Transparency is needed in climate change researchUnited Kingdom
From Mr Bob Ward.
Sir, Lord Turnbull points out that “only if confidence is restored in the science will there be the trust with the public which policymakers need”, and raises questions about the integrity of climate research carried out by the University of East Anglia (“A climate overhaul is needed to win back public trust”, Comment, September 27). But why does he not mention the inaccurate and misleading way in which the Global Warming Policy Foundation, of which he is a trustee, portrays the evidence for climate change?
The foundation displays on its website a graph purporting to show past global temperatures, as recorded by the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Yet the graph omits all temperatures prior to 2001, thus hiding the fact that none of the 10 warmest years since records began in the 19th century have all occurred in the last decade. Furthermore, the graph falsely shows 2009 as less warm than 2006 and 2007. Such misrepresentations cannot be found in any peer-reviewed scientific paper, but presumably Lord Turnbull would consider that to be an example of climate scientists “suppressing diverse views”.
The public and policymakers need robust and reliable information about climate change. They also expect openness and transparency from researchers in order to have confidence in their integrity and to be sure that they are not being influenced by vested interests. Yet Lord Turnbull does not mention this, and does not explain why the foundation refuses to reveal its sources of funding. Climate researchers will have to work hard to regain the trust of the public and policymakers. But the same high standards of competence and conduct should also be demanded of other groups who wish to influence the debate about climate change.
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment,
London School of Economics and Political Science,
London WC2, UK
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