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Hide the incline

The Royal Society has issued a new guide called A Short Guide to Climate Science, the latest in a long series of publications, beginning with Bob Ward's magnum opus, Facts and Fictions About Climate Change, that attempt to guide the public away from any awkward questions on the subject of global warming. It's a slim tome - just 8 pages long - but the Royal has managed to pack a great deal of public relations effort into it.

As one would expect, there is barely a caveat in sight, with the credibility of the models not mentioned at all and all kinds of tricks on display. For example, the "2000s were warmer than 1990s" line is dusted off and given an airing once again, as if this somehow contradicted the pause. The rise in Antarctic sea ice is tiptoed round in brilliant fashion, with an insinuation that scientists understand why their models are wrong in this area. I was also amused to see the dry areas becoming drier thing being aired again. I thought this had been thoroughly debunked?

So, as expected, it's a lot to do with PR and not a lot do with science. Perhaps unsurprisingly the authorship is a bit of a mystery.

The whole thing is accompanied by a slick video on YouTube.

I particularly enjoyed the sea-level graph starting at 1960 so that the viewers can't see that such rises have been seen for as long as we have records. I think we could call this technique "hide the incline".

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Reader Comments (57)

And they wonder why climate science has no credibility?

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

This bogus, zombie pseudoscience is very droll.
But the Royal Society, like the Met and the Beeb are responsible for hurting real people in the real world.
Expect to be told that they were "only obeying orders."

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

The 2000s were warmer than the 90s? That's ok, the 60s were cooler than the 50s. So what? Temp goes up, temp goes down. Sometimes it flatlined for a bit. I have yet to see why this means anything at all.

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy Mac

According to Radio 4 they (the RS) now refer to "deniers" as "pub bores", and a reporter went to a pub to try out the new propaganda. The pub bore came across with way more credibility than the True Believer, who simply said YES with no hint of doubt when asked if man was warming the planet.

They can moderate the language, but this is still state sponsored demonisation of a large percentage of the population.

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Unfortunately, there are a large amount of people who are taken in by the agitprop, as I find to my dismay, looking at my Facebook feed.

Then you try to counter what your friends think, try to get them to see things from a more balanced perspective, and you get hit by the "Well all the scientists are saying we cause global warming, I tend to believe what the science is telling me." retort - and frankly I don't have the strength or time required to just try and get these people to /think/ .

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterKC

See the Today programme coverage of this at about 09:45*. Apparently anyone who questions the the Royal Society line on climate change is either a 'pub bore' or 'the family know all'.

Can you imagine what it would be like to meet Sir Paul Nurse over a pint?
[*8.45am? BH]

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

"slow-down of warming" - no mention of a pause

What a whitewash. Is it no wonder people think 97% of climate "scientists" are dishonest?

The Royal Society, BBC and the Met all are publically funded and yet they treat the public so badly. As fuel poverty rises even faster than our energy prises, as the rate of heavy-energy user companies deserting us increases and our electricity generation heads for Thrid World status who will pay the ferryman?

Will the Royal Society, BBC and the Met ever take the responsibility for their part in impoverishing the public with this alarmism?

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Given that the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s, what kind of CO2 sensitivity one could calculate from the differential?

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDEEBEE

The public expects professionalism, honesty and integrity from the RS, not biased spin. Do they not realise the enormous damage they are inflicting on their own reputation and on the reputation of science in general?

The corruption of science starts with the misrepresentation of the data and the concealment of contradictory evidence.

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

If the RS and the BBC, etc, etc were prepared to STFU and actually get on with doing their jobs properly, then I'm sure the 'pub bores' would leave them alone.

The real message staring them in the face from opinion polls is that the general public routinely place the BBC's hobbyhorse bottom of a list of things they could give a toss about.

Dec 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

This is just in time for Christmas so the virtuous little greenie can defeat the big, bad sceptic over the roast turkey or pint. It will fail for several reasons. 1) Almost the only people who will view it will be sceptics or warmists who know vastly more than the beginners class information this campaign will present. 2) Any beginner will get his or her head to play with if they meet a serious sceptic (in a purely debating sense). 3) Any beginner warmist meeting a beginner sceptic will possibly spur the sceptic to go looking for counter arguments and might ultimately become an experienced sceptic.

