Ofcom: The IPCC Complaint

Ofcom’s disposition of the IPCC Complaint is here page 43. There are many interesting aspects to this decision that are distinct from any of the others. Ofcom’s actual finding is extremely narrow. IT rejected 2 of 6 complaints. On 3 of 6, it determined that the producers had provided notice to IPCC but the notice on Feb 27, 2007 did not leave IPCC with “reasonable time” to respond prior to the airing on March 8, 2007 (though Ofcom itself states that “three working days” is a “reasonable time” for the parties to file an appeal of the present decision. They also determined that the producers failed to give IPCC adequate notice that someone in the production would say that they were “politically driven”. Had the producers sent their email of Feb 27, 2007 on (say) Feb 20, 2007, including a mention in the email that one of the contributors stated that IPCC was “politically driven”, then the Swindle producers would appear to have been immune from the present findings. Little things do matter.

The two rejected claims are themselves rather interesting and make you scratch your head. As discussed below, Swindle contributors were said to have claimed that IPCC had predicted climate disaster and the northward migration of malaria as a result of global warming. IPCC denied ever making such claims and apparently felt that its reputation was sullied by being associated with such claims. These two matters were decided on other grounds, but many readers will be interested to read more about IPCC disassociating itself from claims that global warming would cause northward migration of malaria or predictions of climate disaster.

In addition, in its complaint, IPCC made grandiose claims about its “open and transparent process” and the role of review editors, describing the process as being in the public domain and by its nature designed to avoid “undue influence” of any reviewer. This will come as somewhat of a surprise to CA readers, who are familiar with the avoidance of IPCC procedures by Ammann and Briffa and the seemingly casual performance of review editor Mitchell and who have been following the relentless stonewalling by IPCC and IPCC officials of requests for specific information pertaining to this allegedly “open and transparent process”.

Two Rejected Complaints
They discarded two parts of the complaint entirely.

IPCC denied that it had claimed that malaria “will” spread as a result of global warming (as stated by Channel 4) and said that it was unfair for Channel 4 to have broadcast this claim without their having an adequate opportunity to respond. The claim was decided on other grounds (that the allegation by Paul Reiter did not mention specifically mention IPCC). However, many readers will be surprised and interested to know that IPCC considers that its reputation is diminished by attributing to it the view that malaria will spread as a result of global warming.

IPCC complained that the “programme falsely claimed that its FAR (1990) predicted “climatic disaster as a result of global warming” without an opportunity to defend itself against the indignity of being accused of making such a claim. It’s a relief to the rest of us to know that not only is the IPCC not predicting climatic disaster, but it considers being associated with such a claim to be an insult. Ofcom considered some interesting contemporary evidence, including a speech by Margaret Thatcher, the scientific content of which was approved by Houghton, and came to the view that this was not an unreasonable characterization. Their decision on this issue stated:

the Committee considered that the comment that described the FAR (1990) as predicting “climatic disaster as a result of global warming” was not an allegation against the IPCC and was not unfair to it. It was not, therefore, incumbent on the programme makers to have offered the IPCC an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to this particular comment.

The most interesting part of these two issues were the IPCC defences.

Three Issues where the notice was insufficiently timely
On three parts of the Complaint (Reiter’s criticism of the malaria section of the IPCC report, Reiter’s criticism of how IPCC made up its author lists, Seitz’ criticism of the SAR-Santer fiasco), Ofcom found that Swindle had provided notice to IPCC within the requirements, but had failed to provide IPCC with enough time to respond.

What would be a reasonable amount of time? Ofcom says in their Guidelines for the handling of standards complaints and cases (in programmes and sponsorship) that three working days is a “reasonable time” for an appeal, 5 working days for broadcasters to deliver any requested material and 10 working days to deliver certain sorts of detailed written submissions.

While the producers had preliminary contact with IPCC in October 2006 (as a result of which they were referred to a website), the first notice to IPCC that they would be presenting the Reiter and Seitz allegations came on Feb 26, 2007 (a Monday). to which there was no response. A follow-up email was sent three days later on March 1, 2007, again with no response. At the time of the show’s first airing on March 8, 2007, ten days (8 working days) after the first notice letter, IPCC had still sent no response. Nor did it send one prior to the second airing. Ofcom noted:

the IPCC is a large organisation with considerable resources at its disposal and that it employs a dedicated Information and Communications Officer. On the face of it, these factors might be taken to suggest the IPCC should have been in a position to respond to the programme makers’ emails (subject to being provided with sufficient information about the allegations that would be made in the programme)

On the other hand, Ofcom noted that the producers had failed to properly inform IPCC of the deadlines:

As mentioned above, it was significant that the programme maker’s email of 26 February 2007 gave the IPCC no indication of when its response was required and the follow-up email of 1 March 2007 (sent at 7.33pm) subsequently gave a deadline of the following day. Neither of these emails indicated the date of broadcast.

Taking into account all the above factors, the Committee considered that it was unreasonable for the programme makers to have expected the IPCC to understand that its response was required in a matter of days, and that it was not reasonable to expect the IPCC to be able to provide a response within the one day of being advised of the deadline. The Committee therefore found that the opportunity to respond had not been offered in a timely way.

On these particular findings, there’s a process lesson about the need for clear and unequivocal notice. In this particular case, it seems highly unlikely that IPCC was going to bother responding in any event. So the producers could easily have avoided this particular problem merely by giving clearer and somewhat more informative notice. For example, had they sent out the email on Feb 20, 2007 instead of Feb 27, 2007, notifying the IPCC of their deadline, then it’s hard to see how these parts of the IPCC complaint could have even got as far as they did.

Iin order to be heard by Ofcom, a “fairness” complaint has to be made by the person directly affected. There are situations in which a third party can be authorized to make the complaint; I haven’t examined whether these situations apply here. In this case, it appears to me that the “IPCC Complaint” was another concoction by Rado and associates, proceeding under a curious “co-authorization” for their submitting the complaint. Their website says that:

Sir John Houghton … co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC…. Dr Pachauri co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC. …Martin Parry also co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC… Professor [Robert] Watson co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC.”

which I take this as evidence that Rado et al submitted the complaint on behalf of IPCC. However the form of IPCC “authorization” seems highly curious. John Houghton supposedly “co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC”. While Houghton has obviously been an important figure in the IPCC movement, he is not listed at the IPCC website as one of its present officers and would not appear to have sufficient current authority to “authorize” the complaint. Robert Watson’s appearance on this list is also interesting. Watson is likewise not listed as an current IPCC officer; Rado’s website states that Watson is currently DEFRA’s Chief Scientific Adviser. That a DEFRA employee should perceive himself as having the authority to authorize the commencement of an action in the U.K. on behalf of IPCC, which, under other circumstance, asserts its immunity rights as an international organization, is intriguing to say the least.


A “Political” Organization

The last “issue” in play was the statement by Philip Stott that IPCC was a “politically driven” organization.

Dr Philip Stott: “The IPCC, like any UN body, is political. The final conclusions are politically driven.”

This matter differed somewhat from the 3 considered under the previous head in that no notice was given to the IPCC in their Feb 26, 2007 email that the production would say that they are “political”.

In its defence, Channel 4 said

the programme contributor, Dr Philip Stott, was merely making a statement of fact. Channel 4 said the programme made the important and valid point that the IPCC is political as well as scientific. Channel 4 said the IPCC chairmen and authors are nominated by governments and the reports are viewed by government officials prior to publication. Further, Channel 4 said the IPCC had been criticised on a number of occasions for being hampered by political interference. Channel 4 therefore maintained it was entirely fair for Professor Stott to state that the IPCC is “politically driven”.

The IPCC response will be particularly intriguing to Climate Audit readers who have followed IPCC’s refusal to provide a complete archive of its Review Comments and Responses (in direct breach of their own formal procedures), a refusal abetted by corresponding refusals of national FOI requests. Ofcom summarizes their response:

In relation to the IPCC being “politically driven”, the IPCC said that the requirement for openness and transparency in its processes ensured that it was impossible for any undue interference to take place or any undue pressure to be applied by any reviewer (government or otherwise).

The IPCC said the government expert reviewer is free to ask any lead author to reconsider what they have written, but based solely on scientific content. The lead author will then consider the comment or request for change. If the lead author then wishes to make the change, he/she has to account for the decision to his/her review editor, who will make the final decision. Such changes must then be documented and the results made public.

