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Why Do Climate Scientists Need a Legal Defense Fund?

Climate deniers are subjecting leading climate scientists to e-mail hacking, death threats, dubious Freedom of Information requests, and other forms of harassment.

Over the past few years, climate deniers have subjected some college professors who are among the nation's leading climate scientists to "e-mail hackingdeath threats, politician’s demands for documentsFreedom of Information requests" and more, as Andy Revkin points out.

When I wrote the Climate Solutions Consensus textbook with David Blockstein, we relied heavily on the pain-staking, voluminous work of many of the scientists that have since been targeted by the climate deniers.

If I shake out the footnotes of that book onto a desk, you will find the names of almost all the folks being tarred and feathered by the climate deniers. So, I am taking this climate war seriously and personally–whether I have ever met a specific scientist being pilloried in person or not.

Recently, we learned that the scientists being attacked face huge legal bills. Try covering that tab on a college teacher’s salary.

This scientist, among others, is vigorously defending actions he undertook over a decade ago that are exactly identical to the actions of scientists in a non-climate field of study.

Actions under attack include an employee’s right to privacy over personal correspondence as well as the broader give and take between scientists on matters of method and replication of results.

To quote Jeff Ruch from Andy Revkin's interview above, "Our main concern is that industry-funded groups and law firms are seeking to criminalize the peer review process by obtaining internal editorial comments of reviewers as a means to impeach or impugn scientists."

Ruch is the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nation-wide service organization that has long protected public employees, such as, whistle blowers who might forest rangers, attorneys, doctors or others, from retaliation from within their own agency or from outside the agency.

Would folks like Michael Mann be the target of such uncivil actions, if they studied the human genome, brain tumors, semiconductors, or even economic models of social service delivery programs? Probably not, yet. But...

If we do not stand up now for the right of climate scientists to pursue their career to wherever their research findings may lead, we may soon find these corrosive attacks being against biological scientists, behavioral scientists, or even political scientists, whose findings find disfavor with a few vocal deniers.

For more, visit the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

[This post first appeared at YimbyNow.com.]

