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An Open Letter To The Geological Society

June 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood


GWPF carry the story of a letter recently sent to the president of the Geological Society by a group of concerned current and former members:



The President
Geological Society of London

Dear President

We are writing as a group of concerned primarily geoscientists, half of whom are or were Fellows, (names and affiliations listed below). Our concern is that the Society’s position on Climate Change (aka Anthropogenic Global Warming or AGW), is outdated and one-sided, and is distracting attention and funding from real issues of pollution such as plastic and other noxious industrial and domestic waste. To address this, we proposed to Colin Summerhayes that the 2010 and 2013 GSL Position Papers be posted on the Energy Matters blog, so that all sides of the discussion could be aired; and we are very grateful to Colin for effecting and taking part in this ( In addition, Colin continues to engage in an open and spirited email correspondence with some of us on the pros and cons of AGW.

The GSL position papers state they have been prepared ‘based on analysis of geological evidence, and not on analysis of recent temperature or satellite data, or climate model projections.’ And certainly, a key finding, ‘the only plausible explanation for the rate and extent of temperature increase since 1900, is the exponential rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution’, is not in line with the IPCC claim (in AR5 SPM), that ‘Anthropogenic influences have likely affected the global water cycle since 1960’, and that ‘more than half’ of the warming since 1951 is due to AGW. The IPCC also claim that ‘Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since the pre-industrial era (variously claimed to be between 1750-1880) have driven large increases in the atmospheric concentrations of … CO2’, which nobody seriously denies, but they do not claim that this resulted in warming before 1951/60, as the GSL appears to.

The IPCC position matches observations that almost half of the warming that has occurred over the last 150 or so years since industrialisation, had already happened by 1943, well before the rapid rise of industrial CO2. This difference of opinion is critical, for if CO2 did not cause the pre-1943 warming, the claimed consensus that Catastrophic AGW is caused by human CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution, which is supported by GSL, must be mistaken.

While there remain other areas of disagreement over the science of Global Warming and Climate Change (which are not the same thing), we can probably all agree that the 2010 position paper and the 2013 addendum need updating. And as this update will be critical in deciding future climate policy world-wide, we propose that any updated paper should come from a full and open discussion of the science, and not just from the ideas of a small group however well qualified. We suggest that such a process could be achieved by adopting methods of review used by other professional societies, particularly the APS, AAPG, and APPEA copies of which are attached.

We also believe the GSL has a responsibility to refute the exaggerated claims that swirl around the fringes of the Climate Change debate, undermining the real science – such as that CO2 and Climate Change cause:

  • more hurricanes, more rain, more drought, more asthma and now, even more terrorism (through drought in Africa),
  • the exceptional cold and warm recorded over most of the sub-Arctic, Northern Hemisphere during the past winter and spring are what we should ‘expect’ from Global Warming.

As this letter makes clear, it is not true that 97% of scientists unreservedly accept that AGW theory is fixed, or that carbon and CO2 are ‘pollutants’ and their production should be penalised; how can the primary nutrient in photosynthesis be a pollutant? We also note that 700 scientists have made submissions to the US Senate expressing dissent from the consensus and 166 climate scientists issued a challenge to Ban Ki Moon on the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 to provide proof of human induced global warming, which he did not do.

Even once respectable journals like the New Scientist, still uncritically peddle such social media nonsense as the infamous Hockey Stick, that seems to have lost the otherwise well documented Medieval Warm period. ‘Global Warming’ is on everyone’s lips with each month/year claimed to be the ‘hottest ever’ – based on IPCC’s ‘adjusted’ land and marine temperature data; however, the ‘pause’ in average temperatures since the 1998 el Niño, as documented by almost all recent temperature data, suggests global warming is no longer happening. Both claims cannot be correct, and, by saying nothing about these differences, the Society is supporting rather than resolving them.

By restricting the review to the geological evidence, independently of IPCC theory and modelling, the GSL signalled an independent scientific approach. But by excluding an evaluation of the modern climate record, the committee has failed to notice or account for these and other inconsistencies in AGW theory.

