News | Court Decisions

February Update: A Win for Science

A Win for Science

Earlier this month, our news feed was filled with stories about climate scientist Michael Mann winning a protracted legal battle against his right-wing, anti-science defamers. At a time when doomscrolling is common and the world can feel grim, it’s heartening to see a victory in the fight against disinformation and attacks on science and scientists.

Cases involving attacks on climate scientists are why our organization exists. CSLDF was founded in 2011 to help defend Mann in a different lawsuit, when right-wing politicians combined forces with a coal-funded ‘advocacy’ group to attempt to investigate his work via official channels and then as a ‘citizen demand.’ While we were not directly involved in the recent defamation case, we provided legal assistance to over 50 researchers last year and similar numbers in preceding years.

Although analogous to many others, Dr. Mann’s case is unique. Most notably, many researchers are not willing or able to fight back like this, even when facing vicious and unfounded attacks just for doing their jobs. Fear of professional reprisal, fear for their safety, lack of financial or legal resources, and other concerns prevent scientists from speaking out.

We hope, however, that this case will serve as a reminder that the truth still matters. At a time when norms are being upended and long-standing scientific facts are being ignored altogether, it is gratifying to know that a jury of our peers can hear the facts and come out in support of science and basic decency.

We at CSLDF are also heartened that the expertise and support that we and other legal experts provide can make a real impact on the ongoing war on science. As Dr. Mann and Peter Fontaine, an  environmental lawyer and co-counsel in Mann’s defense, wrote in a recent op-ed,

“A scientist defamed can publish a thousand peer-reviewed articles in the effort to clear his or her name, but when scientists and lawyers join forces, disinformation can more readily be defeated.”

CSLDF has represented and supported hundreds of other researchers through other attacks – and we will continue to do so for as long as our services are needed.

People-Powered Progress

Your support allows us to keep fighting to protect and defend science, which in turn enables scientists to continue their vital work finding climate solutions.

Help us keep the fight for climate progress going. Become a monthly donor to CSLDF today and join a committed community of donors who are defending science.


Climatologist Michael Mann wins defamation case: what it means for scientists

Nature | February 9, 2024

“It’s perfectly legitimate to criticize scientific findings, but this verdict is a strong signal that individual scientists shouldn’t be accused of serious misconduct without strong evidence,” says Michael Gerrard, a legal scholar at Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in New York City.

Jury rules for climate scientist Michael Mann in long-running defamation case

Science | February 9, 2024

The ruling is a victory for climate researchers who have been frequently attacked online over their work and especially for Mann, who has faced the brunt of it, says Lauren Kurtz, CSLDF executive director. “The actual facts in this case are just so dramatic.”

Climate scientist Michael Mann wins defamation case against conservative writers

NPR | February 9, 2024

Mann’s trial comes at a time of increasing attacks on climate scientists, says Lauren Kurtz, CSLDF executive director, who notes that her fund helps more scientists each year than the year before. “I don’t think there’s been anything like it. There’s never been a case like this,” says Kert Davies, director of special investigations at the Center for Climate Integrity, a climate accountability nonprofit.

Michael Mann Wins $1 Million Verdict In Defamation Trial

DeSmog | February 9, 2024

Mann has “been attacked in all the ways that a climate scientist can be attacked,” Lauren Kurtz, CSLDF executive director, told DeSmog. “He’s been remarkably public about what’s happened to him, [and] willing to fight back in ways that other scientists haven’t necessarily wanted to take on.”

The Changing Focus of Climate Denial: From Science to Scientists

The New York Times | February 7, 2024

“It’s a rare case where a climate scientist is fighting back against climate deniers,” said Mr. Gerrard, who also is a member of the board of directors for the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, which previously helped Dr. Mann with a different legal battle.

See more news coverage of this and other stories, as well as CSLDF blog posts, at

We were recently informed that our building has been experiencing issues with mail delivery. If you mailed a check and it was returned to you, please call us at 646-801-0853 or reach out to Lucy Wells at with the subject line “Returned Check,” and we’ll be happy to help.

CSLDF is now on Bluesky:

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Back to top
MQ: None XS (480-767px) S (768-1023px) M (1024-1231px) L (1232-1479px) XL (1480-2559px) XXL (2560px+)