In Defense of Climate Scientists

 I have a problem with broadside attacks accusing first-rate scientists of exaggerating the climate issue with no real evidence of such. There are more than 9,000 published scientists giving us explicit warnings of the many terrible things that are already beginning to happen around the world and warning us that much more will likely come to our children and to nature in this non-linear climate disaster unless we collectively act fast and at a scale to avoid the worst. I have detailed their many peer-reviewed findings on this FB page over the recent years. 

My late friend Dr. Stephen Schneider wrote a book entitled “Science as a Contact Sport” ( about the abuse he and other climate scientists have taken throughout his career. Steve and I were together on a panel in Copenhagen and watched the outrageous rollout of “CLIMATEGATE” the hyped campaign that Faux News and others in the media that was used to successfully derail the climate talks in Copenhagen. 

That was a moment of opportunity that we will never get back.

Dr. Michael Mann, one of the scientists who was brutally attacked with parsed email clips and false allegations in the lead-up to Copenhagen, published a book entitled “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” Mann details the many abuses he has taken from fossil fuel powered attacks that were later found to be false by no fewer than five separate science investigations. 

Attacking research scientists when what they reveal harms your business interests is not a new thing. 

Dr. Herbert Needleman proved that kids were suffering brain damage from lead and Needleman was nearly destroyed with an anonymous and bogus academic complaint orchestrated by the oil and lead industry. (Denworth, L. Toxic Truth: A Scientist, A Doctor, and the Battle over Lead, Beacon Press, 2009.) 

Even before Silent Spring was in print, Rachel Carson was severely attacked for warning us about DDT. Completely ignoring the wonderful recovery of bald eagles and other bird species as DDT was banned, the ridiculous attacks continue fifty years later. (The False Crises of Rachel Carson: Silent Spring at 50)

The tobacco industry criticized several medical doctors and scientists who revealed the link between smoking and health. We now know that the asbestos industry for years suppressed evidence and hampered warnings about asbestos related cancers. I watched a friend die from this pollution-caused disease and it is not pretty. There are deep moral and spiritual implications to misdirecting people in ways that lead to great harm and death. I am growing weary of the climate deniers not just because they diminish the hard work of dedicated researchers but because they are threatening the future of our children by delaying action.


About Larry Schweiger

Larry Schweiger is the Past President and Chief Executive Officer of Citizens for PennFuture. Previously, he was President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and earlier the CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Larry also served as the Executive Secretary of the Joint (House and Senate) Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and 1st Vice President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He returned to the National Wildlife Federation in March 2004 with a commitment to confront the climate crisis. He is passionate about protecting nature for our children's future. Larry continues the climate work as the battle moves to the states. Previously, Larry served for eight years as President and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, where he pioneered watershed restoration and promoted ecological research, land conservation, community outreach and Fallingwater restoration. In the past, Larry was the Executive Secretary of the Joint House/Senate Conservation Committee for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs at National Wildlife Federation, and 1st Vice President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Larry wrote a book warning about climate change impacts on nature entitled: "Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth" that won 1st Prize for the best non-fiction at the 2011 Indie Book Awards. Larry started volunteering at age 14 and is an active community leader, having served on more than 40 governing boards, commissions and committees. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Climate Reality; the John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment; and National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. In 2012, He was honored by the Blue-Green Alliance for the Federation's leadership on the auto rules and was selected as Pennsylvania’s Environmental Professional of the Year in 2002, Pittsburgh of the Year in 2000, and he received a Conservation Service Award from the Christian Environmental Association in September 1995. Larry is married and is blessed with three daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandsons.
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