Bob Ward

© Grantham Institute

Please note, this page has been archived since 2011 and will not be updated. 

Bob Ward is Policy and Communications Director of the Grantham Research Institute and in this position has been widely quoted in the media on the subjects of climate change and climate scepticism. Ward has been highly active in promoting the views of the majority of scientists that humans are responsible for global warming, and in challenging what he sees as poor-quality media reporting of the subject.

Ward joined Grantham from Risk Management Solutions, which offers "expertise for the quantification and management of catastrophe risk". Previously, he was head of communications for the Royal Society for eight years. Ward is also a freelance science journalist, a member of the executive committees of the Association of British Science Writers and the World Conference of Science Journalists. He sits on the board of the Science Media Centre.

Ward studied geology to degree level and has an unfinished PhD on palaeopiezometry, the study of the structure of rocks. Ward has considerable access to some of Britain's leading scientists, not least Grantham Institute chairman Lord Stern.

He has called for a better communications strategy for the climate science community - following the "Climategate" saga in which emails of climate scientists from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were hacked and published he called for institutions to "take the heat", consider resignations and to engage with critics. Writing in New Scientist in June 2010, he argued: "Climate science is facing reputational meltdown similar to the Roman Catholic church's over allegations of child abuse and the British parliament's following the scandal over MPs' expenses."

He supplied evidence to the Times newspaper about the links between ExxonMobil funded thinkthanks and attacks on CRU scientists which supported a front page story titled "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate skeptics." Ward has also called for scientific institutions including the Royal Society to "open up their internal debate to the public, and clarify whether the criticisms made by the 'sceptics' have any validity."

While working for the Royal Society, Ward wrote to ExxonMobil calling for the company to stop funding climate sceptic organizations and to accept the science behind global warming. His letter, later published in the Guardian, stated: "At our meeting in July [2006] … you indicated that ExxonMobil would not be providing any further funding to these organizations. I would be grateful if you could let me know when ExxonMobil plans to carry out this pledge." The company cut funding to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and some sceptic thinktanks, although Greenpeace later established it continued to fund others.

Ward was central to organizing the response to the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, directed by Martin Durkin and broadcast by Channel Four. A total of 37 academics and experts signed an open letter to Durkin stating: "The programme misrepresented both the scientific evidence and the interpretations of researchers that have been documented in the scientific literature."

Ward has also complained to the Press Complaints Commission about print articles that he has said breach the PCC's code in terms of accuracy. He complained to the PCC about an article written by Christopher Booker published in March 2009 titled: "Rise of sea levels is 'the greatest lie ever told." The PCC found the article was based on evidence from 2001 of sea levels in Tuvalu, which had been superseded by evidence of rising tides. It ruled that the Sunday Telegraph had taken sufficient remedial action after it agreed to publish a letter.