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Aussie Climate Scientists Receiving Death Threats 638

Posted by samzenpus
from the warming-up-to-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the Australian parliament beginning the debate on setting a carbon price, climate scientists are reporting an increase in threatening phone calls and even death threats. The threats are serious enough that several universities have increased security for their ecology and meteorology researchers. The Australian government is seeking to introduce a carbon tax by July 2012."
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Aussie Climate Scientists Receiving Death Threats

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday June 20, 2011 @05:19AM (#36497656) Homepage Journal

    ...a guy isn't safe checking his wet dry hygrometer in the morning.

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Monday June 20, 2011 @05:29AM (#36497712)

    To the people making threats:

    The scientists' work has already been published. They can't revoke those publications no matter how much you threaten them. You may discourage them from publishing more work, but that doesn't take back what has already been said. On the other hand, you may also make them more zealous in defending their cause. This isn't only bad for you, but it's bad for science. Either way it's a lose-lose situation, so use your conscience and don't make threats.

  • So they moved them to a more secure building, removed nametags from their office door and from the university directory, and think this will make them safe?

    Any murderer worth his salt will get them while they are at home...

    • Re:Security... (Score:4, Informative)

      by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:11AM (#36497906)

      Diabolical super-criminals with a grudge against weather scientists are pretty rare. Stupid ones are much more common.

      I think these guys are probably safe - basically if someone holding a gun in one hand and a picture of you in the other asks you if you're 'you', point the other direction, say "I think I saw him go that way" and just keep walking.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Monday June 20, 2011 @05:44AM (#36497784)

    In the beginning, there was only climate science.

    Then came some skeptics, and all was well. And the discussion was between scientists.
    Then came some denialists, and all was not well. The discussion was now between politicians.
    Now come the death threats, and all is getting worse. The discussion is now between activists.
    What's next? Violence? And a 'discussion' between armies?

    I'm so glad to see that a lack of knowledge does not hold the world back from taking violent action.

    -- Is there any record of a scientist who threatens a religious leader for not agreeing with the Books of Science?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Canazza (1428553)

      I think Dawkins has come close to punching a few of them.

      • by ultranova (717540) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:24AM (#36497954)

        I think Dawkins has come close to punching a few of them.

        You'd think Dawkins would get along fine with religious leaders, seeing how they have the most dominant personality trait in common: neither can stand people not caring about what they care about.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:44AM (#36498366) Homepage

          What a bizarre argument. There is obviously a difference. Atheists not believing in something does not lead directly to immoral behaviour and the persecution of others. Christians discriminate against women and homosexuals, and they seek to impose their dogma on others.

          The typical response at this point is that atheism is as much dogma and seeks to impose its will on other too, but that is incorrect. Since there is no God to hand down morality and punish you for disagreeing everything is up for debate and only a persuasive argument will work.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by amiga3D (567632)

            Just like with religious people there are many different types of atheists. Not all, heck not even many are of the type you describe. I know I cringe when I see people on TV claiming to speak in God's name about things and they are full of hatred and anger. These two things have no place in Christianity as Christ commanded us to love those that hate us. It's hard to do sometimes but all that hatred is a poison to the soul. Most atheists I find hate any mention of God and react almost violently to any m

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:15AM (#36498578) Homepage

              Christ commanded us

              There is the problem. Christ can't be wrong because he is he son of God, therefore what he said must be true*. Fortunately in this case the message is a good one, but not all of them are.

              * Or rather, what the Bible claims he said, and with any modifications various saints/popes/copyists/translators made along the way. You have no way of knowing for certain.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mabinogi (74033)

              Most atheists

              ...who make themselves known to you as atheists - ie. a self selecting sample of activist atheists.

              I think you'll find most atheists just don't care.

            • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:45AM (#36498858) Journal

              there are many different types of atheists

              Actually, there are just two types: those that disbelieve all religions, and those that disbelieve all except for one religion. For some reason, the latter category don't like being labeled atheists though.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                there are many different types of atheists

                Actually, there are just two types: those that disbelieve all religions, and those that disbelieve all except for one religion.

                No, by definition, those are monotheists. Atheists believe either that there is no god or that god is impossible; neither group disbelieves all but one religion. English? You fail it.

