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More climatologists for the Royal Society

The Royal Society has announced the latest cohort to be elevated to the fellowship. As always, the climatologists are prominent: with Ted Shepherd and Corinne Le Quere getting the nod. Adair Turner seems to have wheedled an honorary fellowship for himself as well. 

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Reader Comments (175)

Surely the title of this post should have been the same as the last one?

More stink!

Apr 29, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterDung

So, no phone call for Prof Ken Rice then?
Anyway, even if they did call he'd be too busy blogging to answer the phone.

Perhaps Phil C has been "called to the bar"? I doubt it - even the RS must have some kind of quality control.

Apr 29, 2016 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

Any hedge fund owners in the list? Ought to be at least one there, I'd say.

Apr 29, 2016 at 1:54 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

A Grantham Professor, and another Norfolk Turkey. It doesn't matter how you stack the decks, or restack the deckchairs, when you are wrong, you're wrong. I don't suppose we get to find out who sponsored their nominations?

Bob Ward's turn in the spotlight, just awaits peer review.

Apr 29, 2016 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Where would Chris Monckton be without Corinne's global carbon budget to misquote?

Congratulations to both. Well deserved.

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

UAE & Reading, two well known warmista encampments! Says it all, really!

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Where would Chris Monckton be if he did not use the IPCC's 3.3 W/(m^2.K) 'Planck feedback parameter', based on assuming >40% extra SW warming of the atmosphere than reality? It conned him and Thatcher all those years ago, so it appears he as well as the IPCC are committed to keeping the myth going!

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Congratulations to both. Well deserved.

Indeed. I guess Andrew's just jealous?

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

"Grantham Professor of Climate Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading"

I wonder if there is a million dollar reason why the donation hungry royal Society awarded him ?

Apr 29, 2016 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

There may only be a limited window of opportunity for climate scientists to be elected as fellows of the Royal Society or to win Nobel Prizes. Suppose global temperatures drop slightly when the influence of the recent El Niño has faded and then there is another "Pause" which shows no sign of ending even 10 years from now. Would climate scientists, the politicians and the media still be able to keep up the pretence that global warming is the greatest crisis we have ever faced?

If the predictions of climate scientists prove false then it will be very damaging to the prestige of scientists in all fields. How long will it be before we see climate scientists thrown off the bandwagon, or off the gravy train?

Apr 29, 2016 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Get ready for a large group of unemployed Australians seeking fellowships:

Apr 29, 2016 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

I, of course, know Corinne, although I have not spoken with her for several years. She was an oceanographer and worked for a time with the British Antarctic Survey, then part time at UEA. I'm sure that she teaches (taught) a regular climate change message, but I don't think she would have been an alarmist. Her work has been on carbon cycling and budgets, pretty neutral stuff, and used by both sides (already alluded to). It is true she now heads up the Tyndall Centre, of which I have no love, but this may be more of an adminstrative role.

I would hold off slagging her until you discover just how green she really is. In particular, I would wish to know for which body of work she is being honoured.

gC. She is not a Norfolk turkey, but is French Canadian.

Apr 29, 2016 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan of all area Corinne worked in , which of they has NOT received a considerable increase in funded on the back of AGW and have in turn that given it considerable focus .

Apr 29, 2016 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Alan Kendall, French Canadian Turkey, matured for a richer flavour in Norfolk? It is difficult to understand how the Norfolk climate does not affect those of a climatatological bias, and being elevated to the Royal Society does guarantee full Norfolk Turkey status, even meeting with clucking notes of approval, (see above comments) from those eager to gobble at the same table of juicy richness.

Apr 29, 2016 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Norfolk used to be famed for its geese, until they were usurped by the far inferior turkey from the North American continent.

Apr 29, 2016 at 7:05 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Knr. Leaving aside the specific case of Corinne le Quere, for which, I would suggest, neither of us knows the necessary information to make an assessment, the overall implication behind your question would seem to imply that any research that can be used by alarmists is worthy of criticism. And by implication any person conducting such research is suspect.

If this were true it would be a sad day for science. Science should be considered neutral, it's the way it's used that should be criticised. Likewise, those involved in conducting basic science should not be blamed for how others use their product.

Apr 29, 2016 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I think that both appointments are well-deserved on scientific merit.

Incidentally, a possible point of interest to readers here: Ted Shepherd was one of the climate scientists who attended the famous dinner party at Nic Lewis's house.

