In celebration of Earthstock, prominent climate scientist and geophysicist Michael Mann offers a somewhat lighthearted take on a very serious issue — the threat of human-caused climate change and what to do about it, based on his collaboration with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University, will present his lecture, “Return to the Madhouse: Climate Denial in the Age of Trump,” on Friday April 19, at 3 pm in the Wang Center Theater.
Mann targets the ongoing campaign to deny that threat through satire and where appropriate, ridicule, built around Toles’ famously insightful, edgy and provocative climate-themed cartoons in the Washington Post. Using the cartoons as a template, Mann reviews the scientific evidence of climate change, the reasons we should care, and the often absurd efforts by special interests and partisan political figures to confuse the public, attack the science and scientists, and deny that a problem even exists. Despite the monumental nature of the challenge this poses to human civilization, he finds a way to end on an upbeat and cautiously optimistic note.
About Michael Mann
Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in physics and applied math from the University of California at Berkeley, an MS degree in physics from Yale University, and a PhD in geology and geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system.
He was a lead author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the 50 leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. Mann made Bloomberg News’ list of 50 most influential people in 2013. In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He received numerous other awards including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 2019. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.
This special lecture is co-sponsored by Earthstock Stony Brook, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Sir Run Run Shaw Lecture, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, SBU, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Office of the Dean of Students and Division of Student Affairs, and Science Open Nights – Living World Lecture.