Michael Mann on Barack Obama's Disappointing Record on Global Warming

Michael Mann, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

“So [Obama] appointed the right people, but then he didn’t really let them move forward on this issue. He says the right things sometimes, but then appears to retreat from them.” — Michael Mann on Barack Obama’s policy on climate change

In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Michael E. Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, discussed Barack Obama’s disappointing record on global warming.

Increasingly, Mann argues, climate change has taken backseat in Obama’s speeches and his statements and policies reflect a step back on this issue relative to those of Bill Clinton. In discussing Obama’s appointees on energy and the environment, Mann suggests that Obama has not taken full advantage of their abilities to offer a bold plan:

It’s like [Obama] had this all-star basketball team, but he wouldn’t let them go out on the floor and play. With the exception maybe of [Steven] Chu, who’s been out there talking about these issues, they all seem to have been on a very short leash in terms of speaking up publicly about the energy challenge and the need to deal with climate change.

I know that they all have very enlightened view on this because I know some of them and I know what they’ve written and where they’ve stood on this issue for some time. So he appointed the right people, but then he didn’t really let them move forward on this issue. He says the right things sometimes, but then appears to retreat from them. The bottom line is that at the very least he appears conflicted between where his own heart is -– my guess is that his own heart is with moving forward and dealing with the problem of climate change — and his instincts as a politician.

The interview concludes with Mann discussing how his extensive book tour for The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars reflects the difficulty to get people to focus on climate change and global warming. He also talks about the intimidation that some scientists experience from climate change deniers when they express concerns about global warming.

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