[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 13:09 GMT
US scientists reject interference
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

Storm clouds (BBC)
There have been claims of political interference on climate issues
Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process.

The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy.

According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons.

It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives.

The Union has released an "A to Z" guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education.

Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.

"It's very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it's even harder to make good public policy with bad science," said Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.

"In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources."

The statement was released at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting. It is an annual gathering of Earth scientists.

Last year, it triggered a major row when a discussion here resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen later claiming he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues.

Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views.

"This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop," he told BBC News.

The Union said is was hopeful that the new Congress taking office in January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process.

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk




SEE ALSO
Chaotic world of climate truth
04 Nov 06 |  Science/Nature
Science will stick with peer review
10 Jan 06 |  Science/Nature
Bush aide 'edited climate papers'
09 Jun 05 |  Americas
A question of creation
15 Aug 05 |  Magazine
Spacecraft seek climate clarity
28 Apr 06 |  Science/Nature

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific