AAAS panel concentrates on politics

by William Yeatman on June 22, 2004

in Politics, Science

Dropping any pretence of objectivity on the issue, Science magazine editor Donald Kennedy and the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alan Leshner, put together a conference boosting global warming alarmism in Washington, DC on June 15.

The panels comprised many well-known figures from the alarmist camp, including several associated with the ozone layer scare of the late  80s and early 90s.  Many of the panelists concentrated on worst-case scenarios, such as the melting of the entire Antarctic ice sheet (even though the ice sheet has been growing during a period of cooling) mentioned by Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton, or on misleading signs of warming, such as the melting of Kilimanjaros glaciers (which has continued despite proven localized cooling), referenced by Lonnie Thompson of Ohio University.

Many speakers were keen to use the event as a bully pulpit to venture beyond science into politics: You hope that somehow people will understand that we have got to do something now, said Joyce Penner of the University of Michigan.  Some people get it some people are driving hybrids. But there is a problem with the American public.

The models…are good enough to tell us we ought to be starting now to do what we can to reduce emissions, according to Oppenheimer.

In this country it depends a lot on what happens in the next election, said Daniel Schrag of Harvard University and a fellow fan of The Day After Tomorrow with Al Gore. I don’t think we can expect to change the minds of this administration in the next couple of months.

As Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his Prometheus web site, in contrast to the commentary on the issue by politically-oriented groups, It is another thing altogether when a purportedly non-political professional association like the AAAS, ostensibly working for common interests, legitimizes the practice [of the politicization of science].

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