Dr. John Happs
We often read statements such as:“All science academies support the notion of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.”
In fact position statements about climate change from science academies and associations are usually made without debate or consultation with the wider membership. Of the international science bodies that have issued statements warning of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, to my knowledge, not one has provided evidence showing that the majority of their members subscribe to those statements.
Alarmist statements about climate change appear to represent the opinions of a mere handful of members. Academy officials are well aware of where their funding originates and the rank and file members could be blissfully unaware of alarmist, unsubstantiated statements released by their governing board until it is too late.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and a leading Canadian energy expert, the late Dr. Archie Robertson explained:
“The president of the Royal Society of London … drafted a resolution in favour and circulated it to other academies of science inviting co-signing. … The president of the RSC, not a member of the [RSC’s] Academy of Science, received the invitation. He considered it consistent with the position of the great majority of scientists, as repeatedly but erroneously claimed by Kyoto proponents, and so signed it. The resolution was not referred to the Academy of Science for comment, not even to its council or president.”
A survey of statements from other science bodies shows that the apparent support for the IPCC’s climate alarmism is usually the opinion of the executive or a committee specifically appointed by the executive. The full membership is rarely, if ever, surveyed in an even-handed way, for its opinion.
So what happens when it is revealed to the membership that their organisation has issued an alarmist statement as if it represented the views of all members?
Members of the London Geological Society expressed their views in no uncertain terms in letters to the Editor of their journal.
For instance, LGS member Clive Randle (FGS) said:
“I am not a denier that Climate Change has existed throughout the Earth’s history and is apparently taking place but I do question the sole focus on Anthropogenic Global Warming as being the cause.
A concerned portion of the membership and past members wrote to the President on 1stJune 2018 requesting a review of the Society’s Position Statements on Climate Change. So far, there has been no response. Yet the Society, through one of its publications, gives voice to some unscientific ramblings.”
Another LGS member, Howard Dewhirst (FGS) said:
“Dear Editor, I support the proposal by Dr D’Olier that the society should explore members’ views on climate change, but not through a petition with a particular agenda. Several dozen concerned scientists (the majority Fellows or ex-Fellows of this Society) wrote an open letter to the President on 1st June 2018 requesting a review of the Society’s Position Statements on Climate Change. We still await a reply to that joint letter. Clearly, there is not a consensus amongst Fellows on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), so a survey of members’ views would seem more appropriate than a petition.”
Joe Brannan (FGS) added:
“Martin also regurgitates the claim that the fossil fuel industries conspired to thwart action on global warming by a campaign of disinformation. He should better justify or withdraw this claim, which resonates with media coverage by outlets such as the BBC, the Guardian or the Daily Mail-channels that have fed us a non-stop diet of alarmism for most of this century.”
Chris Matchette-Downes (FGS) said:
“A concerned portion of the membership and past members wrote to the President on 1stJune 2018 requesting a review of the Society’s Position Statements on Climate Change, because there is not a consensus for the position taken by Dr D’Olier foisted on the membership. There has been no response.
The debate is far from over. It is a debate that is needed and one the Geological Society should not shy away from, else it runs the real risk of not adhering to expected scientific rigour.
It is clear from the several ice-core records that are now available that CO2follows temperature change not the other way around.
There are several inconvenient truths and several unanswered questions that the Society should be grappling with.”
Britain’s Royal Society shifted its position on climate change in 2010 away from total support of the IPCC toward expressing much more uncertainty.
In fact a review of the Royal Society’s initial position was forced on the society by 43 of its Fellows who demanded that its publication Climate Change Controversies, produced in 2007 and published on its website, should be rewritten to consider more rational views.
In a statement about global warming, the Royal Society now says:
“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”
Sir Alan Rudge, a society Fellow of the Royal Society and former member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee, said that the society had previously adopted an:
“unnecessarily alarmist position on climate change.”
