The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Publisher's Book Description

In its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the “Hockey Stick,” a chart showing global temperature data over the past one thousand years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The inescapable conclusion was that worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet.

The Hockey Stick became a central icon in the “climate wars,” and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Yet the controversy has had little to do with the depicted temperature rise and much more with the perceived threat the graph posed to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect our environment and planet.

Michael E. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the real story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He introduces key figures in the oil and energy industries, and the media front groups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, bare-knuckled ways to cast doubt on the science. Mann concludes with an account of the “Climategate” scandal, the 2009 hacking of climate scientists’ emails. Throughout, Mann reveals the role of science deniers, abetted by an uninformed media, in once again diverting attention away from one of the central scientific and policy issues of our time.


“Very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future, and very few people have paid a higher price for doing so. Michael Mann is a hero, and this book is a remarkable account of the science and politics of the defining issue of our time.”

Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"The brilliant and courageous climatologist Michael Mann knows what it's like to be viciously attacked by the well-funded deniers of scientific evidence and how critical it is to respond. In this gripping, personal, front-lines account of climate politics, Mann tells the 'hockey stick' story, exposing the forces behind the denialist rhetoric, refuting the charges of disinformation campaigns, and eloquently conveying the importance of both doing great science and communicating its societal implications to a wider public.

Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment and Humanity on a Tightrope

"Although not initially of his own choosing, Michael Mann has been the most important, resilient, and outspoken warrior in the climate battle--responding to threats and persecution with courage and resolve every step of the way. Anyone who cares about the climate issue must read his fascinating--and enraging--story."

Chris Mooney, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future

"In The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Michael Mann presents his conviction that climate change is real and potentially deadly, and defends his now famous 'Hockey Stick Graph.' A truly readable book on a topic that will remain evergreen."

James Lovelock, author of A New Look at Life on Earth

"A must read to appreciate the endless disinformation campaign by climate change deniers at the highest levels of government and corporate America...and the chilling, but serious implications of the crusade to discredit distinguished scientists like Michael Mann."

Sherwood Boehlert, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives 1983-2007, former chairman of the House Science Committee

"As one of the nation’s leading climate researchers, no one has felt the brunt of the attacks from politicians and the fossil fuel industry more than Michael Mann. This is his personal account from the center of the maelstrom, documenting the lies and distortions about his work and his heroic efforts to stand up for scientific truth."

— Henry Waxman, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

"If you don’t believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it’s a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition."

— Bill Nye, The Science Guy

"Check out Michael Mann's book 'The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars' about his battle against climate denialism."

— Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor and environmental activist

