Climate Denial Thugs: Threats Against Climate Scientists Commonplace

February 3, 2012

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
― Isaac Asimov

When reading about society’s that destroy themselves by turning against their most thoughtful, educated, and insightful citizens, one thinks of the medieval inquisition, China’s cultural revolution, or the Cambodian holocaust. Such events have always seemed beyond the pale, unimaginable for most in the developed world.

The anti-science and climate denial movement of today shows us that those brutal, authoritarian, anti intellectual impulses are still strong, and maybe, in the age of Fox news and internet, getting stronger.

Physics Today:

Receiving an email with a statement like “You should resign, and if you don’t, I’ll work to see that you are fired” or “I know where your kids go to school” would be unsettling enough. But they “pale compared to what other climate scientists are getting,” says Raymond Orbach, director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, at whom the first threat above was aimed.
Now climate scientists—in atmospheric physics and chemistry, geophysics, meteorology, hydrology, and oceanography, among other disciplines—have begun to fight back. “I think the community is finding a voice,” says Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose work has largely focused on identifying the human influence on global climate, and who once answered a late-night knock to find a dead rat on his doorstep.
A prime mover behind this reptilian assault on reason is Marc Morano, a leading goodfella in tight cabal of wing nut thugs not-so-secretly funded by the fossil fuel industry. Morano is well known for advocating medieval,  Sharia Law style punishments on scientists, teachers and intellectuals.
Lacking the intellect to counter the actual science, or the courage to confront his targets directly, Morano uses the tools of the internet-age bully and coward.
His approach is to publish climate scientist’s contact information on his website, in full knowledge that by doing so, he alerts the deranged and unbalanced – a sizable fraction of his readers, to direct a torrent of abuse, threats, and vile invective at his targets.
In a recent interview here at Climate Crocks, Texas Tech Climate expert Katharine Hayhoe described the vicious, misogynist tone of the attack leveled at her by the denial machine.  Recently, some of those emails were released to a regional blog out of Texas.
Texas Climate News: 

At Texas Climate News’ request, she provided a sample of these emails to illustrate what she was talking about. Here are some excerpts, quoted verbatim except for bracketed material, with the eight writers’ own punctuation, spelling and other style features. Caution: The fourth item includes language that some readers may find offensive and presents a disturbing and violent fantasy by that email writer:

  • you are nothing but a liar; you lie
  • AGW [anthropogenic, or manmade, global warming] is a hoax […] Where are the facts? Prove your unproven hypothesis. Prove it. Show the world. You can’t. You are a fraud. […] Your name and the names of the other warming alarmists will be mud as the years go forward. You are a disgrace. You are a nut.
  • [Misogynistic vulgarism] Nazi Bitch Whore Climatebecile […] You stupid bitch, You are a mass murderer and will be convicted at the Reality TV Grand Jury in Nuremberg, Pennsylvania.  AGW has never been anything but a Rockefeller depopulationary eugenical scam. […] After the Grand Jury indicts you, I would like to see you convicted and beheaded by guillotine in the public square, to show women that if they are going to take a man’s job, they have to take the heat for mass murder, just like the men do when they get caught. If you have a child, then women in the future will be even more leery of lying to get ahead, when they see your baby crying next to the basket next to the guillotine.
  • [This writer was reacting to a Twitter message that Hayhoe sent after learning from the media that her chapter would not appear in the Gingrich book. In it, she said the chapter represented “100+ unpaid hrs I (could have) spent playing w my baby.”] I read your whiney comments about researching for a rejected book chapter instead of spending time playing with your baby. Perhaps you should take responsiblility how you choose to use your time. In my opinion, the problem with America is women refuse to stay at home taking care and nurturing their offspring while prioritizing their selfish ambitions attempting to carve out a career for themselves. Be a good mother or be a good researcher.
  • I am afraid [blogger Anthony Watts, a former television meteorologist and prominent climate-change skeptic] has exposed you as something of an academic fool. Try using actual data next time.
  • Stop using Jesus to justify your wacko ideas about global warming. First, it is an insult to the Lord Jesus. Second, it is insulting to those of us who actually take our Christianity seriously. Third, it is juvenile.
  • Do you believe in God? If you do, then you must believe that He is all powerful. But believing in AGW contradicts that, because to be able to change the climate in such a manner as you prescribe to would mean that we are more powerful than He is. I know better than that, but it would appear that you and your husband don’t. Maybe you should both take another look at your belief system. I think it needs some adjusting.

Hayhoe believes such messages represent efforts to intimidate climate scientists. She told The Globe and Mail:

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.

