The Sciences

ABC News Covers the New War on Climate Research (and on Michael Mann)

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMay 23, 2010 10:14 PM

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Here's the report that (I understand) airs tonight:

Climate scientist Michael Mann has received hundreds of them -- threatening e-mails and phone calls calling him a criminal, a communist or worse. "6 feet under, with the roots, is were you should be," one e-mail reads. "How know 1 one has been the livin p*ss out of you yet, i was hopin i would see the news that you commited suicide, Do it." "I've been called just about everything in the book," Mann, who runs of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, told ABC News. "It's an attempt to chill the discourse, and I think that's what's most disconcerting." Mann is not the only one. The FBI says it's seeing an uptick in threatening communications to climate scientists. Recently, a white supremacist website posted Mann's picture alongside several of his colleagues with the word "Jew" next to each image. One climate scientist, who did not wish to be identified, told ABC News he's had a dead animal left on his doorstep, and now sometimes travels with bodyguards. "Human-caused climate change is a reality," Mann said. "There are clearly some who find that message inconvenient, and unfortunately they appear willing to turn to just about any tactics to try to suppress that message."

I discussed much of this with Mann on Point of Inquiry--our show together is my most popular, and currently has 23,000 downloads. Yeah, I wrote The Republican War on Science--but I am growing to believe that in some ways, the "war" on climate research now afoot is even worse than anything that existed during the Bush years. Because it has this central new aspect--the personal attacks on individuals, the threats...the Bushies were genteel, compared with this.

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