An extraordinary meeting of climate skeptics and climate scientists in Bath

Many people wondered why I would travel halfway across the world to attend the Cook and Mann lectures. The answer to that question is: I decided to come on a whim (I also had not visited the UK since I started blogging) hoping that other more valuable meetings could occur. As I pointed out in my posting last Saturday there was little if anything new in the Cook lecture on Friday night and I don’t expect much new in the Mann lecture either. But, I also pointed out the importance of face-to-face communications in overcoming walls that can be built up in electronic communications.

There has been one other meeting thanks to the foresight of Nicholas Lewis and others; an extraordinary dinner meeting occurred on Sunday night, September 21st, at his home in Bath, UK. In attendance was a nearly equal balance of climate scientists and climate skeptics, some of whom were also scientists.

The photo of that Sunday night meeting is shown below.

Bath dinner 21Sep14Starting with the front row from left to right we have: Prof. Paul Valdes, of Bristol University, Prof. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, David Holland independent climate and FOIA researcher, Prof. Ed Hawkins researcher at Reading University, myself, Prof. Ted Shepherd of Reading University, Prof. Tamsin Edwards, researcher at Bristol University. Top row from left to right: Prof. Richard Betts of the Met Office, Marcel Crok, Dutch freelance science writer and initiator of climatedialogue.org, David Rose of the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Prof. Michael Kelly of Technology at Cambridge University, and Nicholas Lewis independent climate scientist and our gracious host.

The evening’s discussion was spirited and in-depth, covering topics of climate sensitivity, scientific publishing, science policy, the surface record, and finding agreements amongst ourselves on the various topics that we discussed as well as many of the topics that are in contention.

Since the venue was under Chatham House Rule, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the particular conversations that I was involved with nor will I discuss the conversations of others. However, with prior approval of all participants involved we’ve all agreed to bending the rule slightly to show the photo and name the participants. I think it is important to do so, because I cannot recall any similar meeting. Our goal is to lead by example.

More than anything this meeting demonstrated that a group of people with diverse ideas and some levels of distrust due to heightened rhetoric can come together and have an intelligent, polite, and enlightening discussion. I felt it important that this historic meeting be noted and to let it serve as an example of cooperation and hope for more future meetings so that we can understand each other better.

I was honored to be there and I thank you all for your willingness to participate and have a respectful discussion. I give a special thanks to Nic Lewis for his choices, his hospitality, and his foresight in organizing this meeting. A special thanks also to Sarah Lewis for her hospitality, which made this gathering excellent and seamless.

 

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165 thoughts on “An extraordinary meeting of climate skeptics and climate scientists in Bath

  1. 1. It seems to me that the ‘climate skeptic’/’climate scientist’ distinction is confusing. Aren’t the skeptics also scientists or at least scientific thinkers? Perhaps ‘skeptic-leaning’/’activist-leaning’ would be less confusing?

    2. Also, was Mike Mann at the meeting? If so, why is he not in the picture?

  2. Richard Betts, Welcome to the Skeptic side of life! ;)

    (No one Ever looks like one imagines…..)

  3. When you said “extraordinary, I half suspected that Mann would be there too.

    Then I realized that was an absurdity.

    Well done, Anthony. I suspect you are in contact with the attendees, so please pass on my thanks and kudos, for the rapprochment.

  4. Cool Anthony… inquiring minds want to know more. I’m sure this meeting will help with future discussions/debates! Kudos to you and your integrity.

  5. A great thing to see, most active participants on both sides are seeking the truth, so there is at least a unity of purpose. Science should be pure questing after the truth, human emotions and prejudices should be left behind the bar.

  6. Prof Mann was not there. I was privileged to be, and I echo Anthony’s comments and deep thanks to Nic and Sarah Lewis. It was an enjoyable and important occasion, and, I hope, a sign that we can evolve what one of the participants called a “radical moderation” in discussing these issues in future.

    • David, as a Brit, a former journalist – and a great admirer of Anthony and his hugely informative and fair-minded blog – I want to thank you for flying the flag for accurate, unbiased, science-based journalism in the UK. Sadly, many reporters appear to have lost the ability to ask obvious questions and, of course, the BBC has lost all credibility in its global warming ‘coverage’.

      Your presence at this gathering indicates that not all is yet lost for accurate and courageous reporting of climate science issues. If you get the opportunity in the future to ask Cameron some inconvenient questions then please do so. And keep on keeping on – for all of us.

    • I don’t see any point in moderation of anything. in science thing are much more black and white than that. Yes I know that in quantum physics there are uncertainties, but still there is not that much wiggle room in the study of the climate.

      • Not much wiggle room in the study of climate?
        We probably know <1% about what there is to know about the climate.
        Hell, we probably know <1% about what we don't know about the study of climate.

      • I think you mean that at macro scales beyond the behaviour of particles, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is insignificant and gravity is more significant. Our knowledge of climate science is however in it’s infancy.
        One thing we do know is that CO2 has a small effect on climate and far less than the GCMs predict. We know this by comparing the long known standalone CO2 forcing with global CO2 atmospheric composition and global temperatures. We also know that periods in the Earth’s history like the MWP had higher temperatures with less CO2. We also know that historically (on long term time scales) temperatures dropped earlier and much more steeply than did CO2 so it could not have been the driver and importantly was overpowered by some other natural variable.

