In September 2011, the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) was founded by members of the climate science community to defend scientists under attack. CSLDF’s first client was Dr. Michael Mann, a climate scientist facing an onslaught of legal challenges by fossil fuel industry-funded groups attempting to discredit his climate research.
That defense culminated in legal victory in 2014, but by then, it had become clear that Dr. Mann was not the only climate scientist facing legal threats. By fall 2014, CSLDF was helping 12-15 scientists every year, a number that has only continued to grow. In November 2014, we hired our first Executive Director, Lauren Kurtz, and in 2015, CSLDF received 501(c)(3) status as a legal defense fund and resource for the climate science community.
Since 2011, we have helped over 220 individuals defend science against industry-funded attacks, fight government and institutional censorship, and stand up for scientific and climate progress. In the last few years, we have helped, on average, over 40 researchers per year, with 2021 on track to be one of our busiest years yet.
In addition to offering legal counseling and representation to scientists, we have also provided legal education to thousands with our trainings and workshops, as well as a library of written resources covering legal issues that scientists frequently encounter.
We remain focused on repairing the damage to federal research, restoring trust in science, and defending the knowledge needed to confront critical environmental issues. We are working hard to ensure that the future is much safer for climate scientists, their vital research, and human and environmental health.
We recognize, with immense gratitude, all of those who make our work possible.
Our individual donors have had a transformational impact, and are too numerous to name, but each and every gift has made a meaningful difference.
In addition to individual donors, we are also enormously grateful for the support from various foundations over the years, including: the Claneil Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gardner Grout Foundation, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, the Energy Foundation, the Kaplen Brothers Fund, and the Taproot Foundation.
We would also like to thank some of those who have worked so hard on these issues at CSLDF, in the past and presently, including: Meredith Weber Blitstein, Renee Cho, Rebecca Fowler, Taylor Goto, Lauren Kurtz, Vanessa Nadal, Susan Rosenthal, Corey Tam, Augusta Wilson, and Hunter Wise.
Last but certainly not least, a very big thank you to our Board of Directors, many of whom have been involved in the organization since the very beginning: Andrew Frey, Scott Mandia, Jeff Masters, Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Joshua Wolfe, and Charles Zeller.
Read more about CSLDF’s work and subscribe to our newsletter here.