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Climate Scientists Threatened, But Where is City Hall?

February 23, 2010


If the Australian Greens had all voted for the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme last December, or if former Opposition Leader Malcom Turnbull had played his cards differently, or if Copenhagen had not been such a media-driven chimera, then the Australian climate debate would look very different right now.

What we have now is a vacuum, both of political action and of effective and frank communication by the Government. Therefore, we increasingly have a vacuum of reasonable discourse on the big issues. 

Into that vacuum radical elements seem to be increasingly emerging like bizarre, self-serving, and sometimes violent creatures from the unreasoning shadows.

Consider a guy like Lord Monckton, for example. How does such a meglomaniac, effectively an attention-seeking con-man, and a blatant lier like him become a person whose words are given serious consideration in Australia’s national policy discourse?

Clive Hamilton has just published this disturbing report about the organised threatening of some of Australia’s top climate scientists through mass emails.  

In a typical example, Prof. Ben McNeil of the UNSW received this one, among others:

“It’s so obvious you are an activist going along with the climate change lie to protect your very lucrative employment contract.”

Other emails accused scientists of being guilty of violent crimes. Professor David Karoly at the University of Melbourne received this one:

“It is probably not to (sic) extreme to suggest that your actions (deceitful) were so criminal to be compared with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. It is called treason and genocide.

“Oh, as a scientist, you have destroyed peoples trust in my profession. You are a criminal . Lest we forget.”

Others go to personal threats, such as these sent to Professor Andy Pitman at the UNSW:

“There will be a day of facing the music for the Pitman type frauds… Pitman you are a f**king fool!”

And this one:

“If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you.”

And then, Hamilton says, when Pitman (civily) replied to the last, the response was more aggressive:

“F**k off mate, stop the personal attacks. Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT.”

Hamilton also reports having spoken to other climate campaigners who have received similar threats

“Did you want to offer your children to be brutally gang-raped and then horribly tortured before being reminded of their parents socialist beliefs and actions?

“Burn in hell. Or in the main street, when the Australian public finally lynchs you.”

Another campaigner opened her inbox to read this:

“F**k off!!!

“Or you will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your f**king neck, until you are dead, dead, dead!

“F**k you little pieces of sh*t, show youselves in public!!!”


Much has also been made of the extremely agressive email campaigns going to federal politicians. Hamilton, once a prominent member of Australia’s Greens party, reports that:

Greens Senator Christine Milne told me that senators’ inboxes are bombarded every day by climate deniers and extremists, so that now they are running at least 10 to one against those who call for action on climate change.

She describes it as a “well-organised campaign of strident, offensive and insulting emails that go well beyond the bounds of the normal cut and thrust of politics”.


Now, firstly, when the Greens think you’re going outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in a liberal democracy, then that’s saying something!   

But more seriously, the threatening emails bare a striking resemblance to the kinds of violent outbursts that took place with Australia’s infamous ‘Cronulla race riots’ in 2005.

On that occasion, what was undoubtedly a marginal group of angry and uneducated young loons took out their pent up sense of social disempowerment on an equally angry and inarticulate mob of ethnic lebanese Australians. But they only had the courage to do so, after being egged on by extreme right-wingers commanding a broader audience in the mainstream media. Most notably, through Lord Monckton’s chief supporter and fierce climate denier, Alan Jones.

So when Miranda Devine writes sentences like this, and Alan Jones is back at his disingenuous best with relentless fearmongering pushing the ‘we the oppressed, disempowered of the earth’ button  –  see clip below –  then is it any wonder?

(Disclaimer: I can guarantee that there are virtually no facts in this clip.)

To our politicians, you need to act to reclaim the debate, the authority of reason, and the goddam authority of city hall! Fill the vacuum which these loonies are feeding on and hurry up about it.

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