        I find it ironic that someone who accuses skeptics of participating in a fossil fuel-funded conspiracy uses the ‘tin foil hat’ ad hominem.

  7. I would love to have overheard it all, sounds interesting! Sounds like a good idea; lead by example, set the stage for future meetings and find greater understanding.

  8. More than anything this meeting demonstrated that a group of people with diverse ideas and some levels of distrust due to heightened rhetoric can come together and have an intelligent, polite, and enlightening discussion. I felt it important that this historic meeting be noted and to let it serve as an example of cooperation and hope for more future meetings so that we can understand each other better.

    ==========================================================
    A meeting of people with different opinions willing to lay down their (I’m not sure what word to use, political?, ideological?, prideological?,-yes, I just made that word up.) shields to discus the facts.
    I hope we all benefit from the fruits of the Lewis’s hospitality.

      • ‘Hubristologicalisational’? :-) (I like it it because I accidentally found it had a ‘bristol’ – not a euphemism – seeing as how this was all brought about by being at Bristol).

    • Most think of figures of speech as simply …uh… similes and metaphors. Comparisons. Picturesque speech. They are that. But they are also intentional departures from the rules of grammar to call attention to something. I made up the word to call attention to “pride” and how getting over it is a big step in the right direction.
      Please forgive my clumsy attempt at making a point.

  9. What an excellent opportunity to seize the ‘debate’ back from the feral catastrophists. Hopefully this gathering will encourage a forum of discussion and understanding unaffected by the politicians, catastrophists, and other assorted self-interested types. Next thing is to decouple funding from TRUTH.

  10. I am appalled that so many learned persons are being paid to debate this discredited theory – surely they can get real jobs?

  11. A great evening, Anthony, and I would love to have been there. I’ve had lunch in London with David Holland and some others like David Henderson, but, though I’ve tried, I’ve been unable to arrange a similar gathering in Australia. Perhaps I should try again. Perhaps Anthony should come to Oz!

      • I hope my next trip will be to Siberia, so that I can figure out the great GISS red spot in the surface record there.

      • I have heard the theory, at WUWT I think, that heating oil was supplied by the Central Planning gurus on the basis of the local weather. If you wanted more oil, you told the boffins it was a wee bit colder than it might actually be. After the collapse, if you wanted oil you paid for it, and there was no reason to put your thumb on the scale, as it were. It may be apochryphal, but I certainly believe it could have happened. Seventy-five years under communism, people get pretty good at gaming the system to survive.

  12. Sorry, but the real show is in ny with a bunch of clueless @#$%&&*-
    I cannot believe the bs being bought hook,line and sinker by way too many
    Pols and the media, minus fox news, and a few journalists. How is this possible
    In todays world?

  13. Hi Anthony

    It was good to meet you and those who I’d not met before, and to catch up with those I already knew. It was a very interesting evening. Thanks very much to Nic and Sarah for their kind hospitality.

    Otter – I’m intrigued about what you imagined I looked like. Maybe I shouldn’t ask….!

    Cheers

    Richard

  14. I have lefty/warmist friends. Some are now beginning to doubt the Dogma. As long as meeting like this occur there can be dialog. Thanks, Anthony..

  15. Let’s hope that this evening as described proves to be a historic moment at the start of the end of the ‘climate change (or whatever) debacle.

    I dream sometimes, and I confuse reality….. but what a nice dream.

    Well done to Nicolas Lewis for organising and hosting such a much-needed event.

  16. I suspect those on the skeptical side didn’t really learn anything new other than to put a face to a name, even though Anthony is gracious enough to mention the meeting in a praiseworthy tone, but those on the CAGW side may have been a bit surprised there is so much common ground.

    Wonder if any of them still feel that the debate is over or do any of them recognize that the skeptical position is not one of abject denial but is mainly open, honest, proper science skepticism?

    Otherwise, congrats to all that attended – maybe, just maybe, it is a step in the right direction.

    • There really isn’t that much common ground, we are right they are wrong, and that is the end of that. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice dinner with people who are totally wrong, I had two ex-wives so I have done that many times.

  17. IMHO: Chatham house rules are the worst atrocity to free speech…they are used to hide bad behavior you should have walked out once this was declared.

    • I noticed that Andrew Montford wasn’t there…no surprise since he has voiced his opposition to CH rules in multiple blog posts.

    • Well, not that Wikipedia is correct on these matters, but they say:

      When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

      Rather than walk out, I suspect some might not have been there otherwise. Therefore, this is better than nothing since eye-ball to eye-ball discussions can be much more beneficial than damaging, as long as the participants remain gentlemen/gentlewomen. One would surely no longer be in that “gentle” category if they agreed to Chatham House Rule and than did not adhere to it.

      At least, that would be my take.

