The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CLSDF) was established with one goal: to protect the scientific endeavor. Scientific research has brought us amazing advancements in technology, medicine, and our understanding of the planet. But in recent decades, a small handful of politically and ideologically motivated groups have taken legal action against scientific institutions and individual scientists because they dislike certain scientific findings. These legal attacks have intensified in past years, especially against climate scientists.
CSLDF was started when Scott Mandia posted a “Dear Colleagues” letter on his blog in September 2011. He wrote, “Climate researchers are in need of immediate legal assistance to prevent their private correspondence from being exposed” via misuse of open records laws. The outpouring of support was overwhelming, and helped pay for climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann’s legal defense against a massive and invasive records request. But scientists’ legal bills continued to mount, and Scott Mandia paired with Joshua Wolfe to create CSLDF.
For the individual scientist, such legal actions are a painful burden. Researcher salaries were not designed to support ongoing legal expenses. Legal actions also have taken many of our brightest scientific minds away from their research to spend time defending frivolous lawsuits. This state of affairs is unacceptable. The United States cannot be a leader in science and technology if unscrupulous parties subject our scientists to such attacks.
CSLDF works to defend climate scientists who are dragged into litigation or otherwise threatened with legal attacks, and to aggressively to protect the interests of the scientific endeavor – because such legal actions against scientists are also attacks on the scientific endeavor as a whole. CSLDF also works to educate members of the scientific community to gain a better understanding of the legal issues surrounding their work, and to educate the public about the legal issues facing climate scientists.
CLSDF was originally hosted as a part of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), but has since become an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Many thanks to PEER for helping us get to where we are today.