(I am not quite accurate. There is one more semi-famous person in the list, Alan Robock of Rutgers, my graduate Alma Mater. He is semi-famous for his being a close friend of Fidel Castro's who worships the communist system. This comment is not meant to imply that the remaining 19 signatories haven't slept with Fidel.)
The letter which was published at IGES.org, an institute that clearly doesn't view its own existence seriously, as its web page shows, proposes to use the RICO act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act designed to prosecute heads of criminal organizations, against climate skeptics.
The letter mentions the book Merchants of Doubt, a booklet of the Union of Concerned Scientists (an organization that was embarrassingly joined by Anthony Watts' dog – I mean, it's embarrassing for the dog), and three more sources as "evidence" that the skeptical climate scientists are criminals in the sense of the RICO act.
I don't think it makes sense to argue with such a claim. This claim is clearly isomorphic to the Nazis' claim that there was something criminally bad about being a Jew. The evidence behind these claims is zero. Naomi Oreskes' texts don't contain any evidence that the skeptical climate scientists are unethical let alone criminal; her texts only prove that she is a dishonest and hateful Marxist shrew who just doesn't want to look at any of these problems impartially.
Trenberth and all these people are clearly misunderstanding how disagreements may be solved among scientists in civilized societies (they misunderstand the scientific method, the institutionalized scientific process, and the kind of "weapons" that are permissible); and how disagreements may be solved in civilized societies in general (they misunderstand the rule of law and the equality of citizens in front of the law).
But the letter is much more ironic than that.
RICO may have been used against some people in the tobacco industry – as alarmists love to point out – but if you study the Wikipedia page on RICO, you will find out that it's been mostly used against organizations that unquestionably deserve to be called criminal organizations. Those that hire illegal aliens, those that conspire to deliberately reduce the value of a baseball team, motorcycle teams connected with drugs, groups covering sex abuse scandals in the Catholic church, and dozens of others.
Does it make any sense to try to prosecute climate skeptics by referring to RICO? The answer is obviously No. They are not racketeering, they are not influenced, they are not corrupt, and they are not even an organization in any sense. However, someone else could be tried as a violator of the RICO act.
Just think about it: Which people are grouped in organizations that corrupt others? Which group of people has received over $50 billions for having done nothing useful because this group has been connected? Which major group in the world of 2015 is all about racketeering? If you still don't know, I have to remind you about the definition of a racket:
A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party. An archetype is the protection racket... [...]Cute. Haven't you heard about that trick somewhere? Don't you know someone who proposes services to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that wouldn't exist without the racket itself? Do climate skeptics claim that there is a problem that has to be solved and do they offer their services to do so? I don't think so.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen. The climate alarmism is clearly the greatest racket in the world as of 2015.
Climate skeptics are generally very nice people who don't have these Nazi-style, Trenberth-style ideas. But it may have been a good accident that Kevin Trenberth and his appendices have reminded us about the RICO act. If and when a sensible president is elected in 2016 and/or 2020 and/or later is elected, America may use the RICO act to get rid of the largest Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations such as the IPCC and hundreds of others.
Kevin Trenberth and many others may very well spend the rest of his life in prison because this usage of the RICO act actually does make sense – and it is exactly the kind of the situation that the RICO act was introduced for. Organizations using tons of money to promote the existence of non-existent problems that "have to be solved", fictitious problems that are subsequently used to get even greater amounts of money from others, and so on.
Protection racketeering may have been the most important archetype 100 years ago or so. But it's the climate hysteria and the corrupt industry that surrounds it that could be used as the defining example of racketeering at the beginning of the 21st century because contemporary people are much more familiar with the climate hysteria. When it comes to the essence, the classic protection racketeering and the climate hysteria are exactly the same thing.