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LETTER: Don't Dilute Engineering With Politics

Feb. 23, 2024
A reader responds to a recent Clark's Remarks column about a newly decided defamation case.

Re: Climate Scientist Wins Landmark Defamation Case, by Larry Clark

Dear Editor,

What is the purpose of your Feb. 12 article on a defamation case in HPAC Engineering? It seems to be an opinion piece on a legal case, not a technical artice on HVAC equipment or even trends and changes in required regulations of HVAC equipment. It makes HPAC appear to be pushing politics and agendas, rather than sticking to engineering.

The issue with the particular article is its focus on a legal case between two parties that deals with accusations of slander, personal attacks, and libel, and the outcome of that case. Those legal issues are separate from engineering or even legal regulations and cases that affect HVAC equipment, such as new regulations on refrigerants.

In addition, the tone of the article seems derisive of the defendants, and furthermore, the article goes on to try to interpret the free speech protections of the First Amendment, implying that disinformation is not free speech. While I disagree with that interpretation, that is not the point I am making. The point is that those issues are political and legal, not engineering, and not part of the scope of an HVAC technical magazine.

The author says he is not a court reporter, and are not about politics, but the whole focus of the article is about that type of issue. If you want to comment on defamation or the interpretation of the First Amendment, do it in a law journal or in a general social media news site, not HPAC.

Don't dilute the engineering of HPAC.

John Deatherage (ret.)

System engineer

Blackfoot, ID


Larry Clark responds:

Thanks for your feedback and for reading HPAC Engineering. I am, however, a bit surprised by your reaction. My opinion column, Clark’s Remarks, for more than a decade now, has been focused primarily on sustainability-related issues, not mechanical equipment. My goal has always been to address the science, not the politics. However, when political attacks attempt to obscure the science and discredit the scientist, and a court of law ultimately sides with the scientist, then I feel compelled to convey that news to our audience. This is in keeping with the purpose of my sustainability column. Like you, so long as we occupy this planet, I believe that we have an obligation to be good stewards and to use our limited resources wisely.