The Energy Matters blog was a useful first step in focusing on these issues but, as it is not ‘peer reviewed’[i] in the way that scientific papers generally are, we suggest something more formal is needed, such as a 2-day conference to explore all sides of the issues raised, with a strong neutral moderator.

Topics for such a dialogue could examine the evidence that

  1. CO2 alone as the principle driver of temperature, or climate.
  2. Climate Change is largely real, natural, and mostly beyond our control.
  3. Manipulation of climate data has been used to support ‘global warming’.[ii]
  4. Most climate alarms are little more than scaremongering.
  5. CO2 is mainly beneficial, NOT dangerous but blanket decarbonisation is.
  6. Industrial effluents and plastics, deforestation and overfishing are dangerous– and are being side-lined by the focus on CO2 emissions.

The world’s climate system, as defined by the IPCC, [iii] is a ‘coupled non-linear chaotic system”, for which “the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible’. This is due to the impossibility of describing precisely the initial conditions, and to instability generated by the mathematics causing cumulative errors in the modelling process, which combine to make a ‘correct’ solution impossible. This alone should make the authors of the GSL statements cautious about their very confident acceptance that CO2 alone has driven temperature and climate since 1900.The IPCC AR documents address some of the uncertainties, and are generally much less biased than the SPMs (Summary for Policymakers) which get all the media attention, which is unfortunate, as it is apparent that they are largely written not by scientists but by an ‘assemblage of representatives from governments and NGOs, with only a small scientific representation.’[iv] Their heavy political bias not only undermines the scientific content, it supercharges the ‘overwhelming consensus for human induced climate change’ which is mindlessly promulgated by the media year in, year out. The façade of consensus, helped by the data adjustments promised in the Climategate emails, negates the ‘creative conflict between theory and data’ which is missing in this debate and which we suggest the GSL can revive. It is to be hoped that the frequent use of conditionals ‘may’ and ‘could’ in the current papers will be reduced, as a document that will affect government policy for years needs to be more specific about the levels of uncertainty in its pronouncements.

We also note the difficulty of publishing anything that does not confirm the IPCC AGW position, again, as promised in Climategate emails; and also, the ‘ad hominem’ attacks rather than data refutation that too often characterises the debate, and we hope that this will not prevent the committee considering data that does not appear to support its position paper conclusions.

We do not expect that all of our concerns will survive the test of time, and we assume GSL would similarly accept that new data may well change the ‘consensus’. Climate models fail to model past climates accurately and consistently overestimate future temperature trends, nor are they able to explain the following:

  • The current hiatus or pause in warming.
  • Why the 285 ppm of atmospheric CO2 estimated for the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is in any way, a desirable benchmark. It coincides with the Victorian Little Ice Age, a period of starvation and population decline, which cannot possibly be a desirable target, unless you want to depopulate the earth.
  • Climate models always predict higher temperatures than actually occur
  • The absence of the predicted tropospheric hotspot – the ‘fingerprint of AGW’.
  • CO2 and temperature were higher than today during the previous 50 million years plus, with no CAGW effects, why not?
  • The natural warming of 8°C and ~100ppm increase in CO2 during the Holocene up to the 1800s, and the subsequent 125 ppm increase in CO2 after 1950, accompanied by a miserly ~1°C temperature rise.
  • The Holocene enigma of generally falling but fluctuating temperatures from ~3,000BP, accompanied by rising CO2 that predates industrial CO2 emissions.
  • How AGW theory relies on radiative transfer only to heat the planet, and seemingly ignores insolation, enthalpy and water vapour.
  • The inability of the science of AGW to sharpen the range of estimates of climate sensitivity (currently between 1.5 oC and 6.4°C according to GSL)
    despite over 30 years of hugely funded effort; surely the science has failed?
  • Earth System Sensitivity concept introduced by GSL, which ‘could be twice’ climate sensitivity’ noted above (2013 Addendum, page 4)

