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The death of climate scientist Stephen Schneider seems to have attracted little attention here. I do not know the particulars of his passing, but it was reportedly due to a heart attack while traveling.
What was not reported in the diary here was that Schneider was the target of right wing/whacko harassment and threats. I wanted to call attention to this BBC piece on that subject.

I last spoke to him about three months ago. The context was abuse: the vitriolic, sustained, personalised and sometimes apparently organised abuse that has been levelled against scientists in the climate field, including him.

It materialises in blogs and newspaper articles that appear to start from the standpoint that everyone in the field is corrupt, incompetent and crooked. It streams into scientists' e-mail inboxes.

Some of those receiving it see it as a deliberate, malicious and politically-motivated campaign of harassment.

Australian journalist Clive Hamilton has documented the threats and abuse levelled against scientists in his country in a series of online articles commencing with "Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial".

He cites cases of scientists being compared in emails to Pol Pot, and being told that unless they stopped what they were doing, they would "end up collateral damage in the war".

The BBC article does not mention the legal harassment being utilized against other climate scientists, such as the ones at the University of Virginia:

"The Attorney General’s opposition itself makes clear that the Attorney General did not issue civil investigative demands under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to investigate fraud against Virginia taxpayers," the document said. "Rather the CIDs were issued in an unprecedented attempt to challenge a university professor’s peer-reviewed data, methodologies and conclusions. But FATA does not authorize the Attorney General to police academic debate, and it certainly does not authorize the Attorney General to target for government investigation those who conduct scientific research with which the Attorney General disagrees."

This diary is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion, but rather to draw attention to the tactics used by those who have lost the scientific debate, and are becoming increasingly abusive to those who seek to find the truth and publicize it.

Originally posted to seesdifferent on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM PDT.

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