Yay, more troops.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Given the temperature adjustments that have been carried out the Thirties were warmer than the Thirties.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

The problem is the weight the The Royal Society conveys. In climate change discussions I get told it is the oldest scientific organisation in the world Therefore the Royal Society = INTEGRITY = HONESTY = TRUTH

I therefore get challenged to refute their stance. This is near impossible to do as a layman (I'm just the bloke down the pub who has read followed this since the late '80s) and if you do question the RS you are attacking their integrity, honesty etc. which puts you in a negative position. This whole political and financial debacle will not collapse until either scientists and their institutions with a questioning stance shout louder than those without, or nature proves the futility of the whole enterprise over a time period allowing the IPCC, RS etc to wriggle and spin their way out. I expect the latter and at no time between now and the collapse of the failed theory some years hence will the public have the opportunity to have a full, professional debate, without slander, name-calling etc and actually dig into and evaluate and investigate openly, all scientists of all sides all together, the hypothesis, the experiment, the method, the data, the result and the conclusion.

I am not a scientist, I am just a bloke down the pub. But us blokes down the pub do what all scientists should do at all times. We question... skeptically, what we hear, read or see as well as questioning our own conclusions. We also listen to each other... generally loudly

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterBadgerbod

This is truly damaging.

The Royal Society and the Greens will win the battle but when they lose the war how are they going to explain this away?

Having just finished reading about the glorious early years of The Royal Society I am convinced that the current crop of charlatans would have been horse-whipped by Robert Hooke up and down Charing Cross.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Badgerbod - You are right, people still believe the RS.

I'm sorry to say that I no longer do believe anything they say about climate change, which makes me have doubts about anything they say on other subjects. This is the responsibility of Nurse.

As people increasingly form their own judgements about our climate, they too will start to distrust the RS. I have no idea why the other Fellows put up with this. I'm sure this mirrors what is happening in climate science. Very few of the scientists are prepared to stand up and set the record straight. But then, climate science no longer has credibility.

Perhaps the RS is going the same way.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

So the climate propaganda chief for a billionaire investing in climate hype sets science policy for the Royal Society.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Schrodinger's Cat (10:16 AM): rather than “climate science” I prefer the term “climate academia”, and “climate academic” over “climate scientist” (on the suggestion of the Scottish Sceptic). Both terms, I feel, more accurately describe the scenario.

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Perhaps the RS should be renamed The Royal Propaganda Society. I note that their charts have different start dates: 1810, 1850, 1960 x2, 1970 and 2013. I wonder why? Can someone explain the significance of this?

Dec 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible!". Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895. Says everything really!

"In the future, the world will only need two computers!" Head of IBM in the late1950s.

"In the future, the computer will weight only a few tons & be no bigger than a house!" His successor!

I put very little store in "experts" for these reasons!

Dec 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"In the future, the world will only need two computers!" Head of IBM in the late1950s.

Late 40s perhaps?

I think that by the late 1950s IBM was selling computers complete with Fortran compiler.

"In the future, the computer will weight only a few tons & be no bigger than a house!" His successor!

The IBM 1620 was announced at the tail end of the 1950s. Not a desktop but a lot smaller than a house.

Dec 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Alan the Brit -
About the Tom Watson quote, "In the future, the world will only need two computers!", please see the discussion here. Yes, it's only Wikipedia, but it seems unbiased.

Dec 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"Do you believe the BBC on climate ?"
Good question to ask of the public

Dec 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Would it be a concern to anybody, RS included, if GAT was to rise by +0.10C over the course of the next 100 years?

How many people, RS included, are aware that each decade of the next century can be the "warmest" on record and GAT only rise by +0.10C in 100 years?

Whilst discussing the above it would appear one of my family members has had a damascene moment! One can only keep bringing the logic to the forefront.

In the real world it is imperative to assess how much we actually understand and whether or not our comprehension is improving. Therefore the real pertinent focus is on the actual rate of change versus modelled, (forecast, projected, predicted) rate of change and no amount of PR based hand waving, no matter how authoritarian, can ever shift that focus.