      • One benefit of these rules is that no one can maliciously ascribe false statements to another participant without breaking the rules and incurring odium.This provides a better atmosphere for frank discussions. It is a step toward opening a public dialogue which will be to the advantage of the skeptics as we are correct.

        I do not wish to seem cynical but IMO it is the 18 year “pause” that made such a meeting possible.

    • The lisbon conference with Judith Curry, nick stokes, myself, tallbloke, mcintyre, mckittrick, von storch, webtser, goddard.. was Chatham house.

      the speech was plenty free. agreeing not to discuss what we discussed or who said what, all us to speak freely.

      When we accept, freely accept, restrictions, free speech is not abridged

      • Yes – and openness and decorum result though vigorous and great disagreement may be encouraged. Sometimes the most free speech is in a restricted venue. It would be nice if there were a tad more decorum even here, myself included. The drive by insults add little, feeding of trolls is counterproductive as trolls are already in a closed loop having already decided what is best for all of us. I can change my mind when given good reasons to do so. Some can’t, but that is their problem. Thanks Steven. Good comment.

      • Mosher writes “When we accept, freely accept, restrictions, free speech is not abridged”

        Agreed. In this context CH encourages free speech…at the time. The down point is that us rabble dont get to hear it. I’m sure all involved benefitted greatly from frank and open discussion “off the record”

      • Well well Mosh, two of the worst thread bombers on this site doing the Chatham house with some climate heavy hitters in the (so called) skeptic/science view meeting, how interesting. I’ve deducted you’re in the skinny with pics with Mr.WUWT from the past. Yep, I’ve suspected you, nick stokes and others are plants to put discord and spice up traffic/ranks for hits on your site for Mr. WUWT. This is most distressing to me.

        But thank you, what a revelation, as the world of crazy{NYC/UN) is about to embrace CAGW and genocide you’re all claiming Chatham “F-ING” house rules, what a joke. Nero played the fiddle as Rome burned.
        I don’t know what’s worse, going to a speaking engagement with Cook and making small talk(WTF?) and then blowing off the opportunity to question Mann….. or lecturing us non-scientists/plebes about Chatham house rules because we don’t have a PHD, or an invite…

        Hey, here’s a thought…., maybe you shouldn’t talk/post about it at all(you to Mosh).. Just saying…

        Or… here’s another thought, I don’t think you understand how many of us web skeptics/studied HAD knowledge before we came here. Myself, I’ve had to go it alone with my limited info for over 15 years without the WUWT cushion.
        Mosher has his points though cryptic(and more often just wrong), but knowing he is involved with nick and probably other thread destroyers tainting this site. Should us regular smart plebes just ignore this ? Are we not at war?

        PS – I AM.

    • This was a private social meeting, in the participants own time.

      They have every right & expectation to agree whatever they want, and, expect mutual confidentiality.

  18. At last there appears to be a true consensus emerging as this article (paywalled) by Steven Koonin in The Australian summarises very eruditely-
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/inexact-science-makes-it-impossible-to-accurately-predict-future-climate/story-e6frg6z6-1227066897024

    He begins-

    “THE idea that “climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on ­issues related to energy, greenhouse gas emissions and the environment, it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.”

    and after a great summation of the current state of play concludes rightly with-

    “Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognising those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultim­ately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science.”

    Footnote:
    Steven E. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the US Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term and is director of the Centre for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His previous positions include professor of theoretical physics and provost at the California Institute of Technology, as well as chief scientist of BP, where his work focused on renewable and low-carbon energy technologies.

  19. This meeting was a great idea and a credit to all involved.

    No-one is so smart that additional open-minded insight is of no value. In any case, before its all over some participants may need a bridge forward. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

  20. ‘Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war’ was I believe attributed to Churchill, but you still have to make time for chew, chew, chew…

  21. Did the Warmistas appreciate how their “science” had been hijacked by their political paymasters?

  22. It is great that people with different points of view talk to one another. One of the worst aspects of global warming is the polarized views, and a total failure to appreciate that people might, with good reason, have views different from your own.
    The Chatham House rules can be used to make decisions behind closed doors, like the BBC did in its decision to suspend its duty of impartiality with respect to climate science and climate politics. However, when used properly, they CH rules be used to voice opinions in private on controversial topics.

  23. Good work!

    Btw. Over the years I noticed that there are three things many AWG-believers have a hard time understanding not only as true but the impact of those three:
    * Tectonical plates
    * Ice Age from peak to now and especially the impact of Archimedes Principle such as landrise resp. erosion
    * What happens when a warm straith meets a cold. Density, saltination, changes of direction resp impacts such as new weather phenomen.

    If someone is reading this has special knowledge in those fields, I for one would love to see information in detail presented here in wattsup. Please would you write some lines about those for most of us skeptic known factors?

  24. The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

    When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
    Q. Can a list of attendees at the meeting be published?
    A. No – the list of attendees should not be circulated beyond those participating in the meeting. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.MKKGN3jG.dpuf
    http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule

    • Ulric, you missed the part where Anthony said he had permission from all involved to publish the pic and IDs.
      This is a wonderful episode toward bridging both scientific and ideological differences.

