GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 76-4
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


KURTZ, Lauren and WILSON, Augusta, Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, 475 Riverside Dr, Suite 244, New York, NY 10115

Scientists can be targets of personal attacks due to their findings and fields of study, especially those working on climate.

The scientific consensus is that human activities are altering Earth’s climate in ways that are harmful for all life and that are irreversible on timescales we can fathom. Because it is difficult to dispute the data on climate change, certain groups and individuals who want to challenge the message that climate is changing deploy a number of strategies to harass scientists and hinder their research.

Their tactics serve to spread doubt about climate change, chill scientists’ candid discussions with their colleagues, and discourage them from working on controversial topics and discussing their work with the public. These political and ideological attacks take scientists away from their research and, when litigation is involved, cost research institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

We’ll discuss the strategies used by these groups, such as the misuse of federal and state open records laws to gain access to scientists’ confidential correspondence and documents. We’ll also show how attacks on science have changed since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, how we’re tracking efforts by federal and state governments to silence science, and how these attacks impact the scientific endeavor.