It’s not easy to be a climate scientist. First, the media often misconstrues what you say; then some politicians accuse you of lying, manipulating research, and being complicit in a vast conspiracy; and, finally, if you’re in Australia, you’re threatened with death. According to The Canberra Times over 30 climate scientists and economists have been forced to take security measures after being threatened with violence, sexual assault, and death. In some cases, the families of researchers were also included in threats.
The death threats come during a heated political debate in Australia regarding putting a price on carbon, which Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gilliard, supports. A recent report by Australia’s Climate Commission, called The Critical Decade, recently warned that climate change could devastate Australia’s ecosystems and economy. The report was unequivocal on the science of climate change: “the atmosphere is warming, the ocean is warming, ice is being lost from glaciers and ice caps and sea levels are rising. The biological world is changing in response to a warming world.”
Climate scientists have had to change phone numbers, delete social media pages after they were defaced, change emails, and install security systems at home and work. Some leading climate scientists have even ‘gone into hiding’, moved to undisclosed and safer work locations.
Rallies have occurred in Australia both for and against putting a price on carbon.
(03/17/2011) US Republican congress members officially rejected the widespread scientific consensus that the world is warming and the cause is primarily greenhouse gas emissions. As Republicans in the US House and Commerce Committee voted to stop the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, they were also forced to vote on three Democratic amendments asking congress to confirm the science behind climate change. The amendments failed as all 31 Republicans, representing the majority, voted against every amendment, summarily rejecting decades of climate research. However scientists have responded in a particularly scathing opinion piece in Nature, one of the world’s most respected scientific journals.
(11/03/2010) The US midterm election, which won Republicans the House but safeguarded the Senate for Democrats, has brought in a number of self-proclaimed climate change deniers, ending any likelihood that an energy bill will be passed over the next two years and essentially stumbling the White House’s strategy on climate change. Newly elected Republican Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marc Rubio of Florida, both members of the nascent Tea Party, have stated they do not believe in climate change despite that scientists overwhelming agree the Earth is warming due to human impacts.
(10/17/2010) Most Americans don’t understand the basics of climate change, according to a new poll by researchers with Yale. The poll found that over half of Americans deserve an ‘F’ on basic understanding of climate science and climate change, while only 1% would receive an ‘A’.