The Madhouse Effect: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump

Wed February 08, 6:00 pm

Abercrombie Business School |  University of Sydney

In partnership with SYDNEY IDEAS

With the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States, it now seems climate change denial has reached into the most powerful political office in the world. In this special Sydney Ideas public lecture, world-renowned climate scientist Professor Michael Mann provides a somewhat light-hearted take on a very serious issue—the threat of human-caused climate change and what to do about it. Based on his recent collaboration with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, Professor Mann will review the scientific evidence of climate change, the reasons we should care, and the often absurd efforts by special interests and partisan political figures to confuse the public and attack the science.

Despite the monumental nature of the challenge this poses to human civilization, and the seeming inability of political leadership to respond to the climate crisis, Professor Mann highlights ways forward in mitigating future harm and reasons for cautious optimism. Join us to discuss how climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy.

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). Through his pioneering research into the Earth’s climate system (including the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ of past climate patterns), he has received many honours 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. He contributed, with other Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. As one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, he was listed in Bloomberg News’ list of fifty most influential people in 2013. He is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published three books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate ChangeThe Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and most recently, The Madhouse Effect with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles.

(Respondent) David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. He is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory – in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. He is the author, most recently, of Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford, 2007); co-author of Climate-Challenged Society (Oxford, 2013); and co-editor of both The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford 2011), and The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory(Oxford 2016). Professor Schlosberg’s current research includes work on climate justice – in particular justice in climate adaptation strategies and policies, and the question of human obligations of justice to the nonhuman realm. He is also examining the sustainable practices of new environmental movement groups – in particular their attention to flows of power and goods in relation to food, energy, and sustainable fashion. And he continues with theoretical work at the interface of justice, democracy, and human/nonhuman relations in the Anthropocene.

(chair) Christopher Wright is Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. His current research explores organizational and societal responses to climate change, with a particular focus on how managers and business organizations interpret and respond to the climate crisis. His research has appeared in a broad range of leading journals and he is the author of a number of books including, most recently, Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-destruction (Cambridge University Press, 2015).


UPDATE: Watch Lecture Here