Anti-science disinformers step up efforts to intimidate and harass climate scientists

Latest attack is aimed at Michael Mann, Richard Alley, Penn State

[Note: People looking for a useful way to respond might consider writing a letter of support to the university, as suggested in the comments (click here for addresses).]

As I said yesterday, one of our jobs this year is to wipe the complacent smiles off the smug faces of the lobbyists, “experts”, “scientists”, politicians and activists pushing AGW.

I must apologize for the U.S.-centrism in my 2009 “Citizen Kane” awards for non-excellence in climate journalism. I left out James Delingpole and his “paper,” the UK’s Telegraph.

Delingpole makes George Will look like Walter Cronkite, and the Telegraph makes the Washington Post of the 2000s look like … the Washington Post of the 1970s. Delingpole is a self-described “libertarian conservative” who likes “recreational drugs” and Ronald Reagan — though he apparently hasn’t figured out that those two don’t actually go together. He says he dislikes “big government” but is in fact a stereotypical big-government conservative.


He’s the Glenn Beck of climate writers who puts out stuff like, “Build-a-bear: the sinister green plot to turn our kids into eco-fascist Manchurian candidates.” Seriously (see “Right wing bullies Build-A-Bear into removing videos about manmade climate change”).

Delingpole just published his latest screed, “Climategate: Michael Mann’s very unhappy New Year,” with the above lede. Evincing the glee of a middle-school bully, he describes the latest effort by the anti-science crowd to intimidate and harass climate scientists.

As science historian Spencer Weart said in November of Swifthack: “We’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance. Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers.”

But they’ve gone beyond slander to outright harassment — see Competitive Enterprise Institute to sue RealClimate blogger over moderation policy and here where our top climatologist, NASA’s James Hansen, explains part of the strategy:

“I am now inundated with broad FOIA requests for my correspondence, with substantial impact on my time and on others in my office. I believe these to be fishing expeditions, aimed at finding some statement(s), likely to be taken out of context, which they would attempt to use to discredit climate science…. The input data for global temperature analyses are widely available, on our web site and elsewhere. If those input data could be made to yield a significantly different global temperature change, contrarians would certainly have done that — but they have not.”

Delingpole actually brags about the latest intimidation strategy:

This is why I am so glad to report that Michael Mann — creator of the incredible Hockey Stick curve and one of the scientists most heavily implicated in the Climategate scandal — is about to get a very nasty shock. When he turns up to work on Monday, he’ll find that all 27 of his colleagues at the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University have received a rather tempting email inviting them to blow the whistle on anyone they know who may have been fraudulently misusing federal grant funds for climate research.

Under US law, regardless of whether or not a prosecution results, the whistleblower stands to make very large sums of money: it is based on a percentage of the total government funds which have been misused, in this case perhaps as much as $50 million.

No, there isn’t going to be any “very nasty shock” by Mann or any of his colleagues, including the great Richard Alley, since they are all already more than aware of the inane tactics of the disinformers (see Alley explains “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History”). And no, there aren’t any “whistleblowers” who will make a nickel off this intimidation strategy, but then that isn’t really the point of this email:


Greetings and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

National SearchAfter the recent whistleblower revelations of emails between climate researchers and data from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, there are on-going investigations into potential fraudulent use of grant funds in Climate Research in the US. I am assisting interested parties who may have details of fraud in climate research to make contact with the proper authorities, and to share in the rewards paid when the funds are recovered.

Whistleblower Rewards ProgramThe federal government has established vigorous programs to identify and prosecute fraudulent grant applications and administration. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) administers the False Claims Act. It allows rewards for those who come forward with details of grant fraud to share in the recovery of federal funds. This reward can be as much as 30% of the total amount reclaimed. The program is almost completely reliant on insiders to report their knowledge of the fraud in their institutions.

Attorney Literally “Wrote the Book” on Fraud Recovery LawsuitsJoel Hesch, Esq., of Hesch and Associates, literally wrote the book on how to report federal fraud. He has an extensive background in representing whistleblowers in all types of federal funding fraud cases, including Educational/ Research Grant Fraud. According to Mr Hesch: “Many institutions receive grants, whether for research or educational purposes. When they lie to get the grant or keep the grant or if they use the funds for purposes outside the grant, they are liable under the DOJ program. There have been many grant cases brought by whistleblowers. “

If you know of anyone who might have details about fraudulent statements or actions by recipients of federal grant funds for climate research, please have them contact me immediately at the below email or cell phone. Alternatively, they may also contact Mr Hersch directly, and let him know that they were referred by me. All communications are completely confidential. They may want to consider using a third party email service (Yahoo, Hotmail, or other) instead of work email to communicate.

