Opinion: Don’t cloud the climate change debate
The April 2 column, “Don’t ignore evidence for climate change,” by J. Derek Larson betrays the author’s limited understanding of how university science works.
He claims that corporate supported research is somehow tainted while he implies that university scientists are immune from monetary rewards, and hence, free of bias. I must assume in his world he has never experienced the “fame and funding” relationship.
I worked in the academic environment and had the experience of submitting grant proposals and receiving peer reviewed grants many years ago. The rewards may not be obvious, but successfully getting grants means tenure, reduced teaching load, invitations to conferences, awards, more grad students and post Docs (to help raise more grants) recognition by your colleagues and publications.
Yes, few become recognized millionaires, but the pursuit of fame can be more addictive than the pursuit of money. Since most non-corporate funding comes from the NSF (National Science Foundation) and other government agencies, the opportunity for political bias is overwhelming.
I suggest any researcher who submits proposals today would have a zero chance of getting a government-funded grant if the proposed work did not support current popular environmental theories.
Corporate or private foundation support is necessary to examine non-popular questions — for example, if there are other factors than CO2 causing climate change or to study why the popular climate change models have over-predicted the actual temperature changes in the last decades.
Climate change is an important issue, but let’s not cloud the debate by claiming the side that agrees with you is purer in motive and thought than the other side.
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