Exposed: The terrifying harassment faced by climate change scientists - The Week In a sprawling new story in Popular Science, Tom Clynes takes an in-depth look at the seedy but influential range of people who take it upon themselves to make life a living hell for climate-change researchers. 1. Harassment is routine Climate-change deniers often threaten scientists in attempts to distract them from their research — and the harassment goes beyond nasty emails. One climate modeler describes finding "a dead rat on his doorstep" with "a yellow Hummer speeding away 2. Political associations don't matter For Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist, political conservative, and evangelical Christian, her work can be as thankless as it is taxing — even from her own party. In 2007, Rush Limbaugh discovered her contributions to a book co-authored by Newt Gingrich and ridiculed her as a "climate babe." Following the backlash, Gingrich dropped her chapter on global warming entirely. 3. Research is often stifled by legal action "Those crude acts of harassment often come alongside more-sophisticated legal and political attacks," says Clynes. Climate change skeptics regularly file lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests to disrupt ongoing research. "In 2005, before dragging Mann and other climate researchers into congressional hearings, Texas congressman Joe Barton ordered the scientists to submit voluminous details of working procedures, computer programs and past funding, 4. Efforts to ruffle scientists are increasingly sophisticated It's not "a bunch of crazy people" fighting against us, says Mann. "These efforts to discredit science are well-organized." "There's really only about 25 of us doing this," says Steve Milloy, a Fox News commentator and self-described "denier." He calls the core group of skeptics "a ragtag bunch, very Continental Army." The deniers often target scientists who speak up publicly, offering bounties to anyone willing to make their lives difficult. In one instance, Milloy offered $500 for anyone 5. Anti-climate change advocacy is well-funded Following the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in 1998, the American Petroleum Institute put together a $5.9 million task force (which included Milloy) charged with discrediting climate change science to "quash growing public support of curbing emissions."