The new EU commission head, Jean-Claude Juncker, apparently bowed to pressure from “environmentalist” NGOs and axed the chief scientific advisor office.
The move was sadly not entirely unexpected as politicians in general have a history of buying in the narrative of anti-science NGOs, be they climate science deniers in the U.S. or anti-GMOs “greens” over here. But this decision doesn’t bode well with the EU commission claim that European economy should rest on knowledge. How to achieve this without someone able to hold an informed opinion on science. Not just scientific results, but the scientific process itself — the production of knowledge?
Full story (and opinion) can be read here.
This is ironic that the announcement happened the day of philæ landing. An achievement of European science if any. But is it surprising? Not really. A sham paper1, since retracted2, was enough for the French minister of agriculture to call for a ban on GM culture in Europe, the then (and still) French minister for agriculture claiming that the Séralini study was comforting its government position3. This year, the French government even rushed to pass a law forbidding farmers to plant GM corn in France, in the face of what these farmers wanted4 (a fact that alone should question the trope that GM plants are a heavier burden on farmers than non-GM ones), which in itself isn’t a problem (regulation is a prerogative of governments) but also in the face of the scientific knowledge concerning GM safety…
Ironically, according to Mark Lynas, the axing of this office pleases not only anti-GM organisations — which petitioned for that — but also climate change denialists.
This anti-science campaign looks a bit like a witch hunt, and more specifically, that one: