March 3rd, 2024

Climate scientist Michael Mann wins defamation suit over comparison to molester, jury decides

By Suman Naishadham, The Associated Press on February 8, 2024.

FILE - Michael Mann, then-professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, arrives at the "Before the Flood" premiere on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Sept. 9, 2016, in Toronto. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in a defamation lawsuit brought by Mann against a pair of conservative writers who compared him to a convicted child molester for his depiction of global warming. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A jury on Thursday in Washington D.C. said climate scientist Michael Mann was defamed 12 years ago when a pair of conservative writers compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester.

Mann, a professor of climate science at the University of Pennsylvania, rose to fame for a graph first published in 1998 in the journal Nature that was dubbed the “hockey stick” for its dramatic illustration of a warming planet.

The work brought Mann wide exposure but also many skeptics, including the two writers that Mann took to court for attacks that he said affected his career and reputation in the U.S. and internationally.

In 2012, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a blog post by Rand Simberg that compared investigations into Mann’s work by Penn State University to the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach who was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple children.

Mann’s research was investigated after his and other scientists’ emails were leaked in 2009 in an incident known as “Climategate” that brought further scrutiny of the “hockey stick” graph, with skeptics claiming Mann manipulated data. Investigations by Penn State and others, including The Associated Press’ examination of the emails, found no misuse of data by Mann, but his work continued to draw attacks, particularly from conservatives.

“Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data,” Simberg wrote. Another writer, Mark Steyn, later referenced Simberg’s article in his own piece in National Review, calling Mann’s research “fraudulent.”

___

The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

Share this story:
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments