making climate research a risky proposition…

Hyperventilating right wing conspiracy theories about climate science have inspired their less stable listeners to send a constant barrage of death threats and hate mail to climatologists.
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There are jobs in which death threats are expected as a matter of course, and sometimes as a bizarre honor. Highly visible and important government officials could expect to be targets of angry conspiracy theorists, the lawmakers of most developed countries can face a firestorm from those opposed to how they vote. The real, old fashioned investigative journalists researching corruption and criminal organizations overseas or in their own country could expect a visit from some thugs warning them to keep silent. By contrast, building a climate model or two and running some very big and complex applications on a supercomputer hardly seems like an incredibly controversial act which merits a flood of death threats, right? Well, think again

The scientists revealed they have been told to “go gargle razor blades” and have been described as “Nazi climate murderers”. Some emails have been sent to them without any attempt by the sender to disguise their identity. Even though the scientists have received advice from the FBI, the police say they are not able to act due to the near-total tolerance of “freedom of speech” in the US.

Prompted by the shrieking of right wing pundits and a convoluted elaborate conspiracy theory according to which environmentalists are trying to create a totalitarian New World Order through legislation, some very angry people in the U.S. who are stretching their right of free speech to the extreme. Forgoing even the simple recitation of denialist counter-claims, they just let the fantasies of murder and mayhem fly, while raising plenty of questions about their mental stability along the way. When you hear a scientist who says that our planet is warming and it may be a good idea to review our energy policies, and your first reaction is to have a shrieking banshee’s howl of apoplectic rage followed by e-mailing your violent fantasies of shoving razor blades down his throat to the scientist in question, you have some very serious anger management issues to resolve. The difference between disagreeing and completely losing your mind is a pretty big one. Especially when, as was noted by the scientists themselves, the maniacal rage is completely misplaced.

“I suspect part of the reason people feel they have to attack climate scientists, is that politicians and environmentalists have a tendency to hide behind the science,” said [Dr. Miles Allen]. “In the run-up to Copenhagen, we often heard the phrase ‘the science dictates’ — that we need a 40% cut in rich-country emissions by 2020, for example — when in fact only a very specific, and politically loaded, interpretation of the science implied any such thing. If people who claim to be on the side of the science use scientists as human shields, it is hardly surprising that the scientists end up getting shot at.”

That’s right. Environmentalists who abuse science to fervently push for their own agendas have just as big of a share of the blame for these death threats as Hannity, O’Reilly and Beck. Yes, the green NWO conspiracy and those who pretend they’re fighting sinister forces about to enslave them and their nation are out there and they’ve even shown up in full force in the comments of my post explaining why it’s cold in winter in January of this year. The very fact that this conspiracy theory is fed by media outlets and that science bloggers actually need to be spending a blog post explaining why it snows during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere is very disturbing and frustrating.

Even worse is the denialist fervor about Climategate, despite the media recanting their articles on the subject in light of numerous investigations. But the environmentalists who are so eager to engage in a war of words with denilaists in mid-conniption by throwing out unfounded and over-wrought doomsday scenarios, then declaring to have scientific support on their side aren’t helping. All they’re doing is just making sure that more and more climate scientists are in the crosshairs of radical right fringes who don’t just want to disagree, but whose behavior in this situation can only be described as utterly unhinged.

# science // climate change / global warming / punditry

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