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Political Interference with Science

VeegeezeeVeegeezee Registered User
edited March 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
In January, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing regarding the interference of government interests in scientific research, specifically pertaining to climatology. You can read the original witness testimonies here, and find some further reading worth recommending in Atmosphere of Pressure (pdf). A follow-up hearing was held yesterday, in which a few more testimonies were given and an updated draft of its compilation of exhibits (big pdf) and a memorandum (fun-size pdf) were presented. If you skip everything else, the latter will suffice as an overview.

From the deposition of Philip Cooney, former Chief of Staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality:

Q: ...[the American Petroleum Institute] was concerned about the issue of climate change because they did not want this country or other countries to reduce petroleum product use; is that correct?

A: Someone wrote that reason on this sheet. API had a number of policy concerns relating to climate that went beyond the narrow potential of reduced petroleum use. I think that there was a general and well-founded and consensus view among the membership that the Kyoto Protocol would have been harmful for the American economy and the world economy and was bad public policy and that we, as an industry, along with other industries and other voices in society should step up and oppose harmful policies, but I don't deny that there was a parochial interest to the industry based upon these words that are on this sheet.

Yesterday's testimonies can be found here.

Now, this is all completely without regard to whether our ecosystem is or is not on the cusp of a thermodynamic and anthropogenic catastrofuck; the meddling of administrators with scientific results has popped up elsewhere (including in stem cell research, endangered species studies, and so on, which is touched on in the hearings), but it's as unsettling to recognize the extent of government interference with federal science as it is refreshing to see it openly confronted.

Veegeezee on


  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Wow, I never realized the American Petroleum Institute was looking after all our interests, rather than profits. Such sweethearts. <3

    Glal on
  • StrollingeggStrollingegg Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Its interesting that there is so much interference, but you can still pick out the real facts. Things they try to deny sometimes like the greenhouse effect, are very easy to prove. Its funny when they bring up that the greenhouse effect isn't happening, when all you have to do is go in your car on a suny day to see its effects. To say things like CO2 isn't as strong a greenhouse gas as, say, water, is definatly true, and a valid point. But it can at least be contradicted by saying that CO2 is at its highest levels its ever been as far back as we can accuratly predict and this must be having some effect.
    The point is, that science can be pointed out precisly because it leaves room for error and the possibility of being wrong. The problem with all of this politicised science is that it does not, and as you can see, is generally only to benifit a group of people to make monitary gains.

    Strollingegg on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited March 2007
    The American Petroleum Institute isn't a government agency, is it? I don't really blame them for being lying shitheels - it's what industry does and the smart money just doesn't listen to them.

    Irond Will on
  • VeegeezeeVeegeezee Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    The American Petroleum Institute isn't a government agency, is it? I don't really blame them for being lying shitheels - it's what industry does and the smart money just doesn't listen to them.

    That's true, it isn't a government agency. It does play a nontrivial role in lobbying on policy issues though.

    What do you mean by 'the smart money'?

    Veegeezee on
  • ZakalweZakalwe Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science is an excellent overview of neocon interference with science, from climatology to evolution to stell-cell research. The most depressing thing is the history of corporate interference, that contended everything from the smoking-cancer link, acid rain existing, lead in petrol being dangerous, dioxins being harmful to junk food being bad for you. Hell, there's even a group of professional lobbyists that make a career out of supporting corporate reality denial.

    Which makes me feel that global warming, and the exxon-backed experts that decry it, is nothing new in regards to the opposition that it faces.

    Zakalwe on
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