cover image The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches f
rom the Front Lines

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches f rom the Front Lines

Michael E. Mann. Columbia Univ., $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-231-15254-9

In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside. As a member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), Mann helped compile 1,000 years of temperature data that when graphed, illustrates the extreme rise in degrees at the end of the 20th century. The persuasiveness of the “hockey stick,” as it was dubbed, made Mann an instant political target. In the 2009 hacking scandal known as “Climategate,” emails discussing the mathematical models he used to create the figure were said to prove an international conspiracy to dupe the public. That controversy, Mann writes, is only the latest attempt by deniers to discredit scientists one by one; for decades, powerful interests have spent untold millions to tarnish legitimate research and the reputation of scholars who have dedicated their lives to understanding our world. Although the book sometimes slides into overly technical language, Mann balances the statistical analysis with charming personal anecdotes from his life and work. Careful descriptions of the methods and models behind climate change science bear out that assertion, proving that the only way to counter dangerous lies is to expose the truth, however inconvenient it might be. (Mar.)