The IPCC said that, given the IPCC’s own procedures, Channel 4’s arguments in relation to this head of complaint were either ill-informed or disingenuous.

Huh? This is not a true description of the process that I’ve experienced or that has been documented here. “Disingenuous” – they must be taking etiquette lessons from Michael Mann.

In terms of my own personal experience, we know that Ammann evaded the formal “open and transparent” process by sending review comments about our work outside the properly instituted process and that the parties have subsequently refused to produce the presumably adverse comments. Did these exchanges result in “undue interference” or “undue pressure” by a reviewer? The purpose of the “open and transparent” process is to do what IPCC represented to Ofcom that it did. Too bad that it’s not a true description.

Similarly with the role of the Review Editors. IPCC testified to Ofcom that the “review editor” made the final decision. But Review Editor Mitchell has said that these decisions were up to Briffa and the chapter authors. Although IPCC says here that this process is “public”, IPCC has refused to provide Mitchell’s comments and Mitchell has concocted absurd and untrue reasons to avoid producing the comments (even claiming that he acted as an IPCC review editor in a “personal” capacity and that he has destroyed all his IPCC correspondence).

Here’s how Ofcom decided this matter:

In the Committee’s opinion, viewers would have understood from the full section (quoted above) that the IPCC was not a purely scientific body and that its ‘scientific’ conclusions were significantly tainted by political interests.

The Committee considered that such an impression went to the core of the IPCC’s function and reputation: in this regard it noted that the IPCC was set up following international governmental accord with the aim of producing objective scientific assessments to inform policy and decision making worldwide. The Committee considered that “politically driven” was a strong and potentially damaging allegation which, within the context of this part of the programme, suggested direct political influence and was clearly intended to call into question the credibility of the IPCC….

… In the circumstances, the Committee concluded that the IPCC was not afforded a timely or appropriate opportunity to respond to the significant allegation that the conclusions of the IPCC were “politically driven”. This resulted in unfairness to the IPCC in the programme as broadcast.

Summary
So what exactly did IPCC win? Ofcom said that the producers should have given them more adequate notice time for Reiter’s allegations about the review of the malaria section and the listing of authors and for Seitz’ allegations about SAR and for the assertion that they would say that IPCC was “politically driven”.

Did Ofcom opine on whether IPCC was giving good or bad reports? Nope. It stuck to knitting and rendered carefully reasoned decisions on whether the producers gave adequate notice to someone being criticized, as required under the Broadcasting Code.

“Vindication”

Now look at the crowing about this decision by IPCC officials.

Pachauri:

We are pleased to note that Ofcom has vindicated the IPCC’s claim against Channel Four in spirit and in substance, and upheld most of the formal complaints made by those who respect the IPCC process. It is heartening to see that the review process of the IPCC, and the credibility of the publications of the IPCC were upheld, as was the claim that Channel Four did not give the Panel adequate time to respond to most of their allegations. The IPCC is an organization that brings together the best experts from all over the world committed to working on an objective assessment of all aspects of climate change. The relevance and integrity of its work cannot be belittled by misleading or irresponsible reporting. We express our appreciation of the Fairness Committee at Ofcom, and are satisfied with their rulings on this matter.

Some of this is simply untrue. Ofcom did not “uphold” the review process of the IPCC or the credibility of IPCC publications. Neither did it trash them. It simply did not consider them. Pachauri is totally misrepresenting the decision.

Houghton:

The ruling today from Ofcom regarding the Great Global Warming Swindle programme has exposed the misleading and false information regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was contained in that programme and that has been widely disseminated by the climate denying community. The integrity of the IPCC’s reports has therefore been confirmed as has their value as a source of accurate and reliable information about climate change.

Again, all completely untrue. The Ofcom decision did “not expose the misleading and false information” regarding IPCC nor did it “confirm the integrity of the IPCC reports”. Nor did it endorse the programme nor did it trash the integrity of the reports. It didn’t make any decision on them one way or another. It simply said that the producers failed to give IPCC enough notice to respond.

Robert Watson

I am pleased that Ofcom recognized the serious inaccuracies in the Global Warming Swindle and has helped set the record straight.

Again untrue. Ofcom did nothing of the sort. It made no attempt whatever to sort out the scientific disputes.

Martin Parry:

This is excellent news. People and policymakers need to have confidence in the science of climate change. The reputation of the IPCC as the source of dependable and high quality information has been fully upheld by this Ofcom ruling. Channel 4’s Great Global Warming Swindle was itself a disreputable attempt to swindle the public of the confidence it needs in scientific advice.

Again completely untrue. The Ofcom ruling did not “uphold” the “reputation of the IPCC as the source of dependable and high quality information”. Nor did it disparage its reputation. It simply said that IPCC didn’t get enough time to respond.

These untrue statements about the Ofcom decision have not been criticized by Michael Tobis and other commentators.


94 Comments

  1. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    So can the Ofcom do anything about these people misleading the public as to what Ofcom did indeed say?

    BTW, in all this, I fail to see what exactly the consequences are of these findings. Do the producers have some legal consequences as a result of them?

  2. fred
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    I think when they say ‘authorise’ they do not mean it as in authorize an action or a filing. They seem to be making the verb ‘to author’ by adding ‘ize’, as in the police officer’s ‘have you mirandized this guy yet?’ Or perhaps ‘miranderized’. By ‘coauthorised’ they probably intended ‘coauthored’.

  3. Ian Walsh
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    What A mess… This all goes to show that this is indeed ‘political’ and that IPCC do indeed ‘play the political game’… and unlike the makers of swindle who may or may not have done thing ‘purposefully’ … maybe naively, not knowing where it would lead with all this complaint stuff, The IPCC on the other hand must know that they are now playing the game when they ‘play’ the results of ofcom in this way…Theirs cannot possibly be naive, snip

  4. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    BTW, in all this, I fail to see what exactly the consequences are of these findings. Do the producers have some legal consequences as a result of them?

    It would be interesting to here from a UK legal expert regarding such matters. My understanding of libel/slander cases in the UK is that they are relatively easy to prosecute, yet result in very minor penalties, more designed to embarrass the guilty party than anything. My guess would be something similar here, but I’m not a UK legal expert (nor a US legal expert for that matter) so take my guess with a large grain of salt.

    Mark

  5. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    Um, that would be “hear,” not “here.”

    Mark

  6. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    This will continue until one of these people tells one of these untruths in a context in which he can be sued for it.

  7. trevor
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    The episode is illuminating, and particularly the responses of the IPCC officials, which would seem to provide easily provable ‘untrue descriptions’ of the Ofcom rulings that would quickly be shown to be so in a court of law.

    Hopefully a journalist will pick up the substantial discrepancy between what Ofcom actually said, and the statements made by the officials about what Ofcom said. Surely such eminent officials cannot be allowed to make public statements as demonstrably false as these ones are. It is a very pertinent example of exactly how IPCC officials seek to mislead the public.

  8. Timo
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    A couple of observations and thoughts with respect to the role of the IPCC in the GGWS OFCOM complaint procecdure.

    The documentary GGWS has been broadcasted in many other countries with more or less the same content. For example, I know it has been broadcasted in The Netherlands but I never heard that any indivudal or organisation, including the IPCC, filed a complaint procedure like the one in the UK. I recall that the scene with Carl Wunsch had been deleted and one the graphs had been adjusted, but the rest of the documentary remained unchanged.

    Did the IPCC first contact Channel 4 after latter had broadcasted the documentary or did they immediately file a complaint with OFCOM? Why is this important? Common business rules say that one first express dissatisfaction and complaints to the other party before entering into legal proceedings. In the event you are not able to reach a solution acceptable for both parties, than a third party (i.e. OFCOM) can (or should) be involved.
    The IPCC is an organisation which should regard the highest standards, both from a legal and “business” perspective. They should not involve themselves in legal proceedings, especially because they seem to be immune from a legal perspective.

