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Death threats to scientists

SECURITY has been tightened at the Australian National University in Canberra after several climate change scientists received death threats.

The vice-chancellor, Professor Ian Young, said yesterday the scientists had been inundated with emails and abusive phone calls.

''Obviously climate research is an emotive issue,'' he told ABC radio. ''The whole scientific process is one of open debate and discussion, but the concept you would be threatened for your scientific views and work is something that is completely foreign to them.''

Andrew Macintosh, associate director of the ANU Centre for Climate Law and Policy, said the scientists had been targeted for years but it had worsened. ''I received a few a couple of years ago. It was three letters, with pictures of dead animals and print cut out from newspapers. There was a variety of ways I was going to die. They were going to shoot me, gut me and so on. Since then I've had lots of abusive emails and phone calls.''

The scientists are continuing to work on campus but have been moved to a more secure location. Federal police said they were aware of the issue.

Eamonn Duff

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