Monday, 8 March 2010

Energy consultant 'influenced climate evidence'

Ben Webster

A leading scientific institute allowed its evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into climate science to be influenced anonymously by an energy industry consultant who argues that global warming is a religion.
It emerged last night that the Institute of Physics’ (IOP) written submission to the Select Committee on Science and Technology had been influenced by Peter Gill, an IOP official who is head of a company in Surrey called Crestport Services. Crestport provides “consultancy and management support services” to energy companies and has worked with Shell and British Gas.
In an article in the newsletter of the IOP south central branch in April 2008, Mr Gill wrote: “If you do not ‘believe’ in anthropogenic climate change, you risk at best ridicule, but more likely vitriolic comments or even character assassination. For many people the subject has become a religion, so facts and analysis have become largely irrelevant.”
In November, Mr Gill commented on The Times Higher Education website: “Poor old CRU [the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia] have been seriously hacked. The emails and other files are all over the internet and include how to hide atmospheric cooling.”

The Institute initially refused to name any of the members who had contributed to the submission and said only that they had given an honest and independent assessment.
After being asked by The Times if Mr Gill had contributed to the submission, the institute admitted that he had but said he was one of several contributors.
The Institute has published a clarification to its submission in which it says that it does not doubt the basic science that human activities are causing global warming.
Some members of the Institute are understood to be considering resigning in protest over its submission.