What’s it like to be climate scientist Michael Mann? Think bounty (not the good kind)

Renowned climate scientist Michael Mann was at UCLA and the Emmett Center today to give a talk promoting his soon-to-be-released book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.”  Mann, who has been called “one of the most vilified men in the highly vilified field of climate science,” created the famed “hockey stick” long-term temperature graph and was a central figure in the 2009 email hacking scandal.  He has withstood personal attacks, email thefts, endless FOIA requests, and years-long campaigns by governmental authorities (including U.S. House Rep. Joe Barton and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli) to subpoena all his files as part of a broader crusade against the scientific basis of global warming.

Given his history, Mann gave a talk that was downright mild-mannered and, in places, even cheerful. He laid out a straightforward case for the consensus view of scientists on warming; told anecdotes about his tribulations that highlighted the many people and institutions that have come to his defense; and ended with an affirmation of potential policy solutions.  He struck none of the notes of outrage or bitterness that others in his position might have resorted to.

We did, however, get the smallest of glimpses of what it must be like to be besieged in the way he has been: The folks over at junkscience.org posted about our talk today and offered a $500 bounty for a video of someone at the event asking Mann a question “debunking” his views.  No winners, as far as I know.

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