Royal Society blinks – embraces sceptics and uncertainty

WUWT Flashback:

Royal Society to review climate consensus position

Posted on May 27, 2010

“I don’t think they were very pleased. I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.”

Society to review climate message

Today: (Via email press release from the GWPF) Royal Society Bows To Climate Change Sceptics

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 22:09 Ben Webster, The Times

Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.

The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

The Royal Society even appears to criticise scientists who have made predictions about heatwaves and rising sea levels. It now says: “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.

“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

The working group that produced the new guide took advice from two Royal Society fellows who have links to the climate-sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.

Full article at The Times, 30 September 2010

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Douglas Dc

Monckton must be very happy….

rbateman

Make sure to include scenarios for intense cold, heavy snows and dropping sea levels.
The last one would be a show-stopper, should it ever occur.
Since warming is unpredictable, so is cooling. Nature is squirrely.

Garacka

“Professor John Pethica, ….. stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”
And what were those activities specifically?

AJB

And for the usual spin and Bob the Knob’s distortions …
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/30/royal-society-climate-change-guide

Rick Bradford

Monbiot, Harrabin, Black, Pearce, the RS — the list of people trying to negotiate their way back to credibility after years of Warmist dogmatism is growing to a steady trickle, reminiscent of the demoralised remnants of Napoleon’s army straggling back from Moscow….

jv

Didn’t they get curbed stomped for not towing the AGW line at one of the pseudo enquiries then back track? It will be interesting to see if they keep fluttering in the wind or pick a story and stick with it. Of course fluttering in the wind tells a story all it’s own and it isn’t very, ahem, settling.

vigilantfish

This does not sound like an enthusiastic ’embrace’ of skeptics and uncertainty, but it does appear that the RS has had a reality check. Huzzah!

Theo Goodwin

The sun is rising. The quotations are:
“There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”
It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.
“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”
The 43 fellows who demanded this new report have restored science to its rightful place in the Royal Society. There will be “significant modifications in our understanding” of climate. The quotations above accurately describe the state of climate science today. I find this statement totally satisfying. The Great Climate Fraud is finished. Thank God. Thank Science. Thank Anthony.

Henry chance

Joe Romm will blow a gasket. The fireworks and steam vent from that alone will warm the winter.
REPLY: You know, I actually typed in almost that exact line, then deleted it. I didn’t want to spoil the story with snark – Anthony

pat

sanity at last…congrats to all who have played a part.

Jim Cole

What else can one say, but “Wow”. This counts as a M=8 seismic shift.
Imagine, acknowledging uncertainty and things unknown after so many years of “settled science”.
Next we know, folks will be talking about “falsifiable hypotheses”
Change we can believe in.

DRE

A little more “Nullius in verba” is just what they needed

Is sanity finally starting to return?

John F. Hultquist

“ . . . the Government is planning an exercise to test how England and Wales would cope with severe flooding caused by climate change. Exercise Watermark will take place in March . . .”
In England and Wales severe flooding can be caused by excessive rain or rapid snow melt. Climate change does not have to be invoked. They might want to examine their plans for prolonged cold, and by March find it necessary.
Regarding The Royal Society: When your name includes the term “Royal”, wise behavior ought to be expected. (Wanted to say “inbred” but that’s another story.) They goofed and are paying the price.

intrepid_wanders

This is so refreshing after going through the John Holden PP presentation. I was looking for rope, but found and 7 day delay of sale…
Good on the RS for thinking about PERSPECTIVE. How rare these days.

This sounds nice but I am skeptical of any firm results that will be truly satisfactory, to me and most of the WUWT readers. The original statement was anything but based on the scientific method. Why should a review, forced on the believers, produce a result that meets its criteria now?
I strongly suspect this is nothing more then window dressing and a publicity stunt. I strongly suspect the Royal Society gets is whitewash from the same supplier as the others.
This is one of those times when I sincerely hope to be in error.

sky

This little bit of news is HUGE in its tacit implications. Claims of scientific consensus can’t find a reputable home any more.

Kath

The Times web site has a paywall so I didn’t read the article. However, it is hoped that this shows an increasing trend towards real science and not political consensus.

Where is Oreskes now?

Their reputation is still damaged. They should have been in the forefront of the science and not admitting this so late in the game.

Doug in Seattle

I suspect that my colleague Mr. Nikols may be closer to the truth than I would like. This smells a bit like a set up.

John from CA

“Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.”
Just when looked like science would be reduced to poli-sci they take a stand. Good for them!!!
Now lets see if makes any difference. The politicians are set on a course like lemmings to the sea.

