Finally Mann declared that “politicians across the political spectrum have to come together to solve this problem that threatens us all.” And it was immediately clear that this was a political programme. Something is “political” if it is ”related to the government or the public affairs of a country.” And Michael Mann was advancing a sweeping, revolutionary political programme aimed at creating a “carbon-free economy.” An entire 200-year-old global industrial civilisation, built on coal and oil and gas, was to be completely swept away. Lenin would have gasped at the prodigious scale of it, and Trotsky would have fainted. And he was calling for all this on the basis of a few computer models and some temperature measurements.
Nobody should be in the least surprised if such a political programme meets with strong resistance from people – many of them conservatives – who don’t want to readily dispose of their entire economy and culture and way of life, and who will need serious convincing with hard data before they will even begin to contemplate doing anything along these lines.
The real Scientization of Politics comes when scientists become politicians (or politicians become scientists) who are advancing radical political programmes. And Michael Mann is quite clearly one of these. So also is ex-NASA James Hansen. And when scientists become politicians, they should expect to attract the scrutiny of politicians like Senator James Inhofe, and of political operatives like Marc Morano (one-time assistant of Inhofe). They can’t expect to hide in ivory towers behind the illustrious mantle of science, tut-tutting about “McCarthyism” and “attacks on science” by “special interests”. A political programme remains a political programme regardless of who is peddling it