The National Science Foundation (NSF) is “an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 ‘to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.’” It can now add “fund plays on climate change” to that list.
The New York Times reports that the federal agency will award $700,000 of taxpayer money to a New York theater company to produce a show on climate change. Titled, “The Great Immensity,” the production will explore “the emotional and psychological aspects of the current environmental crisis.”
Whether one agrees with the premise of the play is irrelevant. It is not something the NSF needs to allocate resources for, given its subjective message. Even the Times calls it a “rare gift” since the agency traditionally funds research that involves math, science, and engineering.
Despite rigorous dissention among the scientific community concerning the effects of anthropogenic warming, the climatologists who believe it to be a serious problem controlled the message for years and continue to espouse warnings of an environmental crisis. The truth is that many prominent climatologists disagree. Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT writes that “we now know that the effect of [carbon dioxide] on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.”
Yes, the climate is changing, and it affects some areas of the world more than others. But it is not the crisis that alarmists purport it to be, and the environmental benefits from the proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are completely insignificant. Also often ignored are the benefits from living in a warmer world.
When there is much work to be done studying the effects of carbon dioxide and manmade emissions on global warming and creating a transparent debate on the science, is now the time to spend taxpayer dollars on a politically motivated play?
Nicolas Loris is a Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. Loris studies energy, environment and regulation issues such as the economic impacts of climate change legislation, a free market approach to nuclear energy and the effects of environmental policy on energy prices and the economy.
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