Climate Scientists Defense Fund – Please Help

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See updates below if you have problems donating.

by Scott A. Mandia in a repost

Dear Colleagues,

Climate researchers are in need of immediate legal assistance to prevent their private correspondence from being exposed to Chris Horner and the American Tradition Institute who are using Freedom of Information (FOI) to harass researchers.   (For context please see: and

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recently stated: “the sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists.” The complete AAAS statement is available at

Many scientists do not enjoy the institutional support necessary to fight attacks from well-funded science-denying groups.  We need to help scientists to defend themselves.   If ATI succeeds in this case, it would set a terrible precedent for scientists at public institutions across the country. But if they are turned back here, it will send a clear message to climate deniers that scientists are willing to stand up to them and fight for their rights.

A donation button has been set up at  So far we have collected almost $2000 of the $10,000 needed to file the legal papers.

This fundraising will be an ongoing effort so the $10,000 is our immediate short-term goal.  A gift of $25, $100, or more will go a long way to ensure that our top scientists can continue their important work without the constant harassment designed to slow them down.

I also strongly encourage you to share this information with your colleagues or others who would be interested in contributing.  Any questions can be directed to me by phone or email. I will be keeping a confidential record of contributors.

Click to donate via PayPal. Thank you for your generosity.

Joe Romm:  Please circulate this post and this link widely.  I’m hoping Climate Progress readers and those who follow us on twitter and Facebook can put this fund over the top of their goal in the next 48 hours.

For those of you sending checks:

Make checks payable to Scott A. Mandia / Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and send to:

Scott A. Mandia
PO Box 263
Selden, NY 11784

Update (09/12/11): When donating via credit card enter your donation amount and then click the “Update Total” button provided or PayPal will zero out your amount and return an error message.

Enter amount then click Update Total button

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42 Responses to Climate Scientists Defense Fund – Please Help

  1. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    I’m in, and I’d urge others to send whatever they can. We either act in solidarity with the scientists facing the bigots and shills, or we let the science be crushed by default.



  2. Will Koroluk says:

    I’m in, too. This is a cause we all need to support. We can’t let the bastards grind us down.

  3. George Ennis says:

    I am in. i am a Canadian but this affects all of us on this planet. If the fight is lost in the US then there really is not much hope that we can win this protracted war on science in general and climate scientists more specifically. More to the point the world needs the US to take the lead in reducing GHG emissions.

  4. Tim says:

    Complications with my bank have prevented me from setting up a Paypal account. I tried to use a credit card, but it says “enter an amount greater than zero”, when I already have. I don’t know if it took my donation or not.

  5. joyce says:

    I’m in, too, but Paypal must be down. I’ll try again in the AM. Did post to FB.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    I’m in as well.

  7. joyce says:

    I just got the same message. Do you have to have a paypal account to contribute? If so, can we do it some other way?

  8. Kim Viner says:

    I’m in too. It is sad that this is the way these researchers have to raise money to defend themselves. But, if that is what it takes, so be it. Countering ignorance is a paramount issue in the case of climate change!

  9. Sasparilla says:

    Just as an FYI, Paypal was working for me when I did it (~11:50pm EST). I had an existing Paypal account as well.

  10. David B. Benson says:

    Well, the postal service is still running, so one could actually mail a check to Scott Mandia.

  11. I got the message as well, but it worked as soon as I hit the “update amount” button provided (which I hadn’t seen in prior dealings with Paypal)

  12. dgaetano says:

    Yeah, I’m in too.

  13. Doug Bostrom says:

    Takes just 2-3 minutes to do this. Is protecting scientific progress from morally vacuous rental litigators worth a few deluxe pizzas, a dozen deluxe coffee drinks?

    Bear in mind, the top 10 fossil fuel extraction, refining and marketing firms have combined annual revenue of $2.3 trillion. That kind of money can buy a lot of trouble, but remarkably enough in this case Chris Horner and his owners are colliding with the U.S. legal system. Just being able to afford to show up in court is crucial, but once there the playing field is amazingly level considering many order of magnitude difference in funding.

  14. Doug Bostrom says:

    BTW, Joe Romm, this is a testing moment.

    If Scott Mandia is unable to raise a paltry $10k from the so-called “concerned” demographic to get started on Mann’s legal effort, all the rest of our claimed concern about this issue is just so much hot air. We’ll have learned that fighting climate change is hopelessly sabotaged by overwhelming apathy even among those professing to be highly interested in this issue.

    If the fossil fuel industry is trained by success in this case to think this kind of tactic will work, we’ll likely see an avalanche of similar action. Climate researchers will have been correctly identified as a weak, undefended soft spot and will be mopped up.

    Perhaps Prof. Mandia’s effort should be sticky on this site for a while, with some noise made about it. It’s only fair after all to let folks know they’re being tested.

  15. Cali Chris says:

    I’m in. Paypal takes too long to create an account. Check’s in the mail.

  16. Neal J. King says:

    I forgot about checks! Yes, I’m in too.

    (Going through PayPal is very difficult since I live in Germany but am using a US bank. Things get very messy very fast.)

  17. Martin Vermeer says:

    You should click on the ‘total’ button (or some such) to make it register the total, and only then can you proceed entering your credit card and personal details. Stupid, I know.

  18. Spike says:

    Done. Wishing them every success.

  19. Joe Romm says:

    I’ll see what I can do.

  20. Joe Romm says:

    We is people who care about science in general, climate science in particular.

  21. Joe, I wish to thank you and your generous followers. Quite a few donations have come in since your post. I also edited the post so those that need a two line street address only can send a bank check. Thanks for the advice Neil.

