Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist Cut from Gingrich Book, Flooded With Hate Mail

on February 02 2012 1:46 PM
Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe's book "A Climate for Change" argues that Christians have a responsibility to respond to the threat of manmade global warming. PBS

Katharine Hayhoe, the climate scientist who penned a chapter that was ultimately axed from Newt Gingrich's upcoming book about environmental issues, has been inundated with vindictive and sometimes disturbing hate mail from climate change deniers that some suggest may have been encouraged by conservative operatives.

Hayhoe, an avowed evangelical Christian who is the director of Texas Tech University's Climate Science Center, was reportedly asked to compose an introduction to the book that focused on the scientific facts surrounding climate change. After she was denounced as a climate babe by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, Gingrich revealed he was dropping Hayhoe's chapter from his forthcoming book.

Gingrich Attempts to Distance Himself From Previous Climate Change Stance

Gingrich has been attempting to distance himself from the issue after coming under attack by conservatives who insist the facts supporting man-made climate change are either flawed or completely falsified. The GOP presidential contender has been scorned for appearing in a 2008 commercial with then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., where they urged Americans to take action to reduce climate change.

Hayhoe told Texas Climate News she has received dozens of angry emails following Limbaugh's denunciation, especially after the conservative blogger Mark Morano reportedly published her e-mail address on his Web site.

Earlier this month, Hayhoe told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail the e-mail messages she has been receiving have become increasingly hateful.

The attacks' virulence, the hatred and the nastiness of the text have escalated exponentially. I've gotten so many hate mail [messages] in the last few weeks I can't even count them, she said.

Hayhoe provided a sample of the e-mails to Texas Climate News, many of which question her commitment to her professed Christian faith.

Stop using Jesus to justify your wacko ideas about global warming, wrote one commenter, while another said believing in global warming contradicts Christian principles because to be able to change the climate in such a manner as you prescribe to would mean that we are more powerful than [God] is.

Several commenter's have called her a liar and a nut, while many others describe violent fantasies.

I would like to see you convicted and beheaded by guillotine in the public square, to show women that if they are going to take a man's job, they have to take the heat for mass murder, just like the men do when they get caught, wrote one commenter, who referred to Hayhoe as a Nazi Climatebecile.

Hayhoe Says Majority of Hate Mail From Men

In an interview with environmental advocate Peter Sinclair, Hayhoe said the criticism she has received reflects an attempt to discredit the messenger, rather than the scientific facts surrounding climate change. As a result, she said many of the e-mails she has received contain misogynistic undertones.

I think there's an extra dimension, because as a woman, most of the attacks that I'm receiving are from men. So that has a very different dynamic to it that honestly can feel very threatening and intimidating sometimes, she said.

Hayhoe is not the only climate scientist who has been on the receiving end of vicious hate mail. Mother Jones recently reported that Kerry Emanuel, a conservative climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has experienced a spike in hate mail after speaking at a climate conference in New Hampshire. Emanuel said the e-mails were vile, with many containing threats against his wife and family members.

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