Global Warming War: Is Threatening E-Mail Tip of the Iceberg?

The war over climate change got much hotter Friday, so much so that anthropogenic global warming skeptics who have claimed that there is a huge number of scientists staying silent about this issue to protect their careers may have been validated.

As NewsBusters previously reported, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Johnson, was apprised by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) during a Senate hearing Thursday of a threatening e-mail message sent to a climate change analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

On Friday, the e-mail sender, Michael T. Eckhart, President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, responded by letter to Inhofe.

Much of the letter's content was similar to what Eckhart's representative Tom Weirich sent me by e-mail Friday morning, and to what Eckhart e-mailed me himself Friday afternoon:

Dear Senator Inhofe:

I am writing to respond to the Senate hearing yesterday in which you showed an email that I sent privately to Dr. Marlo Lewis, analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The issue we have before us is the question of whether global warming is occurring, what are its consequences, and what actions we as society can take to address the issue. It is a serious public policy issue that requires the highest level of integrity and honesty.

[...]

Now that the private, jousting communications have been made public by CEI, people have a right to know the context for this. I am arguing for honesty and integrity in the global warming debate. The people at CEI have made it clear that they are fighting against global warming policy, not because they believe in their arguments, but because they are on a general campaign against big government.

[...]

I am embarrassed to have the private email given to the public, and wish your staff had inquired with me before conducting a hearing. The lack of due diligence embarrasses everyone. I have apologized to the public for offending so many people who had no understanding of the situation. I apologize to you because you clearly were not briefed on the background of this.

I will be happy to testify to your committee or meet with you directly to discuss this in person.

Those interested in reading Eckhart's entire letter to Inhofe should go here.

Moving forward, it appears that after the Senate hearing on Thursday, Eckhart and ACORE went on a full-court public relations press.

First, Eckhart sent a letter to Inhofe responding to what was presented at Thursday's Senate hearing. Next, he had a representative send me - and conceivably others who had been writing about this issue - his side of the story asking that it be disseminated. Then, Eckhart sent his own request for such dissemination to a list of bloggers that included me.

This actually brings up a much larger issue: how many other analysts and scientists around the country have had similar pressure put upon them by Eckhart, ACORE, and other organizations promoting global warming alarmism? What's the likelihood that this is an isolated incident?

As Lewis wrote Friday at CEI's blog:

The issue is whether it is appropriate for the head of a non-profit association whose members include four federal agencies to threaten and insult people because they do not share his policy views. The issue is the appropriateness of personal threats in the public policy process. Period.

I quite agree, and wonder how many folks like Lewis have had similar threats - either overt or implied - to their careers if they either didn't alter their view concerning global warming, or keep their mouths shut.

After all, one sure way to establish a so-called consensus on an issue is to silence all who disagree. With the power that folks like Eckhart wield over the science community, there could be hundreds nay thousands of Lewises out there that have received similar communiqués, but are too afraid to bring them to light.

As such, this incident, which began two weeks ago with the revelation of one threatening e-mail message, could be indicative of a much larger campaign by global warming alarmists to squelch, by all means necessary, all dissenting views.

With this in mind, we can only hope that more folks in Lewis' position will come forward and expose those who seek to pervert science with such Mafioso tactics.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.