Such rational failures have to be of concern to the GSL as they demonstrate that CO2 alone does not, nay cannot drive global warming, so how can it drive climate change? And if it does not, there is no reason for the uncritical acceptance of the UN/IPCC focus on penalising CO2

The discussions in the Energy Matters blog suggests that the GSL position papers do not ‘prove’ that average global temperatures are accurately measured or agreed, or that human CO2 driven ‘warming’ is real and/or dangerous, or that CO2 is effective in changing the climate beyond natural variability. The position papers would not have included the beneficial effects of CO2 in greening the planet, as this was not widely reported until July 2013 CSIRO study. However, the benefits that cheap reliable electricity can bring in preventing over 4 million annual deaths from indoor air pollution from burning bio and other solid fuels, has been obvious for some time. Even if CO2 did drive some warming, is it more dangerous to more people than this very real pollution faced daily by well over 200 million in the developing world?

We fully support the Society’s involvement in the climate change debate but believe that the apparent failures of AGW theory noted herein, calls for a re-think. Climate is and always will change, but the evidence that this is due primarily to CO2, is not forthcoming. If the strong natural forcings that are so well described in the GSL papers have more impact than CO2, then we should be spending more of our limited resources on finding ways to adapt to negative climate change.

We are aware that the board has duties to the Society, to the prestige of the science and to Fellows, in that order perhaps, but think any formal statement by the Society should at least acknowledge the views of dissenting Fellows. Climate Change (which is only ever portrayed, without any justification, as dangerous) has become the critical issue of our time and informed dissent, cannot be swept under the carpet or dismissed as ‘unscientific’ or ‘denialist’, as it too often is; ‘Rebellion is the deepest root of science; the refusal to accept the present order of things,’[v] but seemingly not anymore in Climate Studies.

The GSL has taken a strong independent position; the Carbon Cycle is a genuine geological concern, but interpretation of the data is subject to increasing uncertainty as one goes back or forward in time, so firm conclusions based only on experimental data (the geological record) are likely to be unsound. As one of my correspondents puts it ‘The Society can make comments regarding the complexity of the physics and mathematics and inevitable uncertainty of predictions of nonlinear dynamical system behaviour etc., and there is nothing wrong with having a debate about this… But … their conclusions are unwarranted and unsound science if based on geological evidence alone.’

Science is supposed to use all the available tools at its disposal and by excluding the modern record it would be even more sound to avoid tacit support for the proposition that ‘the science is settled’. And even if everything the IPCC is frightened of looks inescapable, applying the precautionary principle by penalising carbon regardless has shut down debate creating more harm than benefit. Better by far to look at ways of mitigating possible effects until the evidence becomes firmer, one way or the other.

The strength of the Society is that Fellowship is not just open to people who share a current ‘consensus’, what was once accepted has often fallen by the wayside as arguments are overturned; Murchison and Sedgwick, uniformitarianism and catastrophism, Piltdown Man.

We would like to make a presentation of our findings to the board, as much of what is relevant can best be understood with reference to data. However, we have no wish to monopolise this discussion in any way, as we believe the issues need raising before as many interested parties as possible. And it is for this reason we are calling this an open letter and will circulate it through media channels after the forthcoming AGM.

Yours sincerely

Howard Dewhirst FGS,

on behalf of the following:

Active fellows:
Geology unless stated

Chris Atkinson
BSc, PhD

Nigel Banks
United Kingdom
BA, DPhil

Dave Bodecott
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc

David Boote
United Kingdom
MSc, PhD

Bernard Cooper
United Kingdom

John Cope
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD, DSc, C. Geol
FGS (Snr Fellow), GA

Cameron Davies
United Kingdom

Howard Dewhirst
United Kingdom

Tim Harper
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD, MSc, DIC, C. Eng

Graham Heard
United Kingdom

David Jenkins
United Kingdom

Chris Matchette-Downes
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc, C. Geol

