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Helping Defend the Defenders …

January 28th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Sadly, across the nation (and, well, across the globe), anti-science syndrome sufferers are using a variety of tools to attack scientists who are, well, showing fidelity to science.  Whether harassing (and, to a reasonable person, threatening) emails to scientists and their wives or rogue Attorney Generals leveraging taxpayer resources for baseless (and costly) investigations,

Sadly, writ large, it is easier (intellectually, fiscally, and other resources) to lauch truthiness (and falsehood) laden attacks than it is to mount defense. Sadly, of course, such ‘defensive’ efforts come at the cost of time and resources that could (should) be spent on advancing science and helping decision-makers (at all levels, from the individual citizen to the President, from the mail clerk to the CEO) understand what the implications are of that science to help foster better decision-making.

Those who are defending the scientific method and defending science against attacks from anti-science sources have a new tool at hand:  the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund which is now supported by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Fighting a legal battle is expensive and academic salaries can’t compete against fossil foolish interests’ deep pockets. The Defense Fund is designed to help address this resource disparity.  But, critically, this is not about “scientists” but about science.

Our goal is not only to defend the scientist but to protect the scientific endeavor. The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was established to make sure that these legal claims are not viewed as an action against one scientist or institution but as actions against the scientific endeavor as a whole.

The CSLDF’s real objective, thus, moves beyond simply trying to pay legal fees.  It will serve a clearinghouse for information (coordination, even?) about legal maneuvers targeting the undermining of (climate) science and advise scientists who are under attack.

It is a sad state of affairs that something like is required … but it is required and merits support. 

CLIMATE SCIENCE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND GETS NEW BACKING

PEER Sponsors Effort to Counter Fossil-Fueled Attacks on Climate Scientists

Washington, DC — The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has found a non-profit home in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which provides it fiscal sponsorship and logistical support. CSLDF lets scientific colleagues and the public directly help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks.

In recent years, these legal attacks have intensified, especially against climate scientists. The fund is designed to help scientists like Professor Michael Mann cope with the legal fees that stack up in fighting attempts by climate-contrarian groups to gain access to private emails and other correspondence through lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests at their public universities.

The project is co-directed by physical sciences Professor Scott Mandia of Suffolk County Community College and Joshua Wolfe, co-author of “Climate Change: Picturing the Science.” The Fund started this past fall after Prof. Mandia posted a “Dear Colleague” appeal for support which generated more than $10,000 in less than 24 hours (). To date, CSLDF has raised $25,000. All contributions to CSLDF are tax-deductible.

“Academic salaries are not designed to support ongoing legal expenses in fights with corporate-funded law firms and institutes,” said Prof. Mandia. “These legal battles also have taken many of our brightest scientific minds away from their research.”

“Our goal is not only to defend the scientist but to protect the scientific endeavor,” explained Wolfe. “The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was established to make sure that these legal claims are not viewed as an action against one scientist or institution but as actions against the scientific endeavor as a whole.”

In addition to its core mission of defraying legal fees, CSLDF will –

  • Educate researchers about their legal rights and responsibilities on issues surrounding their work;
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for information related to legal actions taken against scientists; and
  • Recruit and assist lawyers representing these scientists.

“The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund dovetails with the mission of PEER – to protect those who protect our environment,” stated PEER executive Director Jeff Ruch. “When individual researchers find themselves under intense legal assault, they often have few resources. Their universities do not necessarily represent their interests and may be disinclined to resist corporate fishing expeditions. We are stepping into this void to provide direct aid to both the scientists and their institutions.”

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Visit the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund website

Support climate scientists – give to the fund


Professor Scott Mandia blog posts about CSLDF:


Other coverage of this includes:

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