The Savage Nation

A Stanford professor drops his ridiculous defamation lawsuit against his scientific critics


Stanford environmental professor Mark Z. Jacobson made a big splash in 2015 with a paper predicting that renewable sources could provide 100% of the energy needed in the 48 contiguous states by 2050.

But he made an even bigger splash last September, when he responded to a critique of his claim published in a leading scientific journal by filing a $10-million defamation lawsuit.

After taking months of flak for what seemed to be an effort to stifle legitimate scientific debate by bringing it into the courtroom, Jacobson withdrew the lawsuit Thursday.

A quick primer on the case: After Jacobson’s paper appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and got taken up as a rallying cry by climate activists such as Bernie Sanders, the journal published a lengthy critique by environmental scientist Christopher Clack and 20 co-authors. Their paper, which questioned Jacobson’s assumptions and methodology, appeared Feb. 24, 2017. PNAS gave Jacobson and his own co-authors space in the very same issue to rebut the criticism.

Read more at the LA Times