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Nurse's last hurrah

In a few days time Paul Nurse will be leaving his position at the helm of the Royal Society. I think it's fair to say that his time as President has not exactly been a success.

Evidence of the rot, and Nurse's determination to leave the society as a campaigning left-wing environmentalist organisation continues to emerge. It seems that he has committed it to a ten-year involvement in Future Earth, "a ten year international research platform providing the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to support the transition towards a sustainable and equitable world". It remains unclear to me how such political objectives are connected to the Society's purported role of "improving natural knowledge". Perhaps they should rename themselves the "Royal Society for Promotion of Equality".


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Reader Comments (27)

"Modern science"--at least as represented by the "Royal Society"--has officially become an oxymoron. (I put "Royal Society" in quotes to quiet the shades of Newton, Hooke, et al.--real scientists)

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Any news on what halfwit is going to take his place? Obviously it has to be an expert climate scientist, like Sir Paul, of course! Sarc off!

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

HDH - "Modern science"--at least as represented by the "Royal Society"...

That would be postmodern science.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Slightly worried that the laydees might misinterpret 'Future Earth's' vision and policies by the - er - '69' motif........

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Firstly this organisation is attempting to take over a role belonging to government and not to any NGO, sadly Cameron has already aligned himself with the UN version of SUSTAINABILITY and had oversight of the new UN targets.
Before you think about commenting please familiarise yourself with the UN definition of sustainability (which will be the relevant definition for Future Earth):
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Ask yourself who will be appointed to make the decisions about how much of each resource we must 'leave in the ground'? How can any human being possibly come up with a rational answer?
This is plain and simple; another attempt to slow down human development.

My belief is that future generations should be provided with the highest possible level of technology to enable them to overcome the biggest problems they may face in the future. In order to achieve that level we need to speed up our economic growth and our industrial growth and not kill them off.
Human ingenuity will as always be our best protection.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Traditionally the Royal Society chooses a hard science guy to follow a Biology guy and vice versa.
I suppose in theory it doesn't have to be a guy.
Next it's the turn of the Physicists and Chemists (Astronomy was just done by Martin Rees).

There aren't too many obvious candidates as, to maintain the august reputation of the RS, they need to be a Nobel Prize winner and resident in the UK at least some of the time.
Harry Kroto or Peter Higgs are high enough in profile but are getting a bit long in the tooth.
Konstantin Novoselov is too young as he's still making progress on his Graphene (and he sounds Russian).

So they'll probably give and go for a Medical guy or pick a prominent woman just for the diversity of leadership.

They should go for the best woman really. The positive impact of a different viewpoint would be greater than an administrator of a University Physics department.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

'his time as President has not exactly been a success.', that depends on how you define 'success' and for that you need to remember that the RS was deeply in the finical waste products under its last leader.
So bottom line has Nurse's 'buy-in' to CAGW improved the position , finical and otherwise , of the RS not its actual reputation for supporting good science , but is it 'status' has defined by what those with cash to spare , even if is others cash.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

My toes still curl involuntarily at the sight of Nurse’s name, following his ‘surprise’ appearance at the Christmas lectures a few years ago, interrupting the hapless female lecturer with his arrival on a pushbike, whose absence of a bell was immediately seized upon. You can imagine the rest - but don’t feel you have to...

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:31 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

This post has to have guvment approval in any case, a'la Yes Minister format, e.g. they must be sound, knowledgable, able to bring qualities to the Socitety, & also he/she must be sympathetic to the guvment's views on.........fill in the gap! As Nurse was a geneticist, I suspect they will opt for a nom medical guy/gal! All the top rankers are guvment approved, as they don't choose the "best" at what they do, they choose the "best" man/woman for the job, two different things altogether! Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientist, etc, All come with a gong!

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Any news on how FutureEarth is going to be financially sustainable? Taxpayer handouts or Climate Protection money from big business hoping for immunity from Green Blob harassment?

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

M Courtney: Let's at least hope that they don't go for Brian Cox (ye Gods!!) Hopefully, age will be at least one of his disqualifiers.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"They should go for the best woman really. The positive impact of a different viewpoint would be greater than an administrator of a University Physics department."

Julia Slingo perhaps?

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

M Courtney
"They should go for the best woman really. The positive impact of a different viewpoint would be greater than an administrator of a University Physics department."

I wouldn't have a problem with that.
So long as it didn't turn out to be Dame Julia Sligo.

OK, not a Nobel winner.
But she could always use Mike Mann's "Nobel Prize trick".

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

M Courtney, surely the best woman for the job would be Dame Julia Slingo, as she has a proven track record of only selecting the scientific advice that matches her mission statement. It would save the cost of a Knighthood too.

I think some of the Meteorologists at the Met Office, would be happy to see her elevated, so that public confidence in weather forecasting can be improved, as the trendy fashion for climate forecasts becomes so 'last century'.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This is the gentelman who will be succeeding the climate expert nurse. We should wait and see his position on real science.

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Future Earth is already hosting The RS blog – title “In Verba” (What happened to “Nullius”?) Last seven posts have a total of one comment, just like a thousand other UN/EU/dead-American-billionaire-financed zombie green blogs.

Future Earth is financed by the UN, the WMO a bunch of other international agencies and the Belmont Forum of funding agencies, which is itself funded by the EU, NERC and the governments of France, Norway and Taiwan, among others.

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

>The RS blog – title “In Verba”

Does that mean: take anyone's word for it..?

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The trouble with this is that we have no idea what the future's needs will be. Imagine a farmer back in the 1930s refusing to allow a main road to be built on his hayfield because future generations will need that hay to feed their horses. That's the sort of stupidity that statement encompasses.

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

NeilC, That takes all the fun out of it.
But it's good to see a chemist get the nod.

The best qualified Commonwealth candidate may be interesting.

One of the 25 greatest living Indians alongside Sachin Tendulkar... does he need to grovel for further honours?

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Sepp Blatter may have some time off football to play a few games of International Financial Climate Politics. He should bring some well earned money and experience about something.

Nov 24, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This was an interview with Venki Ramakrishnan by Kevin Fong; it was very interesting, seems like a nice man.

Nov 24, 2015 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Future Earth ............Manifesto in the quote below?

"Two of the simplest, yet profound, scientific developments of the past 50 years have been the linked realisations that firstly, the Earth system operates as a single dynamic entity, with its component physical, biological and human systems all interacting; and second, that all those systems are currently experiencing rapid, human-induced change, the continuation of which fundamentally threatens global climate, biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being – with potentially catastrophic consequences."

Full on buzzword compliant in the best dramagreen tradition! We are indeed doomed ...............

Nov 24, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Thomson

The Royal Society for the Destruction of Society,
Patron the Late Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili.

The 'Royal' bit remains in place only because of legacy right-deviationist petit-bourgeois false-consciousness issues. It will be dealt with in due course.

Nov 24, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I totally agree with NeilC

Venki Ramakrishnan does sound like a nice man ^.^ more importantly he seems not just highly intelligent but very humble and what an unusual combination that is. He is almost the complete opposite of Nurse and I think the Royal Society is now in good hands.

Nov 24, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Registered CommenterDung

re. Nov 24, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I'm not certain that an imaginary American alien superhero would be permissible. I think a real person would be required.

Nov 24, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard of NZ

golf charlie
Lord Coe might be a better and closer to home choice.

Nov 24, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS, Nike work if you can get it

Nov 24, 2015 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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