    I understand that Channel 4 contacted IPCC for the first time on October 2nd, 2006 (pages 58/59 of the decision). The IPCC employee did respond the same day.
    Channel 4 contacted the IPCC by e-mail the second time on 26 February 2007 and a third time on 1 March 2007. The IPCC never responded to those e-mails.
    I understand that the IPCC employee was not able to give an qualified response to the request of Channel 4, but in my opinion he/she should have been able to send a short e-mail and ask for respite. Although Channel 4 should have mentioned the deadline in their e-mail of February 26th, the IPCC should also take a certain responsibility. The complexity of their organisation can not be held as an excuse. Furthermore, given the fact that all e-mails were addressed to Information and Communication’s Officer indicates that something went wrong on their side as well.

    Does the IPCC ever respond to requests from third parties or are they only allowed to answer questions from governments? I can imagine that they are not able and allowed to consider individual requests or questions.

  9. mbabbitt
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    Page 15 of the report: “In summary, in relation to the manner in which facts in the programme were presented, Ofcom is of the view that the audience of this programme was not materially misled in a manner that would have led to actual or potential harm.” When you read this and then read the IPCC officials’ accounts (spin in the worst meaning of the term), you realize how political they are and the extent that they should not be trusted. Dishonesty and bad faith seem far too easy for them.

  10. TerryBixler
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    I sometimes wonder if the IPCC doesn’t do all of this to keep Steve McIntyre busy in areas that they suspect he will do less damage. Steve can actually do the math and has insight as well. I am waiting for the direct attack on Roy Spencer.

  11. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Broad, sweeping and generalized statements are more in the realm and arsenal of the politician and I guess that is why I find these statements when made by scientists seemingly out of place. In my mind there is always lurking behind these statements the view that those making the statements are intent on motivating people to action but leave room for deniability in case someone pushes back too hard on the issues.

    In my view, some of the representatives from all sides of the AGW issues can be accused of using these tactics and thus what is required of an informed public is an analysis of the details and combined with the recognition of the too broad statement that can and should be ignored. While they may add a few insights, I do not see that a government sponsored truth squad, as exampled here, really has a beneficial effect on encouraging people to think for themselves.

  12. David Holland
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    What the IPCC say is not even true!

    The lead author will then consider the comment or request for change. If the lead author then wishes to make the change, he/she has to account for the decision to his/her review editor, who will make the final decision.

    Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work at the IPCC website say,

    Although responsibility for the final text remains with the Lead Authors, Review Editors will need to ensure that where significant differences of opinion on scientific issues remain, such differences are described in an annex to the Report. Review Editors must submit a written report to the Working Group Sessions or the Panel 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.

    What a bunch! They can’t even recite their own rules correctly when they are bitching! They even sent out obsolete copies of the rules to their Review Editors after Bergen.

    What hypocrites ! they hide behind their defence of being an ‘international body’ to be immune to disclosure but avail themselves of every nations’ legislation to project their agenda and secure their future funding.

  13. Nick
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    …and on the subject of crowing, this is the UK Met Office press release:

    “The Met Office has noted the judgement made by Ofcom on the Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle, a film that presented arguments of those who are sceptical of man-made climate change.

    Ofcom’s investigation found that that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the former Government Chief Scientist Sir David King and Professor Carl Wunsch from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, were treated unfairly in the programme.

    Ofcom has concerns about aspects of the presentation and omission of facts and views within the programme, however, it is not within their remit to adjudicate on the validity of a particular scientific view.

    Professor John Mitchell OBE FRS, Director of Climate Science at the Met Office said: “We note Ofcom’s ruling today. The Great Global Warming Swindle programme put the message about man-made global warming back by 10 years in the public’s mind. The Met Office, along with the mainstream scientific community, firmly believes that climate research has captured the essential aspects of what is causing our planet to warm. The Met Office will continue to work to inform and advise that climate change is real and an issue which needs to be addressed.”

    Meanwhile, Professor Robert Watson, former chair of the IPCC said, “In my opinion The Great Global Warming Swindle inaccurately portrayed the scientific evidence, was not impartial, was unbalanced and totally misrepresented the scientific consensus on the role of human activities in causing global warming.”

    10 years, eh? Not 9, or 7 or 11. Did the Met office have a computer model to provide this “fact”?

    Less of an independent public service body, more an excuse for one. And to think my taxes pay for this drivel.

  14. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Isnt it ironic that tv shows are more subject rules of disclosure and fact checking and notice requirements than scientific papers?

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    #14. It’s pretty interesting, isn’t it? The broadcasters had to submit unedited footage, which Ofcom compared against edited footage. Claims were checked, cross-checked. Vastly more due diligence than academic papers. Or for that matter, the NAS report where North said that they just “winged it”.

  16. empo
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Sifting through those comments by IPCC officials underlines the motive behing the complaints: not to make genuine complaints but to fire enough bullets that you can claim (when one or two hit something)a victory. It doesn’t matter what the victory is, merely that you can get the media on your side. Isn’t that the general plan?

  17. John Lang
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    I guess that proves that the IPCC and the Met Office are not above distorting the facts surrounding a legal opinion. I wonder what that says about how they portray the facts surrounding the climate.

  18. Poha
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    The UK Met Office press release should be considered equivalent to a produced broadcast, given that the media is sure to publicize it: thus, subject to its own OfCom complaint (by those maligned by the statement that they had ” … put the message about man-made global warming back by 10 years in the public’s mind …”). They had not timely notice to respond and defend … just sayin. But lawyering up is so … unseemly; not in the Scientific Method. Although, to do so would be “replicating,” in certain fashion?

  19. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    **I am pleased that Ofcom recognized the serious inaccuracies in the Global Warming Swindle and has helped set the record straight.**

    **Again untrue. Ofcom did nothing of the sort. It made no attempt whatever to sort out the scientific disputes.**

    This is the same way that the Team treated the Hockey Stick debate. Neither the Team nor IPCC will change their tactics and types of “victory” since there is nobody above them requiring it. Who will call the IpCC to task for the “untruths” Steve has noted above?

    Is is beyond belief how “educated” people do not understand what Ofcom actually did.
    We must continue hammering away as there is a large audience at CA.

  20. D. Patterson
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Is anyone recording the news broadcasts reporting on the OFCOM decision? If so, do such news reports comply with the OCOM standards for fairness?

  21. empo
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    It seems the impartial BBC has given Rado a whole webpage to air his views:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7517444.stm

  22. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Rado sounds like he feels like he’s been “stuffed”. In his own words:

    While I am very pleased that the regulators upheld our complaint that a number of scientists who contributed to the programme were unfairly treated, I am surprised and disappointed by its accuracy verdict.

    Ofcom says that it was only able to consider the documentary’s accuracy in terms of whether it was misleading enough to cause harm.

    The issue of whether or not a programme is factually accurate only applies to news media, they explained.

    Like I said: the complainants had a false premise about what is allowable in a polemic. Now they know. Other programs that people take as fact are also loaded with spin, distortion and tainted by nondisclosure. AIT is one of them. Grow up, people.

  23. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    RE 15. yes. its funny that the boob tube is subject to more due diligence than the IPPC or Jones or amannn or mann. And imagine this. These movie makers ( not hard science guys) had to figure out how to keep their email and the raw data when its SOOOOO expensive and SOOOO hard to do this.

  24. John Lang
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Let’s remember that there were errors in the program. I think posters to this board were very quick to point them out. I know I did.

    This is something we almost never see from the global warming crowd. If that were true, there would not be stories coming out on a daily basis about how the global warming experienced over the last ten years has caused … (just about every calamity imagined including a chief UK scientist saying that last vestiges of the human race will eventually be forced to live on a continent that has no sunlight for 5 or 6 months of the year.)

  25. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    The simple bottom line is that this ruling is quite clear and quite clearly being spun.

    How finding that adaquate time has not been given (which, according to the rules, was; but not explicitly) vindicates anything but a procedural matter. Do these people think everyone in the world is so stupid as to not be able to go into the facts and find out what is really going on?

    Once again Steve, a clear lucid detailing of the facts for everyone to get correct, instead of some mealy-mouthed propaganda that obfuscates and hides what is actually quite obvious:

    “Hey, you; get your facts straight.”

  26. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    RE 15. A modest proposal.

    Hold climate science to the standard of a Tv show.

  27. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    IPCC says they’re pleased with the ruling. First, who believes that? Second, does it make sense to accept that the chair speaks for the whole group? Is it true that everyone is pleased with the ruling? Or are 90% of them displeased with they’re being stuffed, like Rado? I wonder what Rado thinks of IPCC being “pleased”, when he is “surprised and disappointed”. So much for consensus.

