It was a summit of sorts, but certainly not a meeting of minds: at 10am on 19 November, six of Britain's most eminent climate change scientists entered a wood-panelled committee room in the House of Lords to face the country's most prominent climate change sceptic, Lord Lawson.
The scientists had originally understood the meeting to be a private briefing for the former chancellor, following a spat between the peer and Professor Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel prize-winning biologist and president of the UK's elite science academy, the Royal Society.
Over the past year, Nurse has accused Lawson of cherrypicking global temperature data to claim that climate change has stopped over the last 15 years. The peer called the charge "a lie".During the meeting the so called 'pause' or 'hiatus' in global warming was discussed.
Nurse then offered to put Lawson in touch with "distinguished" scientists who could provide the "highest quality" climate science and the meeting was arranged.
Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, of Imperial College London, said: "There was not any major disagreement on the science we presented, which is an interesting thing."(The Guardian is quick to remark that Lindzen is outside the 97% consensus of climate scientists).
In particular, Hoskins debunked the so-called warming "pause", describing how excess heat has continued to be trapped by greenhouse gases for the past 15 years, showing that global warming is continuing.
He said air temperature alone is a very limited view of climate change, given that 93% of all trapped heat enters the oceans.
"I can't remember any challenge of that in the meeting," he said.
Hoskins, like his five colleagues, is a fellow of the Royal Society, the highest honour conferred on scientists in the UK, and all are active in climate change research.
The GWPF's 10 representatives included only one climate scientist –Professor Richard Lindzen, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology – who Lawson describes as "arguably the world's most eminent climate scientist".
Three aspects are remarkable. First, the offer to 'educate' Lawson by some distinguished scientists. Second, the 'debunking' of the 'pause' through the explanation of heat being trapped in the oceans. As far as I am aware there is no accepted explanation for the 'pause' at the moment, not in the latest IPCC report (which is normally quoted as the 'highest quality' science), and not in climate science generally (see Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita's recent posts here on Klimazwiebel). Third, Brian Hoskins seems to claim that this explanation had been accepted by the skeptics present at the meeting.
All three aspects are part of one big problem which seems to attract a lot of energy and interest, not only within climate science. It would be good to have more transparency on the matter, rather than selected media bites which are spun in specific ways.