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« Deepak Lal on consensus | Main | School fete »
Tuesday
Jun222010

The wisdom of Solomon

As part of his ongoing investigations into the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, David Holland has used FoI to get hold of a pile of emails from Professor Brian Hoskins, then of the University of Reading and now at Imperial College.  Readers will remember that Professor Hoskins amusingly rubber-stamped the list of papers chosen by UEA for the Oxburgh report.

I thought I'd highlight one particular email, which stands on its own as being something of an indictment both of the Royal Society and the IPCC. It's an email from an IPCC bigwig, Susan Solomon, who was in charge of the admin for the Working Group 1 report for the Fourth Assessment Report. Solomon sent it to Rachel Garthwaite of the Science Policy Unit of the Royal Society. Regular readers may remember Ms Garthwaite as the person who stopped answering my questions about who it was who wrote the Royal Society's position papers on climate.

The email dates from 2006, nearly 9 months before the release of the Fourth Assessment Report. Garthwaite is trying to organise speakers to attend a Royal Society lecture to coincide with the report's publication. The email appears to be from Garthwaite with Solomon's inline responses:

RG: Thank you for calling last week and my apologies for having taken so long to get back to you. I am out of the office all of this week but wanted to reassure you that the Royal Society is still very keen to hold an event to showcase the WG1 report and we have taken your comments regarding the potential content of the meeting very seriously.

SS: thanks - I think it was very helpful.

RG: In terms of ensuring there are no climate sceptics present at the meeting, obviously this will be difficult to ensure if the meeting is open to members of the public.

SS: I didn't say anything along these lines.   I fully expect some to be present in the audience.

RG: However we have no intention of inviting any known sceptics to the meeting, and certainly would not have invited representation on any discussion panel should we decide to have one.

SS:Yes, that is the point - they should not be invited to take the podium as speakers or panelists because that is simply not an appropriate representation of the state of understanding and uncertainty.  The public has been confused enough by one side says this, the other that.  This issue has gone far beyond that and this meeting should reflect that.

It's astonishing to see these two organisations, which are supposed to be neutrals in the climate debate, getting down and dirty, taking sides and doing their darndest to make sure their side wins. No sceptics allowed. In fact, Rachel Garthwaite goes on to try to persuade Solomon that the Royal Society event should be about policy matters rather than scientific ones.

RG: In terms of ensuring that the content of the meeting does not breach IPCC rules we will of course include both yourself and Tim Palmer in the organisation of the meeting to ensure the content reflects these rules while still meeting the needs of the Royal Society (ie that there is some element of policy discussion)...

SS: As you know, WG1 is the physical science report.   I am concerned to understand what it is you are proposing.  Please clarify what it is you are envisioning regarding 'some element of policy discussion'.

It's funny to see the Royal Society trying to argue that one of their events should be about policy rather than science. Does anyone seriously doubt that the Royal Society has become simply another arm of the government, a body to give a scientific gloss to whatever it is the government wants to do?

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Reader Comments (18)

So funny! If only it wasn't serious

Jun 22, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick

No, we don't doubt it at all.

Jun 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

That's a helluva thing, really. I'm perpetually in a state of disgust at the way the people who are supposed to be defenders of the integrity of sciences are exposed as politicisers and manipulators of the very thing they're charged with protecting.

Jun 22, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

Can you let us know what the RG clarification was? Presumably there's more to the email exchange?

Jun 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjustinert

The RS has lost all scientific credibility. It will take some regaining.

Jun 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

All together now, breathe.
==========

Jun 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

"Solomon sent it to Rachel Garthwaite of the Science Policy Unit of the Royal Society"

So no surprise really that the Science Policy Unit want to discuss policy. Was this Unit set up specifically for the important business of climate change by any chance ?

Jun 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterpjb

The science of climate change: A Royal Society showcase of the IPCC 4th Assessment Working Group 1 Report

http://royalsociety.org/Event.aspx?id=1818

“….a body to give a scientific gloss to whatever it is the government wants to do?

The Government is trying to establish an energy supply that’s not dependant on Russia or the Middle East and climate change is an excuse that makes it a more plausible worldwide policy without upsetting the current suppliers.

Jun 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

I sound like a broken record on this subject, but you must read Lindzen's 2008 paper:

Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?
http://arxiv.org/vc/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762v1.pdf

Quoting: "In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage."

[BH adds: I've read it!]

Jun 22, 2010 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Why does the RS have a 'Science Policy Unit'?

Jun 22, 2010 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Contrast this with the Heartland ICCC conferences where invitations are sent to many prominent alarmists and any alarmist can attend even without an express invitation. And they are allowed to speak - encouraged even.

So which side is afraid of something?

Jun 22, 2010 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermovielib

How does one go about asking for a Royal Warrant to be removed from a bent society?

Jun 23, 2010 at 4:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

Do you mean 'the Royal Society's position papers on climate'? (2nd para)

[BH adds: Thanks, yes. Fixed now]

Jun 23, 2010 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDR

To Pete Hayes. While we have the royal quacktioner in the shape of Prince Charles spouting his stuff. No chance.

Jun 23, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

" Does anyone seriously doubt that the Royal Society has become simply another arm of the government, a body to give a scientific gloss to whatever it is the government wants to do?" Bought and paid for, my dear Lord Bishop. Filthy lucre beats Science yet again.

Jun 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Do you have a link to the original source material?

Jun 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Pielke, Jr.

The business of trying to reduce the occurrence and impacts of man-induced global warming is too important to be held back by naysayers, so the RS and IPCC are entirely justified in not welcoming such interference at their meetings.

Jun 27, 2010 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterCC

Thank you for such a fantastic blog. Where else could anyone get this kind of information written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

Sep 14, 2010 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterarbitration Ukraine

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