Climate Activist Michael Mann Calls Climate Denial ‘Deadlier’ than COVID Denial, Demands Censorship of Dissenters

Demonstrators from Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, and Greenp
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Denials of “climate change” are “deadlier” than denials of the science behind COVID-19, according to renowned climate activist Michael E. Mann, who defended his earlier call for social media companies to censor those who disagree with his views on global warming science, effectively removing “climate denial” content in the same way “COVID denial” content is suppressed online.

On Monday’s episode of the left-wing Democracy Now! news and commentary program, climate activist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told host Amy Goodman that climate change is deadlier than the coronavirus after being asked to explain his demands that YouTube remove climate-denial content:

Here we saw nearly a hundred people die from these unprecedented tornadoes [and] if you look at the total impact of climate change around the world — wildfires, droughts, floods, heat waves, coastal inundation — climate change is already costing far more lives than COVID-19; it is deadlier.”

“And so the denial of climate change is deadlier even than the denial of the basic science behind COVID-19,” he added.

According to Mann, the reason for censorship by Big Tech and social media companies of “COVID denial” in contrast with the perpetuation of “climate denial” content is due to powerful companies with a financial “stake” in the issue.

“Here’s the difference: there isn’t a huge global lobby, the world’s… wealthiest and most powerful industry, the fossil fuel industry, that has a stake in the COVID-19 debate,” he argued.

“So, it’s fairly easy for these Big Tech companies, these social media companies, to stop showing COVID denial, for suppressing COVID denial videos and posts,” he added. 

Noting there “isn’t a huge corporate interest that’s going to get in their way” on the subject of “COVID denial,” Mann claimed that regarding climate change, “it’s a whole different story.” 

“We are talking about an effort by the world’s largest, most powerful industry — the fossil fuel industry — to prevent any meaningful action on climate, and to accomplish that in part by using social media to promote denialism and dismissal,” he said.

Mann went on to accuse social media companies of complicity in the matter. 

“You know why are they being complicit?” he asked. “Well, many of them are getting a lot of advertising money from the fossil fuel industry, so it’s inconvenient to their business model to challenge that industry.” 

“And I am afraid that that’s what we’re seeing here,” he added. “And we have to take them to task, because they are doing great harm; they’re making profits by doing great harm to all of us.”

Last week, Mann praised YouTube for removing “COVID denial videos,” requesting the same be done for “climate denial” content as well.

“Hey @Youtube. It’s good you’re taking down COVID denial videos. Now it’s time for you to remove climate denial videos,” he wrote. “They pose an even greater threat to humanity in the long term.”

On Monday, Mann claimed the passing of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislative agenda would prevent the intensification of future tornadoes.

“We need to pass ‘Build Back Better’ because that bill has climate provisions that will address this problem [deadly tornadoes] at its core — which is the warming of the planet due to carbon pollution and fossil fuel burning,” he said.

“We can prevent this from getting worse if we act on climate now,” he added.

At least 88 people died last week across five states during severe storms and a tornado outbreak that devastated towns and communities.

In addition, thousands were left homeless by what Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear described as the state’s worst storm on record.

Despite claims the devastating Kentucky tornado was the result of a warmer climate making storms more frequent, scientists are unaware of a correlation between storms and a warmer climate and data actually shows extreme weather “is becoming less deadly over time, not more.” 

As former Obama administration official Steven Koonin wrote in his recent book on climate change, “hurricanes and tornados show no changes attributable to human influences,” and “the best we can say is that, if anything, U.S. tornadoes have become more benign as the globe has warmed over the past seventy-five years, and we have no credible method for projecting future changes.”

An Associated Press “explainer” struggled to accept the idea that climate change is linked to the Kentucky tornadoes, concluding that: “Attributing a specific storm like Friday’s to the effects of climate change remains very challenging.”

Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, responded to Mann, claiming his assessment was “absolutely off-the-scale false.”

“Michael Mann claims wildfires, droughts, floods, heatwaves, and coastal inundation caused by climate kill more people than Covid19,” he tweeted while citing death tolls indicating COVID-19 is nearly a thousand times deadlier. “No. Just no.”

Writing for the Wall Street Journal last month, he posited that we are safer than ever from climate disasters.

“Though it receives little mention from activists or the media, weather-related deaths have fallen dramatically,” he wrote.

“It’s easier to bend the data about disaster frequency than to bend death statistics,” he added. “Death tolls tell a very clear story: People are safer from climate-related disasters than ever before.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.