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Renewable Vibes > News > Enviroment > Climate scientist Michael Mann is granted $1 million in a defamation lawsuit by a jury.

Climate scientist Michael Mann is granted $1 million in a defamation lawsuit by a jury.

Climate scientist Michael Mann has been awarded $1 million in a lawsuit he filed against two conservative writers who compared his work on global warming to that of a convicted child molester. Mann, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, gained recognition for his influential graph depicting global warming. However, his work also faced criticism from skeptics, including the two writers involved in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was initiated after a blog post published by Rand Simberg, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, compared investigations into Mann’s work to the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach convicted of sexually assaulting children. Simberg’s article was later referenced by Mark Steyn in his own piece in National Review, where he described Mann’s research as “fraudulent.”

The jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia found that both Simberg and Steyn had made false statements and awarded Mann $1 in compensatory damages from each writer. Additionally, punitive damages of $1,000 from Simberg and $1 million from Steyn were awarded, as the jury determined that the pair had made their statements with malicious intent.

Steyn, who represented himself during the trial, expressed his intention to appeal the $1 million punitive damages award, citing the need for “due process scrutiny.” Mann claimed that he had suffered a loss of grant funding due to the blog posts, a claim that the defendants argued lacked sufficient evidence. They contended that Mann’s career had actually gained prominence in the years following their comments.

Lyrissa Lidsky, a constitutional law professor at the University of Florida, stated that the jury’s decision indicated that Steyn and Simberg had recklessly disregarded the falsity of their statements. However, she also noted that the judge might reduce the punitive damages due to the discrepancy between the compensatory and punitive awards.

The case has attracted attention from scientists and climate change advocates who have followed Mann’s work over the years. The prevalence of misinformation about climate change on certain social media platforms has become a concern, and this verdict is seen as a potential deterrent against defaming and lying about scientists.

Climate change remains a deeply divisive issue in the United States, with significant differences in belief between Democrats and Republicans. A poll conducted in 2023 showed that 91% of Democrats believe in climate change, compared to only 52% of Republicans.

Mann has stated that he plans to appeal a 2021 decision that held National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute not liable for defamation in the same incident. He believes that the decision was wrongly made and is determined to continue seeking justice.

It is worth noting that The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by various private foundations. However, AP is solely responsible for all content produced.

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