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Umwelt-Aufklärung der Öffentlichkeit als wissenschaftliche Wahrheitspflege?

Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz

In 2013, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) published a brochure, which outlines the contemporary results of scientific research in climate change, thereby countering common arguments of climate change sceptics. The UBA explicitly named some more or less popular climate change sceptics and their publications and branded them as irrational, unscientific, and irrelevant. Their contribution to a ‘post-factual discourse’ was pseudo-science, incompatible with the overwhelming majority of scientists’ results on climate change research. Two affected journalists whose (rather bizarre) popular science publications, which argued against anthropogenic climate change, fought back and filed a lawsuit against the UBA to desist from publicly discrediting their publications. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Saxony-Anhalt – as court of last resort – has recently quashed the lawsuit. The court affirms that presenting the right scientific facts about climate change publicly was part of the public relations work of the agency according to statutory law. In contrast, the review essay argues that a state agency is, due to the freedom of scientific research, simply not competent to evaluate scientific truth and to denounce scientifically pariahs as charlatanry publicly and officially.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz ist Lehrstuhlinhaber für Öffentliches Recht an der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.


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