                • by Arlet (29997) on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:25AM (#36500038)

                  No you fail at comprehension. It was a joke. The reason a Christian doesn't believe in thousands of different gods is pretty much the same as the reason the atheist doesn't believe in them.

                  The only difference is that the atheist also doesn't believe in the Christian god.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by The_Noid (28819)

                  It's a modification of the quote:

                  "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours"
                  Stephen Roberts

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ultranova (717540)

            What a bizarre argument. There is obviously a difference. Atheists not believing in something does not lead directly to immoral behaviour and the persecution of others. Christians discriminate against women and homosexuals, and they seek to impose their dogma on others.

            I truly can't say if you honestly believe in this absurd oversimplification, or if this is supposed to a parody [wikipedia.org].

            The typical response at this point is that atheism is as much dogma and seeks to impose its will on other too, but that is incorr

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AmiMoJo (196126)

              I'm not going to argue semantics with you. Answer my point directly.

              Go to any forum where atheists and theists debate each other and watch the arguments used. Are they persuasive?

              You seem to think that "atheism" is some kind of group or philosophy. It isn't, it is merely non-belief in theism, i.e. God. It does not represent any group, any philosophy, merely a lack of faith in a higher power. So either you are saying that people who don't believe in God are not persuasive about anything, or you hold this mistaken belief.

              I am an Atheist because I do not follow any religion or believe in God, but that says almost nothi

      • by Xest (935314)

        Yeah but I think that's more about trying to knock some sense into them for their own good than doing them harm.

        • by delinear (991444)
          That pretty much also sums up the rationale behind every religious war in the history of mankind.
    • I've said it before and I'll say it again.

      Science will not cure politics.
      Politics will corrupt science.

      Why are scientists calling for a carbon tax?
      It's a serious question. It's all fine to be a scientists and seek truth about how our world works. But far too many scientists are going well beyond this and into policy advocacy.

      Some cheer this. As a engineer and lover of science, I resent it. It will corrupt the field of science. Power always does.

      I believe global warming is occurring. The scientific fa

  • Hey, didn't British send their common criminals to Australia, religious nuts and crooks to America? With only two latter conditions being hereditary? Australians were supposed to be the sane ones!

    • Re:Why in Australia? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:42AM (#36498046)
      They are, but the "Liberals" (just a name; they're actually the conservative group) have been adopting more and more American neo con tactics. They actually invited over several key Tea Party and Republican strategists to discuss tactics in private. Let's not forget the Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper "The Australian", which despite losing money year after year is subsidized by Murdoch to parrot right-wing talking points (see the National Broadband Network "debate"). Australia's media has consolidated and is failing them. The NBN will change that, but for the time being it's a real problem.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Hey, didn't British send their common criminals to Australia, religious nuts and crooks to America? With only two latter conditions being hereditary? Australians were supposed to be the sane ones!

      TFA

      University of NSW senior psychology lecturer Jason Mazanov said the emails were indicative of a ''closed room'' mentality where people have lost all sense of what is normal.

      They must've been originated from America: with this big space available, the Australian can't stand closed rooms...

    • If that's so, why do so many neocons and religious nutters in the US have German or Polish surnames? - though to be fair the Mormons were founded by someone with a British surname, and to my enormous embarrassment a member of my family was on the Great Trek.

      The problem with Australia, strangely, is very different. It is not at all about criminals; it is because Australia is a society based on working class British culture which used to be highly unionised. Australians see high incomes and profligate use of

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How many carbon credits can i claim if i kill someone?

    Gotta be worth something... They won't be producing carbon ever again. Just maybe some methane as they rot.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:35AM (#36498002) Journal

    As the facts continue to mount against them, these groups...

    Climate change skeptics
    Evolution denialists
    "Birthers" (USA only)

    become increasingly more extreme due to cognitive dissonance. I guess the end is when they can no longer even separate the facts from the messengers and having lost the factual battle seek to strike back in any way they can.

