Exploring the Atomic Origins of Climate Science

1/26/2017

Read Jill Lepore on the atomic origins of climate science in the New Yorker. She includes information from Paul Rubinson's book Redefining Science; Scientists, the National Security State, and Nuclear Weapons in Cold War America.

Lepore writes: 

"On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, in what came to be called his “Star Wars” speech. . . . The Union of Concerned Scientists prepared a hundred-and-six-page report opposing the project. [Carl] Sagan, who had just had an emergency appendectomy and two full-body blood transfusions, dictated a letter of objection from his hospital bed. What Sagan did next is recounted in a new book by Paul Rubinson, “Redefining Science,” a history of science in a national-security state."

Rubinson's book shows that the government achieved its Cold War “consensus” only by active opposition to powerful dissenters and helps explain the current and uneasy relationship between scientists, the public, and government in debates over issues such as security, energy, and climate change.