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Ward's murky past

From David Rose's Twitter feed we learn the hilarious news that Bob Ward used to be a punk rocker. Ward had been trying to head off any publicity for Judith Curry's recent revelations about attribution of global warming and in response Rose tweeted this:

I'm on holiday and not working on anything, you barmy, obsessive weirdo. Okay?

Rude, but it could have been worse. I guess the truth sometimes hurts. But then Rose went on to add this delectable snippet:

This the same Bob Ward who's always claiming to spot inaccuracies? Yup. That's him. The ex punk who never got his phd.

I hear on the grapevine that Ward sported a multicoloured mohican and body piercings in the dim and distant past. Please let someone have some photos!

In the meantime, here is the latest staff photo from the Grantham Institute:

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Reader Comments (62)

Was it Subway Sect?

There are pictures of someone looking suspiciously like a Youthful Bob Ward playing for them.

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

Subway Sect did have a drummer named Bob Ward.

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterex punk

And that drummer played in this session

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

There's a good image of the drummer here:

Could be, he looks miserable enough.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

No doubt the fast fingers will be here to put things right.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And I had him down as an Emo - lonely, isolated and depressed.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

This is playing the man and not the ball?

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Bob is probably still cross about leaving Dexy's Midnight Runners just before Geno.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Subway Sect's Bob Ward is R.I.P. Just Bob Ward's catastrophic AGW franchise.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJean Demesure

R.I.P. was Bob's nickname.

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I don't see why this has to do with anything. Lot's of people were into punk rock in the late seventies-early eighties, so what? I still like prog so I'm a real dinosaur, does that mean that my views on climate change are invalid?

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

If Bob Ward was in Dexy's then I won't hear a bad word said about him. Bestest band ever!

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Forget punk or the young ones, I think Bob Ward is more like Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi (Mis) Information Minister during the Iraqi war..

They exhibit similar levels of spin and credibility when they speak!

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton


Sep 1, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A.

Don't go too mad on this - all people have a past you know!! Even the tarnished saint Blair was in a rock band - and probably everyone else.

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

Bob Ward is a risible and despicable figure....but not because he was once a punk...or indeed anything else. He is a risible figure because of what he is and does now.

Not relevant...but mildly amusing. A little payback for the ad homs leveled at Lord Monckton by other catastrophists?

We probably ought to be above this.

"Barmy obsessive weirdo" hits the spot, though!

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

> This is playing the man and not the ball?

I think this adds to Bob's character, not detracts.

It is just a bit of fun. Nobody is claiming that he is secretly funded by "Big Punk". Nobody is claiming that his playing in a punk band makes him "Right Wing" or "Left Wing", Nobody is claiming that his views are irrelevant because of his membership of a Punk Band.

Sep 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

To those objecting to the revelation and subsequent mirth, I would point out that the vile Ward is simply getting a dose of the medicine he so routinely dishes-out.

And 'punk' eh? He seems to have a penchant for artificially created fashion movements.

Sep 1, 2013 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

It is worth remembering that most people of that age were punks. Apart from Tory boy William Hague.

This is relevant.

Bob Ward is a little puppet for Jeremy Grantham. Ward works at the The Grantham Institute for Climate Change, funded by $ 100 billion plus dollar hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham wrote this in his recent newsletter

"Global warming will be the most important investment issue for the foreseeable future. But how to make money around this issue in the next few years is not yet clear to me. In a fast-moving field rife with treacherous politics, there will be many failures. Marketing a “climate” fund would be much easier than outperforming with it."

Sep 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

I believe The Young Ones characters were all based on medical students, I read that in a Adrian Edmonson interview and he said imagine that, they will all have their own practices now. I don't think any of the young ones though are anywhere near being as obnoxious as Ward is.

Sep 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

I failed at being a punk for being far too cheerful; I really do miss the old Mohican (well, hair in general, now). But I agree, this sort of mockery is tiresome from either side of the debate.

Sep 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRalph Becket

Irrelevant fluff.

Sep 1, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Bob Ward, is a shameless spin merchant. A man who is - in the employ of a for profit, arch manipulator of world markets, there is no altruistic mission [to save the world] don't kid yourself - on Grantham's or Ward's part.

Bob Ward, has a grounding in some scientific discipline, it surely is beyond the limits of credibility to think that Bob Ward in moments of quiet personal reflection - doesn't realize that, some of his most outrageous emanations are spurious conjecture, if not outright lies.
Mainly what Bob Ward says, is speculation and all dressed up as cast iron certainty. It is unscrupulous manipulation, a modern day Cassandra - shouting catastrophe - playing on the emotions of the public for purely political motivations - and a very necessary calculated media advertisement, all done in the end for financial gain.

