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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.

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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