The Weekend Wonk: Lauren Kurtz of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, and Why Good Scientists Sometimes Need a Good Lawyer
November 15, 2014
Lauren Kurtz is the new Director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, (click the link to support them) which will offer legal protection and advice to scientists who may come under attack from the right wing disinformation machine.
The problem Kurtz hopes to address is a real one. Scientists who perform climate-related research have increasingly been the subject of personal attacks — email hacking, copious online abuse, a dead rat left on a scientists’ doorstep. At least one prominent scientist has been the subject of a failed lawsuit by a right-wing policy group, alleging manipulation of data, and demanding copies of personal emails and other communications under the Freedom of Information Act.
Many climate scientists say these attacks are political, perpetrated by people who can’t accept the policy solutions to the problem of human-caused global warming.
“I firmly believe that I would now be leading a different life if my research suggested that there was no human effect on climate,” said climate scientist Benjamin D. Santer during a Congressional hearing in 2010. “We need to follow the research wherever it leads us, without fear of the consequences of speaking truth to power.”
The CSLDF was founded with that goal in mind. It was created in 2011 by Professors Scott Mandia and John Abraham, after they learned that climate scientist Michael Mann was using his personal funds to defend himself against the now-infamous lawsuit brought by the American Tradition Institute. Mandia and Abraham formed the group, and in 24 hours raised $10,000 to allow Mann to continue his research while fighting the case.
Dr. Michael Mann’s continuing political and legal battle over the years has been detailed in his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”.
Below, the extended story of Mike Mann’s “Hockey Stick” fight.
Dr. Mann’s actual testimony before congress in hearings called by climate denier “Smokey Joe” Barton – (famous for his boot-licking apology to the Chairman of BP after the Gulf Oil spill).
Under the fold, my videos on the so-called “Climate Gate” non-scandal.
Months after I had completed the trilogy above, with a lot of cooperation with Dr. Mann, I produced this piece detailing the whole “hide the decline” nonsense. More detail than most folks need, but worthwhile as an historical reminder of the lengths climate deniers will go to in distorting the record, and confusing the public.