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

Co-presented with the Sydney Environment Institute

Professor Michael E Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University

8 February, 2017

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.


Professor 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 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 Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and most recently, The Madhouse Effect with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles.


Professor David Schlosberg, 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. More information


Christopher Wright, Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School and leader of the Balanced Enterprise Research Network. More information