Among the many anti-science sins of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), one of the most egregious is his McCarthyite witch hunt the “Climategate” smear campaign. He recommended the criminal investigation of 17 of the world’s top climatologists based on deliberate misinterpretations of their hacked emails. Even though repeated investigations found that Inhofe’s charges of fraud and misconduct were baseless, he has continued to promote such claims on the Senate floor.
Now, several of the climate scientists personally attacked by Inhofe are responding. In a statement given to Forecast the Facts, the scientists praised Google’s expressed corporate values but excoriated Google’s financing of Inhofe:
“As scientists and private citizens, we support Google’s professed belief in scientific inquiry, an open internet, and fact-based decision making. We know firsthand the costs of the political persecution of the climate science community by politicians such as Sen. James Inhofe. More important than any personal costs we have borne, however, are the risks to society of a political system that rejects scientific knowledge about climate change for short-term political or economic expediency. In our judgment, the decision by Google to support Inhofe is a rejection of principles of good corporate citizenship and increases risk to all society.”
Prof. Raymond Bradley, Climate System Research Center, University of Massachusetts
Prof. Michael E. Mann, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University
Prof. Jonathan T. Overpeck, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona
Dr. Benjamin Santer, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
Professor Tom M.L. Wigley, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, and University of Adelaide, Australia
Dr. Philip Jones, Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
These signatories are widely renowned, having earned fellowships in the American Academy for the Advancement of the Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, MacArthur “genius” grants, and other accolades. They have also been singled out for relentless attack by the climate denial industry. Notably, Prof. Mann is presently pursuing a defamation suit against the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a particularly vicious anti-science group, also prominently funded by Google.
According to Inhofe, these scientists “violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, may have violated federal laws.”
“While we don’t agree with Senator Inhofe on several issues,” an anonymous Google spokesperson said in a previous statement, “we agree with him on many.” Google has not yet indicated whether the company agrees with Inhofe that these climate scientists should be the subject of criminal investigation for their work.
— Brad Johnson is campaign manager for Forecast the Facts, a grassroots science advocacy organization