Cold War

Wed, 2014-10-29 01:34Brendan Montague
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How Industry First Went to War With Climate Science

Scientists had well understood for many decades that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere could raise global temperatures and cause climate change. But when politicians finally took notice, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed, industry began a war with science itself. 

Bert Bolin, the founder of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was the first scientist to detect signals from the coal and oil industry that there would be serious resistance to climate science and its policy implications. 

As soon as governments began taking the issue seriously, the energy industry mobilised its greatest assets in order to combat organised opposition to its climate-damaging activities.

The Global Climate Coalition (GCCwas formed as soon as the IPCC came into being and, as the name suggests, this was an industry-funded powerhouse designed to undermine any global coalition to prevent climate change.

Bolin notes: “The strategy pursued was primarily to minimise the significance of the possible impacts of climate change and to address procedural and legal issues.”

The majors would engage with the issue more quickly than some of the environmental campaign groups.

Fri, 2014-10-24 04:20Brendan Montague
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How Traditionalist Hayek Feared Science Would Lead to Socialism

Margaret Thatcher’s intellectual love affair with the economist Friedrich von Hayek continued despite divergent views on the importance of science, rationality and truth… 

Margaret Thatcher presented a clear argument before the Royal Society in 1988: The free market economy depended on a sustainable natural ecology. And science provided the necessary knowledge to guide the industry on what would, in fact, be sustainable.

The then-Prime Minister's argument was based on reason. It was rational to expect her fellow free market ideologues to agree with her simple premise. But it seemed Thatcher's adherence to science, distilled during her time studying chemistry at Cambridge, was not shared by her philosophical allies.

Fri, 2011-07-22 08:15Darren Barefoot
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Cutting Nukes First: The Economic Burden of Nuclear Weapons

Cut nukes not clean energy

As I write this, US leaders have just two weeks to make a deal on how to cut the deficit to prevent the nation defaulting on their debt commitments.

President Obama said that, in terms of budget cuts, “everything is on the table.” Of course, that includes crucial programs such as research for clean energy. But one aspect of US military spending doesn’t seem to be getting much attention: the $600 billion the US will spend this decade on dangerous and useless nuclear weapons.

And the US isn’t alone. As President of World Security Institute (and co-founder of Global Zero) Bruce Blair wrote on Time.com, the nine nuclear nations will spend more than $1 trillion on their nuclear programs over the next decade:

Wed, 2011-01-26 03:57Chris Mooney
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Can You Have a Purely Economic Sputnik?

Last night, the president gave a speech that never directly mentioned the most pressing science-based issue of our time—global warming, climate change. I don’t like being so right in my prediction: Even I thought he’d say it once or twice at least.

At the same time, however, he announced a new national love affair with science, innovation, and clean energy, using a playbook that seems right out of the National Academy of Sciences’ now famous 2005 Rising Above the Gathering Storm report. And he capped it all off with a line of almost mythic potential: “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.”

Could it really be? And can this approach—save the climate, the country, the economy, and pretty much everything through technological innovation—deliver on its own?

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