John Droz – The Corruption Our National Academy of Science
John Droz has shared a disturbing story about an interaction with “a senior person” from the National Academy of Science in a post on energyblogs.com titled The Corruption of our National Academies. It seems that John, who has expertise in renewable energy systems, had some strong reservations about the quality of the science underlying an NAS report titled America’s Energy Future: Electricity from Renewables: Technology Opportunities, Risks, and Tradeoffs.
John was interested in finding out more about the study’s methods, conflicts of interest among reviewers, review comments, and other fairly standard information about a report that provides policy recommendations that are supposed to be based on the best available science. I will let you go and read John’s story for yourself, but here is a pertinent quote:
I was surprised that such a PR piece had been released by the Academies, and decided to investigate whether this was an aberration, or a degradation of standards. I was put in touch with a senior person at the Academies — we’ll play Dear Abby here and (to protect the innocent) call him “Dr. D.”
I had several lengthy correspondences with Dr. D, and the more I heard, the more concerned I became. In the beginning, after I objected to the lack of science and objectivity in this report, Dr. D tried to dismiss my contentions by stating that I simply didn’t like its conclusions.
That, of course, was a disingenuous response, as I had said nothing about the report’s conclusions, and had focused my comments on its methodology. Unfortunately, this was a sign of similar foolishness to come.
John’s experience may be an aberration, but it might also indicate a wider problem that needs further investigation and action. We must continue to reinforce the notion that there really are some facts in the world that can be discovered. We do not have to make decisions based on unsupportable opinions and we definitely should not be making decisions based on protecting narrow economic interests that put the interests of millions of other people into a secondary position.
Thank you Rod. I read the links twice. This expresses exactly the concerns I have had for some time.
After skimming through the summary I might as well have been reading a report developed by the AWEA, NREL or RMI, Lovin’s group.
Doing a quick internet search of some of the individuals preparing and reviewing this report to see their credentials, I fail to see true indepedence. I saw a lot of people who have made their careers in some form of renewable energy but only a couple of that might quailify as being truly energy or scientifically neutral.
I basically stopped reading the online version after about the 10th time of seeing renewable energy called a disruptive technology while several paragraphs later seeing a plea for more federal money for additional research. To be a true disruptive technology it must fundamentally change the landscape while providing technology that is more cost effective to use. I do not see wind and solar supplying any more then 10-15% of our nation’s energy at cost effective rates. I will sometime go back to see if they factored in the various governmental incentives into their economic analysis or if they were silent about how much money is already funding wind, solar and wave power.
The report also appears to discuss how we must change how we use energy, i.e. we must root out all forms of energy inefficiency no matter the cost.
To bad the NAS has joined the renewable band wagon in this fashion but then the organization has had political issues for years. My concern is that ASME might be doing the same thing since I was asked recently my opinion on ASME supporting rewneables at the Washington DC level in a poll that was sent out to many ASME members. My response was that ASME can not appear to be supporting one technology over another as its goal is to provide scientific and engineering standards as well as education for all industries, not support politically popular power generation technology while disregarding other possible solutions. When the engineering societies begin to jump on the renewable bandwagon without considering the long term impications then we are in trouble.
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