Suing scientists for incorrect science has a long tradition: Galileo in front of the Inquisition.
Global climate politics has been strongly influenced by the sequence of Assessment Reports 1-4 by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC describing itself as follows:
#IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.
#The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.
#It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis.
#By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.
Climategate and other scientific scandals connected to IPCC, bring up the following questions pointed to by legal expert John O'Sullivan in Legal Defeat for Doomsayers:
#What is the legal responsibility of IPCC?
#What is the legal responsibility of scientists contributing to IPCC?
More precisely, the following questions present themselves:
#Can IPCC be sued for assessing incorrect science?
#Can a scientist be sued for supplying IPCC with incorrect science?
#Can a scientific academy be sued for supporting incorrect science assessed by IPCC?
#Can a governmental institution be sued for forming politics according to incorrect science assessed by a scientific academy or IPCC and (incorrectly) acknowledged as scientific authority by the institution?
#Is selling science knowing that it is incorrect, similar to receiving and selling property knowing that it is stolen?
#Is selling science without checking that it is correct, similar to receiving and selling property without checking that it is not stolen?
#Is receiving grants to pursue incorrect science illegal?
According to John O'Sullivan:
#... ultimate victory (for climate realism as opposed to IPCC climate alarmism) would come not from the darkened corner of some obscure science lab but under a stark legal light. Canny climate realist MP’s such as Sammy Wilson will certainly exploit the significance of this new legal phase in the climate war and speak directly to the moral standards of us all.
So what does this new legal phase mean? Is a scientist legally responsible for claims made, e.g. concerning the effect of increased CO2 on global temperatures? Can a scientific statement be subject to trial in a court? Can you sue your academic competitors for making incorrect scientific statements? Can you be sued yourself for the same thing? Can a court decide if a scientific statement is incorrect or not?
To answer No on these questions seems to be difficult to defend, and thus the only possible answer seems to be Yes, once the questions have been asked. And now the questions are being asked...It will interesting to follow the lawsuits...