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Climate science in the media

If anyone is going to a seminar called Climate Science in the Media I'd be interested to have a report on the proceedings. Details of the meeting, which are shown below, were apparently distributed by email only:

Click to read more ...


More silliness

Daniel Cressey at Nature's Great Beyond blog seems to be adding his voice to those who support the idea of Lord Oxburgh being a suitable chairman for the Royal Society panel despite the noble lord's conflict of interest.

Daniel's case for the defence is almost as obscure as Fiona Harvey's but seems to consist of a belief that since Bob Ward, the public relations officer at the Grantham Institute, predicted that the appointment would be criticised, we should shrug our shoulders and move on. I hope I'm not misjudging Daniel's position here, because he doesn't make his position very clear. I do sense, however, that his article carries an air of criticism of those who are pointing out the conflict of interest rather than those who are behind it.

You have to laugh, don't you?


Startlingly silly

Fiona Harvey, the Financial Times' environment correspondent weighs in to the debate over Lord Oxburgh's appointment at the head of the Royal Society panel looking into the CRU-science, and the fact that the noble lord has a financial conflict of interest.

But already his appointment has been attacked by climate sceptics, as he has strong business interests in biofuels, is chairman of the wind company Falck Renewables, and a board member of Climate Change Capital, a major investor in carbon credits.

Critics say this is enough to ensure his view of the science is biased, and have called for his removal.

And roughly speaking, this is where we are coming from. So, what's Fiona's take on this argument?

Click to read more ...


PR tactics

Keith Kloor's article at Nature Climate Feedback looks at the PR tactics that the warmist side of the debate might adopt. Should it be an offensive against the sceptics or something else.

I can't help but think that this is missing the point rather.


Myles Allen's ad hominem

Reader DR sends these notes from A Meeting on Sustainability at the University of Oxford

'What can be said about future climate? Using observations to constrain the forecast and the implications for climate policy.'

Myles Allen introduced himself as a member of an endangered species, a climate scientist. He agreed that energy measures will be needed regardless of climate change, but wanted to argue that climate change is important. He said that climate scientists have recently been faced by many questions, both from sceptics and from the policy community, and said that most people are asking the wrong questions. It is clear, he said, that CO2 is rising and temperatures are trending upwards.

Click to read more ...


The Times on Lord Oxburgh

I get a mention in Ben Webster's article in the Times about the Royal Society panel.


Having a lovely time...

Judith Curry drops us an electronic postcard from the Royal Society seminar on uncertainty - "it's absolutely fascinating" she says.

The good news is that we can soon share in the fun, since the proceedings are going to be made available as podcasts.


Oxburgh's conflict of interest

Commenters are also noting the background of Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of the RS panel. Lord Oxburgh is:

  • President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association
  • Chairman of wind energy firm Falck Renewables
  • A member of the Green Fiscal Commission

So we have a chairman with a direct financial interest in the outcome. I'm not sure this is a surprise.



Emmanuel on the Climategate emails

Reader Mac notes Kerry Emmanuel's comments on the Climategate emails, delivered at an MIT debate on the subject:

"What we have here," says Kerry Emanuel, are "thousands of emails collectively showing scientists hard at work, trying to figure out the meaning of evidence that confronts them. Among a few messages, there are a few lines showing the human failings of a few scientists…" Emanuel believes that "scientifically, it means nothing," because the controversy doesn't challenge the overwhelming evidence supporting anthropogenic warming. He is far more concerned with the well-funded "public relations campaign" to drown out or distort the message of climate science, which he links to "interests where billions, even trillions are at stake..." This "machine … has been highly successful in branding climate scientists as a bunch of sandal-wearing, fruit-juice drinking leftist radicals engaged in a massive conspiracy to return us to agrarian society…"

I'm speechless. Even after the debacle of Philip Campbell's resignation from the Russell panel, no lessons appear to have been learned.


Royal Society panel announced

The Royal Society panel that is going to examine the scientific aspects on the Climategate affair has been announced. This is the press release from UEA (via a reader - it doesn't appear on the UEA website at the moment).

Lord Oxburgh FRS, a former chair of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, is to chair an independent Scientific Assessment Panel to examine important elements of the published science of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

His appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.

Click to read more ...


Uninformed criticism

The Hockey Stick Illusion has now clocked up 24 five-star reviews on, a number which is rapidly approaching the total number of books I expected to sell when I started writing. 

However, on the other side of the pond it's a different story, with two reviewers on now having given me the one-star treatment. Unfortunately, neither of them actually appear to have read the book, one implying that my target is the global warming theory as a whole and the other seeming to think that I have proposed "statistical adjustments". However, I'm sure they enjoyed themselves.

Click to read more ...


GeolSoc wants your input

The Geological Society is going to prepare a position paper on climate change and wants your input:

The Geological Society has decided to prepare a position statement on climate change. A drafting group has been convened, which will prepare a document summarising the geological evidence. The resulting document will aim to provide a clear and concise summation, accessible to a general audience, of the scientific certainties and uncertainties; as well as including references to further sources of information.

The drafting group met on 18 February, and are currently working on finalising a draft statement. This will be discussed, revised and agreed by the External Relations Committee, and by Council, prior to publication.

Fellows wishing to contribute comments for consideration by the drafting group are invited to send their thoughts to Sarah Day at

Please note: the deadline for receipt of comments has now been extended to 15 April.


Josh 13


Royal Society on uncertainty

The Royal Society is holding a series of discussions on uncertainty in science in a couple of weeks' time. The programme looks pretty interesting. Among the highlights are:

  • Lord May on Science as organised scepticism
  • Julia Slingo on Uncertainty in Weather and Climate Prediction
  • Peter Webster on Uncertainty in predicting extremes of weather and climate
  • Leonard Smith on Uncertainty, ambiguity and risk in forming climate policy

Judith Curry is then running the closing panel discussion and overview.

Unfortunately registration is now closed, but if anyone is going it would be great to get a report on the proceedings.

In the meantime the BBC is discussing the issue of uncertainty today. This will presumably be available on the iPlayer later on.



Economist on global warming

The Economist adds its considerable voice to the throng of those calling on the public to "move along" because there's nothing to see here. It seems that action is required on global warming not because we are certain of the science but because we are not.


There's an editorial here and a briefing here, the latter covering the Hockey Stick story and making all the usual claims about the NAS panel.