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Slogan 'The science is settled'

The phrase The science is settled is a way of summing up the attitude or position of advocates of the Kyoto Protocol. Ironically, the phrase is chiefly used by critics of these advocates. As in, "They say that the science is settled, but..."

Table of contents
1 Clinton Administration officials
2 Debate and consensus

Clinton Administration officials

A few Clinton adminstration officials have reportedly used the phrase.

Tim Wirth

Stu Eizenstat

Debate and consensus

In the public debate surrounding the Kyoto Protocol, one very important issue is the degree to which science supports the need for, and helpfulness of, the requirements outlined in the treaty. Some opponents of the Protocol allege that members of the Clinton administration used the slogan "the science is settled" in an effort to advance the claim that climate scientists had reached a scientific consensus on the matter.

For example, a press release [1] from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which describes itself as "a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government" and, which strongly opposes the Kyoto treaty, claims that "US lead global warming negotiator Stu Eizenstat misled the press at a November 10 press briefing. He announced that the 'science is settled,' parroting Vice President Al Gore's favorite non-truth, and went as far as to refuse to answer a reporter's question about the science."

In another example, a July 27, 1998 article [1] by Patrick J. Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute says that "U.S. Under Secretary of State Timothy Wirth (now working for Ted Turner's anti-global warming campaign) repeatedly declared that 'the science is settled'."

Although these opponents of Kyoto allege that use of the slogan was common, a January 2004 search of the Nexis/Lexis news database for the phrases "global warming" and "science is settled," only found 45 articles that contain both phrases -- and in most of those articles, the phrase "science is settled" was uttered by a global warming skeptic as a paraphrase of the purported views of their opponents. It is difficult to find unequivocal examples of administration officials or Kyoto advocates actually using the phrase.