“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