  28. Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    While I appreciate the attention, I am not in the business of reviewing administrative bodies in the UK and I’m surprised that my name comes up in such a context.

    I really can’t make heads or tails of the whole administrative tangle and don’t plan to do so.

    My main point on my blog was and is to draw attention to the substance of the complaint.

    My secondary point, which is what brings me here, is that to the extent that Durkin et al get off easy, it is very bad news, not something to crow about. It does nobody any good to imply by a celebratory attitude that Durkin’s program was anything other than grossly irresponsible and misleading. In doing so you pander to the less responsible elements among your audience.

    If you are right about who got “stuffed” and William is wrong about it or vice versa that doesn’t affect either of my points very much. I do find the spread of opinion amusing, but I personally haven’t taken a stand on it and don’t especially care to.

    regards
    mt

    Steve: Even if you felt that, it does not justify your publishing untrue statements about what I said. By publishing untrue statements, you have already distorted the record as your false statements have now been picked up by Lambert. Nor does it excuse your lack of common decency in failing to correct untrue statements when you became aware of the error. Whether you personally take an opinion on the matter is neither here nor there as far as I’m concerned, but your dissemination of false statements is. And frankly, I’m pretty disappointed.

    Aside from that, I asked you to identify any untrue statements in my post – if I’ve said something incorrect, I’d like to fix it. So you tell me what’s incorrect in the article.

    As to the outcome, William only considered the Wunsch, King and IPCC cases and said that he’d revert to the Rive case. I did it in the opposite order; I started with the Rive case, which was the “big” case, and have followed up with posts on the other cases. Annan did comment on the Rive case and his conclusions were not dissimilar to mine, though expressed a little differently and, on legal issues, IMO, much less precisely. He said that the defendants got off “remarkably lightly”; I said that the complainants were virtually shut out. Two sides of the same coin. On the Wunsch, King and IPCC cases, yes, there are findings against Swindle, but they are pretty small beer in the scheme things. You may not like it, but, as I said above, the complainants were looking for comfort in the wrong place.

  29. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    RE 28. SteveMC. you cannot expect Tobis or Dim Lambert to have standards that exceed those of
    crap on the boob tube.

  30. Follow the Money
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    “IPCC says they’re pleased with the ruling. First, who believes that?”

    They aren’t. That is why they overreact so. Hyper-spinning the truth. Pachauri goes way too far out, I’m surprised to see that from him.

    Also disheartening is the failure of Brit media to understand and revel in the wonderful British understated humor in the OFCOR report, brushing some of the complaints like flies.

  31. jae
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    My secondary point, which is what brings me here, is that to the extent that Durkin et al get off easy, it is very bad news, not something to crow about. It does nobody any good to imply by a celebratory attitude that Durkin’s program was anything other than grossly irresponsible and misleading. In doing so you pander to the less responsible elements among your audience.

    LOL. This what I call whining, major style.

  32. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    re 24. I’ve never seen the swindle. would never watch it. never seen AIT . would never watch it.
    I’ll read a paper. do what checking of the data I can do. But I’ve been in movies. and seen them made. It’s worse than hansen’s adjustments.

    I would however watch anything that wim wenders or werner herzog created.paul schrader too.

  33. Mike C
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    Ol’ Tobis just can’t quit [ snip] ? Just like the IPCC, the East Anglia folks, etc, etc, etc. Yes, they were all vindicated ::: hickup :::. Funny how the Ward crowd is whining about how TV 4 got off on a technicality.
    By the way, add Michael Tobis to the long list of alarmists who will not post disenting views on his blog.

  34. joy
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Tobis:
    Your tone is incredibly patronising. The fact that you feel that GGWS got off lightly and that that is not a matter for celebration is YOUR opinion and nothing more. It is not for you to judge what is “highly irresponsible” and whether any or indeed all of the posters here are “irresponsible”. Listn to yourself. Do you really believe that?… even in your quiet times? My horse is higher than yours!

  35. Smokey
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    I too noticed what jae noticed:

    Michael Tobis:

    “It does nobody any good to imply by a celebratory attitude that Durkin’s program was anything other than grossly irresponsible and misleading.”

    Mr. Tobis, I also request a statement of your opinion of An Inconvenient Truth. Please tell us how it compares with the accuracy of Mr. Durkin’s production. Was AIT a more accurate portrayal concerning the catastrophic effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the climate? Have the specific predictions that Mr. Gore made in AIT been accurate? Was Mr. Gore’s film ‘grossly irresponsible and misleading’? Or, was AIT sound and reputable climate science?

    I look forward to your informed response, and I thank you in advance.

  36. Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    # 28

    Steve McIntyre,

    Don’t expect too much from ideologists. Just, be patient.

  37. Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Steve, if I made untrue statements about you, I will retract them. Unlike a lot of people I know, I admit my mistakes and tend not to get too ego-involved with my ample imperfections. Please quote my error in full and explain my error briefly and I will give you such satisfaction as I can.

    I won’t be bullied, though.

    I meant to say that the tone of your first article was partisan and puerile in my opinion, and it feeds the partisan and puerile element in your audience, and consequently certainly malign in consequence if perhaps not in intent. I stand by that. I don’t believe I criticized any specific allegation of fact. I know little about the matter at hand beyond having suffered through GGWS and spotting numerous of the usual deceptions and misconceptions and at least one outright lie (that would be the graphic of the 20th C temperature record, right in your own bailiwick as it happens!).

    I criticized the tone of your report as severely detrimental to the constructive conversation we, everybody that is, urgently need to have. In short, maybe you’re disappointed in me but I was disappointed in you first.

    I don’t think it’s necessary for you to take offense. I also don’t see why, since I’m not entirely unsympathetic to some of your points, you are choosing to bait me in particular.

    As for Mike C: I welcome dissenting voices on my blog provided they are not trying to disrupt the conversation. I may have rejected perhaps a dozen comments so far, mostly on the grounds of pointless belligerence or sheer incoherence; surely not two dozen. I suppose I can give Mike C the benefit of the doubt if he can me, and chalk it down to a blogspot bug, unless perhaps he was rejected more than once.

    Steve: Michael, you’re being absurdly obtuse. One more time: In your post titled How the Public is Deliberately Misled , you made an untrue statement about this post. You falsely stated that I had said that the Ofcom judgement “vindicated” Swindle:

    McIntyre is portraying this as complete vindication of the propagandists.

    My post said exactly the opposite: that Ofcom did not say that Durkin;s point of view had been “vindicated”.

    That’s not to say that Ofcom said that Durkin’s point of view had been vindicated, merely that the complainants were seeking comfort in the wrong bed.

    You say:

    Please quote my error in full and explain my error briefly and I will give you such satisfaction as I can

    I had already done so on two different occasions. You have been well aware of the specific point and have refused to correct the false statement. This is dishonorable on your part. I expect you to behave honorably and, in this situation, that would give me satisfaction.

    In this case, I do not believe that you should perpetuate the false statement any longer or that a retraction some paragraphs later is adequate. I suggest that you replace the sentence quoted above with the sentence that I quoted above, noting that it is a quotation from my article. You are, of course, free to criticize the summary itself or the tone of the summary. I would prefer that you read the post with more insight than you’ve demonstrated so far, but obviously I can’t insist on that.

  38. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Tobis, the gang were “stuffed”, as Steve put it. They were not “vindicated”. Ofcom refused to judge on most of what you deem to be incorrect. That is precisely why Rado is “surprised and disappointed”. Do you read anything but what you write?

  39. Earle Williams
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Given the gleeful rancor of Mr. Tobis’ original posting and updates wherein he quotes Steve, I can only view this request to be shown the error of his ways as disingenuous in the extreme. Mr. Tobis’ words speak for themselves…

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-public-is-deliberately-misled.html

  40. jae
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    re 24. I’ve never seen the swindle. would never watch it. never seen AIT . would never watch it.
    I’ll read a paper. do what checking of the data I can do. But I’ve been in movies. and seen them made. It’s worse than hansen’s adjustments.

    LOL. Talk about irony…The King of UTube, no less!

