Hazelwood Power Station, Victoria, Australia: photo by Simpsons fan 66, 16 October 2007
Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
....Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
....Though greater far, is innocent.
John Donne: from A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (1611[?])
Climate of fear: scientists face death threats
The Australian National University has confirmed it moved several high-profile climate scientists, economists and policy researchers into more secure buildings, following explicit threats to their personal safety.
Scientists at universities in NSW and Queensland have told of being moved to high security buildings, where their names do not appear on staff directory lists or on their office door.
''If you want to find me, it's impossible unless you make an appointment, sign in with some form of photo identification, and are personally escorted to my door,'' one scientist said.
''That's directly as a result of threats made against me.''
More than 30 researchers across Australia ranging from ecologists and environmental policy experts to meteorologists and atmospheric physicists told The Canberra Times they are receiving a stream of abusive emails threatening violence, sexual assault, public smear campaigns and attacks on family members.
Among the scientists being targeted is Australian National University climate institute director Professor Will Steffen.
Others include University of NSW climate change research co-director Professor Andy Pitman and University of Melbourne meteorology professor and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author Professor David Karoly.
Many scientists spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they feared the email attacks would escalate if they were identified.
Several scientists have installed upgraded home security systems and switched to unlisted phone numbers after receiving threats that their homes and cars would be damaged.
One scientist said he was advised by police to install a ''panic button'' security alarm in his university office after receiving death threats. Others have removed all contact numbers from their work websites, and deleted social media sites after these were defaced with abusive comments and obscene photographs. One researcher told of receiving threats of sexual assault and violence against her children after her photograph appeared in a newspaper article promoting a community tree-planting day as a local action to mitigate climate change.
Prof. David Koroly, of the University of Melbourne's school of Earth science, told the Australian Broadcasting Company that he receives threats whenever he is interviewed by the media.
"It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised threats to discourage scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio," he said.
The Guardian, 6 June 2011
Spencer Street Power Station, Melbourne, Australia: photo by Marcus Wong, 31 August 2007
Yallourn W Power Station, Victoria, Australia: photo by Marcus Wong, 18 August 2007
Yallourn Power Station, Victoria, Australia, from Bates Preserve: photo by RockerballAustralia, 10 April 2010
Two large dredges working the coal face, and smaller units on the mine floor, Loy Yang Power Station, Victoria, Australia: photo by Marcus Wong, 11 December 2008
Loy Yang A Power Station, Victoria, Australia; four generating units of Loy Yang A, 2200 megawatt capacity: photo by Marcus Wong, 11 December 2008
Loy Yang B Power Station, Victoria, Australia; two generating units of Loy Yang B, 1050 megawatt capacity; coal conveyor from open cut mine in foreground: photo by Marcus Wong, 11 December 2008
Energy Brix Power Station, Victoria, Australia; brown coal fired power station and briquette factory: photo by Marcus Wong, 9 December 2008
Coal mine near Collie, Australia: photo by Calistemon, 22 October 2010
Muja Power Station, Collie, Australia: photo by Nachoman, November 2001
Hazelwood Power Station, Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia: photo by Simpsons fan 66, March 2008
Spencer Street Power Station, Melbourne, Australia, being demolished: photo by Nomadtales, 27 October 2007