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President-elect Donald Trump used a specific tactic in an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace on Sunday. When asked about the environment, Trump said: "I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. I’ve, look, I’m somebody that gets it. And nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast. ”
Trump is not saying climate change doesn't exist — he's just saying the jury's still out. This is a strategy corporations like Ford and Chevron have been using for years. When they face lawsuits, they often turn to special firms that provide "expert witnesses" and "scientific evidence" to counter the claims. The problem is that evidence is often "we need more evidence."
These so-called "science-for-hire" firms fund studies that often end up in scientific journals to specifically influence people in the industry and in courtrooms.
Myron Levin is the editor and founder of FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on public health, safety, and environmental issues. He co-wrote an article titled "From Asbestos to Pesticides to Pork: Big Companies in Legal Scrapes Turn to Science-for-Hire Giant Exponent," about one of the biggest of these science-for-hire firms.