I happened upon an announcement for the London Climate Change Conference 2016, which is to be held at University College London (UCL). The announcement not only contains a temperature graph that appears to have been drawn by hand, but those involved are the creme-de-la-creme of the climate science denial movement. Keynotes from Christopher Monckton whose Clerk – James Rowlatt – once started responding to comments on his behalf. Chris will be talking about the ever popular Genocidal climate science. There’s Oliver Manuel, who seems to think the Sun is predominantly iron. There’s Peter Ward, who thinks that warming is entirely due to the depletion of ozone. Although not a keynote speaker, there will also be Piers Corbyn who will talk about something.
Personally, I feel a little sorry for UCL. It’s not difficult to organise a meeting at a university. You don’t normally need permission; you just need to find a room that is free and check that you can actually book it. I would be surprised if anyone senior was aware that this was actually going on and I imagine that many are rather disappointed to see such a meeting taking place on their campus. People might argue that we should allow the expression of alternative viewpoints and that free speech means accepting that people are allowed to promote views that many regard as ridiculous. This is all well and good, but this doesn’t mean that a major, international, research university should be expected to allow a pseudo-science meeting on its campus; especially as the organisers are highlighting the location and clearly using this to legitimise their meeting.
I don’t really know what UCL should do about this. Maybe just let it go ahead and hope it gets ignored, as it probably will be. On the other hand, it is utter nonsense and it is very embarassing for a major research university to be associated with such tripe. Of course there will be some kind of outcry if they did cancel it, but I think it’s well past time to make clear that these “anything but CO2” ideas are utter nonsense. It might also be interesting to see who protests. What they may want to look into is the supposed credentials of the host co-ordinator, who is claiming to be Professor in Astronomy, University College, London. From what I can tell, he is actually a Visiting Research Fellow at UCL Observatory. So, it’s possible that someone who is not formally a staff member has managed to organise a pseudo-science meeting at UCL, and is also claiming to be an Astronomy Professor, when they’re actually a Visiting Researcher.
On the other hand, if it does go ahead, maybe I’ll see if I can make it down to London. It might be good for a laugh and Mark Brandon says there’s a good pub across the road.
Edit: Corrected who’s to whose. See WMC’s comment 🙂
Update (24/7/16): According to this, the meeting will no longer take place at UCL.