Fortress Met Office continued

More obstruction from the Met Office, in which they have changed their obstruction strategy. Previously they said that Mitchell had destroyed all of this email correspondence. This prompted David Holland to ask for information on the date of the destruction and on records management policy at the Met Office.

Rather than answer the unanswerable, the Met Office has changed tactics. Now they say that they had made a mistake in reporting that they had held any of Mitchell’s email. Instead they now argue that Mitchell was acting “personally” when he acted as an IPCC Review Editor – sort of like gardening, or being a Methodist on Sunday or playing squash after work, I guess. I wonder if Mitchell booked vacation time for his jaunts to IPCC meetings or whether the Met Office paid his expenses. Would they also buy plants for his garden?

Again, here was the original Met Office reply to Holland’s FOI inquiry:

You asked for all correspondence to or from Dr Mitchell in his capacity as IPCC Review Editor.

Information held by Dr Mitchell in respect of IPCC Review Editor has already been sent to you and he confirms that much of the business was done at the review meetings and as such there was no requirement for him to keep any material from the meetings. Any records and correspondence had already been deleted and the information is not held by the Met Office.

I hope this answers your enquiry. Your further enquiry is now receiving attention and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

To which, Holland replied:

Thank you for your letter of 2 June 2008. I am not satisfied with Dr Mitchell’s response to my FOIA Request, and I am formally advising you of it, and of my intention to follow the appeals process on this matter if we can not reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

Please advise me of the approximate date when Dr Mitchell claims to have deleted his emails and destroyed all his paper records. I would remind you that it was less than a year after the release of the IPCC WGI report when I first contacted Dr Mitchell and I find it surprising that as a busy senior professional, potentially with an ongoing professional relationship with the IPCC and its many participants, he would so soon seek to destroy his working papers. I am also puzzled as to why, as was disclosed in the email documents you sent me, Dr Mitchell felt it necessary to discuss by email how to deal with my request with several other long serving IPCC participants, if at the time he did not have any information to disclose in any case.

The last thing I want to do is to question the integrity of your Chief Scientist and would ask that you use whatever technical resources you have to establish that Dr Mitchell is not simply mistaken in his assertion that he has deleted all his relevant computer records and correspondence. I have in mind that an organisation of your standing and importance will have in place procedures and systems designed to guard against accidental and malicious deletion of computer files that are important to you. I would expect that as part of your due diligence procedures you would archive all deleted emails. Please check with your IT experts if, as I would expect, you have recoverable backups.

Rather than answer when Mitchell deleted the emails, the Met Office replied on June 23 as follows:

Thank you for your emailed letter dated 4 June 2008.

I am very sorry that you are unhappy with Dr Mitchell’s response to your recent enquiry.

I have looked into this matter for you and can confirm the following:

I incorrectly stated that the Met Office held the information you seek and I apologise for this.

Dr Mitchell acted as Reviewer of Chapter V1 of the Working Group 1 report in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Met Office which means that none of the information actually falls within the scope of the Act. Most of the work in the process of the review was conducted at the final two lead author meetings and followed up by unrecorded telephone conversations and personal emails.

The information I sent to you was from Dr Mitchell’s personal records which I was unaware of at the time. There is no requirement under the legislation to search back up data and as stated above, this information is personal to Dr Mitchell.

I have heard from other members of the IPCC Working Group who confirmed they corresponded with Dr Mitchell in a strictly private and confidential capacity, and had the request been in scope, exemption S41 would have been considered.

I am sorry for any inconvenience to you. The information you received from Dr Palutikof in respect of Working Group II was held by the Met Office and is covered by the FOI Act.

I hope this answers your enquiry.

Marion Archer

So the main IPCC strategy seems to be that their scientists were acting “personally”, implemented here by the Met Office. We’ll see where this tangled web leads.

111 Comments

  1. stan
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    But what is Mitchell’s excuse for not following the explicit requirements of the IPCC to keep all his papers, etc.?

    Clearly, the govt is running interference for him, but whether his work was personal or within the scope of his employment, he is obligated to keep the records.

    And what do the cheerleaders at realclimate have to say about the blatant violations of IPCC requirements? If the IPCC scientists don’t pay any attention to IPCC pronouncements, why should we?

  2. Dr Slop
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    So the next FOI request is for the decision to treat this work as personal. Such a decision must have been made and recorded, to justify the non-retention of emails, etc. Also, if it was really in a personal capacity that Mitchell acted, he was presumably on unpaid leave when he did it.

    Perhaps the end game will be that all IPCC contributors were acting in a personal capacity and so are not subject to the professional codes of conduct of their learned societies.

  3. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    OOOHHHH! So has Dr.Mitchell complained about invasion of privacy by the Met Office yet?
    I got lucky once. I asked for the report of the computer problem. It never got answered, but I got some papers. Looks like we are into a merry go round here.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    If you’re using government facilities in the US, the employee appears to waive any expectation of privacy. For example, this example:

    Executive Branch employees do not have a right, nor should they have an expectation, of privacy while using any Government office equipment at any time, including accessing the Internet, using E-mail. To the extent that employees wish that their private activities remain private, they should avoid using an Agency or department’s office equipment such as their computer, the Internet, or Email. By using Government office equipment, executive branch employees imply their consent to disclosing the contents of any files or information maintained or pass-through Government office equipment.

    By using this office equipment, consent to monitoring and recording is implied with or without cause, including (but not limited to) accessing the Internet, using E-mail. Any use of government communications resources is made with the understanding that such use is generally not secure, is not private, and is not anonymous.

    This policy would not per se apply to Mitchell but it would be surprising if there wasn’t something similar.

    They must have some sort of policy in place if only to stop employees from downloading porn.

  5. Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    I would refer to this press release about the Nobel prize award in 2007 from sciencemediacentre.org The Met Office/Hadley centre are intimately involved with the IPCC and are funded by Defra-an arm of the UK Govt to be so. These visits and meetings in connection with Assessments would not have been in an individuals own time-and presumably expense. The Metoffice/Hadley Centre /IPCC/Chief Scientist are indivisible.-

    “John Mitchell, Director of Climate Science at the Met Office, said:

    “The Met Office would like to congratulate the IPCC and Al Gore on this award. The Met Office Hadley Centre is a key contributor of climate science to IPCC, and I would personally like to congratulate those scientists of the Met Office Hadley Centre who have contributed as authors to IPCC Assessment Reports over the years.”

    Dr Peter Stott, Hadley Centre For Climate Prediction at the University of Reading, said:

    “I think it’s wonderful that the collective and collaborative effort of the World’s climate scientists has been recognised in this way and a marvellous feeling to share the honour of this award with the many thousands of colleagues from around the world who have contributed to the IPCC reports.”

    Tony Brown

  6. Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/briefing-2001-07/model-evaluation.ppt#302,1,Evaluation of climate models, Attribution of climate change IPCC Chpts 7,8 and 12. John F B Mitchell Hadley Centre

    Dr Mitchell gave a slide presentation on his work on IPCC Chapters 7 8 and 12 It identifies him as from the Hadley Centre and each Slide has the Met office logo-i.e. it is an official Met Office document.

    Tony Brown

  7. stan
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    5 and 6,

    good finds!

    Do you think Dr. Mitchell’s feelings will be hurt, if I say his credibility appears to have taken a hit? If a man’s word cannot be trusted, does that say anything about the quality of the “science” he reports?

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a record of Mitchell attending a workship on the IPCC report identified as
    Mr. John F.B. MITCHELL
    Hadley Centre for Climate Protection and Research London Road Meteorological Office

    http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/workshops/other_meetings/application/pdf/040402_listpart.pdf

    Doing this “personally”? C’mon. He’s been paid to go and it will be easy to demonstrate. Mitchell’s expense accounts will show it.

    In real life, Mitchell’s probably a decent guy. He should just take a breath and produce the stuff. His present course of action is simply going to cause him no end of aggravation for no gain.

    They cannot win either legally or in the court of public opinion.

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    #7. That’s what I don’t understand about this obstruction. They lose credibility on irrelevant issues. They should simply produce the documents and get it behind them.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    #5. What’s the date? Do you have a link that saves searching?

  11. James Erlandson
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Re 10 Steve:
    Leading scientists react to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC

  12. Terry
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    Are there any press releases or even web pages detailing that the met office participated in the IPCC review process? If there are then it indicates that Dr Mitchell was acting on behalf of the met office when he participated and therefore his correspondence is subject to FOI. If a single stamp or bus fare was paid for by the met office then he was acting as an agent for the met office.

    I think the next request should be for his expense claims for dates that he attended IPCC meetings.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    Here’s Mitchell presumably on a vacation at UNFCCC, where he is identified as a Hadley Center employee.

  14. dearieme
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    Remember Paxman’s question: “Why are these lying liars lying to me?”

  15. A Chancer
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t there something in the Acts about not being able to contract out for confidentiality purposes? I just got a Notice of a neighbours Planning Application. The Council say they have to publish everything under FOI, so if I reply, I am told to leave out any details I would want to keep confidential, like ex-directory phone numbers.

  16. David Holland
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    For what its worth I do not think anyone other than Steve and a few other critics did any IPCC work at their own expense. I have not had an expenses paid trip to Paris in years (though I would have to own up to a few long ago). But I can be wrong and will apologise in advance to any one I offend. If this is the most serious problem we have in the world it should be the most open and transparent. Sooner or later Jo Public is going to to figure this out. Kim/Tony B look at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3194#comment-265164.

  17. Kevin B
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    “The Met Office dog ate our homework”

    “Oops. Sorry. What I meant to say was that Dr Mitchell’s dog ate his homework.”

  18. Severian
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    The thing to do is now to request, via FOI, all of his official travel records and expense reports. If the Met Office is half as anal as every government office and contractor I’ve worked for in the US, they require detailed travel records and expense reports in intricate detail.

    Good luck getting them though, they will mysteriously be either “deleted” or “not applicable to FOI” or some other obstruction/obfuscation. This goes beyond reprehensible.

  19. ared
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    #13:

    Notice mr Mitchell’s e-mail address under “Contact”

    Now that’s obviously someone working on a personal title there…

  20. anonymous
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    How many of the important IPCC reviewers were acting in PRIVATE capacity, rather that PROFESSONAL ?

  21. Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    David Holland#16

    Yes that is me.

    Tony B

  22. Nick
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    Steve, trawling around the net, I found this link, entitled “Model Information of Potential Use to the IPCC Lead Authors and the AR4.”
    UKMO-HadCM3, 28 July 2006
    The rest of the site seems “forbidden” and I must say that most of the page is beyond me! Is it of any use?

  23. Nick
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Sorry! Once again, I’m having problems with posting links. Try here

  24. snrjon
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think you’ve nailed him yet. The reply said he was acting as a reviewer in a personal capacity, this will be separated by the MetoOffice jobsworths from his official IPCC capacity…

    Recently british pols are being hammered on their expenses, and this is probably the best way to go. Find out when the reviewer meetings were and demand to see if the good doctor made expense claims for them.

  25. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #18 – “The Met Office dog ate our homework”.
    That one can also be “The computer mouse ate my homework”. On the way home from work today I was following a septic truck which had an expression on the back which fits the replies Steve and David are getting: **Warning, may contain political material**.
    I had my camera and got a picture.

  26. Nick
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    Hmm, this link clearly shows Mitchell as a contributor to the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report, in his Met Office role
    Coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and contributing authors are listed alphabetically by surname:
    “MITCHELL, John
    Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office; UK”

  27. Ian Castles
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    The argument that ‘Dr Mitchell acted as Reviewer of Chapter V1 of the Working Group 1 report in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Met Office’ is patently absurd, and the Met Office demeans itself by advancing it. The list of CONTRIBUTORS to which Nick provides a link (#27) is reproduced from Appendix II of the WGI report – Mitchell’s affiliatiion with the Hadley Centre is reported in that list – and is not directly relevant to the Met Office’s argument. Dr Mitchell is however also listed among the REVIEWERS of the WGI report in Appendix III to that report, and his affiliation is again recorded as ‘Hadley Centre for Climate Predictiion and Research.’

    If a Member of the House of Commons were to ask a question upon notice relating to Dr. Mitchell’s activities as a Review Editor, would the Met Office dare to claim that he was acting in a personal capacity and that the Office was therefore not accountable to the Parliament for this aspect of Mitchell’s work?

  28. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    wonder if used his office for “personal” work or did he do his IPCC work from home.

    this could get fun.

  29. Max
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    Would his schedule and travel expenses be covered under FOI..? I guess the idea is to mine away at what the Met office paid for ,when and where..

  30. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    It turns out that Mitchell is on the Board of Directors of the Met Office. I’ve looked through some recent Met Office Annual Reports and Press Releases. Rebutting Mitchell’s absurd claim that he did IPCC on a personal basis is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Here’s a press release from the Met Office in Feb 2007 at the time of the AR4 WG1 release, which claimed that the Met Office was “the single most influential scientific contributor” to AR4. They asked journalists to contact the Met Office to arrange discussions with their “renowned” scientists who had been “lead contributors”. And Mitchell says that he did this “personally”. Yeah, sure.

    News release

    2 February 2007
    The climate change trial – new indisputable evidence!

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been the world’s authoritative voice on climate change since it was established in 1988. Today the IPCC has published the first part of its long-awaited Fourth Assessment Report which draws together all the major climate research from around the world and provides new and indisputable evidence on climate change.

    As the UK’s foremost climate research centre, the Met Office’s Hadley Centre is the single most influential scientific contributor to the world-class science in this report.

    Internationally renowned Met Office climate scientists who have been lead contributors to the report will be available for interview in Paris, London, Reading and Exeter. Please contact the Met Office press office to arrange a time and location for this.

  31. James Lane
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    M: Aha. If I didn’t pay, why are you arguing? I Got you!
    A: No you haven’t.
    M: Yes I have. If you’re arguing, I must have paid.
    A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.

