EU’s skævvridning af klimaforskningen

Diverse — Drokles on June 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hoover Istitution med en meget lang og grundig analyse af EU-forskningsmidler og deres indvirken på forskningen. Man får som bekendt, hvad man betaler for.

It is no accident that eu funding leads to politicized science. “Promoting research that supports eu policies” is, after all, one of the stated “main strategic objectives” of the Research dg’s framework programmes.5 Indeed, the joint European Council/European Parliament decision adopting Framework Programme 7 promises “a new approach . . . which should allow the political objectives of Community research policy to be reached more easily.”6

The decision identifies ten thematic areas for research support and “community action.” For each of them, a “rationale” is provided and key “activities” are identified. The rationale for including “energy” among the ten areas is explained by, among other things, “the need to curb dramatically emissions of greenhouse gases in order to mitigate the devastating consequences of climate change.” In keeping with this rationale, “co2 capture and storage technologies for zero emission power generation” is identified as a key “activity.” Not surprisingly, “Environment (including climate change)” is another of the ten thematic areas. The “rationale” provided for its inclusion notes that “earth’s natural resources and the man-made environment are under intense pressure from . . . climate variability and warming at local, regional and global scales.”

In other words, the eu’s funding for climate research is based on the proverbial assumption that the science is “settled,” the debate “over.” Skeptics, so to say, need not apply. That the earth is warming, that the causes are anthropogenic, and that the consequences will be devastating — all these propositions, despite their largely empirical character, are treated as axiomatic by the eu’s program and hence placed outside the realm of legitimate inquiry. The program is thus at variance with the very nature of the normal scientific process. When Barack Obama went to Copenhagen in December and declared that “the reality of climate change is not in doubt” and that all that remained was to agree on actions “to meet the challenge,” he was merely repeating European dogma. The eu decision adopting the seventh “framework programme” serves, in effect, to promulgate this dogma: to establish it by law for the entire “European research area,” i.e. for all the eu member states and their some 500 million inhabitants. While decreeing empirical truths may have been a matter of course for Church authorities in the Middle Ages, it is surely extraordinary to find the political authorities of supposedly democratic nations doing the same in the 21st century.

If we consider, moreover, the concrete policy objectives that eu-funded “climate research” is designed to support, it is hardly surprising that eu funding would favor dogma over science. The centerpiece of eu“climate change mitigation” efforts is, after all, the Kyoto protocol. Indeed, the Kyoto protocol has arguably been the single most high-profile eu policy initiative bar none. With the protocol set to expire at the end of 2012, the focus of current eu efforts is to have a new Kyoto-like international agreement in place by that date and to succeed in involving the United States this time as party to it. But unless all three of the highly contestable propositions enumerated above are true, the emissions-trading scheme at the heart of the Kyoto arrangements amounts to nothing more than an enormous and wasteful boondoggle. All the various and sundry “mitigation” strategies — such as the development of “carbon capture” technologies, for instance — would be boondoggles as well.

But just why would the eu want to promote such a system of boondoggles? In order to answer that question, one needs to go back in time: to 1990.

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