Apr 29, 2016 at 8:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Another point that BH readers may find of interest:

Corinne's series of annual Global Carbon Budget papers use the same land carbon cycle models that were recently used to attribute the Global Greening largely to CO2 fertilisation.

Apr 29, 2016 at 8:55 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Alan K:

" Science should be considered neutral, it's the way it's used that should be criticised. Likewise, those involved in conducting basic science should not be blamed for how others use their product."

'Science' can only be considered to be neutral, if it has been neutrally funded. Likewise, those involved should be blamed for how others use their product - if they have taken their shilling.

Just to be clear, my response is to your comment, not about any third parties.

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I didn't realise that. Does that imply that the recent Global Greening result does not imply that we're underestimating the remaining carbon budget, as I think some have implied?

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Sorry, just looked at Corinne's paper. I didn't realise that in this context Carbon Budget refers to for 2015 only, not to the remaining budget for some level of future warming.

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

I don't know Corinne Le Quere, but I do know and respect Ted Shepherd. I have no reason to doubt Richard Betts' view that both appointments are well-deserved on scientific merit.

Whether climate scientists are over-represented in elected new FRS relative to other branches of science is an interesting question, to which I don't know the answer.

Apr 29, 2016 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic Lewis

I did like this statement from Corinne Le Quéré in 2013 -

"Our only agenda is to communicate the findings of all the science, and to provide the best information possible to ensure that policy decisions on climate change are based on reality. That's the purpose of the Summary for Policymakers: we pass the baton from the scientists to the policymakers.

Our job is done now and it is time to let the policymakers do theirs. Yes, I'm hoping that they will consider the weight of our science, but I'm very conscious that their decisions take into consideration many other linked issues. In November, the governments of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will gather for their annual summit, this year in Warsaw. Together and individually, countries will either drop or carry forward the baton. My hope is that they do not ignore the science entirely as they negotiate international climate policy, because climate policy requires a long-term view and the best data available."

sounds sensible

then I found -
It's your turn to grade Professor Corinne Le Quere.

Please make sure this is accurate, or your entire rating may be removed.
(I've removed some choices)

6. Hotness (Optional)

Hotness !!! is this a standard uni rating option ?

Apr 29, 2016 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterdfhunter

"Corinne le Quere"

Apr 30, 2016 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Hotness ratings at UEA?
I was never told.
My ratings were?
I shudder with cold.

Apr 30, 2016 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

My rotten orkish spellchecker struck again, destroying my scan

Version ii

Hotness ratings at the UEA
I was never told
My score still a mystery
I shudder in the cold.

Apr 30, 2016 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Our only agenda is to communicate the findings of all the science, and to provide the best information possible to ensure that policy decisions on climate change are based on reality. That's the purpose of the Summary for Policymakers
How engagingly naive! I pass no judgment on Ms Le Quere's fitness for the RS (unlike Lewandoswki or Ehrlich, whose presence I think is an insult to the many hundreds of former Fellows who did good honest science) but if she really believes that the Summary is intended to convey the findings of all the science then the rarified atmosphere of academe is where she belongs.
Perhaps she could explain why the writing of the Summary appears to be delegated to assorted environmental activists and UN apparatchiks and then great care is taken to make sure that the IPCC assessments agree with the Summary rather than, as one would expect, the other way round.
In November, the governments of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will gather for their annual summit piss up, this year in Warsaw
Fixed that! Why does the UNFCC 1. exist; 2. need to hold a "summit" (countries and their governments hold summits, not petty bureaucrats); 3. not hold their meeting in the UN building in New York?
Just askin'.

Apr 30, 2016 at 9:22 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson. I don't know the answer to your first two questions, but the answer to your third is obvious. The UN building is too full already with countless other summiteers and hangers on.

Apr 30, 2016 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Mike Jackson. Just realized I answered your second question as well. Summits have hangers on.

Apr 30, 2016 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

My local paper, the East Anglian Daily Times, is a fully signed up member of the church of imminent man made catastrophe. Although I can't remember the particular story, (increasing senility), I do recall one alarmist report was based on work by Corinne.

Apr 30, 2016 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Mike fowle. An alarmist story in my local weekly newspaper (Wymondham Mercury), based on an entomologist's report of declining stag-beetle numbers would not cause me to question the entomologist's probity. I might trash the paper, however.

