Professor Geoffrey Boulton is an eminent and respected Scottish geological scientist and academic. He is general secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has argued eloquently that climate change is man-made and, indeed, has recently written in the pages of The Scotsman putting this case.
Neither his knowledge nor his passion for the views he champions are in doubt. But is he an impartial choice to sit on a panel investigating allegations at the University of East Anglia of covered-up data that called into question findings about global warming?
Professor Boulton was one of five people chosen by former University of Glasgow principal Sir Muir Russell to carry out this inquiry. The inquiry members are supposed to have no “prejudicial interest” or “predetermined view” on climate change.
But Professor Boulton very much has a “predetermined view”, which Sir Muir could have read in The Scotsman. In an article published last October, the professor wrote that “denial is equivalent to saying, ‘I don’t know anything about science, so given the choice of trusting 99.9 per cent or 0.1 per cent of the experts, I’ll go with the 0.1 per cent'”.
And he, for 18 years, worked at the University of East Anglia – the very university at the centre of the inquiry.
There is surely a case here to answer, particularly since this hearing is to be held in private. Sir Muir may well have prejudiced the outcome before the inquiry has even started.