Hey, Hey. Hayhoe. – Climate Denialist Hatred and Intimidation campaigns have Got to Go
January 11, 2012
Readers of these pages will know that Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a powerful voice for climate sanity in the United States, and particularly threatening to the climate denial noise machine, in that she is an evangelical Christian, and carries the facts of climate science into communities that very often have been subjected to intense disinformation campaigns.
Dr. Hayhoe came to the attention of a wider audience this week, when it was revealed that she had been tasked to write a chapter on climate for a new book coming out under GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s name – and that, in the heat of a tea-party troglodyte dominated primary campaign, she, her chapter, and her message, had been unceremoniously dumped from the project.
Now Dr Hayhoe is the target of the kind of hate and intimidation campaign that has become the hallmark of the professional climate denier community.
Dr. Hayhoe made headlines after the Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich came under pressure and dropped plans to have her write an opening chapter on climate change for his upcoming book.
Now, her teaching duties at Texas Tech University have resumed and the sting from the Gingrich snub is fading. But the hate mail is still pouring in, dozens of insulting e-mails every morning.
“It’d be a lot easier to stay home. It’s not easy having people standing up and screaming at you. It’s not easy opening your mail in the morning and seeing a hundred e-mails, each one more hateful than the last,” Dr. Hayhoe said Monday, in her first interview with a Canadian news outlet.
“That’s not easy. And it’s not the science that motivates me. It’s what comes from the heart.”
That introduction to the sharp-elbowed world of politics was the latest blow for the 39-year-old, who already had a taste of hostile audiences from public speaking at Christian schools, seniors homes, farmers’ group and book clubs.
She was prepared to deal with emotional, unfriendly reactions. But she wasn’t expecting what came with the name recognition, she said.
“There’s a well-organized campaign, primarily in the United States but also in other countries, including Canada and Australia, of bloggers, of people in the media, of basically professional climate deniers whose main goal is to abuse, to harass and to threaten anybody who stands up and says climate change is real – especially anybody who’s trying to take that message to audiences that are more traditionally skeptical of this issue.”
It was even more shocking because she didn’t see herself as a “Godless, tree-hugging activist” but a scientist who also happened to be a member of an evangelical Bible church. She is also married to a pastor.
“The attacks’ virulence, the hatred and the nastiness of the text have escalated exponentially. I’ve gotten so many hate mail in the last few weeks I can’t even count them.”
On one occasion, after appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox TV, she received nearly 200 hate e-mails the next day.
The template is a well worn one, as veteran scientists like Mike Mann, Ben Santer, Kevin Trenberth, and Phil Jones can attest. I outlined one of the more notable examples in the video below. The parallels between modern science denial and medieval witch hunts are more than rhetorical. Climate deniers like the execrable Marc Morano have openly called for scientists to be dragged into the streets and flogged Sharia style. If you wonder how a civilized nation can descend into brutality and darkness, look no further than the hateful, anti-intellectual, and frighteningly well financed campaign of the science denial movement.