Apr 30, 2016 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Congratulations Bish:

You've got NCC 1701E and And Then There's Physics both trying damage control. I thought I saw Russell earlier but assume he was deleted as worthless, as usual. That gives you entry into the semi-finals of the Danger to the Cause. It remains only to get ZedDeadHead and you can contest the Sceptic Grand Final to be held at ? (Wembley surely) on the date when the Earth warms 2℃ (if any contestants are still alive).

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

How can they justify electing Brian Cox to a fellow? Scientifically he is average having published very few papers and then only as part of a multi-national colaboration of hundreds. Do they give fellowships for making documentaries now?

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentercdee

The Carbon Budget idea was being mooted by the Climate Policy Director for Greenpeace, Australian Bill Hare, in 1997, in a presentation called "Carbon Logic". In 2002 he became a "visiting scientist" at Potsdam and in 2009, started "Climate Analytics" with German Federal Government Funding. He was a co-author of the AR4 Summary for Policy Makers. He now has offices in Berlin and is a constant commentator on the INDC's from Paris.

He has been responsible for much of the EU stance on climate promoted by John Schellnhuber, formerly Director of Research at Tyndall, now a Distinguished Fellow, and was himself on the original Tyndall Advisory Board in 2000.

He was promoting the "new" mantra of 1.5 deg C way back in 1997. A colleague of his, Malte Meinshausen, also a former Greenpeace activist, was a co-author with Myles Allen of the Carbon Budget bible, "Towards the Trillionth Tonne".

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

From the abstract at Richard Betts' link to Corinne le Quere and her carbon cycle:

All uncertainties are reported as ±1σ, reflecting the current capacity to characterise the annual estimates of each component of the global carbon budget.

So there you have it. In black and white. This part of Climate Science doesn't even pretend to approach the most basic standards commonly applied in other scientific disciplines.

Apr 30, 2016 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@Alan Kendall: "Science should be considered neutral, it's the way it's used that should be criticised. Likewise, those involved in conducting basic science should not be blamed for how others use their product."

Surely, when said scientist is fully aware that their "product" is being used, abused, & manipulated for a political cause, they should protest a little more! It's the same with the Wet Office. meteorologists I have discussed AGW insist that they have cautioned about alarmism, & pointed out the flaws in computer models. However, their voices don't seem to be shouted particularly loudly, perhpas unsurprising when salaries, positions, promotions, & pensions are on the parapet! More fool them for allowing the manipulation in the first instance! AtB.

Apr 30, 2016 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Alan the Brit. You seem to be suggesting that a research scientist should 1) have foreknowledge of what their research will produce, 2) have foreknowledge of how others might misuse said research product, and 3) not search for the truth in case of said misuse. I don't agree.

My argument naturally assumes the researcher conducts their research honourably.

In all cases the data should be without blemish and should include all results, whereas interpretations of that data can always be challanged.

Apr 30, 2016 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

@ Alan Kendall: I seem to be suggesting nothing other than scientists, if professional, should be making their voices heard against alarmism, & distortion & manipulation of their research & findings! As to having foreknowledge of what research will produce, you Sir, imply that "scientists" are not Human & as such are infallible, & not subject to all or any of the flaws that go into the make-up of a Human being! As a professional engineer, I am governed by a strict written code of conduct, & as engineers we must adhere to it without bringing into disrepute our respective Institution! The reason there seems to be so much doubt, disbelief, incredulity, in the "sceptic" camp is I suggest that scientists have been less than rigid in their conduct in the search for massively available funding to support a political stance! Micheal Mann seems to be one such scientist, but he is not alone. Yes a scientist is allowed to be wrong, if Human, but when they are they should admit it!

A case in point would be the recent discovery of tigers living above a certain altitude in a far east nation, cannot recall which at present. When cameras showed that earlier scientific claims that tigers couldn't live above that altitude, the scientists involved in the discovery were excited naturally enough, but not one scientist came out with those $64,000 words, "We were wrong!".

Apr 30, 2016 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Just how long will it be before many (most?) commentators in BH realize that most scientists who support AGW do so because they believe they are right. To them the evidence stacks up differently. They believe evidence that supports AGW has greater import than that used by sceptics.

MOST researchers are not evil, selling out to maintain their jobs, distorting or manipulating data to suit some nefarious plan. They conduct research that they can get funded, and which is designed to provide more evidence in support of what they believe is the currently accepted climate paradigm*. To treat such people as if they are part of some evil conspiracy (as commonly happens here) or as having no scientific morals is wrong.

