Monday, February 13th 2012, 8:35 AM EST
I am reproducing this letter with the permission of Professor Brice Bosnich, a retired chemist and a fellow of the Royal Society. He sent it to Paul Nurse on his election as president of the society in 2010. Nurse did not reply.
Dear Professor Nurse
I am a retired professor of chemistry in The University of Chicago. I also am a Fellow of the Royal Society. First, allow me to congratulate you on becoming president of the Society. You are about to live in interesting times, I am sure.
Whereas I am reluctant to intrude on your time, I feel compelled to draw your attention to a very serious matter related to the Royal Society's position on man-made global warming (AGW). Beginning with the presidency of Bob May and continuing during the tenure of Martin Rees the Society has put forward a scientific case for (catastrophic) AGW, has joined with other academies in urging governments to take drastic action to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and, on occasions, has behaved as if it were a propaganda arm for the alarmist cause, . No one objects to individual Fellows having any view they wish on this matter, political or scientific, but I believe the Society should exercise great care in its public pronouncements. It should, I believe, resist taking overtly political or advocacy positions. Cautious, balanced and informed scientific arguments should be presented, the political implications of which should be left to the politicians.
If one goes to the Royal Society Web site one finds an especially poor, in places inaccurate, case made for catastrophic AGW, . There is also a highly speculative report on ocean acidification by CO2, , which seems to be based on a single paper, , that purports to calculate the change in ocean pH from 1750 to present! A change of 0.1 pH change was calculated! On this basis the report goes on to describe all imaginable catastrophes. At about the same time the Society's web page highlighted a paper about AGW and the shrinking sheep of St Kilda ! Then there was Bob May presenting an AGW lecture with the comprehensively discredited, , “hockey stick” graph as backdrop. I could go on.