      • Rud: Have I missed something? Anthony is free to disclose what was said – but he mustn’t say who said it. N’est-ce pas?

  25. JohnWho September 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm
    ‘Hey observa –
    I’m just guessing you did not observe this’

    Yeah you’re right but good to know it’s getting around the world in all the right places :)

    • This is encouraging. As a person seeking less biased discussions, this is the sort of thing that keeps me searching for answers.

      There are many sites, but a quick look at the comments section has turned me off from most of them. This place is one of the better ones.

  26. Bravo!

    I am hopeful there was discussion of “The OAS” also? Which I predict will become one of the most important societies in climate science moving forward.

  27. More than anything this meeting demonstrated that a group of people with diverse ideas and some levels of distrust due to heightened rhetoric can come together and have an intelligent, polite, and enlightening discussion.

    I can’t help but wonder whether this is one of the 5 phases of the climbdown. Would this meeting have taken place 5 years ago? This is guerrilla warfare, this is not the time to be nice and chatty with people who were scaremongering and deceiving while asking for more funding. Just my opinion.

    • Honest and open science won’t be made on the graves of the crushed foes.
      It needs people to be willing to bend and move forward and be unafraid.

      You can bomb guerrillas in their foxholes put you won’t get them to build a new world that way.
      They’ll just build new foxholes.

      • Good point except Tamsin and Richard don’t really need to do anything new. They’re simply practicing climate science, as far as I can tell, which none of us would object to. The real problem is the Phil Jones or the Hockey Team member or the Naomi Oreskes who will never build anything worthwhile, because he/she doesn’t LIKE science and only knows how to sabotage it.

        With apologies to Christopher Hitchens, coexistence with anti-scientists is neither possible nor desirable.

    • I don’t recognise all the names but Tamsin and Richard Betts don’t monger fear in my observation. I suspect they’d have been just as happy to meet 5 years ago. (Whereas other “opponents” like Mann and co. won’t play nice no matter how many years we wait.)

  28. You are correct. But it does help settle the truce afterwards. Which is equally important.
    I would direct your attention to Lincoln’s second inaugural address. If you want it in inspiring form, visit the portion I refer to that is inscribed on a wall of his memorial in Washington, DC.

  29. For the life of me, I cannot understand how ANY competent scientist can look at the climate data accumulated over the past 40 years and see evidence of “positive feedback” operating in response to CO2-forced greenhouse warming. I’d be afraid I might choke on my dinner while trying to be civil to anyone who claimed to have seen such physical evidence. If another party told me instead that one cannot actually SEE the evidence because the Climate Gods have hid it in the ocean, I suspect I might blow that choked down dinner and ruin a lovely party.

  30. OFF topic but please check this paper out..
    The error margins for surface GAT just increased 100 fold.
    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/E___E_algorithm_error_07-Limburg.pdf

    here is what maybe the money quote…
    “By knowing this the minimum uncertainty for every annual global mean temperature
    should be expanded not only to the value described here i.e. with 95 % confidence
    interval to ± 1.084 °C, but should be at least 3 to 5 times wider. Thus, the average
    global temperature anomaly for the last 150 years is dissolved in a wide noisy
    uncertainty band, which is much wider than the whole assumed variation of the 20
    th century. Therefore every attempt to attribute any possible forcing to that variation remains scientific speculation.”

  31. I’m happy this meeting took place. If it helps lead us all to a point where rational, scientific discussion can begin to replace the current scaremongering and shouting (the UN conference and attendant headlines), then all to the good. Nothing is lost. That such a meeting took place in Bath, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is even better. I hope Anthony got in a few days to sightsee, and took a trip down the road to Stonehenge.

  32. An interesting combination of characters. Perhaps everyone there is willing to accept that their opponents act in good faith….. at least I hope that is the case. I note a lack of firebrands at the table, which is probably not a coincidence.

    A table for 12? Big table.

    • “Perhaps everyone there is willing to accept that their opponents act in good faith….. ”

      What I don’t accept is that the people at the dinner party ARE our opponents. (And I find the “skeptics and scientists” dichotomy implicit in the title unfortunate.)

      It’s hard to get worked up about anything Tamsin or Richard Betts has done, isn’t it? They’re not liars are they? I might have missed a big alarmist paper or two of theirs, though. (Richard can seem hypersensitive and combative on Twitter, but that’s just as likely to be a function of the mistrust we all labor under.)

      But I hasten to admit I don’t know all of the figures named, so I’d be curious to know which dinner guests are perceived as on the “other side”.

  33. Good for you. I, on the other hand, don’t trust any of them to sit down and have a discussion. Least anything be taken out of context or appear that I have capitulated. I do realize that what you’ve done is important and civilized.

  34. “At a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed ever to reveal the identity, employer or political party of the person making a comment. It is designed to increase openness of discussion of public policy and current affairs, as it allows people to express and discuss controversial opinions and arguments without suffering the risk of dismissal from their job, and with a clear separation from the opinion and the view of their employer.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_House_Rule

  35. Since the venue was under Chatham House Rule, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the particular conversations that I was involved with nor will I discuss the conversations of others.

