Australian climate scientists targeted by death threats

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“Australia's leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats,” the Canberra Times reports. “One researcher told of receiving threats of sexual assault and violence against her children after her photograph appeared in a newspaper article promoting a community tree-planting day as a local action to mitigate climate change.” Among the scientists receiving threatening and intimidating email are Will Steffen, Andy Pitman, and David Karoly. This is the dark underside of right-wing sociopathy and the global warming denial machine.

The Canberra Times (Australia) reported on June 4 (excerpt):

Climate of fear: scientists face death threats

BY ROSSLYN BEEBY - SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

Australia's leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats.

The Australian National University has confirmed it moved several high-profile climate scientists, economists and policy researchers into more secure buildings, following explicit threats to their personal safety.

Scientists at universities in NSW and Queensland have told of being moved to high security buildings, where their names do not appear on staff directory lists or on their office door.

''If you want to find me, it's impossible unless you make an appointment, sign in with some form of photo identification, and are personally escorted to my door,'' one scientist said.

''That's directly as a result of threats made against me.''

More than 30 researchers across Australia ranging from ecologists and environmental policy experts to meteorologists and atmospheric physicists told The Canberra Times they are receiving a stream of abusive emails threatening violence, sexual assault, public smear campaigns and attacks on family members.

Among the scientists being targeted is Australian National University climate institute director Professor Will Steffen.

Others include University of NSW climate change research co-director Professor Andy Pitman and University of Melbourne meteorology professor and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author Professor David Karoly.

Many scientists spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they feared the email attacks would escalate if they were identified.

Several scientists have installed upgraded home security systems and switched to unlisted phone numbers after receiving threats that their homes and cars would be damaged.

One scientist said he was advised by police to install a ''panic button'' security alarm in his university office after receiving death threats. Others have removed all contact numbers from their work websites, and deleted social media sites after these were defaced with abusive comments and obscene photographs. One researcher told of receiving threats of sexual assault and violence against her children after her photograph appeared in a newspaper article promoting a community tree-planting day as a local action to mitigate climate change.

Australia's new chief scientist, former ANU vice-chancellor Professor Ian Chubb has condemned these email threats as ''an outrageous attack'' on open and public debate.

''These hurtful attacks are intended to intimidate scientists, to scare them off and stop them from participating in public discussions on climate change. They are the antithesis of democratic debate,'' Professor Chubb said. …

University of NSW senior psychology lecturer Jason Mazanov said the emails were indicative of a ''closed room'' mentality where people have lost all sense of what is normal.

''They send a threatening email with no thought of the social cost or consequences,'' he said.

The AFP have advised that if an individual receives death threats and/or violently abusive emails, they should contact their state or territory police.

Also see the Guardian (UK), June 6: “Australian climate scientists receive death threats” (excerpt):

... The revelation of the death threats follows a week of bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition in the wake of a pro-carbon price TV advert featuring actor Cate Blanchett.

The Australia National University (ANU) in Canberra said that it has moved a number of its climate scientists to a secure facility after they received a large number of threatening emails and phone calls. …

Among those targeted is Prof Will Steffen, ANU's climate institute director.

Steffen is the co-author of a high-profile Climate Commission report that was published two weeks ago. The report calls for urgent action to avoid sea level rises of a metre or more over the course of the next century.

The death threats have not been confined to the ANU, with universities in New South Wales and Queensland also tightening security for more than 30 ecology, environmental policy and meteorology researchers, according to The Canberra Times. …

Prof David Koroly, of the University of Melbourne's school of Earth science, told the ABC that he receives threats whenever he is interviewed by the media.

"It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised threats to discourage scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio," he said.

There has been renewed focus on the science of climate change since Blanchett appeared in an advert supporting the proposed carbon price, which is set to be introduced on 1 July next year.

Blanchett, who was dubbed "Carbon Cate", for her stance, was attacked by several media outlets.  …

h/t Richard Condit, GAP

Earlier posts:

Leading US climate scientists are being subjected to a barrage of right-wing lunatic hate mail  (July 5, 2010)

ABC World News: Climate Scientists Claim ‘McCarthy-Like Threats’ (May 24, 2010)

“Cyber bullying” and Congressional inquisition aim to chill the work of climate scientists (March 8, 2010)

This entry was posted in Attacks on Climate Science and Scientists, Climate Science Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Australian climate scientists targeted by death threats

  1. NikFromNYC says:

    No police investigation?! "Hate crimes" are never perpetrated by activists...oh no, never! All those nooses and swasticas that were drawn on their own office door or put out on their own front tree by lefty activists? Never happened! Googling "fake hate crime" is not for us!

