I’m really glad to see this (see below for an email from the Perriello campaign about former UVA professor and leading climate scientist Michael Mann’s endorsement) for several reasons: 1) Michael Mann is a hero of mine, not just because Ken Cuccinelli tried to silence him in what the Washington Post correctly called a “witch hunt,” but for his courage in the face of vicious attacks by climate science deniers; 2) Michael Mann endorsed Mark Herring four years ago, helping him win a hotly contested Democratic primary; 3) this endorsement is extremely timely, given what just happened yesterday with Trump and the Paris Climate Accord (which means that, now more than ever, we need super-strong climate leadership at the STATE and LOCAL levels, given the outrageous abdication of responsibility by the federal government, and clearly Michael Mann sees Tom Perriello as the one to provide that leadership here in Virginia.
Donald Trump has made it clear by leaving the Paris Climate Agreement it’s on leaders at the state and local level to lead the fight against climate change.
That’s why I’m so proud to stand with Tom Perriello. He immediately called for Virginia to join the new United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of 61 cities and 3 states promising to fulfill our original obligations in the Paris agreement.
Earlier this week, Tom signed a firm pledge to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.
He did not know at the time that President Trump would take such a dramatic step to push us backward, but he knew that this moment — more than any other — was a tipping point.
When Ken Cuccinelli engaged in what the Washington Post called a “witch hunt,” attempting to intimidate me and discredit my research on climate change, I fought back (I’ve recounted these and other experiences in the crosshairs of industry-funded climate change deniers in my book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”). I fought back because it’s wrong for our leaders to target, suppress and deny science. And the stakes are simply too great.
Our grandchildren will one day ask us what we did to stop climate change. I want them to know that each of us, in Virginia and across the country, stepped up when so many others ducked responsibility. That’s why I’m with Tom.
Distinguished Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University