Fine British play The Heretic (currently at the Melbourne Theatre Company; Andrew Bolt is a fan) features a climate scientist under siege from environmental activists over her research. Charged by greenies as a global warming sceptic, she retorts: “I’m a scientist. I don’t believe in anything.”

And that’s the point: scientists only believe in the data. Whatever it might say, whichever political narrative it happens to support.

The heat got turned up on the climate debate and some scientists got burnt. Their rather humble but important jobs became angrily politicised, and that’s just not fair.

Today is Hug a Climate Scientist Day, an entirely silly exercise cooked up by Crikey cartoonist First Dog on the Moon. But a worthy one nonetheless.

Scientists only believe in the data. Time to stop shooting the messenger.

Climate Commissioner Will Steffen receives his mandatory hug at a recent public forum in Sydney