One of the themes in the comments on RealClimate's first thread on the CRU hack was that, yes, there may be problems with the Hockey Team, but that we should listen to the learned academies like the NAS and the Royal Society.
A while back I started to make some enquiries into the Royal Society's position paper on global warming. This is a rather outspoken document entitled Facts and Fictions About Climate Change which does a splendid job of (a) creating straw men and (b) failing to knock them down very convincingly.
It was written, according to the RS by "a group led by Sir David Wallace FRS, Treasurer of the Royal Society, and Sir John Houghton FRS, former chair of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."
This explained a lot. Having met Houghton briefly, I could recognise his personality in the writing. He has a way of speaking about people he disagrees with that is unforgettable, if hard to define.
And then the thought struck me. Why was Houghton's style written all over it? Why not any of the others in the group? Who had written what?
So I wrote a letter to the Royal Society officer with responsibility for climate change. After a bit of to and fro-ing I elicited a reply, which was quite forthcoming.
The climate change controversies document was compiled in late 2006/early 2007 with the help of our climate change advisory network and other climate change scientists. The climate change advisory network is an informal group that we use to provide us with advice on climate science related issues on an as-needs basis.
Those involved in the compilation and review of the controversies document included:
Prof John Pyle FRS, Prof Peter Cox, Sir Prof Brian Hoskins FRS, Prof Tim Palmer FRS, Prof John Mitchell FRS, Prof Chris Freeman, Dr Simon Lewis, Dr Y Malhi, Dr J A Lake, Dr Nicole Augustin, Prof John Houghton FRS, Prof John Shepherd FRS, Prof Harry Bryden FRS, Prof Rick Battarbee FRS, Prof Carl Wunsch ForMem, Dr Philip Reid, Dr Richard Kirby, Prof Alastair Fitter FRS, Prof Nicholas White FRS, Prof Joanna Haigh, Prof Nick McCave, Prof Martin Parry, Prof John Reynolds, Prof John Harries, Prof Keith Shine FRS, Prof Peter Liss FRS, Prof Chris Rapley, Dr Carol Turley, Prof Michael Lockwood FRS, Prof Nigel Weiss FRS, Prof Phil Jones, Prof Chris Folland, Dr Giles Harrison and Dr Ed Hill.
Recognise some of those names? A veritable who's who of global warming promoters, Hockey players and the like.
But wait a moment, the question was, who wrote the thing? Clearly not all of these people, there are far too many. So I wrote back asking who wrote and who reviewed (as well as asking for permission to publish the list of names above).
And back came the answer that permission was granted. But no mention of who wrote it.
And so I wrote back and asked again, who wrote the paper?
And answer, was there none.
In 2007, when the Royal Society's position paper was written, the official statement of climate science was still the Third Assessment Report. Should we now conclude that the position paper was written by Sir John Houghton, the scientist responsible for that same third assessment report, working alone?