    (Monty Python – “Argument sketch”)

  32. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    HEre’s another press release on Apr 6, 2007, stating that the “Met Office has played a key role in the IPCC process” and that they were a “lead contributor to the scientific effort for Working Group I”.

    News release

    6 April 2007
    IPCC – Working Group II Reports

    Scientists meeting in Brussels this week, as members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have today (Friday 6 April 2007) presented their Summary for Policymakers to government representatives from around the world.

    As a leading climate research centre, the Met Office has played a key role in the IPCC process.

    The UK’s national weather service was a lead contributor to the scientific effort for Working Group I, which reported in February 2007.

    For Working Group II, as well as providing further scientific evidence on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, the Met Office has hosted the IPCC’s Technical Support Unit. This unit pulls together the global research effort that goes into the report and ensures that deadlines are met in delivering the report to the IPCC.

    I wonder if all these Met OFfice employees, like Mitchell, did this “personally”. If that’s the case, then Met Office employees are going to have pay back one hell of a lot of money for charging personal expenses to the taxpayer. There are a few business executives in jail for charging personal expenses to their companies. Conrad Black undoubtedly did so on a more lavish scale than Met Office climate scientist Mitchell, but the principle isn’t any different.

  33. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Next question: Who else was doing work for IPCC on their “personal time?”

  34. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    From page 30 of the Met Office 2006-2007 Annual Report , the following statement:

    Note the specific mention of review editors in WG1 – does anyone spring to mind?

    Scientists at the Met Office played a prominent role in producing the Working Group 1 report, providing lead authors and review editors and represented the IPCC in Paris prior to the launch of the report to finalize wording.

    I like that they “represented the IPCC in Paris prior to the launch of the report”. I guess that would be Mitchell. I’ll bet that he didn’t sleep under a bridge.

  35. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    Hutchinson. Met Office president says in the 2006-07 Annual Report here that Met Office scientists made a “significant input” to IPCC.

    Our scientists share their expertise in international fora because tackling climate change requires a global effort, and they made a significant input to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in Spring 2007 highlighted the worldwide consensus that warming of the planet is now unequivocal and indisputable. In 2006, our scientists also made a significant contribution to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change which costed taking action now against the greater economic and environmental burden of inaction.

    This was listed as one of the key accomplishments of the organization. The Met Office President didn’t mention anything about Met Office employee success in club golf tournaments, pub darts competitions or beer chugging contests in Malaga on vacation.

    BTW Robert Napier Chairman of the Met office says:

    I became particularly familiar with the Met Office through my work as Chief Executive of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  36. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    The UK Civil Service Code of Conduct (Which applies to Mitchell) directs employees not to

    misuse your official position, for example by using information acquired in the course of your official duties to further your private interests or those of others;

    If the IPCC is merely a “private interest” for Mitchell, then he has been clearly misusing his official position, seemingly for years. These people don’t seem to have spent any time thinking about the implications.

  37. theduke
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    Would the Daily Telegraph be interested in this? The responses to David Holland’s requests were dismissive and arrogant. If the same requests were made by people who purchase ink by the barrel, it’s doubtful they would have been so imperious.

  38. NorCalSci
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    So either the review editors and Working Group members:

    A) Worked in a personal capacity and not a scientific capacity to generate AR4, making AR4 more a “collection of personal thoughts, hopes, and dreams”, or

    B) “Misused their official positions, for example by using information acquired in the course of (their) official duties to further (their)private interests or those of others”

    Interesting position they have chosen.

  39. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    Policies at a US institution:

    SLAC employees and users do not have a right to nor should they have an expectation of privacy while using Government resources at any time, including when they are accessing the Internet or using e-mail.
    Employees or users who wish their personal activities to be private should not conduct such activities using Government resources.
    Employees or users who use Government resources implicitly consent to review and disclosure of their Internet, e-mail, or other information technology uses when deemed appropriate by DOE or SLAC or as mandated by law.
    The content of any files or information maintained in or on Government equipment or transmitted using Government equipment may be disclosed in response to a valid, authorized subpoena, warrant, court order, Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) request, or direction (e.g., employee’s supervisor, Inspector General investigator, etc.).
    Using Government resources, including Internet access and e-mail, implies consent to monitoring with or without cause. Any use of Government resources is with the understanding that such use is generally not secure, private, or anonymous (18 U.S.C. 2511).

  40. jeez
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    This is a simple misunderstanding brought about by a typo. Mitchell and the Met were referring to this in the context of personal time:

    http://www.interculturalperformancecontact.ca/

  41. MrPete
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

    What energy company’s emails were important in exposing dastardly deeds?

    Yes, Enron. Inspiration for some amazing tools. And there are many more to be found.

    Has the Met met its match?

    Who will be the inside whistleblowers this time?

    (H/T on the tool to Mark in Silicon Valley)

  42. MJW
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    I think Steve’s quote in comment #34 pretty much cinches it:

    Scientists at the Met Office played a prominent role in producing the Working Group 1 report, providing lead authors and review editors and represented the IPCC in Paris prior to the launch of the report to finalize wording.

    I emphasized “at” because this seems to be an outright acknowledgment that the “lead authors and review editors” were acting in their capacity as Met Office employees.

    I found a couple of other similar quotes. First, from the Met Office’s pat on their own back, A Year to Remember:

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. As the UK’s foremost climate research centre, the Met Office Hadley Centre was the single most influential scientific contributor to the Working Group I report – The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change; a significant contributor to the Working Group II report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and our scientists were lead authors on the summary report published in November.

    So the Met Office is considered the contributer, not just the scientists who happen to work for the Met Office by day.

    Second, from issue 8, page 17 of their newsletter Barometer (warning, PDF file):

    Readers of Barometer will know that scientists from the Met Office made a substantial contribution, as authors and reviewers, to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As described in issues 6 and 7, the IPCC published its eagerly anticipated report in three instalments earlier this year, to present an objective overview of the scientific, technical and socio-economic facts about climate change.

    (Unfortunately, issues 6 and 7 don’t seem to be available online.)

  43. John B
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    My experience in the Freedom of Information process in Australia is that at this stage, and after parting with your own hard earned rupees you will receive the requested copies, blacked out on the basis that the officer deemed sections were not relevent to your request. Freedom of Information laws should be scrapped. If a member of the public takes their time to walk up to a public servants desk, the requested information should be available.

    Clearly David is dealing with Ralston-Saul’s technocrats. In my opinion these are his bastards of Voltaire’s age of reason and are more interested in defending their castles, than sharing knowledge. And what castles they are, no more resting leather padded elbows on desks, just happy to talk wet and dry bulb readings with members of the public. This is meaningless acronyms, five star resorts and glossy power point presentations.

  44. MrPete
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

    These email analysis tools are incredible. (cf #41) The linked site has a use case example:

    The Enron corpus is filtered for significant “nodes” of email traffic. It is quickly seen that one person receives quite a lot of email yet never sends any back:

    Original caption: “Figure 14. Analyzing all messages between John Shelk and Tim Belden. It is conspicuous that all messages are from John to Tim, none in the other direction.”. From Enronic use case. Click image to see full size.

