“After years of attacks, I am thrilled that there is a world class litigator whose full time job is to stand up for scientists.” –Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State
The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is excited to announce the hiring of Lauren Kurtz as its first Executive Director. Lauren Kurtz is joining CSLDF from Dechert LLP, a top tier law firm where she was a litigator. There she served as project manager on a high-profile $3 billion litigation initiative and she represented commercial and individual clients on cases involving FOIA requests and litigation over FOIA requests, discovery disputes, and defamation claims. Prior to working at Dechert, she held legal and policy positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a master’s in Environmental Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Kurtz was hired by the board of directors after a widely publicized summer fundraising campaign to grow CSLDF from an all-volunteer organization to one with a full time professional staff. CSLDF was started to help scientists cope with the barrage of politically motivated attacks. Early successes included a victory for Dr. Michael Mann at the Virginia Supreme Court, legal clinics at major scientific conferences and a legal education campaign.
Ms. Kurtz will be based in NYC working in an office generously provided by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School.
For Press Inquiries:
This Lawyer’s New Job Is Defending Climate Scientists From Political Attacks by Emily Atkin at Think Progress
The Weekend Wonk: Lauren Kurtz of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, and Why Good Scientists Sometimes Need a Good Lawyer by Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week
The Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Essay by Steven E. Koonin, titled Climate Science is Not Settled follows WSJ’s standard playbook. Have a so-called expert either deny the science or advocate for delay on action to address the issue.
I spoke to my liberal arts classes about this essay and focused on four simple points:
Saturday night I sent the Tweet you see below because, once again, there are people who are criticizing Dr. Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” research that shows today’s climate is warmer than at any time in the past 2000 years. The latest attempt to discredit Mann’s work comes from Dr. Judith Curry’s post titled Fraudulent(?) hockey stick where she writes “accusations of data cherry picking and flawed statistical analyses and interpretations seem to be justified. ” Dr. Curry and others should know that the hockey stick curve shows up in other research even when using different types of data and different types of data analyses. (I blogged about this in 2010 with Shooting the Messenger with Blanks.)
Enter Paul Clark (@cbfool). His three main points were:
- Hockey sticks are based on tree rings and tree rings are unreliable
- Ice core data from Greenland shows the past was much warmer than today
- Greenland in the 1200s was more conducive to agriculture than today so it must have been warmer than today
Back in 2011, the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) came together in response to the mounting legal bills of Dr. Michael Mann in protecting his email correspondence. The litigation has been ongoing for the last several years and on Thursday April 17, 2014, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Dr. Mann’s favor. His emails and the emails that colleagues from around the world included him on will be protected from groups whose only purpose is to distract from legitimate scientific discussions. For more on the ruling see this Washington Post article.
A second reason to celebrate is that through CSLDF’s winter fundraiser, CSLDF has raised enough money to hire its first executive director. CSLDF is proud of the work done by volunteers in their kitchens. CSLDF is prouder that the efforts of its supporters, volunteers and donors have reached a point where there will be a full time position created whose sole charge is to defend scientists. CSLDF is still working on the next steps so please check back for additional updates in the coming weeks.
Joshua Wolfe and I send our deepest thanks to everyone that made both of these reasons to celebrate possible.
J.P. Abraham, J. Cook, J. T. Fasullo, P. H. Jacobs, S. A. Mandia, and D. A Nuccitelli, Review of the Consensus and Asymmetric Quality of Research on Human-Induced Climate Change, Cosmopolis, Vol. 2014-1, pp. 3-18, 2014.
