One of the more memorable remarks of our own nineteen seventies was overheard while serving time in the Life Sciences department of a large London University. “Politics,” declared the speaker, “is an infringement on the liberties of the individual.” The implication being that scientists, even aspiring ones, would be happier if left alone in their ivory towers to pursue untrammelled Knowledge.
Apart from the obvious omission that it was politicians who had collected the taxes to set up the institution and pay the speaker’s grant, there were too many issues joining scientists and administrators at the hip for them ever to be remotely separable. Even then, far sighted persons were beginning to worry about pollution and global warming.
Nowhere is this truth more apparent than at Nature. Here we are going to simply plug one of their podcasts which explores this issue.
‘Stick to the science’: when science gets political
A new three-part podcast series, Nature explores the question: ‘Why does a journal of science need to cover politics?’ We look at the history of the knotty relationship between science, politics and power, what it means for the objective ideals of science, and the danger of politicization in an increasingly divisive political landscape.
And nothing is more tragic than the fact that a simple scientific phenomenon such as anthropogenic global warming has become deeply politicised. Somehow the richer classes of the English-speaking nations have become lined up against their own poor, and most of the rest of the world.
Once again, it’s Nature in driver’s seat, with a shrewd warning for the power of those rich persons and their camp followers if they are not very careful:
The US has left the Paris climate deal — what’s next?
Other nations are stepping up targets to reduce emissions — but the world will struggle to meet its goals.
Regardless of who wins the US presidential election, the United States officially pulls out of the Paris climate agreement today. Although the United States played a major part in crafting the climate agreement, it will be the only one out of the nearly 200 parties to pull out of the pact. Nature explores how the move will dampen international efforts to halt global warming, shift the balance of power to China and tarnish US credibility on climate action.Nature | 5 min read
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