That takes a special sort of operator, that's Bob Ward.

Bob Ward, was a punk rocker, who were the antecedents of the anti-globalization movement, it all rather smacks of rebellious poacher turned comfortably off head gamekeeper for the fabulously rich laird.

Sep 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Journalist: Bob, I hear you were a punk rocker. Is that true?

Bob Ward: Man made CO2 causes global warming which results in more punk rockers.


Denier: But there are less Punk Rockers than there used to be.

Bob Ward: Particles from Chinese Coal Power Plants have masked the Punk Rocker signal and it only appears that there are less punk rockers. Its just a pause in Punk Rock. It will resume.

Journalist: Coal is evil and will ruin Punk Rock!

Denier: ?????????

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

It is worth remembering that most people of that age were punks.

I grew up in W. London during that period and you are talking bollocks.

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

TerryS has a link to some so called music which all sounds out of tune to me.

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Ringo

@Swiss Bob
"I grew up in W. London during that period and you are talking bollocks."

Growing up in SW London, I have to concur with your statement. Punks were somewhat amusing viewed from a distance. Most punk music grated on the ears, as did the practitioners when they opened their mouths...

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

It's a funny old world isn't it? I just checked my old vinyl collection, and sure enough I found a couple of old Dexy's recordings with Bobby Ward (R.I.P.) as drummer. I've been listening to him all these years.

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

"I grew up in W. London during that period and you are talking bollocks."

Sorry, I meant most relevant people. Almost everyone in the music business subsequently were influenced by punk. I loved punk when it was a piss take, hated it when it became political

In my universe, people with moustaches do not exist. See Mike Hulme for a good example.

The fact the Ward is employed by a $100 billion carbon trader seems to be have gone straight down the right wing memory hole. It's called doublethink.

Sep 1, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

I was 19 in '76 when the Punk era commenced; living in West London there was a pub on the corner of the North End Road and the West Cromwell road called the 3 Kings which featured Punk bands, our mob were into bikes and hard rock ( long before the mis named Heavy Metal ugh! ) and I remember being completely unimpressed by the vast majority of the so called musical expertise of the punk band era and excuses for the following sexist remark but the girl punks were just that too, blurgh!

Sep 1, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnnyrvf


People are forgetting that punk was originally a gigantic piss take. Sid couldn't play to save his life and Rotten was under the spell of McLaren (from a wealthy fashion family). My ultimate punk was (girl) Poly Styrene.It only got serious and political when upper middle class tossers like Joe Strummer got involved.

Punk was in some ways an unpleasant blip in musical story, but without it we would never have had U2, Simple Minds, Blondie, Stone Roses or virtually every intelligent band since. It took music back to 1950s basics. Rock music is a different world.

Sep 1, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Sorry, I meant most relevant people. Almost everyone in the music business

Thanks for the laugh.

Sep 1, 2013 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

Malcolm McLaren's original vision of the Sex Pistols was to be a new Bay City Rollers to model his line of fashion clothes. He asked then (poppy boys band) Slik singer Midge Ure to be the lead singer.

In April 1974, Kevin McGinlay left to pursue a solo career,[5] so Ure assumed vocals in addition to his guitar duties. In November 1974 the band changed their name to Slik, with Bay City Rollers writers Bill Martin and Phil Coulter providing songs. In 1975, Ure turned down an offer to be the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, stating that he felt at the time that Malcolm McLaren had "his priorities completely wrong!", a position he later reversed.

Sep 1, 2013 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

"...I remember being completely unimpressed by the vast majority of the so called musical expertise of the punk band era and excuses for the following sexist remark but the girl punks were just that too, blurgh!" --johnnyrvf

You probably never heard Ralph Hurley and The Pukes.

Sep 1, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

This is playing the man and not the ball?

Sep 1, 2013 at 10:37 AM | confused

Nope mate, this is just a bit of fun. :)

Playing the man rather than the ball would, for example, be claiming that Bob Ward's arguments are invalid because he was a punk rocker. As we know, Bob Ward's arguments fall independently of his former punk rock status, because they simply can't stand on their own.

