Climate scientist awarded $1m from right-wing bloggers who defamed him

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but they awarded punitive damages of … $1 million from [Mark] Steyn, finding their attacks written with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm.”

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. I mean, Steyn ‘left’ the UK version of Fox News (GB News) because he was upset that they wouldn’t bankroll his fines for promoting Covid conspiracies.

I guess the problem here is - as was noted back when the case first came to prominence - that the overall legal costs will likely far outweigh any results or awards; I hope that Mann doesn’t ultimately end up losing out.


Part of the Koch network, naturally.


I would be shocked if Mann’s lawyers weren’t working on contingency. He’s not going to get rich, but he’s not going to owe anything. His attorneys will be lucky to recoup their costs. But that’s the risk you take when you work on contingency.


The common argument I hear is “These climate scientists are milking the system with phony research to make money!”

But of course the retort is “All the climate scientists in the world won’t make in their lifetime as much as a single oil company makes in a year (or even a month-- Exxon/Mobil made $36 billion last year.)” If you want to follow the money, then really follow the money.

[ETA: and the fact is, most of the anti-climate-change arguments come from think tanks funded by petro-dollars.]

Whenever I hear this I think how it’s like some casual jazz fan thinking he can get up on stage and jam with Charlie Parker. “Oh, I looked at the sheet music for Ah-Leu-Cha, it’s just a bunch of dots and lines, how hard could it be?”


Winner winner!


I sure hope those latter amounts hold up on appeal. Apparently one metric for finding punitive damages “excessive” is if they are more than an order of magnitude or so higher than the compensatory damages.


Specifically, ten to one is widely considered the default max ratio. One million to one may be considered a stretch by an appeals court. But you never know. I don’t think objectively the numbers are outrageous,and a court might just reduce it to an amount it feels puts a sting on the defendant. Here’s hoping.


With the increasingly violent rhetoric of the far right, compensatory damages should now encompass the cost to protect oneself for the rest of your life from the real danger posed by stochastic terrorism. Professional suffering is being replaced by the real threat of physical suffering.


More details can be found here:


There’s a lot more climate change denial in the UK than you might think. It takes different and less strident forms. The Conservative government is a major contributor, denying onshore wind projects, pricing offshore projects into oblivion, selling lots of new gas and oil exploration licences, ballsing up its meagre green initiatives such as home insulation grants through mal-administration, and so on and so on.

Also there is the pernicious effect of social media. You can’t go on Instagram without seeing screeds of lies about electric cars. They start in American or Russian think tanks and get spread by trolley farms and useful idiots.

This has even infected the conventional press. The Guardian (notoriously lefty) ran an article by Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) full of the most arrant nonsense about EVs. The plus side of this is that the paper has been provoked to run articles giving the actual facts of the case.



I don’t think he was using Copilot or Gemini either. Over a 4 week trial! Only having a million in damages to pay for malfeasance over some years is kind of modest too, it’s like saying you have legal leverage and dialing in 1.0 (so maybe they didn’t have a bad run with ad hoc defense or yeah maybe there was more Koch bluster on offer if the trial tried to go after roots.)

quoting Mann: “After my climate change book came out, I had dinner with a Dutch minister from a right-wing, conservative party — and he sounded like a Greenpeace guy.”

A slight correction that wasn’t said by Mann, Cory writes it in the older post you linked as

As one climate scientist notes, “…”

And googling the phrase yields this link with the originator of the quote as Elizabeth Kolbert. The full quote from the interview, and the question that prompted it:

BAS: In other parts of the world, such as Europe, anthropogenic climate change is widely accepted, even among people you wouldn’t expect, such as Swiss bankers—who tend to be a very conservative bunch. So when expatriate Americans return home to the States, they’re surprised by the difference in perception. Why do you think there is such a split?

Kolbert: I think a lot of it is due to a very well-financed disinformation campaign over here.

And I think that our politics of the last 30 years is just different. What we consider to be left-wing politics, the Europeans consider to be centrist politics. I mean, look at our tax policies, look at everything, and look at the kind of know-nothing right we have. Don’t get me wrong; the know-nothing right exists in Europe, I don’t want to claim it doesn’t. But it’s not very powerful, compared to here. And I think Europe is much more run by technocrats—you know, Brussels, etcetera—which means that certain facts are accepted.

All this manifests itself in unexpected ways: I had dinner once, after my book on climate change came out, with a Dutch minister from a right-wing, conservative party—the Christian Democrats or whatever—and he sounded like a Greenpeace guy.

So, I think that we in the USA live in a weird country. We and the Australians are the only ones with this mind-set—and we both happen to have a lot of fossil-fuel resources too, which may be a part of it.

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Honestly, I think they stopped being lefty at some point during the last 20 years. Centre-right Labour, maybe. I stopped reading them when I couldn’t tell the difference between their anti-trans articles and the Daily Heil’s.

there was an article about evs in the first place, which provoked atkinson to write his (mostly wrong) opinion-piece after that, and this beforehand propaganda-article wasnt actually much better; it was completly uncritical of evs whatsoever and praised tesla with their own corporate-talk full of half-truths as if there was no tomorrow (with outdated links directly from tesla as a reliable and only source about the longetivity of their batteries for example). it was cringe as fuck and I almost puked reading it. it was corporate gaslithning, disguised as journalism. couldnt belive it. so, I could somewhat understand from which place atkinsons piece came from.

and just as a note; at least the guardian has as the only mainstream-paper -as far as I can tell- a daily climate-crisis-section, which is usually up-to-date and excellent.

oh, btw climate catastrophe;

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