20 September 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AUSTRALIA: Scientists face more death threats

More than 200 scientists converged on Parliament House on Monday to issue a 'Respect for Science' call as new death threats were made against some of their leaders involved in climate change research.

The decision to launch the campaign in Canberra was unprecedented, as was the scientists' call for federal politicians to help stop misinformation being circulated as the debate over climate change and the proposed introduction of a carbon tax has become increasingly acrimonious.

Chief Executive of the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies, Anna Maria Arabia (pictured), launched the Respect for Science campaign and announced she had received a fresh death threat only that morning.

"We know there have been some very serious death threats in the past and this is completely unacceptable," Arabia said. "I had an email threatening my life this morning and no scientist should ever have to have their life threatened simply for doing the work they need to do."

As University World News reported earlier this month, climate scientists at Australia's top universities had received death threats and other menacing warnings to stop their research or suffer the consequences.

The Australian National University said several of its scientists had been relocated to a more secure location while security in the buildings where other climate researchers worked had been tightened. Scientists at other universities said they had changed their phone numbers and improved home security.

Arabia said the scientists' campaign was intended to restore public confidence in science because the hysteria arising from the climate debate had resulted in attacks on all research: "It is really aimed at looking at the misinformation campaign that's being run against the scientific evidence largely coming from the climate change debate ... and seeing how that is undermining the nation-building work of our scientists," she said.

The fear campaign was largely being run by climate deniers and this was unfortunate because it was aimed at creating confusion and raising questions about the validity of the scientific process, Arabia said.

The scientists attending the rally in Canberra hope that by detailing how the scientific process works the public will better understand the intense scrutiny that research findings must undergo in the peer review process before major decisions can be made.

Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, who provides advice to government ministers and the Prime Minister, said science results were rigorously tested: "It is about ensuring that people understand there is proper science, properly conducted, properly reviewed and properly debated. And the consequences of that debate may change the way we think or they may confirm what we think, but there's a process that underpins everything we do."

"...by detailing how the scientific process works the public will better understand the intense scrutiny that research findings must undergo in the peer review process before major decisions can be made".

Ah yes... what a wonderful process, like when we were all told the glaciers would all melt in the Himalayas?

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035. Haha!

David Michalzik
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