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For our February Green Series, acclaimed climatologist Michael Mann discusses his new book The New Climate War with Sasha Sagan.

Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we've been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on individual behavior is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals.

Fossil fuel companies have followed the example of other industries deflecting blame (think "guns don't kill people, people kill people") or greenwashing (think of the beverage industry's "Crying Indian" commercials of the 1970s). Meanwhile, they've blocked efforts to regulate or price carbon emissions, run PR campaigns aimed at discrediting viable alternatives, and have abdicated their responsibility in fixing the problem they've created. The result has been disastrous for our planet.

In The New Climate War, Mann argues that all is not lost. He draws the battle lines between the people and the polluters-fossil fuel companies, right-wing plutocrats, and petrostates. And he outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including:

  • a common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing- and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed version of the Green New Deal;
  • allowing renewable energy to compete fairly against fossil fuels
  • debunking the false narratives and arguments that have worked their way into the climate debate and driven a wedge between even those who support climate change solutions
  • combatting climate doomism and despair-mongering

With immensely powerful vested interests aligned in defense of the fossil fuel status quo, the societal tipping point won't happen without the active participation of citizens everywhere aiding in the collective push forward. This book will reach, inform, and enable citizens everywhere to join this battle for our planet.

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He has received many honors and awards, including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. Additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. More recently, he received the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2020 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

Sasha Sagan is a writer and speaker. Her essays and interviews on death, history, and nature, from a secular viewpoint have appeared in The Cut, O, the Oprah Magazine, Lit HubAtmos, and beyond. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed book For Small Creatures Such As We, an exploration of celebrations and rituals through a scientific lens. Inverse named Sasha one of their Future 50, “a group of 50 people who will be forces of good in the 2020s”.

Please register for this free Zoom event. Registered audience members will receive a Zoom link prior to the event. Purchase The New Climate War from our bookselling partner Greenlight Bookstore here for in-store pickup or direct-to-home shipping!

Michael Mann photo credit Joshua Yospyn

This program is made possible through the generous support of Whole Foods Market.

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