The "pro-science" pose is of course a lie. What Taverne and Sense About Science are really about is backing corporate interests and attacking their opponents, for their own ideiological reasons.
Sense About Science's director is, in fact, part of the LM network which denies climate change, while Taverne is a closet sceptic on climate change, or as one reviewer of his book carefully puts it "...on climate change, he sails very close to the wind."
For more about Sense About Science
The Ties That Bind - Furedi, Durkin And Sense About Science
Media Lens, March 21 2007
[extracted from: CHANNEL 4'S CLIMATE SWINDLE - THE DISTORTIONS CONTINUE]
In our previous alert, we noted that Durkin was responsible for the 1997 series Against Nature. He has also been involved with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), founded and chaired by Frank Furedi, a professor of sociology at the University of Kent. RCP published a magazine called Living Marxism (LM) to which Durkin claims to have had no connection. However, the connections between Durkin and Furedi, and other RCP personnel, are clear, as George Monbiot has noted:
"The assistant producer of Against Nature, Eve Kaye, was one of the principal coordinators of the RCP/LM. The director, Martin Durkin, describes himself as a Marxist, denies any link with LM, but precisely follows its line in argument. The series starred Frank Furedi, previously known as Frank Richards, LM’s regular columnist and most influential thinker, and John Gillott, LM’s science correspondent, both billed as independent experts. Line by line, point by point, Against Nature followed the agenda laid down by LM..." (Monbiot, 'Living Marxism's interesting allegiances,' Prospect Magazine, November 1998; www.monbiot.com/archives/ 1998/11/01/far-left-or-far-right/)
Fast forward to March 17, when the BBC highlighted comments by two scientists which appeared to support Durkin's thesis that claims of human-induced climate change have been hyped. The BBC website gave the story top billing, reporting that:
"Two leading UK climate researchers say some of their peers are 'overplaying' the global warming message."
The Independent on Sunday explained further:
"The comments of the two meteorologists, Professor Paul Hardaker and Professor Chris Collier, both of the Royal Meteorological Society... threatened to revive the row over the scientific view of global warming after the broadcasting of Channel 4's polemic The Great Global Warming Swindle 10 days ago, which took issue with the view set out in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth." (Lean, 'Climate experts hit back after being accused of overstating the problem,' Independent on Sunday, March 18, 2007; http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/ climate_change/article2368999.ece)
As well as being covered by BBC radio, TV and online, Hardaker and Collier's comments were mentioned in the Observer, Telegraph, Mirror, Sunday Express, Sunday Times, and the Sunday Star.
Hardaker and Collier were speaking at a conference organised by an organisation called Sense About Science (SAS). The director of SAS, Tracey Brown, has worked with Frank Furedi for a number of years. The website GMWatch.org comments that Brown is "of course part of the climate-change denying LM network to which Martin Durkin also intimately connects". ('Another LM network swindle';
The assistant director of SAS, Ellen Raphael, has also studied in Frank Furedi's department at the University of Kent. (www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=151)
A glance at the SAS website reveals that financial contributors include AstraZeneca, BP, Dixons, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Pfizer, Unilever, and so on. (Donors list and funding policy; www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/about/63)
The BBC described Hardaker and Collier as "leading UK climate researchers", but this is not the case. Writing in the Independent on Sunday (IoS), Geoffrey Lean noted of Hardaker:
"He pointed out that he and his colleague were not experts on climate change." (Lean, op. cit)
Lean also reported that confusion surrounded the views of Hardaker and Collier after Hardaker told the IoS "he could not think of a case where a scientist had overstated the position" on climate change.
How convenient that the big-business funded Sense About Science - linked to Furedi and RCP, which are linked to Durkin - produced two scientists appearing to challenge the consensus on climate change.
NOTE; The rabidly pro-GM lobby group Sense About Science - fronted by Dick Taverne - claims to be all about encouraging a rational, evidence-based approach to scientific issues, but what happened in the days following the broadcasting of The Great Global Warming Swindle - see the Media Lens item below - is very revealing.