Two of the most shocking cases involved young women who have had little media experience or exposure. One was invited to speak on climate change at a suburban library. Her brief was simple – talk about everyday things people can do to cut their carbon footprint, talk about climate books available at the library (list provided), leave time for questions, and mingle afterwards. The other woman was asked by a local newspaper to pose with her young children for a photograph to illustrate an article promoting a community tree-planting event. She was briefly quoted as saying planting trees could help mitigate climate change. Two days after the article appeared, she received emails containing threats of sexual assault and violence against her children.
As for the woman speaking at the library, her car windscreen was smeared with excrement – animal or human, does it matter? – and the words ”climate turd” written (also in excrement) across the car bonnet. Proof perhaps, of a climate dissenter with a Freudian complex indicating arrested development.
Beeby is addressing the issue because of some pushback from the global-waming denial crew. In what just must have been a coincidence, the Daily Telegraph, where Tim Blair is opinion editor, had this deceitful story, arguing that because there had been a threat five years ago, there had been no recent threats. If that seems logical to you, you are probably a reporter at the Daily Telegraph. Beeby comments:
Have the threats abated? Not according to the majority of scientists we contacted. Two weeks ago, when ANU economist Professor Ross Garnaut published the final report in his climate update, many scientists said their computers and mobile phones were flooded with spam emails and texts, many abusive or defamatory.
And that’s how we came across the story. There was no ”exquisitely timed” release of information as claimed by one climate sceptic’s blog. There was no conspiracy, rather it was just a chance catch-up call that yielded an unexpected result. We rang a contact (an ecologist) on his landline as he was furiously – in both senses of the word – deleting spam from his mobile.
The dodgy article in the Telegraph prompted Sophie Mirabella, Shadow Science Minister to came out with this media release:
The apparently false allegation of death threats have diminished the individuals involved and reflect poorly on the scientific community.
False allegation? Who did she speak to? Apparently not the climate scientist who has been advised by state police to install a panic button in his office after receiving death threats. Or to the scientist who had his house vandalised (hence police advice to install video surveillance), or the researcher who received an email, with a marksman’s target superimposed on his photo. Sorry Sophie, none of this behaviour is acceptable.
The unpleasant reality is several universities across Australia have been forced to upgrade security to protect scientists. This has ranged from deleting phone numbers from websites and removing names from faculty notice boards, to installing multiple card-swipe entries, office doors protected by punch-in codes, and moving researchers to areas with secure lifts.
I think that the Shadow Minister for Science could benefit from actually talking to scientists — readers can contact her here.
Then there is Andrew Bolt who dishonestly implies that I incite threats:
….A f-cking piece of garbage like you deserves nothing but abuse. The catastrophe to come is on the heads of scum like you.
Bolt knows full well that nothing in my post incited or encouraged abuse or threats. And that the comments were not threats, but abuse. And that they were not just abuse but part of an exchange with another poster who insisted that the scientists were obviously wrong about the Great Barrier Reef because he’d been there and it was doing fine. This is nothing at all like a climate scientist getting threated or abused for doing his job.
But perhaps, Tim, you and your mates in the Piers Boltbrechtson Hivemind, rather than characterising this rhetorical violence as no big deal, could actually try and calm the nutters down a bit.
Tell them to stop being such nutters.
Because sometimes the nutters get off the leash. Then all of a sudden you got barking maddies everywhere, up in people’s faces, snarling and roaring and throwing off phlegm storms of dudgeon that piles up so high you could climb it to look down on the ash clouds that grounded all the flights into Melbourne this week. And sometimes genuine nutters, they take things a bit too far, don’t they? The extreme left in the 1970s? The Red Brigades? The Baader Meinhoff Group? They didn’t start out as violent crazies. They got there step by step, encouraged by rhetoric that grew increasingly radical and violent the further the emergent terrorists got from their origins in the lentil-loving New Left of the 1960s.
Blair comes back with
The opening line from John Birmingham’s Tuesday tantrum:
That’s a rare example of two errors – typographical and descriptive – in one word. And the very first word, too
Thats telling him!