The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

by Michael Mann


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The ongoing assault on climate science in the United States has never been more aggressive, more blatant, or more widely publicized than in the case of the Hockey Stick graph—a clear and compelling visual presentation of scientific data, put together by MichaelE. Mann and his colleagues, demonstrating that global temperatures have risen in conjunction with the increase in industrialization and the use of fossil fuels. Here was an easy-to-understand graph that, in a glance, posed a threat to major corporate energy interests and those who do their political bidding. The stakes were simply too high to ignore the Hockey Stick—and so began a relentless attack on a body of science and on the investigators whose work formed its scientific basis.

The Hockey Stick achieved prominence in a 2001 UN report on climate change and quickly became a central icon in the "climate wars." The real issue has never been the graph's data but rather its implied threat to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect the environment and planet. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He reveals key figures in the oil and energy industries and the media frontgroups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, sometimes bare-knuckled ways. Mann concludes with the real story of the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, in which climate scientists' emails were hacked. This is essential reading for all who care about our planet's health and our own well-being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231152556
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/26/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 434,624
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University. Despite being in the public eye, he continues an active research program in climate science and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. In 2012 he received the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union. Along with other scientists, he contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning website

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Prologue: What Is the Hockey Stick?
1. Born in a War
2. Climate Science Comes of Age
3. Signals in the Noise
4. The Making of the Hockey Stick
5. The Origins of Denial
6. A Candle in the Dark
7. In the Line of Fire
8. Hockey Stick Goes to Washington
9. When You Get Your Picture on the Cover of...
10. Say it Ain't So (Smokey) Joe!
11. A Tale of Two Reports
12. Heads of the Hydra
13. The Battle of the Bulge
14. Climategate: The Real Story
15. Fighting Back
Selected Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

Bill Nye the Science Guy

If you don't believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it's a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition.

Sherwood Boehlert

A must read to appreciate the endless disinformation campaign by climate change deniers at the highest levels of government and corporate America and the chilling yet serious implications of the crusade to discredit distinguished scientists like Michael E. Mann.

Henry Waxman

As one of the nation's leading climate researchers, no one has felt the brunt of the attacks from politicians and the fossil fuel industry more than Michael E. Mann. This is his personal account from the center of the maelstrom, documenting the lies and distortions about his work and his heroic efforts to stand up for scientific truth.

Paul R. Ehrlich

A brilliant and courageous climatologist, Michael E. Mann knows what it's like to be viciously attacked by the well-funded deniers of scientific evidence and how critical it is to respond. In this gripping, personal, front-lines account of climate politics, he eloquently conveys the importance of both doing great science and communicating its societal implications to a wider public.

Bill Nye the Science Guy ©

If you don't believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it's a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition.

Bill McKibben

Very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future, and very few people have paid a higher price for doing so. Michael Mann is a hero, and this book is a remarkable account of the science and politics of the defining issue of our time.

Chris Mooney

Michael E. Mann has been the most important, resilient, and outspoken warrior in the climate battle, responding to threats and persecution with courage and resolve every step of the way. Anyone who cares about the climate issue must read his fascinating—and enraging—story.

James Lovelock

Michael E. Mann presents his conviction that climate change is real and potentially deadly. A truly readable book on a topic that will remain evergreen.

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The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Field Notes from the Front Lines 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Sheltie More than 1 year ago
I probably first read Dr. Michael Mann's name on the Web site of the Norfolk, Va., newspaper in association with a witch hunt the Virginia attorney general - a climate change denalist - had undertaken against him in the so-called "climategate" thingee - case that took on media wheels thanks in large part to conservative, right-wing outlets like FOX News. Dr. Mann is on the faculty at Penn State's main campus at State College, Pa. My late wife was a Penn State faculty member and academic official at the university's campus at Hazleton, Pa. So naturally I follow Penn State events and people pretty closely. But what really makes this book a must-read for Americans today is the science that drives its conclusion: Human activities, like burning coal and gasoline, are warming the planet, the only one we've got.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first author of the MBH hockey stick papers has performed a valuable service by writing a book that goes well beyond just saying, "Trust me, those deniers are dummies." He treats the reader as intelligent and able to understand a well-presented scientific argument addressed at the nonspecialist, and thus has made a valuable contribution to the wider public realization of the real lack of scientific underpinnings in the attacks on the hockey stick and related work. Basic blunders in the contrarian work by some of denial's main figures (simple errors in their own attempts to apply principal component analysis; using degrees in functions that expect input in radians; confusion of a function with its derivative; the list goes on and on) should be required knowledge for any journalist still thinking that "balance" is needed between carefully done research in this area and the shoddy work that Mann exposes here. Everyone - get a copy, read it, understand it, and think about it the next time you hear about that "bombshell" paper that just came out showing that humans aren't causing global warming. Those bombshells generally seem to blow up in their authors' faces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a highly readable book about scientists and global warming. There is a natural variation in climate in the history of the planet, but there is also a recent warming trend associated with burning fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry has funded dozens of astroturf groups to deny global warming , or if there is global warming, that fossil fuels have contributed to it.
RichRH More than 1 year ago
A clear and detailed writing of how the bought and paid for media has smeared the science.
Yellow-Snow More than 1 year ago
Wow, Mann provides enough empirical evidence for you to arm yourself against your unbelieving Uncle. I thought I already understood all about global warming and the political rhetoric around it, but this book made me realize how little I knew. Great book.
David_Cassatt More than 1 year ago
In this book Professor Michael Mann brilliantly interweaves three threads: how a curious person becomes a scientist and rises up the career ladder, what multiproxy temperature reconstruction is all about, and the fight against accepted, but inconvenient, science. Mann’s research showing that recent temperatures were unprecedented over the last 1000 or so years became a focal point for both climate scientists and their powerful foes, and Mann and his work were attacked by business and ideological interests. Mann recounts his own personal interest in science, how multiproxy reconstructions are done, and the resulting battles against his research. Each of these aspects is well-covered by a good writer and communicator; this is a story of curiosity and opportunity, a story of the science told in a way that an interested layman can understand it, and the story of a battle to defend good science. The reader will learn the science, but will also learn the tactics that the opponents of science use, and the way that scientists are targeted. (note: review copy provided)
GT-Colorado More than 1 year ago
Dr. Mann so called "hockey stick" has been discredited. I am quite interested in climate change, but have little interest in those who attempt to deceive and misrepresent the science. His data sets, methodology and statistical methods have been called out by prominent scientists inside and outside the climate science community. The Medieval Warming period, as well as, the Rome Warming Period, the Younger Dryas, the Maunder and Sporer Minimum have all contributed to climate change on the earth. I would much prefer that climate change be examined across the various scientific disciplines to better understand climate change on the planet. There is way more to climate change then what Dr. Mann is proposing and suggesting. Dr. Mann can do better for the good of science.
Stacy__Clark More than 1 year ago
A fabulous, informative and telling read. Michael E. Mann's research and analysis remains cutting edge. Highly recommend this book.
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