"There’s a ripple of unease among many scientists who study the warming of the planet these days. Some have faced harassment, legal challenges and even death threats related to their research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reports.
On Tuesday, the board of directors of the association, which publishes the journal Science, released a strongly worded statement 'vigorously opposing' such attacks on researchers, saying that the tactics inhibited the free exchange of scientific ideas.
'Reports of harassment, death threats, and legal challenges have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas and makes it difficult for factual information and scientific analyses to reach policymakers and the public,' the board’s statement said. 'This both impedes the progress of science and interferes with the application of science to the solution of global problems.'
The board was referring partly to a recent e-mail intimidation campaign waged against dozens of climate researchers in Australia and a series of Freedom of Information requests filed by the American Tradition Institute, a conservative think tank, to obtain thousands of e-mails and documents involving the climatologists Michael Mann (former of the University of Virginia and now at Penn State) and James Hansen of NASA."
Joanna M. Foster reports for the New York Times' Green blog June 29, 2011.