Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann has a column in the Washington Post section this morning that begins: “As a scientist, I shouldn’t have a stake in the upcoming midterm elections, but unfortunately, it seems that I — and indeed all my fellow climate scientists — do.” And concludes: “My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public.”Michael E. Mann, the author of Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming, is a professor in the meteorology department at Penn State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center.
In “Science isn’t a political experiment” (titled “Get the anti-science bent out of politics” in the online version), Mann writes (excerpt, boldface added):
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has threatened that, if he becomes chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he will launch what would be a hostile investigation of climate science….Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) may do the same if he takes over a committee on climate change and energy security….
What could Issa, Sensenbrenner and Cuccinelli possibly think they might uncover now, a year after the e-mails were published?
The truth is that they don’t expect to uncover anything. Instead, they want to continue a 20-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none….
Burying our heads in the sand would leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate. The only sure way to mitigate these threats is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next few decades. But even if we don’t reduce emissions, the reality of adapting to climate change will require responses from government at all levels.
Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome — indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking.
But the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.
How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing?…
My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too.
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