PSU author blames fossil fuel industry for climate change

Written by on January 15, 2021

PSU author blames fossil fuel industry for climate change

New book calls for ‘fight to take back our planet.’

By Anne Danahy / StateImpact Pennsylvania

January 15, 2021

Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State. Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Well-known climate scientist and Penn State Professor Michael Mann says in a new book there are many tools for addressing climate change and transitioning to green energy. Mann’s book comes as the country’s climate change policy is expected to change with the Biden administration.

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“The impacts have become so obvious that they can’t really deny that climate change is real or human caused anymore, so they’ve turned to more insidious and nefarious means of trying to distract the public and block action,” Mann says.

Mann says the fossil fuel industry uses tactics like focusing on individual behavior rather than policy changes, to protect its interests.

He argues the United States should use a carrot and stick approach subsidizing renewable energy and putting a price on carbon to move the country away from fossil fuels.

“You can do that by leveling the playing field so that renewable energy, which isn’t degrading the planet the way fossil fuel energy is, can compete fairly in the market,” Mann says.

Some environmentalists don’t think a carbon tax, for example, is enough. But, there isn’t time to recreate the global economy.

“We have to use the tools that are available to us within the context of the existing economy. Carbon pricing is a big part of that,” he says.

Mann, a distinguished professor (of atmospheric science) at the Pennsylvania State University. His latest book is “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet.” 

Mann says Pennsylvania has tremendous natural resources and is in a position to be a leader in the transition to greener energy.

“There are potentially a far greater number of jobs to be provided from renewable energy, from wind and solar, than in the largely-automated now fossil fuel industries like natural gas and coal,” he says. 

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