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A famous climate scientist is in court, with big stakes for attacks on science

NPR | By Julia Simon | February 6, 2024

In a D.C. courtroom, a trial is wrapping up this week with big stakes for climate science. One of the world’s most prominent climate scientists is suing a right wing author and a policy analyst for defamation…

… Mann isn’t the only climate scientist facing attacks, says Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. “We help more scientists every year than the year before,” Kurtz says, “We actually broke a record in 2023. We helped over 50 researchers.”

Dozens of climate scientists from the federal government have contacted her group in recent years, many alleging they were censored under the Trump administration. During his presidency Donald Trump denied the science of climate change and pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement addressing global warming.

But while climate researchers were early targets of people rejecting peer-reviewed science, now those attacks have spread to biomedical scientists, supercharged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kurtz says while they primarily provide legal defense for climate researchers, they’ve recently heard from COVID-19 researchers, too.

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