Science groups seek meeting with EPA chief on climate science | August 7, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 32 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 32 | p. 15 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 7, 2017

Science groups seek meeting with EPA chief on climate science

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: climate change, EPA, Pruitt, scientific societies

Leaders of 16 scientific societies have invited EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to discuss the science of climate change. A July 31 letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and other organizations was a response to reports that Pruitt is planning an attack on climate change research. He wants to create a “red team/blue team” military-style critique of vulnerabilities in major scientific ideas about climate change. The societies point out that peer review already serves this purpose in science by constantly challenging research findings and forcing scientists to reevaluate their assumptions and conclusions. But they worry that normal scientific disagreements about data or methods are being misinterpreted. “The integrity of the scientific process cannot thrive when policymakers—regardless of party affiliation—use policy disagreements as a pretext to challenge scientific conclusions,” the letter states. The organizations have offered to meet with Pruitt to find out more about his plans and to discuss climate science. The American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN, did not sign the letter because it wanted to allow the EPA process to run its course, according to spokesperson Glenn Ruskin. “The society will be closely monitoring the situation and will take action moving forward as appropriate,” he says.

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lana (Wed Aug 09 09:49:16 EDT 2017)
Mr Ruskin,
Bad things happen when people who know better do nothing. The EPA 'process' ignores the scientific literature, pretends the scientific process adds nothing, equates scientific effort with gamesmanship, and is lead by an administration that has announced the conclusion. There is no point to 'let it run its course' and pretend it is going to someone yield a useful conclusion. By even conducting this exercise with government resources under the guise of objectivity it is simply a way to try and pretend there is some reason behind this administrations total contempt for objective climate realities they don't like and the scientists that bring the public that news. It is beyond naive to pretend there is any value in that process, and it is important for ALL science societies to stand together and try to reason with Pruitt, to name and shame the bad process, and to show the administration it cant cynically fracture the community of scientists so as to marginalize what that community has found.
Shame Mr Ruskin!
Ezra Wood (Mon Sep 25 12:55:17 EDT 2017)
As an atmospheric scientist and member of the ACS I am extremely disappointed that the ACS did not sign this letter. The letter requested that Pruitt give consideration to the summary letters and reports on the science of climate change (including those by the US National Academy of Sciences), and proposed meeting w/ Pruitt to discuss climate change and his plans. Why would the ACS not sign this simple letter? Allowing "the EPA process to run its course" is a lame reason to not sign it. Does the ACS condone the current actions of the EPA's administrator? Was the ACS pressured by the petrochemical industry not to sign it? The answers are not clear.
David L. Garin (Thu Sep 28 17:52:27 EDT 2017)
ACS should join the 16 other scientific societies in meeting with Pruitt. If we are not part of the discussion, we are not part of the solution. And chemistry is central to the issue of climate change. Climate change is an issue that should unite the different scientific communities. Since it is not well understood by the public and denied by the current administration, scientists need to be the leaders in finding solutions to this problem.

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