Pesci misleads readers about climate change
Don Pesci chooses to engage in childish attacks against both the science of climate change and me personally in his recent letter to the editor, “The curse of victimology,” April 6.
Despite his insistence that climate change is not “settled science,” the scientific community has concluded otherwise. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences — created in the 19th century by Republican President Abraham Lincoln and hardly a den of political activists — concluded that “most of the recent change is almost certainly due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities.” In the modern era of “alternative facts,” Pesci would like us to believe a handful of fossil fuel industry advocates and right-wing commentators like himself over the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists. For readers interested in the truth about climate change, I recommend my recent book “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy.”
Pesci gets the facts similarly wrong when he refers to my libel lawsuit against the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute. This case is not about scientific orthodoxy or freedom of speech. Just as the First Amendment does not permit one to falsely shout “fire” in a crowded theater, one may not falsely accuse a scientist of fraud in his or her professional work, which is precisely what the defendants did.
Five judges and two courts have already rejected Pesci’s assertions. In fact, the latest ruling, from the highest court in the District of Columbia, dismissed the positions of the defendants that they were simply expressing their legitimate opinions about climate change, characterizing their statements as “noxious.”
Now, it is time for a jury to decide. — Michael E. Mann, Pennsylvania, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center at Penn State University