Climate scientists victims of cyber-bullying

Issue 

Australian author and climate change commentator Clive Hamilton has revealed that prominent climate scientists have been targeted by a cyber-bullying campaign by climate change deniers.

In a February 22 article on the ABC Online site, The Drum, Hamilton said: "In recent months, each time they enter the public debate through a newspaper article or radio interview these scientists are immediately subjected to a torrent of aggressive, abusive and, at times, threatening emails.

"Apart from the volume and viciousness of the emails, the campaign has two features — it is mostly anonymous and it appears to be orchestrated."

Hamilton's article was part of a five-part series that examined the interests behind the rise of climate denial in Australia.

His February 22 article included a small selection of the abusive emails sent to scientists, activists and journalists who have commented publicly on the science of climate change.

The University of New South Wales' (UNSW) Ben McNeil was told: "It's so obvious you are an activist going along with the climate change lie to protect your very lucrative employment contract."

Professor David Karoly, from the University of Melbourne, received an email that said he was guilty of "treason and homicide" and should be "compared with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot".

Other emails have threatened violence against scientists. UNSW's Andy Pitman received the threatening message: "Fuckk off mate, stop the personal attacks. Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT."

Climate activists have also been targeted by the cyber-bullies. Hamilton said one received an email that asked: "Did you want to offer your children to be brutally gang-raped and then horribly tortured before being reminded of their parents socialist beliefs and actions?"

Another activist was sent: "Fuck off!!! Or you will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your fucking neck, until you are dead, dead, dead!"

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