January 9, 2010

C&L hasn't gotten into the manufactured fray over whether some hacked emails "prove" climate scientists manufactured global warming. We're already intimately familiar with how the right wing works, and we know how rarely (if ever) there's a basis for their outrageous claims. So mostly, we ignore the crazier stuff.

But this is a pretty good interview with one of the scientists whose emails were hacked, and I thought those of you who still prefer actual "facts" might like to read it - and maybe even pass it along to your wingnut friends:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Michael Mann switched from physics to climate science back in graduate school because he thought climate offered a better chance to work "on a frontier."

He got his wish, and now, as the director of Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center, he has experienced an aspect of frontier life more like the Wild West - a bounty on his head.

Irate citizens complained to a Pennsylvania state senator, who demanded that the university conduct a probe into Mann's scientific integrity. That inquiry is ongoing.

This is hardly Mann's first review. His work has been the subject of at least two major investigations by outside experts.

And last week, a message went around his department at the university, notifying everyone that a whistle-blower could make up to $12 million by uncovering fraudulent use of federal grants. One blogger gloated that the offer would lead to Mann's having "a very unhappy new year."

Though he has been accused of dodging the press, Mann, 44, agreed readily to an interview on a bitterly cold day last week. The campus was deserted, as almost everyone was away for winter break. Mann was affable and calm as he answered the assertions of his critics.

The hardest part for him, he said, is having his integrity questioned. Scientists, he said, are "not trained to deal with these kinds of attacks."

"My suspicion is, this has been orchestrated at a high level," he said of the hacking.

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