U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wants to Put Climate Science on Trial

Thomas Schueneman

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to conduct a show trial it calls the "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century." Others take the analogy further back to the witch trials of Salem in the 17th century.

Characterizing it as the "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a "trial" on climate change science - complete with witnesses, cross examinations, and a judge who would "rule" on the efficacy of the current body of peer-reviewed science.

A Witch Trial for Climate Science?

Claiming such a forum will "clarify" the issue, the effort comes in advance of the EPA formalizing its endangerment finding (pdf) that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health. The Chamber of Commerce wants not to clarify, say opponents, put to further confuse the issue, undermine the scientific method, and sow political discord - all in hopes of derailing any potential regulation on CO2 emissions.

Likened more as a "witch trial" by many critics of the idea, the EPA says any such hearing, theoretically modeled after the Scopes trial (in which the scientists won the case), is a "waste of time"; time that we do not have the luxury of wasting (pdf).

Holding science on trial is not how science is done. Any theory refuting the anthropogenic influence on climate has available to it the same peer-review process through which all scientific theories must pass to gain acceptance. The path to clarity, as best as humanely possible, on issues such as climate change is through the scientific method, not show trials.

For more, read my recent post on Red, Green, and Blue.

Further Reading:
Why Putting Climate Change on Trial is a Terrible Idea


Climate Politics & Policy