Global Warming and the Irrelevance of Science

Scientific Communique

Text of lecture delivered on August 20, 2015 to the 48th Session: Erice International Seminars on Planetary Emergencies

Richard S. Lindzen*, Alfred P. Sloan**

*54-1720 Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 USA
**Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


In many fields, governments have a monopoly on the support of scientific research. Ideally, they support the science because they believe objective research to be valuable. Unfortunately, as anticipated by Eisenhower in his farewell speech from January 17, 1961 (the one that also warned of the military-industrial complex): Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. Under these circumstances, when the government wants a particular scientific outcome the ideal arrangement is vulnerable. However, as I hope to show, the problem is not simply bias. Rather, the powers that be invent the narrative independently of the views of even cooperating scientists. It is, in this sense, that the science becomes irrelevant.

Problemy Ekorozwoju 11(2)2016: 119-125