Physics Today:

Harassment of climate scientists by climate-change deniers goes back at least to 1995, after the IPCC published its Second Assessment Report. Santer was the lead author of chapter 8, which looked at the causes of climate change. “The single sentence ‘The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate’ changed my life,” he says. “I was the guy who was associated with this sentence. Those who did not like that finding did everything not only to undermine the finding but also to undermine my scientific reputation.”
The harassment has ramped up in recent years, says Michael Mann of the Pennsylvania State University, whose book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, due to be published by Columbia University Press in early March, includes a retelling of his own ongoing experiences with harassment. “Political intimidation, character attacks, what appear to be orchestrated phone and email campaigns, nasty and thinly veiled threats, not just to us but to our families, are what it means in modern American life to be a climate scientist,” says Mann. Even this magazine, after publishing last October articles on the science of climate change—about its being under fire and about communicating that science to the public—received an abundance of letters with the tenor, “How could PHYSICS TODAY print such a one-sided portrayal of climate science when many reputable scientists disagree?”
Fossil-fuel interests, says Gavin Schmidt, a climate researcher at NASA, “have adopted a shoot-the-messenger approach. It’s been a very successful strategy. They have created a chilling effect, so other [scientists] won’t say what they think and the conversation in public stays bereft of anyone who knows what they are talking about.”
Schmidt cofounded, a forum for climate scientists to “provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.” Meanwhile, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a vocal opponent to limiting greenhouse gas emissions, is suing NASA for the release of Schmidt’s personal emails.

33 Responses to “Climate Denial Thugs: Threats Against Climate Scientists Commonplace”

  1. jasonpettitt Says:

    I really don’t. But you could try using the awesome power of Internet Search.

  2. Jason – what a waste of time. Is there anything remotely similar to those calls about baby killing? If there is it doesn’tappear at the link you provided.

    • jasonpettitt Says:

      I don’t know Maurizio, I didn’t read them for you. I just showed you that you can quickly search websites yourself, without having to ask people to do it for you.

      But I did snatch a glance at the very first one – where Morano posts Heyhoe’s email address in GIANT LETTERS in the FRIGGIN’ HEADLINE. He really wants to make sure folks know that email address.

  3. Peter Mizla Says:

    Oh boy, those intellectuals will destroy capitalism and freedom. But save the planet. Time and space have nothing to do with infinity and jelly donuts.

  4. daveburton Says:

    It is telling that on climate alarmist blogs, vicious insults, abuse & censorship of climate skeptics is routine. ClimateCrocks is the best climate skeptic blog I know, because, despite the frequent nastiness here on Peter’s blog, he does allow dissenting opinions to be expressed. That is a rarity on alarmist sites, most of which consistently censor skeptics’ comments, to suppress dissent. At Real Climate censorship is frequent, and on Tamino’s site censorship is total.

    Similar misbehavior (directed toward climate alarmists) is not unknown on climate skeptic blogs, but it is much less common. All viewpoints, expressed with civility, are welcome at WUWT (which, IMO, is one of the main reasons it is so much better than RC).

    Some alarmist sites are even worse. At Greg Laden’s blog, he doesn’t always delete skeptics’ comments; sometimes he rewrites them to change the meaning, with no indication that he has done so.

    Moreover, the blackballing and abuse of peer review by climate alarmists to quash dissent, and their sheer ruthlessness and even viciousness, which was revealed by the climategate emails, is without parallel in skeptical scientific circles. Here’s discussion of a particularly disturbing example:

  5. […] Sinclair pubblica un’antologia delle oscenità ricevute dai perseguitati da Big Oil & Carbon, per soli adulti.  Sul lato […]

  6. climate alarmists…sheer ruthlessness and even viciousness,..”..without parallel in skeptical scientific circles. ”

    Your statement is a fail.

    Are you paying attention? Reread the list.

    Here’s some more:

    “You should resign, and if you don’t, I’ll work to see that you are fired” or “I know where your kids go to school”

    “I seriously believe we should kick them while they’re down. They deserve to be publicly flogged.” – Morano

    This is a blog about climate scientists mistreatment at the hands of deniers. Exaggerated statements about deniers mistreatment, while climate scientists are receiving death threats is false equivalency. I doubt Michaels will have any trouble getting rich from oil company funding even if his Phd is fake.

    He can cry all the way to the bank.

  7. […] Per le persecuzioni di Big Oil & Carbon e dei politici contro gli scienziati, si veda questa antologia. […]

  8. […] Per le persecuzioni di Big Oil & Carbon e dei politici contro gli scienziati, si veda questa antologia. […]

  9. yanideza Says:

    Valuable blog post . Just to add my thoughts , others are searching for a a form , my husband found a fillable version here

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