Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is one of the more well-known climate scientists in the U.S. these days. One reason is that she’s not your typical scientist; she’s an evangelical Christian and Republican. Another key reason for her relative fame is that she’s a climate scientist (an atmospheric scientist) in Texas (at Texas Tech University) and has gone up against complete science denial and censorship in Texas politics on a number of occasions. Additionally, she’s very vocal about the concerns of climate change and the need for fast action — she gets out in public on this matter quite a bit.
Well, Hayhoe was apparently invited to write a whole chapter in an upcoming Newt Gingrich book on the environment. And she did so. Her chapter was accepted without need for changes, but within a few days, a certain man whose name rhymes with Lush Bimbaugh got ear of it and went to work criticizing it and pressuring Gingrich to drop that chapter. Gingrich didn’t take long to say (to a Limbaugh listener at a campaign stop in Iowa): “That’s not going to be in the book. We didn’t know that they were doing that and we told them to kill it.”
Ah, well, the censorship of climate science amongst Republican politicians continues.
Hayhoe wasn’t thrilled, of course. On her Twitter feed, she wrote, “‘so much ‘spare’ time wasted I cd’ve spent w family, & 2. what an ungracious way to find out, eh?'” (2 is referring to her 2-year-old.)
She told the Guardian: “I really, really deplore the politicisation and polarisation of this issue. There are these increasingly unprincipled attempts to polarise the science when the science is fact – like the sky is blue, the grass is green and the temperature of our planet is increasing.”
Unprincipled, indeed. There’s another crazy story like this every week it seems.
Harassment from Global Warming Deniers
Aside from, you know, having politicians reject important science communication and censor her work, Hayhoe is also a recipient of much of the hatemail that global warming deniers love to send around. Angry people, they are… if only they knew why.
Hayhoe has now commented, “the hate mail has gone off the charts.”
I can’t imagine how fun it must be to be doing important scientific work for the world and getting hatemail and threats — gratitude at its best.
Climate scientists are being threatened and intimidated, just as Republican politicians are tremendously pressured to reject science or be pushed off the stage. It’s a challenging time for those who believe in democracy by the people in the U.S. This doesn’t all stem from independent thought and discussion. This stems from a fossil fuel industry that has spent millions on convincing the public and politicians that there is no scientific consensus on human-induced global warming that causes serious concerns for the future of humanity (there is such a consensus).
For more on the attacks some climate scientists are receiving, you might also want to check out my recent post on MIT Republican climate scientist Kerry Emanuel’s recent encounters with these global warming deniers.