List journal issues    
Home List journal issues Table of contents Subscribe to PAQ


Volume 28 • Number 4

October 2014



Truth, Inquiry, and Democratic Authority in the Climate Debate

by Phillip Deen

On February 15, 2011, State Representative Joe Read introduced HB 549 to the Montana legislature. According to its title, it was: "An Act Stating Montana’s Position on Global Warming." If passed, Montana’s position governing future policy or law would be that "(a) global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana; (b) reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; and (c) global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it." Read has openly admitted that he had not conferred with any scientists in drafting the bill and that he is motivated primarily by a belief that the federal government uses climate policy to gain revenue and consolidate power, even going so far as to manipulate federal grants to manufacture data: "If you follow the money, the science has been pushed toward where the money is coming from. The money is coming from the federal government. I believe global science is an ideal, not a true science. . . . As a citizen legislature, we are inclined to believe with the sun on our hands and our face, and we’re not seeing the global warming." While the scientific community is said to be corrupted by wealth and politics, the judgment of the lay public is unimpeachable. Thankfully, the bill has since died in committee and has little chance of becoming state law. However, it remains fascinating as an attempt to legislate in violation of scientific truth.

view PDF



Home | Issue Index
© 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Content in Public Affairs Quarterly is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the Public Affairs Quarterly database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

ISSN: 2152-0542