Henry R. Savage: Politics dangerous for science | SteamboatToday.com
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Henry R. Savage: Politics dangerous for science

I am delighted that my recent letter on the IPCC summary has generated some dialogue and serious thinking about the subject. Mr. Carley and Mr. Wallace make some good, valid points. I surely hope the IPCC will produce technical reports that are adequately truth-squaded this time. That has not been the case in the past. It is very dangerous when problems of daunting scientific complexity become politically driven.

I remind Mr. Carley that the most damaging and embarrassing chapter in the history of science occurred when “most of the world’s scientists” and the American Association for the Advancement of Science got behind the eugenics movement. It had gathered a huge head of steam in society and government. It was responsible in no small way for the Holocaust.

I also remind Mr. Carley that in earlier letters on this subject I have proposed positive work. I believe man’s efforts to mitigate global climate change will be futile. If that has even a small chance of being correct (many scientists think so) we should be devoting some effort to development of adaptation strategies. By the time the need is obvious, it’s likely to be too late. I also support pursuit of non-draconian mitigation strategies and ongoing research to understand the many questions remaining in this area.



Bill Wallace and I have discussed this subject on several occasions. I value his thinking. I remind Bill, though, of the “hockey stick fiasco” which so badly contaminated the 2001 IPCC work, and still does apparently based on the recent summary. That resulted from scientific work on paleo climate analysis of earth’s temperatures which was in error and was not reviewed in an objective, rigorous way. We need to avoid early conclusions which are not well founded leading to poor public policy. The scientific literature on both sides of this issue is vast and only one side gets any significant airing in the public press. Let’s leave this to the scientists and quit contaminating the scientific process of investigation with huge sums of money from government which are agenda driven.

Henry R. Savage



Steamboat Springs


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