Silence of the scientists: how the global warming RICO letter backfired

Alfred WegenerAs reported here last week, we exposed how 20 scientists sent a letter to President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which urged them to jail climate skeptics using provisions in the RICO Act. Today, three more climate scientists have chimed in on the affair at the popular climate site, NoTricksZone, and their responses to the now-infamous global warming RICO letter are both shocking and revealing.

The letter, dated Sept. 1, argued that the “systemic efforts to prevent the public from understanding climate change resembles the investigation undertaken against tobacco” and called for jailing individuals and organizations involved in providing more balanced coverage in the climate change arena. After the letter was outed by both Politico and Climate Depot, a firestorm on both sides of the climate debate quickly erupted. Here is what three climate experts had to say about the silencing of the scientists:

Professor Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech who once argued for the disbandment of the IPCC, shared what she thought of the letter at the website NoTricksZone: “I am astonished by the naiveté of these scientists, who are damaging their reputation by their naive meddling in a complex policy debate.” Noting that the U.S. would be picking a new president in 2016 and who could very well be Republican, she seemed amazed they didn’t “realize that the tables could easily be turned on them if the political winds change.”

Not only that, but those political winds would affect the “green advocacy groups and the scientists that engage with them.” As a climate scientist, Curry also writes that the “science is sufficiently uncertain to allow several rational narratives for what has caused 20th century warming and how the 21st century climate will evolve.” Aside from the damage they are inflicting on their own reputations, they are also damaging the public’s “perception of scientists as trustworthy sources of information.”

Her biggest concern, though, is that the “coercion of scientists implied by this letter will discourage objectivity in scientific research and will discourage scientists from entering/staying in the field of climate research.” She also writes on her blog that what these scientists did with this letter is the “worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO. It is bad enough that politicians such as Whitehouse and Grijalvi are playing this sort of political game with science and scientists,” she says, “but I regard it as highly unethical for scientists to support defeating scientists with whom you disagree by such methods.”

Another climate expert, Dr. Sebastian Lüning, considers the whole affair to be unprofessional. He writes that, “Rather than criminal lawsuits, we urgently need an objective ‘scientific court’ where arguments of both IPCC and skeptic sides are technically and open-mindedly discussed.” Dr. Lüning thinks it is “undemocratic and unprofessional to silence scientists by legally threatening them if they do not subscribe to the official interpretation / party line.”

He also writes that history is rife with examples where the pioneers in science, “such as Galileo Galilee or Alfred Wegener would have ended up in prison.” The former, Galileo, did end up “sentenced to formal imprisonment” during the Inquisition. One day later, his sentence was commuted to house arrest, “where he remained under for the rest of his life.”

The latter, Wegener, first advanced the theory of plate tectonics and was ridiculed by the scientific community for not being part of the “consensus” that the oceanic crust was too firm for the continents to move. Other geologists considered him an outsider, and a symposium was “specifically organized in opposition to his theory.” As any fifth grader looking at a map of the world will tell you, it’s pretty obvious that South America fits quite nicely into Africa, like two puzzle pieces on the same board.

And last but not least, Professor Nicola Scafetta of Duke University provided a succinct comment: “Let us hope that this evident politicization of science ends soon.”


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    The 20 Science Silencers orchestrating a witch hunt against people who disagree with their views are not welcome in democracies where the right to free speech and expression were hard fought liberties .
    Their actions are particularly appalling for people who claim to be scientists .
    Climategate demonstrated beyond a shadow of double how a little clique of people that hold themselves out as scientists have lost their way .
    A fundamental aspect of science is the reality of uncertainty when confronted with natural variables that in truth no one fully understands .
    The vast majority of climate model gross inaccuracy confirms that fact .

    Everything humans do influences the climate and climate changes as it always has regardless of large human ego’s that pretend to be able to adjust the world’s temperature as if it was a thermostat .

    The 20 science silencers are not fooling anyone and their public relations stunt would be laughed out of any court room in a free society .

    Given their attitude and desire to silence people they don’t agree with
    why would anyone place any store in their work ?

    Another pathetic PR stunt. Maybe they could tell us if they also published documents and made speeches that supported the prophesy of a summer ice free Arctic by 2015.

    If they are so clever let’s see their work so they can prove their climate model predictions are accurate and that human generated CO2 is driving the earth’s temperature while natural variables are not .

    Before humans generated any CO2, other than breathing out , how did the earth’s climate change and when do they claim human generated CO2 passed natural variables in the world’s constant state of climate change ?

    The Sounds of Silence …. yea thought so .

    They should take their oppressive anti free speech views to a part of the world that might appreciate them .

  • Avatar

    Al Shelton


    If anybody should be charged under RICO, it should be those 20 frauds.
    They meet all the criteria for the AGW hoax.

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    Scientific [b]oppression[/b].
    A return to the dark ages.
    Antithetical to the highest principles of science.

    All describe this outrageous move to treat skeptics as criminals.

    Yet in the entire climate debate there is another factor that gets little attention: It seems that every complex natural system we study has a tendency toward self-correction and normalization – from the human body, to complex environmental ecosystems. Systems that have evolved under complex circumstances over millions of years nearly always have powerful self-righting mechanisms built in.

    This fact is of course completely ignored by those who claim that man is responsible for “changes” in climate, and presumes with great hubris that not only do humans cause change, but that only we can correct it.

    To claim that the sky is falling and [i]then[/i] claim that only mankind can stop it (with Marxist politics and economics no less), is clearly a bridge too far. On the other hand, [b]oppression[/b] has been a hallmark of Marxism since its inception.

  • Avatar

    mike cross


    Whilst the boringingly repetive and pointless war of words and data corruption continues the huge effort and finance required to safely mitigate the changes that nature has in store for us are squandered. When will this forum and others begin to debate that issue and the means of mitigation? Time is running, out particularly her in the UK with it’s unsustainable population and skewed energy policy.

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