Society Fellow, Dr. Leslie Woodcock told the Yorkshire Evening Post:
“If you talk to real scientists who have no political interests, they will tell you there is nothing in global warming. It’s an industry which creates vast amounts of money for some people.”
The US National Academy of Sciences, under the leadership of Ralph Cicerone, appeared to have taken on the role of an alarmist climate advocacy group intent on promoting the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming meme. Unfortunately, the NAS has long been regarded as an advocacy group.
In 2010, through its executive, it urged the government to take drastic action by raising the cost of coal and oil to slow (imaginary) global warming. Clearly, not knowing what the science actually says, Robert Fri said:
“We really need to get started right away. It’s not opinion, it’s what the science tells you.”
In a 2012 interview with John Humphrys (BBC Radio 4 Today program) the NAS president Dr. Ralph Cicerone appeared to soften his alarmist stance. He was asked:
“You’re not saying – if we don’t do these things, we’re going to go to hell in a handbasket, we’re going to fry, in a few years.”
He cautiously backtracked: “No. I don’t think it’s useful, I don’t think it gets us anywhere, and we don’t have that kind of evidence.”
In 2009, the American Physical Society (APS) Council decided to review its current climate statement when more than 250 of its membership urged a change to the APS climate statement.
Manyphysicists wrote to the APS governing board, pointing out:
“Measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th – 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today.”
Dr. Roger Cohen, a respected fellow of the APS, said:
“The APS response to the petition was the appointment of a committee that took months to review the 157 word Statement. Only one of the members was familiar with the climate science field, and more than one had a vested interest in continued climate alarm. The committee’s final report referred only to IPCC reports and its supporting material, and so we had the predictable outcome: not a single change to the original Statement. Thus, as is the practice of bureaucracies, a position once taken is rigidly adhered to, even when the process that produced it was flawed.”
Dr. Lance Wallace agreed:
“This is truly upsetting to me, as a physicist. I had seen the revolt against the original policy statement (“the science is incontrovertible”) and expected that surely the voices of reason would prevail, particularly since physicists are (I thought) less dependent on CAGW funding than atmospheric chemists, oceanographers, dendrochronologists, etc. But it was not to be. Feynman, as far as I know, is the only person to resign from the National Academy of Sciences, on the grounds that the organization only exists to select (or blackball) new members. But now there is an order of magnitude more funding at stake, so we see that such organizations also exist mainly to assure future funding for their members. So the “policy statements” are created by Society bureaucrats (e.g., Leshner of AAAS), for government bureaucrats (Chu of DOE), without troublesome input from members.”
Dr. Roger Cohen again:
“Thus far more than two dozen (members) have told me that they have resigned or will resign from the APS climate activity. A few may resign from the APS though I have discouraged that.”
“There is evidence that the process itself that produced the Statement was at least highly questionable if not downright illegitimate. It is known that a small group of individuals, not satisfied with the degree of alarm contained in the original draft produced by the officially charged committee, acted unilaterally and without authority to raise the level of alarm. A senior APS professional confides in writing that:
“This [the original draft] was unfortunately changed ‘on the fly, over lunch’ by several [APS] Council members who were not pleased with the ‘mild tone’ of the drafted statement. Then the modified statement was voted on at the end of the Council meeting (probably as people were leaving to catch planes) [parentheses original].”
“As I reflect on my experience, I cannot avoid the question of whether we have passed the point of no return, whether the descent of once grand scientific societies into advocating bureaucracies and self-satisfied clubs lobbying for funds can be arrested, reversed, and integrity restored; or is what we have now a permanent feature of modern science – a postmodern distortion of the best values of the scientific tradition that has served humanity well for centuries.”
Dr. Judith Curry sent the following message to the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA):
“No one cares about your political preferences in the climate change debate. You have demonstrated that you bring nothing intellectually to the table (once Koonin and Rosner left). You simply have no business issuing a policy statement on climate change. You have embarrassed the APS membership.”
