The ‟ozone crisis” transformed atmospheric science. Politically, it led to a reconfiguration of international discussions on the environment, a change that has now been well documented. But how did the question of chlorofluorocarbon pollution (CFC) impact relations between scientific experts and politicians in France during the 1970s? What were the whys and wherefores of the support that French specialists of the stratosphere received during the first phase of the crisis? We study the archives of the DGRST (Délégation Générale à la Recherche Scientifique et Technique; the state-created science and technology research agency of the time, charged with coordinating government, research institute, and university research), which proved a key vector of that support as it was instrumental in setting up a ‟concerted action” (CA) on the physical-chemical properties of the stratosphere (1976-1981). The archive material clarifies how the need for international cooperation interacted with national sovereignty issues in connection with a global environmental crisis, while enabling us to analyze the content of interactions between scientific and political decision-makers within the CA framework. While the CA greatly bolstered research power, it also seems to have been an important locus for defining ‟useful research”, a space where researchers were directly confronted with the wishes and expectations of the political authorities.
- research policy
- atmospheric science