Climate Scientists Threatened in Australia

Climate scientists in Australia have received death threats after the broadcast of a commercial featuring well-known Australian actress Cate Blanchett.

The advertisement (at the link below) calls for a higher tax rate on carbon-polluting industries, adding fuel to the ongoing debate over climate policies in a country that has already ousted a prime minister over the issue. 

Austalian politicians have been arguing for weeks over the level of a carbon tax that is set to go into effect on July 1. The country’s Climate Commission released a report two weeks ago that landed at the center of the tug-o’-war.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbot have been accused of misrepresenting the science in the report to support their policy objectives.

Conservative members of the Australian media attacked the TV commercial as "propaganda,"and not long after that, threats against scientists on the Commission began arriving.

The Canberra Times wrote on Saturday:

"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."

We’ve written on several occasions about the similarities in the political divide over climate change in Australia and the US. Americans should view this as a warning for how the debate could take a dangerous twist here as well.

Watch the advertisement:

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