Media Reviews

  • "I want to make mention of this book, a well-written book, well-researched book from a believer. His name is Michael E. Mann, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Line."
    The McLaughlin Group, "Broadcast: Weekend of May 31-June 1, 2014"
  • "[I]f you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E Mann’s riveting exposé of disinformation and denial,The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars"
    The Irish Times, "Books to Read in 2012"
  • "From climate scientist Mann, an important and disturbing account of the fossil-fuel industry's well-funded public-relations campaign to sow doubt about the validity of the science of climate change…This blistering indictment of corporate-funded chicanery demands a wide audience."
    Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review for The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
  • "In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside...Mann balances the statistical analysis with charming personal anecdotes from his life and work. Careful descriptions of the methods and models behind climate change science bear out that assertion, proving that the only way to counter dangerous lies is to expose the truth, however inconvenient it might be.
    Publisher's Weekly
  • "Mann’s book provides a connected narrative detailing many aspects of the denialist campaign over the past decade."
    The Gisborne Herald (New Zealand)
  • "'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars' is a must-read for anybody who follows the politics of climate -- or who cares about the frightening future our failed political system is about to unleash."
    The Los Angeles Times
  • "In 'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars', Mann sets out to tell his side of the story. Part autobiography, part furious exposé, this book is for anyone interested in the science - and filthy politics - of climate change."
    The New Scientist
  • "Michael E. readers an inside look at a string of skirmishes going back to 1999 in which he has played a central role."
    The New York Times "Green Blog"
  • "[T]hose who read his book will come away from it with little doubt that global warming is real and that we are the cause."
    The Daily Texan (University of Texas-Austin)
  • "'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars' is a startling depiction of a scientist persecuted for trying to tell the truth."
    The Observer (UK)
  • "[F]rom a general defense of academic scientific research into recent climate change, 'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars' is terrific, giving ample peer-review science references and making reasoned arguments."
    The Washington Times
  • "Mann's shocking first-hand testimony of the repeated attempts to discredit him and his work gives his book power."
    Nature (subscription required) | Reposted here
  • "Michael Mann's expose of how the greedy dig themselves shows nothing has changed since the First World War."
    The Week (UK)
  • "I challenge anyone with an open mind, left or right, business or academic, to not be deeply disturbed by the attacks on science and scientists for political ends that Mann dispassionately describes...[T]he story is clear and vitally important to all citizens of a warming planet Earth."
    Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • "The book's pay-off...lies in the overall impression he builds of the value of one researcher's determined defence of the science as it is - imperfect, beset by genuine disagreements over how best to extract signal from noise, but the best information we have."
    The Times Higher Education (UK)
  • "Whatever your feelings about global climate change, this is a book you should read, because it clearly shows the contrast between how science works and how politics works."
    Naples Daily News
  • "I heartily recommend this book for an unusually clear view of the action on the front line of climate science from one of its principle palaeoclimate protagonists."
    The Geoscientist (The Geological Society)
  • "The strength of Mann's book lies in the light he sheds on how the scientific peer-review process works, along with his first-hand account of his role in the national political feud."
    The Washington Post
  • "Mann deserves our respect and admiration for what he has been through and for his willingness to discuss it."
    Physics Today
  • "Hockey Stick is a very readable, well-researched book, written in an informal style as it describes the personally bruising events, the battles lost and won, with clarity and reasonably good humor."
    Voices of Central Pennsylvania
  • "Mann's honest and thorough testimony on the attacks against climate science is a critical step toward resolving the climate change debate."
  • "This book is well written and tells a remarkable story that is likely to be of interest to a wide range of readers."
    Australian Book Review
  • "'The Hockey Stick' is one of the most useful books yet in explaining climate science...It also offers one of the clearest and most damning examinations of the tactics used by climate-change deniers to distort the science of climate change and smear the reputations of climate scientists."
    Chemical and Engineering News
  • "This must-read book recounts the expensive, well-orchestrated attack on one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists and climate graphs, the hockey stick…Mann deserves praise for taking the time to speak to other scientists and citizens about what threatens us all. He is not only a brilliant scientist but an ethical hero, a model for all."
    Metascience (subscription required) | Reposted here

Blog Reviews


Rightwing US thinktank uses FoI laws to pursue climate scientists

The Guardian reports on a new tactic of the American Tradition Institute, an ultra-conservative think tank that has engaged in legal battles against climate scientists in the past. This new tactic involves using Freedom of Information requests to get emails exchanged between climate scientists and prominent science journalists. Similar tactic were discussed in Dr. Michael Mann's book.
Read more >> 
Read E&E News article >>

Top climate scientists receive death threats

Dorsi Diaz writes about threats, including death threats, received by climate scientists. Dr. Michael Mann shares some of the emailed threats he has received in response to his research into climate change.

The Battle over Climate Science

Popular Science magazine discusses the climate wars: threats against climate scientists from anonymous sources as well as climate deniers and politicians.

Climate War

The Icelandic broadcaster RUV discusses the work of Dr. Michael Mann and his recent talk in Reykjavik.
Read more (in Icelandic) >>

The ‘Scientization’ of Politics

"ReneweBlog" discusses the motivation of climate change deniers. He discusses the work of Dr. Michael Mann in trying to educate the public and being on the receiving end of abuse and threats as a result.

Climate change deniers blinded by political ideology

Dr. Michael Mann takes on climate denial and a previous opinion piece in this special opinion piece for the Vancouver Sun

Virginia's dying marshes and climate change denial

BBC News Magazine discusses the changes in Virginia's wetlands due to climate change and sea-level rise. Dr. Michael Mann comments.