. * you might argue that research should test the current paradigm, but this research would not be funded nor would it obtain the support of a peer group. Why should it? the people approving funds also believe the paradigm is correct. I have repeatedly said that I do not believe sceptics will themselves ever win the argument. Warmistas will lose when nature wills it.

Apr 30, 2016 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Invasion of the synchronised trolls and the Kapellmeister as well. Definitely something stinky going on ...


Apr 30, 2016 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Mr K.: I can see what you are driving at. However, I do feel that you might be rather optimistic – perhaps even naïve – in your view. I would suggest that most scientists who support AGW do so as they see that it is the way to keep their jobs, and to establish further career opportunities. That is shown by those few who have actually questioned the meme – Judith Curry, Lennart Bengtsson, Bob Carter, Bjorn Lomborg and Patrick Moore; all being formerly well-respected scientists whose works have been under attack or outrightly trashed just because they have been perceived to have doubted the “cause”. How many lesser denizens of the laboratories have suffered because they questioned? Certainly, those in other, public positions who have questioned have been ostracised: David Bellamy and Jonny Ball are two who immediately come to mind; no doubt you, and others, could provide additions to both those lists.

Apr 30, 2016 at 4:18 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Alan the Brit.

1. Why should scientists speak out as you think the should if a) they believe in AGW, b) cannot disprove CAGW, even if they believe this to be unlikely and c) would suffer from speaking out when all they wish to do is continue conducting science?

2) surprising as it may seem, many research grants can only be obtained by predicting results beforehand. Blue sky research is no longer.

3) the point I was trying to make was that, to prevent research results being misused in the future a researcher would, by what you seemed to be implying, have to have knowledge of those results before obtaining them. I agree with you, this should not be expected of any mortal.

4) Finally you seem to expect scientists to admit being wrong and to do this, presumably in public. Most science does not operate in this way. All scientists working at cutting edges know there is a high probability of being mislead or confused by the, commonly incomplete, evidence at hand. Other researchers in the field recognize this about themselves and in others. When new evidence is found or a more acceptable interpretation is devised, scientists usually don't go around saying they were wrong. If the new evidence or the new explanation is strong enough everyone knows the wrongness of the original work. People move on to the next challenge. This behaviour is not totally acceptable because the old, now discredited work still exists in print, uncorrected. This is why review papers are of such value. They bring researchers up to date, allowing past work to be put into perspective. So I would not expect the tiger experts necessarily to apologize for being wrong. They were doing what they should - presenting the new information, and I would wager they said the new sitings proved the old ideas were incorrect.

One of my heroes in my highly specialized bit of science, someone I made a special point of seeing whenever I visited London during my time living overseas, got (I think) every interpretation he made wrong. Yet his ideas were original and stimulating and resulted in other people arriving at the correct interpretations by stimulating them to examine his interpretations. He never apologized; he knew (as did others) that he was doing good science. As you might expect he was also a fabulous and much loved teacher.

Apr 30, 2016 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

RR. I agree with you (except about my nativity). Scientists are human (although in a few cases its debatable), so they will behave as other humans do. I don't see, however, that this negates the thesis I was trying to concoct.

Apr 30, 2016 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall
I agree with everything you said in that last post and I don't think I am misreading you if I suggest that what you are saying is that good science is not necessarily correct science.
I think most of us would agree with that and where we part company with the scientists is when they allow their science to become politicised and used beyond what the evidence suggests or when they get carried away and start thinking that playing computer games is doing science, that computer runs are "experiments" or that model output is "evidence". Evidence, that is, of anything except their own skill (or lack of it) in computer programming. And in a field that relies as heavily as climate does on statistics many of them could benefit from a touch of humility when it comes to making use of disciplines vital to their work but about which they evidently have little knowledge.
Climate has also attracted the attention of some outside the field who either claim that their standing as a "scientist" gives them the right to pontificate on the subject (names like Nurse come to mind) or are happy to be used by others because of their status (Thompson, Westwood, di Caprio) or are just paid mouthpieces for those who seek to make money out of climate regardless of how correct the science is (Ward and most environmental journalists).
Throw in the likes of Lewandowsky and Cook and Gleick and you have a raft of people no more knowledgeable about climate than the average sceptic but who are listened to because they agree with and actively push the paradigm while others who are knowledgeable such as Curry, Pielke, Lindzen, Lomborg and others are vilified and, wherever possible, shut out because they have reservations.
Like you, I am not expecting or seeking apologies and like you, I accept that the majority of climate researchers are doing honest science (or at worst not doing dishonest science) but they have allowed the field to become corrupted by the decision of a few influential practitioners to set themselves up as gatekeepers to the detriment, in my opinion, of both the science and, more than in most fields, humanity in general.

