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Mike Hulme has written a book review of Mann’s lastest opus:

And it can be found at issues.org

Hulme puts his review into a historical perspective.

Wars, battles, attacks, fights, and enemies litter its 260 pages. Much of what I said about Mann’s combative militancy in my review of his 2012 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, can be equally applied to this new one. Now, his central argument is that there is a new war afoot. The old war—fought mostly around the claims of climate scientists—has been (largely) won. But a new war has been ignited; Mann and his allies are now having to fight against the forces of inaction.


However, Hulme is no fan of Mann.

The tragedy, however, of Mann and people who think like him is that they view arguments about these questions through a Manichean lens: the source of all opposition to the “correct” view—Mann’s view—of what should be done about climate change is traced back to an orchestrated evil empire. The basic doctrine of Manicheanism is that of a structural conflict between good and evil. For Mann, the source of this evil is the fossil fuel industry representing, as he puts it, “the eye of Sauron,” that omnipotent dark power in The Lord of the Rings.

There is no doubting the need for an accelerating transition away from fossil fuels. And there is also no doubt that vested political interests have obstructed its progress. But Mann is so conditioned by his Manichean worldview that wherever he looks in the public, scientific, and political debates around climate change he sees the shadows of the Koch brothers (52 name checks in the book), Exxon Mobil (23), and the Heartland Institute (15). The nefarious hand of the fossil-fuel lobby is everywhere. This worldview leads him to some ludicrous contentions that, taken together, result in The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet offering an incoherent and distinctly unhelpful narrative on climate change. Let me give some examples of what I mean.


He describes Mann’s militant behavior at length.

Indeed, he finds it necessary to create enemies out of a variety of scientists, scholars, writers, filmmakers, and think tanks that are actually engaged in the serious search for solutions to climate change—just not his solutions. People with whom Michael Mann disagrees—a long list that includes even such progressive stalwarts as Michael Moore and Bill Gates—become enemies: agents of the dark forces of inactivism, or contrarians, or “soft denialists,” or deflectors, or apologists, or defeatists. Mann’s playbook here is reminiscent of 1950s McCarthyism or the ideological purification pursued by the Communist International during the 1930s Spanish Civil War.



This is an America-first book. It perpetuates the fallacy that the global politics of climate change can be read through the peculiar lens of American political partisanship. The other climate superpowers—the European Union (6 mentions), China (8), Brazil (3), and India (0)—seem bit players for Mann. There is no analysis about the political economy of the global energy transition, and he is dismissive of the global challenge of alleviating energy poverty (“a contrived concept”). And Mann uses a trick he accuses his enemies of using—trivialization—when the concerns of those arguing for a just transition for the world’s poor are swept aside with his disdainful comment “there are always winners and losers.”


Read the full review here.

via Watts Up With That?

November 27, 2021