In 2011 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Ivar Giaever resigned from the APS in disgust over the group’s promotion of man-made global warming fears. He objected to their statement that: “the evidence is incontrovertible.”
Dr. Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, resigned from the APS. He said:
“Climategate was a fraud on a scale I have never seen.”
And: “… the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”
A statement by APS editor Jeffrey Marque explains:
“There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.”
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has made its position clear:
“Geologists study the history of the earth and realize climate has changed often in the past due to natural causes. The earth’s climate naturally varies continually, in both directions, at varying rates, and on many scales. In recent decades global temperatures have risen. However, our planet has been far warmer and cooler today than many times in the geologic past, even within the past 10,000 years.”
“Certain climate simulation models predict that the warming trend will continue, as reported through National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and American Meteorological Society. AAPG respects these scientific opinions but wants to add that the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data. These data do not necessarily support the maximum-case scenarios forecast in some models.”
The American Chemical Society (ACS) considers itself to be the world’s largest scientific society. In 2009, skeptical members of the ACS openly revolted against the ACS Editor in Chief, Rudy Baum with many ACS scientists demanding he be removed after he promoted, without due consultation, the position that:
“The science of anthropogenic climate change is becoming increasingly well established.”
ACS members also rebuked Baum’s use of the word “deniers” stating that it was a derogatory term “associated with Holocaust deniers.” In addition, the scientists called Baum’s editorial: “disgusting”; “a disgrace”; “filled with misinformation”; “unworthy of a scientific periodical” and “pap.”
A survey of members, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society found that 50% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement:
“Most of the warming since 1950 is likely human induced.”
In fact only 8% strongly agreed.
Dr. José Duarte made this observation about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) broke my heart, by releasing a wildly unscientific report that cherry-picked only the studies that gave it the inflated consensus figures it wanted — many of which are so bad as to be inadmissable. When scientists want to review a body of research, they conduct a meta-analysisthat includes all the research that meets certain criteria of rigor and validity. The AAAS strangely chose not to perform a meta-analysis — they simply ignored most studies, and cherry-picked four studies that gave them the inflated, shock-value numbers they wanted.”
“Among the four was an obsolete one-page study from 2004 that doesn’t clearly describe its methods (Oreskes, 2004, yes, really, one page long). That is, they skipped past all the more recent and credible studies from the intervening decade (e.g. Harris (2007), Bray and van Storch (2008), and others) to reach all the way back to a junk study from 2004. I’ve never seen such behavior – we clearly can’t do anything with mysterious one-pagers from 2004. This isn’t what I expected.”
Dr. Rush Holt, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has highlighted the need for science to remain open and collaborative. He sees some scientists as being so untrustworthy that no one trusts them. He adds:
“Unfortunately, science is often treated as just another interest group to be pushed aside by more powerful interests. In recent decades, opinion and ideological assertions have crowded out scientifically validated evidence on some issues. “
The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the UK’s professional and learned society devoted to the interests of statistics and statisticians. The Society has members in over 50 countries worldwide.
The RSS submitted a memo critical of members of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Those scientists were withholding data and the RSS stated:
“The Society welcomes this opportunity to submit evidence to the Science and Technology committee on the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia inquiry.”
“The RSS believes that the debate on global warming is best served by having the models used and the data on which they are based in the public domain.”
“The raw data, and associated meta-data, used for these analyses should, within reason, also be made available.”
They emphasised again:
“The RSS believes that a crucial step in improving the quality of the debate on global warming will be to place the data, the analysis methods and the models in the public domain.”
In 2010 the British Institute of Physics, with a worldwide membership of over 36,000, made a statement to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the integrity of the IPCC and scientists at the CRU.
“The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.”
In fact the emails were genuine.
“The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facieevidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law.”
“The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the (climate) reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented.”
“There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself.”
In 2015 The French Mathematical Society (Société de Calcul Mathématique) released a comprehensive 2-part document arguing against the meme of dangerous anthropogenic global warming, stating:
“Mathematicians do not believe in crusades; they look at facts, figures, observations and arguments.”