"What on Earth?" comic features Dr. Michael Mann

The May 31st edition of the "What on Earth?" comic features Dr. Michael Mann and a quote from his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

World Financial Review presents this commentary from Dr. Michael Mann featuring an excerpt from his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

Climate politics: hockey-stick to hamster-wheel

Open Democracy's Øyvind Paasche discusses overwhelming evidence of climate change as well as the relative inaction in climate change policy. He brings in the work of Dr. Michael Mann in describing the efforts of climate deniers to discredit the science and scientists.

Nobel Prize-winning scientist sheds light on global warming issue

Dr. Michael Mann responds to criticisms in this opinion piece in The Reporter (serving eastern Pennsylvania). He defends his work and the work of other scientists against mistruths often repeated by climate deniers.

New billboards compare climate scientists and Unabomber, mass murderers

A new Heartland Institute gimmick uses billboards to cast doubt on climate science by linking it to Ted Kaczynski (the "Unabomber"), mass murderer Charles Manson, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Michael Mann comments on the absurdity.
Read Living Green Magazine >>

Climate Canard No. 2: ‘Warming Has Stopped’ — A Very Temporary Duck

ABC News' Bill Blakemore examines a common denialist argument that "warming has stopped." He uses a common proverb oft quoted by Michael Mann: "A half-truth is a whole lie."

Hansen Had It Right in 1981 Climate Report

A recent article looks at projections of climate change made in 1981 in the journal Science by James Hansen and others. Hansen underwent decades of attacks following this and other similar publications, similar to attacks described by Michael Mann in his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

10 Green Lessons from the Sustainable Operations Summit

"Triple Pundit" summarizes the 10 biggest takeaways from the 2012 Sustainable Operations Summit, including a short summary of Dr. Michael Mann's talk.

Earth Day 2012: Interview with Michael Mann

Columbia University Press, publisher of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, presents this two-part interview with Dr. Michael Mann as part of their recognition of Earth Day 2012.
Read Part 1 >>
Read Part 2 >>

'Gaia' Scientist Takes Back Climate Change Predictions

Dr. Michael Mann comments in the LiveScience report on the latest statements of James Lovelock.

Earth Day: Climate scientists battle the global-warming skeptics

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran this profile of Dr. Michael Mann and the ongoing battle against climate deniers in this Earth Day article.

Michael Mann faces off with foes on 'Hockey Stick' tour

USAToday's Dan Vergano details Dr. Michael Mann's campaign to fight his detractors through his newest book as well as his recent lecture tour promoting the book. 

The Dangers of Climate Change Denial

Dr. Michael Mann writes an opinion piece in The Mark where he discusses the dangers of continuing to debate climate changes and attack climate scientists while not taking action to do anything about emissions that drive these changes.

Pat Robertson Proves Global Warming is a Hoax: No SUVs On Mars!

Dr. Michael Mann comments on the common misconception (recently discussed by Evangelist Pat Robertson) that warming on Mars proves that humans are not causing climate change on Earth.

Time for grown up debate on climate change

Dr. Michael E. Mann presents this guest editorial in the Trentonian about the need to end attacks on climate scientists and debate the real issues facing us in a changing climate.

Letter to NASA is Common Ploy in Climate Change Denial

A letter from 49 former employees of NASA asks the agency to stop supporting climate change research and publicizing the scientific results of that research. Dr. Michael Mann comments on this latest ploy in the climate denier playbook.
Article from Lucia Graves/Huffington Post >>

Besieged by Climate Deniers, A Scientist Decides to Fight Back

Dr. Michael Mann published this commentary in the Yale Environment 360. In the commentary, he discusses the "climate wars" — ongoing attacks against climate scientists and their work.

Michael Mann - Climate Scientist

Chris Crisman provides behind the scenes coverage of the photo shoot with Dr. Michael Mann for the Scientific Americanarticle.

Sociology professor draws Limbaugh’s ire

Michael Mann comments on the recent targetting of University of Oregon professor Dr. Kari Norgaard by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative bloggers. Dr. Norgaard has received threats as a response to a misstatement of her research on attitudes toward climate change research and action.