    Us Children of One Earth obey the most famous warmist of all, Dr. Charlie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmPzLzj-3XY

    -=WE OBEY CLIMATE COPS=- http://oi52.tinypic.com/wlt4i8.jpg

    -=WE OBEY CLIMATE CRIMINALS=- http://oi52.tinypic.com/1zqu71i.jpg

    • Rick - Climate Science Watch says:

      Gee, thanks for pointing out that climate science and those who support taking action on climate change are following the leadership of Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden, and the Unabomber. And that the Australian climate scientists are probably faking the death threats. How could we have missed this?

      OK—normally, when scurrilous and bizarrely wrong-headed comments like this one are submitted to this website from out there in cyberspace, our moderation policy quickly consigns them to the “unapproved” category where negative-value-added material goes. But we’ll put this one up, just in order to show readers some of what arrives in our In Box -- and to make the point that space on this site is subject to editorial judgment and is not in general available to denialists and those who don’t treat the climate science community with respect. It’s not a free-for-all. Show respect or be gone.

      And let’s take this opportunity to set one additional criterion: those who level extraordinary charges or make extraordinary assertions must take responsibility for presenting an extraordinary evidentiary case. If you choose to reject the entire body of mainstream climate science, it won’t do to simply say ‘it’s a hoax perpetuated by frauds,’ or, ‘the National Academy of Sciences is a political organization,’ or ‘of course we can discard the IPCC reports because they’re full of inaccuracies,’ or ‘everyone knows the warmist case is collapsing like a house of cards.’ And no, the cherry-picked stolen emails do not even begin to make a case.

      And if you want to suggest that the Australian climate scientists or their supporters are conspiring to fake the intimidation and death threats being made against them, what is your evidence? I know the climate science community and they don’t do things like this. They and the public interest advocacy community are shocked and appalled by the depths to which the denialist and right-wing political hit squad will sink. Shocked, but maybe not so surprised, considering what passes for discourse in some of the blogosphere these days.

      • Amoeba says:

        NikFromNYC has been spamming his crap all over the place. Obviously he's either a full-time imbecile, or he's employed to do so by Koch Industries or one of their bogus mouth-piece think-tanks.

        http://www.google.com/cse?cx=002683415331144861350%3Atsq8didf9x0&q=NikFromNYC&ie=utf-8&sa=Search

      • mosta says:

        And if you want to suggest that the Australian climate scientists or their supporters are conspiring to fake the intimidation and death threats being made against them, what is your evidence? I know the climate science community and they don’t do things like this.

        ^^^^http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/climate-scientists-claims-of-email-death-threats-go-up-in-smoke/story-e6frgcjx-1226345224816

  2. Amoeba says:

    The important question is: Why anyone would want to threaten climate scientists? Who looks to lose-out were carbon taxes to be introduced?

    Since Australia is reliant upon coal primarily for energy and for exports, it's pretty obvious who looks to lose-out if the climate scientists persuade the Australian Public about the scientific facts.

    Clearly, those doing the threatening are most probably:
    a) Individuals persuaded by the debunked disinformation emanating from the skeptics such as Carter [1] & Plimer [2].
    or
    b) Agents funded directly or indirectly by the fossil-fuel industry.
    c) Employees of the coal industry.

    Clearly, those doing the threatening are scared of the research being carried-out and know that THE SCIENCE IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT BULLSHIT. If it were BS, who would care?

    It seems reasonable to suspect that coal interests must be funding directly or indirectly the anti-science campaign and likewise whoever is organising the campaign of death threats.

    Whoever is behind the death-threats, they want the status-quo – burning coal and exporting coal, to continue. They favour personal short-term profits over the welfare of the young and that of future generations.

    References
    [1] Carter
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/carter-confusion-1-anthropogenic-warming.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/carter-confusion-2-green-jobs.html

    [2] Plimer
    Heaven + Earth the missing science. The 'science' is missing from Plimer's book.
    http://www.complex.org.au/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=91

    Plimer being mauled by George Monbiot.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/12/15/2772906.htm

  3. Pingback: September…… « Whitehouse Science Heritage Journal

  4. Pingback: Hate campaign against climate scientists hits the denier spin-cycle « Graham Readfearn

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