  41. joy
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    Tobis:
    there you go again! If you know nothing of the details then how do you come to the conclusion that GGWS is “irresponsible”in it’s approach.” Your statements contradict throughout and display an arrogance that is breath-taking. Your statements cry out for such “purile” response. Who cares you or Steve was upset first. “you started it!” Can you not see? No because as you say you do not focuss on your many faults. Maybe a little bit ofegocentric fault focus is called for.

  42. Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    As far as I know there is only a single substantive error in An Inconvenient Truth, apparently due to an editing error.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/10/eight-errors-and-editing-error.html

    You may question the emphasis on certain points, but aside from one out-of-context bit, little that he said is even particularly contentious as a matter of substance. Gore’s position is not radical, it is centrist, moderate and responsible.

    The fact that this will strike some of you as a bizarre assertion is, I think, tragic.

    In short, it’s my opinion that anyone making a comparison between Gore and Durkin is deeply misinformed. Rather ironically, I can recommend Gore’s book “The Assault on Reason” to gain some insight into this. You can probably pick one up used if you are reluctant to support Mr Gore’s wasteful happy-go-lucky jet set lifestyle and all that.

  43. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Enough about AIT on this thread. IT can be discussed on its own on another occasion.

  44. TheDude
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    A New York court might be able to hear a lawsuit against the IPCC. With a little money bomb it could be under way.

  45. TheDude
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    All the suit needs is discovery anyways, no need even for the trial.

    Steve: Nope, it would be tossed day one for lack of jurisdiction.

  46. joy
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    In defence of Tobis:
    If I thought that the world needed to have a conversation about impending doom then I can see why light hearted jockules would seem purile. There is a lot of humour in the whole debate which calls out to be celebrated. So stop tickling Tobis and I’ll stop laughing.

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    I just visited Tobis’ website and, in true academic form, he refuses to correct his false statement in a complete and straightforward manner so that the matter is settled.

    He continues to make the untrue statement about I had said that the judgment “vindicated” SWindle, adding the following phrase also untrue as it is written:

    [Update: "vindication" is disputed by McIntyre; see below]

    This remains untrue: “vindication” is not “disputed” by me. I originally said that the judgment did not “vindicate” Swindle. Tobis said that I had said the exact opposite. His untrue statement remains on his blog, now accompanied with the words “”vindication” is disputed by McIntyre” that do not properly correct the untrue statement. Michael, I urge you to stop trying be sly and cute and fix things properly.

    He also added an excerpt from my #92 and linked to an article by Andrew Bolt, stating:

    unabashed admirers of McIntyre also read McIntyre’s description as vindication] of the propagandists

    Given that Bolt undoubtedly reads Lambert, Tobis may ironically have contributed to Bolt’s incorrect understanding by his untrue statements and by his failure to properly correct the untrue statements in a timely fashion. If so, then all the more reason why Tobis should have corrected his untrue statements when he first became aware of the error, rather than doing nothing and letting the problem get worse.

    Bolt does not use the term “vindication”. He does say that the Swindle defendants were “cleared”, which has a different meaning though still not what I said. In any event, when I became of Bolt’s post, I submitted the following comment which Bolt carried forward to his head post stating “Steve McIntyre, in comments, below, adds:”


    Please note that I did not say that Ofcom “vindicated” Swindle. In the post referred to here, I also said:

    “That’s not to say that Ofcom said that Durkin’s point of view had been vindicated, merely that the complainants were seeking comfort in the wrong bed. .. Ofcom resisted the temptation to opine on scientific truth; instead they did the job assigned to them legislation – to determine whether there had been a violation of Rule 2.2.”

    Rule 2.2 is a much different hurdle and it seems that, under UK legislation, productions can contain errors that do not rise to the level of being a Rule 2.2 error. There’s no basis for IPCC officials to claim that they’ve been “vindicated” nor for the producers to claim the opposite. I’d appreciate it if you clarified this in your characterization of my remarks.”

  48. trevor
    Posted Jul 23, 2008 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt is an excellent journalist, one of the very few determined to get to the bottom of what is really going on, and to assert plain common sense. He is doing a great job here in Oz, and reaches a wide audience through his newspaper columns, and particularly his blog: http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

    He addresses many more topics than Anthropogenic Global Warming, but is a rare voice of reason in the main stream media.

  49. Timo
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    You write:

    “I note that it appears that IPCC itself did not even file the “IPCC Complaint”. It appears to be another concoction by Rado and associates. Their website says that:
    Sir John Houghton … co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC…. Dr Pachauri co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC. …Martin Parry also co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC… Professor [Robert] Watson co-authorised our Fairness complaint on behalf of the IPCC.”

    which I take this as evidence that IPCC itself did not author the complaint. Normally, in order to be heard by Ofcom, a “fairness” complaint has to be made by the person directly affected. There are situations in which a third party can be authorized to make the complaint; I haven’t examined whether these situations apply here.”

    However, OFCOM states in its decision that it received three complaints of individuals/organizations which did participate in the documentary or were effected (see page 6, note 1). This would imply that the IPCC in fact did submit its own complaint. At least, OFCOM states that representatives of the IPCC from 1988 to present complained of unfair treatment. (page 44 before “The Complaint”). Maybe because this particular contribution of the website has been written by Benjamin Santer (who I believe is linked with the IPCC), causes the confusion. However, I do believe that David Rado et all most probably have written the Fairness Complaint for the IPCC.

    Interestingly, the IPCC website doesn’t mention anything the OFCOM-decision nor about the fact that the filed a complaint. Why does Pachauri makes a statement on this website, but doesn’t issue a statement on the IPCC-website?


    Steve:
    I haven’t seen the “IPCC complaint”. But my guess is that the “IPCC complaint” was written by the Rado group and “authorized”, as he says, by the 4 people referred to as “co-authorisers”. As I noted, the authorization process seems quite odd. Clearly two of the “co-authorizers” lacked any jurisdiction to commit IPCC. There’s an interesting legal issue here in relation to discovery. One of the exceptions to immunity of international organizations is if they voluntarily attorn to a national jurisdiction in a proceeding. Let’s suppose that Channel 4 or Durkin had asked IPCC to produce evidence that its process was “open and transparent” – let’s suppose that they’d asked for the various review comments that IPCC and IPCC authors have refused to produce. IPCC would have had to produce them in the Ofcom proceedings. If they refused, I’m not sure whether anything would have happened other than the case being decided against them, but it would have been interesting to see what happened. So committing IPCC as an organization to a proceeding is something that had significance for IPCC over and above the particular complaint and I’m surprised that it could be done in such a seemingly freelance way.

  50. bender
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    #48
    To say GGWS was “cleared” by Ofcom is a distortion of events. On the material facts of AGW science Ofcom begged ‘no jurisdiction’. That’s not a “clearing”. Bolt oversimplifies and misses the point. Scientists will judge what is factual and what is fictional, not media. Media, not scientists, will mediate with the public on what is best to do about those facts.

    AAGW science (“we’ve got to do something!”) may be 100% true. That doesn’t mean the specific mitigations being proposed aren’t a “swindle”. The complainants want the debate to be about the accuracy of the science. But the “swindle” hypothesis relates to the efficacy of mitigation. Separate issues. That’s, in part, why it is accurate to say they were “seeking comfort in the wrong bed”.

  51. Paul
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

    The salient point out of this is that the documentary did not mislead in a way thay would cause harm. There were arros, some corrected, as there always will be. There were elements that people might disagree with – as there always will be.

    There was a ticking off for not giving some of those parties cited in the program “enough” time to respond. BUt of course, this was to respond to material that was deemed to be not misleading anyway.

    Ofcom acted like any of these types of regulators, spreading concessions across complaining parties and defnedants alike – just look at how common these types of mixed verdicts are for Ofcom. But the salient ruling was that the program wasn’t misleading and participants views were not misrepresented.

    This clears the program for screening again, with no alteration in its substance.

    I say that is cleared.

    With all due respect, it doesn’t matter what Steve believes. That is just his opinion.

  52. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    re 40. hehe.

  53. Ed P
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    “Ofcom’s logic is that “the link between human activity and global warming… became settled before March 2007″.

    This being so, it says, climate science was not “controversial” at the time of broadcast, so Channel 4 did not break regulations by broadcasting something that challenged the link.

    “That’s a very big inconsistency,” said Sir John Houghton. “They said it’s completely settled, so why worry – so they can just broadcast any old rubbish.””