Feds: 'Meterological March madness' mostly random

This article from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution talks about the record-breaking warmth across the broad sections of the US in March 2012. While the warmth is considered to be random, Dr. Michael Mann discusses how climate change may be "loading the dice," and these types of events may occur more often. 

Michael Mann 'Disappointed' In Obama's Global Warming Record

Lucia Graves from the Huffington Post reports on an interview with Dr. Michael Mann about his views on the performance of President Obama and his administration on the issue of dealing with the changing climate.

Climate scientists and smear campaigns

CNN presents this commentary from Dr. Michael Mann discussing the smear campaign against climate scientists. He compares this campaign to previous efforts to discredit those discussing the ill effects of tobacco and lead, and he posits that politicizing climate science has only led to a delay in taking the necessary decisive action. 
A response from the Cost of Energy blog: "Why Michael Mann is a climate hero" >>

Michael Mann, Off Battlefield, Discussing ‘Climate Wars’

Andrew Freedman, of "Climate Central," discusses the attacks against Dr. Michael Mann and other scientists, and the ongoing "street fight" between climate scientists and their detractors.

Climate Wars Continue With More Heat Than Light

Dr. Michael Mann responds to criticism of his research and his new book in this letter to the Wall Street Journal.

Reader Rebuttal: Climate change research

Dr. Michael Mann responds to recent mischaracterizations of his research in this article in the Orange County Register.

Catholic educational institutions teach the peer-reviewed science about climate change

Dr. Michael Mann visited Bishop O'Connell High School in Virginia recently to discuss climate science with students. The students have been studying climate change and enjoyed the oppotunity to interact with a research scientist. 

Death threats, intimidation and abuse: climate change scientist Michael E. Mann counts the cost of honesty

Robin McKie of The Observer talks about Michael Mann's new book and the attacks that climate scientists have endured.

Michael Mann's counterstrike in the climate wars

In this opinion piece from the Los Angeles Times, Dan Turner discusses the ongoing "Climate Wars" and recommends Dr. Michael Mann's new book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

Climate warrior puts it all on the line — including his life

Time magazine profiles Dr. Michael Mann and details the attacks against him and his work over the past several years. These attacks are discussed in detail in the new book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

"Hockey Stick" scientist checks critics: A Q&A with Michael E. Mann

In the March 2012 issue, Scientific American profiles Dr. Michael Mann, and the progression of his career as well as the attacks against him since the publication of the first "hockey stick" journal article in 1998.
Read more (subscription required)>>

Hockey-stick graph creator talks 'Climategate,' 'Denialgate' and resisting schadenfreude

E&E News/ClimateWire present this interview with Dr. Michael Mann where he discusses his new book, attacks against climate scientists, and recent revealations about a prominent libertarian non-profit organization. 

The inside story on climate scientists under siege

The Guardian interviewed Dr. Michael Mann about the attacks lobbed at climate scientists from industry interests and others. These attacks are chronicled in his new book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.
Watch associated video >> 
Follow-up Q&A with Michael Mann >> 
Summary of Q&A >>

What’s it like to be climate scientist Michael Mann? Think bounty (not the good kind)

Cara Horowitz at the blog Legal Planet covers the recent talk by Dr. Michael Mann at the UCLA Law School. The talk covered his new book as well as the ongoing campaign against Dr. Mann and other climate scientists.
Read more>>

Mann still scheduled to talk despite controversy

Penn State's Daily Collegian remarks on the efforts of an industry group to convince Penn State administrators and the Penn State Forum Speaker Series to cancel a speech by Dr. Michael Mann. The speech, which covered topics like this type of campaign, went on as scheduled.
Read more>>

More coverage of the talk from the Centre Daily Times and Daily Collegian >>

Audience member summary at Sustainability Now Blog >>

Michael Mann touts skeptics, targets "deniers"

The C-Ville Weekly covers the recent keynote speech given by Dr. Michael Mann at Enviroday 2012 at the University of Virginia. Mann discussed his upcoming book and the influence of media on the public's perception of science and scientists.
Read more>>