Defending Science in a Dark Time

May 15, 2017

Defending, in an era of Defunding, Science – a scrappy team of advocates offers a shield to those who pursue the truth.

New York Times:

Lawyers and scientists do not always get along, but some are now finding common cause in an effort to defend the integrity of science — especially climate science — in government and academia.

Climate scientists are feeling the heat as Republicans cement control of the executive branch and Congress. The Trump administration has already rolled back about two dozen environmental laws and regulations, dismissed members of an important science panel and taken down web pages giving information on climate change. Republicans in Congress have also brought pressure to bear on climate scientists.


Now scientists and lawyers are fighting back, with well-attended public demonstrations and legal action. The push included a recent conference that brought law professors from across the United States to New York for training to protect scientists who come under scrutiny.

Scientists have found themselves the targets of investigations from those who deny the evidence of climate change — most notably in the 2009 scandal known as Climategate, when hackers stole and released internal research discussions. Global warming denialists took comments out of context to allege widespread scientific fraud.


Subsequent efforts to mine internal emails have been undertaken by conservative organizations like the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute and Judicial Watch, as well as conservative public officials like Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a former Virginia attorney general.

When the Environmental Protection Agency removed the climate-related web pages, it announced that it was reviewing and revising portions of its website in ways “that reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”

Judith Enck, a former top E.P.A. official who is critical of the agency’s new direction, said its online presence “now looks like the National Mining Association website.”

The law professors who came to New York for training attended classes taught by the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

The fund was created in 2012 in response to litigation by Mr. Cuccinelli that also involved Dr. Mann’s emails. Dr. Mann would eventually win that case, but by then, the burdensome litigation had run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills for Dr. Mann and the University of Virginia, his employer at the time.

In light of those costs, the defense fund got its start. What had been an informal referral network for scientists facing legal pressure took on structure and financing. Mr. Trump’s election has provided a boost to the defense fund, said Joshua Wolfe, a founder.

“We’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the number of checks that came in postelection,” he said. And while he noted that “we didn’t build the organization for the Trump era,” the previous cases “really prepared the organization for the current set of challenges.”

The New York conference kicked off an effort to build a nationwide network of legal aid providers. Participants heard lectures on open records laws and were warned that the climate fight could be brutal, with online harassment and death threats common for researchers.

One law professor attending the conference, Myanna Dellinger of the University of South Dakota, said her own environmental legal scholarship had prompted attacks from conservatives, so “if I could help others who might be in the same situation, I would like to do so.”

Emphasizing that she spoke only for herself and not for her institution, she added: “It would be easy to sit and do nothing and write about tax law. But some of us have to do something.”


13 Responses to “Defending Science in a Dark Time”

  1. Tom Bates Says:

    These people are not defending science, mostly they are defending have a hand in the honey pot of your taxes. The NASA budget is a lot bigger than the one proposed by Obama, they are defending the voodoo science of AGW and by extension control of everything using the new religion of climate science.

    Their religion is a lot like the christian church in the middle ages, man is a sinner and only with sacrifices to the god will you survive to enter Heaven on the wings of angels. Simply substitute CO2, Mother Ghiaa, carbon taxes in the right places and you have a religion.

    If you want to play at predictions yourself, google MODTRAN, plug in a temperature and ppm CO2 and see the IRout. Hold the IRout constant by lowering or upping the temperature and you see how CO2 warms or cools the world. Than I suggest you look up the medieval warm period and the little ice age temperatures and you might notice that the temperature changed and CO2 levels had zero to do with that change.

    • Glenn Martin Says:

      I see you’re displaying your unshakeable faith in blind stupidity. Regional climate events are not global climate events. Just because Europe gets cold doesn’t mean that the rest of the planet isn’t slightly warmer resulting in no change in global temperature.
      Give it a rest Tom. We’re not buying.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Tom Bates talking right out of his butt again. Not the first time he’s mixing up forcing with climate response.

      And BTW, here the MWP:

      And even further:

      • Sir Charles Says:

        Tom. I explained you the difference between forcing and climate response in a previous post. Nonetheless, you’re coming up with the same garbage again. As this is not the first time you’re unwilling to learn I can only assume that you’re a follower of the church of denial. So the religious argument is right bouncing back to you.

    • schwadevivre Says:

      You have been told numerous times that your plain ignorant use of MODTRAN is completely fraudulent. As usual you ignore that and continue with your own bias and blinkered thinking.

      YOU ignore evidence therefore you are the religious one

    • webej Says:

      Perhaps you could reveal how the lives of these climate scientists has been vastly enriched by public money, creating benefits far in excess of other scientists working in related non-climate fields with similar education and standing.

      You have to be somewhat careful teasing out the data, because thousands of the infected “climate” scientists engage in research which only sometimes touches climate, making them only 2% or 5% climate scientists and just regular non-climate scientists for the remaining 98%.

    • Duhh, Blubber Blubber.

      Little Tommy
      You will happily bleat about warm periods and cold periods and about the possible coming Solar Grand minimum that will take us supposedly back into a LIA, (it won’t due to high CO2e) and refuse to accept that there are also Solar Maximums and Grand Maximums and the influence of super Volcano’s and extended periods of strong volcanic activity on the LIA and other historical cool periods (Look up what ended the Roman Empire in approx 600AD in the time of the Justinian Empire)

      • PS look up Solar luminance, has been reduced since the late 80’s from a peak in the 40’s and is reducing as we write, yet temperature is still rising.

        Please explain

    • Tommy Poo,

      It has been practically a full *year* since I debunked your lies about NASA/GISS by showing that the NASA/GISS global temperature results could be confirmed with raw data.

      When are you going to retract your lies and apologize?

      (Note to lurkers: that’s a rhetorical question.)

    • Torsten Says:

      The “Tom Bates” character is designed to appear as a twit. I’m not sure if he’s meant to appear as dumb or dumber than the Orange Hair Furor.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    A pity that scientists have to go that far. Imagine Einstein would have had to pay lawyers for defending himself against defamation of himself and his theory. Today, no sat nav would work without Einstein’s clue of the relativity of time.

    The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

    Also see =>

    As Peter once said: “Those who spread the misinformation and outright lies of the climate denial industry, are useful idiots of some of history’s coldest and greediest killers.”

    • ubrew12 Says:

      Even though we’re encouraged to think of ourselves as ‘independent thinkers’, people actually crave leadership. They want there to be some ‘bedrock values’: things they know are true and not false. When a powerful industry funds doubt about Science, that doubt spreads to other verities, and individuals have to take it upon themselves to find their own truth on every issue. And, as we’ve seen, Vladimir Putin will be there to give it to them.
      And if nothing is true then everything is potentially true. You can hand powerful people, as happened to President Trump the other day, a fake-news article claiming that a TIME magazine cover was predicting an ice age in the 1970s, and they’ll believe it because it’s what they want to believe. And because, according to the Koch Brothers, you certainly can’t believe the Scientists…

  3. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    I’m proud to have donated and helped cause more donations to the CSLDF through my “Arctic Sea Ice Bucket Challenge”, resulting in giving Jason Box and Peter a good soaking 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: