News from the Columbia Climate School

In Courts, Not Much Debate Over Climate Science

Michael Gerrard
Michael Gerrard

When it comes to climate science, state and federal court judges have found little to argue with, according to a New York Law Journal article written by Michael B. Gerrard, director of the Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law.

Noting the controversy often seen expressed in the media and in political circles, Gerrard writes, “One place where there are few such questions [about the validity of climate science] is in the courts. In fact it appears that (with one lone exception in a dissent) not a single U.S. judge has expressed any skepticism … about the science underlying the concern over climate change.”

Michael Mann. Photo: Penn State University
Michael Mann. Photo: Penn State University

Gerrard describes in detail the legal battles around the work of climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, who helped create the iconic “hockey stick” diagram of rising temperature, and who has been repeatedly pilloried in some media outlets. Other cases he cites involve EPA regulations and actions around the Endangered Species Act.

In one case involving Mann, who sued for defamation, the court said the defendants – the Competitive Enterprise Institute, National Review Online and two writers – appeared to know the science was solid and that what they were saying about Mann was false and a “reckless disregard for the truth.”

Read about it here.


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