The Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Professor Dame Julia Slingo, is appealing for an end to personal attacks on scientists – no matter what their viewpoint on the climate debate.
Her call follows recent articles in the media claiming that some scientists have felt pressured due to their views.
Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading, featured in the articles after saying he was worried by a wider trend that science is being ‘gradually influenced by political views’. You can read a statement from him and other climate scientists in response to the articles on the Science Media Centre’s website.
In a letter, published in The Times today, Professor Dame Slingo says scientists should be free to review and debate their research without fear of personal attacks.
You can read the full letter below:
Your articles on the recent events surrounding Prof. Lennart Bengtsson are not a true reflection of the way the climate community conducts its research. My position, and my passion, is that all scientists – no matter what their viewpoint – must be free to review and debate their research unfettered and without personal attacks.
Science is about seeking the truth and acknowledging the uncertainties in what we currently know; it cannot be about subjective, unscientific beliefs and personal attacks of the kind that some of us have had to endure.
Just as we are very clear that climate models do not give us a definitive answer about the possible magnitude of future warming, neither do the estimates from observations as some in the climate sceptic community would claim.
I welcome scientific debate with those whose research challenges my understanding of climate change and scientists have a well established and robust peer review process for doing this. This process is there for good reason because it ensures the debate is rigorous but never personal.
Professor Dame Julia Slingo