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« Met Office to review its temperature series | Main | The Hockey Team: still no dissent permitted »

The Royal Society on Climategate

In September 2006, the Royal Society was apparently concerned about ExxonMobil's involvement in funding political lobby groups. This is what they said at that time.

The Society welcomes open debate, underpinned by sound science, on the subject of climate change.

This is an admirable position for the Royal Society to take. A national academy should demand open debate on scientific issues and must require the science that informs that debate to be sound.

This is important, because we have seen in the CRU emails that prominent climate scientists, among them one of the Society's own advisers, have attempted to prevent free debate on the subject of climate change. On an issue of such importance it is inconceivable that the Royal Society would not take an unequivocal stand.

In that same statement, the society also said this:

In September 2006, the Royal Society wrote to ExxonMobil to express concern that some of its corporate publications were presenting a misleading view of the scientific evidence about climate change and were over-emphasising uncertainties about what we do and don't know....

As the UK's national academy of science, the Royal Society has a responsibility to speak out when scientific evidence is misrepresented. We will continue to do this on climate change and on other issues.

It is essential that the scientific evidence on climate change is accurately represented so that policymakers, industry, the public and other stakeholders can make informed decisions about what actions to take.

I think all sides can agree that misrepresentation of the science to policymakers must be prevented. Informed decision-making by politicians is vital. Again, the need for a statement from the Royal Society is overwhelming. It is clear at least from "Mike's Nature trick" that scientific evidence has been misrepresented. (The argument that the word "trick" means "technique" when used in the context of "hiding the decline" is foolish in the extreme. The ready acceptance of this wordplay by journalists has brought them nothing but ridicule.) Removing evidence that tree ring proxies are failing to capture temperature changes is simple misrepresentation.

This is an important moment for the Royal Society.  The evidence is clear - scientists at the CRU have misrepresented our understanding of the Earth's temperature history to policymakers. The Society must speak out now. If it does not, then the fellows must take a stand against the Society's leadership. Failing that the premier scientific body of the UK will forever be brushed aside as another mouthpiece for the environmental movement.

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Reader Comments (14)

Is there an address at ExonMobil we sceptics can send our exs to? I'm feeling left out.

Interesting piece:

key section:

Isotope analysis allows researchers to conduct their work using a smaller sample size than needed when trying to re-construct temperature records using tree ring width. Porter explains that the width of rings can vary considerably between trees even when they are growing in the same stand. This variation can complicate reconstructions of past climate.

A number of factors influence ring size, including the age of the tree and the location of the tree within the forest. Older trees tend to have smaller rings than younger trees. And trees within the same area might not all receive the same amount of light, nutrients or even water.

"Growth is controlled by many things . . . they (trees) can all end up just a little bit different," says Porter.

I'm sure Mann compensated for all those factors.

Dec 5, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoue le Jour

Apologies in advance if your grace has already seen this page but it rather drives a coach and four through the CO2 causes warming argument.

Dec 5, 2009 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered Commentersickofit

"The argument that the word "trick" means "technique" when used in the context of "hiding the decline" is foolish in the extreme": absolutely. When I use some neat little mathematical ruse, I always call it a "stunt". :)

Dec 5, 2009 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

yep, this is a biggie. Will Western science survive this crisis? The Royal Society has a lot of cleaning house to do if it is to survive. The lack of resignation at the top is not a good sign.

Dec 5, 2009 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrianSJ

If you want a touch of Irony go to the emails and word search Shell. You will quickly find out that CRU's Mick Kelly was shilling for Shell Oil, but it gets better, him and cohort Dr. Hulme were also looking for money from BP/Amoco and the biggest of Ironies Esso UK which is a division of Exxon/mobile. Can't have Big Oil mislead the policymakers now can we. Or Can we?

Dec 5, 2009 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterboballab

I posted a comment on

Dec 5, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterClaes Johnson

"GLOBALVIEW-CO2 is derived from measurements but contains no actual data. To facilitate use with carbon cycle modeling studies, the measurements have been processed (smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated) resulting in extended records that are evenly incremented in time."

Sound familiar?

Dec 5, 2009 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnon

So who should investigate the Royal Society?

They are obviously, by their own statements, colluding with the rest of the eco-grifters, science be-damned.

Dec 5, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred

So if the Royal Society is being honest about their reasons to impartially speak out that have written to U of East Anglia, NERC, the government et al calling on them to stop funding the CRU.

But only if.

Dec 5, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Folks may find this interesting. If you compare the raw CRU temp profiles against the AGW models (which is the right method to assess the models) you discover AGW cannot exist. What CRU has been doing is taking temp profiles that don't show a hockey stick and adding in hockey stick, which magically matches those models that assume a hockey stick will show up in the Temp data. Climategate just proved AGW as a theory is wrong.

Hope they welcome this!

Dec 5, 2009 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJStrta

the CO2 article is interesting - but makes great emphasis on the inppropriateness of siting staions that can be affected by known sources (China, North Slope, Powers Stations)

But - erm - isn't this one of the points? - sources like this are indeed putting CO2 into the atmosphere.

For me one of the biggest lines of investigation is in the CO2/Temp causality. Some claim that temperature drives CO2 (not the other way round)

Is this subject to proof?

Dec 5, 2009 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterHysteria

[snipped-sorry, way too long and way off topic]

Dec 5, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan neil ditchfield

Doubt that the Royal Society will come out strongly against CRU(d) principals, practices, etc. Their recent leadership strongly warmist — see for example, Lord May's 2007 Lowy Lecture (, "Relations Among Nations on a Finite Planet."

From RS expect something along the lines of the Nature editorial, "Climatologists Under Pressure" ( Bottom line for all these people is that climate change a "multiplier" — i.e., warming exacerbates ecological imbalance resulting from excessive human ecological footprint. Only solution in their view reduced human impacts — achievable either by reducing per capita footprint or total population. Very grim.

Discussion of these and related matters at

Dec 6, 2009 at 4:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterT. A. Speaker

Corporate boogeymen... In the US these days, it's health insurance companies. The demonization of big business by politicians to scare -- and win the votes of -- the ignorant.

Oil companies are flawed, for-profit enterprises, no doubt, and when they behave badly they ought be punished. But one ought also note: big oil companies have profoundly (like, in a really big huge enormous meaningful way) improved the human condition by bringing us readily available low cost energy.

Absent any scientific climate knowledge, corporate boogeymen is but one of several clues that ought to have made laymen suspicious - open advocacy on the part of top scientists (Hansen) for example. You needn't be a physicists to smell a rat.

Dec 6, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterkdk33

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