Read the Disturbing Death Threats Sent to a Top Climate Scientist


Written by Brian Merchant

High-profile climate scientists have notoriously received death threats, especially since the backlash against global warming reached a fever pitch in the wake of so-called ClimateGate. Michael Mann, a climatologist behind the famed ‘hockey stick’ graph, and Phil Jones, head researcher at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, have both notably said they’re regularly sent some chilling messages.

But James Delingpole, perhaps the most vociferous climate change naysayer in the U.K., doesn’t believe them. He dedicated a column a while back to calling Jones and company liars, and claims they’re exaggerating the hate mail sent their way. Delingpole writes:

Maybe it’s time someone did an FOI to see whether the UEA’s dodgy and discredited Phil Jones really did get any of those “death threats” he claims to have received after Climategate and which allegedly drove him to consider suicide. Speaking for myself, if Phil Jones released a report claiming that grass is green I’d feel compelled to go outside just to double check …I’ve a strong suspicion that the emails I get in my inbox most days from the ecoloons … are far more foul-mouthed, repellant and poisonous than anything these junk scientists have ever received.

I’ve a strong suspicion not. Grist reports that Simon Hopkins did indeed file a Freedom of Information request to check into Jones’ claims, and sure enough—death threats. Dozens of them.

Remember, these aren’t anonymous YouTube comments or postings on a conservative blog’s comment thread. These are direct correspondence emailed to a working scientist, whose only crime is toiling in a field that conservatives have developed a hatred for. They’re alternately disturbing, poorly written, outlandish, and genuinely frightening. I just took a few minutes to read through them, and it’s pretty chilling stuff:

It’s important to read these unsettling notes, if only to get an idea of the kind of hatred that’s out there for climate scientists—an entire fringe; a clearly unstable contingent of conservatives really feels deeply threatened and outraged by their work.

Find the whole nasty trove of them here.

As a coda, I’ll note that Delingpole himself does all he can to feed this sentiment; it’s no wonder his followers seethe with such rage, given the hate-filled, conspiratorial myth-building he engages in his column. A column, I should add, that’s based famously on his “interpretation of interpretations”—he’s admitted he doesn’t have time to read any peer-reviewed science himself.

Yet he has few qualms stoking and encouraging hatred towards those who dedicate their lives to actually doing the science.

This post republished from TreeHugger with permission.


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All photos FOI/Public Domain


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

oh my! i see very nasty fb posts often on atheist boards and evolution support pages. its scary. especially since so much of it is based on ignorance

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B6 years ago


Robin b.
Robin B6 years ago

They are killing the messengers who are only telling the truth about climate change.
They apparently cannot handle the truth. What can we do about this?

Jodi B.
Jodi B6 years ago

Our capitalist owners already know climate change is very real and are preparing even with their public denial! Why do you think they want billions and billions in mass production of more drones for? When water dries up in certain places there will be mass migration across the planet and people will be starving and fighting will break out every where. drones are fantastic way to monitor this activity and strike when they need to to keep the poorest from going where they don't want us. These idiots who give death threats to climate scientist are nothing but moronic knuckle dragging pawns in this game. They serve to distract.

Tierney G.
Tierney G6 years ago

More terrorism by the righties protecting their big corps money I believe. It is always about the money. If you think these corps are going to produce jobs. Ha think again. They will save every penny they can to starve a poor person. They have no souls.

Linda Gilbert
Gregory Gilbert6 years ago

Elaine A. I've seen your posts before. If I could bet I would wager that your real name is Billy Bob and that you live with your mother and you post your right winged rants down in the basement. And you identify with the rich and powerful, and think by doing this you are one of them.

Linda Gilbert
Gregory Gilbert6 years ago

This is what happens when you put emotional toddlers in grown up bodies. Their ultimate argument is (throwing themselves on the floor and screaming) "but I want it." And there are plenty of religious and political demagogues will to take up their cause.

What is really appalling is that mainstream religion doesn't have the moral fiber to take these beliefs on.

aj E.
aj E6 years ago

disturbing is very accurate.

Neil A.
Neil A6 years ago

The deniers would not recognise a discussion if it bit them, they appear to be unable to be open minded about anything. How on Earth do they get into such a closed minded state?????????
perhaps they fear that it is really true & do not want to open their minds or are not capable.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

The climate change deniers are leaders of fossil fuel firms afraid of getting stuck with inventory they can't sell. ALL their wealth is tied up in fossil fuel reserves. Those in favor of mitigating global warming might need to raise funds to buy those fossil fuel reserves. With enough money raised and deposited in an escrow account dedicated to the purchase of fossil fuel reserves as they become obsolete due to investment in sustainable energy production capacity, and the promise to use that money to buy fossil fuel reserves in any year in which USA greenhouse gas emissions drop below 2011's 9 billion metric tons CO2 emissions, maybe the fossil fuel firms leaders will calm down.