James Moffatt
South Africa

Philip Mulholland
United Kingdom

Michael Oates
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD

Ian Plimer
BSc, PhD

Chris Pullan
United Kingdom

Michael Ridd
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD

Michael Seymour
United Kingdom
FGS, PESGB (former Chair)

Richard Stabbins
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD, C. Geol
FGS (Snr Fellow), PESGB (Hon Mbr)

Barry Squire
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD

David Warwick
United Kingdom

Alastair Woodrow
United Kingdom
BSc (Physics)

Wyss Yim
Hong Kong China

Enzo Zappaterra
United Kingdom
PhD, C. Pet Geol

Former fellows:

David Bowen
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD
FGS (former); Life Fellow INQUA

Frank Brophy

Gary Couples
United Kingdom
FGS (former), SPE, AGU, AAPG

Trish Dewhirst
BSc, B. Ecom
FGS, AusIMM, PESGB (all former)

Henry John Dodwell
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc
FGS (former), currently PESGB

Martin Keeley
United Kingdom
BSc, PhD
FGS (former),

Dennis Paterson
United Kingdom
FGS, AAPG, PESGB (all former)

William J Pyke
United Kingdom
FGS (former),

Concerned colleagues:

Nils-Axel Morner

Tim Ball

Dave Bratton

Doug Buerger
BSc, MPhil

John Conolly
BSc, MSc, PhD

Isabel Davies
United Kingdom

Paul Dostal
MIE Aust (former)

Philip Foster
United Kingdom

Ashley Francis
United Kingdom

Andrew Gillies

Peter Gill
United Kingdom
BSc (Physics)
FEI, Inst P, CEng, C Phys, Eur. Ing

John Graham
United Kingdom
EAGE, SEG retired

Tom Harris
B Eng, M Eng,

Bruce Harvey

Michael Haseler
United Kingdom
BSc (Physics), MBA

Robert Heath
United Kingdom
BSc (Physics)
SPG India (EAGE, SEG & PESGB, all former)

Yvon Houde

Richard Karn

Pamela Klein

Richard Lindzen

Sebastian Luening
Dr habil

Andy May

Peter McCarthy
BSc, M. Geosc

Robert Merrill

Paul Messenger
BSc, PhD
Aus IMM (former), GSA (former)

Steve Munro
New Zealand
BSc, Post-Grad Dipl, MBA

Thomas E O’Connor
AAPG, Houston Geo. Soc

Alex Pope
NASA retired

Gordon P Riddler
United Kingdom

Bill Trojan
AAPG, Westminster College SLC Utah

Mark Wharton
United Kingdom

Subsequent signatories:

Viv Forbes

Peter B Gibbs
United Kingdom

Roger Higgs
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc, DPhil

Simon Kendall
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc
FGS (former)

Carlos Venturini
United Kingdom
BSc, MSc, PG Dipl


APS: American Physical Society:





CAPP: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers;

Climate Change Tutorial; District Court of California, 10/3/2018.


Letter to Scott Pruitt EPA:

Selected Blogs:



Covering email sent to GSL President 1st June 2018

Dear President,

Attached is an open letter to yourself as President of the Geological Society of London, together a series of referenced attachments. The letter is written in the spirit of scientific enquiry, not political correctness and has been prepared on behalf of a group of colleagues, whose names are included in the letter, to raise the possibility of a new edition of the GSL’s position papers on climate change. We wish to raise awareness of the seriousness of our concern by making this an open letter, and plan to issue it to the media after the Society has had an opportunity to consider it. We do this not to pressure the Society in any way, but because, as we note in the letter, a new GSL position paper ‘will be critical in deciding future climate policy world-wide’, hence ‘any updated paper should come from a full and open discussion of the science, and not just from the ideas of a small group’.

We are particularly impressed by the thoroughness of the American Physical Society Climate Change Statement Review Workshop Framing Document and the Climate Change Statement Review Subcommittee, 20 December 2013, copies of which we attach, together with examples from other societies and other relevant publications which we hope you will find useful in any approach a review.