    The Chatham House Rule does not proscribe you from discussing the conversations that were held, it only insists that you not identify the speakers. You are free to discuss what was said, just not in a way that identifies by whom.

  36. Thank you Nicholas Lewis for hosting and the 11 others for attending. Almost every day I look to WUWT and other climate blogs for some good news about genuine conversation and civil dialogue between those with points of view that can’t possibly be as polarized as the media describe and promote. Hooray for some good news! Discussing the topic of climate sensitivity will, IMO, bring the two sides much closer and help return climate science to science.

  37. Anthony, my question, without quoting or identifying who said what, is this: did you come away with a sense that perhaps there is now a better understanding of the skeptic position, namely that the so called d*n**rs understand that there has been warming, that man is responsible for some of the increase and that the real disagreement is about magnitude?

    • Tom, I don’t believe that the anthropogenic CO2 portion of total atmospheric CO2 can be tagged as responsible for any part of measured warming. 1) The warming is within natural variation. 2) The tiny increase in CO2 does not have the chops to increase global air column temperatures nor increase ocean temperatures. The additional downwelling heat from just the anthropogenic CO2 increase would not be enough to change global temperatures in a significant way. Longwave infrared cannot be responsible for sea surface temperature rise. The second that weak source of warming hits the surface (not enough energy to penetrate to depth) of the water, it is evaporated away. And if the air is heated over land by this tiny portion, night time radiative cooling would send it packing.

      There must be a stronger source of increasing temperatures. I think Bob Tisdale is on the right track and has identified a very large player in this game.

      • And what else could warmer temperatures at night but not during the day be a signature of? Peter, you fail in proper investigation because you fail to attempt, with all due course leaving no stone unturned, to disprove your theory. Significance is not what you do to discredit the null hypothesis. It is what you do to retain it. Lest you error.

      • Example: In NE Oregon we have experienced a spat of normal day time temperatures but warmer than average night time temperatures. 5 weeks ago we had hotter than average day time temperatures but colder than average night time temperatures. Care to guess why?

        And even if anthropogenic, these types of temperature oddities are well within the natural variation range.

      • Man’s influence on climate is more than any minor (if any ) CO2 increase. Certainly man made changes to our environment such as deforestation, building of large cities etc must be considered as part of how we influence the planet. But again, it all about the magnitude, or lack thereof, of those changes versus natural variations.

      • My observations have shown me higher humidity levels slow nighttime cooling rates and lower humidity levels increase the nighttime cooling rates.

    • The opinion that man has contributed to climate change is an unproven assumption unexceptable as real science. It may very well be true but if so it can not be caused by an increase in co2 which is an effect of temperature rise not a cause.
      Even if one excepts this conjecture, the very small possible human contribution is too small to measure.
      If you start with an assumption not falsifiable, you end with a result not scientific.

  38. As the Carbon Dioxide caused AGW loses it’s credibility they are beginning to renegotiate their positions.

    About time! Soon we will be dealing with Human caused “Global Cooling”. It never ends. Time for real Science and an end to pseudo-science political action committees. pg

  39. I’m sorry Anthony but I could never in good conscience break bread with those associated with the deception of AGW, you have a stronger digestive system than I do.

    The Jean S post at Climate Audit highlights the duplicity at the heart of the AGW scare. The injustice that the whole scheme has perpetrated is awful, holding back development of third world counties, diverting monies, that could and should have gone to helping those less fortunate, to fund hair-brained alternative energy investments, I don’t need to continue, these issues have been discussed to the death.

  40. It is very powerful to meet with “the other side” and let them see you are not a paid, political activist or a radical. This sort of meeting can lead to a softening by the global warming alarmist crowd and might even eventually lead to some one changing sides. Anthony you are a hero.

  41. Congratulations Anthony, looks like you’re making a break through.
    Until real scientists get together and actually discuss this study of climate we will never get shut of the activists.
    I applaud your successful outreach, which I believe comes down to your personal conduct and the way you run this blog.
    Of course Chatham House rules or no, the fanatics may attempt to make life miserable for the fellows formerly considered consensus members.
    But once this discussion takes off, CAGW is over, those who remain belligerently certain of, The days of Warmings Return, will gradually be ignored, just like the cargo cult extremists.

  42. Isn’t it remarkable that such a cross-the-board meeting was instigated by climate sceptics? Would Dr. Mann have taken such an initiative?

    It says something about the strength of one’s position, to reach out and include. It also highlights the reluctance of many alarmists to take part in face-to-face discussions and meetings. A rather defensive stance, IMO.

    • +1

      It was a wonderful time with Anthony for the four days, in pubs and without! Andrew Montford couldn’t make it to the Sunday event at Nic’s but he did though come down to Bristol yesterday and was able to meet AW for the first time. We’re all richer for the experience.

  43. Excellent report, Anthony! Having lived & worked in the UK in the early & mid-1990s, I have cherished memories of Bath. Lovely place with stunning architecture, I’m envious.

    I do hope that others seek out lively and honest debate on the science of climate. I’ve engage politicians of all kinds (having worked for US Rep. Jim Inhofe when he first ran for the US Congress), prominent university professors (UC’s Dr. David Archer is a lovely fellow), and journalists, and I’ve rarely had anyone run me off for my own views on these things, which are complex.

