” issues. No honest (objective) pursuit of facts & underlying truth. Can you imagine how Mike Wallace or Morley Safer may have handled this interview 20 years ago? Michael Mann (probably) would not even accept an invitation on 60 Minutes…

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