I wrote. a couple of days ago, about Nigel Lawson’s meeting with the Royal Society. The meeting was apparently held under Chatham House Rules. This means that those involved can use the information presented at the meeting but cannot disclose who participated or their affiliation.
The secretive nature of the meeting has lead the usual suspects to claim that this means that the Royal Society are trying to hide something. Well, given that the participants are allowed to use the information presented, that seems a little unlikely (plus there’s nothing secret about mainstream climate science). I obviously have no idea why they chose to hold the meeting under Chatham House Rules, but it’s not that unusual and maybe they just wanted to be able to have an open and frank discussion without it turning into a media circus and without those involved having to deal with media enquiries for the next few days. Why do some always assume some kind of conspiracy? (and, yes, that question is somewhat rhetorical)
Given that the GWPF agreed to the terms of the meeting, you might expect them to at least try to discourage all this conspiracy ideation. You might expect it, but you’d be wrong (actually, no, you probably wouldn’t expect it). The latest opinion piece on the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s site is from Christopher Booker and is titled The secret society of warmists. Booker says
Nurse’s team, led by Sir Brian Hoskins of the Grantham Institute, who also sits on the climate change committee advising the Government on policy, trotted out all the familiar arguments for the orthodoxy, including several “hockey stick” graphs to show global temperatures now soaring to levels unknown for thousands of years.
Well, what did Christopher expect them to show? It is now largely accepted that global temperatures today are likely higher than they’ve been for thousands of years. Disputing this just adds credence to Paul Nurse’s suggestion that the GWPF is not getting appropriate scientific advice.
Christopher also says
“the oceans are acidifying” and that there has been a dramatic increase in “extreme weather events” (neither claim is true).
Neither are true? Well as far as I’m aware the oceans are indeed becoming more acidic (or less alkaline) as more and more CO2 is dissolving. I believe there is also evidence for an increase in some extreme weather events, heatwaves in particular. Again, it seems clear that the GWPF is really not getting suitable scientific advice from it’s advisory board.
Christopher finished with
As one present put it, “it was like talking to members of a cult”. What particularly struck the GWPF team was their opposite numbers’ refusal to discuss the policy implications of their beliefs
So, the GWPF has a meeting with one of the leading scientific societies in the world and then publishes an article on its site implying that it’s a cult. Not only is this absurd, it’s also infantile behaviour. Is there any chance that the Royal Society will ever suggest another meeting with the GWPF? I don’t actually know the answer to this, but they’d be mad if they did so or agreed to one.
What about the refusal to discuss the policy implications? Well the whole motivation behind the meeting was that the GWPF are not getting suitable scientific advice. The idea was to give them an opportunity to discuss climate science with actual experts. How is policy relevant and why should the policy implications in any way influence the science? Of course the policy should be based on the best possible scientific evidence (hence the motivation for the meeting in the first place) but the science shouldn’t be influenced by policy implications. That this was seen as a surprise by the GWPF seems to indicate, as I suspected, that they distrust the science because of the policy implications, not because they have any real evidence to suggest that there is anything wrong with the science.
It also seems to be a standard practice in such discussions. As soon as the scientific questions get tricky, start discussing policy implications as if to suggest that the implications are so severe that the science can’t possibly be right. If the Royal Society did indeed stick to the science and avoided the policy, I think they were wise to do so and it’s certainly what I’d prefer.