    This was up in a BBC article by Richard Black on Monday here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7517509.stm. If you check the beeb now you get an article by Richard Black under the same headline but without the above text contained which appeared previously under a sub-heading “Science settled” (the new article is here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7517101.stm). Did Ofcom at any time in its judgment say that “the link between human activity and global warming…. became settled before March 2007″? Or has Richard Black included a wild claim in his original article and then stealth edited it?

    Steve:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7517509.stm. I googled Houghton’s sentence.

  54. Ed P
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    I notice that the link to the old article in my comment above isnt working. But i can still access it by typing in the address to explorer. Very strange.

    Steve: Save the page if you want it. Maybe it’s in cache and that will expire.

  55. Gary
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    It’s this kind of episode, repeated too many times, that moves some of us from the “Trust, but verify” camp into the “Trust no one” side. Try as we might to defer to the authority of advisory bodies rather than let our personal opinions get in the way, they make it very difficult when they pull this act.

  56. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Carl Gullans says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Yes it is interesting even if only to see live some of the people like Lindzen. I would also recommend Bob Carter’s video on YouTube and I think also Pat Michaels has one.

  57. M. Jeff
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    snip -policy

  58. Ed P
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    It appears that I have been mistaken here in not comparing the articles closely enough. Both DO, in fact, say that Ofcom’s logic was that the science was settled before March 2007. It was remiss of me to miss this. However there are still significant differences between the two articles with the second one being much less of a hatchet job on Swindle. For example the sub-headings “No balance” and “Science settled” are absent. As is the picture of a foundering ship at the top with the caption “recent evidence has almost sunk the films contention that changes in the sun’s output are driving climate change”. Houghton’s quote is also absent. And in any event I can take the article to task for its interpretation of “Ofcom’s logic”. Ofcoms report specifically says that whislt there is a “declared consensus” of scientists and governments the link between human activity and global warming is “still a topic of debate”. Ofcom also said (rightly) that it was not their “role to adjudicate on whether global warming is man-made”. So why is Richard Black reporting that Ofcom have come out in favour of the IPCC consensus and allowing Houghton to misrepresent Ofcom’s position on the BBC website (at least in the original

  59. Gunnar
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    >> Not necessarily insane, but surely wrong

    How can a complete violation of the right to life, liberty and property not be insane?

    Discussing the practical consequences is like… well, it’s beside the point. I was going to give an analogy, but it might be flagged as inflammatory. Please insert your favorite injustice.

    On another subject. What authority does this Ofcom have? What happens next?

  60. ladygray
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    In doing so you pander to the less responsible elements among your audience.

    I resemble that remark . . .

  61. Tony Edwards
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    Steve, you left a stop at the end of your link in #53.
    Just going to read it now.

  62. M.Villeger
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Post #14, nailed it: it is the size of the audience that counts. As long as those are scientific papers with limited diffusion potential, one just need to concoct another peer-reviewed make work ad hoc paper -for instance the use of thermal wind derived equation to invalidate radio sonde mesurements of the troposhere- to feed the blogs.

    But the moment it touches television, a mass media, the risk becomes unacceptable. The crowing, uncorrected by the same mass media, shows clearly that science is not the end game. The question about censorship of research, publications, blogs is not IF but WHEN…

  63. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    When I made the following statement in a post in this thread I was not expecting such quickly appearing examples – but anyway, thanks, Michael Tobis for helping to make my point.

    Broad, sweeping and generalized statements are more in the realm and arsenal of the politician and I guess that is why I find these statements when made by scientists seemingly out of place.

    Whereas Michael Tobis, a scientist by trade, has stated for our edification:

    You may question the emphasis on certain points, but aside from one out-of-context bit, little that he said is even particularly contentious as a matter of substance. Gore’s position is not radical, it is centrist, moderate and responsible.

    The fact that this will strike some of you as a bizarre assertion is, I think, tragic.

    In short, it’s my opinion that anyone making a comparison between Gore and Durkin is deeply misinformed. Rather ironically, I can recommend Gore’s book “The Assault on Reason” to gain some insight into this. You can probably pick one up used if you are reluctant to support Mr Gore’s wasteful happy-go-lucky jet set lifestyle and all that.

    My secondary point, which is what brings me here, is that to the extent that Durkin et al get off easy, it is very bad news, not something to crow about. It does nobody any good to imply by a celebratory attitude that Durkin’s program was anything other than grossly irresponsible and misleading. In doing so you pander to the less responsible elements among your audience.

    Steve M, could not the fact that Michael Tobis has contributed little or no science to the discussions here at CA lead one to conjecture that he may come here to post to merely attract/divert some attention to his own blog. Even his comments about these issues that are peripheral to the science seem never to hone in on details, but stay at the level of pontifications.

    The essential message that I take away from Tobis’ comments here seems to be in a form of lecture for you not to incite the rabid skeptics who he thinks post and read here. What I find about this position to be so difficult to accept as genuine is it seems to imply, what would be very naively in my mind, that the participants at CA are a group of radicals who could push the climate debate in the “wrong” direction.

    If I am wrong about your motivations, Michael Tobis, put your mind at rest and think of many of the participants here as puzzler solvers and analyzers of papers, methods and processes. Then perhaps you would consider posting something of a more detailed nature here.

  64. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    re 62. that’s why they call me the hammer.

  65. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    A poster at William Connolley’s makes some excellent general points consistent with the interpretation of the ruling provided here and an interesting specific point about IPCC notice:

    A number of people – both here & elsewhere – seem to be making a common mistake about OfCom. It is a broadcasting regulator, NOT a scentific vetting agency, and thus it CANNOT make any kind of scientific judgements.

    Thus, certain commentators on both sides of this argument who are claiming “victory” over either Durkin/C4 or the IPCC/AGW-fraternity are ALL wrong…

    As the OfCom ruling clearly states, they are not a scientific organisation, and it’s clearly beyound their remit (and ability) to make a judgement on what is – or is not – an accurate fact WRT global warming theories. What it CAN do (and has done) is determined whether C4 and/or Durkin treated some of the people and organisations named (or participating in) the documentary fairly.

    I’ve not read the Wunsch or King rulings, but I have read the “accuracy complaint” and the IPPC ruling.
    IMHO, I’m a bit surprised that the IPCC got as many rulings in its favour as it did. Yes, the comments about IPCC were telling, and IPCC should have been given right-of-reply. In fact, it was, but (and this is the KEY bit), Durkin/C4 failed to give them a deadline to respond…. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Now, had I been that OfCom committee, I’d have bounced the complaint right out, because an earlier e-mail to the same IPCC employee had been answered on the same day – thus proving that the IPCC CAN move quickly if it wants to.

    As for the accuracy or otherwise of Swindle, I am making no comment.

    The point that IPCC had previously responded to an email on the same day is a good one and no one seems to have mentioned that in the arguments as summarized so far. Particularly in the context where Ofcom considers a “reasonable time” for responding to it to be very very prompt.

  66. Timo
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Re your answer to post 49. I also haven’t seen the IPCC Complaint, but I think we have also haven’t seen the individual complaints from David King and Carl Wunsch either. My guess is that the Rado group has written all complaints, but each person and the IPCC has submitted their claim individually and the IPCC on their own letterhead.

    The Fairness Complaint and the Complaint of Carl Wunsch are not available on OfcomSwindleComplaint-website.

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/About/FairnessComplaint/Overview.htm

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/About/Complaint/WunschComplaint.htm

    You write in your post: “I note that it appears that IPCC itself did not even file the “IPCC Complaint”. ….”.
    Maybe this sentence needs to be slightly amended in a way that it reflects the fact that the IPCC did file the complaint, but probably didn’t author the Fairness Complaint. Currently the text of your post gives the impression (at least to me) that somebody else than the IPCC did file the IPCC Complaint, which I believe is not true and is not reflected in the OFCOM decision. Maybe the sentence should read: “I note that the IPCC filed, but probably did not author the IPCC Complaint …”.

    “ ….written by the Rado group and “authorized”, as he says, by the 4 people referred to as “co-authorisers”…”. I believe this isn’t a statement from the Rado Group, but from Benjamin Santer, which to my opinion isn’t part of the Rado Group but took part in the Fairness Complaint from the IPCC.

