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Not So Fast!

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Oct 11, 2016 at 8:14 AM
Climate Change

In my commentary from September 6, 2016 “Climate Deniers”, I discussed some of the numerous efforts currently underway to silence and punish “Climate Change Deniers” (catastrophic anthropogenic climate change skeptics) and those who fund “Climate Change Denial” (big energy). Interestingly, some of the targets of these efforts have begun to fight back against what they see as efforts to deny them their First Amendment rights under the US Constitution; and, as harassment, intended to impede their research and/or impose substantial legal costs to defend themselves. Others, regrettably, have chosen to abandon the field to the harassers.

The first target to throw down the gauntlet was Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, followed closely by Canadian-born author and comedian Mark Steyn, who were sued for defamation by Pennsylvania State University Professor Michael Mann after commenting that Mann’s “Hockey Stick” was “fraudulent”. Both Ball and Steyn have each since countersued Mann for $10 million. Mann continues to resist discovery in his suit against Steyn, as he did in his suit against Ball and in the suit filed by then Commonwealth of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli. Steyn has been far more aggressive in his response to Mann than either National Review or the Competitive Enterprise Institute, both of which were co-defendants in the Mann suit against Steyn.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been more aggressive in response both to the letter from the “RICO 20” to President Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren requesting prosecution of “Climate Change Deniers” under the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations law; and, to US Virgin Island Attorney General Walker’s subpoena for 10 years of documents related to CEI’s climate change policy. CEI recently succeeded in an FOIA request for internal e-mails among the “RICO 20”, which reveal discussions among the “RICO 20”, several environmental groups which receive federal funding and the “Green 20” group of Democrat state Attorneys General. Walker has since abandoned his subpoena, though he has threatened the possibility of future action. CEI has asked the DC Superior Court to fine US Virgin Islands AG Walker for his attempt to undermine CEI’s First Amendment rights.

CEI also sponsored a full page ad in the New York Times on May 18th to call attention to the efforts by New York Attorney General Schneiderman, US Virgin Islands Attorney General Walker and the other “AGs United for Clean Power” (“Green 20”) to stifle skeptical research and commentary.

The Republican members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology have sent a letter to the 17 Democrat Attorneys General and 8 environmental activist organizations requesting documents related to their coordinated efforts to deprive corporations and individuals of their First Amendment rights and interfere in their ability to fund and conduct climate research and comment on the climate research of others.

Jagadish Skukla. A professor at George Mason University and President of the government co-funded Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES), the principal author of the “RICO 20” letter, is currently being investigated by both George Mason University and the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology for “double dipping”, for working “full time” for both the university and IGES.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling for an end to the US Virgin Island probe of ExxonMobil regarding the alleged suppression of internal research regarding climate change.

Professor Wei Hok (Willie) Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has been cleared of conflict of interest charges regarding his research on the influence of the sun on climate. Soon had been supported by a petition signed by 500 scientists, colleagues and friends submitted to the Smithsonian.

Regrettably, the efforts by Representative Raul Grijalva (D, TX) to harass skeptical climate researchers, Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado has decided to redirect his efforts to research in areas other than climate change.

All of these efforts have been far more public than the efforts revealed by the Climategate e-mails to destroy the careers of Patrick Michaels, Chris Landsea and Chris DeFrietas; and, the subsequent effort to remove Delaware State Climatologist David Legates.