TWO leading groups representing thousands of scientists across Australia are asking for changes to the country's Freedom of Information (FOI) laws to better protect climate change scientists from abuse and from deliberate attempts by climate sceptics to unfairly discredit them.
FOI laws are being used to “target and attempt to discredit individual scientists”, say the influential groups, with some applications under the laws resulting in climate researchers being subjected to abuse and harassment.
Some scientists are cutting back on their use of email, a vital tool for scientific collaboration, as a result.
The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the leading professional association for meteorologists, oceanographers and climate scientists, and Science and Technology Australia, which represents the interests of 68,000 scientists and technologists, have outlined their concerns in a joint submission to the Attorney General's Department, which is currently carrying out a review of the Federal FOI laws. The submission says: