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Bob Ward Resorts To Little Known Journal

February 5, 2020
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By Paul Homewood

 

Engineering & Technology has published a long, rambling attack piece on the GWPF in general, and Prof Michael Kelly in particular:

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An E&T investigation reveals that a prominent British climate change sceptics group is taking advantage of a favourable political environment while strengthening its ties to international supporters and surviving an examination by the Charities Commission. Keen to engage in online climate change debate, the GWPF growing its influence in the engineering and technology sector too.

Full story here.

The article is far too long to be worth reading in full, but it relies almost entirely on quotes from Bob Ward, the PR man for the Grantham Institute. Indeed it is clear that most of the article has actually been dictated by him, as it matches his own rambling prose.

It is evident from it that Ward is worried about how much progress the GWPF is making in countering the hysterical claims of climate crisis, especially amongst people in authority and in the media.

To quote Ward:

The group’s strategy is now fully invested in online publications. And it seems to work. Ward says he believes [GWPF’s] newsletter goes out widely, including in Whitehall, because he is often asked by senior civil servants, who have received it and raised it with their colleagues, to verify or disprove statements. He says “they then say ‘one of my colleagues has seen this piece by Matt Ridley in the Telegraph, what do you say?’, and then I have to rebut it. I think [GWPF]’s model for disseminating propaganda in Whitehall works”.

Most of Ward’s story consists of a long winded ad hom attack on Professor Michael Kelly, who happens to be a trustee of the GWPF board of trustees. He was also Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge from 2002-2016, had a spell as chief scientific advisor to the Department of Communities and Local Government and his awards include the Royal Society’s Hughes Medal in 2006.

Kelly has made several serious criticisms of government climate policies, not based on climate denial, but instead on practical concerns about the engineering realities, costs and global political realities.

Instead of addressing these very real issues, Ward has chosen to attack Kelly’s qualifications, and invoked one of Kelly’s erstwhile colleagues at Cambridge, Julian Allwood, to launch a very personal and unworthy attack on Kelly’s credibility.

As we shall see, this is the usual modus operandi for Bob Ward. When you cannot argue with facts, resort to ad hom!

Ward then goes on to complain that some of the GWPF funding comes from the US. Yet he does not seem to mind the same American funding for numerous climate alarmist outfits, such as Richard Black’s Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU). This was set up to disseminate global warming propaganda, and relies heavily on funding from European Climate Foundation, which itself is funded largely by US progressive foundations.

 

A good example of Ward’s misdirection in the article is this statement:

  One such example on GWPF.org is a post from 2019 where the Foundation calls on the withdrawal of a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-reviewed scientific journal, on the decline of insect populations in the rainforest in Puerto Rico. None of the four GWPF members who authored a letter to the editor of PNAS – including Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Ridley, Paul Homewood and Andrew Montford – had ever published any research relating to this issue.

His comment is irrelevant, as our complaint had nothing to do with insect studies. It was instead based on the fact that the whole PNAS study was centred around a corrupted temperature record, purportedly showing a steady rise in temperatures. However this supposed warming was an artifact of splicing two separate sets of temperature records from two different thermometers

The El Verde Field Station, responsible for the meteorological data, clearly warned against combining these two sets of temperature data, because the first one up to 1992 was artificially lower due to faulty equipment.

Although the PNAS refused to withdraw a fatally flawed paper, it did publish a reply by nine insect experts, Willig et al, which not only discredited the original claims about insect populations, but also made exactly the same objection about the flawed temperature record as we did.

 

Ward refers to a formal complaint he submitted to the Charity Commission last October, claiming that the GWPF was in breach of Charity Commission rules.

In the E&T article, Ward makes two specific criticisms about scientific research papers which I have written for GWPF. Both criticisms were included in that formal complaint:

1) Paul Homewood’s pamphlet from last year on ‘Tropical Hurricanes in the Age of Global Warming’ would also fall short. Homewood is a retired accountant and has no qualifications or training in climate-related science, Ward says. Homewood claims the increase in the frequency of strong hurricanes in the North Atlantic since 1970 is due to a natural cycle, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and “not linked to climate change”. In seeking to defend his claim Homewood would have “ignored much of the scientific literature on the issue and misrepresented the findings of those he did cite”. Ward said Homewood would have misrepresented both papers “through selective quotation that gave the false impression that they had ruled out the influence of climate change on the increase in the frequency of strong hurricanes in the North Atlantic”.