    Such conversations are enriching, I’m glad that you made a very important impression on our Brit friends. Cheers, Charles the DrPH

  44. Hard on the problem, soft on the people – to borrow a phrase.

    My respect for Anthony has doubled, from a very high place. Respect to all – hats off to all those involved!

  45. Whilst not always immediately successful, sometimes when folks go the extra mile long term, lasting gains can be made. Kudos to Nic for initiating and hosting the meet and the same for to the attendees for agreeing to be named, they now have a responsibilities, the first of which is to strictly adhere to their agreed version of the Chatham House rules.

    The benefits of such meets will be many fold, but very few will ever be directly attributed.

    Very welcome, positive news, much needed in the face of some frantic and at times bordering on the inane politicising of science.

  46. You have supped in one of my favorite places in Jane Austin’s wonderful novels (dare I say Novelettes?). In my youthful unsatiable desire to sample the life-story of others tucked away as I was in remote Wallowa County, Oregon, I stumbled upon the first novel published in America (North and South). Ben Franklin’s press released “Pamela; Virtue Rewarded” by British author Samuel Richardson. While I fall far short of such a title, it was great fun to read a novelette titled “Pamela”, a bit steamy for its time and a delicious short read. I didn’t want Grandma to find out I was reading such a book so kept it tucked in my dresser.

  47. I think to meet with people you have been so openly critical of takes a lot of confidence. You are able to do it because you have never let your attacks get over-personal and your conscience is clear. The fact that they will meet with you shows the reverse, that they have to come to respect your viewpoints over the years and cannot deny that they contain truth, even if they find it hard to accommodate your viewpoint.

    Michael Mann could never be able to meet at such a gathering for the reverse reason, he is becoming an irrelevance.

    Good move

  48. Tamsin Edwards, Richard Betts, Ed Hawkins, etc are not on the other ‘side’. If there are ‘sides’ to be had. They are on the side of adults, professionals everywhere and reasonable civil discussion and the very important – nice to meet people, put a name to a face and have a chat.

    THEY are at risk of considerable blowback from some (and only some) scientists and a whole bunch of climate concerned activists.

    Richard is a big boy and can look after himself ( Head of Climate Impacts, Met Office, etc)- we chatted last night about this in the pub last night), but Ed and Tamsin are early- ish career scientists taking a (potential) big risk (sadly) professionally – I really hope all of their colleagues cheer them on.

    • I can feel the AGW Inquisition getting up to speed as I write , how long before this people will be made to publicly atone for their ‘sins’ and how many sack clothes and ashes will they required to don for their ‘heretical beliefs ‘

  49. Whats interesting is the “Public” / “Private” mix. All “pro” AGW’s are Scientists on the public payroll.

    All the skeptics are professionals in other areas looking at climate and thinking this is all a bit rubbish…. If i did this sort of work at my job………

  50. Skiphil, at the Bish, on Chatham House. Note well his final paragraph.

    e: the Nic Lewis group

    UK readers will have a surer sense of the nuances of Chatham House Rule, but a couple of comments at WUWT have said that there is no prohibition on public discussion of what was discussed under CHR so long as nothing is attributed to persons or said in a way that could allow individual or organizational perspectives to be inferred:

    jim2 September 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm
    “At a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed ever to reveal the identity, employer or political party of the person making a comment. It is designed to increase openness of discussion of public policy and current affairs, as it allows people to express and discuss controversial opinions and arguments without suffering the risk of dismissal from their job, and with a clear separation from the opinion and the view of their employer.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_House_Rule

    Reply
    JJ September 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm
    [Anthony]: “Since the venue was under Chatham House Rule, I am not at liberty to discuss any of the particular conversations that I was involved with nor will I discuss the conversations of others.”

    The Chatham House Rule does not proscribe you from discussing the conversations that were held, it only insists that you not identify the speakers. You are free to discuss what was said, just not in a way that identifies by whom.

  51. From First Inaugural Address of Thomas Jefferson:

    …If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it….

    Just substitute ‘dissolve this Union or to change its republican form’ with ‘repudiate AGW or to change its catastrophic form,’ and you get some notion of what it means to have the fair and open discussions I would like to see.

    Perhaps this is an opening to such an exchange?

    Will we see a website devoted to such an open exchange?

  52. I think that it’s more important to hear that you all had an “intelligent, polite, and enlightening discussion” rather than to hear what was discussed. If you can add “cordial” to the list then so much the better.

  53. Obviously a meeting of some high-powered minds but, unfortunately, completely trumped in New York where, at the United Nations no less, the warmists wheeled out . . . wait for it . . . Leonardo Di Caprio.

    We’ve lost. I mean, the guy is not only an Oscar winner, he has a well-trimmed goatee beard, ties his hair back in a mini pony tail thing and is married to Angelina Jolie.*

    Can’t beat that.

    _____________

    * It may be the other guy who’s married to Jolie . . . was di Caprio adopted by them, maybe?