The issue of Climate Change is too important for it to be the preserve of a small group of Fellows, no matter how well intentioned and qualified. Despite what you might read in the media, and as this letter shows, 97% of scientists do not accept the IPCC Theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming and we don’t believe the GSL should do so quite as unquestioningly as they have done heretofor.

We have no special agenda but to seek the truth lost in what has become a hugely political issue, where open dialogue has become almost impossible. We are sure this is something the GSL would be concerned with and would want to take a lead in restoring the balance.

Yours Sincerely

Howard Dewhirst

[i] Peer reviewing is only of value if the reviewers are without bias, which is increasingly rare in politicised sciences such as climate change; the web, like Guttenberg’s press, has opened up new vistas of thought and expression.


[iii] Chapter 8 of the 2000 IPCC report titled “Model Evaluation”


[v] Carlo Rovelli: The Order of Time.2017

  1. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 15, 2018 8:37 pm

    I’ll settle for WOW!!

    • Athelstan permalink
      June 16, 2018 12:04 am


      wot other wobblers are you chucking at us?

  2. markl permalink
    June 15, 2018 8:51 pm

    Let’s see how the Geological Society reacts. My cynical take is they will at most refute it with the same dogma that’s got us into this mess and at least completely ignore it.

    • John permalink
      June 16, 2018 4:50 am

      A short letter of refutation with no actual refuting data and then ignore it.

  3. Bitter@twisted permalink
    June 15, 2018 9:25 pm

    The “Trump effect” is spreading.
    Real scientists are starting to speak out.

    • June 16, 2018 5:28 am

      Real scientists have been speaking out for years; but only those whose careers do not depend on toeing the line. Only when we see hoards of scientists like Peter Ridd speaking out will we know that we are on the way to ending the “climate change” scam – the biggest scientific scam ever.

      • Joe Public permalink
        June 16, 2018 1:03 pm


  4. Steve borodin permalink
    June 16, 2018 9:12 am

    As an former member of the BGS, I strongly support this letter. I can only hope that the GS shows greater scientific integrity than did the RI in 2010.

  5. June 16, 2018 9:40 am

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    How much longer can the erroneous fixed ideas of IPCC-based climate science last against the forces (see signatory list) of reason and rationality?

  6. June 16, 2018 10:09 am

    It is no surprise that all “authoritative” positions simply purvey the IPCC doctrine, which started with a conclusion and proceeded to fit data around it to suit.

  7. M Perks permalink
    June 16, 2018 10:58 am

    We can but hope that this is the start of a proper and open debate based on scientific principles but I suspect those with vested interests will do their damnedest to close it down. There are too many people with too much to lose (including both money and reputation).

  8. June 16, 2018 11:18 am

    That is a fantastic list and letter. If the sensible folks drop their membership in these organizations, it will send a loud message. Money talks.

    I noticed Richard Lindzen and Tim Ball were on the list of signatories. Tim won his court case in Canada when sued by Mikey Mann. Mark Steyn’s case is still in court.

    How many of those signers will now be sued by Mikey?

  9. ralfellis permalink
    June 16, 2018 11:31 am

    The royal society also fail to include ice albedo as a factor regulating global temperature. And yet my peer review paper demonstrates that the primary feedback involved in ice age and interglacial regulation is ice albedo.

    CO2 is also involved as a modulating agent for interglacials, but only through getting so low that plant life is exterminated and new high level CO2 deserts form. These new CO2 deserts create the increasing dust flux, which coats the northern ice sheets – lowers their albedo – allows increasing insolation absorption – which melts the ice sheets. It is an elegant theory that explains every facet of ice age modulation.

    And it is something that could be effecting the modern climate, through the copious amounts of industrial soot pouring out of modern China.

    ‘Modulation of ice ages via precession and dust-albedo feedbacks’.
    Doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2016.04.004

    Ralph J Ellis


    We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice-ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia more CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which combined with arid conditions, causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.

