Most everybody else seemed content to sit around.
When the group reconvened after breakfast, they immediately became stuck on a sentence in their prefatory paragraph declaring that climatic changes were “likely to occur.”
“Will occur,” proposed Laurmann, the Stanford engineer.
“What about the words: highly likely to occur?” Scoville asked.
“Almost sure,” said David Rose, the nuclear engineer from M.I.T.
“Almost surely,” another said.
“Changes of an undetermined — ”
“Changes as yet of a little-understood nature?”
“Highly or extremely likely to occur,” Pomerance said.
“Almost surely to occur?”
“No,” Pomerance said.
“I would like to make one statement,” said Annemarie Crocetti, a public-health scholar who sat on the National Commission on Air Quality and had barely spoken all week. “I have noticed that very often when we as scientists are cautious in our statements, everybody else misses the point, because they don’t understand our qualifications.”
These two dozen experts, who agreed on the major points and had made a commitment to Congress, could not draft a single paragraph. Hours passed in a hell of fruitless negotiation, self-defeating proposals and impulsive speechifying. Pomerance and Scoville pushed to include a statement calling for the United States to “sharply accelerate international dialogue,” but they were sunk by objections and caveats.
They never got to policy proposals. They never got to the second paragraph. The final statement was signed by only the moderator, who phrased it more weakly than the declaration calling for the workshop in the first place.