date: Wed Sep 4 13:56:06 2002
from: Mike Hulme <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: BP Cambridge Programme
to: Bill Adams <wa12atXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Thanks Bill for these thoughts. I think my approach will fit fine into this broad
philosophy. I am sending Jemma at CPI later today I hope a powerpoint presentation which
summarises my case. You might wish to glance at this to make sure that you are comfortable
with it. I'm planning on turning up at BAS sometime before 2pm on the Tuesday (17th)
afternoon and will need to get back to Norwich late that evening.
Look forward to meeting up again,
At 17:45 27/08/02 +0100, you wrote:
Dear Chris and Mike,
I am delighted that you are both going to speak to the BP delegates when we
are at BAS in September. I know that Stuart has talked to both of you about
the session, but I thought it might be useful if I jotted down a few things
to help orientate you both.
As I see it, the challenge is to get the delegates to think about climate
change is a constructive way, so that they appreciate some of the
complexities and uncertainties, but WITHOUT jumping to the conclusion that
the IPCC is just a bunch of scientists with an axe to grind�.
It is therefore vital to keep discussion within the framework that there is
broad scientific consensus on the existence of anthropogenic influences on
This is where BP is corporately (and their stance is in marked contrast to
that of some of their rivals, notably EXXON). However, not all the BP
delegates will have fully thought this through personally, and most may well
not be well-informed.
Interestingly, we avoided climate change for a long time because the BP
people working with us on the programmes said it was old hat for senior BP
staff. Our experience from the debate at BAS in March showed that this is
not now true, if it ever was. In particular it may be that the AMOCO merger
brought in a number of senior staff who are only now moving from a more
EXXON-like position. If I am candid, my aim for the session is to help
secure and encourage this move, while at the same time helping them
understand something of the complexity of climate variability (i.e.
education not conversion!).
The problem here is that the delegates are a pretty bright bunch, who are
used to pushing through uncertainty to identify the core of arguments.
This is great, but it makes for a world seen in black and white. It can be
hard to get grey tones across.
Somehow we have to leave the thinking OK, climate change is extremely
complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it,
and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention�.
Or something like that!
I hope this is helpful. Please get in touch if you would like further