Jack Enright

HAH!! At LAST!! Vigilant Fish said:
“This does not sound like an enthusiastic ‘embrace’ of skeptics and uncertainty, but it does appear that the RS has had a reality check. Huzzah!”
I agree; more like ‘dragging their feet every inch of the way’. It’s no more than a hairline crack in the dam, at present; but you know what a hairline crack is?
It’s a place where you can fit the thin end of a wedge . . . 😉

vigilantfish

Shub says:
September 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm
Where is Oreskes now?
——
She’s in Toronto, scheduled to give a talk about “Merchants of Doubt” early tomorrow afternoon at York University. Still have not made up my mind whether or not to go, as getting to York U is a pain, and my slate is full. I doubt her stance has changed.

JRR Canada

Good thing its now GLC not AWG, Glibbering Climb Down. But I wanted to watch them fall so am terribly dissapionted.Soon they will be stating how they never really mean their past certainty, or were fooled by their peers.

Tilo Reber

“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”
Can anyone say “cosmic rays” and “CLOUD”? Actually I’m so glad that this statement is in the text. It’s basically what I have been trying to say for several years. We have no warming since 1997 and the AGW proponents seek to handwave it away with “natural variation”. But they are unable to account for any elements of natural variation that are responsible. Yet every year we get new papers that reveal new information about how the climate system works. The reasonable response is to expect this process to continue rather than to assume that we have all the answers that we need now to model the climate of the future.

Tom in Texas

“It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm…”
Or cool?

wayne

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.”
I can’t believe this, they missed it AGAIN! If honest should have read:
“It is not possible to determine if the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.”

Tilo Reber

Theo Godwin:
“The 43 fellows who demanded this new report have restored science to its rightful place in the Royal Society.”
Unfortunately, it’s also 43 guys that we won’t be seeing in Nature in the near future. Nevertheless, it does my heart good to see that there are still some heroes in the world.

Patrick Davis

What the RS says and does are two different things. I will take this new stance with a pinch of salt.

Russ Hatch

Well England is starting to come around, now if we could just get the leadership of the good old USA to follow suit.

Patrick Davis

I pasted a comment and the link to the BBC article here…
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/science-has-spoken-on-climate-its-now-up-to-politicians-20100930-15ydp.html?comments=12#comments
But it has not been posted. The title of the article speaks volumes about how climate disruption is being covered in Australia. Australia is truly forked!!

juanslayton

Too cheap to go through the pay wall, but I thumbed through some of the society’s online policy archives to see if I could find the new document. Unsuccessful. Maybe somebody a bit more proficient can find it and provide a link. I did find this interesting item:
The Society welcomes open debate, underpinned by sound science, on the subject of climate change. In September 2006, the Royal Society wrote to Exxon Mobil to express concern that some of its corporate publications were presenting a misleading view of the scientific evidence about climate change and were over-emphasizing uncertainties about what we do and don’t know. This letter followed a meeting which had taken place at the request of Exxon Mobil where the Society raised concerns about Exxon’s position on climate change and the company’s funding of lobby groups that misrepresented the science. At the meeting Exxon Mobil indicated that it intended to stop funding these organizations. The letter asked for clarification as to when the company would carry out this pledge. Although we have exchanged further letters with Exxon Mobil, it has still not addressed this issue.
Perhaps someone should make real sure that Exxon Mobil management is informed of the policy revision.

CRS, Dr.P.H.

LOL!! I like the title, “Royal Society Bows To Climate Change Sceptics”….
“KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/29/quote-of-the-week-suzuki-a-farce-of-nature/
As long as this nonsense isn’t costing me any serious money, I can laugh at these clowns!!

Keith Minto

The Royal Society is certainly a good place for a change in attitude to take place. I think the politicians are continuously looking at the numbers and the quality of the skeptical response to climate variability, this is going to help immeasurably.
“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”
Bloody marvellous !

Citizens READ crucial parts of the document. I suggest the Royal Society new Climate Change document is “Continuing cover of failed science & fraud and a dereliction of duty” See – http://bit.ly/cdeuz3

Leon Brozyna

Before you know it, everyone will be saying that the entire notion of AGW was only a minor fringe element, never wholly embraced by science. A perfectly natural turn of events as we transition to a new paradigm of a cooling climate.
And just as hysteria mounts around a belief in a new ice age, the climate will start warming again.
Here we go again.

turbo

43 new names added to the climate blacklist.

