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Discussion > Sir David King, Former Chief NON-Scientific Adviser

This is a reproduction of a lost thread @Geronimo created in April 2017
That thread doesn't show up on the Discussion board I guess cos Geronimo didn't give it a title
So I'll copy all the posts over to here.

Feb 9, 2018 at 10:58 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Apr 5, 2017 at 4:25 PM @geronimo posted

It's this Sir David King:

Andrei Illarionov, former chief science adviser to President Putin : wrote

… in respect to the presentation made by representatives of the so-called official team of the British government and the official British climate science, or at least how they introduced themselves at the seminar.
I personally was surprised by the exceptionally poor content of the papers presented…

Simultaneously, they revealed an absolute—and I stress, absolute inability to answer questions concerning the alleged professional activities of the authors of these papers.
Not only the ten questions that were published nine months ago,
but not a single question asked during this two-day seminar by participants in the seminar, both Russian and foreign, were answered.
When it became clear that they could not provide a substantive answer to a question, three devices were used…
The British participants insisted on introducing censorship during the holding of this seminar.
The chief science adviser to the British government, Mr. King, demanded in the form of an ultimatum at the beginning of yesterday that the program of the seminar be changed and he presented an ultimatum demanding that about two-third of the participants not be given the floor.

The participants in the seminar who had been invited by the Russian Academy of Sciences, they have been invited by the president of the Academy of Sciences Yuri Sergeyevich Osipov.
Mr. King spoke about “undesirable” scientists and undesirable participants in the seminar.
He declared that if the old program is preserved, he would not take part in the seminar and walk out taking along with him all the other British participants.

He has prepared his own program which he proposed, it is available here and my colleagues can simply distribute Mr. King’s hand-written program to change the program prepared by the Russian Academy of Sciences and sent out in advance to all the participants in the seminar.

A comparison of the real program prepared by the Academy of Science and the program proposed as an ultimatum by Mr. King will give us an idea of what scientists, from the viewpoint of the chief scientific adviser to the British government, are undesirable. In the course of negotiations on this issue Mr. King said that he had contacted the British Foreign Secretary Mr. Straw who was in Moscow at the time and with the office of the British Prime Minister, Blair, so that the corresponding executives in Britain should contact the corresponding officials in Russia to bring pressure on the Russian Academy of Sciences and the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences to change the seminar’s program.
When the attempt to introduce censorship at the Russian Academy of Sciences failed, other attempts were made to disrupt the seminar.
At least four times during the course of the seminar ugly scenes were staged that prevented the seminar from proceeding normally. As a result we lost at least four hours of working time in order to try to solve these problems.

During these events Mr. King cited his conversations with the office of the British Prime Minister and had got clearance for such actions.

And thirdly, when the more or less normal work of the seminar was restored and when the opportunity for discussion presented itself, when questions on professional topics were asked, and being unable to answer these questions, Mr. King and other members of the delegation, turned to flight,
as happened this morning when Mr. King, in an unprecedented incident, cut short his answer to a question in mid sentence realizing that he was unable to answer it and left the seminar room.

It is not for us to give an assessment to what happened, but in our opinion the reputation of British science, the reputation of the British government and the reputation of the title “Sir” has sustained heavy damage.

Makes you proud to be British.

@G's source was from the from the conference notes via Wayback machine

Feb 9, 2018 at 11:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Apr 6, 2017 at 6:18 PM @lapogus
I remember reading an account of this a few years ago - in disbelief. Makes you embarrassed to be British.

Feb 9, 2018 at 11:08 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I reproduce a comment from Apr 6, 2017 at 10:42 AM by @AlecM
First posted here Former Chief Non-Scientific Advisor by Josh

In 2004 Dave King went to Moscow with the Bliar and gave a speech to Russian climate scientists. He claimed that Mt. Kilimanjaro was losing its snow cap because of global warming.
In question time Russia's top expert angrily told King that he was very wrong because satellites showed cooling and the real reason was deforestation of the mountain slopes, reducing humidity.

Hence loss of snow cover was sublimation of ice to water vapour:
Dave King angrily flounced out of the meeting.
The interpretation of his present behaviour is that like most senior climate alchemists he is trying to find an honourable escape route as the IPCC/GISS science collapses.
This will last another 18 months or so when the only people left will be those who have nailed their views to the mast too early and with excessively strong fastenings. Wadhams comes to mind.

It's fascinating to compare this with the collapse of the Phlogiston Hypothesis when it too was confronted with strong negative experimental proof - the gravimetric work of Antoine Lavoisier.
The present experimental problem is the OCO-2 satellite showing development of CO2 sinks in the N. Atlantic and over central Russian forests, and Argo buoys showing ocean cooling.
NOAA has tried to restrict publicity but that approach has failed completely now Trump has arrived.

Feb 9, 2018 at 11:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

King appeared today 12:20pm Radio4 Y&Y
to explain why he in 2004 Advised the government to introduce incentives for diesel cars, as this would help with CO2 reduction.

Appalling item cos to me he seems like a PR guy wedded to the #Greenblob
and unopposed he put forward a mountain of disinformaion.

