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Environment

Mar 8, 2010

Are you now or have you ever been a climate scientist?

Accusation of criminality against leading climate scientists takes the denialist campaign of harassment and intimidation to new lows.

The accusation of McCarthyism has been thrown around for years, usually in situations where there is no real parallel with Senator Joe McCarthy’s1950s witch-hunt aimed at uncovering Communists. Now Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe has called for climate scientists associated with the IPCC to be investigated for criminal violations the spectre of McCarthy has chillingly returned.

A document prepared by minority staff of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works claims scientists mentioned in emails stolen from the Centre for Climatic Research (CRU) at the University of East Anglia are guilty of manipulating data and obstructing its release. It lists federal laws they may have violated and names 17 climate scientists — some of the most eminent in the world — who Inhofe’s staff claim should be investigated for possible criminal investigation.

The accusation of criminality against leading climate scientists takes the denialist campaign of harassment and intimidation to new heights, beyond that of cyber-bullying, character assassination and black operations.

“I am worried about it, I have to say,” Raymond Bradley told The Guardian. Bradley is the director of climate science research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and one of those named on the list.

“You can understand that this powerful person is using the power of his office to intimidate people and to harass people and you wonder whether you should have legal counsel. It is a very intimidating thing and that is the point.”

In 1950 McCarthy famously produced a piece of paper that he said listed the names of known Communists working in the US State Department. Reputations were ruined simply by being named by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

One McCarthy tactic was to call for a blacklist of people to be banned from employment — in government, industry and, most notoriously, in Hollywood. To their eternal shame some Hollywood studio heads capitulated and denied employment to more than 300 people deemed un-American.

Today, the call for a blacklist has come not from Inhofe but from his fellow denialist Rep James Sensenbrenner, of Wisconsin (McCarthy’s state), who in November wrote to the IPCC demanding that scientists whose names appear in the stolen CRU emails be blacklisted from all further work with the IPCC.

Climate denialism long ago stopped being an argument about science and became a cause of right-wing populists determined to defeat the gains of liberals and progressives. It is perfectly natural Christopher Monckton should be travelling to the United States soon to address a rally of the Tea Party, a movement close to the far right of the Republican Party.

Sarah Palin has predictably taken up the denialist cause. A woman who believed Africa was a country can now quote from CRU emails in interviews. The jihad against climate science and climate scientists has energised the populist Right in the most politically backward US states.

Two weeks ago the South Dakota legislature passed a resolution calling for “balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota”, the type of resolution that now sees creationism taught alongside evolution. What does Ian Plimer think of his new friends?

The draft resolution noted there are “a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological and ecological dynamics” that affect climate. The inclusion of “astrological” and “thermological” suggests buffoons run South Dakota.

And last month the Utah House of Representatives passed a resolution rejecting climate science. One supporter of the Bill said “environmentalists were part of a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life and control world population through forced sterilisation and abortion”. You can’t make this stuff up.

In 1953, after he had left office, President Truman condemned McCarthyism as “the corruption of truth, the abandonment of the due process law”. Inhofe is the new McCarthy; environmentalism is the new communism. Murdoch news outlets around the world light the bonfires on which scientists accused of witchcraft are to be burned.

Denialism has become mad, bad and dangerous, and people of goodwill everywhere must resist it.

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56 comments

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56 thoughts on “Are you now or have you ever been a climate scientist?

  1. stephen

    I’ll make a note; climate change “oh shit” moment #879.

  2. Michael

    Has there ever been a more unusual commentator on any significant subject that Calamity Clive?

    Don’t get me wrong, I find him a barrel of laughs but not to be taken seriously.

  3. wordfactory

    So you’re either a member of Clive’s cult, Eco-Chimps for the Overthrow of Capitalism As We Know It, or you’re “mad, bad and dangerous”? The sooner we ship clowns like Clive Hamilton back to the margins with Pauline Hanson and all the other loonies of recent times, the sooner we, the great unwashed in the middle, can get on with doing what we have to do to tackle climate change and a host of other issues the human race currently faces.

  4. Scott

    Oh come on Clive. This isn’t McCarthyism. The guys on the list are climate scientists by profession…they aren’t hiding in the shadows.
    This is pure professional ethics. An accountant who “cooks the books” can get their professional qualifications (CA, CPA) removed and be dragged through the legal system earning jail time. Why should scientists be immune from this? If they have been found to have acted unethically or negligently, they should be censured, like any other professional.

  5. Richard Wilson

    The scientists are merely pawns in a big monopoly game and no matter the winner, the outcome will not usher in the new free energy technologies we need but merely re-write the rules by the which the old technologies are managed and traded.

    The fact that a small number of people make money out of existing technologies is preventing the genuine new energy technolgies from breaking into the mainstream. The other major barrier is that the people who own everything haven’t worked out a way yet to take a patent out on the earth’s electro-magnetic energy spectrum. But you can rest assured that when they doi…there will be new energy and oil will disappear as rapidly as it appeared as an energy source.

  6. Frank Campbell

    Pure propaganda. The short for-Crikey version of Clive Savonarola’s verbose 5-day rant on The Drum.

    Both sides of the climate cult sport an army of paranoid McCarthyist trolls. Hamilton, Bolt…there’s a genetic similarity.

    AGW is in trouble not because of vast commo world-government conspiracies (Lord Planckton) or evil fossil fool capitalists (Savonarola), but because the credibility of the climate modelling (and the provincial academics themselves) is dubious. And because no one really believes the Armageddon tosh retailed by Calvin Hamilton or Prof Kevin “extinction in 50 years” Anderson. Only a few days ago an alarmist research article on sea-level was withdrawn from an important journal (Nature Geoscience). There’s also no doubt that IPCC boss Pachauri is a carpetbagger, joining Carbon Yeti Gore in the skip of history.

    It’s only a few months since Hamilton, Wong, Rudd and Turnbull thought they were masters of the AGW universe. Politically, AGW is dead meat, globally and nationally. Their own hyperbole is one cause of the collapse. We’re now back where we started, with futile but expensive gestures such as “green loans”, ethanol and wind turbines. Meanwhile, Australian coal booms, fuelling Chindia, which subverts anything done in tiny Australia. It’s a comic opera, and Hamilton is the noisiest buffoon.

  7. Bogdanovist

    I’ve often thought that Clive Hamilton is a deep cover operative of the Carbon Industry. This article offers further evidence for that proposition.

  8. Graeme Lewis

    Poor,poor Clive Hamilton. Has really lost the plot eh!!

  9. Michael James

    I note that Clive glosses over such small matters as the destruction of material to avoid Freedom of Information requests (which is a crime in the UK), the blatant manipulation of the peer review process to exclude people with dissenting views, the admitted manipulation of data to support a preconceived notion and the use of non-scientific material to support IPCC objectives (glaciers melting, the Amazon unable to support crops, false claims of increased hurricane damage and exaggerated claims of sea level rise).

    In Clive’s world anyone who dissents from Clive’s orthodoxy is a ‘denialist’, a word that has been historically been used to describe those misguided fools who claim that the holocaust either did not happen of has been massively inflated in its death tolls. Tainting people with dissenting opinions with that term does both them and him a disservice; however I doubt that Clive cares.

    He has his hobbyhorse which he will use to ride roughshod over anyone who does not agree with him.

    I agree with wordfactory, the sooner Hamilton is consigned to pasture, the better for his tenuous grip on sanity and Crikey’s credibility.

  10. Michael

    Comrades

    Please don’t discourage him.
    Whom else can play the role of village idiot if not he?

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