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Michael Mann: ‘A second Trump term is game over for the climate – really!’

By Eric Worrall

According to Michael Mann, the upcoming US Presidential election is “a Tolkienesque battle between good and evil, and Sauron needs to be defeated on election day here in the United States.”. But Mann claims he is not being partisan.

A second Trump term would be ‘game over’ for the climate, says top scientist

Michael Mann, one of the world’s most eminent climate experts, says Earth’s future ‘is in the hands of American citizens’

Mark Hertsgaard Fri 2 Oct 2020 20.00 AEST

This article is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a collaboration of 400-plus news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story. The Guardian is the lead partner of CCN.

Michael Mann, one of the most eminent climate scientists in the world, believes averting climate catastrophe on a global scale would be “essentially impossible” if Donald Trump is re-elected.

A professor at Penn State University, Mann, 54, has published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers, testified numerous times before Congress and appeared frequently in the news media. He is also active on Twitter, where earlier this year he declared: “A second Trump term is game over for the climate – really!”, a statement he reaffirmed in an interview with the Guardian and Covering Climate Now.

“If we are going to avert ever more catastrophic climate change impacts, we need to limit warming below a degree and a half Celsius, a little less than three degrees Fahrenheit,” Mann said. “Another four years of what we’ve seen under Trump, which is to outsource environmental and energy policy to the polluters and dismantle protections put in place by the previous administration … would make that essentially impossible.”

Mann denies that it’s a partisan statement to say that four more years of Trump would mean “game over” for the climate.

“It is a political statement, because it speaks to the need to enact policies to deal with climate change,” he says. “But it isn’t partisan to say that we should act on this crisis.”

“The future of this planet is now in the hands of American citizens,” he says. “It’s up to us. The way we end this national and global nightmare is by coming out and voting for optimism over pessimism, for hope and justice and progress over fear and malice and superstition. This is a Tolkienesque battle between good and evil, and Sauron needs to be defeated on election day here in the United States.”

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Last time I checked President Trump did not resemble an immortal wizard who is busy trying to recover his lost magical ring, which would grant him eternal dominion over the entire world.

But comparing President Trump to Tolkien’s premier villain probably makes as much sense as anything else Mann says.

To be fair, famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov once suggested in his essay “The ring of evil” that the One Ring represents technology:

… it is the lure of technology, the seduction of things done more easily; of products in greater quantity; of gadgets in tempting variety. It is gunpowder, and the automobile, and television; all the things that people snatch for if they don’t have them; all the things that people can’t let go once they do have them. …“.

If Tolkien’s irrational yearning for a fantasy age of pre-industrial agrarian bliss is Michael Mann’s inspiration, this is not a vision I share. I choose the comforts of the industrial age, over the grim pre-industrial reality of back breaking toil, hardship, misery, bone chilling cold, disease, and an early death. It should be possible to enjoy a breath taking fantasy like Lord of the Rings, without confusing fantasy with reality.

Please remember though, Mann is not being partisan.

** OK, technically Morgoth is Tolkien’s premier villain. But you would have to be a real LOTR geek to know that.



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