He didn't know what he was talking about in 2004 and he doesn't know what he is talking about today.
Consequently he made a number false statements
.. and got away with it, cos the presenter introduced him as "the expert"
Basically he seemed keen to dis diesel cars and push for a transfer to electric cars .

Some of his errors : Diesels are "Responsible for early deaths of 50K people"
..the normal number is 40K for ALL air pollution
..and in one report that is used WRONGLY to say 40K people die early.

The true guesstimate is life days lost across population is equivalent to 40K deaths from ALL pollution
not just diesel..

He continued "Yes other MAIN air pollution in our air comes from the burning of FOSSIL fuels for electricity"
... No it also comes from non-fossil fuels like home logs, gas central heating, biomass heating etc.

It's non-urban pollution that comes from electrcity biomass, and Drax-wood
He then said that it's dangerous for 3-7 year old kids on the school run
..Said diesels have to be phased out with in 10 years and Electric cars pushed.

No mention of how clean diesels have become etc.

The basic point is on controversial topics, media should never air just one person
cos one you end up with is ONE person pushing ONE political angle
Much better is to put 2 experts on countering each other
So getting to some truth.

Feb 9, 2018 at 11:21 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

That account of the Russian Academy of Sciences meeting is from the viewpoint of Andrei Illarionov, advisor to Putin. Early on he states that

If there is an insignificant increase in the temperature it is not due to anthropogenic factors but to the natural factors related to the planet itself and solar activity. There is no evidence confirming a positive linkage between the level of carbon dioxide and temperature changes. If there is such a linkage, it is a reverse nature. In other words, it is not carbon dioxide that influences the temperature on Earth, but it just the reverse: temperature fluctuations are caused by solar activity influence the concentration of carbon dioxide.

So is Illarionov a climate scientist, or a scientific advisor to the President? Neither, he is an economist (now a senior fellow at the free-market Cato Institute) and economic advisor, an implacable opponent of Kyoto due seemingly to the damage he believed it would do to his country, at one point angering Jewish groups by comparing it to an 'economic Auschwitz'.

An alternative account can be found in a news article published by Science

British climate experts expected the meeting, organized by RAS, to be a forum to discuss global warming and the Kyoto treaty with RAS members. On the eve of their departure for Moscow, however, the U.K. group learned about the addition of several well-known "skeptics" in the climate change debate. The list included Stockholm University's Nils-Axel Mörner, who has cast doubts on claims of rising sea levels, British climate maverick Piers Corbyn, and the Pasteur Institute's Paul Reiter, who disputes predictions that infectious diseases will explode as temperatures rise.

The new program was "unacceptable" to King, says Peter Cox of the U.K.'s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter. "We knew that we would not get to the scientific issues if we went down every rabbit hole of skepticism." In fact, the opening session was delayed while King and RAS President Yuri Osipov attempted to negotiate an alternative agenda. King also asked British foreign secretary Jack Straw to intervene, several participants say. "It's very sad, but the Russian academy seems to have been take over by Andrey Illarionov, a top adviser to President Putin and a vocal opponent of the Kyoto treaty, says John Houghton, another participant.

One sympathises with Sir David. The inclusion of nutters like Corbyn and Morner would be enough to put most serious scientists off their breakfast, but there you go.

In his account of the post-meeting Q&A, Illarionov writes

Question: The Japanese Information Agency. Mr. Illarionov, a very simple question. Why don't you go along with the words of your boss, President Putin, who said quite clearly: "We are in favor of the Kyoto Protocol"?

Illarionov: I will permit myself to remind you of the words said by President Putin. President Putin has never said that he supported the Kyoto Protocol. President Putin said on May 24, 2004 that he supported the Kyoto process. So, I am sorry, but you can't say that I do not support President Putin on this issue.

I don't know how he reacted when Putin signed Russia up to Kyoto, 4 months later.

Feb 13, 2018 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Presumably if Sir David did get his facts wrong (I haven't listened to the show), he will be obliged to offer an apology and correction, as Lord Lawson did?

However, a major study published in the Lancet last October implicated air pollution in 50,000 deaths per annum in the UK.

Polluted air has made Britain one of the most toxic countries in the developed world, a global analysis has found. Britons are about twice as likely to die from pollution as people in Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Ireland, with diesel vehicles being blamed. The study for The Lancet medical journal finds that Britain has the third highest rate of pollution deaths in western Europe, with 50,000 people dying each year, mostly through toxic traffic fumes.

The Times

Feb 13, 2018 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


c'mon - the great man has some pretty rotten previous - telling trivially transparent lies to Parliament being the least of them - If David King issues an apology - I will eat my least favorite hat.

Feb 13, 2018 at 5:35 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Homewood is an idiot, King was clearly referring to the fact that Sandy tracked North through the US, even causing damage in Canada.