    How pathetic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sonicmerlin (1505111)
      The sad thing is on slashdot there could easily be a post with your exact same words but applied to climate scientists, and that poster would have absolutely no freaking idea the insane amount of research and easily accessible evidence (realclimate.org for example) that would prove them wrong.
  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:38AM (#36498026)
    So the plebeians will rant and rave about how great science is when it makes their life easier and more productive (internet, modern medicine, manufacturing efficiency, productivity) but when it shows them changes need to be taken that will cost them a tiny fraction of their annual salary they go nuts. The greed of the average citizen in a capitalistic society knows no bounds.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      On the other hand we keep voting in people with green policies. Must be some psychological factor at work which makes it easier for us to do the right thing collectively but not individually.

    • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:23AM (#36498654)

      It just depends on the change. The threats in Australia are currently misguided aggression towards the retarded carbon tax policy that is being proposed by the government.

      The current proposal is a tax on carbon. Oh but don't worry, apparently the actual polluters (people) won't be out of pocket, they are only taxing the producers. The way they will manage the increase in energy costs is ... tax rebates for the people. So you tax the producers, and then return the tax collected to the people to offset the costs which have been passed on to them.

      The end result of all of this is that the producers charge more to break even. The consumers (polluters) will either be compensated completely (the poor), or compensated partially (the middle class and the rich). What is left over for "green innovation"? Less than 10% of the tax collected. What a bargain for bureaucracy.

      There's one other key player though, customers who can't claim money back through the tax return. That has the net effect of simply disadvantaging Australia, a country that generates a large portion of its wealth through mining and energy exports. In the meantime the two biggest polluters in the world are effectively pissing the Kyoto protocol against the wall.

      It may sound selfish but as much as the world needs to stop polluting, all this is going to achieve is to grossly disadvantage the country in a time where energy resources (its greatest export) is one of the most critical agendas in international politics. There has got to be a better way.

  • by hessian (467078) on Monday June 20, 2011 @06:39AM (#36498030) Homepage Journal

    While I think it's great people want to get involved with the environment, stop and think about this like a computer scientist.

    If carbon dioxide produces global warming, we will run into problems as the ratio of humans to trees changes. Soon we will have more humans than trees, which means more carbon dioxide than nature can re-absorb.

    The only solution is for us to use less land, and have more trees on it, which requires we have fewer humans.

    We're like an obese person on a sofa who can't stop spreading out over the whole thing. Soon there will be no sofa left, only fat. What then?

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Are trees a new form of algea or something? I thought most co2 was used by algea. Also, humans grow a lot of trees for lumber, lacing the lumber with arsenic to prevent it from decaying and releasing the carbon. I especially like how humans are the only o2 breathers in your example.
  • Turnabout (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:17AM (#36498218)

    Go find a medical researcher who works with animals and ask him for his death threat collection....

  • Chilling effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:06AM (#36498526)

    There is an excellent reason why climate scientists are being targeted personally. This is -- and has been -- the deniers' game plan all along.

    The evidence for AGW is scientifically fairly certain, but powerful vested interests have attempted to derail regulation and legislation, firstly by lobbying, then by paying shady PR outfits to do "doubt mongering" and whip up the unhinged elements of the political Right.

    Now that governments are paralyzed, the vested interests hope of tackling climate change have been foiled, by the climate action lobby appealing to the public directly.

    The logical counter? Vilify climate action activists and climatologists, depict it as yet another battle of the Culture Wars, and whip up the lunatic Right into an even greater frenzy -- and make it has hazardous and dangerous as possible to advocate action on climate change.

    The WORST thing we can do right now is back down in the face of abuse, vilification and threats, because if we do, then the oil majors and Koch Industries wins.

    • Re:Chilling effect (Score:4, Informative)

      by catchblue22 (1004569) on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:57AM (#36500484) Homepage

      Meanwhile, floods [bbc.co.uk] and fires [chron.com] continue. I have always thought that the first major impact on society will be on food supplies, with a concomitant increase in food prices [telegraph.co.uk]. This will at first bring civil unrest [telegraph.co.uk] in poorer countries, as food takes up an increasingly large proportion of their livelihood. Eventually these high food prices will have a severe economic impact [un.org] on wealthy nations as well.

  • Tree Planting? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gatkinso (15975) on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:50AM (#36498914)

    FTA: "One researcher told of receiving threats of sexual assault and violence against her children after her photograph appeared in a newspaper article promoting a community tree-planting day as a local action to mitigate climate change."

    Death threats for planting trees? WTF?

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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