Has public scepticism trumped scientific consensus at the Science Museum?
The Science Museum is revising the contents of its new climate science gallery to reflect the wave of scepticism that has engulfed the issue in recent months.
The decision by the 100-year-old London museum reveals how deeply scientific institutions have been shaken by the public’s reaction to revelations of malpractice by climate scientists.
The museum is abandoning its previous practice of trying to persuade visitors of the dangers of global warming. It is instead adopting a neutral position, acknowledging that there are legitimate doubts about the impact of man-made emissions on the climate.
Even the title of the £4 million gallery has been changed to reflect the museum’s more circumspect approach. The museum had intended to call it the Climate Change Gallery, but has decided to change this to Climate Science Gallery to avoid being accused of presuming that emissions would change the temperature.
Last October the museum launched a temporary exhibition called “Prove It! All the evidence you need to believe in climate change”. The museum said at the time that the exhibition had been designed to demonstrate “through scientific evidence that climate change is real and requires an urgent solution”.
Chris Rapley, the museum’s director, told The Times that it was taking a different approach after observing how the climate debate had been affected by leaked e-mails and overstatements of the dangers of global warming. He said: “We have come to realise, given the way this subject has become so polarised over the past three to four months, that we need to be respectful and welcoming of all views on it.”