“There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude that the world’s climate is in any way disturbed – It is variable, as it has always been, but rather less so now than during certain periods or geological eras.”
The society issued a detailed white paper on climate change with the title:
“The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade”
The report included the following statement:
“Conclusions based on any kind of model should be disregarded. As the SCM specializes in building mathematical models, we should also be recognized as competent to criticize them. Models are useful when attempting to review our knowledge, but they should not be used as an aid to decision-making until they have been validated.”
In 2012 the German Academy of Sciences and Engineering rejected the notion of climate catastrophe and stated that coping with climate change would not pose any difficult challenges. In a study commissioned by the German Federal Government, Acatech President Dr. Reinhard Hüttl said:
“No climate conditions are going to occur here that already do not exist on the globe elsewhere and that we cannot cope with.”
The report went on to say that, should warming occur, there would be benefits such as longer growing seasons and reduced wintertime heating costs. Germans typically heat their homes for about 8 months per year and are facing ever-increasing energy costs due to the widespread introduction of inefficient, unreliable wind and solar energy sources.
In 2009 the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS)produced a report that pointed to the IPCC’s position on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming as becoming increasingly untenable. The Geologic Science Committee of the PAS reported:
“Experiments in natural science show that one-sided observations, those that take no account of the multiplicity of factors determining certain processes in the geo-system, lead to unwarranted simplifications and wrong conclusions when trying to explain natural phenomena.”
“Politicians who rely on incomplete data may take wrong decisions. It makes room for politically correct lobbying, especially on the side of business marketing of exceptionally expensive, so called eco-friendly, energy technologies or those offering CO2 storage (sequestration) in exploited deposits. It has little to do with what is objective in nature.”
“The PAN Committee of Geological Sciences believes it necessary to start an interdisciplinary research based on comprehensive monitoring and modelling of the impact of other factors – not just the level of CO2 – on the climate. Only this kind of approach will bring us closer to identifying the causes of climate change.”
In 2007 the Royal Belgian Weather Instituteconcluded that carbon dioxide could never play the decisive role that is currently attributed to it.
Climate scientist Dr. Luc Debontridder said:
“Not CO2, but water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. It is responsible for at least 75 % of the greenhouse effect. This is a simple scientific fact, but Al Gore’s movie has hyped CO2 so much that nobody seems to take note of it.”
“Every change in weather conditions is blamed on CO2. But the warm winters of the last few years (in Belgium) are simply due to the ‘North-Atlantic Oscillation’. And this has absolutely nothing to do with CO2.”
The Russian Academy of Science completely rejects the notion of anthropogenic global warming, predicting that:
“In the coming years the temperature over the entire planet will fall.”
And: “The average temperature on Earth is now returning to the level of the 1996-1997 years, 0.3°C lower.”
A Japanese Geoscience Union symposium surveyin 2008 “showed 90 per cent of the participants did not believe the IPCC report.” Dr. Akasofu, Kusano and Dr. Maruyama state that large influences on global climate over time may be global cosmic rays and solar activity.
In 2007, Dr. Michael Griffin, from NASA said: “I have no doubt that … a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”
“To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change. First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”
An initial skeptical petition, from scientists, engineers and astronauts, was sent to the NASA administration.
This petition was followed up In 2013, when a group of 20 ex-NASA retirees (calling themselves The Right Climate Stuff TRCS team) reported that the science used to support the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming meme is not settled and no convincing physical evidence exists to support catastrophic forecasts. They state:
“There is no convincing physical evidence of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Most of the alarm regarding AGW results from output of unvalidated computer models.”
In 2008 A survey of more than 51,000 scientists from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, Canada(APEGGA) found 68% of them disagreed with the statement that: “The science is settled.”
In 1991,a survey of U.S. atmospheric scientistsconfirmed that there is no consensus about the cause of the slight warming observed during the past century. They pointed to sunspot variability, rather than anthropogenic carbon dioxide, as being responsible for the global temperature fluctuations recorded since the 1800’s.