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

An introduction Climate Change in 60 seconds? (That's 99 seconds long....)

Pandering to juvenile attention deficit like BBC Three - only not having the cojones to provide production credits - or authorship details for the pdf...

Overtly selective, glib, shallow and mendacious advocacy for public consumption and oozing smug - I do wonder if the bundle was produced by a prominent advertising agency Maybe they could have gone "retro" and done the vid in the style of a 1950s cinema newsreel....?

It is a bit reassuring to see that their hubris gets pricked sometimes from the unlikeliest of places

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo


Lord K had a bit of form on predictions. As well as rubbishing heavier-than-air flight (did he think that birds were lighter than air?) he also opined that:

"X-rays will prove to be a hoax."

"We know that light is propagated like sound through pressure and motion."

"Radio has no future."

And, writing to the Niagara Falls Power Company: "Trust you will avoid the gigantic mistake of alternating current."

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Badger : tell them it's "The Fallacy of argument from authority" and explain that to them.

BTW I suppose those champions of truth & perspective : Betts and T Edwards have spent all day calling put the RS for being misleading

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


"Had Mr Obama accepted the invitation, he would have been greeted by Sir Paul Nurse"

No wonder he preferred to go and visit a state school..!

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"An introduction Climate Change in 60 seconds? (That's 99 seconds long....)"

That is worrying, isn't it? Surely, even the RS know that the first thing you see on YouTube is the duration of the clip?

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

What the hell happened to "Nullius In Verba?"

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

Their first page states that the last 30 years were the warmest for about 800 years.

Are they now admitting there was a medieval warm period?

Does MIchael Mann know that the Royal Society have abandoned him, in this, his hour of desparate need?

What new evidence are the RS now relying on?

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I think the decline is in the integrity of the Royal Society.

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

jamesp @1:25 PM

yeah .... I'd count that as a "foot shot" myself.

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Badgerbod: read the book or watch the film, “Longitude” to see the long, cherished history of the RS. One of its biggest faults is that it is stuffed to the gills with humans, many of them with egos that could eclipse galaxies and opinions that are more deeply entrenched than a politician’s belief that they are correct, no matter how often they are shown to be wrong.

Green Sand: it is not so much that this year (or any other, for that matter) being the warmest on record, it is the BBC’s use of emotive language – this is not the “warmest” year on record, it is the “hottest”! This is the language of propaganda, not information.

Dec 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

TonyN says "Can you imagine what it would be like to meet Sir Paul Nurse over a pint?"

I'm generally a mild-mannered sort of chap but I suspect it might finish up as Sir Paul Nurse under a pint as I pour it over his head in frustration at his stupidity.

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Moon-cheese-eating-pub-bores, point out to Sir Paul Nurse, that the Royal Society now acknowledge fundamental flaws in Michael Mann's hockey stick graph

Hardly a Guardian headline, so the BBC will never know

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Radical Rodent: Yes I have read "Longitude" some years ago and I do not disagree with your point re the RS. The problem is a majority will not take the time or interest to look and rely on a perception of authority/integrity/honesty etc. I myself rely on the BBC (for instance) for my news input as I trust other sources less especially proprietorial newspapers or news channels. But I recognise that the BBC is also deeply flawed, with editorial policy that is entirely unbalanced on some issues. I do challenge journalists and editors and, at times, I get a response and a discussion. But rarely. If I have anyone throw the Gruniad at me, that's reasonably simple to enter into a debate where points of view can be examined as the Gruniad has well accepted flaws, even by it's advocates. But when someone throws the RS at you, picking over the RS record will not create discussion but an accusation of attacking the integrity of the institution. They are beyond politicians and journalists and even other academic institutions by virtue of prestige, but in time, the current stance will be corrected and as with many others before, be consigned to history. But the prestige will remain to ruin another day

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBadgerbod

And who picked up the bill for this ? is a very good question for the RS has been shown to happily rubber stamp something which its actual had little to do with as in the CRU ‘investigation.

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Radical Rodent 1:58 PM

Harrison's treatment at the hands of the RS was hardly edifying - and people trot out Phlogiston regularly...

