The fourth thing we can do is to support the link between science and government. Now more than ever science needs to underpin decision-making in all facets of society.
No one person or segment of society can claim to be totally free of bias and self-interest, and scientists are no exception. However, the checks and balances within the scientific community are stringent and tend to weed out ideas that are not based on rigorous evaluation and testing of competing hypotheses.
Government provides funding for this process in the way of scientific research into societal concerns, such as economic or environmental. The outcomes of that research are made freely available and should provide the basis for decision-making.
We’ve tried that rule by experts thing before. Didn’t work out well to be honest.
But within the same article we have this:
It is beyond question now that the three greatest threats to coral reefs worldwide are overfishing, pollution, and climate change. For the first two, there are tangible ways to affect positive outcomes by management of coastal zones, and through fisheries management.
But many scientists believe that even with these “local” efforts, and the observation that healthy ecosystems are better equipped to deal with thermal stress than disturbed ones, global climate change can quickly overwhelm even the best managed reefs. Part of any strategy to save coral reefs is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to do it now. The COP21 conference agreement in Paris late last year provided a glimmer of hope by recognising that limiting global warming to 1.5C represents our best hope at maintaining ecosystems.
Australia has a special responsibility to cut emissions as the 2016 and earlier bleaching events illustrate that global warming has already had a huge negative effect on the Great Barrier Reef. But we also have a unique opportunity to play a global leading role by keeping coal in the ground and refusing foreign investors to develop what will amount to substantial increases in global CO2 gas emissions.
So the second thing Australia needs to do is to place a moratorium on coal – greenhouse gases need to be cut now, and Australia can play a vital role.
The actual science here says that over some number of decades to come it might be a good idea for us to reduce our fossil fuel emissions. That’s a fair distillation of the IPCC reports. A scientific analysis of what we are doing would also show that that is what we are doing. A1FI, RCP 8.5, we’ve already taken measures to make sure that neither of those pathways will actually happen.
COP21, an entirely political process, might well call for more. But that’s not exactly science, is it? And it’s entirely contrary to the economic science in the Stern Review. Which flat out states that a temperature target is not the right way to do this, but a cost/benefit target is. Further, that the correct way to get to a cost/benefit target is to tax emissions, not use regulatory means.
Thus we find that this appeal to science is actually an appeal to YOU DAMN PROLES DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO AND DO IT NOW YOU BASTARDS.
Which is why that rule by experts didn’t work out all that well when we tried it before.