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Catherine W January 28, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Wow. I never realized how nefarious some of these deniers are. Thanks for highlighting this.
newrochellesouth January 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM
If Climate Scientists were pursuing thier research in the name of Science, then nobobdy would care. However the Climate Scientists, like Michael Mann, and the IPCC, are not pursuing Climate Science for the puropse of enlightenment, but for the purpose of re-organizing our lives. Mercury filled lightbulbs (cfl's), higher Con-Ed bills, significantly higher gasoline prices, smart meters, closing of Coal plants, more taxes, elementary school children indoctrination, are all part of the Climate Scientist Agenda. Public monies in countries all over the world are being poured into outcome determined science. If a scientist comes up with a different model then they are ostracised by the community, denied tenure, denied publication and labelled a "denier". In New Rochelle we are subject to some new set of guidelines called greenNR which if you get in to the details can take control of your meters, house renovations, and more. So if a politised Climate Scientist is trying to influence political decisions (and consequently my life and finances) with pre-determined outcome based science why would they expect not to come under any scrutiny. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011GL050226.shtml http://www.sciencebits.com/IPCC_nowarming It's not like there are alternative views to man made Global Warming. You can also believe in Global Warming and not believe it is man made.
Teleman January 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Well put NRsouth, I for one blame the Sun for all the supposed warming.
Issy January 28, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The warming is actual not supposed, it is well documented. It should also be of interested to you that Venus is warmer than Mercury, so clearly the sun is not the only player in the game.
Jill Gertz January 28, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Whenever an article begins with "climate deniers" you know you're about to get a serving of defamation. Man made warming has been shown to be a hoax and that's why real science goes out the window and defamation takes its place. If anyone has been persecuted its the real scientists who for years were defamed as "climate deniers" because they saw through the hoax. There are forces who pretend they want to "save" the planet when they really want to "control" it. Of course the target of that control is the US. As Greenpeace founder Dr. Patrick Moore has said: ""A lot of those in the peace movement were anti-American and, to an extent, pro-Soviet. By virtue of their anti-Americanism, they tended to sometimes favor the communist approach. A lot of those people, a lot of those social activists, moved into the environmental movement once the peace movement was no longer relevant." Social activists, he suggests, "are now using the rhetoric of environmentalism to promote other collectivist agendas, such as class struggle -- which I personally believe is a legitimate area, but I don't believe it's legitimate to mix it up with environmentalism." Be very careful of people who use defamation to debase others in order to exert their wills.
John January 28, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Given that the vast weight of research money and institutional support (politicians, media, etc) is supporting man made global warming climate change theorists, you have to laugh when someone claims the "deniers" are threatening them. There are cooks and extremists fringes in both camps but Wiegman has makes no reference to the aggressive mainstream tactics used against scientists who disagree with him. This was revealed in the e-mails hacked from the University of East Anglia, and extends to trying to make "denial' a crime in Denmark. Even the most ardent AGW proponents admit that less than 1/3 of their frightening warming predictions could be reduced by the trillions of dollars they propose spending. Not surprisingly the average Joe isn't ready to pay for this, especially as very small changes in input data (notoriously inaccurate) and formulas can produce huge swings in predicted outcome. A more constructive approach would be to recognize that climate science is still very young - 40 years ago scientists thought we were going into a new ice age - and to encourage open and vigorous debate without labels. Instead of grand alarmist schemes focus our money and effort on restoring the local environment (water, trees, vegetation and animal balance) which would benefit all of us and probably improves the microclimate as a bonus
Jill Gertz January 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
"Given that the vast weight of research money and institutional support (politicians, media, etc) is supporting man made global warming climate change theorists.." Thank-you - that's exactly why the climate liars perpetrate the fraud - they look for the money and power they get from the politicians who want to use manufactured climate hysteria to make people forget common sense (and real science) and react emotionally. Corporations like GE also perpetrate the fraud because they want to see all the new appliances and technology mandated by the political side of the agenda. Financiers like Goldman Sachs like the fraud because they hope to make billions brokering the carbon credit markets. Basically they have schemed how to make billions selling nothing but a fabricated way to extort and control businesses. Climate-gate shows leading climate liars admitting that they are manufacturing science and blocking out real science and honest scientists.
Dan Thaler January 28, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The local National Weather Service station in Yorktown has recorded a general increase in temperature over the course of 50 years of gathering data. The operator also has all the Hudson Valley data going back 120 years or so and that shows the same trend. This corresponds directly with the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels in our industrialized society. Formulate your own conclusions folks.
Leo Wiegman January 28, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Spring arrives in New York one week earlier than it did in 1970. (www.dec.ny.gov/energy/44992.html) Asthma rates have quadrupled in same time frame. One in 11 children and adults in New York State currently have asthma. (www.health.ny.gov/statistics/ny_asthma/) Electricity rates have risen 24 to 33% since 2000, and is going up again by 5% in April for most customers. (www.nyserda.ny.gov/en/Energy-Data-and-Prices-Planning-and-Policy.aspx) So called 100 year storms are hitting us more like every 5 years. Recall Irene? So even if you don't believe in climate change, what do you suggest we do about asthma rates? Or more frequent flooding?
Leo Wiegman January 28, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Dan: Thanks! Yes, the NWS station in Yorktown is a good local source for information: http://weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWeatherData_YorktownHeights1W_YorktownHeights_NY_January.html
Peter Marengo January 29, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Bravo, Jill! You are a very astute patriot, exposing the agenda behind this charade. Isn't Manhattan supposed to be underwater by now due to melting ice caps? What a scam!
Issy January 29, 2012 at 03:07 PM
The moral depravity of those who accuse Scientists of collusion in order to profit themselves is reprehensible. The 'deniers' would rather wave, like Neville Chamberlain, some meaningless report from Exxon Mobil than actually look at the empirical data showing that indeed the earth is warming and man is playing a part in it. They would rather disparage every science based University, every bona fide climate research facility, every scientific magazine and 97% of hard working scientists who have spent decades actually studying the climate, . These 'deniers' are not patriots, they are common thieves, stealing any chance our children have of a better future.. Shameful.
newrochellesouth January 29, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Al Gore: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/6491195/Al-Gore-could-become-worlds-first-carbon-billionaire.html European Fraudsters: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2009/12/11/eu-carbon-credit-trading-fraud.html More Fraud: http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/2012/01/25/your-money/watch-out-for-carbon-scams-gOVrG5uRtxzRSba9HqPVTO/article.html More Fraud: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/48e334ce-f355-11db-9845-000b5df10621.html What is more morally reprehensible, yelling "Chicken Little" and then making a profit, or being a skeptic? Every generation from time immemorial wnats to be the generation, "to save mankind". Do people really believe that it is in their power to save mankind? What complete and total arrogance in the face of the awesome power of the earth, nature, the universe, or whatever. This is what the Greeks would have called Hubris and what always follows Hubris is Nemesis. King Canute displayed to to his followers the folly of man overpowering Nature by going to the Ocean and ordering the tides to cease. What Medieval men learned, but we have not, is that man cannot claim to be more powerful than the Sun, the wind, the ocean, and the weather. Leave us alone and if you use public monies to perpetuate the fraud don't be surprised if some guardian of the public purse calls you out on it. The filing against Michael Mann: http://www.probeinternational.org/files/Virginia_Attorney_General_CID.pdf
Teleman January 29, 2012 at 05:29 PM
As we bankrupt ourselves trying to "save the Earth" countries like China are accelerating their industrial, economic and military revolutions- they are continuously securing supplies of fossil fuels around the world while we "hope" solar, wind and battery cars will somehow free us.We are going down a dangerous path.
Leo Wiegman January 29, 2012 at 06:49 PM
The American Tradition Institute campaign being waged against climate scientists is shooting the messengers (the scientists) while ignoring the message (climate disruption is accelerating in ways that are unprecedented). Their website is slick and stacked with lawyers: http://www.atinstitute.org/.
Leo Wiegman January 29, 2012 at 06:50 PM
And that is why the climate scientists need to lawyer up: to defend themselves and their profession.
newrochellesouth January 29, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Here is an Inconvenient Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming--Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html
Lisa Graham January 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM
we don't deny there is a climate... but this Gore-led "global-warming" morphed into "climate change" (doesn't the climate always change, or else who would need weather men?!) nonsense is the hoax of the century... If there was no "crisis" the grant money would dry up, and Al Gore would lose all the money he invested in "carbon credit" scams. Gee, when is the next "climate change" convention? Where thousands of people fly in, explode their "carbon footprint" and sit around and pontificate for a week, live it up on taxpayer's expense and decide NOTHING? It would be funny if it wasn't such a rip-off.
Issy January 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Very inconvenient LOL. Beside the fact that it is not true, the actual data shows that temperatures have been warming, this is typical article in a trash newspaper by a Foundation (Global Warming Policy Foundation) funded by Exxon Mobile. We are fortunate to have one of the world's leading research facilities in our area Lamont Doherty, http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/ that publishes real scientific papers based on actual data, not fake ones made of lies brought by big oil. Open your mind debate the real science.
john January 30, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Even worse are the local tax dollars used to promote these agendas. In Croton it will be a million dollar bike lane that won't stretch more than two or three blocks or using village staff to audit the carbon footprint of other communities. It's called book promotion and/or tax rip-offs, and yes, time for those folks to lawyer up.

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