Apr 30, 2016 at 5:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson. Let me take the points you make in order

1) you part company with scientists when "they allow their science to be politicised and used beyond what the evidence suggests". Try to put yourself in their shoes. Firstly they believe in AGW and cannot rule out CAGW. The last point is significant because it is difficult for them to judge if their work is being misused. They received funding (first indication of approval), then it is published (second stage) then they may get peer approval - further research grants, committee membership, invitations from other institutions and so on. Who's going to say they are doing wrong? They will argue they must be right, their work is important, so why shouldn't politicians use it? You may argue they are wrong, but they don't believe you and their entire complex interlocking support network gives them assurance of their rightness.

2) Computer modelling is the only way science can make predictions about the hugely complex system that is climate. I believe most modellers are fully cognoscent of the problems involved and often give hints that models today are rubbish at making predictions. They want to continue studying climate through modelling and live in hope that predictions will become firmer and more accurate. Why do they "mislead", see (1) above.

3) Statistical expertize. How can I not agree. It's a crying shame that, for example CRU could not collaborate with someone like McIntyre. But scientists are human and engage in turf wars. (This does not excuse them, it merely tries to understand them).

4) The rest I agree with. My thesis does not really pertain to people doing bad science, or reaching into areas for which they have no expertise, or deliberate charlatans. They should be branded for what they are.

You may recall the origin of this discussion, comments made about Corinne. Not infrequently on BH I read comments about people like her who are castegated solely because they do research related to climate science or are associated with particular institutions (like UEA). I think that is wrong.

My knowledge of Corinne's work is limited but I think it is basic science in the most part. If someone here produces evidence showing she has used her research inappropriately, then I will be next in line to criticize.

Apr 30, 2016 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I don't agree with everyone Alan says above, but it is a sensible comment with which I largely agree. If people here are serious about this topic, then at least give it serious consideration.

Apr 30, 2016 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

universities have morphed into freeloading taxwasting circuses

we should get rid of ALL tenureships and restoe freelancing allround in these leftwing cesspits.

Inbred bbc-alike culture with a leftwing agenda is all too common for institutes which had some importance decennia ago , the RS is just an example of that.

"sir" nurse was in fact a mediocre fart who played being leftwing azzlicker very well..he became president of RS and achieved his boyhood dream: flying 1st class around the world, while expending a lot of CO2, and boasting about it
If he won a nobel it must be he licked a lot leftwing azz that then give him a nobel, ther is in fact not much more to it nowadays.

Modelling and climate, LOL, they use complete wrong starting points

why dont econometrics and market researchers use Navuer Stokes equations? After all its blood , a liquid, flowing in arteries, that lead to all these consumer decisions..Oh wait I know why they dont: they need to produce results that are checked and need to have value..As opposed to climate research where you have a conclusion first and kabuki to fill up the papers.

Apr 30, 2016 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenus

Okay, fair enough. I guess hippie bashing and mild conspiracy ideation is easier than actually thinking about what Alan was saying.

Apr 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Attp (Prof Ken Rice)

Hippie bashing is great fun as you make yourselves such easy targets!

May 1, 2016 at 12:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

David Smith this extract from Watts Up With That id worth reading.

Lewandowsky and Cook – back from the dead with another smear paper. Anthony Watts / July 8, 2015

"Having had their first paper “Recursive Fury” retracted by the journal that originally published it, these clowns are back with a reboot that has the same sad message: “people who question the veracity of global warming/climate change are nutters”.

What’s funny is that Lew et al don’t seem to realize they are talking about a large percentage of the population who have these questions:

But, that doesn’t stop them from essentially labeling everyone who does not agree with “climate change” as having “conspiracy ideation” mental issues."

Is it possible that aTTP only found out about conspiracy ideation having co-written papers with the debunked and retracted Cook and Lewandowsky? Why would anyone wanting to be taken seriously in science want to co-author with Lewandowsky and Cook? What is the conspiracy behind the conspiracy ideation obsession?

May 1, 2016 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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