Column: Science by government-funded committee leads to inaccuracies



Three years ago, I ran into former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a ritzy Northwest Washington restaurant. We exchanged pleasantries, but before long, our conversation became unpleasant.

Having closely followed implementation of Mr. Rudd’s cap-and-trade, my response was admittedly a little testy: “Your scientists said exactly what you paid them to tell you.” It took less than an hour for the daily newspaper The Australian to get wind of the encounter.

That brief interaction with Mr. Rudd is indicative of a widespread problem: The government of Australia, and pretty much every other nation, funds research scientists and then relies on them for policy guidance. It is in the best interest of these government-funded scientists to ensure their fields — and therefore their jobs — are deemed of great importance.

The problem is particularly costly when it comes to environmental science.

 

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