The Royal Society has jeopardised both its purpose and integrity by becoming a lobbyist for the climate change industry, a Fellow of the Society has said. Writing for the Mail on Sunday, Professor Michael Kelly has said that the Society has become dogmatic in its support for man-made global warming theory, ignoring the complexities of the science. He has also accused Britain of “leading the world in climate change hypocrisy.”
The Royal Society has a long and illustrious history dating back more than 350 years. A list of previous Presidents reads like a who’s who guide to scientific and academic history: Sir Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Joseph Banks and Sir Ernest Rutherford all took the reins at some point.
Yet it’s reputation for scientific rigour and impartiality has been brought into question over the last few years, thanks to its adherence to climate change dogma. Prof Kelly, a Fellow of the Society, has today spoken out against its habit of “selectivity” when it comes to presenting evidence on the subject.
He points to publications such as a booklet entitled A Short Guide to Climate Change, published just before Christmas, a report called Resilience, and a joint publication with the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) entitled Climate Change: Evidence And Causes.
“Both the joint report with the NAS and the Short Guide answer 20 questions on temperatures, sea-level rises and ocean acidification,” Prof Kelly writes. “But a report today by the academic council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which includes several Society Fellows and other eminent scientists, states the Society has ‘left out’ parts of the science, so the answers to many of the questions ought to be different.”
Prof Kelly has also witnessed this selectivity first hand. At the request of Sir Paul Nurse, then president of the Society, “I produced a paper that urged the Society’s council to distance itself from the levels of certainty being expressed about future warming,” he says
“I said it ought at least to have a ‘plan B’ if the pause should last much longer, so calling the models into still more serious question. I got a polite brush-off.”
This is not the first time that the concerns of Fellows have been glossed over. Five years ago, Prof Kelly was one of 43 Fellows of the Royal Society to write to the then-president to warn “that the Society was in danger of violating its founding principle, summed up in its famous motto ‘Nullius in verba’ – or ‘Don’t take another’s word for it; check it out for yourself’.
“The reason for our warning was a Society document which stated breezily: ‘If you don’t believe in climate change you are using one of the following [eight] misleading arguments.’” he said.
“The implication was clear: the Society seemed to be saying there was no longer room for meaningful debate about the claim that the world is warming dangerously because of human activity, because the science behind this was ‘settled’.”
But despite the document being altered to reflect the uncertainty over climate science, the Society has gone on to become more dogmatic about its position within the climate change debate, even as the science itself is called more increasingly into question.
Prof Kelly points out that no global warming has been recorded since 1998, a pause in warming that no model had predicted. Yet more than 60 possible explanations have since been put forward to explain the “hiatus”.
“Human-sourced carbon dioxide is at best one of many factors in causing climate change, and humility in front of this complexity is the appropriate stance,” he insists.
He says that the reason for the Royal Society’s current stance is that “policymakers say they want ‘scientific certainty’.” But, he adds, “as an engineer, I find that amazing: we remain legally liable for what we say professionally, so will always qualify our statements. But the misleading lack of qualification in the statements made by the Royal Society and others is creating policy nonsense.”
The Climate Change Act requires Britain to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, but the unintended consequence of such a policy is that energy prices have risen. As a result, jobs in manufacturing have been lost as production has moved abroad.
Prof Kelly cites the aluminium industry as an example. Production of aluminium has moved to China, where electricity production is typically coal fuelled, rather than gas fueled as it is in Britain. Burning coal emits more carbon dioxide than burning gas. And more emissions are caused as the aluminium is imported to Britain.
“We are exacerbating the original global problem of global CO2 emissions, yet also pointing fingers at the Chinese. We really are leading the world in climate change hypocrisy.”
He likens “the project to ‘solve the climate change problem’” to “a modern version of the biblical Tower of Babel. We do not know how much the project will cost, when it will have been completed, nor what success will look like.”
And directing the building project are the scientists at the Royal Society who only give weighted advice. “Those who fail to provide balance are not giving advice, but lobbying. It is with the deepest regret that I must now state that this is the role which has been adopted by the Royal Society. And when scientists abandon neutral inquiry for lobbying, they jeopardise their purpose and integrity.”