“Brian Wong, Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Political Review, sits down with Michael Mann, leading climate change scientist and theorist, recipient of Tyler Prize, and perhaps most famously known for his exposition of the existential threat confronting humanity through his “Hockey Stick Graph” in his 1999 article. A Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Michael Mann’s geophysics research has played a crucial role in breaking new grounds for climate change science.
“Michael Mann is no ordinary scientist. He is outspoken – as evidenced in his extensive public commentaries and participation in debates and panels over climate science. He is down-to-earth – shunning the jargons and technical language that stereotypical academics (particularly scientists) seem to be afflicted with. These were all conspicuous first impressions as we began our conversation over one of the most pressing topics in global politics: the future of humanity under climate change.
“Climate Change Skepticism
“I begin with a question that perhaps most directly concerns Michael’s occupation, “Why is climate change skepticism so pervasive?” Could the fact that large numbers of citizens in some of the most advanced democracies – particularly the US – still refuse to believe that global warming exists or is artificially generated, have anything to do with the poorly state scientific education is in today? How could scientists make a difference given such public perceptions?
“Michael phlegmatically lays out his well-caveated response – he prefaces it by noting that the atmosphere and politics in the US are rather “unique relative to other contexts”, and that his comments are thus predominantly targeted towards his home country; there may well be, however, areas of convergence and similarities between the US and countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada and beyond.
“I refuse to cede the term ‘sceptic’ to those individuals that we’re talking about […] those who refuse to accept climate change based on the flimsiest arguments, motivated instead by contrarianism.”
“In discussing the intriguingly loud yet demographically dwindling population of climate change sceptics – “vocal minority” – Michael delves into the two predominant yet distinct categories of individuals that this question revolves around. The first group is the person on the street, “the victim led astray by media propagating climate change denial,…”
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