The Geological Society of Australia’s president Dr. Laurie Hutton said the society was unable to produce a definitive statement on climate since the issue: “had the potential to be too divisive and would not serve the best interests of the society as a whole.”
The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering objected to the alarmist statements made by its president, Australia’s former chief scientist, Dr. Robin Batterham.
Members of the AATSE objected to alarmist claims by the academy executive. Rather they wanted to make their position clear along the lines that:
“The academy does not believe the science is settled regarding climate change.”
“Many scientists believed climate changes are nothing unusual, based on past geological records.”
Subsequently, in a recent lecture at the University of Western Australia, Dr. Batterham warned of the dangers of a political over-reaction to climate change.
He said there was: ”still much of the science that is uncertain.”
Academy member and Melbourne World Climate Research program director Dr. Ann Henderson-Sellers said that the academy will:
“Continue to foster open and reasoned debate on all aspects of climate change” but sees “little point in promoting debate based on belief rather than evidence.”
The Australian Academy of Science’s (AAS) alarmist position on global warming (stated in 2010) was hardly surprising since it merely parroted the findings of the discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), apparently without asking its membership for their opinions.
The AAS President, Dr. Kurt Lambeck secured $55,000 from the Australian Labor Government that appeared to be for the promotion of the catastrophic global warming alarmist view. This money enabled the production and update of the February 2015 booklet:
The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers.
It appears that many of the AAS panelists were IPCC authors and Professor Andrew Holmes said in the Foreword:
“The Academy recognises the role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the mechanism for the international scientific assessment of climate change science, impacts and response strategies.”
Atmospheric scientist and former Chief Research Scientist at the CSIRO Dr. Garth Paltridge was critical of the AAS process indicating that he did not want to endorse the document in any way.
“The problem is that, after several decades of refining their story, the international gurus of climate change have become very good at having their cake and eating it too. On the one hand they pay enough lip service to the uncertainties of global warming to justify continued funding for their research. On the other, they peddle a belief – this with religious zeal, and with a sort of subconscious blindness to overstatement and the cherry-picking of data – that the science is settled and the world is well on its way to climatic disaster.”
“The Academy document fits neatly into the pattern. It is a sophisticated production that tells only one side of the story.”
The President, Dr. Andrew Holmes (his academic background is in chemistry and light-emitting polymers) penned the document foreword.
I emailed Dr. Holmes and asked him:
“Can you assure me that all members of the AAS were consulted about the conclusions reached in your report and if they considered those conclusions to be balanced?”
His reply was:
“The Academy sought to ensure that the document represented the views of the expert climate science community in Australia and did this by using a Working Group of active climate researchers and an Oversight Committee of Academy Fellows with a high level of experience and expertise in Earth system science.”
“One of the roles of the Academy Council is clearly to act for the entire Fellowship in endorsing statements prepared by subject matter experts after due consultation and consideration.”
In other words, it appears that all academy/society members were not consulted.
In October 2016 New York lawyer Francis Menton sent a letter to over 30 scientific societies pointing out that none of the societies had been able to:
“… find in any scientific study a rigorous empirical validation of a statistically significant quantitative relationship between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and tropical, contiguous U.S. or global temperatures.”
“As you might realize, we are concerned that prestigious scientific societies, including your own, have subscribed to a letter to Members of Congress purporting to convey scientific propositions as having been definitively established, when in fact there has never been a mathematically rigorous empirical validation of the propositions stated, and indeed there now appears to be a definitive scientific invalidation of those propositions.”
“In short, if you have mathematically rigorous empirical validation of the hypotheses that underlie your advocacy, kindly provide it. If you do not, kindly say so.”
Of course it would be reassuring to know that the presidents of all those academies can readily provide evidence to show that every member received a survey about their views on climate change with questions that were not “loaded” and had been tested for both validity and reliability.
Who knows? It might happen!
Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.