The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) in conjunction with Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has been tracking the ways in which scientific information is being removed from reports and public websites, in addition to how scientists themselves are being sidelined.
The fund’s executive director, Lauren Kurtz, said laws addressing online harassment are “behind the times.” They tend to focus on bullying of children, not adult victims.
Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, said that while the conservative groups had pursued researchers’ emails in the name of transparency, there had been “complete lack of transparency in how they were running their own organization.”
Justice Kennedy’s replacement will influence how we protect our air and water, as well as how we respond to climate change, for generations to come.
The presence of people like Milloy shuts out the voices of qualified scientists in the public policy arena, said Augusta Wilson, an attorney with the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.
This coordinated assault on science in the name of transparency will ultimately harm not only the health of the American people, but the scientific endeavor as a whole.
Despite the administration’s claims that its actions put “America first,” they will in fact undermine our economic competitiveness and our position at the forefront of scientific research.
To date, the tracker has 96 entries, including 41 examples of outright government censorship. For instance, “on December 20, 2017, ninety-two documents describing national parks’ climate action plans were removed from the National Park Service (NPS) website.”
“Political and ideological attacks on science have a long and shameful history, and such attacks are the most dangerous when carried out or condoned by government authorities,” said Lauren Kurtz, CSLDF’s executive director.
The project, called the Silencing Science Tracker, has so far assembled 96 entries of federal restrictions or prohibitions on climate science since November 2016. The database is built from media reports, and it’s searchable by agency, date and type of action.
The session “Legal Advice for Scientists Interested in Activism” is one new addition to the conference program. Lauren Kurtz, an attorney with the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, said she suggested it after working with organizers of the March for Science — most of whom were researchers with no previous activism experience.
The guide is the creation of a group called the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. One of the group’s founders, Joshua Wolfe, and its executive director, Lauren Kurtz, made the decision to write it on the day after the election. “There is a lot of fear among scientists that they will become targets of people who are interested in science as politics, rather than progress,” Wolfe told me in an e-mail.
Other lawyers are stepping up to protect dozens of climate scientists who have been targeted by private conservative groups demanding their personal emails and other documents… The law professors who came to New York for training attended classes taught by the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.
“We think it’s totally appropriate to FOIA for funding information and conflict of interest information,” Lauren Kurtz said. “When you’re getting into research emails and candid communication, I think that’s really harmful.” She added, “Short of something where you have actual evidence of criminal fraud, I think those things should be protected.”
“People can get very dogged in attacking climate scientists, and they can do things you would never think of,” Lauren Kurtz said in an interview with the HPR. She’s the executive director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, based out of Columbia University, which defends scientists like Hayhoe from legal attacks.
The fear has pushed some agency scientists to seek advice from outside sources. Lauren Kurtz, executive director at the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, says several federal climate scientists have asked her about their legal options for speaking out. “One researcher just called to say hey, my boss has made it really hard for me to do my job. What can I do?” she said.
Executive Director Lauren Kurtz talks about CSLDF’s activities at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and the development of our pocket guide: “Handling Political Harassment & Legal Intimidation.”
Executive director Lauren Kurtz and climate scientist Michael Mann discuss attacks on science in the Trump era.
CSLDF files a legal brief in support of federal climate scientists who are being sued by the conservative organization Judicial Watch.
CSLDF’s Peter Fontaine talks about how scientists can protect themselves when their work comes under political fire.
CSLDF’s Lauren Kurtz discusses David Schnare, a key member of the Trump transition team, and his anti-science agenda.
The Silencing Science Tracker is intended to capture government attempts to restrict or prevent scientific research, education, discussion or the publication or use of scientific information. The tracker contains a table of entries, drawn from media reports, which will be updated on a regular basis.
Legal protections for scientific research materials vary widely in the United States, according to a new Climate Science Legal Defense Fund report, leaving scientists and universities vulnerable to malicious open records requests and endangering the scientific endeavor.
The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund has asked the District of Columbia federal District Court to safeguard roughly 8,000 pages of privileged correspondence between nine climate scientists.