‘good science, bad science and the scourge of denialism’

December 17, 2010

The dairy we’re at Nottingham’s iconic and multi-award winning No1 Nottingham Science Park on Tuesday night for a rare opportunity to listen to one of the environmental movements leading figures, Jonathon Porritt.

In the event (co-sponsored by Nottinghamshire’s new Greentech Business Network and sustainable developer Blueprint) Jonathon, a founder director of Forum for the Future, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission and author of Capitalism as if the world matters, addressed some of the issues around the potential of Britain’s low carbon economy.

Titled ‘good science, bad science and the scourge of denialism,’ Jonathon (described by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as “One of the most prominent voices promoting green issues over the last 25 years”) spoke with great knowledge and conviction about the way in which ‘bad’ science is used to deny climate change.

“Everybody accepts that the foundations for a low-carbon, genuinely sustainable economy have to be built on the best possible scientific evidence,” said Jonathon. “Politicians are only too keen to sign up to the principle of evidence-based policy-making, but the reality looks rather different. Policy responses on climate, energy, biodiversity, resource management, water and waste are all extremely partial in the way they reflect the state of science today. Debates around these issues are often compromised by ‘bad science’, by which I mean the use of incomplete or inaccurate data to justify pre-determined positions. Worse yet, the growing phenomenon of ‘denialism’ (where scientific evidence is seen to have no more value to decision makers than partisan and ideologically-motivated viewpoints), particularly in the US, poses a serious threat to the role of science in society today.”




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