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How David King Misled To Parliament

June 21, 2021
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By Paul Homewood

 

I discussed David King yesterday, but it is worth going into greater detail:

 

 

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King was Chief Scientific Advisor to Tony Blair between 2000 and 2007. His training is as a chemist, but that never stopped him from having strong views on climate change. Unfortunately many of his utterances were so far off the mark that they call into question is credibility.

In 2004, he gave testimony to the Select Committee on Environmental Audit, and made two specific claims:

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https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmenvaud/490/4033003.htm

 

Quite where he got the first claim about the South Pole is a mystery, but it is needless to say baseless. There is enough ice in Antarctica to raise sea levels by 58m, so if King was right, London would already be submerged!

There is even now no evidence that the Antarctic ice cap is shrinking at all; some studies say it is, others say it is growing. But the former only put the loss since 1979 as 0.01%, well within any margin of error.

Even under the most pessimistic assessments, it would take 105,000 years for the ice sheet to melt, not 1000. This in fact would be a physical impossibility anyway, as most of the ice is land based in East Antarctica, whereas the losses are in West Antarctica where melting takes place below sea level.

 

As for Greenland, the idea that it could all melt within 50 years is equally preposterous. No serious scientist would claim this. Quite apart from anything else, we know that temperatures in Greenland were just as high as now eighty years ago, and higher still for most of the last 10000 years. During that time, the Greenland ice cap has remained remarkably stable; the only noticeable changes have been around the periphery, where glaciers meet the ocean. Currently these valley glaciers are more extensive than they used to be.

I appreciate that much of this is speculation of what might happen. Nevertheless, as Chief Scientific Advisor, it was King’s job to provide sound, fact based and objective advice to Parliament, which clearly he did not do. Instead he made outlandish claims, which he must have known were nonsensical, with the sole objective of pushing his political agenda.

This however was not the only occasion when King misled Parliament. In 2014, he gave evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, where he made the claim that Sandy was the first hurricane to hit so far north in America:

 

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This is another flat out lie. Since 1950 alone, there have been nine hurricanes which made landfall further north than Sandy.

 

 https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/images/conus_strikes.jpg

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/images/conus_strikes.jpg

 

It is a serious offence to give false testimony to Parliament, and King should have been forced to return to both Committees to apologise.

35 Comments
  1. Philip Mulholland permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:00 am

    Another I am Science candidate.

  2. john cheshire permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:15 am

    Is he a mate of Messrs Hancock, Whitty, Vallance and Ferguson by any chance? Does he attend World Economic Forum shindigs with Mr Schwab? Or Mr and Mrs Gates?

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:19 am

    Seems that these committees are willing to accept testimony on the basis of the plausibility of the witness. I would also criticise the Committee in this case for not requiring sight of the facts on which the Sandy’s landfall was based. If witnesses knew that such would be required they might be more carefull about their representations. Applied on a wider basis that might ensure greater honesty and inhibit the hysterics.

    • Phillip Bratby permalink
      June 21, 2021 11:33 am

      Don’t forget that these committees are almost devoid of any scientists (as is parliament as a whole), so nobody would know what questions to ask or even to ask for evidence and they would not know whether the answers were sensible/credible.

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        June 21, 2021 11:41 am

        In my experience, lawyers invariably think they can solve anything, “We could just …” and are blithely unaware of the limitations of their knowledge. If what King said chimed with what they last read in the Guardian, Telegraph or Times they would post it as Gospel in their minds.

      • C Lynch permalink
        June 22, 2021 11:37 am

        There is such a thing as preparation. Any committee member with a modicum of intelligence would know the key points that an Alarmist would address – hottest temperatures evah, polar ice, frequency and intensity of hurricanes, extreme weather etc. – and have checked the facts thereon.
        The problem is that everyone in Parliament regardless of what political party they are allied with, has bought into the narrative and don’t have any critical faculties on this issue anymore

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 21, 2021 11:50 am

      No, the committees invite based on ‘prestige’ – they like to have the right sort of people before them. Unfortunately, ‘prestige’ does not being with it ‘knowledge’ – in fact usually the opposite. And if that wasn’t bad enough, hardly any of the members of the committee have enough knowledge to ask important questions or to smoke out when they are being lied to.

