Thursday, February 02, 2012

Attacks On Climate Scientists

I think that this is a sad reflection of the times we live in, especially when people can send out things anonymously and threaten others for doing their jobs.

This article looks at the challenges being faced by climate scientists, and not on the task they faced with their jobs either!

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.
This, of course, is made worse when politicians, people who should know better but don't, somehow voice the same level of skepticism. In the minds of some feeble-minded climate deniers, this gives them legitimacy to go after these scientists.

This may be the 21st Century. But some aspect of the Dark Ages still persists, and prosecution of scientists appears to be one of them.


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