Australian Scientists Call For Apology Over Business Leader's "Slur" of Climate Science Profession

Thu, 2013-10-31 18:28Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Australian Scientists Call For Apology Over Business Leader's "Slur" of Climate Science Profession

A LEADING association for climate scientists has called on one of Australia's highest profile business leaders to apologise for accusing their profession of lacking integrity.

David Murray, former head of Australia's Commonwealth Bank and the Future Fund, told the ABC Lateline television news programme earlier this week that “there's been a breakdown in integrity” in the science of climate change.

The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society has issued a statement saying it was “disturbed” by the remarks of Murray, who was in charge of $75 billion of government assets during the final year of his six years as the chairman of the Future Fund.

Mr Murray said he believed “the climate problem is severely overstated” which led interviewer Emma Alberici to point out the strong findings of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In an open letter, AMOS president Blair Trewin writes:

The Society regards the remarks of Mr. Murray as being a serious slur on the integrity of the many Australian and international authors of the IPCC report, and views them as highly offensive to those authors and to the profession at large. The Society calls upon Mr. Murray to withdraw the remarks.

During the segment, Mr Murray was asked what it would take to “convince him” over the science of climate change. Murray responded:

When I see some evidence of integrity amongst the scientists themselves. I often look at systems and behaviours as a way of judging something, and in this case, to watch the accusations that fly between these people suggests there's been a breakdown in integrity in the science.

The letter from AMOS added:

The IPCC reports are an outstanding example of international science co-operation, rigour and transparency. They are subjected to multiple levels of review by experts both inside and outside the climate community, with all review comments and the authors’ responses to them being made publicly available.

In 2011, Murray was reported to have said that there was “no correlation” between carbon dioxide and global warming and that the world's glaciers were not melting. The latest IPCC report found that between 1993 and 2009 about 275 billion tonnes of ice were melting from the world's glaciers every year. Murray is being touted as playing a lead role in a Federal government inquiry into Australia's $5 trillion finance industry.

To read the full transcript of the interview, visit ABC Lateline.  No doubt there'll be more to come on this story.


Climate scientist themselves are asking for a review of the IPCC's methods. See below, an article in “Nature”. Mike Hulme = University of East Anglia.

IPCC: Climate panel is ripe for examination

Published online

Sociologists of science wish to study the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the same reason that they want to examine other loci at which scientific knowledge is made — whether in a laboratory, the field, a museum or at a conference. We too approached the IPCC in autumn 2010 with a request to study it from the inside; we too were told ‘no’ (see Nature 502, 281; 2013).

We therefore had to rely on self-reported accounts. Using document analysis and interviews with lead authors, we analysed how authors navigate the distinction between scientific description and value judgements, for example when offering information pertaining to the definition of ‘dangerous climate change’. 
The IPCC has become a dominant institution in climate science — in the assessment of knowledge for policy-making, and in how assessment practices alter empirical and computer-simulated climate science. Global knowledge assessments such as those undertaken by the IPCC call for carefully documented systematic studies by trained ethnographers.
Let us hope that the IPCC will recognize itself as a legitimate object for scholarly investigation this time around.

Mike Hulme, Martin Mahony 
King’s College London, UK.

Mike Hulme is this only scientist that you are discussing.    The other guy is an undergrad.  And I think they are interested in simply studying the sociological decisions behind the scenes.  Hardly a concern.

More than likely the IPCC folks have their hands full with, you know, doing work.  As much as anything else, the decision handed from the IPCC could be anything from jurisdiction, to PITA Factor (Pain In The A$$ Factor).  Personally, I do not allow strangers in my home without some sort of pretext that they should indeed be there.  (And my home doesn't handle secret data handled by allied military forces, since as you know, much of the ocean temperature data is military and used to sink submarines.)

Chas, I think you've blown Mike's inquiry out of proportion.


Here's Mike Hulme;


And here's what he says Chas;

(1) Climate change is a relative risk, not an absolute one

(2) Climate risks are serious, and we should seek to minimize them

(3) Our world has huge unmet development needs

(4) Our current energy portfolio is not sustainable

(5) Massive and deliberate geo-engineering of the planet is a dubious practice


Wow… he sounds like Hans Rosling…  You should try Hans' Gap Minder software its very informative.

Mr. Oilman, I think the real point here is that the IPCC is a publicy funded body with basically NO oversight that is pesenting itself as the major authority on AGW able to advise world governments on policy decisions that may involve TRILLIONS of our hard-earned dollars.

Don't “we the people” deserve a little look behind the curtain? If it's not too much trouble that is, we wouldn't want to inconvenience those poor overworked bureaucrats now, would we? Sheesh!

The IPCC is only sumarizing the existing science.  Its not like they do any new work or anything.

If you are concerned about double checking their work, I recommend that you sit down with some scientific journals and read them.  So far you have personally refused to provide any contradictory matererial.  And in looking far and wide I have not found any.  I have met two locals who think climate science is a conspiracy, but that's too far on the fringe for me.  (For instance, I don't hang out at UFO web sites like they do.)

In reading papers from the journals I've been able to keep tabs on what they are saying.  I can see no difference between what the IPCC is presenting and what is published in the journals.

So before we spend more money I think it would be more useful to know what you think the IPCC is missing.  Name a published paper.  Just one. (Seriously Lara.. I do listen, and for you I promise that I will personally look into it.)