Posted by: Barry Bickmore | June 7, 2011

Australian Climate Scientists Receive Death Threats

The lunatic fringe is on the march.  Read about it in the Irish Times.

[UPDATE:  In the comments below, Daniel linked to a follow-up article that indicates the initial story was misreported.  The death threats actually occurred at least a year ago.  The Australian National University, where the scientists in question work, maintains that the misreporting was the fault of the Canberra Times reporter who wrote the story, but I have to admit it sounds like somebody’s political stunt got away from them.]

[UPDATED UPDATE:  It looks like the Daily Telegraph piece I linked above might be complete BS.  See this thread on Deltoid, with associated comments.]


  1. “CLAIMS prominent climate change scientists had recently received death threats have been revealed as an opportunistic ploy, with the Australian National University admitting that they occurred up to five years ago.

    Only two of ANU’s climate change scientists allegedly received death threats, the first in a letter posted in 2006-2007 and the other an offhand remark made in person 12 months ago.

    Neither was officially reported to ACT Police or Australian Federal Police, despite such crimes carrying a 10-year prison sentence.

    The outdated threats raised question marks over the timing of their release to the public, with claims they were aired last week to draw sympathy to scientists and their climate change cause.”

    Rest easy Dr. Bickmore; now you don’t have to go into hiding.

    • Thanks, Daniel. I updated the post.

      • Barry, I won’t overturn the veracity of the original Canberra Times report based on just a single story being copy-and-pasted and trumpeted by denialists.

        The Guardian, in addition to referring to the Canberra Times story, has also attempted to corroborate it with quotes from climate scientists Ian Young and David Karoly speaking to the ABC. And they’re recent quotes.

        — frank

      • In fact, Barry, the Daily Telegraph story also contradicts the reporting of the Sydney Morning Herald:

        A climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, David Karoly, said he had been receiving abusive emails for more than two years, but the barrage intensified earlier this year.

        He referred a threatening one which said ”Die you lying bastard” to police in January and they identified the person who sent it.

        No action was taken, however, because the police judged he was not at risk of immediate physical violence, Professor Karoly said.

        January. Sounds like less than 12 months to me.

        Are Daniel and the Daily Telegraph really saying that all these reports, which look independent enough, are all false, while a single article that’s being copy-and-pasted is the true account?

        — frank

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