    • June 21, 2021 12:32 pm

      Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-now retired from Congress, but replaced in like kind), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, held hearings on so-called “man caused climate change:” In 2015, Smith’s goal was to ferret out out how — not whether — politically motivated government scientists are using what he believes are “skewed” numbers. Science agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), he said are using cooked stats to overstate the effects of climate change, which Smith believes is itself part of President Barack Obama’s “agenda.” How the left howled.

      In 2015, TX Senator Ted Cruz chaired the subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. He has referred to climate change believers as the “new flat-earthers.” This raised the ire of scientific authority Greta Thunberg who quickly referred to Senator Cruz as “an idiot.” He has also been outspoken about the lack of facts regarding the climate change issue. BTW, you do not want to be on the other end of a debate with Ted.

      It can be done.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      June 21, 2021 12:49 pm

      Where are the ‘fact checkers’? 🙂

      And I don’t mean History, English or History of Art graduates with time on their hands.

    • Broadlands permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:34 pm

      Thomas Carr…This from Wikipedia…

      “Hurricane Sandy was not the first to hit New York: A 1938 storm ‘The Long Island Express’ pounded the Eastern Seaboard. The storm formed near the coast of Africa in September of the 1938 hurricane season, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21.
      Long Island was struck first, before New England, Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec, earning the storm the nickname the ‘Long Island Express’. The winds reached up to 150 mph and had waves surging to around 25–35 feet high.[The destruction was immense and took a while to rebuild. The western side of the hurricane caused sustained tropical storm-force winds, high waves, and storm surge along much of the New Jersey coast. In Atlantic City the surge destroyed much of the boardwalk. Additionally, the surge inundated several coastal communities; Wildwood was under 3 feet (0.91 m) of water at the height of the storm. The maximum recorded wind gust was 70 m.p.h. at Sandy Hook.”

      It may be worth adding that 1938 was the peak temperature anomaly in the Northern hemisphere and CO2 was still pre-industrial.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:54 pm

      They are willing to accept whatever fits with what they want to hear. These committees do not want to investigate what is actually happening.

  4. 2hmp permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:42 am

    On our local District Council there is only one scientist who told me that the declaration of a Climate Emergency was entirely on emotion. At that time she could not think of a single scientist in Parliament. Is it any wonder that nonsense rules.

  5. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 21, 2021 11:57 am

    I look at the DMI site most days. The Arctic Temperature North of 80′ N and Sea Ice Thickness. The Greenland page, Paul features this from time to time, has popup data on the Promice weather stations. The temperatures, even on the coastal stations are always pretty cold, it’s no wonder that Viking age farming isn’t possible still, far less 1000 year total melt.

    http://polarportal.dk/en/greenland/surface-conditions/

    • dave permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:02 pm

      I think the – intractable – problem is that the generality of scientific textbooks, at first year University level, are extremely superficial, with their glib explanations and ‘just so stories,’ tarted up with impressive jargon and exclusionary mathematical detail.

      It is all too easy for faculty to teach at the same level of nonsense, rather than to encourage, and then have to face, difficult questions. There is gross over-confidence at all levels of academia.

      The later periods of most scientific careers involve extreme specialization; and I am sure that many, if not most, scientists are quite sound, and even humble, in the tiny area that they actually know about in detail. But they assume that their personal firm grasp of a speciality – perhaps covering 1% of the scientific corpus – holds true for the rest of the faded bits and bobs of quarter-truths that represent their knowledge of the OTHER 99% of science.

      With the respect to the 40% claim, that King made about Antarctica, I can make a plausible guess about what happened. He had heard vaguely that the sea-ice was ‘down 40%’ [somewhere*], and he had completely forgotten that sea-ice and the ice-cap on land are different things, and, like preening cocky men with an adoring audience do, opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut.

      * He might even have been thinking of the Arctic at that moment and not the Antarctic!
      It is true enough that the ice at the North Pole is sea-ice.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:57 pm

      That’s the wonder of using averages and anomalies.

      I suspect the vast majority of climate change believers think that a one degree anomaly in Greenland means it is one degree above zero.

  6. Robert Christopher permalink
    June 21, 2021 1:16 pm

    Graham Stringer (Lab) has a Chemistry degree and has industrial experience. He was one of those questioning the Green Agenda and was critical if the UEA CRU. He was ‘ the only member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology [ at the time] with scientific qualifications – he holds a PhD in Chemistry.’

    Therese Coffey has a PhD Chemistry.

    Steve Baker is an Engineer, gaining a BEng in Aerospace Engineering at Southampton, an MSc in Computation at Oxford. He became an Engineering Officer in the RAF joined the Royal Air Force as an engineer and became an Engineering Officer.

    While a PhD isn’t required to know about a subject sufficiently, as a BSc or BA is sufficient though not always enough, as I found a list, it is interesting to see the variety of PhDs in the the HoC:
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2204934

    Quite an eye opener! 🙂

    The problem is that, given the MP, or anyone else really, knows his or her stuff, there is the problem of surviving, often alone in a meeting, to tell the tale afterwards, especially when the BBC control the narrative, and we have Boris bringing forward the NET Zero target date after May set a date without having an overall plan!!!

    So many think the Government knows what it is doing. 🙂

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:05 pm

      Peter Lilley (Con) worked very closely with Graham Stringer. Lilley studied Physics at Cambridge before switching to Economics. Not sure if he graduated in Physics, but he does have a science background.

      He is also one of the 5 MPs to vote against the CC Act.

      I recall Lilley & Stringer produced their own report (when Yeo was chairman) criticising the AGW science etc. That was when that well climate expert Dr Caroline Lucas, armed with her PhD in Eng. Lit. and Creative Writing (from U. East Anglia – so ironic!) said they were anti-science or some such in a letter to Ed Miliband trying to get the only two with science training off of the Energy & Climate Committee:

      Green MP Caroline Lucas has written to Labour leader Ed Miliband to protest that one of his MPs, Graham Stringer, has been telling the truth about climate change.

      The letter, an apparent attempt to get Stringer sacked from his position on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, begins:

      ….I’m writing with regard to yesterday’s report from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on climate science and the 5th assessment report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
      I’m sure that we will both welcome the Committee’s unambiguous endorsement of the integrity of the science and the compelling case for urgent action to cut carbon emissions and secure a global climate deal.

      However, in light of your criticism of the Prime Minister for having climate deniers in his Cabinet, and your comments about the harm caused to our country by delay and dither on climate change, it was especially disappointing to see Graham Stringer, a senior Labour MP, join forces with Conservative MP Peter Lilley in an attempt to undermine the findings.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        June 21, 2021 4:29 pm

        At the time, there didn’t seem any rhyme nor reason why those forces were so impervious to reason.
        I remember seeing a post that if the poster had done what what the Hockey Team had done, his Physics teacher would have been ashamed of him/her. Yes, I thought, so would have mine, if I had done the same.

        When I re-read Booker’s Climategate article, recently included in an article here, I couldn’t believe how it fitted in with the current Global Plan.

        At least it is now in the public domain.

  7. MikeHig permalink
    June 21, 2021 1:24 pm

    Paul, In the first example the context shows that he clearly meant the North pole so this could be a transcription error. However his comments about stopping the Gulf Stream are nonsensical, as we know.
    Wrt to melting the Greenland ice sheet, there was a post a while back (WUWT, I think) by a professor from MIT. He calculated that, if you were able to magically direct enough heat to Greenland from the rest of the world, melting all that ice would drop global temps by about 6 degC!!

    • dave permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:30 pm

      “…stopping the Gulf Stream…”

      He might have had a confused memory of something about the Beaufort Gyre and its idiosyncratic ways.

      Right now the Arctic is overdue a ‘flush-out’ of the fresh water which runs into it all the time. Might have some small effect on the Gulf Stream ‘oop North’ but not where it starts.

      ‘…transcription error…’

      People always have a chance to correct ‘Hansard’ before the final version is bound.

  8. June 21, 2021 1:24 pm

    Veracity never was or will be a priority for climate alarmists. Headlines are what count, the more miserable the better, knowing most of the media will play along.

  9. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    June 21, 2021 1:38 pm

    I’m aware it’s not failsafe but I wanted to read more. So I looked this chap up.
    From leading the cull of the nation’s cattle and the huge fires of burning bodies, he moved on to be an adviser at the Swiss investment bank UBS, 2008-2013. After this I’ve read be became Special Representative for Climate Change.
    Surely if he was a competent scientist he’d be saying there is no such thing. So is he a schemer ?

    Talking of schemes the Tressel Trust are helping with internet connection for low income families.
    A mother speaking on the radio said how useful this scheme was for her school aged daughter, she can now look up climate change.
    Like the cattle – none will be allowed to get away.

  10. dennisambler permalink
    June 21, 2021 2:02 pm

    Click to access not-the-foot-and-mouth.pdf


    Ferguson’s Foot and Mouth modelling led to the slaughter of some 8 million cattle, with the MAFF-ia going around the countryside trigger happy. The official version was 6 million and David King claimed it as a success. The countryside was closed, livelihoods were destroyed, there were many suicides. How can one man be responsible for so much grief over so many years and still be in position?

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:14 pm

      Livilihood destroyed.
      Increase in sucides.
      This man has been hand picked.
      What ever happened to tackling poverty ?

  11. 186no permalink
    June 21, 2021 2:06 pm

    How long will it be before we have the equivalent of the Scopes trial where a PC Woke leaning local Authority ( oxymoronic I know) is sacked for teaching proper science to schoolchildren – the warning signs are flashing already with the restrictions on free speech as we all have seen recently

    • 186no permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:07 pm

      apologies – “sacks a teacher for ….”

  12. June 21, 2021 2:08 pm

    2pm R4 drama is promoted by UEA
    “conservation taking place in the face of rapid environmental change
    in the wetlands of Norfolk, and everywhere.”

  13. fretslider permalink
    June 21, 2021 2:49 pm

    Today [21/06/2021] is not what you might call an example of the ‘hotter drier summers’ King et al have predicted:

    20 March, 2004
    Delivering the 16th Millennium Lecture organised by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and sponsored by The Hindu Media Resource Centre for Ecotechnology and Sustainable Development in Chennai, Sir David [King] presented a graphic account of the emission of greenhouse gases and the consequent global warming

    Hotter and drier summers, reduced soil moisture…

    https://countercurrents.org/en-venk200304.htm

    It’s a crisis alright, we haven’t put the woollies away or the coats, yet.

    I propose a new 0 to 10 scale of ‘wrongness’ to be measured in units known as Fergusons (or Fergs for short)

    The odious KIng must rank at 10 Fergs – completely, totally and utterly wrong.

  14. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 21, 2021 10:21 pm

    Why does he do it?

  15. tom0mason permalink
    June 22, 2021 7:00 am

    Chair: “So Professor given all we know or don’t know about climate change, what is your honest and considered opinion on where the climate is going in say the next 100 years?”

    Professor King: “There is a high chance the planet is going to boil and we all are going to die. DIE I SAY! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE — Aaaaagggghhhh!!”

    Chair: “Well thank-you Professor, your points have been noted. That’s all.
    Moving on, is Professor Wadhams or Mr Ferguson here yet … “

  16. cookers52 permalink
    June 22, 2021 11:06 am

    You can watch parliamentary committees live as they occur, also full transcripts are published.

    I have watched a few of the science and technology committee on covid vaccines and related stuff. With covid epidemiology and pharmacology the experts really are experts, and the disappointing thing is they can only offer speculation and uncertainty.

    I have asked questions of the committee chair and always received a reply.

    It is politicians who turn the scientific uncertainty into policy, and Boris often looks like King Canute minus the self awareness.

  17. Ulric Lyons permalink
    June 22, 2021 12:05 pm

    Greenland has gained a lot of ice since the Holocene sea level high stand of 6000 years ago:

    And it has minor melt periods during centennial solar minima when the AMO is warmer:

  18. cookers52 permalink
    June 22, 2021 12:17 pm

    One covid thing examined by the science and technology committee was why according to MHRA safty monitoring 71 otherwise healthy UK people have been killed so far by the roll out of the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, also 400 people had a life threatening and life changing condition caused by the AZ vaccine.

    The discussion was honest, there was no dispute about the harm, also said the Americans and others were unlikely ever to approve and use this vaccine because safer no harm and more effective vaccines were readily available.

    UK Government policy drove this rollout just to keep to Boris’s roadmap.

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