Has the climate change debate become too political before the appropriate research has been conducted?

At this point I’m concerned that the climate change debate is political and the “studies” are all politically motivated and funded. Do you think unbiased scientific research is still occuring on the question of climate change?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is a really difficult question to answer, mostly because it can be difficult to prove if scientific research was politically biased. Most research, at least in the United States, is funded by government subsidies. For climate change, as it is a very important political topic, it does get a lot of funding from the government. Of course for many politicians it would be more convenient for them if climate change is disproved, so they will most likely try to support the studies that lean in this direction. Money has always being a motivation for people, but I’d like to believe that scientists still have some integrity. But in my opinion the current situation was unavoidable. As it affects so many aspects of our lives, climate change was destined to be a major political issue. It is unfortunate that we simply have not found any conclusive evidence as to whether climate change really is occuring or not. Because of this ambiguity, it is easy for people to give more funding to scientists who are seeking to disprove the theory, or vice versa if they wish to support the climate change theory. If you look at it that way, then yes, biased research is occuring, but that does not neccesarily mean that this is a new phenomenon, nor that the studies themselves are necessarily wrong. But you could also say that, because climate change is such a hot political topic, studies that focus on it have a greater chance of being funded. By being such a political issue, climate change has caught the attention of the entire population, increasing awareness of the issue and making more people actually concerned about it.

  2. 0 Votes

    Edit: kayler, you made a really great post about science, money, and politics.  But there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is occuring. Click here. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    You might be surprised to know that there’s no debate.  Scientists and political leaders around the world have known that global warming is happening for years now. The research that’s being done is mostly about what to DO about climate change, not how to stop it.  

    So why do most people think climate science rests on shakey grounds?  Big companies that profit from carbon emissions don’t want to see laws limiting carbon legislation (which would cost them money) pass.  So, they spend HUGE amounts of money on public relations campaigns to, in their words “sow the seeds of doubt” among the public.  They make it seem like there’s a debate when there really isn’t; the “skeptics” are almost entirely a sham.

    Something very similar happened back in the 50’s and 60’s with the dangers of smoking.  Scientists knew tobacco was VERY bad for you and were trying to warn the general public, but Phillip Morris Tobacco spent money on PR to keep consumers confused about the real risks.  This delayed laws protecting people for at least a decade. 

    It’s no surprise you’re concerned; people are being very dishonest about climate change science, for political and business reasons.  I urge you to click on my link as it’s a great overview of what’s going on. 

  3. 0 Votes

    I agree with sarahtonin – there is scientific consensus across the world that climate change is occurring. Just a note about the method of good scientific research – good scientific research, by definition, is founded on eliminating bias through evidence. You propose a hypothesis, you look for evidence. If you believe the evidence supports your hypothesis, you write up an article for publication, detailing your methodology and your results, with the explicit purpose of allowing other scientists to replicate your work and see if similar results are obtained. The article goes through what is known as a “peer-review” process, in which other experts in the field examine it to ensure that it’s argument is valid, and then it is published. And the scientific world reads it, critiques it, sets off to replicate it, and thereby either proves its claims are right or reveals them to be false. There is little room for bias when the topic, like climate change, requires (and has received) constant validation is such a broad array of subfields. Sarahtonin is absolutely correct.

    As an example, here’s a flow chart of the research methedology of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

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