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A (Michael) Manntastic 60 minutes interview yields nothing new

By Anthony Watts

Hero of the climate movement Dr. Mann, humbly takes credit for predicting western wildfires on CBS ’60 Minutes”. I knew about this segment well in advance, but couldn’t bring myself to watch.

On the plus side, Mann admits “We’re sorry that we failed.”


The full video and transcript here

Some excerpts:

At least 31 have died in the largest wildfires in California history. The east is defending itself against twice the usual number of tropical cyclones. And what may be the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth came in August in the United States. It’s a torrid 2020 and it was forecast 32 years ago. In the 1980’s, a NASA scientist named James Hansen discovered that climate change, driven by carbon emissions, was upon us. His graphs, of three decades ago, accurately traced the global rise in temperature to the year 2020. Last week, we had a lot of questions for Hansen. Are these disasters climate change? Do things get worse? Is it too late to do anything? But before we get to the causes, let us show you the effects.

Michael Mann: People ask, are we dealing with a new normal? And the sobering answer is, that’s the best-case scenario. A new normal is the best-case scenario ’cause that sorta means, well, we’ve got a new situation and we just have to learn how to deal with it. But it’s much worse than that. So, there are surprises in store and we’re seeing some of those surprises play out now.

Michael Mann is a geophysicist whose work on past climate showed today’s rate of warming began with the Industrial Revolution. Mann is a lightning rod for deniers, but his research has been verified again and again. Mann is director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scott Pelley: But there’ve always been fires in the west. There’ve always been hurricanes in the east. How do we know that climate change is involved in this?

Michael Mann: Well, there are a number of independent sort of sources of information, lines of evidence that tell us that this isn’t natural, that this is human-caused. Let’s look at the big picture, the warming of the planet a little less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming of the planet since pre-industrial time. Now, people ask, well, couldn’t that happen naturally? Well, it turns out that if you look at the factors that are driving natural changes right now — small but measurable fluctuations in the brightness of the sun, Volcanic eruptions — they tell us that earth should’ve cooled slightly over the past half-century.

Here’s what he means. In that yellow line at bottom, NASA has measured a steady decline in heat from the sun since the 1950’s. But the red line, the temperature of the Earth, has only increased.

Michael Mann: We can only explain that warming when we include the human factor of increased greenhouse gas concentrations; in particular, carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

Scott Pelley: Well, the president says about climate change, science doesn’t know.

Michael Mann: The president doesn’t know. And he should know better. He should know that the world’s leading scientific organizations, our own U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and national academies of every major industrial nation, every scientific society in the United States that’s weighed in on the matter. This is a scientific consensus. There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.

Scott Pelley: If we don’t start to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, 50 years from now, someone doing research on this time might look at this interview and I wonder what you would like to say to them.

Michael Mann: That– that’s a tough question. I would say we did everything we could and we’re sorry. We’re sorry that we failed. But I don’t think that’s our future. I don’t want that to be our future. That’s a possible future. We have to recognize that. The worst visions that Hollywood has given us of dystopian futures are real possible futures if we don’t act on this problem; the greatest crisis that we face as a civilization.