This complaint was firmly rebutted by GWPF Chairman. Lord Donoghue, in his reply to the Bob Ward, and copied to the Charity Commission:

Turning to Paul Homewood’s paper, entitled Tropical Hurricanes in the Age of Global Warming, your view is not one I see represented in his paper. He does not even attempt to argue that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is wholly

responsible for an increase in hurricane activity in the North Atlantic as you suggest. Instead, he states in the report that:

… IPCC AR5 reported that there has been an increase in the frequency of very intense tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic since the 1970s. Whether this can be wholly explained by the AMO cannot be known at this stage. It would require several cycles of the AMO, with comprehensive availability of hurricane data, to be able to draw any conclusions with confidence.

Nonetheless, many scientists have found that the AMO plays a significant role in hurricane formation in the North Atlantic. Mr Homewood is right to draw attention to these findings. You also neglect to mention that the Walsh et al paper that you cite in your letter states in its abstract that “…no significant trends have been identified in the Atlantic since the late 19th century”.

 

Ward’s second complaint stated:

2) Another of Homewood posts claimed: “using the recently published UK Met Office’s State of the UK Climate 2018, along with other Met Office data, this paper examines UK climatic trends and assesses the truth of climate emergency claims”. Homewood concludes: “there is no evidence that weather has become more extreme”. According to Ward, Homewood had misrepresented the Met Office’s data and its work. At a different passage of Homewood’s text, Ward finds another issue. By stating evidence from a report by the National Climate Information Centre at the Met Office, Ward refutes Homewood’s assertion that there is no basis for the claim that “climate change causes more extreme rainfall, at least as far as the UK is concerned”. 

Again this was easily rebutted by Lord Donoghue:

Turning to Mr Homewood’s claim that climate change was not causing more extreme rainfall, you say that this is untrue. However, you merely refer to an increase in rainfall between the most recent decade and the period between 1961 and 1990. On its own, this fact cannot tell us anything about what might be causing that increase. You also neglect to mention that by this index, the rainfall totals from extremely wet days have slightly declined since the mid-2000s. More importantly, the period from the early 1960s to late 1990s is recognised as a “flood dry period”, nor does it represent typical pre-industrial conditions; so it cannot be taken as the reference period from which to search for an anthropogenic influence.

Ward’s complaint to the Charity Commission about the GWPF was roundly rejected, making clear that the GWPF had every right to publish its own research, as long as it was based on “evidence and analysis”. The Commission was satisfied that this was indeed the case.

 

Ward’s job, of course, is to shut down debate on climate change where it challenges the mainstream view. Hence his numerous and failed attempts to censor the press.

After this latest failure, he is clearly worried that GWPF is having more influence than he would like.

33 Comments
  1. February 5, 2020 4:14 pm

    Prof Allwood does not say Prof Kelly is wrong, he says ““But [Kelly’s] conclusion is that it won’t happen,” says Allwood. “Our conclusion is there is the law (Paris Accord) that it has to happen.”
    So the law has more impact on science than the facts, as it did in Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      February 5, 2020 8:06 pm

      When did the Paris ‘accord’ (Assuming you mean COP15) become a ‘law’?

  2. David MC permalink
    February 5, 2020 4:32 pm

    This is why I am no longer a fee-paying member of the IET. They carry an awful lot unbalanced climate change propaganda in that E&T publication.

    • tomo permalink
      February 5, 2020 10:38 pm

      +1

    • Nial permalink
      February 6, 2020 9:32 am

      +2

      The magazine deosn’t read like it’s been written by experienced sceptical Engineers but media studies graduates.

      • Patrick Healy permalink
        February 7, 2020 10:57 am

        Even though my background and qualifications as a sea going radio officer (sparkie) gave me a good grounding in electronics, it was my previous spell in agricultural college which gave me a grounding in botany horticulture and chemistry.
        Then at sea I had to familiarize myself with weather reporting and basic forecasting.
        I was one of the much derided “rubber bucket” seawater temperature gathers; who in the pre satellite days on Obs Ships; sent daily Morse coded weather observations back to Bracknell.
        If nothing else it taught me to be a weather realist by experiencing the vagaries of our wonderful changing climate(s).
        That long winded intro explains why I will die (probably soon now 78) a realist who gives thanks for that tiny amount of wonderful plant food (Co2) which us puny humans produce to make this world a green and pleasant rock.
        Not sure if this belongs on this great scientific site – but what the hell

  3. Broadlands permalink
    February 5, 2020 4:35 pm

    “Ward’s job, of course, is to shut down debate on climate change where it challenges the mainstream view.”

    The Grantham Institute provides major funding for the AAAS in Washington, DC. This once politically neutral scientific organization has shifted to the left and now has a significant investment in promoting their own “climate change” agenda…

    https://whatweknow.aaas.org

    They even follow and moderate those who are skeptical and edit some of their posts.

  4. Gerry, England permalink
    February 5, 2020 4:50 pm

    And there is the reason that I am no longer a member of the IET that publishes the Guardian-like magazine E&T. The only good parts were from a former Soviet citizen and a spoof student blog – tells it all really. I found some copies from 10 years ago that actually contained worthwhile articles – not sure exactly when the snowflakes took over. Like most institutions, the members have never been asked about policy on global warming. It was hilarious when they had a lead article on how the hotspot in the atmosphere over the Equator would affect air travel. The presence – or non-existence – of the hotspot is one of the multitude of warmist failures and had already been debunked before E&T had its article.

    The other thing about the article is the smell. The smell of fear from the alarmists that things could start going against them.

  5. ianprsy permalink
    February 5, 2020 4:59 pm

    “… a favourable political environment …” I wish! Wish our national politicians queueing up to show off their green credentials, we’ve a long way to go.

  6. A C Osborn permalink
    February 5, 2020 6:24 pm

    Paul, you and the GWPF are “over the target”.

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      February 5, 2020 10:46 pm

      Yes A C, that’s why the flak is getting more intense.

  7. Bill Wiggans permalink
    February 5, 2020 6:34 pm

    Will somebody please tell Boris that there is supposed to be a “favourable political environment”.

  8. martinbrumby permalink
    February 5, 2020 7:25 pm

    For a paid stooge of a billionaire hedge fund fiddler, he has some cheek.

    And Ward’s qualification is a PhD in paleopiezometry (failed).

    My cat has a firmer grasp of ‘extreme weather’ than Ward

  9. February 5, 2020 8:05 pm

    You only have to look at the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council to see that it has a far superior group of scientfic/engineering advisors than anything the alarmists could muster.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 5, 2020 8:11 pm

    Just trying to figure where Ward gets the chutzpah to criticise a Professor’s qualifications considering he has none (in the science – or stats) and is only a rich man’s pro.

  11. The Man at the Back permalink
    February 6, 2020 12:50 am

    The previous item on EV’s mentioned Prof. Kalghatgi presentation. Worth reprising this fine piece from last Summer.

    https://www.thegwpf.com/gautam-kalghatgi-is-there-an-existential-crisis-and-a-climate-emergency-can-the-world-be-carbon-neutral-by-2030/

  12. George Lawson permalink
    February 6, 2020 10:40 am

    The article pleases me from two points of view: First, this man Ward is obviously very worried about the growing strength of the sceptic voice, and his extensive, quite ridiculous criticisms of the GWPF in his rambling letters to the Charities Commission.The second for his enlightenment to me, and I suspect to many others, of the great work that the Global Warming Policy foundation is doing in disseminating and distributing the voice of the sceptic viewpoint to those that matter in government and other important organisations each side of the Atlantic.

  13. dennisambler permalink
    February 6, 2020 11:24 am

    Very few scientists here..
    http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/about/about-the-institute/advisory-board/

  14. Roger B permalink
    February 6, 2020 11:34 am

    Here is the discusion thread on this piece from the IET website:

    https://communities.theiet.org/discussions/viewtopic/807/25590

  15. John Peter permalink
    February 6, 2020 4:21 pm

    It now looks like the GWPF have deleted Boris Johnson from their circulation list. He seems to have turned from blue to green in a short period of time. Only electric vehicles for sale from 2035 is a dream removed from reality. I thought he was going to grow the economy like Trump instead of leading us into oblivion. I saw him as our savior from Sturgeon up here and now they look alike in trying to demolish our country in their own different ways.

