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Climate Change Scientist Sues for Defamation

Michael Mann was accused of fraud, manipulating data and compared to Sandusky

- Common Dreams staff

An internationally recognized climatologist who has focused on global warming on Monday sued the National Review, a Capitol Hill-based think tank and two writers for accusing him of academic fraud and improperly manipulating data—and for comparing him to former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a convicted child molester.

Penn State climatologist Michael Mann on Monday sued the National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute and two individuals for "'maliciously" attacking his personal reputation by accusing him of academic fraud and manipulating data. (Photo courtesy The Daily Climate.) Michael Mann, the director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which with Al Gore won the Nobel Prize in 2007— claims Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst Rand Simberg and National Review reporter Mark Steyn made "false and defamatory statements," The Daily Climate reports.

In July, Simberg published "The Other Scandal in Unhappy Valley" on a CEI blog, comparing Mann to Sandusky and accusing him of "molesting data" about global warming, according to the Washington Post.

Also in July, Steyn wrote in a National Review blog that "Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science," and that Penn State was complicit in covering up Mann's "fraudulent" climate-change data.

CEI has since removed the sentences comparing Mann to Sandusky, the Washington Post reports.

Mann was previously vilified, and then exonerated after many investigations, in a scandal known as "Climategate."

The Daily Climate reports:

In 1999 Mann published a timeline of global temperatures stretching back almost 1,000 years. The graph showed a fairly stable trend until 1900, when temperatures spiked sharply upward. That so-called “hockey stick” diagram became a lightning rod in the debate on whether humans were influencing the climate.

Mann wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday that the lawsuit is part of "a battle" to assist climate scientists in the fight against those who attack their work.

His lawyer, John B. Williams of Washington, D.C.-based firm Cozen O'Connor, wrote in a statement, "Despite their knowledge of the results of these many investigations, the defendants have nevertheless accused Dr. Mann of academic fraud and have maliciously attacked his personal reputation with the knowingly false comparison to a child molester. The conduct of the defendants is outrageous, and Dr. Mann will be seeking judgment for both compensatory and punitive damages."

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