Sep 1, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I remember reading articles about Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, I went to see the Sex Pistols just before the now notorious interview with Bill Grundy, they were appalling! but from what I remember they were a little overawed at being on national prime time television, I do realize the punk movement was originally a reaction against the largesse of the mega prog rock bands such as Pink Floyd, E.L.P. Yes etc. Thay year '76 I had been to see Lynrd Skynrd, Ted Nugent, Curved Air, Stray, Jethro Tull and many many other bands big and small so was probably biased in my expectations!

Sep 1, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnnyrvf

My first listen to the Sex Pistols reminded me of "Silver Machine" by Hawkwind.

Sep 1, 2013 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

Isn't there a pattern?

Punk = music for people with no musical ability but with enthusiasm for a cause (typically left wing)
Climatology = science for people with no scientific or mathematical ability but with enthusiasm for a cause (typically left wing)

Sep 1, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I still listen to punk.

Sep 1, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

michael hart: punk is the name of your wife is it? nice.

Subway Sect scored bigtime (in farnham) with their song pro: "chain smoking"
So much for all those links between deniers and tobacco ..Eh Lewandowsky are you listening, eh ?

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Bob a punk ? That may explain it, to much glue sniffing . But perhaps that is were he got his 'fast fingers ' from .

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Song #12 Motorhead written by Lemmy.

Sep 1, 2013 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

I've always thought Bob Ward was more Zippy from Rainbow than punk:

Sep 2, 2013 at 12:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterHK

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't punks want to destroy society? CAGW theory seems like a much better way of doing it.

Sep 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichael

The Sex Pistols Great Rock n Roll Swindle was the perfect precursor to great Tory economic swindle. The Fv ck You generation found the perfect leader in Margaret Hilda Thatcher.

"Ever feel like you've been CHEATED "? Johnny Rotten (Lydon), end of Sex Pistols last concert in San Francisco where McLaren left him stranded.

Sep 2, 2013 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Rich indeed, coming from Lisping "Bob" Twinkletoes. People in Glass Houses, and all that.

Sep 2, 2013 at 2:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterchippy

"This is playing the man and not the ball?"
You also want to go after his balls?

Give the dog a bad name and let it hang?

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJon

I have always thought that punk music is what you get if you give music instruments to young people that have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD)?

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJon

To those of you who think I was being juvenile, playing the man not the ball etc: please bear in mind that my tweets were triggered by two separate ones from Bob several hours apart in which he informed the world that I was working on what would be an "error-strewn article" about Judy Ward and the PDO for yesterday's Mail on Sunday. I was, of course, not doing any such thing.

Since Mr Ward (who did indeed fail to get the phd on which he long ago embarked at Liverpool) has set himself up as the national justiciar for climate journalism, and can be relied on to question any sceptic writer's parentage on the basis of what (to him) is the least tiny error, this did not seem unreasonable. Referring to his past as a punk was no more than the usual twitter shorthand method of ensuring readers would know we were talking about the same person. I mean, there could be confusion here. Could it really be the case that inquisitor/justiciar Ward could be so cack-handed as to accuse me of errors in something I had neither written nor planned to write? It seemed important to demonstrate that only one person was involved here, and that there are not two climatic Bob Wards: the one an eagle-eyed invigilator, the other an unbalanced propagandist.

But seriously folks. Bob Ward works for an internationally respected institution, the LSE. He is also an advisor to the Science Media Centre, which exists to provide journalists with supposedly unbiased access to science and scientists. Yet it turns out that he's a passionate, partisan advocate who spends his Saturdays tweeting pre-emptive attacks on people he wrongly believes to be going into print with articles which, if they actually happened to exist, might threaten what he considers to be orthodoxy.

I've heard a number of very mainstream climate scientists express reservations about Ward's approach, which they feel, does not exactly add value to their own work. Maybe this little episode illustrates why.

PS. By the time Ward was at Liverpool in the early 80s, the punk heyday was long past. Maybe that wasn't the last or only time he would cling to outmoded trends...

FYI: here are Bob's tweets:

Bob Ward
I guess @DavidRo21545155 is working on a story for The Mail on Sunday tomorrow which regurgitates Judith Curry's erroneous blog posting!
Reply Retweet Favorite More
4:38 AM - 31 Aug 13

Bob Ward

Is @DavidRo21545155 preparing another error-strewn article for The Mail on Sunday based on this inaccurate blog?

10:32 AM - 31 Aug 13

Sep 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Rose

You did not answer the most important question: Are Bob Ward of LSE fame and Bobby Ward of Subway Sect fame one and the same person?

Sep 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

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