Further Comment on “AGU Statement: Investigation of Scientists and Officials in L'Aquila, Italy, Is Unfounded”



The AGU statement on the investigation of Italian scientists and officials in regard to the L'Aquila earthquake (Eos, 91(28), 248, 13 July 2010) appears to be a noble attempt to protect not only these individuals but also those AGU members who are involved in similar hazard and risk assessments. But in the long run this statement not only damages AGU by misleading its membership as to the responsibilities of the indicted individuals but also sends the wrong message to the Italian scientific communities about their social responsibilities.

The AGU statement assumes that the indicted individuals are innocent because it is not possible for scientists to predict earthquakes, but it neglects to explain what their scientific responsibilities are and why these individuals may be also guilty of failing to properly exercise their social responsibility. If one accepts public funds, has the responsibility of deciding how to manage those funds, and is playing the double role of a scientist and a politician, one is also responsible for both the scientific and social consequences of one's actions. Because some of the indicted individuals are also responsible for drafting and promoting the unreliable Vesuvius Evacuation Plan (http://www.westnet.com/~dobran), they should also be accountable for the consequences in the Vesuvius area.