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Katharine Hayhoe's labour of love inspires a torrent of hate

Posted on 15 January 2012 by John Cook

Katharine Hayhoe is a Texan-based climate scientist and in my opinion, one of the clearest, most engaging and effective climate communicators kicking around. She also happens to be an evangelical Christian. A great introduction to climate science, her faith and Katharine herself is found in this short 10 question piece which was part of Nova's The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers series:

Further insight into what drives Katharine can be found in the following video where she discusses the Christian response to climate change. A core Christian value is a heart for the poor and vulnerable. Katharine provides one of the more concise and compelling summaries of why climate change is an important issue for Christians. Here's an excerpt (but do watch the full video):

As a Christian, we're told that God is not the author of fear. God is love. When we're acting out of fear, we're thinking about ourselves. When we act about love, we're not thinking about ourselves. We're thinking about others. Our global neighbours, the poor and disadvantaged, the people who don't have the resources to adapt. So I believe we're called first of all to love each other and second of all, to act.

Katharine's climate communication stems from of a love of science, a love for her fellow human beings and underpinning it all, her love for God. However, she has recently been bombarded with a wave of hate. The catalyst for the recent hate-fest was the breaking news that she had written a chapter about climate science for an upcoming book by Newt Gingrich, currently involved in the Republican Presidential primaries. When pressured, Gingrich dropped Katharine's chapter. What followed was a torrent of hate mail directed at Katharine, sometimes receiving hundreds of abusive emails in a single day. Some people's aversion to science has become so acute that the prospect of a climate scientist writing a chapter about climate science in a book published by the academic press is cause for sending abusive and threatening hate mail.

Meanwhile, the science tells us that the countries that contribute least to climate change are affected the most and are the least able to adapt. The people most affected are women and children, the most vulnerable in society. The human impacts will be more dire if good people such as Katharine did nothing. Therefore, I'm deeply thankful for passionate, positive communicators such as Katharine Hayhoe, tirelessly and fearlessly striving to communicate the realities of climate change.

Note: there is a We Support Katharine Hayhoe Facebook page. If you believe in supporting scientists who face of intimidation and persecution, I encourage you to make a public display by liking the page.

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Comments 51 to 56 out of 56:

  1. Recommended reading: "Chatting with the climate scientist Newt dissed” by David Roberts, Grist, Jan 17, 2012
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  2. As detailed in the article cited below, Katharine Hayhoe is not the only prominent climate scientist to recently come under attack by political and religious zealots in the US. "Who’s Afraid of Kerry Emanuel? Why Republicans Are Attacking a Republican Climate Scientist” by Chris Mooney, DeSmog Blog, Jan 19, 2012
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  3. “Even as the impacts of climate change intensify, many Americans remain confused by the issue. In an interview Yale Environment 360, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe discusses what rising temperatures will mean for the U.S., how to talk with climate skeptics, and what she would say to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to prod him into action on global warming.” Source: “How to Find Common Ground in the Bitter Climate Debate”, Yale Environment 360, Aug 25, 2011 Click here to access this informative Q&A.
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  4. Climate Crocks has another interview with Dr. Hayhoe. He also links to a town hall meeting at University of Michigan (Yooper country) Cures for Climate Confusion.
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  5. "He also links to a town hall meeting at University of Michigan (Yooper country)"
    Nay, dat be Troll Country ('cause deys from below Da Bridge, eh?).
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  6. Suggested reading: “For Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Change Not a Leap of Faith”, Climate Central, Mar 29, 2012
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