National Academies’ Statement on Global Warming Unravels

Last month, in advance of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, global warming activists rejoiced upon hearing the news that the national science academies of all the G8 countries (plus China, India and Brazil) had issued a joint statement urging their governments to take immediate action to fight global warming (see here and here for links). Among the dubious assertions in the statement was that, “the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action.” The mainstream media immediately focused on the challenge the statement posed to the anti-Kyoto position of the Bush administration, particularly given that the U.S.’ own National Academy of Sciences were included as a signatory. But wait…not so fast! According to’s Steven Milloy (see July 2nd entry):

Then US-National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Albert (his term just expired on June 30) states in an e-mail: “… we definitely did not approve the Royal Society press release, and I have sent a letter to [British Royal Society President Lord] Bob May expressing my dismay at his misleading and political statements there.”

And it looks like we weren’t the only non-signatory signatory:

The international scientific community was plunged into disarray as news emerged yesterday how Britain’s Royal Society has been orchestrating a political campaign behind the back of the Russian Academy of Science. In a calculated attempt to overthrow the well-known sceptical position of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) on climate change, the Royal Society appears to have pressured its president, Yuri Osipov, into signing a politically motivated document against the expressed stance of its own organisation. The RAS had never seen or discussed the text of the Academies’ statement. After having done so, the RAS climate scientists have come to the conclusion that the statement of the Academies is “lacking scientific proof and having contradictions in logic in its many assertions.” The shenanigans of Lord May and his cronies appears to have backfired: Instead of providing evidence of an international “scientific consensus” on climate change, the public retraction by the Russian Academy of Science from the Royal Society’s unduly political G8 statement has exposed the whole exercise as a complete farce. As a result, the reputation and integrity of the world’s leading scientific academies have been severely damaged.

From RIA Novosti:

Russian academicians are still negative about the Kyoto protocol to the UN convention on climate change, a leading scientist told a Friday news conference. Academician Yury Izrael, who chairs the Russian Academy of Sciences’ council-seminar on the Kyoto protocol, said the council had confirmed its position on climate change remained the same. […] Russian academicians asked [Russian Academy of Sciences President Yury] Osipov to recall his signature. “The document has been passed to the Academy of Sciences’ president,” said Izrael, before adding that Osipov would now have to decide how to resolve the matter. Russian scientists said they still considered the Kyoto protocol was scientifically ungrounded, and would be an ineffective way to try to achieve the aim of the UN convention on climate change. They also said it was harmful for the Russian economy.

So once again we see grandiose global warming proclamations burst like a pin-pricked balloon. Shame on Lord May and the Royal Society for this crass, manipulative deception. And if the media who were so eager to report the original story turn a blind eye to this deception (a likely scenario, pardon my pessimism), then shame on them too.

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.