30% of $50 million is more than $12 million. Ask your friends to do the right thing, and be rewarded for doing it.Our country, and in fact, the entire world is counting on someone to stand up and tell the truth about climate research. The effects of moving forward with taxes and policies based on fraudulent science could potentially cripple the US economy and cost lives and jobs for generations.

Look forward to hearing from you.

All the best

Kent Clizbe

Academic scientific research ain’t defense contracting — everybody is seriously underpaid and overworked, typically 60 to 80 hour weeks. What little money there is spread over many people and many years of research and doesn’t get spent in ways that come even close to the kind of fraud the laws were designed to uncover. The University is itself doing a review, but the highly-regarded work of Earth System Science Center is of course published in science journals — and open to anybody to critique. The federal government knows precisely what it is funding, and the reporting required of such scientific contracts is scrupulous to a fault.


The point of the email is harassment and intimidation, nothing more. Just how absurd this all is can be seen by the fact that Delingpole and his anti-scientific buddies think the Hockey Stick is itself fraudulent, when in fact it was essentially vindicated by the National Academy of Sciences (see NAS Report and here).

Yet even more important than the fact that the original analysis was defensibly correct, is that the conclusions were correct [which could be true even if the analysis had flaws in it]. Is the planet now as hot (or hotter) than it has been in a millenium? Try two millennia (see “Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years”). See also “Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, ‘seminal’ study finds.” That’s why climatologist and one-time darling of the contrarians Ken Caldeira said last month, “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.”

Delingpole is almost my age, so he’ll probably live to see just how tragically wrong he has been. I was given the book My Paper Chase for Christmas, the memoir of the great British journalist Harold Evans, who opens his story with his pre-WWII childhood. The closest analogue I can see for Delingpole is those journalists who attacked Churchill for trying to warn of the coming storm, attacks that were made easier by the fact that Churchill was quite flawed (like all people) and had made many mistakes in his career.

But even more than was the case in the 1930s, the warning of what is to come has been issued clearly and repeatedly by top scientists and governments around the world for all to hear. Those who refuse to do so are nothing more than polluter appeasers who can’t stop the catastrophic impacts of unrestricted GHG emissions but can stop the world from acting in time. Indeed, right after the email scandal erupted, the Met Office (the UK’s National Weather Service, within the Ministry of Defence), the Natural Environment Research Council, and the UK’s Royal Society (the UK’s national academy of science, “the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence,” founded in 1660) released a long must-read statement reiterating the nature of the threat, with this summary:

The 2007 IPCC Assessment, the most comprehensive and respected analysis of climate change to date, states clearly that without substantial global reductions of greenhouse gas emissions we can likely expect a world of increasing droughts, floods and species loss, of rising seas and displaced human populations. However even since the 2007 IPCC Assessment the evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change has strengthened. The scientific evidence which underpins calls for action at Copenhagen is very strong. Without co-ordinated international action on greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts on climate and civilisation could be severe.

Then the most prestigious UK science journal published a long must-read editorial, see Nature editorial: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real “” or that human activities are almost certainly the cause.” The journal called the right-wing conspiracy theories surrounding the emails, which the Delingpoles of the world have been pushing, a “paranoid interpretation” that “would be laughable were it not for the fact that obstructionist politicians in the US Senate will probably use it next year as an excuse to stiffen their opposition to the country’s much needed climate bill.”

Then 1700 UK scientists came forward to reaffirm climate science:

We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive.

So only an anti-science anti-journalist like Delingpole would make it his mission this year

to wipe the complacent smiles off the smug faces of the lobbyists, “experts”, “scientists”, politicians and activists pushing AGW.

It is Delingpole who is smug and, more dangerously, complacent. The scientists and world leaders and experts who are trying to warn the public about the threat of anthropogenic global warming are the exact opposite of complacent and smug, hence their increasingly dire and desperate warnings (see Uncharacteristically Blunt Scientists).