The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has found anon-profit home in Public Employees for EnvironmentalResponsibility (PEER) which provides it fiscal sponsorship andlogistical support. CSLDF lets scientific colleagues and the publicdirectly help climate scientists protect themselves and their workfrom industry-funded legal attacks. In recent years, these legalcharges have intensified, especially against climate scientists.The fund is designed to help well known scientists like ProfessorMichael Mann cope with the legal fees that stack up in fightingattempts by climate-contrarian groups to gain access to privateemails and other correspondence through lawsuits and Freedom ofInformation Act requests at their public universities. The CSLDFund started this past fall which helps cover the legal bills ofscientists who get dragged onto the political stage and to date, CSLDF has raised ＄70,000.
Creating this book will be a part of the Climate Science LegalDefense Fund's effort to better prepare the scientificcommunity for legal challenges. The Fund was established with onegoal: to protect the scientific endeavor. Over the last twentyyears, a small handful of politically motivated think tanks andlegal foundations, because they disagreed and questioned thevalidity of certain scientific findings, have taken legal actionagainst scientific institutions and individual scientists. Inrecent years, the legal invasions have intensified, especiallyagainst climate scientists. The Climate Science Legal Defense Fundseeks to make sure that these legal claims are not viewed as anaction against one scientist or institution, but that they are seenas actions against the scientific endeavor as a whole. As such, theFund defends climate scientists who are dragged into litigation andacts aggressively to protect the interests of the scientificendeavor.
Scientists have legal rights and responsibilities to theirfunders, their employers, and to the scientific community at large.The interactions among these groups can be challenging from a legalperspective. For example: What happens when a university's counseland a funding agency's counsel disagree? Who owns theintellectual property created under a government grant at a privateuniversity? What happens when a Freedom of Information Act requestfor raw data is filed before a scientist has had a chance topublish his or her results? This book will tackle these questionsand many others, and it will help prepare scientists for a varietyof potential challenges, both big and small. Today, a seriousconcern has been that legal battles have taken many brightestscientific minds away from their research.
The inspiration for this book came from a collaboration betweenthe Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and the American GeophysicalUnion. Over the past year, the two groups have partnered to offerwebinars, workshops and in-person consultations to the scientificcommunity, and together they have fielded hundreds of inquiriesfrom scientists. While prominent cases like that of ProfessorMichael Mann require years of expensive litigation, most scientistsjust need a bit more information to respond to legal requests in away that avoids conflict.