Royal Society Urged To Restore Culture of Open-Mindedness on Climate Science & Policy Debates

  • Date: 09/02/12

London, 9 February: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is calling on the Royal Society to restore a culture of open-mindedness and balanced assessment of climate science and climate policy.

In a new GWPF report, written by science author Andrew Montford, the Royal Society is urged to ensure that genuine controversies are reflected in its public debates and reports and that the full range of reputable scientific views are being considered.

“As the Society’s independence has disappeared, so has its former adherence to hard-nosed empirical science and a sober detachment from the political process. Gone are the doubts and uncertainties that afflict any real scientist, to be replaced with the dull certainties of the politician and the public relations man,” said Andrew Montford, author of the new report.

In his report (Nullius in Verba: The Royal Society and Climate Change), Andrew Montford describes the development of the Royal Society’s role in the climate debates since the 1980s. He shows the Society’s gradual closing of critical scrutiny and scientific impartiality and the emergence of an almost dogmatic confidence that climate science is all but settled.

In recent years, the Society has issued a series of highly political statements demanding drastic action on energy and climate policies from policy makers and governments. On the issue of climate change, it has adopted an increasingly political rather than scientific tone. Instead of being an open forum for informed scientific debate, the Society is at risk of turning into a quasi-political campaign group.

The GWPF report criticises the Society for being too narrow minded in its assessment of climate change and for failing to take into account views of eminent scientists and policy experts that do not accord with its own position.

In his foreword to the report, Professor Richard Lindzen (MIT), one of the world’s most eminent atmospheric scientists, warns that “the legitimate role of science as a powerful mode of inquiry has been replaced by the pretence of science to a position of political authority.”

Andrew Montford (2012) Nullius in Verba – On the Word of No One: The Royal Society and Climate Change

Full report available here