What is AGU's proper role in society?



A series of articles that appeared in Eos (“Planet Earth Report,” December 11–25, 1990) concerning our terrestrial environment, ranging from the Earth's interior to the magnetosphere were generated by a concern that a more comprehensive understanding of our Earth is needed, requiring a “Mission to Planet Earth” that includes substantial efforts in surface and sub-oceanic measurements, as well as spaceborne. Our question is whether AGU should undertake further action on public issues raised by these educative articles, since almost any action involves judgments based on more than geophysical expertise.

Guidelines on public issues were stated by the AGU Council in May 1982: “As a scientific society, AGU should not take or advocate public positions on judgmental issues that extend beyond the range of available geophysical data or recognized norms of legitimate scientific debate.”