As we head into a third year of the global pandemic, with a concerning new Covid-19 variant on the rise, it’s hard to forget the crucial role of science and scientists in protecting humanity.
And yet, science remains under attack. In fact, 2021 is now tied with 2017 as CSLDF’s busiest year so far.
To date, we have provided free legal services to 41 scientists, professors, and scientific research nonprofits. A sampling of these cases:
- Defending a scientist sued for defamation for debunking climate misinformation.
- Helping climate scientists facing legal threats for providing scientific information to policymakers.
- Defending researchers in response to subpoenas from the chemical industry.
- Submitting an amicus brief on behalf of climate law professors targeted by a fossil fuel-funded group.
- Assisting climate researchers who are providing expertise in climate litigation cases.
We published new educational resources for scientists and the institutions they work for, which are available for free on our website. These include:
- First Amendment Guide, which helps scientists understand their free speech rights and other rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
- Report on Research Protections in State Open Records Laws (Third Edition), which provides new updates on protections for scientific records, and their applications, in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Expert Witness Guide (Part 2), which continues our series to help scientists know what to expect—and how to protect themselves—when serving as an expert witness.
We held events for scientists and students to help them understand their legal rights and how to use their voices as citizens. These included workshops and talks at meetings held by the American Meteorological Society; the American Association of Geographers; the Ecological Society of America; and the American Geophysical Union.
From November 2016 to date, we have also documented 500 anti-science actions in the Silencing Science Tracker, a public database for state and federal government attacks on science that we maintain with Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has currently only reversed or reconsidered 9 of the 346 federal actions in the Tracker.
We were mentioned in numerous news sources including The New York Times and Nature.
Over the years, cases involving climate denial have diminished, but we’re currently seeing an increase in cases from those trying to stop climate action and scientific progress. Unfortunately, the challenges climate scientists face evolve for every advance that we make.
You can help us protect the scientific endeavor in 2022 by making a year-end gift. An anonymous donor is matching all contributions made through December 31, up to $15,000, so your donation will go twice as far.
As the year comes to a close, we want to deeply thank everyone who supports our work. We wish everyone a joyful, safe, and healthy holiday season, and we look forward to accomplishing even more for the scientific endeavor in 2022.