ML

It is late at night and I’m tired after 16 hrs of work. But to be sure………….., this post is about Royal Society ( considered in the past to be fine scientific organisation ), or Mutual Adoration Society ? 🙂

u.k.(us)

Encouraging, until this quote:
“Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”
===================
Is this just his opinion?
The excerpts of the new “guide” from the press release by GWPF, never mention “human activity”.
I would say, the new “guide”, needs to be studied?
Maybe it was just written to appeal to both sides?

dp

Personally, I’m already prepared for a “nothing to see here, go back to your homes” result. The fix is in, don’tcha know.

I gave a presentation to Professor Tony Kelly while he was out in Perth in January. We met at Professor Cliff Ollier’s place and had lunch there afterwards. I brought along a bottle of Veuve and a McLaren Vale shiraz. Pleasant memories. The Royal Society should keep going and warn society of the coming cooling.

Ross

Notice the one word or phase the RS uses along with Holdren ?
” regional differences” No more global temps. They have try to continue with the theory looking at regional differences. But I’ll be generous and say this is just a few steps along the line of getting out of the corner they have put themselves in.

Keith Minto

Patrick Davis says:
September 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm
I pasted a comment and the link to the BBC article here…
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/science-has-spoken-on-climate-its-now-up-to-politicians-20100930-15ydp.html?comments=12#comments
But it has not been posted. The title of the article speaks volumes about how climate disruption is being covered in Australia. Australia is truly forked!!

Patrick, send it to your local Federal politician as well, I did. That is where the real debate will be.
Keith.

Andrew30

Ross says: September 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm
”regional differences”
They just need to draw up the “regional” climate map, once they have the ‘right’ boundaries and areas defined then:
More that 80% of the climate regions showed pronounced warming in 2011.
Some regions show a 100% increase in drought this year.
63% of the global climate regions show significant differences to the other 63%
Over 50 climate regions have migrated north in search of work in the past 6 months.
A poll of the different climate regions shows that over 75% favor Coke over Coal.
PS.
Like any electoral map the boundaries will be changed as and when needed to produce the desired results.

rbateman

David Archibald says:
September 29, 2010 at 9:53 pm
They will get around to that, slowly, so as not to take all of the pie in the face at one time.
Can you imagine what it was like to be taken by the Piltdown Man scam?

Bruckner8

I know I’m just being dark and negative, but I’m skeptical of their new-found skepticism.

Saaad

This is very significant. The Royal Society has been a cornerstone of the international scientific community since the reign of Charles II (over 300 years!!). It is extremely conservative and cautious about its statements, which is why the extraordinary departure from this tradition – with the previous alarmist statement on climate change – was met with consternation and now dissent from many of its more vocal members. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Royal Society has had a pivotal influence on the credibility of the CAGW predictions. This new statement restores the Royal Society’s position to one that is once more in keeping with its cautious traditions and seems to me to endorse the kind of uncertainties re feedbacks etc which this blog, amongst others, has tried so hard to bring to the public’s attention.
It is also a massive and I believe fatal blow to the CAGW position. The pillar upon which they have for so long built their case, has at last been removed. The “peers” of peer review have removed their endoresement. Now watch the policymakers search for ways to re-explain their views, whilst slowly backing away……
This is significant!!! I’m going out to buy a nice bottle of Champagne as soon as I’ve finished emailing Tony Abbott (The Australian conservative leader and climate sceptic) and everyone else I know who’s as obsessed as I am about this subject.

movielib

Celebration may be premature.
The alarmist rag, The Guardian, published an article that says:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/30/royal-society-climate-change-guide
“The document entirely supports the mainstream scientific view of man-made climate change as summarised by the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
The article also quotes Bob Ward:
“Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute, described the new guide as ‘excellent’ and ‘an authoritative summary of the current state of knowledge’ .”
Bob Ward is not going to say that about a report sympathetic to skeptics.
It’s as if there are two entirely different reports.
I fear all that has happened is that we skeptics have been thrown a little bone.

If I may repeat my comment from May 27…
As for Lord Rees, make no mistake that this will be difficult for him.
For his brand of cool alarmism try his book Our Final Hour.
The Cicerone-Rees weasel-worded letter to Fin Times is here:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72e349c8-436e-11df-833f-00144feab49a.html
Or listen to Rees in Oz last month:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2881446.htm

…given the lack of belief in very well established science like evolution, one should not be so surprised that there is a large body of people who don’t accept arguments about climate change because the climate change arguments are not entirely straightforward, the evidence is not staring us in the face….