Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright 2010 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


As I write this on the first business day of 2010, I find myself thinking about the importance of respecting alternative views --- not only alternative political views, but also alternative scientific views. Good science requires that we understand the limits of knowledge and continuously seek the truth through respectful questioning, replication and review. In the climate change debate, which recently culminated in a disappointing and largely ineffective conference in Copenhagen, these salient principles of science were grossly violated. Well respected climate scientists proceeded well beyond the limits of their knowledge and became policy advocates. They demeaned anyone who dared to disagree with their findings or to suggest that limiting CO2 emissions may not be the best policy choice at the present time. Disagreeing with the “experts” became disrespected professional behavior, even within the academic community. This approach has not served the interests of anyone very well.