examiner.com September 19, 2012
Recent polls show that the tide is definitely shifting in favor of those who believe in climate change. A Gallup poll in March of this year showed that 55% of Americans worry about climate change, and a recent poll by the University of Texas (UT) shows that 70 percent of Americans now believe that we are going through a period of climate change.
The term global warming has even evolved into a new term “climate change”, with the battle over the climate even taking to the courts.
Monday, a Virginia judge ruled that the University of Virginia (UVA) doesn’t have to release the emails of climate scientists like Michael Mann to the anti-science American Tradition Institute (ATI).
After the ruling, Mann issued issued a statement declaring, “A victory for science!”
Michael E. Mann, climate scientist
“This finding is a potentially important precedent,” Mann said, “as ATI and other industry-backed front groups continue to press their attacks on climate scientists through the abuse of public records and FOIA laws and the issuing of frivolous and vexatious demands for internal scholarly deliberations and personal correspondences.”
Mann, a climate scientist, is the author of "Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming", published in 2008 and “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines”, published in 2012.
At the heart of the ruling yesterday was the controversy dubbed “Climategate”, where thousands of e-mails in November 2009 were hacked from the University of East Anglia between climate scientists like Mann, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Tim Osborn and Mike Hulme. The emails and computer files that were hacked were then copied to various locations on the Internet just weeks before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change.
Because of the timing, scientists, policy makers, and public relations experts said that the release of emails was a smear campaign intended to undermine the climate conference.
The U.S. is the only country in which climate scientists face "organized harassment" against their work in the form of hate mail, hostile information requests and even death threats from well-funded global warming skeptics, reports Inside Climate News.
Since Climategate, climate scientists have received increasing threats and intimidation.
Professor Jones has received e-mails asking him to “kill yourself” and other shocking notes like “I hope someone puts a bullet between your eyes”. Another e-mailer says “I’d kill you in a second if given the chance” and another writes that you have been “blacklisted” and that “your children and family will know because we know where you live… expect us at your door to say hello.” The sample emails were released following a Freedom of Information request released this month.
Mann also received death threats after he created the "hockey stick" graph that illustrates recent rapid rises in global temperatures. His research was used prominently by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which infuriated some climate change deniers. Thousands of emails have been sent to Mann, many very unpleasant. "You and your colleagues… ought to be shot, quartered and fed to the pigs along with your whole damn families," said one. "I was hoping I would see the news and you committed suicide," ran another.
As the U.S. faces record breaking extreme weather events, record drought and record heat, it’s obvious that climate deniers are not only losing ground in the court of public opinion, but are losing ground in the U.S. court system also. Perhaps now the real work to address climate change can happen, if it’s not already too late. Many are concerned that the "tipping point" has already been reached.