    Suspicious of email-deletion, the technologist googles that person’s name. He immediately finds that the tool found a key person of interest to prosecutors. In fact, he found the “mastermind” of the Enron scandal, Tim Belden. Link is to the news report on his conviction.

    I like that Belden eventually cooperated fully. Perhaps Dr Mitchell and others will likewise wake up!

    Belden’s attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said he was following Enron’s instructions as he handled his trades and will “make amends for that by cooperating with the government.”… “He now realizes that what he was taught to do was wrong,” she continued. “He’s going to make amends as well as he can by cooperating fully with the government and telling the complete truth about Enron’s actions in the California energy trading market.”

  45. MrPete
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #41 What pretty analysis views!! Who woulda thought. Let the fireworks begin:
    Click image to view full size.

    All of these tools are freely available.

    I sincerely hope the Met will soon disclose the required emails. Better for the players if it is done voluntarily rather than under court order.

  46. James Erlandson
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    Warren Buffett: “I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear on the front page of their local paper the next day, be read by their spouses, children, and friends … ”

    Scott McNealy: “You have no privacy. Get over it.”

  47. henry
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Re 41, 44 & 45:

    Why do I get the feeling that if these e-mail tools were used to track Mitchell’s e-mails, we’d see a black hole instead of a bright spot.

    Which would be even more telling – everybody else is keeping theirs, but only his has disappeared.

    Which may be another way to test the FOI filing: ask to see a monthly log of ALL emails, sorted by name, for a particular month. If ANY e-mails from Mitchell is on the list, they can’t say he erased them (the “erasure” story is a fraud). If NONE of his emails show up, then he has violated the office policies.

    We all know how the climate scientists LOVE to archive their data…

  48. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. As the UK’s foremost climate research centre, the Met Office Hadley Centre was the single most influential scientific contributor to the Working Group I report – The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change; a significant contributor to the Working Group II report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and our scientists were lead authors on the summary report published in November.

    This quote is particularly good in that, as you say, it makes the obvious statement in plain language – the Met Office itself was the contributor.

  49. Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    There seems to be a tradition of Met Office staff doing interesting things in a personal capacity see here.

    But they do manage to get some work done too, here, and just search for ‘Hopkins’ in the text.

    Sorry if this lowers the tone of a serious discussion, but the Met Office once had a scientific record that earned it worldwide respect. If its pronouncements on climate change can be entrusted to a media bimbo, and the management won’t even attempt to comply with the FOI Act, then credibility would no longer seem to feature highly in its thinking, and anything is possible.

  50. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    #49. If that story is right, they make a lot of money at the Met Office. She supposedly made 90,000 pounds at the age of 30 as a “brand consultant” for the Met Office. Nice gig.

  51. Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    The Met Office claimed this was not the amount she was paid, but declined to say what this was.

  52. PeterS
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Here’s a letter from Mitchell to Dr. Pachauri (Patchy), IPCC chairman, ‘regarding the integrated TGNES proposal’ written on Met office stationery – if that’s any help…

    http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session25/inf6.pdf

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    “Dear Patchy” – I like that. And Patchy’s correspondent is not John Mitchell from Briar Patch Lane, but John Mitchell, Chief Scientist, … from the self-proclaimed “most significant contributor” to WG1.

    This is a total farce.

  54. PeterS
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    #49.

    There seems to be a tradition of Met Office staff doing interesting things in a personal capacity see here.

    I like the third photo – when it comes to climate change no one can accuse the Met Office of sitting on the fence!

  55. Brian Johnson
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Steve M said “If that story is right, they make a lot of money at the Met Office. She supposedly made 90,000 pounds at the age of 30 as a “brand consultant” for the Met Office. Nice gig.”

    That is a drop in the ocean Steve. The UK government [v.small ‘g’] sets up what it calls Quangos. They are government selected ‘brains’ who sit on committees and advise and/or decide policies

    that affect almost every corner of UK life. Wait for it…..” There are 1162 quangos in the UK, running at a total cost of £64 Billion say $125 Billion! All funded by UK Taxpayers!

    Most of these Quangos will not disclose fees paid to members. There’s a surprise then!

  56. henry
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    But the original FOI included:

    “All letters, facsimile and email correspondence to or from Dr Mitchell in connection with his work as an IPCC Review Editor, including, but not limited to correspondence between Dr Mitchell and the following individuals involved in the assessment: Drs Susan Solomon, Jean Jouzel, Eystein Jansen, Jonathan Overpeck, Philip Jones, Keith R. Briffa, Jean-Claude Duplessy, Fortunat Joos, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Daniel Olago, Bette Otto-Bliesner, W. Richard Peltier, Stefan Rahmstorf, Rengaswamy Ramesh, Dominique Raynaud, David Rind, Olga Solomina, Ricardo Villalba, De’er Zhang, and Timothy Osborn, and/or the following institutions: IPCC, IPCC Working Group I Technical Support Unit, IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit, DEFRA and/or CRU.”

    Since the original didn’t include “Patchy” as a specific target, they wormed out (although it did say “and/or the following institutions: IPCC”).

    Now that we can prove an OFFICIAL letter from Mitchell to Pachuri (on Met letterhead, not personal letterhead), the protest is that much stronger.

    1. Proves he was dealing with this on a professional level, as a Met Office scientist.

    2. If this letter was destroyed, it removes data used in the IPCC report (unless posted somewhere else). Parts of the IPCC report are now unsupportable.

    3. If Mitchell did all this work on a “personal basis”, then there may have been abuse of his office (using his status as a Met Office employee to write “official” letters without their knowledge.)

  57. Barclay E. MacDonald
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Met Office: Are you watching? It’s still not to late to fix this.

  58. anonymous
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    I think it likely that there are very few IPCC review emails to turnover, rather than Mitchel hding much. That is probably what is so embarassing and hence his unwillingness to turn anything over at all; he’s probably just trying to hide more of the “team rubber stamping process” in climate science.

  59. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    #58 anon

    I agree, the rubber stamping process must be embarassing. Still, why act like you’re hiding something, unless as somebody said on another thread, the point is to make those wondering about the processes look like conspiracy theorists by acting a certain way and hoping others react so they look like a bunch of nutty denier types. Or can anyone really be that sloppy accidentally?

  60. MA in VA
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    It appears that the Met Office and Dr. Mitchell have put themselves between a rock and a hard place.

    Option 1 – Dr. Mitchell destroyed documents that had been requested in an FOI request. Big No No!
    Option 2 – Dr. Mitchell has lied about his involvement on the IPCC panel as personal not professional – to avoid a FOI request. Big No No!
    Option 3 – Dr. Mitchell was reimbursed by the government for funds expended on personal business. Big No No!
    Option 4 – The documents have not, in fact, been destroyed and the Met has lied about them to avoid releasing in an FOI request. Yeah – you get the picture.

