Policy Documents

Climategate Figure Plays the Victim Card

James M. Taylor –
February 8, 2010

Phil Jones, the central figure in the Climategate scandal, gave a self-pitying interview with the Sunday London Times in which he complains about people allegedly telling him he should kill himself and sending him death threats. He says he has thought about killing himself in the wake of the Climategate scandal.

Jones is rightfully under fire because he hid, manipulated, and destroyed scientific evidence that contradicted his alarmist theories and orchestrated efforts to strong-arm peer-reviewed science journals to blackball “skeptical” scientists. If people have really been sending Jones death threats and emails telling him he should kill himself, such behavior is of course over the top and despicable. That being said, it is nauseating that Jones of all people is crying for sympathy here.

Jones, it should not be forgotten, sent out a celebratory email calling it “cheering news!” that prominent global warming “skeptic” John Daly died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2004.

Jones, it should not be forgotten, has been at the forefront of alarmist vitriol that has incited an uncountable number of death threats against skeptics (this author included) and assertions that “deniers” are the equivalent of mass-murderers who should kill themselves. Jones, like most other alarmist inciters, has never said or done anything to this author’s knowledge to condemn or discourage such despicable behavior against those who have called into question his scientific theories. Now that he is the target of such vile actions rather than an instigator, all of a sudden he wants to play the sympathy card?

Perhaps Jones experiencing what the shoe feels like on the other foot will help bring about a reduction in personal animosity and an increase in respectful behavior among people reaching different conclusions regarding complex global climate data. The mere fact that someone disagrees with your personal conclusions about global warming does not make that person evil or shills for anybody. It just means you disagree. The answer to disagreement on important scientific and public policy issues is respectful, cooperative discourse rather than name-calling, ostracism, and personal attacks.