A misuse of public funds: U.N. support for geomagnetic forecasting of earthquakes and meteorological disasters



The legitimate scientific community needs to be alerted to the expenditure of considerable public funds forpseudoscientific projects that build false hopes of protection from geophysical hazards. One example of such a project is a recently published, 147- page United Nations (U.N.) document titled “Manual on the Forecasting of Natural Disasters: Geomagnetic Methods.” Although the document has been distributed internationally, it seems not to have been subjected to pre-publication, international peer review.

The manual was prepared for a U.N. international workshop recently held in Beijing, China, from February 12 to 18,1998. The meeting was sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the State Seismological Bureau of China, the U.N. Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and Science of Disasters in the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) in Beijing.