A Busy First Quarter of 2023 for CSLDF

The first quarter of 2023 has been as busy as ever for CSLDF’s attorneys and our entire team. Between January and April, our small but mighty organization has assisted nearly one scientist a week with legal issues ranging from invasive open records requests and government censorship issues to concerns over defamation for publishing their research and fears of employer retaliation due to their climate activism.

Specifically, our cases so far include helping a researcher take on a scientific employer for its alleged corporate greenwashing; in the face of corporate malfeasance, we have shepherded this client through complex First Amendment issues and potential workplace retaliation concerns. Simultaneously, we have also assisted another CSLDF scientist-client tackle waste of funds and abuse of discretion at a government agency that has been accused of sidelining climate scientists’ work for years. In addition, we’ve been providing legal support to scientists with concerns about open records laws, defamation threats, and scientific activism and advocacy.

Not only have we been directly assisting scientists and researchers, but we have reached dozens more via our educational events. We recently hosted a joint webinar with March for Science New York City in which we discussed what the government rulemaking process entails, and why engaging in it is important for scientists and activists who want to effect policy change. Earlier this month, we partnered with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Union of Concerned Scientists to give a primer on this same public comment process.

At the start of the year, we joined AGU to explain the scientific implications of a shifting political landscape, and what it means for scientists who wish to engage in the policy process. We also testified before the Connecticut General Assembly in support of updating the state’s open records laws to better protect publicly funded scientists, including public university professors in Connecticut. CSLDF has witnessed how the abuse of public records laws impact our clients; as such, we have sought out legislative opportunities to prevent those abuses from occurring in the first place.

In addition to our direct legal representation of scientists and our educational programming, we have been hard at work on updating our existing 50-state guide to research protections in state open records laws and developing a brand-new guide for scientists who are interested in engaging in consulting work. Stay tuned for the release of those guides.

To keep up with the demand for our services, our team is growing! We have recently hired a new communications expert and we plan to add two additional team members this year, with the goal of reaching as many scientists as possible.

Given the IPCC’s latest report, it is essential that climate scientists can perform their research unencumbered and without the threat of frivolous legal issues. To that end, it is vital that scientists can continue receiving free legal support fromCSLDF’s seasoned attorneys and attending CSLDF’s numerous free programming events. Your support ensures our collective future.

If you’re able, please donate to help us help scientists navigate complex and varied legal issues. Per the IPCC, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Join us.

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