The attitude of the establishment to the sceptics shines through the succession of inquiries into controversial science at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU).
When at the launch of the Sir Muir Russell inquiry I asked about the credibility of the review panel in the blogosphere, Sir Muir dismissed the enquiry with the flick of a wrist - he had been a senior civil servant and he had run a university, his bona fides were beyond question.
But the blogosphere does not respect past reputations, only current performance. And some of the top performers in the blogosphere are critics of the establishment.
Hot on the heels of the news that fellows of the Royal Society are arguing over their public position on climate change comes a report that the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering is engaged in a similar battle over how their views should be represented to the public.
A two-page draft [document], posted on a password-protected section of the academy's website, said the academy ''does not believe the science is settled'' regarding climate change.
It said many scientists believed ''climate changes are nothing unusual, based on past geological records''.
An exchange of emails shows the statement has sparked anger and alarm among members. More than 50 of Australia's top agricultural and environmental scientists are among those objecting to the statement. A letter signed by 12 climate scientists has also been circulated to members.
An alternative policy statement, drafted by academy member and Melbourne World Climate Research program director Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, has been emailed to members.
The newspapers this morning have more coverage of the rebellion in the ranks of the scientific establishment.
Ben Webster in the Times names Sir Alan Rudge as the leader of the rebellion. Rudge is not naming the other signatories though. Webster notes Rudge's involvement in the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Louise Gray in the Telegraph covers the story too.
The story that the Royal Society is going to rewrite its climate change position paper appears to be making something of an impact. Here are a few relevant links:
The Royal Society's statement about the background is here. Apparently the rewrite had been, ahem, planned for some time. There's also this:
P Gosselin notes the rise in environmentalists demanding a suspension of democracy so that the wise ones in the green movement can put their ideas into practice. The BBC has apparently given them an episode of the Analysis programme to promote their views.
This idea raises a whole new concept of the environmentalists. No longer are they watermelons - green on the outside and red on the inside - they are something else - green on the outside and brown on the inside.
Gosselin wonders what kind of fruit this might be and can't come up with anything much. I think perhaps the word he is after is "pistachio".
It's a kind of nut.
Just back from London and things are hotting up nicely. Roger Harrabin has the big story of the day with the news that 43 fellows of the Royal Society have complained about the Society's climate coverage:
The UK's Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages.
They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.
The society's ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document.
This is pretty exciting stuff.
Interesting to remind ourselves of some earlier thoughts on the Royal Society's position on climate change.
The SPPI blog has a report on a global warming debate from the Oxford Union starring three lords a-leaping - namely Lawson, Leach and Monckton. It sounds like good knockabout stuff...
Lord Monckton, a former science advisor to Margaret Thatcher during her years as Prime Minister of the UK, concluded the case for the proposition. He drew immediate laughter and cheers when he described himself as “Christopher Walter, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, scholar, philanthropist, wit, man about town, and former chairman of the Wines and Spirits Committee of this honourable Society”. At that point his cummerbund came undone. He held it up to the audience and said, “If I asked this House how long this cummerbund is, you might telephone around all the manufacturers and ask them how many cummerbunds they made, and how long each type of cummerbund was, and put the data into a computer model run by a zitty teenager eating too many doughnuts, and the computer would make an expensive guess. Or you could take a tape-measure and” – glaring at the opposition across the despatch-box – “measure it!” [cheers].
Some time ago I got an analysis of the total expenditure of the Department for Schools Children and Families. Given the recent focus of this site on global warming and greenery, I thought it would be interesting to see what DEFRA (that's the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) had been spending the taxpayer's money on too.
I haven't got time to analyse this right now, but if you'd like to flag up anything interesting in the comments, feel free. The file is attached below.
I must say, the figure paid to IBM of £82 million seems to be making my eyes water...
That's the headline in the Times, reporting on the recent spell of hot weather.
But wait, what's this? They actually seem to be talking about tomorrow's weather rather than climate change. In fact the whole article doesn't seem to mention climate at all.
A miracle just happened!
I'm off to London again later this week - having not been for years, this is now the second time in a month. This time I'm going (British Airways and Icelandic volcanos permitting) to the launch of the next two titles in Stacey International's Independent Minds series, of which The Hockey Stick Illusion forms a part.
Bob Carter's Climate: The Counter Consensus, is a popular account of sceptic positions on climatology and I imagine will get a great deal of attention. Stacey have kindly let me have a peek at the proofs and I think I'm going to enjoy this one.
The other book is by the French sceptic Christian Gerondeau. His book, The Climate Delusion, takes issue with the mitigation strategies being proposed by governments around the world and was a big success in France, where it was published as CO2, Un Mythe Planetaire.
It's very exciting to find myself in such exalted company. Carter and Gerondeau apart, the invitation comes from Stacey and Nigel Lawson, so I expect there to be some big hitters present. And with a bit of luck there should be some media people there for me to chat up too.
Josh is coming along to do some cartoons of the whole thing and of course I'll write a report on the day's events. Then there are more people to see and more stuff to do before flying back north the following day.
I really must try to earn a living some time.
The Guardian is reporting a continuing decline in all sorts of indicators of public concern over global warming:
...interest in climate change fell from 80% of respondents in 2006, to 71% last year and now stands at only 62%. Only 80% say they are interested in where electrical power is made, down from 82% the previous year.
Other recent polls have recorded a similar drop in public alarm about the imminence of climate-triggered disaster. The number of climate change agnostics – those unsure whether human activity is warming the planet – has risen from 25% in 2007 to 33% now.
I must say a bit more interest in where electrical power is made is probably warranted, particularly now we have Chris Huhne in charge of energy policy in the UK.
Updated on May 19, 2010 by Bishop Hill
One of the most troubling aspects of the scientific inquiry into the Climatic Research Unit was the appointment of Lord Oxburgh as chairman. Oxburgh's many links to the renewables industry and to green campaigning organisations (disclosed or otherwise) are now common knowledge among followers of the climate debate.