Last week, climate scientist Michael Mann wrote an OpEd in the Washington Post defending himself against attacks by ideologically-driven climate change deniers.
On Tuesday, the Post ran a “rebuttal” of sorts by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX). In it, Barton grossly mischaracterizes Dr. Mann’s research and motivations. Go ahead and take a moment to read it.
Mann sent a letter to the Post asking for a chance to defend himself against Barton’s slurs. The Post declined: if they allowed this sort of thing, it would go on forever, in a “he said/she said” war of words. I can understand that decision, but it doesn’t mean Mann has to remain quiet. I was contacted on behalf of Mann by the Union of Concerned Scientists, asking if I would run the letter from Mann that the Post declined.
Of course I would. Here it is, in its entirety:
The Honorable Barton’s editorial is already getting ripped to shreds in various venues, such as on Deep Climate here, the DeSmogBlog, and here, as well as in the comments of the editorial itself. I would categorize Congressman Barton’s editorial to be dissembling at best: Mann doesn’t want to suppress questioning of scientific research. In fact, he knows, as we all do, that science thrives when it’s questioned. It’s how we learn.
But what’s going on in Congress is not an evidence-based query, it’s a politically-driven attack on science.
It’s not exactly a subtle distinction.
I’ll note that Representative Barton has the distinction of being the Congressman who received the highest amount of lobby dollars from the oil and gas industry — 1.7 million dollars over the past 20 years. As Mann mentions, you may remember Barton as the Congressman who shamefully apologized to BP executive Tony Hayward after that company dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (and then issued a non-apology about it). He is a notorious global warming denier and exactly the sort of person Dr. Mann is warning us about in his Post editorial.
And I’ll remind you, every single one of the Republican Senate hopefuls this election season is against taking any action about climate change.
Congressman Barton, if you read this — and I certainly hope you do — I will point you to your own words in your editorial: “I think Mr. Mann is entitled to make up his own mind, but not his own truth.” That is ironic indeed, given that this is precisely what you have been doing for a long, long time. The actual truth is clear: the climate is changing, the globe is warming, and all the denying, all the noise, all the letter writing you can do will not change those simple facts.
You are not fighting a political battle, you are fighting against reality itself. And if you win, we will all lose.