NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Politics and Ideology Combat Scientific Innovation

April 11, 2013

For more than 30 years, politicians on the left have politicized science to combat innovations and economic development. From attacks on President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative to challenging natural gas development, leftists have used junk science for three decades to achieve political ends, says Kevin Mooney, an investigative reporter for the Pelican Institute.

  • In recent years, proposals to build the Keystone XL pipeline, extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and employ new high-tech agricultural technologies have been met with great resistance from those claiming the proposals would damage the environment.
  • Defenders of the environment have used twisted science to convince Governor Cuomo of New York to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, which is depriving the state and citizens of an untold amount of wealth.

The environmental impact of fracking on human health has been deemed too great to warrant the extraction technique in the Northeast, where powerful lobbyists and wealthy families with deep political connections are spending huge sums of money on a campaign against fracking.

The pro-fracking side is not as well-funded or organized as the anti-frackers, despite researchers with the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Energy Department finding that greenhouse emissions from shale gas do not exceed those from coal.

  • The geopolitical ramifications of not developing America's energy resources could allow countries like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Russia to dominate global energy markets.
  • Russia is funding an anti-shale gas public relations campaign in Europe to suppress new energy development and maintain its monopoly.
  • Whenever scientists reach a conclusion that is favorable to the oil and gas industry, left-wing academics are quick to attack the researcher whose experimentation and observation yields results counter to the green agenda.

The politicization of science stretches back to the First World War, when the American Association for the Advancement of Science had a close relationship with the Soviet front group American Association of Scientific Workers. Another group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, is often quoted by the media as if it is scientific but it is, in fact, open to anyone who will pay a $35 initiation fee.

As long as science research in universities is supported by federal research, anti-corporation agendas are likely to be the result regardless of the actual science or observations.

Source: "30 Years of Junk Science, from SDI to Fracking," Capital Research Center, April 3, 2013.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues