Lost Credibility?: Scientists, Advocacy and Acid Rain

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Shortly after the passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the March 1991 signing of the United States Air Quality Accord, and the release of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program s Integrated Assessment in November of 1991, there appeared a firestorm of criticism directed at the science of acid rain. Some of the severest criticism came from within the scientific community, as prominent researchers castigated scientists for lacking objectivity, for failing to distinguish between science and policy, and for out-right advocacy of policy positions. The findings of this study, based on interviews of both United States and Canadian scientists in 1997, suggest that while many scientists continue to share these concerns, more and more scientists are viewing advocacy as a moral and civic obligation.