    In any event I would probably try to find a sympathetic MP to assist in breaking down the barriers encountered. Here in the States a well placed call from a Congressman (or heaven forbid a Senator) will tear through the toughest red tape in no time. A good muckraking journalist would be a nice second choice.

  61. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a blog about someone working the UK FOI Act in respect to political expenses http://www.yrtk.org/ with useful links to sites like the Guardian FOI page.

  62. Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Post #49 from Tony N (great name)

    Quote

    “Met Office figures also reveal that this spring has been the warmest since UK-wide records began in 1914. The UK mean temperature for Spring 2007 was 9.0 °C, beating the previous record of 8.8 °C set in 1945. The three spring months of March, April and May all exceeded their long-term average temperatures.

    The warm UK spring follows one of the warmest recorded winters, and a run of record breaking years – the last five years are the warmest on record – and this warming trend is consistent with our predictions from the Met Office Hadley Centre.”
    End Quote

    I didn’t see this at the time but its a clever use of semantics. Note the ‘UK wide since 1914′ rather than ‘CET back to 1659′ as that would show a very different story, both regarding Spring 2007 and temperatures generally. The warmest spring by a huge amount was 1833 closely followed by 1921. I never cease to be amazed as to how often ‘old’ temperatures from the 18/19th century often beat new ones, even though they come from the little ice age. I guess that is why the Met office have to choose their words and time frames so carefully for press releases, which as its an inherent Met office tendancy presumably means much of their science that goes into the IPCC report is cherry picked also. Assuming of course anyone at the Met office had anything to do with the IPCC report which we know they don’t…

    Tony B

  63. Nick
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Is this letter of any use in your search for evidence?!!!

  64. PeterS
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    #58 said: “In any event I would probably try to find a sympathetic MP to assist in breaking down the barriers encountered. Here in the States a well placed call from a Congressman (or heaven forbid a Senator) will tear through the toughest red tape in no time.”

    John Redwood MP might be that man…

    http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2007/10/24/the-today-programme-fluffs-its-lines-on-climate-change/

  65. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    63. hmmm says MET OFFICE at the top of the fax.

    two choices

    1. Not personal.
    2. Using MET resources for his personal activity.

    choose.

    What side dishes are best with cooked goose?

  66. trevor
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    I wonder if the Met Office is aware that this issue is being discussed here. It may be useful to advise them. It would be a pity if they didn’t know that they were being talked about! Besides, it never hurts for a government organisation to receive e:mails and letters from concerned members of the public.

    pressoffice@metoffice.gov.uk and enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk

  67. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    Unsurprisingly, the UK Code for Civil Service permits the recovery of travel expenses only for “official” business.

    8.1.2 Departments and agencies must:
    a. reimburse staff only for expenses which they actually and necessarily incur in the course of official business, except where otherwise provided in this chapter

    It’s really hard to see why Mitchell is taking the present course of action. I guess he thinks that he can suck and blow on this with impunity – and 9 times out of 10, this would be the case. But surely he must feel a little dirty.

    It’s too bad that this sort of thing doesn’t bother the climate science community.

  68. David Holland
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    MA in VA,
    the Met Office have not said they destroyed anything. They said he said

  69. David Holland
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Correction! They said he said he did not keep any working papers.

  70. anonymous
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t whether the Met Office turns over these records beside the point. The IPCC states that it follows a procedure in which these things are documented and kept I think it said 5 years. Either they have not been kept, or they do not wish to release them (what kind of process is that), or they are not following procedure. Again, not exactly great options to have, particularly for such a globally important concern.

  71. sylvain
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    It’s too bad that this sort of thing doesn’t bother the climate science community.

    This is the main reason why I’m skeptical of this fear mongering. If scientist are so confident about there result why do they feel the need to be so defensive. Case and point: Hockey stick, Phil Jones and Thompson.

  72. Phil.
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #69

    Correction! They said he said he did not keep any working papers.

    So why are you going after him for the papers instead of the IPCC, it was they who undertook to archive the paperwork?

    IPCC policies state:

    All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.

    Go to that open archive and get the papers.

  73. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    Gee Phil, if that archive existed with the papers, that’s exactly where he would go. The IPCC would only have it if Mitchell turned it all over to them. I think it’s pretty obvious that he didn’t. Don’t you get tired of being a one trick pony? Your defense of the defenseless on every single issue is mind-boggling.

    Since Mitchell is not forthcoming with the paperwork, emails, etc., it’s up to the organization he worked for to provide what they can, which at least should be emails that went through their servers. No matter how you try to spin it, there is no defense of his actions nor that of the Met for failure to comply with a FOI request. They have no solid ground to stand on.

  74. MJW
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Phil.:

    So why are you going after him for the papers instead of the IPCC, it was they who undertook to archive the paperwork?

    Because there’s no law that says the IPCC has to turn over records. There is a law that says government records, such as those produced by government employee Mitchell for a government institution, the Met Office, must be turned over.

    Go to that open archive and get the papers.

    The IPCC has a very restrictive definition of what belongs in open archive, and it doesn’t include the records Holland wants access to.

  75. Phil.
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #73
    Nonsense, the IPCC undertook to maintain an archive so that’s who he should go after, why on earth would the participants save all the paperwork when they have been told that IPCC will be archiving it all?

    Which part of this don’t you understand?

    Information held by Dr Mitchell in respect of IPCC Review Editor has already been sent to you and he confirms that much of the business was done at the review meetings and as such there was no requirement for him to keep any material from the meetings. Any records and correspondence had already been deleted and the information is not held by the Met Office.

  76. MrPete
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Phil, perhaps you have little or no experience working in government or public corporations?

    There’s such a thing as “records management” “records retention” and so forth. There are laws that require maintenance of records, including email retention. A wide variety of communications of all kinds (yes including paper) at government and corporate entities is required by law to be preserved.

    What part of “it’s the law” don’t you understand?

  77. MJW
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    Phil.:

    Which part of this don’t you understand?

    Information held by Dr Mitchell in respect of IPCC Review Editor has already been sent to you and he confirms that much of the business was done at the review meetings and as such there was no requirement for him to keep any material from the meetings. Any records and correspondence had already been deleted and the information is not held by the Met Office.Which part of this don’t you understand?

    That was the old story, which has been rendered inoperative. What part of this don’t you understand?

    Dr Mitchell acted as Reviewer of Chapter V1 of the Working Group 1 report in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Met Office which means that none of the information actually falls within the scope of the Act. Most of the work in the process of the review was conducted at the final two lead author meetings and followed up by unrecorded telephone conversations and personal emails.

    The information I sent to you was from Dr Mitchell’s personal records which I was unaware of at the time. There is no requirement under the legislation to search back up data and as stated above, this information is personal to Dr Mitchell.

    Now the information exists, it’s just personal to Mitchell.

  78. MJW
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

    Actually, I sympathize with Phil. It really is hard th keep all the Met Office’s fibs straight.

  79. MarkR
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    Phil

    He is a UK Government employee doing this on UK taxpayers time. Everything he has record of which relates to the enquiry should be handed over. If he deleted records, he is probably committing an offence.

