Yesterday I noted with approval a letter from the Royal Society asking Exxon to stop funding climate change denial. RP Jr, bizarrely, finds this inconsistent with the open and free exchange of ideas. Its bizarre because Exxons funding of these dubious organistaions has nothing to do open exchange – its all about misinformation and slipping Exxons desired world view in from the side.
There is also a rumour of another letter – though we haven’t seen it, only the Torygraph report on it calling for “the UK media to be vigilant against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence about climate change” – in other words, to avoid being taken in by disinformation. This, too, is a bad idea if you live in Pielke-land.
[Update: a transcript of a BBC R4 interview is available via RP (thanks) via BP (thanks). First of all, this clarifies the origin of the RS letter: in a meeting I had in July that they were making statements that misrepresented the science and that they were funding groups that were similarly misrepresenting the science. They then offered themselves to stop funding these groups. But let me make a distinction here... What happened is, after I'd explained why the Royal Society felt that the statements Exxon Mobile had made in a report in February, when I explained to them that they were wrong in our opinion, they then send me a report in the summer, a new report, which repeated all of the statements which I complained about in the first place. Then we have David Whitehouse (who he?): Different views, contrary positions, are essential to the progress of science (ad nauseam; plus various irrelevant comments about free speach). Exxon aren't funding science: they are funding lobbying groups. If they *were* funding climate science that would be splendid (they pay well, I understand...). And: My point is not an argument about the science. The science is irrelevant in this context. You can go to your own website and read scientists talk about the uncertainties of global warming. No, the science isn't irrelevant, which is why he can't resist trying to bring it up. -W]