Defending Climate Scientists

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation/5929769873/sizes/m/in/photostream/">s_falkow</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


A few months ago, I wrote about a new effort to provide legal defense support for climate scientists who become the subject of attacks. Now the fund is officially off the ground, and it has raised $25,000.

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund announced this week that it has found a non-profit sponsor in the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Scott Mandia, a professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College, started the fund last September in response to the ongoing campaign that climate deniers have waged to obtain the emails and other correspondence of Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann. The ongoing fight has created a substantial amount of legal fees. Meanwhile, the American Tradition Institute, the group that has sued to access Mann’s emails, has is linked to a number of wealthy fossil fuel interests.

“Academic salaries are not designed to support ongoing legal expenses in fights with corporate-funded law firms and institutes,” said Mandia in a statement announcing the fund’s progress so far. “These legal battles also have taken many of our brightest scientific minds away from their research.”

As we’ve reported rather extensively, many climate scientists are the subject of harassment. For more, see James West’s piece on MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, my piece on Texas Tech’s Katharine Hayhoe, or my feature on Mann.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.