    Also, the lady said she needn’t look to back up data (archives). She was wrong.

    All recorded information held by, or on behalf of, a public authority is within the scope of the Act or the Regulations (although both recognise that the disclosure of personal data is subject to the Data Protection Act). The legislation applies regardless of the age, format, origin or classification of information. It covers files, letters, databases, loose reports, e-mails, office notebooks, videos, photographs, wall charts and maps etc. It extends to closed files and archived material as well as information in current use.
    Remember, you are responsible for considering all information held by your organisation when a request for information is received – historical information relating to your area of responsibility, as well as information in current use. In addition to information that has been consigned to the archives, remember that other parts of your public authority may hold information that is relevant to a request: the onus is on you to consult them.
    You should note that, in addition to information that is produced by your authority, the legislation applies to information that has been received from others. This could include other public authorities, companies, organisations and members of the public. Such information must therefore be considered when it is relevant to a request. In general, it will be necessary to consult the originators about the prospect of disclosure. Their views will be important if it is necessary to assess the balance of public interest in the disclosure of information, but you should note that they do not have a veto – the final decision on whether to release or withhold information rests with the public authority holding the information.

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/freedom_of_information/your_legal_obligations.aspx

    If this goes to High Court, the Judge can deal with them as though Contempt of Court has been comitted. Prison time.

  80. kim
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

    Has anyone looked in the cornfield?
    ======================

  81. Richard Steckis
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    I work for the Western Australian Government. It is a requirement of each government agency to maintain all emails to and from the agency. Regardless of whether the individual deletes an email from their inbox, outbox, sentbox or other, the original email is kept on the email servers. I can only assume this is the same for the UK Government. I would suggest that they still have the emails stored on their servers and are just stonewalling.

  82. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2008 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    AS should be obvious even to Phil, I’ve examined the IPCC archive and it does not comply with the requirements that the government placed on it. It does not include all written expert comments, including, apparently, comments by Mitchell and Ammann on chapter 6. As Review Editor of chapter 6, Mitchell should be taking steps to ensure that IPCC complies with the requirements that its governments placed on it. Instead of doing so, he is making untrue statements about the nature of his involvement with IPCC. Shame on you, Phil, for not condemning this.

  83. Tim Ball
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    The connection between the UKMO and the IPCC is well documented in this paper given to the 86th American Meteorological Society meeting. The key person in this case is Sir John Houghton.

    Development of Global Warming Research at the United Kingdom Meteorological Office during the 1970s and mid-1980s

    Sang-Hyun Kim, University of Texas, Austin, TX

    “It is well recognized today that, since the late-1980s, Britain has been one of the key players in the science and politics of global warming. In 1988, Sir John Houghton, then director-general of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO), was appointed to chair the scientific working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to advise governments on the state of knowledge of climate change. Later in 1990, the UKMO and the Department of Environment jointly set up the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. The Centre formed a technical support unit for the IPCC’s scientific working group, assisting the publication of the first IPCC Scientific Assessment report.”

  84. Bob B
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    Response from Met office to my email:

    “Dear Sir/Madam

    The Met Office is aware of this website . Thank you for your feedback.”

    Kind Regards

    Sara-Jane Harris

    Weather Desk Advisor

    Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom.

    Tel: 0870 900 0100 Fax: 0870 900 5050 Email: enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk http://www.metoffice.gov.uk

    Met Office climate change predictions can now be viewed on Google Earth

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/google/

  85. kim
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

    Hey, Sara-Jane, maybe someone over there got the sums wrong.
    =======================================

  86. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 6:22 AM | Permalink

    In 1988, Sir John Houghton, then director-general of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO), was appointed to chair the scientific working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    Didn’t Houghton say in 2003: “As a climate scientist who has worked on this issue for several decades, first as head of the Met Office, and then as co-chair of scientific assessment for the UN intergovernmental panel on climate change, the impacts of global warming are such that I have no hesitation in describing it as “a weapon of mass destruction”.

  87. CuckooUK
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    According to the 2006 report for Defra and the MoD published in March 2007, “Hadley Centre Review” published here:

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/research/pdf/hadleycentrereview0507.pdf

    the Met Office “The Hadley Centre has also contributed significantly to the IPCC process. As well as
    the input of its scientific findings and supplying lead authors for various chapters of
    the IPCC Assessment Reports, during the first part of the review period the Hadley
    Centre continued in its role of hosting the IPCC TSU for Working Group I, which at
    that time was jointly chaired by Sir John Houghton. Since the chairmanship of the
    Working Groups changed in 2002 this role ceased, but Hadley now hosts the TSU for
    Working Group II.” See page 87 (95 of 152 in the pdf)

    The report also states “Mitchell in a new role as Director of Climate Science with particular responsibility for Hadley“. Mitchell must therefore have been involved professionally with the IPCC not in a personal capacity. See page 86 (94 of 152 in the pdf)

  88. MA in VA
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    #69 – OK I’ll concede that there is a slight but distinct difference (between lying and passing on a lie that you were told). I’ll change option #4 to: Dr. Mitchell knowingly destroyed e-mails from his official duties (possibly knowing they would be subject to an FOI request though probably difficult to prove). Option 5 is that Dr. Mitchell used government services (e-mail) for personal business. Maybe like getting Al Capone on tax evasion – a little sketchy but still effective. I’m getting confused about all the options so I can only imagine how confused the Met is!

    I think the point is moot either way – just because someone deletes an e-mail does not “destroy” it. It resides in memory on a server somewhere. Now if THAT has been destroyed then a whole bunch of persons need to come under criminal investigation. Remember – it’s not the crime that gets you – it’s the coverup!

  89. David Holland
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    Here’s the sort of thing that we ought to be seeing from the Met Office. It rather undermines the suggestion that Review Editors work was mostly done at meetings or by unrecorded telephone calls. To be fair to WGI at this point they do seem to be saying The REs have a real and serious job to do

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006
    To: wg1-ar4-re@joss.ucar.edu
    From: REDACTED
    Cc: REDACTED
    Subject: [Wg1-ar4-re] SOD Review comments

    Dear Review Editors

    By now you will have received a preliminary set of responses to the SOD review comments for your chapter. As we discussed at the LA4 meeting in Bergen we are forwarding these to you as soon as they are received at the TSU while recognizing that the authors may still modify their responses up until the time they submit the final draft of their chapters on September 15.

    In passing on these preliminary responses we are trying to provide you with as much time as possible to play what is a key role in the preparation of the assessment report. As summarized in the IPCC rules and procedures, Review Editors are responsible for ensuring that all substantive expert and government review comments receive appropriate consideration by the author team. Note that you are not asked to agree with or take responsibility for the authors’ responses, but you are asked to consider whether they have dealt with the comments in a professional and balanced manner.

    The role of a Review Editor is intended to be constructive and if it becomes appropriate you may suggest ways in which the authors might deal with contentious issues or ensure that their assessment is balanced.