  54. Some weird comments about Chatham House rules on here.

    A group of people get together to discuss something and agree not to divulge to outsiders what was said nor what positions were taken by whom.

    That’s all there is to Chatham House rules. It is an overarching term to describe a closed meeting. There are no hard and fast rules about what can and cannot be revealed and what penalties will apply if the pact is broken. Each gathering decides its own approach on an ad hoc basis.

    The group doesn’t trail along their lawyers and have a pre-meeting hearing where they thrash out the agreement and go over a binding contract clause by clause and line by line. No one says, “Did you bring the Chatham House Rules document?” There simply isn’t one.

    “Chatham House Rules” is just a fancy way of tapping your nose and saying “everything stays within these walls” and having everyone else agree.

  55. Excellent post as always, Anthony. I am glad my fellow countrymen/women are treating you well and I hope you are enjoying your stay.
    I think you are 100% right, it is very easy to rant and rave to someone from the anonymity of the keyboard, together with an alias but once you have met them face to face it is a great deal more difficult. It is also difficult if you use your real name; then you have to debate logically and concisely without resorting to malice and insults, which could easily be read by friends, who may become ex-friends as a result!

  56. Pleased to see that there’s a sub rosa dialogue. You don’t get funding without propounding either extreme or popular views but, as a Professor you must be aware of the need for a dignified exit route should your high horse stumble.
    Everyone who’s ever published a paper knows that you learn more about the weaknesses of your case from your rivals than you do from your friends.
    Its nice to be reminded through this meeting that we are all actually on the same side, interested in the same phenomena and trying to get a handle on the chaos that is weather and climate.
    OK, like a team of sled dogs, all pulling in the same general direction but snapping and growling at each other on the way!

  57. As Machiavelli said, if you must go to war, you must crush your enemy completely. Leave it half done, and you’ll have to fight it again some day. eg WWI & WWII, Gulf 1 & Gulf 2.

    Probably not a fashionable view with the sentiments being expressed here, but true nonetheless.

    Pointman

    • I think it is important to make a distinction between those who will debate, and those who feel the debate is over with. The “enemy” are those such as Kennedy who think we should be put in jail, for expressing skeptical ideas. The “enemy” are a danger to civilization, whereas the dinner described in this post actually strengthens the bonds of civilization.

    • Nature — only nature — in control.
      ENSO nature’s way jerking climate commentator like yo-yo.
      Master of puppets century- & longer-scale stamina.
      Best human do harmonize nature rhythm.

    • Alternatively, it might also be the views of Ayman Al Zawahiri wrt 9/11…………war always has two sets of aggressors you know.

      I know it’s not fashionable to assume that the USA could ever lose a war, but you have been know to you know. Vietnam?

      Next time it might be 500 targets, not 3……..

    • Pointman, popular or not, Machiavelli was right I think. I would be hard pressed to break bread with an enemy. Truces are very suboptimal, morally.

      But do any of the dinner guests above represent our “enemy”? Which ones are our “enemy”?

  58. Wonderful. I’d have enjoyed being there and being part of the dinner conversations.

    To those on the warmist side at this dinner, I’d be very interested in hearing about any feedback (positive or negative) you get from your colleagues, supporters or the press for having attended this dinner. Please do submit a guest post here if anyone tries to impugn your integrity or ideological purity for being there, or if you’re praised for your open-mindedness and diplomacy.

  59. When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.RSVlb88n.dpuf
    So in accordance with the Chatham House Rule you can report what was discussed and what was agreed – or not, as long as there is no attribution. Now that would be fascinating!

  60. One hopes all participants arrived and departed the gathering with a positive spirit to better understanding varying viewpoints and ultimately a more complete resolution of climatic matters. Good show to all who organized and/or participated.

    Only one question tho` … did the discussions start before or after the wine was poured? 8>)

  61. Beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…

  62. My whole private and professional life (40 yrs) it was the most common situation to engage in meetings where it was agreed to that the conversation is confidential, however, the existence of the meeting and people involved were not confidential. In fact that was usually the default situation. No one ever used anything but common words to describe that situation.

    So, I find it a little amusing that common situation which occurred at Lewis’ house in Bath isn’t just simply described with normal words like the common culture uses instead of with the arguable meaning of the terminology ‘Chatham House Rule’. It is more understandable when you say in real life words the situation like the common culture does.

    John

  63. Sounds like fun. But I have to wonder what the Warmists said when you asked them, politely of course, for any scrap of evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has had any measurable effect upon the Earth’s climate.

    I guess we’ll never know.

