(Headline USA) A jury on Thursday awarded $1 million to notorious climate alarmist Michael Mann, who sued a pair of conservative writers 12 years ago after they compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester.
Mann, a professor of climate science at the University of Pennsylvania, rose to fame for a graph first published in 1998 in the journal Nature that was dubbed the “hockey stick” for its dramatic illustration of a warming planet.
The work brought Mann wide exposure but also many skeptics, including popular conservative pundit Mark Steyn, whom Mann took to court—along with another writer Steyn had referenced—over comments that Mann claimed had affected his career and reputation in the U.S. and internationally.
In 2012, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a blog post by Rand Simberg, then a fellow at the organization, that compared investigations into Mann’s work by Penn State University to the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach who was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple children.
Mann’s research was investigated after his and other scientists’ emails were leaked in 2009 in an incident known as “Climategate” that brought further scrutiny of the “hockey stick” graph, with skeptics claiming Mann manipulated data.
“Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data,” Simberg wrote.
Steyn later referenced Simberg’s article in his own piece for the National Review, calling Mann’s research “fraudulent.”
The six-person jury in Superior Court of the District of Columbia announced its verdict after four weeks of trial and one day of deliberations.
The jury awarded Mann $1 in compensatory damages from each writer; it also awarded punitive damages of $1,000 from Simberg and $1 million from Steyn.
The trial happened as climate change continues to be a divisive and highly partisan issue in the United States.
A 2023 poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 91% of Democrats believe climate change is happening, while only 52% of Republicans do.
Arguments further break down among those who do believe in it as to whether it is predominantly a natural phenomenon, with humans’ contribution accounting for just a small fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the scope and urgency of addressing it.
Skeptics have faulted the routine goalpost-moving of climate alarmists, as well as several high-profile examples—including Mann’s—of researchers cherry-picking data to exaggerate the impacts.
Some argue that the benefits and conveniences of modern society far outweigh the adverse effects, and that the free market should be the biggest driver of green-energy initiatives.
Leftists, however, have pounced on the panic to push trillions of dollars into the cottage climate industry while calling for drastic regulations such as restrictions on meat-consumption and air travel for all but the privileged elites.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press