    We are also asking for your assistance in checking that responses to comments are written in a professional way because the final responses will be placed in a public archive and are likely to be scrutinized after the report is completed. Because of this it is important that the tone and wording of responses serve to demonstrate the integrity of the IPCC process and we would be very grateful for your help in ensuring that a high standard is met in this regard.

    If you identify any issues or wish to make suggestions, please contact the chapter CLAs as soon as possible, remembering that they are working to a deadline of September 15 to submit their final drafts to us. In case of any serious concerns, please feel free to contact REDACTED or me directly.[my bold]

    Finally – in Bergen some of you asked for a copy of the IPCC rules for the use of unpublished or non-peer reviewed literature. They are contained in Annex 2 at the end of the IPCC procedures document which is attached here. My apologies for not sending this earlier.

    Thanks again for all your help
    REDACTED

    The last paragraph is interesting. It is almost certainly cock up rather than conspiracy, but the document attached was the old Appendix A which was updated in 2003. it said,

    Review Editors must submit a written report to the Working Group Sessions and where appropriate, will be requested to attend Sessions of the Working Group and of the IPCC to communicate their findings from the review process and to assist in finalising the Summary for Policymakers and Synthesis Reports.

    The current version says,

    Review Editors must submit a written report to the Working Group Sessions or the Panel [my bold] and where appropriate, will be requested to attend Sessions of the Working Group and of the IPCC to communicate their findings from the review process and to assist in finalising the Summary for Policymakers, Overview Chapters of Methodology Reports and Synthesis Reports. The names of all Review Editors will be acknowledged in the Reports.

    Now people don’t just go to Paris and Vienna to add words randomly to international agreements. Someone must have thought RE’s should have access to the Panel if they were unhappy with what the Working Group was telling them or ignoring what they were telling the Working Group.

    So sending out obsolete rules is not a trivial mistake and suggests, if it was not deliberate, that the Co Chairs did not have a grip on the Admin. Any half decent Administrator would start with a procedures manual with a revision control procedure. As there are new people on every assessment and induction manual would make sense. REs at Bergen should not be asking what the rules say – they should be in their pocket. It is not as though this is the first assessment.

    So who is this REDACTED?

  90. David Holland
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Now, having said that WGI was being fair to REs by reminding them of their duties, even if accidentally they forgot to tell them they could report directly to the IPCC Panel, what should we make of this request to RE’s for their reports. Now supposing, purely for the sake of argument, that you were an RE in a minority of one that felt the whole thing was a sham and despite your efforts there had been some cheating and bullying from WGI, and that you took them at their word so you could only report to WGI, what would you do?

    From: IPCC-WG1 [mailto:ipcc-wg1@al.noaa.gov]
    Sent: 13 November 2006
    To: REDACTED
    Subject: IPCC WG1 Review Editor Statements

    Dear Review Editor,

    Thank you very much for carrying out your role as Review Editor during the preparation of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. We are very grateful for your assistance to the IPCC, your attendance at Lead Author meetings, and your advice to the writing teams in considering expert and Government review comments.

    We are now asking that you complete one remaining task as Review Editor, which is to provide us with a completed statement noting that review comments on your chapter were dealt with appropriately by the authors. You have already been notified that it was essential to inform us if any serious issues arose in connection with the review process, and none of you has indicated any such concerns so we trust that you will sign the attached form letter confirming that all comments were dealt with appropriately [my bold]. We would be grateful if you could sign this letter and return it to us by fax and by postal mail before 27 November 2006 (fax number and address are given in the form letter and below).

    The review process is a very important part of preparing any IPCC report. Your role has been crucial in this and that will be reflected by listing your name on the title page of the chapter for which you are Review Editor. Once again we would like to thank you for your contribution to the Working Group I report.

    Best regards,
    IPCC WGI TSU
    On behalf of Susan Solomon and Dahe Qin (Co-Chairs IPCC Working Group I)

    Mailing Address:
    IPCC WG1 TSU
    Attn: Melinda Tignor
    NOAA DSRC CSD/8
    325 Broadway
    Boulder, CO 80026
    USA

    Fax Number:
    +1 303 497 5628

    For my part I think this is almost a Mugabe type request. An external auditor would have a fit if he found head office asking for branch audit reports like this. Maybe I am being pedantic but I do not think a signed proforma counts as a report any way. And why email out – fax and hard copy back? That is almost telling you that your report is off to the round filing cabinet.

    By comparison this is what WGII (which ironically is the Met Office) sent out.

    WORKING GROUP II FOURTH ASSESSMENT
    STATEMENT BY REVIEW EDITOR
    Chapter number: (please insert number)
    Name: (please insert name)
    The review process for the development of the Chapter in the Working Group II Fourth Assessment, as laid
    out in the Principles Governing IPCC Work, has been properly followed.
    YES/NO
    My reading of the Final Government Draft of the Chapter confirms the satisfactory completion of this
    process.
    YES/NO
    My reading of the Final Government Draft of the Chapter confirms that it properly reflects scientific
    controversies.
    YES/NO
    We welcome any other comments on the report which may be appended, or written below. In particular, if
    you are unable to answer in the affirmative to any of the statements above, please provide further
    explanation.

    Here is where we should be fair. It seems the Met Office do know how to run a working Group The RE reports with the odd exception are electronic and were delivered quickly and without argument. And there is another thing. Only one RE had the cahonas to do other than sign as directed. He did not say a lot but enought for the world to know that all was not as it seemed.

    There will inevitably remain some disagreement on how they have dealt with the reconstructions of the last 1000 years

    Why didn’t John Mitchell just sign the damn form?

  91. David Holland
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Small Correction Only one WGI RE had the etc.

  92. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Interesting letters. The Review Editors were clearly on notice that they they were supposed to do something other than swan around at Lead Author meetings.

    If one takes Mitchell’s statement that most of his work was done at Lead Author meetings BEFORE Review Comments were even under consideration, it sounds as though he didn’t understand that Review Editors had a function in relation to processing the Review Comments. It sounds like he was simply acting almost as another contributor, putting in his two cents worth, rather than discharging the Review Editor function that he agreed to do.

    IT sounds like the whole pack of WG1 Review Editors were much the same, leaving the WG1 TSU in a thankless position in fall 2006. Of course, they were probably authors of their own misfortune to the extent that they failed to properly apprise Review Editors of their duties. Even smart people need this from time to time.

  93. stan
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Lots of folks here looking at this as if they were young associates given a task to perform one part of discovery in a much larger lawsuit — how to get this particular set of docs/e-mail from one particular witness. And that is appropriate as far as it goes. However, from the larger perspective, sometimes it is better to fail in this smaller endeavor because the tactical benefits are greater.

    Ultimately, the IPCC’s credibility is what is at stake. If they fail to follow their own rules and fail to require that their scientists abide by reasonable practices, the IPCC suffers. As I have written before, the bizarre machinations that Mann et al went through to avoid meaningful review did more long term damage to their credibility than the numerous errors in their work (as damaging as those were).