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/About/Ruling/ContributorResponses.htm

    The responses refer to the complaint (i.e. the Group Complaint) and the Fairness Complaint. This particular page of the website is confusing and give the impression that they form one group.

    Steve: If you look at the entry for PAchauri at http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/About/Ruling/ContributorResponses.htm ,he is said by the Rado webpage to be a “co-authoriser” , separately from whatever Santer said. Until one can see the documents, it’s speculation, but my intuition is that nothing was ever submitted on IPCC letterhead or directly by IPCC, but was submitted by the Rado group, relying on the “co-authorization”. I’ve edited the text in question to try to make this a little clearer.

  67. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    The essential message that I take away from Tobis’ comments here seems to be in a form of lecture for you not to incite the rabid skeptics who he thinks post and read here.

    I take away yet another alarmist insulting the intelligence of every reader at CA, yet without being able to cite why we are so “wrong” or devoid of reason. To cite Gore as the voice of such reason that we all lack is, well, a touch of added humor.

    Mark

  68. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    From the poster at Connelly excerpt:

    I’ve not read the Wunsch or King rulings, but I have read the “accuracy complaint” and the IPPC ruling.
    IMHO, I’m a bit surprised that the IPCC got as many rulings in its favour as it did. Yes, the comments about IPCC were telling, and IPCC should have been given right-of-reply. In fact, it was, but (and this is the KEY bit), Durkin/C4 failed to give them a deadline to respond…. Nothing more, nothing less.

    This is the bit that bothers me about the IPCC response to the ruling which seems to spin it into something it was not. Failing to give a deadline to reply to a comment says nothing about the validity of the comment. I also think that when the discussions stay focused on the details of the rulings for Wunsch or King they become something much less than some of the generalized and political comments about the ruling seem to indicate.

    I think the astute viewer and reader of television and newspapers, and blogs for that matter, must train themselves to look for the details presented and avoid being influenced by the headlines or the conlusions reached by those producing the material. I find it rather ironic that we can agree mostly that OfCom has done what I suggest of the viewer/reader, but that once that was done back come the spinners to spin what was done by OfCom. Where does it, if ever, all end?

  69. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    re: #63 Ken,

    …could not the fact that Michael Tobis has contributed little or no science to the discussions here at CA lead one to conjecture that he may come here to post to merely attract/divert some attention to his own blog.

    Aha, someone else with the same take I have on it! I was going to make the same point if nobody else got around to it. Steve’s blog is quite popular and it’s got to be worth some effort to get people from here going to your own blog. Tobis seems to appear just too obtuse in getting Steve’s point to be the intelligent scientist we know he is… unless he has an ulterior motive.

  70. Jeremy
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    I’ve seen The GGWS and AIT. As a connoisseur of movies and having been trained in math and science I will say this; At least with GGWS I’m not force-fed both an appeal-to-emotion fallacy, and a graph of meaningless data presented as causation throughout the entire program. AIT sounds much more like a sales pitch.

  71. Jeremy
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Sorry Steve, I posted that before I read your moratorium on AIT in this thread.

    Re: #65

    I would say that the complaints directed at GGWS having come so late in the game and being spun so loudly by the IPCC and others is all the proof anyone needs to see that the IPCC is truly a political organization. Only politically-minded people seek that kind of spun-up, yet ultimately hollow public victory. Scientists don’t spout public complaints 5 years after being misrepresented, then claim total victory on their scientific viewpoints when the administrative ruling says that procedure 5 years ago wasn’t timely enough.

    It’s hysterical.

  72. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 24, 2008 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    re 42. and now we will quibble about the word Substantive.

    Michael. should a film purporting to be a DOCUMENTARY include scenes that purport to be actual footage, but in reality are generated by computer graphics and taken from movies that are fictional in basis?

    Substantive….. I like that word. so weasely.

    So the weasels defending AIT meet the weasels defending Swindle.

    I’d rather watch hot oil wrestling.

  73. MJW
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Professor John Mitchell OBE FRS, Director of Climate Science at the Met Office said: “We note Ofcom’s ruling today. The Great Global Warming Swindle programme put the message about man-made global warming back by 10 years in the public’s mind.”

    Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the IPCC, countless scary AGW stories from the AP, Reuters, the BBC, and many others, an Oscar winning film warning of a climatic apocalypse, etc., etc., etc., all undone by one modestly budgeted documentary. That’s gotta hurt.

  74. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I’m no expert, but I agree with your comment in #49 response

    So committing IPCC as an organization to a proceeding is something that had significance for IPCC over and above the particular complaint and I’m surprised that it could be done in such a seemingly freelance way.

    This will o’ wisp IPCC has had people wondering what its standing might be. If it has gained standing before a UK authority, perhaps the usual incorporation words “sue and be sued” are in the IPCC documentation. Intuition would have suggested the IPCC has no legal standing in UK, so it should not have joined in the OfCom matter. But since it did (if it did), it’s a two way street and the door most be open (a little at least) for legitimate reciprocal claims against IPCC.

    IMO the most obvious claim to press is your sensitivity favourite, “Can you show that a doubling of CO2 increases temp by X deg?” But it might have to be done in UK by a UK complainant.

    Since I’m not expert, I can add a quote from talk-back radio this morning:
    “Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level then defeat you by experience.”

  75. Scott-in-WA
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

    This question concerns the ongoing defense of the Hockey Stick, which remains quite vociferous in most pro AGW quarters. I ask it here for lack of a better place.

    When I say “hockey stick” I mean the very latest thinking and analysis which eliminates the Medievel Warm Period as a world-wide phenomena and which retains the characteristic hockey stick shape, even if the details vary somewhat from the earliest versions of ten years ago.

    The question: Does there exist in the year 2008 some version of the Hockey Stick which is supported by a complete set of archived information and analysis — one which represents an “end-to-end” auditable trail of scientific information and scientific analysis starting with field investigation work and data collection, thence detailed analysis/investigation including computer codes and electronic data sets, thence research paper authorship and peer-review processes, and thence final journal publication?

    Steve: No. For example, Yamal is problematic on two counts: there’s no objective way of preferring it to Polar Urals Update; and the measurement data is unarchived. Merely swapping these two versions yields different results in several HS versions. Similarly, the addiction to bristlecones/foxtails has affected multiple versions. None of the recons is clean.

  76. Scott-in-WA
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    Scott-in-WA: The question: Does there exist in the year 2008 some version of the Hockey Stick which is supported by a complete set of archived information and analysis — one which represents an “end-to-end” auditable trail of scientific information and scientific analysis starting with field investigation work and data collection, thence detailed analysis/investigation including computer codes and electronic data sets, thence research paper authorship and peer-review processes, and thence final journal publication?

    Steve: No. For example, Yamal is problematic on two counts: there’s no objective way of preferring it to Polar Urals Update; and the measurement data is unarchived. Merely swapping these two versions yields different results in several HS versions. Similarly, the addiction to bristlecones/foxtails has affected multiple versions. None of the recons is clean.

    I have a motive for asking this question. Some of the most vociferous pro-AGW, pro Hockey Stick personages I’ve encountered are employed at government-supported climate research organizations which are part of the national laboratory system.

    But within these same national laboratories are other organizations which support nuclear energy research and the nuclear industry. I have observed that the climate research side of the house does not pursue its work with nearly the same level of process rigor and process discipline as does the nuclear research side of the house.

    For example, if one is writing a Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) for some nuclear-related activity, everything associated with that analysis must be available for detailed examination and review. It is OK to reference outside material as long as that material remains retrievable in the form that it was employed within the analysis. If any portion of the work done to investigate, analyze, and author the DSA is not retrievable for detailed examination and review, the DSA is invalidated — poof, just like that.

    I observe directly that no such philosophy is now being applied to government-supported climate research. I say once again, this area is fertile ground for a GAO audit of how climate science research is being managed within US government agencies.

  77. Luis Dias
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    #Scott-in-WA:

    It’s a shame. How can a thinking person knowing these facts not be at least frowning his eyebrows at the immaturity of this scientific field?

    And yet, they ask us to deliver dozens of trillions of dollars to change our lifestyles, based on this kind of immaturity…

    It is frigtheningly kafkanian.

  78. Gunnar
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    snip

    >> But within these same national laboratories are other organizations which support nuclear energy research and the nuclear industry.

