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paying the climate-change piper

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 01, 2009

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens makes a very sensible practical point about research into climate change.

Supply, as we know, creates its own demand. So for every additional billion in government-funded grants (or the tens of millions supplied by foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts), universities, research institutes, advocacy groups and their various spin-offs and dependents have emerged from the woodwork to receive them. 

His point: If you believe that human activity is endangering the global ecosystem, you can apply for research grants to explore that hypothesis. If you don't accept the hypothesis, however, you can't find support for your research to disprove it. Naturally, then, the preponderance of scientific research favors the hypothesis. The research that might have disfavored the hypothesis never got done. 

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  • Posted by: Alcuin - Dec. 01, 2009 6:16 PM ET USA

    I'm sure Exxon Mobil would be happy to fund research showing that CO2 emissions aren't that bad.

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