    At some point, someone is going to assemble a book or video presentation which simply outlines all the obfuscations and shoddy practices which underlie so much of the climate alarmist case. The focus won’t be on the science, but the process. If the average voter is ever educated on the inadequacy (or complete absence) of the peer-review process, the term will become a standing joke. Combined with the failures to insure proper thermometer siting, the frequent use of wild-ass guess assumptions, the refusal to provide access to work, the failure to do due diligence, the various quotes of Gore and others justifying their false scare tactics, and the general stonewalling, and it would be pretty easy to destroy the credibility of the alarmist crowd.

    Most people’s eyes glaze over when the science is discussed. But everyone understands gross incompetence, rule-breaking, stonewalling, mendacity, exaggeration, scare tactics, and conflicts of interest.

  94. Climate Tony
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    RANDOM FOIA TIPS

    -FOIA all other prior FOIA requests related to your target, and all the responsive documents. It’s intresting to know who else is looking & what they are seeing. FOIA office has easy access to their own FOIA letters & responsive documents.

    – You can get “expedited” FOIA (meaning you are at the front of the queue) in the USA under a few conditions, including threat to the life of an “individual”(s), eg “life or death” situations. To the extent that an institution puts climate change in the dangerous, life-threatening category, then its own arguments/words can be cited in a FOIA letter requesting expedited treatment.

  95. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Well, stan, “someday” is now:
    Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science (Hardcover) 2007
    by Aynsley J. Kellow (Author)
    this is an excellent look at these issues. The hockey stick debate is covered beautifully and Steve M gets great coverage. The way in which getting the “right” answer has taken precendence over scientific standards is beautfully presented.

  96. Will J. Richardson
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps working the FOI request from the bottom is the wrong approach. The Prince of Wales is an environmentalist and by all accounts a pretty good guy. Why not ask him for a little help?

  97. DocMartyn
    Posted Jun 25, 2008 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve, if you have had no luck with the MET may I suggest that you write to Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer?
    He is very much interested in these matters and can request the information for the House of Lords, or pass it on to an MP to raise the question to the Environment Minister in the commons.
    You may think this is rather odd, but if you just wrote to

    The (Rt Hon. the) Lord Lawson of Blaby
    House of Lords
    London
    SW1A 0PW

    Beginning of letter … Dear Lord Lawson of Blaby

    sketch out a short want you want, whay, and the runaround.

    End of letter … Yours sincerely
    Envelope … The (Rt Hon. the) Lord Lawson of Blaby

    I bet you will get what you want.

  98. rafa
    Posted Jun 26, 2008 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

    Re#95, I’ll have to wait for a cheaper edition. The book is over $100

  99. John Lish
    Posted Jun 26, 2008 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #98, Rafa, the price reflects the amount of copies published. A bulk order from Climate Audit regulars would reduce the cost significantly.

  100. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 26, 2008 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

    Re: #98,99
    I have requested that my local public library purchase a copy. We’ll see if the request is successful (should take a month if successful).

  101. Pompous Git
    Posted Jun 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Rafa & Armand

    Most libraries in Australia are part of an interlibrary lending service & I’d be surprised if that did not obtain in most other places.

  102. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 26, 2008 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    PG: It does, but (perhaps in order to encourage the purchase of new books), titles less than one year old are not available through my local interlibrary loan system.

  103. bernie
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    For those like me who cannot afford $88 for the Aynsley Kellow book, you can get a taste from his slightly later article. Needless to say he has been subjected to quite a number of vitriolic attacks on various blogs – which serve to confirm at least one of his observations about Environmental Science and the debate thereof.

  104. bernie
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Kellow’s article by the way gives a solid endorsement to Steve M and Anthony W. It does not however suggest that anyone familiar with this site would benefit greatly from his arguments. I hope Aynsley is gracious enough to send Steve, Ross and Anthony signed copies – since their work contributed mightily to the article and, I assume, the book.

  105. manacker
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    There is no question that Kellow’s article gets right to the crux of the matter.

    · Agenda driven “science”
    · Virtual reality of GIGO models is taken as scientific truth
    · Failure to test predictions against observed physical data
    · Manipulation of observational data to make them fit the computer predictions

    I’m sure that Kellow will be beaten up as a “heretic”, a “denier”, a “flat-earther”, a “stooge of big oil” or a “delayer” by all the AGW proponents out there.

    Max

  106. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    He was on Jennifer’s blog http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/. He had some interesting comments about his two works. The flamers are a bit noisy, but his and some others are a good read.

  107. CuckooUK
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Any mileage in petitioning the uk prime minister to force the met office to release the information? It won’t actually do anything with gordon brown will just ignore it, but it will become newsworthy if there are enough signatures

  108. CuckooUK
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    I hope this wasn’t inappropriate, but Roger Helmer MEP did an article in a UK magazine that I happened to read, so I emailed him asking if he had seen the debate over at Climate Audit about the withholding of emails between Mitchell and the IPCC.

    I have just received the following response

    Roger is proposing to table the question below to the Commission/relevant UK Ministers regarding the exchange of emails between the Hadley Centre and the IPCC, which the Met Office have refused to make public.
    However, before he does so he just wanted to double-check that he correctly understands the situation. Would you therefore kindly look over the proposed text to make sure that you are comfortable with it?

    Many thanks and best regards,

    Georgina Browes
    Political Advisor to Roger Helmer MEP

    Re: Withholding of information regarding correspondence between the Hadley Centre and the IPCC

    Is the Minister/Commission aware of correspondence on climate issues between Dr. John Mitchell, Chief Scientist of the Hadley Centre, and the IPCC?

    Is the Minister/Commission aware that the Met Office appears to be resisting requests, under the Freedom of Information Act, for copies of this correspondence? For more information, please use the following link: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3208

    What action can the Minister/Commission take to ensure that this important correspondence, of great public interest, is published in a timely way?

    I hope that was ok

  109. David Holland
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Cuckoo I’ll send him the file!

  110. CuckooUK
    Posted Jul 22, 2008 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    David

    If you need the correct email address for Roger Helmer’s assistant, please email at robertsbobbi@hotmail.com – my email address is a throwaway, so it doesn’t matter if it stays here

  111. CuckooUK
    Posted Jul 29, 2008 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    David

    I didn’t hear from you, so i have assumed you have contacted Roger Helmer direct

6 Trackbacks

  1. […] Climate Audit Now why would they want to hide from the world all their cutting and pasting of non existent data? […]

  2. […] “Fortress Met Office continued“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 23 June 2008. […]

  3. […] “Fortress Met Office continued“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 23 June 2008. […]

  4. By Rose on Fortress Met Office « Climate Audit on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    […] Contemporary accounts of the progress of the Met Office FOIs are here here here here here. […]

  5. […] have something to hide, which is exactly what Steve McIntyre is investigating here, here, here and here.  The organizations concerned are supporters of warming theory – so why not provide the […]

  6. […] Deepening moats has been a lively topic in UK politics recently. One British MP expensed the public for the cost of deepening the moat at his castle and has been forced to resign. We discussed FOI and the MP expense scandal recently. […]

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