The price of scientific notoriety
Michael E. Mann, a scientist gifted at game theory and statistical analysis, worked with colleagues to figure out the trick of combining climate temperature data covering a thousand years into a single graph, the so-called "hockey stick." The "blade" of the stick famously reveals that temperatures in recent decades are sharply higher, which can only be explained by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. For this achievement he and his colleagues won the Nobel Prize in 2007.
In "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Lines," Mann tells the infuriating tale of what else scientific notoriety has brought. He and prominent climate science colleagues have received threats to themselves and their families, harassing lawsuits, illegal subpoenas from Republicans in Congress, and vilification across the right-wing media and blogger spectrum. They have seen their work lied about, distorted and willfully mischaracterized in a disinformation campaign orchestrated and financed by a few ultra-conservative right-wing billionaires.
I challenge anyone with an open mind, left or right, business or academic, to not be deeply disturbed by the attacks on science and scientists for political ends that Mann dispassionately describes. A few early passages are tough going as Mann necessarily describes the sophisticated techniques at issue. But most of the story is clear and vitally important to all citizens of a warming planet Earth.