  10. ralfellis permalink
    June 16, 2018 11:45 am

    And the royal society are hardly a bastion of scientific knowledge. When I sent my paper to them for review, the esteemed reviewers had the understanding of children.

    One said that plants would not be starved of CO2 at altitude, because the concentration of CO2 at altitude is the same as at the surface. And so my entire paper was false (and was rejected). I did point out that the concentration of oxygen was the same at altitude as at the surface – so why do airliners bother to fit supplimentary oxygen. The jibe fell on deaf ears, and my paper was still rejected.

    Another esteemed reviewer said my description of precession and obliquity was completely incorrect. Instead, the spin axis of the earth rotates around the north pole every 26,000 years (not the 22,000 years I quoted). I pointed out he had totally misunderstood the dynamics of precession, and missed out apsidal precession (which reduces the Seasonal Great Year from 26,000 years to about 22,000 years). But my paper was still rejected.

    Another reviewer said he-she could not accept a reference to a DENIER (a one line reference to Willis Eschenbach’s Thunderstorm Thermostat Theory).

    And so it went on. Of a dozen complaints made by royal society reviewers, not one was a valid reason for rejection. So one wonder what the purpose of the peer review system is, if the reviewers cannot understand the papers they are reading.


    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 16, 2018 12:39 pm

      Or just maybe they did understand which is why they rejected it! Very quickly.

      I don’t know enough to do a proper analysis but the Abstract seems to make at least as much sense as a lot of the stuff that comes out of the climate mainstream.

      • ralfellis permalink
        June 16, 2018 2:07 pm

        I got the impression that they did NOT WANT to understand the paper, because it demonstrates that CO2 is not the main feedback agent controlling terrestrial temperature. The true controllers of long-term climate are orbital cycle forcings, combined with ice sheet albedo feedbacks.

        That is why all interglacials terminate at the same temperature. The CO2 theory would suggest a runnaway climate, with more CO2 forcing ever warmer temperatures. While the ice albedo theory always runs out of steam when the ice caps have melted.

        It also explains the counterintuitive response to CO2. During ice ages – when CO2 is low, the world warms – and when CO2 is high, the world cools. If CO2 were the primary feedback agent, it is highly unlikely that this would happen. But the ice-albedo feedback explains everything.


  11. June 16, 2018 1:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  12. June 16, 2018 11:00 pm

    The blatant corruption of science that has come to be accepted as an “overwhelming consensus” of climate science would have been hard to imagine were it not real. It is hopeful to see an increasing groundswell of resistance from honest researchers who are willing to bear the inevitable denigration and professional risk of speaking out against what has become a massive scientific fraud.

  13. Vernon E permalink
    June 17, 2018 6:25 pm

    This letter should be copied to the Presidents of all the scientific institutions. Mine, I Chem E, is besotted with climate change and decarbonisation.

  14. Cooper permalink
    June 18, 2018 10:38 am

    Just ploughed through Professor Plimer’s book on ‘Climate Change Delusion’, Ian is one of the active fellow signatories of the letter above.
    He uses his vast Geological knowledge to debunk all the Climate Alarmist myths – in great detail. From Polar ice and Coral reefs to electric cars, nothing is left out. He is angry at the scams and frauds that Paul’s blog is forever pointing out. The book will become my new Climate bible!
    I have a Chemistry background and did not realise how scientific, thorough and honest these Geologists are. The world needs the Geological Society to heed its members.

  15. Wellers permalink
    June 19, 2018 8:26 pm

    Vernon E. : I am likewise a member of I Chem E and I am thoroughly disappointed with The Chemical Engineer”s editorial stance, which is totally biased towards the warmist position. And also that of the Institution itself: look how they reacted to that marvellous letter by Trevor Kletz expressing his doubts about the flaky science behind Global Warming. I have been considering setting up a Special Interest Group for climate realists. Let me know if you’re interested.

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