Original Research

Climate wars and fat wars: A new role for law

Irma J. Kroeze
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 13, No 1 | a419 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v13i1.419 | © 2017 Irma J. Kroeze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 February 2017 | Published: 31 October 2017

About the author(s)

Irma J. Kroeze, Department of Jurisprudence, College of Law, University of South Africa, South Africa


Public trust in science is eroding because of a number of conflicts. In the sphere of climate science and of nutrition science, a basic methodological difference between scientists has escalated into what can be called wars. These wars are the result of influences such as personalities of leading scientists and powerful commercial and political interests. The wars have escalated to such an extent that leading scientists are being threatened with legal action and disciplinary procedures for advocating divergent views. These legal processes are not primarily about the procedural aspects of their actions, but are couched as being ‘about the science’. This means that legal processes are being used to ‘settle’ the science – something that the law has never been required to do. This new role for law has implications for legal education and requires that lawyers become more capable to understand empirical research.


climate change; nutrition science; critical legal studies; philosophy of science


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