Seven gunshots were fired over Earth Day weekend at a University of Alabama in Huntsville science center that holds the offices of two of the world’s most prominent climate skeptics.
A university spokesman described the incident as a “totally random shooting,” citing a report by campus police, but UAH principal research scientist Roy W. Spencer isn’t so sure.
“Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence,” Mr. Spencer said in a Monday post on his blog.
Police found seven bullets Belgian 5.7 mm bullet casings from shots that hit the National Space Science & Technology Center, which houses the offices of Mr. Spencer and John R. Christy.
“All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy’s office is (my office is in another part of the building),” Mr. Spencer said.
Both Mr. Spencer, a meteorologist and former NASA senior scientist for climate studies, and Mr. Christy, the center’s director and a distinguished professor of atmospheric science, have tangled with the climate-change movement for challenging the “consensus.”
Mr. Spencer told The Washington Times in an email that he considers the shooting “an act of ecoterrorism.”
“When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way,” Mr. Spencer said. “It doesn’t matter that we don’t ‘deny global warming’; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvement in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.”
Photos posted on Facebook from the Saturday campus event showed a crowd of several hundred people marching and holding signs with messages such as “Evidence trumps science,” “Science is not a liberal conspiracy,” and “Earth needs thinkers not deniers.”
University spokesman Ray Garner said any shots fired during the day would have presumably received more notice.
“It was over the weekend, so it’s hard to narrow down the time or the day, but I would think that it would have gotten some attention if it was done during the day,” Mr. Garner said. “But I don’t know that.”
He said the shooter appeared to fire at the NSSTC from a moving vehicle. Four shots were lodged in the building itself, and three struck windows.
“They were driving south on Sparkman Drive and just shot into the building,” Mr. Garner said. “There’s no indication or any evidence to show that they were targeting anyone. It was just totally random. That’s the opinion of the police chief.”
Mr. Spencer was skeptical. “So, the seven Belgian 5.7 millimeter bullets which hit windows and bricks around John Christy’s office from 70 yards away were apparently deemed to be ‘random’ occurrence,” he said.
Mr. Christy and Mr. Spencer, who have both testified before Congress on climate issues, received NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1991 for developing a “global temperature data set from microwave data observed from satellites beginning in 1979,” according to Mr. Christy’s university biography.
The building also includes the Office of the State Climatologist. Mr. Christy is the Alabama state climatologist.
Mr. Christy testified most recently on March 29 before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
“Deliberate consideration of the major influences by natural variability on the climate has been conspicuously absent in the current explanations of climate change by the well-funded climate science industry,” he said in his testimony.
The March for Science, whose partners included climate-change groups like NextGen Climate and 350.org, drew crowds to Washington, D.C., and an estimated 600 marches nationally and globally.
Another climate-themed event, the People’s Climate March, is scheduled for Saturday.