    Makes sense, since AGW was originated by Thatcher’s political team as a way to increase support for nuclear power. I personally support nuclear power, as long as it can be done safely, but I don’t agree with tricking people into it. “If we don’t build nuclear power, we’re all going to die”.

    The bottom line is that you shouldn’t expect that the different levels of rigor are accidental or an oversight.

  79. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    re 77. its beyond kafka it’s pynchonian

  80. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    ACtually there’s an interesting backstory here which I’ve alluded to from time to time. CDIAC, the Carbon Dioxide Information Center, was (and I think still is) funded by the US Department of Energy nuclear labs. It’s located at Oak Ridges, Tennessee. That’s who has funded Phil Jones all these years. When Michael Mann applied for a Hollander fellowship to write MBH, the application letter would have gone to the Oak Ridges nuclear lab. Some of the incentive for funding early CO2 research came from the nuclear industry post Three Mile Island and in a way, it may have proved a rather far sighted investment for that industry.

    I say this not because I think that this funding taints their research – I don’t; any defects of their research have to be shown on their merits, but there is a certain irony in their stridency given this paternity.

  81. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    mosh: hot oil weasel wresting?

    “Durkin/C4 failed to give them a deadline to respond. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    And ofcom said it quite at length, with a touch of dry wit.

    By the way, those of you posting links, forget normal punctuation, it messes up the URL. Those links to articles should just end

    Like being more likely by .5

    Not more likely by .5.

  82. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Speaking of record handling, here’s a particularly amusing defence of negligence of scientists in archiving data over at Connolley’s: they are less lazy than filmmakers. Mosher wrote:

    I was pleased to that the filmakers actually kept good records of their emails and their raw footage. I was also pleased to see that they supplied this material when asked. It’s a standard that we should hold climate science to.

    imagine that. science held to the same standards as schlock documentary makers.

    Posted by: steven mosher | July 24, 2008 12:39 PM

    The defence:

    Keep in mind that the retention of records may be a sign of laziness rather than high standards. I’ve got thousands of emails still on our email servers, much to our network admin’s chagrin. I really should delete them, but I’m lazy. Imagine that. Scientists may be less lazy than me and that Durkin fellow.

    Posted by: pough | July 24, 2008 12:51 PM

    You couldn’t make this up.

  83. Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    This is a little off topic but relates particularly to Steve or David Holland.

    Whilst browsing the Met office web site (see posting in threads re new Chief scientist) I came across the following re Freedom of Information Act.

    “This statement applies to all information held in Met Office, i.e. all the information created, received and maintained by staff of the Met Office in the course of their work”.

    I am sure you are well aware of this, but it put into perspective for me the claim that Mitchell did not need to release information as he did IPCC work in his spare time. Surely any reasonable reading of the above contradicts this?

    Tony Brown

  84. Posted Jul 25, 2008 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    Dave Rado has just left a comment on my blog taking exception to my describing him as an ‘environmental activist’ and saying that he has never heard of either Phil Jone or Myles Allen. I’m surprised that he hasn’t felt able to respond to any of the criticisms of his complaint to Ofcom here.

  85. PaddikJ
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    that’s why they call me the hammer.

    hmmm… sounds more like a Commissar.

    its beyond kafka it’s pynchonian

    Indeed; gives a whole new meaning to “Across the sky comes a screaming.”

  86. PaddikJ
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    Is Climatology a pseudo-science or a nascent science? Being a generous sort, I generally lean towards the latter, but the Tobian comments on this thread have given me a firm shove in the other direction.

    Why does that name sound eerily familiar? Ah – brain coughs up another trivioid: The late, lamented Truth or Truthiness; sorry, can’t recall the lady’s name, but she was helplessly glued to this tar-baby for several weeks.

  87. PaddikJ
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Finally getting sleepy; not sure if this is OT or disallowed, but I’m sure the Snipster will do his thing if needed.

    Question: Does paying a ghostwriter to hack up a book on the putative Assault on Reason when you yourself regularly indulge in the practice make you a hypocrite-squared or a hypocrite once-removed?

    Yawn. Guess I’ll leave that one to the logicians.

  88. kim
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    84 (TonyN) That’s an excellent post you have there at ‘Harmless Sky’ on Ofcom. ‘Unwise choice of tense’ is my laugh of the day.
    =============================================

  89. jryan
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    I’m just wondering… what if Channel 4 said that they were going to rerun GGWS in one months time and notify the IPCC that it was going to air. What do you suppose the outcome of that would be? They would certainly have ample time to respond.

  90. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    The IPCC had sufficient time to respond in the first place, they were given even more working days than required. That’s the only odd thing about the Ofcom decision. As I told Dave Rado over there, he was asking the wrong people to opine upon the science; not their job.

    My question to anyone who’s seen both AIT or TGGWS, which is the most exagerated in the conclusions, and which has the most factual errors? How many clear errors are there (not differences of opinion, but total misrepresentation of the facts) in both? Or in other words, are there any out and out lies?

    For example, TGGWS says this:

    Anne Mougella is about to cook a meal for her children. She is one of the two billion people – a third of the world’s population – who have no access to electricity. Instead they must burn wood or dried animal dung in their homes. The indoor smoke this creates is the deadliest form of pollution in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, 4 million children under the age of five die each year from respiratory diseases caused by indoor smoke; and many millions of women die early from cancer and lung disease, for the same reason.

    The WHO in June 2005 said:

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has assessed the contribution of a range of risk factors to the burden of disease and revealed indoor air pollution as the 8th most important risk factor and responsible for 2.7% of the global burden of disease . Globally, indoor air pollution from solid fuel use is responsible for 1.6 million deaths due to pneumonia, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer, with the overall disease burden (in Disability-Adjusted Life Years or DALYs, a measure combining years of life lost due to disability and death) exceeding the burden from outdoor air pollution five fold. In high-mortality developing countries, indoor smoke is responsible for an estimated 3.7% of the overall disease burden, making it the most lethal killer after malnutrition, unsafe sex and lack of safe water and sanitation.

    So is this a lie, a distortion, an exageration, or simply that TGGWS got the figure from elsewhere, either a news story that had a different WHO source, a different source misatributed to the WHO, or the reporter made up? Certainly it’s not totally correct, the number is inflated from WHO, so is this just hype to make things seem more dire a la AIT with a number made up by TGGWS? What would it be called?

  91. Follow the Money
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Sam:

    Here’s a possibility where “4 million” comes

    http://www.childproofing.org/news/archives/2006/06/june_16_-_one-q.htm

    Sloppy, but at least there’s a source for the mistake. I can’t remember any video deception being bigger than Al Gore’s escalating ladder/hockey stick graph stunt, though.

  92. harold
    Posted Jul 28, 2008 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    All thes death causes are conjured from a high hat IMO.
    “Australia’s air pollution death toll is higher than fatalities from road accidents”

    http://www.csiro.au/files/mediaRelease/mr2004/PrAirPollution2.htm

    “Air pollution is responsible for 310,000 premature deaths in Europe each year, research suggests.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4283295.stm

  93. Daryl M
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    For those who haven’t read Richard Lindzen’s paper, “Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?”, this thread is reproduced in an appendix. Here is a link to the paper: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf.

  94. Neil Craig
    Posted Dec 9, 2008 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    Directly following Ofcom’s decision I made a complaint that broadcasters had reported Magabe, Karadzic & indeed the Swindle decision without giving any of them an opportunity to put their sides.

    Readers will be astonished to learn that Ofcom believes there is no duty to do so saying:

    “The requirement for due impartiality in news is important but this does not automatically mean that equal representation of views will be required in every report. There is scope under the Code to take a number of factors into consideration, including the nature of the story; the level of broad consensus; the degree to which it relates directly to the UK; and the appropriate judgement of a journalist on the ground ”

    So basicaly they enforce the “broad consensus” of government claims (it is quite obvious checking online that therer is no non-governmental consensus).

    http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2008/08/ofcom-ignore-thier-own-rules-to-promote.html

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  1. [...] Additionally, Ofcom ruled on three other complaints which alleged that the filmmakers hadn’t  given the IPCC and others sufficient opportunity to respond to criticism appearing in the film. McIntyre dealt with each of them separately here, here, and here. [...]

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