  22. Brooks Bridges says:

    Doug @ 12

    Thank you. You’ve expressed most eloquently what I’ve often thought.

  23. Lazarus says:

    Is a counter FOI request not an option? A request to Chris Horner and his ilk to had over any emails and personal correspondence regarding named scientists

  24. TN says:

    Done! $25.00

  25. Jeff says:

    If the FOI request is denied and this campaign is successful, wouldn’t it just give the deniers more ammunition to say that researchers are hiding their data from the public to purposefully deceive people or something equally crazy?

  26. I just donated. Some tips: As Scott says on his page, enter the dollar amount first, then click update. DO NOT enter your name and address before this because it will be wiped out after you click “update”. I just used a credit card because Scott’s page wouldn’t let me log into my paypal account (which I know is active because immediately afterwards I went to and logged in no problem. So either use a credit card or send Scott a check directly. It’s not worth wrestling with the mechanics of making paypal work from that page.

  27. Joe Romm says:

    The deniers lie and smear no matter what. Their goal is to harass, intimidate, obfuscate and generally disrupt the normal process of scientific research and communication.

  28. Joan Savage says:

    I forgot to write earlier that I’m in (with a pittance at the moment), and the appeal is posted on FB. Paypal said it was for “Legal Defense Fund.” The email confirmation says I’d donated to Scott Mandia. I gather the $10,000 is to set up a non-profit such as a 501(c)(4).

  29. Good idea to raise funds this way. I just donated.

    Also, Scott, I might donate even more if I had a clearer picture of just what I was donating for. I’m not clear which climate scientists you are raising money to defend or what the money will be spent on or how it fits into a long-term strategy. It may be that you don’t want to expose your strategy to the other side.

  30. Doug Bostrom says:

    Just a quick reminder, it’s not necessary to have a Paypal account to donate. There’s an option to directly use a credit card.

  31. Joan Savage says:

    Barry, While I was making my donation, contact information came up that prompted me to think Michael Mann might be an early recipient of the support of the legal defense fund. I’m not going to post the email, to avoid having it spammed.

  32. Reggie, sponsored by Brawdo says:

    I’m in too…
    Paypal is working fine, the entire process took less than a minute.

  33. Joan Savage says:

    Freedom of Information Act (FOI) is a sunshine law so the public can gain information on federal activities. It does not reach into private organizations such as the American Tradition Institute.

    FOI does not properly give public access to the papers of federal contractors, and that includes academic institutions where scientists work under federal grants.

  34. Joe, your readers are generous and have sent their voices loudly and clearly.

    We have reached out initial target goal of $10,000 which will cover Mike’s immediate legal fees. The excess amount will be moved to a more permanent legal defense fund that we are establishing to help climate scientists with any future legal expenses. We hope this new permanent structure will also allow donors to send money as tax-deductible. Thank you all for your generous support. You are really sending a message. Keep that message going.

  35. SCM says:

    Heartily agree with Joe’s last comment. I donated last night. I’m an Australian scietist (not in the climate area) and I see the attack on climate science as the thin end of the wedge of anti-science propagandising. If us boffins won’t defend science who will?

  36. Ayton Chidst says:

    Joe – thx for the reply, but I was hoping for more specifics. Barry Saxifrage expressed it much better in #25 below – it’s easier to make another contribution to fight the deniers if there’s a clearer picture of where the money’s going. If it’s to keep the ATI clowns out Mike Mann’s/U.Va’s face, then fine. Maybe a brief article would generate a wider response?

  37. I recommend reading the posts at Climate Science FOI Report ( This blog is a clearing-house for climate science-related Freedom of Information Requests and has links to background information on FOI legislation in the US (federal and state) and UK.

  38. a face in the clouds says:

    A check is in the mail. Let us know if you come up short and I’ll rustle the bushes some more down here.

  39. Doug Bostrom says:

    Arrgh, this has already slid out of sight and out of mind. Unacceptable! JR, you should have a permanent link to Scott’s donation page if your parent organization will allow it.

    Shameless duplicated from RC comment:

    Scott Mandia’s website:

    “Update #4 (09/12/11): We have reached our initial target goal of $10,000 which will cover Mike’s [Michael Mann] immediate legal fees. The excess amount will be moved to a more permanent legal defense fund that we are establishing to help climate scientists with any future legal expenses. We hope this new permanent structure will also allow donors to send money as tax-deductible. Thank you all for your generous support. You are really sending a message. Keep that message going.”

    Well done, a sweeping tip of the hat to Scott Mandia and everybody who has contributed to this worthy effort.

    I spent some time in public radio management, among other fun work harassing habitual listeners into coughing up some change to support their addiction. There are stacks of data showing that for every person whose conscience penetrates into their wallets to make a donation to causes they care about, about nine more don’t make that leap. Most of the fault lies in slight inconvenience, a significant little in the way we compartmentalize our feelings safely away from our bank accounts. Inconvenience is no longer an excuse because– as typified by this example– without shifting our keisters one iota we can reach Prof. Mandia’s donation page and do Good Work. That leaves only the evaluatin of how much we care about seeing handfuls of dense, abrasive and draggy sand thrown into the gears of scientific progress.

    Do we care?

    Mandia raised $10k in about 7 days. Factoring in a depletion allowance, he ought to be able to raise much, much more if he can stay visible with his plan and if enough people sincerely care about maintaining scientific integrity.

    As you may have heard on-the-air, “You know who you are.” Do you care?

    As far as continuing visibility goes, RC and like sites should add a prominent link pointing to Prof. Mandia’s fundraising page.