    • George Lawson permalink
      February 7, 2020 9:32 am

      I agree. But I just wonder whether it is too early for Johnson to show any anti Green/warming view, and that we might see him gradually calm the fanaticism down, and the obvious pressure from his partner, and possibly come round to the Trump position in time. One can but hope.

      • Michael Adams permalink
        February 7, 2020 11:09 am

        Boris has never believed in anything in his entire life. He switches sides all the time to further his own career. CC is flavour of the month so he hitches his wagon to it. He was a Remainer before the referendum and switched sides when he saw some publicity for himself on the other side.

        I seem to remember an anecdote from a former school chum, might have been Cameron, which relates an incident when they were having a school debate. Boris turns up late and starts arguing passionately for the motion until he is reminded that he was on the side of opposing the motion. Without batting an eyelid he immediately starts speaking with just as much passion against the motion. It sounds funny but it speaks volumes to me.

  16. Carbon500 permalink
    February 7, 2020 1:09 pm

    Here’s a wonderful open letter to Greta Thunberg – a meticulous verbal dissection which I think readers will enjoy.
    The truth is out there!
    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2019/11/open-letter-greta-thunberg-jason-d-hill/

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      February 7, 2020 8:03 pm

      Thanks for that C500, an excellent read. It is a shame Greta will never get to see it.

      • Carbon500 permalink
        February 8, 2020 11:29 am

        Glad you enjoyed it, Pancho Plail. It’s the sort of attacking, challenging approach that I think is needed to tackle the doom and alarm brigade’s half-baked scary stories. The mainstrean media is I think the biggest obstruction to getting any kind of sensible information over to the public.

  17. Pancho Plail permalink
    February 7, 2020 7:52 pm

    Now let me get this straight. Ward says that you, Paul, are not qualified to comment on climate change issues because you have not published any papers on the topics you referred to.
    Yet Ward feels he is entitled to speak on climate issues because he has published how many scientific papers on climate change topics? Is it precisely none?

    • Carbon500 permalink
      February 8, 2020 12:19 pm

      The warmists are obsessed with papers being published. It’s a convenient easy tool to try and shut down any discussion and belittle those with opposing views.
      Anyone with a scientific background relevant to a given area is quite capable of asking pertinent questions – having published papers on a topic is not a pre-requisite. As an example, a biochemist or physician may well comment on matters of pH when ‘ocean acidification’ is being discussed – they’ll understand the terminology and how the pH scale works, and factors affecting pH. They don’t need to have published research papers on oceanography to discuss pH measurement,
      Interested members of the public are also quite capable of appreciating more than the doom-mongers give them credit for!

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        February 8, 2020 5:14 pm

        I have the same view as you as regards the publishing of papers, especially when climate papers are so often “authored” by dozens of people and contain more of a restatement of existing positions rather than original research.
        my intention was simply to judge Ward by the standards he uses, and he was found to be wanting.

  18. February 8, 2020 12:15 pm

    dingaling The IET article allows no open comments
    ..that is a sign of rigged debate.
    Maybe they have a Facebook page

    Apparently Paul you are in with the White Supremacists
    … If they wokerati don’t have proper arguments, they sling mud.

  19. February 8, 2020 12:19 pm

    There is many a truth revealed by a slip of the tongue

    The IET article is a “piece of work”
    .. Who said that ?
    Its author

    • February 9, 2020 2:43 pm

      Someone said Ben was talking to Greenpeace
      a couple of weeks before he wrote the article.

  20. February 8, 2020 2:42 pm

    Meanwhile in Germany activists and German TV ZDF tried a hidden camera sting against US lobby org Heartland

    Pierre put up an article, but Heartland say in the comments that he got the story wrong
    .. and that they are not shills
    so they pulled out at the mention of “pay to play”
    Both promise a second more correct article.
    https://notrickszone.com/2020/02/07/german-leftist-journalists-go-undercover-infiltrate-set-up-heartland-institute/

  21. February 9, 2020 3:21 pm

    There is a Bristol Post article from Jan 22
    Port multi-millionaire who leads a climate sceptic group
    Terence Mordaunt has been appointed chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation

    .. Some commenters try to say ‘see this is Tory led big oil !’
    however they are outnumbered in the comments by people against XR and alarmism

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