associated with policy-sensitive areas like climate change is almost
bound to be hotly contested, with disputes within the scientific
community being extensively reported by the media. Shortly after
he took office in 2001, President George W.
Bush withdrew the US from the Kyoto Protocol on the grounds that
it would harm the US economy. Given the link between fossil fuels,
CO2emissions and economic activity, this is a legitimate concern;
it may well be shared (privately) by other world leaders. Nevertheless,
rejection of this landmark agreement to curb CO2 emissions from
industrialised countries set the tone for the Bush Administration.
It was widely seen as hostile to any mandatory cutbacks in CO2 emissions
and open to the influence of sceptical scientific opinion on global
warming – either directly or through the activities of various
business-backed lobby groups.
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each
by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil
companies to undermine a major climate change report due
to be published in February 2007.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI),
an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush
administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise
the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Climate scientists described the move as an attempt to cast
doubt over the "overwhelming scientific evidence"
on global warming. "It's a desperate attempt by an
organisation who wants to distort science for their own
political aims," said David Viner of the Climatic Research
Unit at the University of East Anglia.
Source: Ian Sample, science correspondent, Friday February
2, 2007, The Guardian