Leo Hickman of The Guardian covers the scientists’ reactions and police inaction:
The scientists say the threats have increased since the furore over leaked emails from the University of East Anglia began last November, and a sample of the hate mail sent in recent months and seen by the Guardian reveals the scale and vitriolic tone of the abuse.
The scientists revealed they have been told to “go gargle razor blades” and have been described as “Nazi climate murderers”. Some emails have been sent to them without any attempt by the sender to disguise their identity. Even though the scientists have received advice from the FBI, the local police say they are not able to act due to the near-total tolerance of “freedom of speech” in the US.
The problem appears less severe in the UK but, Professor Phil Jones, the UEA scientist at the centre of the hacked email controversy, revealed in February he had been receiving two death threats a week and had contemplated suicide. “People said I should go and kill myself,” he said. “They said that they knew where I lived. They were coming from all over the world.” The third and final independent review into the issues raised by the hacked UEA emails is due to be published on Wednesday when Sir Muir Russell presents his panel’s conclusions.
Professor Stephen Schnieder, a climatologist based at Stanford University in California, whose name features in the UEA emails, says he has received “hundreds” of violently abusive emails since last November. The peak came in December during the Copenhagen climate change summit, he said, but the number has picked up again in recent days since he co-authored a scientific paper last month which showed that 97%-98% of climate scientists agree that mankind’s climate emissions are causing global temperatures to increase.
Schneider described his attackers as “cowards” and said he had observed an “immediate, noticeable rise” in emails whenever climate scientists were attacked by prominent right-wing US commentators, such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
“[The senders] are not courageous people,” said Schneider. “Where are they getting their information from? They just listen to assertions made on blogs and rightwing talkshows. It’s pathetic.”
Schneider said the FBI had taken an interest earlier this year when his name appeared on a “death list” on a neo-Nazi website alongside other climate scientists with apparent Jewish ancestry. But, to date, no action has been taken.