    /Mr Lynn

  64. CH rules is all well and good in something where discretion is required (e.g. war politics, negotiations, etc). However, I would at least partly argue that in science, there should largely be no need for such application.
    Yeah, perhaps it is right to ensure that general discussion does not result in folk losing their jobs, etc – but in the end, the science should be the primary basis that is upheld. If, at such a meeting, a scientist found his science discredited/disproved, or even suspected it to be so, HE/SHE should be the one to review his science and correct it where required. After all, couldn’t such a meeting be the equivalent of a ‘peer review’ of the general state of play? Protagonists from both sides should come away thinking – ‘I didn’t realise that’ or ‘we need to prove this further’, etc, in a genuine scientific promotional type manner?
    I would hope that if nothing else, if there were friendly exchanges (and preferably of phone numbers and private emails) there could be new (and proper, imho) wider peer review of further science, perhaps helping avoid/reduce the ‘pal review’ publishing system we currently suspect!
    It’s a short step to breaking down the entrenched barriers and false propaganda of ‘climate science’ from a consensus position, I hope it works, hopefully to put the ‘science’ back in climate science! (even though I often feel it was never really there in the first place!)
    Well done to all who participated.

  65. Why are we still called “skeptics”? How does one become ‘skeptical’ about climate? Climate just IS.

    We are Climate Realists. Nothing more, nothing less. Realists, as opposed to scaremongers.

    Ralph.

  66. Anthony – I am so glad you enjoyed your stay in England – the Bristol meeting was right on my doorstep and ordinarily I would have been there – I even had a ticket booked, but alas, I was in Prague. The results of the meeting were much as I would have expected – with little chance of a discussion, but I would have liked to meet you and shake your hand for all the invaluable work you have done.

  67. I wouldn’t eat with them, they’re nasty evil spiteful people who will stab you in the back as soon as look at you. Every single one of them has prostituted themselves for either money or a misguided ideology that, allowed to run, would devastate the civilized world. I couldn’t spend time in the same room as these disgusting liars.

    • First rule of negotiation – never get angry. Second rule – there is no time limit. Third rule – what hasn’t been written down hasn’t been said. Fourth rule – remember when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you.

      • I don’t hob-knob with thieves or perverts either. I have no desire to understand their point of view. The vast majority of climate scientists fall into the same group – if only because their silence enables abuse on a massive scale.

        I am angry – almost permanently, but that’s ok because I have no interest in negotiation. Why would I negotiate how much money a thief was going to steal from me, or how far a pervert could go with my child. It’s as ridiculous as it is disgusting. Such people are cancers or vermin and should be treated as such. I hope one day they will be.

    • ‘they’re nasty evil spiteful people who will stab you in the back as soon as look at you.”

      I have to assume you don’t know them individually, because there are at least a couple there who have stood up for integrity and been stabbed in the back by their own “side” for their trouble.

  68. jaffa – I have not personally met Richard, Tasmin or Ed but have had discussions with them (on BH) and strongly dispute your description of them as spiteful nasty people etc. Name-calling and refusing to meet and discuss with them the many uncertainties over climate sensitivity and feedbacks will get sceptics/realists and science nowhere. Anthony and Nic and other (absent) dissentients should be commended for their efforts towards instigating a dialogue, and Richard, Tasmin and Ed likewise for engaging.

  69. How did you like driving on the wrong side of the road? On my first trip to the UK, I remember being in the left side passenger seat dozing out (my advisor was driving) and I would be in terror each time I woke up.

    My other re-markable experience was a few years later during a post doc in Germany driving the family to England for ein kleiner Urlaub (a little vacation) and being completely surprised by the 1st thing after the channel ferry, the 1st thing after the big side saying “drive on the left”: a round-a-bout going clock wise.

    • With a bit of study you may discover that driving on the left is taking the correct side of the road. The American way is the wrong way, brought about simply because the Conestoga wagon was constructed so that the reinsman sat on the left-hand side – something to do with the brake, I believe. When cars replaced wagons, the driving side was retained, forcing vehicles to adopt a “keep right” line.

      Horse-riding and wagon-driving Europeans were laissez faire about which side to use but would more often than not keep to the left when passing oncomers.

      Europe went against the natural order when Napoleon, on discovering that the British had a “keep left” inclination, decreed that Continentals would “keep right” when passing.

      Archaeologists have discovered, in ancient quarries, that Roman Britain had a “keep left” policy; which they no doubt followed throughout their empire.

      Unless you are left-handed, having oncoming traffic – whether it’s on foot, on horseback or in a wheeled vehicle – pass you on your right is the natural way. It more freely allows a handshake, a friendly wave or the drawing of a weapon.

      Unfortunately, for Americans it’s too late to correct the mistake. You have chosen your lane and must drive in it.

  70. One thing I’d like to see come out of this meeting is more members and papers for OAS and the quality of OAS. From what I understand, OAS papers will never need an FOIA request.
    I’m not sure how papers will reviewed but I hope part of the process will be along the lines of a “blog review” to open it others with some expertise or something of value to add. Of course moderation would need to be tighter (no wisecracks) yet not censored. (Reasoned disagreement allowed.)
    A paper that passes all of that should be sterling.

    • I’ve just read a number of the comments in that Guardian story; got about half way through, maybe more. I had no idea there were so many angry people on the warmist side. I’m sure the tone wasn’t this bad a couple of years back. Are they getting angrier, more bitter, more belligerent, more bellicose, more everything, as their position crumbles.

      In wartime, the nastiest fighting is at the very end; the blood really flowing in the last weeks and days as the fanatics defend their positions with ever-increasing levels of ferocity.

      Are we seeing something of the same here?

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