Climate science is a massively interdisciplinary field with different areas understood to varying degrees. One area that has been well understood for decades is the fundamental fact that humans are causing global warming. The greenhouse effect has been understood since the 1800s, and subsequent research has refined our understanding of the impact of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases on the planet. Also increasing has been the consensus among the world’s climate scientists that the basic principles of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are correct. This has been demonstrated by multiple reinforcing studies that the consensus of scientists on the basic tenets of AGW is nearly unanimous. Nevertheless, the general public in many countries remains unconvinced not only of the existence of AGW, but also of the degree of scientific consensus. Additionally, there remain a few high-profile scientists who have continued to put forth alternative explanations for observed climatic changes across the globe. Here, we summarize research on the degree of agreement amongst scientists and we assess the quality of scholarship from the contrarian scientists. Many major contrarian arguments against mainstream thinking have been strongly challenged and criticized in the scientific literature; significant flaws have often been found. The same fate has not befallen the prominent consensus studies.
The paper is behind a pay wall but one of my co-authors, Dana Nuccitelli, has a good summary posted at The Guardian.
The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) was launched in January 2012 by Scott Mandia and Joshua Wolfe to provide valuable legal resources to our climate scientists who are in need. CSLDF needs your help.
CSLDF needs to raise $80,000. The great news is that philanthropist Charles Zeller has graciously offered to MATCH the first $40,000 that is raised and philanthropist Peter Cross has offered to put up the first $10,000. This means CSLDF already has the first $20,000 and needs only to raise another $30,000 in private donations to reach the goal. We need your help so CSLDF can reach this goal.
For the previous two years, CSLDF has been managed by Scott and Josh “from their kitchens”. They both have full-time jobs and families with small children and neither receives compensation for their time. Scott and Josh have accomplished much over the years on a part-time basis. To date, CSLDF has:
- Raised litigation fees to help Dr. Michael Mann defend climate science from politically-motivated witch-hunts.
- Provided resources to legal experts from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) so they could offer free legal advice to scientists at professional conferences.
- Offered legal counsel to scientists hit with frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests.
- Provided legal workshops to scientists at professional conferences.
- Offered a series of legal education webinars partnering with American Geophysical Union (AGU).
But now it is time to “go professional” and that is where you can help. $80,000 can move the organization to this next level. CSLDF will use your tax-deductible donations to hire a full-time Executive Director who will manage the day-to-day operations of providing legal help to our experts as well as increasing fundraising efforts. Having the full-time professional helps to assure that CSLDF will be there for our scientists years down the road. After all, climate change is not going anywhere and the sad fact is that neither will the legal attacks on our scientists.
Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent by visiting the CSLDF website at climatesciencedefensefund.org and clicking the Donate button. Donations are sent to our fiscal sponsor PEER but are earmarked for CSLDF. Through PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), a private non-profit organization organized under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue code, your contribution will be tax-deductible.
You can also send a check made out to PEER, with Climate Science LDF on the memo line, to support efforts to help scientists defend themselves:
Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
2000 P Street, NW #240
Washington, D.C. 20036
International donors can use PayPal. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org as the recipient and put CSLDF in the subject line of your payment.
Thank you for your support.
Update (03/20/14 @ 2:50 PM ET): CSLDF is NOT providing financial support for Dr. Michael Mann’s defamation suit against CEI, Simberg, National Review, and Steyn nor for the libel case against Tim Ball.
Charles Krauthammer calls the President of the United States a whore and its science experts propagandists. We can choose to listen to this unprofessional diatribe and not worry about climate change or we can choose to listen to the 98% of the word’s climate experts who tell us that humans are dangerously warming the planet by dumping billions of tons of heat-trapping gases into the air each year.
We can listen to a man who calls the President a whore, or we can listen to the conclusions of the United States National Academy of Sciences and every international academy of science who agrees that humans are dangerously warming the planet.
We can listen to a man who calls the President a whore, or we can listen to the United States Military and Intelligence community who warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions.
We can listen to a man who calls the President a whore, or we can listen to health officials who warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.
We can listen to a man who calls the President a whore, or we can listen to insurers who manage trillions of dollars when they tell us that climate change is one of the greatest strategic risks currently facing the property/casualty insurance industry.
So who are you going to listen to?