Mike Mann: The Six Stages of Climate Denial

October 2, 2013

Mike Mann just got in to Reykjavik for the Earth 101 event, currently sleeping off his jet lag. I hope to speak with and interview him this week.

For now, here’s a bit of his analysis of climate denial from an event in San Francisco a year ago.

13 Responses to “Mike Mann: The Six Stages of Climate Denial”

  1. […] Mike Mann just got in to Reykjavik for the Earth 101 event, currently sleeping off his jet lag. I hope to speak with and interview him this week. For now, here's a bit of his analysis of climate de…  […]

  2. matthew00hubbard Says:

    That was four, not six. What did you leave out?

  3. redskylite Says:

    Good talk through the stages of denial, I have not heard the last stage that he mentions yet – he is very sincere and logical – I can’t see why some people get so upset by the man, he is just stating things strongly and clearly as he sees it.

  4. jpcowdrey Says:

    The sixth stage is when climate change has proven calamitous, and the blame is thrown on the scientists for failing to caution against the risks convincingly.

    Enter omnologos.

  5. andrewfez Says:

    A bit off topic but here’s an article I found about Amory Lovin’s house in Colorado.


    It’s just one of several articles to be found about it – nothing special. But what i founding interesting is the comments section: In this section Amory Lovins himself logs on and thwarts naysayers with long paragraphs that destroy their casual and unsupported claims. He even has issues with the article’s conclusion that his home cost a lot to green, and spends a huge amount of time explaining how it ain’t so.

    Just once I’d like to see David Archer, or Michal Mann, or some other climate professor log onto the WSJ or whatever disinformation medium is hot at the time, and start tearing these retired engineer oil warriors up.

    I second jpcowdrey’s thoughts about blaming scientists: it’s possible that 50 years from now they’ll have some interviewee off the street saying, ‘If they knew it was going to get this bad, why didn’t they get up in front of the TV mics every night and scream that this is coming! Scream until they listened!’

    Though I’m more of an optimist who thinks the exponential rise in efficiency and green energy will have decimated the fossil market by then, just through ‘free market’ dynamics, and there will still be folks arguing if climate change is real or not, even after 2 or 3 degrees of warming.

    • petermogensen Says:

      We already have an extraordinary situation where several climatologist are making exception to the rule about to stay in the lab and keep it to strict science.
      And what happens: Deniers use that as a proof to claim that climatology as a whole is politically motivated.

      • andrewfez Says:

        And yet Mann has written a book and several main stream articles whose topics (or subtopics) significantly deviate from the pure scientific aspects of the climate, and here he is on video, at the top of this very page deviating from the subject to talk about denialism. He’s already got his hands dirty; a few throws in a comment section, especially a comment section for an article he wrote, ain’t gonna add that much more fuel to the fire.

        My theory is these guys are probably so laser-focused on whatever they’re presently researching, that they don’t have the gumption to argue generalities that invite tangents that end up having to do with minute details of some other field or research that they are not expert in. There is an art to arguing with deniers on the internet. You have to be a jack-of-all-trades physicist with a good recall of references from all aspects of climate change. You also have to be able to pinpoint where the other person’s logic is flawed. Skeptical Science takes some of the work out of that, providing references related to popular arguments.

        But a lot of these arguments end in stale mate because neither side can quantify a specific point they’re trying to make; such quantification if it were present, having the ability to end the argument. For example, if i wanted to provide evidence that Mann making comments under an article doesn’t add significant ammo to the denialist camp, I would have to find the date of his comments, then forwardly monitor, say, the top 100 anti-science blogs, and top media outlets, and count how many times those referred to Mann’s behavior of commenting (directly or indirectly, but still attributable to such) and compare it against the number of comments about Mann that have nothing to do with that specific behavior. Obviously most will have to do with the hockey stick. Then, further, I would have to weigh each outlet based upon the amount of viewers each has. (So the WSJ gets more weight than a blog with only 10 views per day.) That way I could give more insight into the impact those specific comments (or rather, the denialists’ treatment of such) had with regard to general consumers of media.

        I like Lovins’ comments in the WSJ because he does take the time to spell everything out, so that his points can’t be ambiguously countered.

        • petermogensen Says:

          Well… we probably agree.
          A lot of this also has to do with (more or less willful) ignorance of science in general among deniers (and politicians).

          You simply can’t argue with people that (as I have experienced) regard the premise that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” as something which it is “biased” of me to regard as a premise for the debate.

          At some point there is simply no more time, reason or patience to “meet with the flat earth society”.

          Also … there’s the effect that the Internet makes it possible for people without serious intention to be objective or for anyone to become wiser to put forward loads of nonsense (creating “manufactured doubt”) in a much shorter time that it takes a person genuinely interested in objective knowledge to refute them.
          It’s imply too easy to make stupid claims when you’re not interested in whether what you say is correct.

        • redskylite Says:

          It is really a great pity and shame that our climate scientists need to spend so much time and effort countering denial claims (time that could be more usefully spent, either relaxing/unwinding with ,or without, family or on more positive and productive work). When denial interest groups and organisations start sifting scientists emails and try and discredit scientists (much like politicians in politics) we have sunk to a new (almost unbelievable) low in human affairs. Sometime I wonder if we are really worth saving from ourselves.

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