I'm quite fond of asking "what is dark matter?" and "is it true dark matter / energy makes up 95% of everything?" - perhaps Paul Nurse could give us his explanation - since he fancies himself as an all round oracle?

Hubris is a heady brew - leading to pompous status intoxicated fools - Obama got something right.

Badgerbod - prestige in this case might have to leap a generation if these guys carry on like this - they're getting into Humpty-Dumpty territory.

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Registered Commentertomo

What the hell happened to "Nullius In Verba?"


It has been replaced by “trust me I am a scientists” which is much better for the ego and the bottom line.

Dec 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Not to mention my favourite science is settled quote from Lord K.

"There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement."

Just before Quantum Theory.

Dec 11, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I make no apology (well, a small one if really you insist) on posting again the remark from the earliest days of the RS:

“…it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion as a Body upon any subject either of Nature or Art, that comes before them.”
The ‘advertisement’ to The Philosophical Transactions, 1753.

Worth adding the words of Richard Lindzen from the preface to the Bishop's GWPF report , Nullius in Verba,

a comment similar to some of those already made here

...there are certain peculiarities of The Royal Society’s behaviour that are perhaps worth noting. The presidents involved with this issue (May, Rees and Nurse) are all profoundly ignorant of climate science. Their alleged
authority stems from their positions in the RS rather than from scientific expertise.


Dec 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

@KC - me too. When the topic comes up in conversation I tend (now) to say something like "I am pretty good at science and I am not an evil person. I have looked into the evidence and I do not think there is a problem".

Usually I leave it at that. I stand my ground but I don't try to convince anyone because their views are not based on rationality but are just absorbed out of the zeitgeist.

If I am pressed - or if the conversation heads off in a sanctimonious direction then I have tried all kinds of replies. One is that I will believe there is a problem when people act like there is a problem. Acting real would include everyone in the world going Amish tomorrow and possibly even more severe rules. It would *not* include annual lavish conferences at luxury destinations nor would it include Greenpeace boss flying off to Peru to grovel about their latest backfiring prank. If he was truly repentant he would set off in a canoe with a bag of organic quinoa.

Dec 11, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

This links to Messenger's last paragraph - about where authority comes from. The point was well made by a commenter at WUWT recently.

In essence the idea is that a scientist derives authority and credibility from science. It is not the other way round: science does not get its credibility from scientists.

It's also limited in scope: the guy that discovered Graphene gets a lot of cred in the Graphene world from his discovery. He also gets some cred in the "other forms of carbon" world - and diminishing credibility in the world of other materials. But his Graphene discovery does not give him any credibility or authority in say Astronomy nor in say Thermodynamics.

Dec 11, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Jack Hughes
I do not think their latest prank backfired at all. A bunch of jet setting eco activists, desecrating a developing nations cultural heritage? I think this sends a very clear message to the world.

Let us all hope that if any prison time is required, that there is a fossil fuelled heating system in the gaol. It would be so unfair if they had to suffer the consequences of fuel poverty, when they were on such a noble cause mission.

Dec 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I am puzzled why the Fellows continue to accept the debasement of their Society. Surely enough of them are aware of the falsity of the doctrine promulgated by Nurse, et al.? It is high time they put a stop to it - and very vocally.

Dec 11, 2014 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartinW

I'm sure that Richard Betts will tweet pointing out the obvious errors in the RS release.

Then again, I won't hold my breath.....

Dec 11, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Do any Fellows of the RS read BH? What do *you* think about this?

Dec 11, 2014 at 7:20 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The RS has devolved from "“…it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion as a Body upon any subject either of Nature or Art, that comes before them.”
The ‘advertisement’ to The Philosophical Transactions, 1753."
to the point of having a paid schill- paid by a man who seeks to make billions off of the issue- writing position papers for the RS.
This is yet further evidence of how corrosive and debilitating climate obsession is not only to those afflicted with it but to the larger public square and the academy, as well.

Dec 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Dec 11, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Martin A

Do any Fellows of the RS read BH?

Read BH?

The reading matter of present day Fellows is limited to the material covered in their autobiography.

Dec 11, 2014 at 9:44 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

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