I've gone on record in the past as saying that the Royal Society is little more than a political campaigning body, a criticism that I understand has not gone down too well at Carlton House Gardens. I was therefore interested to see the SciTech Committee's reminder that the Royal benefits from considerable quantities of public funding, and a suggestion that it might like to pull its weight on the public relations front (although Sir Paul Nurse's considerable campaigning efforts are noted approvingly):
89. The Royal Society receives the majority of its funding, £47.1 million a year, from the Government. Block 2 of its delivery plan up to 2015 is for Science Communication and Education but, of the £515,000 a year allocated to science communication since 2011, very little appears to have been spent on communicating on climate science. The public profile the Society has on this issue is due to the ongoing debate about climate science taking place directly between Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, and Lord Lawson from the Global Warming Policy foundation. This debate has been widely reported in the press.
90. Sir Paul Nurse has very publicly engaged with prominent climate sceptics in the past. But the same is not true of the Royal Society as a whole. The launch of its joint report with the US National Academy of Sciences could have been used better to promote and communicate accurately the most up-to-date science to a non-specialist audience.