Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is forced to defend climate scientists against constant frivolous lawsuits
Today’s climate scientists have a lot more to worry about than peer review. Organizations with perverse financial incentives harass scientists with lawsuit after lawsuit, obstructing research and seeking to embarrass them with disclosures of private information.
On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climate scientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue.
Formerly named the American Tradition Institute, E&E has been described as “filing nuisance suits to disrupt important academic research.”
E&E originally attacked Dr. Michael Mann, whose research shows a dramatic increase in recent temperatures in a graph popularly known as the “hockey stick.” In 2011, the group sued under Virginia open records laws to obtain six years of Dr. Mann’s emails from the University of Virginia—over 10,000 messages in total. The Virginia Supreme Court denied E&E’s claims and ruled that academic research correspondence should be protected because release would cause “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.”