Australian climate scientists have been receiving abusive emails — even death threats — from people who mistake violence for political expression. Graham Readfearn provides some examples (not for the squeamish). The Canberra Times broke the story at the weekend and it’s been covered in depth at The Conversation (one, two). Tim Lambert comments on the vapid response from right wing commentator Tim Blair, but I was horrified by the unrepentant tone adopted by Joanne Nova:
This is sheer beef-it-up spin, making a mountain out of a molehill, clutching at straws in desperation to eek out a PR victory from the dregs of a fading scam.
I might have expected a ritual “we do not condone violence” from Nova and Blair, but it’s nowhere to be seen. Nor is this tactic new. It’s been a fact of life for climate scientists in the USA for years. That it’s crossing the Pacific and polluting the discourse in Australia should be a matter of shame for those opposing action on climate change.
It’s also evidence of how desperate the campaign of denial has become. Denied recourse to the evidence because it is overwhelmingly against them, they resort to bullying and hate speech. There’s a lesson here for those who would argue against action on climate change. When you make common cause with the crazies by invoking conspiracies as your case for inaction, then you open the doors on a very dangerous form of debate.