Feb 13, 2018 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Since Phil mentions Lawson's Claim
lets's take a look at the latest global temps on Roy Spencer's page of the UAH record

When Lawson spoke on Today on August 10th 2017
The Gobal temps in July had just been +0.29C and for the tropics +0.51 to the baseline
Since then El Nino has tailed off
and now in January 2018 Coolest tropics since June, 2012 at -0.12 deg. C.
and global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for January, 2018 was +0.26 deg. C

The peak in 1998 was about +0.75C , then a blip of 0.8 in 2016
... so we still await the fabled "tipping point"

Feb 13, 2018 at 6:34 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The 50,000 fig quoted by King
but Spiegelhalter points to double counting

Naively adding these two numbers comes to 29,000 + 23,500 = 52,500. Not 40,000.
But COMEAP said in 2015 that “adding the results, would give an overestimate of the combined effects of the two pollutants”, as studies show that the combined effect is not that much greater than either alone.

Spiegelhalter's wintoncentre page is the most rigorous analysis of the the scare stats that I have seen.
(The GP page quotes it)
There are huge uncertainties surrounding all the measures of impacts of air pollution, with inadequate knowledge replaced by substantial doses of expert judgement.
These uncertainties should be better reflected in the public debates.

In addition, the situation in the UK is not what we would usually think of as a ‘crisis’.
It can still be good to seek improvements in air quality, but only provided these are based on a careful analysis of the costs per life-year saved.

Feb 13, 2018 at 6:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Looks like bookmaking of a sort - a competition with cash prizes for getting it right rather than simply bloviating about doom.

I wonder if David King will participate?

PC - never happened before then?

Feb 13, 2018 at 7:19 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I do find Lancet pages that mention 40,000
I don't find any Lancet pages that mention 50,000 .
(Even tho October 2017 newspapers used that figure I can't check their calculation)

Feb 13, 2018 at 8:37 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So, Sir David King was Chief Scientific Advisor to HMG from October 2000 to 31 December 2007, contemperaneously chairing the Global Science and Innovation Forum and coauthoring a book on climate change, and in all those years and all that output, apparently the only evidence of mendacity is that he uttered one ambiguous sentence in oral evidence.

And for this he is labelled 'non-scientific'. Some might say desperation has set in. Seriously, that's it?

I leave investigation of Nils Axel Morner and Piers Corbyn as an exercise for the reader. 'Nutters' hardly covers it.

Feb 13, 2018 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


Thanks for the link to Spiegelhalter's page, I find his arguiments compelling.

But his analysis was posted several months before the Lancet study, which is here

Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Since Phil mentions Lawson's Claim lets's take a look at the latest global temps on Roy Spencer's page of the UAH record

Lawson claimed cooling since the release of Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, 10 years earlier.


As Lawson's GWPF tweeted

It has been brought to our attention that a temperature chart prepared by US meteorologist Ryan Maue and published by Joe Bastardi and which was referred to in the Today programme appearance of Lord Lawson is erroneous

Bear that in mind next time you see anything by Bastardi or Maue.

Feb 13, 2018 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

PC 9:21pm

you well know that's not the case.

I'll listen to him on physical chemistry but climate science, population dynamics and a raft of other issues that he's proffered his opinions on - not so much. The whole "climate ambassador" thing is a near total embarrassment.

Feb 14, 2018 at 12:08 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Being told what I know is a tiresome and transparently ineffective rhetorical device. The ball is rather in your court, Tomo. You've accused a man of lies and stated that the Hurricane Sandy thing was 'the least of them '.

The reality is that pettifogging nothingburger is all you have. We have this tradition that a man is innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to an accuser to make his case.

So have at it. You've given us 'the least', let us hear the rest.

Feb 14, 2018 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


nah - you never bother - so take a hike.

Feb 14, 2018 at 12:33 AM | Registered Commentertomo


Sir William Stewart, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government 1990-95, said:

“Many clever people spend their days inventing cleverer ways to be stupid.”

More of sage than King imho

Feb 14, 2018 at 12:50 AM | Registered Commentertomo

As a reviewer, I would have rejected that Lancet paper before the end of the first paragraph. Probably around the end of the first sentence. They make sweeping ill-defined claims about deaths from environmental pollution without offering a single reference to back them up. In fact, looking at the first page only, I can't see a single reference cited for any claims made.

Now it is quite possible there may indeed be some truths in it, but the authors are not interested in demonstrating them. It is not a study in the normal academic sense of the word. It is political propaganda, pure and simple.

Feb 14, 2018 at 6:34 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

In fact, looking at the first page only, I can't see a single reference cited for any claims made.


Feb 14, 2018 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Tomo, if you wish more details or references for any of my assertions you have only to ask.

But I concur, time for me to move on, enjoy True Pundit ;-)

Feb 14, 2018 at 7:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil I have already asked
Where in that Lancet report does it mention a 50,000 deaths claim , and where are its calculations ?
It'll save me more time wading thru the PDFs

Feb 14, 2018 at 12:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mr Clarke – and I have, perhaps, already asked this of you, to have you ignore it, so I will ask again (even though I do expect you to ignore this, too): what will be your argument should global temperatures show an irrefutable fall?

Feb 14, 2018 at 1:39 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent