UK Parliamentary Inquiry into CRU

The UK Science and Technology Committee today announced an inquiry into “THE DISCLOSURE OF CLIMATE DATA FROM THE CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA” with the full text of the press announcement as follows:

The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three questions:

— What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
— Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
— How independent are the other two international data sets?

The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.

Background
On 1 December 2009 Phil Willis, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of UEA following the considerable press coverage of the data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The coverage alleged that data may have been manipulated or deleted in order to produce evidence on global warming. On 3 December the UEA announced an Independent Review into the allegations to be headed by Sir Muir Russell.

The Independent Review will:
1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds .

Submissions
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

Each submission should:
a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
b)be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c)have numbered paragraphs
d)include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to ccitechcom@parliament.uk and marked “Climatic Research Unit”. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:
—Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
—Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
—Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
—Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.


150 Comments

  1. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Steve,

    3000 words. Gunna gave to tighten up on the writing.

    1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

    2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

    #1 on the list would be the contamination of confidential with non confidential data.
    #2. reliance on confidential data when that data has not been shown to be NECESSARY, per FOIA guidelines. ( I’ve got a request and appeal in on this)
    #3 Various others
    3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

    #1. Jones corruption of the officers.
    #2. His advice to Santer
    #3. Mail deletion issue
    #4. Palmers action vis a vi the holland requests.
    #5. The “confidential documents” argument “academics”
    #6. The release to Mann et all.

    4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds .

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

      Steve Mosh, careful, I think we are supposed to comment on the 3 questions

      — What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
      — Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
      — How independent are the other two international data sets?

      NOT on 1. 2. 3. 4.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

        Ya… Thanks, I’m trying to figure out if all the issues will get covered.

        Havent started anything yet. Wont for a bit.

    • Mike Singleton
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

      Divide up the task.

  2. patrick healy
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Phew! i never thought i’d live to see this day. it is like Climategate de ja vu all over gain!

    I am not sure if this is applicable to U.K. voters only.
    as i am a pure ‘amauteur’ committed agnostic on AGW, we need to submit considered and logical counterpoints to the so called consensus.
    what we need is real evidence of malpractice.
    if people like me are to make sensible submissions we need guidance from the experts on this site to progmulate same.

    things are beginning to look north.

    • ThinkingScientist
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

      Concerning the issue as to whether only UK voters can contribute. If this is the case then as a UK voter, I am happy to make a submission on behalf of others who may be more qualified to write the submission than I.

  3. Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    PaulM, exactly right, it’s the three questions that the Science and Technology Committee have added to the party that are crucial. And what good questions.

    There will be a lesson for future generations in all this one day. As one famous wartime UK leader said: “Never give up, never surrender.” Thanks to those that didn’t.

    • theduke
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

      That “wartime UK leader” also said that “Words are the only things that last forever.” I’m sure that’s no comfort to those whose words are at issue here.

      I’m not an expert in British politics, but I think this is the most significant and far-reaching investigation that has been announced thus far. It sounds like they know what they are looking for, which is basically malfeasance in a very important field of science, one that is being used to dramatically re-shape public policy.

      The people whose “words” are captured in these emails probably understand that this could be very big trouble for them. If the emails are accurate and representative of what was going on, then they have good reason to think this.

      It’s crucial that the investigation be conducted fairly and does not become a witch hunt. I’m not familiar with how these committees work under British law, but it would be interesting for some of the Brits who post here to describe the process.

  4. bobdenton
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    My first reaction was that an enquiry into the scientific issues independent of the institutions that hosted the alleged delinquency is welcome.

    On reflection, I wonder how useful the opinions of a panel of politicians on “the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?” I imagine they’ll be self-serving. If they conclude that “we corrupted the scientists” I’ll eat my hat.

    I’ve read the blogs, I’ve read the emails and a great deal of commentary on them and I’ve also read a number of the relevant academic papers. I have an opinion on the extent of delinquency of various persons.

    The integrity of scientific research appears to be what it always has been, secondary to the careers of scientists and therefore secondary to political patronage.

    I suppose scientists around the world have followed developments in the blogosphere and formed their own conclusions. These are the people who matter and upon whose opinion the future careers of the participants in ClimateGate will depend.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

      snip – over-editorializing

      • bobdenton
        Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

        It would have read better as “secondary to the careers of scientists and therefore susceptible to political patronage.”

        But yes, both matter , but they matter differently. The policy makers can corrupt, in due course the broader scientific community corrects.

        When grant applications are being syndicated I wonder how often UEA CRU is currently approached to participate? When current funding expires some of the participants will have reached the end of their present careers.

        This enquiry (including the enquiry into an enquiry) will add to the bun-fight element, but its more likely to be entertaining than edifying. This is a new committee looking to make a mark.

      • snowmaneasy
        Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

        The release says “from interested parties” and so we need to ascertain if non UK citizens can submit ? I think they can..

      • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

        In a way, CRU are just the fall guys for a far more widespread, insidious, endemic corruption of Science. You just have to read Richard Somerville’s recent statement for Scripps (see recent WUWT) or the recent Nature editorial to see the use of the D-word appearing like a trigger alert to a whole article of pure unscientific rubbish. These two are indicators of a corruption of standards in Science, at least Climate Science, that goes right across the board and implicates leading science journals, leading science organizations, and leading environmental organizations.

        This is not to exonerate Phil Jones. It is to draw attention to the fact that we have a many-headed Hydra here, where multiple wrongs need to be righted all together, so that people can no longer use this type of catch-phrase “well, the Mann HS is in doubt. But the conclusions are robust because there is lots more evidence” and the research grants are still flowing for lots more evidence again.

        Each individual fragment of evidence can be, and needs to be, shown to be wanting. But that seems to be a Herculean task. I attempted to do precisely that in my “Primer” (click my name) but the price I paid was a lack of the level of rock-solid irrefutability one sees here at CA, in a narrow but crucial part of this Hydra monster.

        Steve: As always, I urge people not to try to over-generalize.

        • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

          One can’t deal with the Hydra in 3000 words. What I think is achievable is to appeal to a national pride that has been wounded by such grotty standards in a unit considered up to 17 November to be one of the most prestigious in the world. We in the UK have to clean house (which is an American expression I think – that’s what the blogosphere does to you!) This committee may indeed be wanting to make its name, as someone suggested earlier. Well, here’s a great opportunity to lead the world, to set standards of openness that will then be copied everywhere else. Those are the kind of buttons to push I think, for the very best of reasons.

        • Duke C.
          Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

          Lucy-
          Your username link is broken. Can you post a direct link?

        • Lucy Skywalker
          Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

          Re: Duke C. (Jan 22 22:32), http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm. Ha, this is one for MrPete – the wonderful CA Assistant is cutting my URL short.

  5. vince winstanley
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. “U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

  6. AQ42
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Only problem: they are going to be pushed to finish this before the election.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

      Yep, we should insist that the job is done thoroughly, whatever it takes. It is very interesting timing. Climategate and thus the whole of global warming mitigation, carbon trading and energy policy – particularly the effect on energy prices – as election issue? Wouldn’t that be something?

    • Boudu
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

      If the Inquiry were to report by May, when we are likely to have a General Election it could give the incoming government a solid reason to review their climate change policy.

      Do we know if only UK citizens can submit suggestions for the terms of reference ?

      • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

        This is a request for information on the subject.

        But please make their job as easy as you can by supplying them good quality, well thought out information in an easy to digest form. Remember they get 10,000s of what you or I would consider “junk” mail each year, so keep it short and punchy!

      • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

        WIKI Response

        I have created a page on ClimateMice.com** http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Comment.ClimategateInquiry where I will be developing an onlilne submission to the committee.

        If anyone would like to come and help me out, their assistance would be welcome.

        **a small project reliant on good science – so shelved since climategate!

  7. Stun
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Well, it doesn’t look like the committee is well funded. Word 2003 (or below) and they haven’t got a colour printer. I’m not qualified to answer the questions properly, but I’m sure that myself and others would be delighted to submit non-UK residents’ submissions to the committee. Has gone largely unreported over here so far – not a surprise given the BBC’s stance.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

      One can legitimately read the technical conservatism (Word 2003, limited colour) as seeking to provide an even playing field to submitters, however poverty-stricken. And perhaps that’s no bad thing when we see what massive budgets and full colour on the front and inside IPCC reports has been used to ahem, hide.

  8. David Holland
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    Anyone can submit a comment to Select Committees. They will invite who they wish. Richard Lindzen and Richard Tol both appeared before the House of Lords Select Committee on Economics for their enquiry into the Economics of Climate Change.

    Just follow the published rules.

  9. Carl Smith
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    The good news is this will ensure that Climategate will continue to generate headlines far into 2010. Further, it will help diminish concerns of a whitewash in the CRU’s investigation of Phil Jones and Penn State’s investigation of Michael Mann.

  10. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    — What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
    — Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
    — How independent are the other two international data sets?

    With that in mind.. Perhaps we should Start here by addressing EACH question in order.

    THREAD DISCIPLINE PEOPLE.

    Format:

    Copy the question: write your stuff. I’ll show you how. We used a group process to do FOIA once so follow the instructions.

  11. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    — What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

    1. The IPCC process needs more transparency… blah blah blah
    2. The Hadcru temperature index needs to turned over to an independent body
    3. Chapter 6 of the AR4 needs to be corrected.

    ( just examples off the top of my head)

    So if people do their comments like that then people who want to submit will have something to work from.

    If we work as group rather than just flame about it’ll be more focused.
    So, It’d be great if people just addressed a single question per post.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

      I think it’s fair to welcome comments today (Friday) on any implications people see, in any direction, given that the announcement appears new and important.

      But, by tomorrow (Saturday), I think your proposal – each post on just one of the committee’s questions – should be close to a standard. That could greatly help those of us who’d like to put something constructive and persuasive into the committee by 10 Feb.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

        Agreed, I dont want to control the conversation. But it will be helpful
        if people are interested to just follow a format for posting their thoughts.

        Trust me trying to read a blog and comments and come away with a clear sense of things can be mind numbing.

        Also, somepeople may just want to take questiin #1 and do 3000 words on that!

        Other people may want to do question 2 and do 3000 on that!

        Some people may want to take 1 issue with question 1 and do 3000 words.
        .

        Its jan 22? feb 10 is close

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

          I’ve gone off my own advice, now that it is Saturday! Too much is unclear to know what ‘thread discipline’ even means. Patience is required until wiser and more informed heads give us the low-down.

    • Barclay E MacDonald
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

      Mosh

      Shouldn’t we stress the importance of the committee first determining what is “acceptable scientific practice” and what are the duties of the CRU and the UEA for maintaining and releasing data? In other words before embarking on an investigation first determine what are the standards to which they will be holding the investigated parties?

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

        One would think, but that line doesnt seem open.

        — What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

        What I read into this is that the CRU inquiry will just say “nothing has changed in the science” And thats true, nobody has used these mails to write a science
        paper contradicting Jones. And you dont find jones saying ” hey 1990 data, I made that shit up” even IF JONES DID SAY THIS, you’d have the norberts of the world say he was joking. So the operative word here is INTEGRITY of the research and the implications.

        The integrity of research is buttressed by these factors:

        1. Lack of financial interest.
        2. Lack of political interest.
        3. Lack of selfish interest
        4. Checks on 1-3 through peer review.
        5. proper maintenence of records and documents.

        For peer review to function as a check on the science and guarntee
        of integrity the following must be followed.

        1. Editors without a clear conflict of interest
        2. Reviewers without a clear conflict of interest.
        3. Release of data and methods so that results can be checked.

        Without these in place the integrity of the research is put into question.
        Results of a process without integrity MAY or MAY NOT be comprimised
        But, demonstrating that the science has been comprimised is getting
        the burden of proof wrong and MORE IMPORTANTLY it sets a horrible
        precedent for the future. If efforts to undermine the integrity are not
        properly handled, like prosecutorial misconduct, then the future integrity
        wil always be in question.

        • JT
          Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

          Surely the integrity of scientific research is founded upon truthful reporting of data and methods sufficient to make replication of all or any portion of said data or methods practicable; understandable and well organized arguments relevant to said data and methods sufficient to make meaningful discussion practicable, and accessible avenues of reputable publication of the foregoing sufficient to make interested dialogue practicable.

    • François GM
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

      I agree with your 3 points, but I would recommend more general statements, for example, author disclosure of potential conflicts of interest (financial or NON-financial – such as membership in related organizations/lobbies) and transparency in the peer-review process (e.g. reviewers to be identified).

      Best regards,

      François

  12. Solomon Green
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Gentlemen and ladies. 3,000 words is not as long as you may think. Particularly as the committe will not be scientists and will require a layman’s BRIEF summary of the submission otherwise they will probably not read it and almost certainly will not understand it. May I suggest that those of you with specialist knowledge in the relevant fields including IT and statistics contact each other and discuss your submissions before submitting. AND MAKE SURE YOUR CVs ARE INCLUDED IN THE SUBMISSIONS SO THAT THE COMMITTEE CLERKS CANNOT SUGGESTS THAT YOU ARE NUTTERS AND THE SUBMISSIONS CAN BE IGNORED BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE.

    Also please do not be put off – submissions should not be restricted to UK citizens.

  13. EdB
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    1. Publish on line in raw form the entire temperature record and all proxy data used for IPCC referenced reports.

    2. The computations done on the temperature records, and proxies, must be explained in metadata, and the code provided.

    3. Computer models used to forcast century climate, must be public and fully documented.

  14. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Please all note the following sentence:

    —Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

    This means discussion here shouldn’t get into the nuts and bolts of a given submission since it wouldn’t then be confidential. Discussions about what subjects might be of interest and what sort of format would be acceptable would be allowable but not the specifics a particular individual has.

  15. David L. Hagen
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    “— What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?”
    For those submitting, suggest considering implications of the Harry ReadmeFile, especially the ARGH!!!!! revelations, and metadata (or lack thereof)

    1) Reproducibility: Documentation & history of the original data.
    cf Watts’ Surface Station review

    2) Documentation of ALL adjustments to the data

    3) Quality control/assurance, provenance of data files
    Best practice software methods, quality assurance methods

  16. Dave Leary
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Might suggest a step-wise process whereby 1) various Commenters suggest key bullet points (and brief explanatory text) – as per Mosher’s suggestion, and 2) some sort of voting process takes place (each person identify his / her top ten bullet points) 3) a rack-up takes place – and then: Steve and Mosh do what they want! Ha ha ha! I am SO glad to be able to watch you guys in action; makes me SO proud. My two cents (pence):

    — What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
    * Main scientists created a culture of corruption, lured by romance / POWER of acting as Politicians and Policy Makers – as opposed to adhering to well-established scientific standards of conduct. They lost sight of who they were and their role in the process; they became advocates (closet or otherwise per Pielke Jr), and commited felonies wrt FOIA.
    * The main OBSERVATION for me is that standards of scientific research (scientific process, accessibility of data, interfering with publications, discussion of negative tests (how do we prove AGW ISN’T happening) were not adhered to (in fact, subverted).

    The IMPLICATIONS ARE:
    1) The integrity of ‘Climate Science’ is in doubt (good work will get washed by this as well)
    2) The Integrity of CRU is in tatters; East Anglia and UK research not far behind
    3) because these particular scientists have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted with such an important task –
    a) Jones needs to go (minimum), wholesale shake-up and new mgmt (if allowed to continue to run)
    b) minimum data publication standards need to be defined and audited by Gov’t, and
    c) there needs to be strong oversight by an independent group of auditors (in somewhat an advesarial relationship) on integrity of data quality.

    • Dave Leary
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

      294 words btw

  17. philh
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    The second area of inquiry will be the toughest to compress as it has to answer, basically, four seperate questions. The first and third will be relatively less complex and can be rather concisely answered by those (in the case of the third) of you having expertise (Anthony and contributors? ) in this area. The first, less technically oriented, while many here are qualified, might be down the alleys of Willis, Mosh and Craig. Maybe 1,500 words on the second and 750 each on the other two. Just ideas. Committee writing, unfortunately, is almost always unsatisfactory and generally, a pain in the ass. It needs to be done quickly and circulated to a select few for pre-submission comments. Since Mosh has already done a huge amount of work on this, he appears to be the logical choice to do the writing. I expect the Bishop will do his own submission.

    Good luck to those of you preparing this. Since it is confidential (why, I wonder?)I guess the rest of us will not be seeing it for some while.

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: philh (Jan 22 17:37), please note the wording carefully – the confidentiality is conditional

      —Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

  18. philh
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Final comment: the submission needs to be tough, accurate and polite.

    Of course, you may want to send it to Phil J and Michael M for a final run through.

  19. philh
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    On the matter of confidentiality, I assume that would not exclude actual signers of the submission.

  20. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    I volunteer to help with any ‘nit-picky’ details but I need to say why. I think that the way to move ahead is too agree that transparency (data, code, etc.) for all taxpayer funded research should be the norm. There may be legitimate exclusions. Curious, diligent, perhaps even ‘qualified’, citizens have to be allowed to examine the raw data so that they may decide for themselves what it means. Maybe even blog about what they think.

    One ClimateAudit policy has a statement regarding politics. It’s a good policy. One problem that has been revealed by examining released emails is that the science part of raw data can get mangled with the politics part. Citizens of any country should not have to file FOIA requests in order to view what they have already paid for. There should be no need for special investigations. If that’s what it takes then it’s fine by me.

    The ethical danger I perceive is that once transparency is truly becoming a norm then some may try to play ‘Gotcha’ in spite of a good faith effort to work towards the norm. Well, I hope that curious and diligent citizens will be aware of that when it happens. I will self-describe myself as being a ‘lab rat’ (experimentalist, and nothing wrong with theoreticians– the ones I know work as hard as I do.). I could say more personal stuff but I’m trying to stay on topic.

    I trust Steven Mosher to craft 3000 words. Using some thread discipline, Mosher said:

    “— What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?”

    Disclosures are good. Nobody should be playing ‘Gotcha’. Frankly, it’s not a game but good scientists need to know that.

    “1. The IPCC process needs more transparency… blah blah blah”

    Transparency as a norm. I understand the necessity of limiting any statements to the specifics of the inquiry.

    “2. The Hadcru temperature index needs to turned over to an independent body”

    There has been a serious, ongoing discussion regarding independence. Also, coi vs. COI. I’m not talking datasets. Perhaps, ‘trusted’ vs. ‘independent’? (I know about ‘trust me’ wah wah.)

    “3. Chapter 6 of the AR4 needs to be corrected.”

    Stick to the specifics of the inquiry but I wouldn’t be surprised, later, if some retractions (not just addendums) are coming along.

    If it seems like I was on a soapbox, well I wasn’t. I was on an empty cat litter container that needed to get crushed before it hit the recycle bin (no joke intended).

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

      All good thoughts.

      I trust that Ross Mc, for example, could do 3000 words on question number .
      Implications for the integrity of the science:

      1. Jones said he would redefine peer review to keep ROSS (micheals and mckitrik) out of IPCC ( see the mails)
      2. Jones did for a while ( ZOD and FOD) ( see the IPCC records)
      3. Jones finally had to deal with Ross’s paper and did by making shit up ( IPCC final draft )

      TOUGH Questions: is the IPCC report “science?” Answer. When they want to call it science or refer to it as an authority it is “science.” When you attack it, you are a denialist. When they attack it, its called a conservative document.
      When you find a flaw, you are a nit picker or gadfly. When you find a big problem, then it doesnt matter because there are many lines of evidence.
      When you have even bigger problems, then “its not science, its just a report!”
      and YOU are making too much out of it, the real science is what matters.

      Feel like you are chasing your epistemological tail?

  21. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    Careful. (1). Say only enough about yourself to establish credentials and standing, nothing about leaning.

    (2) Have a thought about this. Whereas Steven gives an example above — “What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research? Answer: The IPCC process needs more transparency… blah blah blah”

    This does not address the term of reference. Asking “What are the implications … for integrity” involves a judgement of the good or harm done; it does not invite suggestions as to remedy.

    As one who has modestly participated in processes like these many times, please read and re-read the terms of reference and constrain your perceived opportunities. The terms are adequate; if you go beyond them, the reviewers are duty bound not to heed excursions.

    3. On the term about independence of data sets, do not comment unless you have primary evidence, including an understanding of which data sets comprise the other two. The answer has to come from example, not from supposition.

    4.If you wish to make an impact, make a deep and meaningful, short and relevant response.

    That’s my initial 2 bob’s worth. It’s meant to add to the above, not to criticise it.

    • jim edwards
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

      Sound advice.

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

      Geoff Sherrington, your post here is brilliant. I will pass it on as sound advice to all my apprentices, regardless of what presentation they may be preparing.

      Generalized, I will call them “Sherrington’s Dicta”
      (1). Say only enough about yourself to establish credentials and standing.
      (2) Read and re-read the terms of reference and constrain your perceived opportunities. The terms are adequate; if you go beyond them, reviewers are duty bound not to heed excursions.
      3. Do not comment unless you have primary evidence, including a deep understanding of the topic. Answers must come from example, not from supposition.
      4.If you wish to make an impact, make your words deep and meaningful. Provide only short and relevant responses.

      Thank you for these great dicta for me to pass to those I train and mentor!

      Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
      Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis

  22. MK
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    For those of you wondering how to make a useful submission in 3000 words or less to an investigative and policy-oriented audience such as the Science and Technology Committee, Bishop Hill’s post of November 20, 2009 entitled Climate Cuttings 33, including his updates, is less than 1800 words (http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2009/11/20/climate-cuttings-33.html). That post summarizes in bullet point format 53 of the most egregious emails, with links to the relevant emails. The Climate Cuttings 33 post is, IMHO, responsive to the inquiry’s Question 1, “What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?” It, or something similar, could very easily be submitted under cover of a short, courteous and direct statement about the implications of Climategate for the integrity of climate-related research, especially the IPCC process, with the bullet points annexed as supporting information.

    • Dave
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

      On a purely tactical note, I think it would generally be a mistake even to attempt to make so much as a whole point in three thousand words. For individual submissions on subpoints, 3000 words is barely enough to adequately explain them.

      I mean, this is clearly a committee designed to attract crank-rants by the ton. They’re plainly not actually going to read this stuff so much as chuck it on a set of scales.

  23. Patrick Hadley
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    It seems safe to deduce from reading comments on various pro-AGW sites that it will be the intention of Jones and others to turn this inquiry, and the one by Sir Muir Russell, into an inquiry into the conduct of Steve McIntyre and others.

    When called upon to give evidence they will condemn both the work and the actions of Steve. If they can convince the inquiries (and they will probably find a very receptive audience for this) that Steve was just a troublemaker then they are well on the way to exoneration.

    I feel that it is important that Steve and others who are mentioned in the emails are given the opportunity to present evidence to the inquiries, and that they are given the chance to rebut any accusations made about them by Jones et al.

    • johnh
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

      Well then they should also call Steve to the inquiry’s too, the UAE may get away with not inviting him but the MP’s will definately invite.

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

      Patrick Hadley predicted:
      … the intention of Jones and others [will be] to turn this inquiry, and the one by Sir Muir Russell, into an inquiry into the conduct of Steve McIntyre and others.

      Then it will be appropriate to redirect the committee to their own questions, which do not point to Steve McIntire. Any attempt at OFF-TOPIC misdirection is not pertinent, and the disccusion needs to get back to the matter at hand, namely the specific questions of the inquiry.

  24. Mary
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    If the 3000 word limit becomes a problem, perhaps some coordination could occur among different submitters. For example, one submitter might focus on an in-depth response to Q.1 with only very short replies to Q2 and Q3; another focus on Q2; etc. No need for every submitter to try to make every argument.

  25. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    1. Jones said he would redefine peer review to keep ROSS (micheals and mckitrik) out of IPCC ( see the mails)
    2. Jones did for a while ( ZOD and FOD) ( see the IPCC records)
    3. Jones finally had to deal with Ross’s paper and did by making shit up ( IPCC final draft )

    ‘Transparency’ is a very broad term. It is difficult to, in 3000 words or less,describe the implications wrt peer review, lack of transparency, hiding, ‘check-kiting’ data, and lying. I’m not playing ‘gotcha’ but I agree that 1.2.3 are true.

    “ROSS (micheals and mckitrik)” aren’t the only ones. I’ll mention Soon and Baliunas. For me, it was never about who was right or wrong (I’m not qualified to say). It was a good review paper, imo, and I need those. I snag their references. Lots of references. They did my lit search for me. They could even have been just a couple of scientists with nothing better to do. Thanks for the lit search, I say. Why does that work need to be demolished?

    I have to say that the IPCC report is science/politics. I have my own opinion but regardless of claims like “2500 scientists say it’s settled” there are many good scientists that contributed. Perhaps one has to broach the notion that, in spite of the scientific contributions, politics took over. It’s sorta what’s true but how does one describe how muddied the waters got? I’m not talking only about the policy summary of IPCC. Some ‘science’ parts were not science, that will be an ongoing issue.

    Nit-picker is fine with me. Why is that a threat? In normal conversation I don’t ‘nit-pick’ my neighbor’s words. He doesn’t talk like I do but I understand what he’s saying. In the emails I read most nitpicking was not about science. I’ll say it was ‘Gamesmanship’. I like games but…

    I actually recall one email between Santer and Jones where they were rational. Santer is begging Jones for HadCrut3? v2 to v3. Santer gave a very good, nitpicky, request regarding why he needed the data. The Mongol McIntyre seems to be one who triggers them. My attitude was ‘if only, when Steve Mc asked, Santer had done a quick check with phil and just forwarded that one email. Mc coulda been clued in at that point. No one was asking for babysitting by Santer. I used to do it all of the time. Some kid from who knows where sends me an email cuz he’s got a question. My attitude was to dump an email on ‘em. Invite ‘em to come learn more (Recruiting tool, tuition $$). Why is there a perceived threat? (rhetorically hindsighted)

    The terms like denier, gadfly, etc. are political defense terms. PR terms. Just namecalling. Lot’s of namecalling in the emails, and it’s so petty. If it were not important I’d suggest all repeat grade 3. Scientists can be emotionally immature (ya know, too much lab bench, too little others). Grade 3?

    My cat chases a tail. “epistemological” ain’t it. Just the facts, not no philosophy. We know but we don’t need to describe how we know or why or…

  26. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    When asking for “code” be specific. There are multiple parts of the code:
    1) Code to clean up input data climate such as multiple versions of stations, missing data, outliers, duplicate records.
    2) Code that does adjustments for station moves and other homogeneities.
    3) Code that does gridding/interpolating to create global or hemispheric products.
    4) Code that smooths #3 output to create running means.

    In all the above cases, their methods are undocumented and in many cases unproven to be reliable.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

      And I would add that without documentation of what was done, there can be no assurance of accuracy.

      • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

        A thorough set of unit tests is as important, if not more so, than good documentation for code. I’ve been mulling over how much of that to try and pass on to the committee. But it’s a crucial lesson of the last ten years of more disciplined software methods and has been picked in a big way by almost all the well-known open source projects.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Jan 22 21:01),

          I agree with Craig, too. Harry_Readme is definitely a contrapositive. One can make a constructive suggestion by saying, perhaps, standard operating procedures after showing the reality. Or, SOP should have been done this way. It wasn’t.

          I call them subroutines. There is a way to put them in a wrapper and try ‘em out.

          3000 words… Make Mosher do it. I don’t know but he even likes it.

          When Craig says, “When asking for “code” be specific”…

          Yes, when asking, or begging, or FOIAing. That’s the current reality. And, it’s been a dodge in the past, something like ‘you asked for this, I didn’t know you meant that. It’s right here. If only you had been more specific…” when ya don’t quite know what to ask for. Specificity helps if one knows, broad interpretation would be a policy recommendation just so no one can hide behind a mere, nit-picky, technicality, like .txt vs. .xls [Rutherford really fouled up that time]

          I need to ask a question. Given MATLAB, IDL, FORTRAN, whatever…

          Why wasn’t it ever pulled together? Maybe it’s just me (I like Matlab) but after some algorithmic development, it can be exported/translated to [Name your language]. They never had a compiled, data-in, run, data out?. Was it always ‘tweak in Matlab, IDL, then…?

          I don’t know but it looks that way.

  27. Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    Be careful, there are TWO distinct Inquiries:

    1) The Russell Inquiry into CRU,

    2) The Parliamentary Inquiry.

    Arguably the first is the more important, especially for Steve Mc and Steve Mosher. Good luck!

  28. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    The integrity of research is buttressed by these factors:

    1. Lack of financial interest.
    2. Lack of political interest.
    3. Lack of selfish interest
    4. Checks on 1-3 through peer review.
    5. proper maintenence of records and documents.

    Let’s say it’s all true. You don’t have to ‘spell it all out’. Am I correct in thinking, roughly, eight pages, double-spaced (3000). I’m not worried about formatting. I could look up one example (recent Science re:pharma wrt coi, a letter, IIRC) that said something like ‘gee, funny how 100% 0f 107 examined studies always came out in favor of the sponsor’ Well, maybe the meta study cherry picked…

    Anyway, Any statement wrt the inquiry could end up as policy, so “integrity of research. 1, etc” might be last as a constructive notion. They do have to hear the bad facts. First?. I don’t know if you should try to prove a point and here’s why (a thesis) or just say ‘these are the facts and here’s how to avoid a do-over.

    You say “What I read into this is that the CRU inquiry will just say “nothing has changed in the science”. Don’t Assume! It could happen but don’t even bother if that’s the case. Come on, give ‘em a chance. Make the best constructive statements. I got twisted reading the emails but I’m an optimist. I thought about being a pessimist but then I wouldn’t try.

    WRT peer review, the inquiry is going to examine that. Not just the ‘re-define peer review’. The angling wrt Hans VS. The Sanier issue. The Mann ‘they’ve taken over’, Santer’s refusing to publish in Nature ‘cuz Heike smacked him by ignoring him. How much detail?

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

      Jimchip posted Re: Steven Mosher’s post Jan 22, 2010 at 6:09 PM:
      You say
      > “What I read into this is that
      > the CRU inquiry will just say
      > “nothing has changed in the
      > science”.
      Don’t Assume! …

      The current inquiry is controlled by precedent. The Select Committee on Science and Technology Third Report ::
      SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY SYSTEM: SCIENTIFIC ADVICE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200001/cmselect/cmsctech/14/1404.htm

      predates the current inquiry, and is the source of the current inquiry. It states [bolds are mine]:

      It has not been our purpose to inquire whether or not there is global warning: we have taken as given that there is an upward trend in the temperature of the earth, and that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are, and have been, increasing. Nor has it been our purpose to inquire into the cause of global warming, and whether, or to what extent, it is man-made. We acknowledge the work that has been done by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee and by the Environmental Audit Committee in examining the Government’s response to climate change.[9] We also acknowledge the work of our predecessor Committee on research into climate change in its inquiry into the Natural Environment Research Council in 1996-97.[10] In this Report we examine how the Government obtains scientific advice on climate change and whether it is authoritative and comprehensive. We also examine the national research programme which informs this scientific advice; and we consider how policymakers deal with scientific uncertainty.

      Since the current inquiry is derived from the previous authority, it may be the case that any attempted inquiry from us into the truth of global warming and man- or Mann-made global warming may be ruled politically incorrect and out-of-bounds by those who hold the leash on this committee. On the other hand, it may not be so constrained.

      It seems prudent to advance all causes and items / issues in the current frame, but be prepared to let any aspect drop if the political masters deem it out-of-scope. If that occurs, it is time to work those topics through back-channel to have them resurface in other Select Committee hearings. Lord Monckton is adept at this aspect of our cause.

      Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
      Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis

      • Jimchip
        Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

        Re: Newt Love (Jan 23 23:18),

        I’ll agree with your bolds. They may not comment on the (big picture) Science, given the assumptions you state. They have to comment on the limited part, of the CRU science, according to their four areas.

        I took the original comment to be somewhat pessimistic about possible outcomes, ‘move on, nothing to see, no big deal’. The inquiry may lead others to examine the (big picture) Science. Not the inquiry’s role, I agree

      • Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 3:50 AM | Permalink

        Re: Newt Love (Jan 23 23:18),

        Since the current inquiry is derived from the previous authority, it may be the case that any attempted inquiry from us into the truth of global warming and man- or Mann-made global warming may be ruled politically incorrect and out-of-bounds by those who hold the leash on this committee. On the other hand, it may not be so constrained.

        If we don’t know which it is, I think we should encourage as many people as possible to submit. That maximises the chance that what turns out to be the scope of the committee will be adequately dealt with by submissions. I also hope that they have the power and the inclination to call Steve McIntyre to testify in person and to answer questions. That would be the ideal combination: a great deal of informed comment from UK and non-UK citizens (with some of it inevitably being outside scope) and expert testimony from those that don’t see the situation exactly as Phil Jones and Jim Hansen do.

  29. justbeau
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    The more inquiries, the better.
    snip

    The public will expect a thorough and competent investigation of the Univ. of East Anglia mischief. If the trail of evidence leads to Nature or into the Royal Society, this too should be reported.

    The stables of climate science need a healthy airing out!

  30. EdeF
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    I would suggest the Inquiry recommend 10 things:

    Read The Blog.

    Hire a statistician.

    Share and document all methods, data, code, intermediate steps, etc.

    Produce error bands, show how they were computed.

    Avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest.

    Stop the hijacking of the peer review process.

    Require more rigorous educational standards for the GCM modelers in the areas of
    Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics and non-linear differential equations.
    Throw in some Control Theory so they know how to test for stability. Hell, just make them mechanical engineers.

    Require that the GCM modelers produce an engineering level document that shows the derivation of every equation used in the model, a list of all subroutines and their description, a document that shows the interrelationship of all subroutines and all validation, calibration tests.

    Make Phil Jones and team apologize to the international scientific community.

    Repeat the first item until they get it.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

      My vote would go to this outline, enriching #5 and #6 with Mosher’s post above (http://bit.ly/5k7WJi) if formulated with positive recommendations, and replacing #1 and #10 with Steve’s own executive resume of his blog.

  31. Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    Maybe a submissions WIKI could be a way to condense techno-babble into submissions. I don’t have any experience running a WIKI, but I have plenty of experience distilling techtalk into common language. I think what is needed is a co-operative effort on the part of the community to generate submissions packed with value, but that won’t alienate readers.

    • Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

      I’m keen on wikis in many areas but on this I think once we’ve sketched out some broad outlines and ideas on the blog, anyone who’s going to submit should do so independently. I suspect there’s truth in the person who just said they ask for submissions but will barely read them, probably just weigh them.

      I think they would read anything Steve submits, very carefully. I don’t think I’ve got much to advise on that, it would be impertinent. But I will pray for him.

      • Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

        I’m quite sure you’re right. My worry is that, if they are inundated with many poorly formulated submissions, the good submissions will be lost in the “piling on” mix. Amid the noise, it’s impossible to identify a submission as valuable until you’ve read it. I’m hopeful that they’ll at least be *looking out* for the Steves’ submissions.

        • Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

          I don’t think this is quite the right way to think about it.

          First, there’s no way that Climate Audit can control who submits to a UK committee investigating a subject of wide public interest. The quality of the submissions of those wishing to take the opportunity to question the AGW dogma as promulgated by those in CRU is going to be extremely varied. There will be much ‘piling on’ and worse. There may even be malicious nutty submissions claiming authority from CA, as a way of seeking to discredit Steve. Who can stop that? We need to face facts. But the committee will presumably be very experienced in dealing with such relative chaos. There’s no question in my mind that if a thoughtful submission comes in from a S. McIntyre, or a R. McKitrick, or a A. Montford, or other such people, they will be considered on their own merits. And if that’s not the case, there’s no hope for the committee coming up with the goods and improving the future of UK science in the process. None of us should bother.

          Second, submissions from CA readers are likely to be among the better ones, statistically, because of the high quality of the discussion here. Rather than just two (say) I’d like a thousand flowers to bloom. Steve’s poppy is taller than the rest, to mix metaphors, but there is a real danger, given the size of FOI2009.zip, that he’ll omit something that could be of real interest to the committee, given just 3000 words. But if enough lesser brains have a go someone else may cover it – but only if they bother.

          Third, as we’ve said before, the weight of feeling on this subject (on both sides) is something that democratic politicians have to aware of. Hopefully the findings will not be decided by the biggest pile but by the best arguments on each side. But it would be foolish not to recognize that it’s a combination of factors that is likely to swing not just the committee but the wider body of elected politicians in the UK (and then elsewhere).

          Lastly, there should not be much more ‘coordination’ of possible contributors, here or elsewhere. Those of us that submit should not be seen to be working from any kind of script. Though I strongly advise enlisting the help of one friend as intelligent critic and proof-reader.

          I’ve been very encouraged in all this by what I take to be the well-judged and informed advice of Chris Savage. I remain open to argument on it, as ever. But, apart from that, I will shut up on the subject. Good luck!

  32. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    OK, I’m trying. Back to basics: thread discipline?

    The Independent Review will:
    1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

    a. Hacked vs. released. b. “any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice” doesn’t have to be emails. A little Briffa divergence occurred, what did they do? [Can that be explained?] wigley? Travesty?

    2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

    a. I’m sorry, CRU sucks, let me count the ways. b. c. d….

    3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

    a. Oh Boy, Oh Girl (grandpa used to say it, never really knew what it meant but meh). b. Non-compliance! Famous Phil’s Top 10, in context?

    4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds .

    Let Gibbons tell ‘em about how they fouled up security. “Review and make recs” needs to be constructive. Forget their security, can’t they take care of it?

    Integrity of data is whatever. It’s a value judgment. Release the data, it’s integrity will be assessed. 4. seems to me to be saying “Thanks for helping us tidy up; glad you think our integrity is fine; should we release our value-added data or just hold it in trust?

    I’m trying to be optimistic and constructive…

  33. Brian Kelley
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    With a focus on worst case scenario (historically warrnted with topics this critical), I would like to suggest caution in dealing with this request for information/opinion. There is a history of those in power attempting to placate their detractors by encouraging an “official venue” for discussion as a distraction technique.

    I think all these questions should be answered with candidness and vigor, but I also think its wise to maintain a focus and pressure on the public message. If we don’t stay vigil, vocal, and relevant on our public discourse, what happens behind the scenes can still be suppressed. Remember there is still a concerted effort of real disinformation/denial/repudiation by those with a personal/financial stake in AGW/Green/Enviro/etc and they have a much larger platform than we.

    Lets all remember that this is a facet of a much bigger issue and though this may be our current focus we can’t afford to get so focused on one battle that we neglect the bigger war.

  34. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Let me start by suggesting one idea as to how readers can help and particularly “civilian” readers. I’d suggest that readers work on points 1 and 2. Data management and security, for example, is an interesting question and one that many readers may have views on; however, there are many competent consultants that they can hire to advise them on this. FOI should be left to David Holland and those with legal backgrounds, who can liaise off-blog.

    So I’d recommend that discussion be restricted here to:

    1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

    2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

    Making lists is always a good idea. During our discussions over the past 8 weeks, various incidents have been identified. Rather than people editorializing about the philosophy of science, it would be more helpful IMO to make a list of incidents falling into each of the above categories, with no more than one sentence identifying each incident plus a hyperlink reference.

    E.g. Briffa in his capacity as a journal editor asked reviewer Cook to write a reject review (citation…)

    Down the road, and I’m thinking out loud here, individual readers might then choose incidents to write up – sort of like we divided up the countries of the world in the FOI requests. That way there would be minimum overlap. For “civilian” readers, I think that voluntary restriction to one incident will make their submission stronger as it will be somewhat unique and adds weight without being mere piling on.

    • Faustino
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

      Steve, thinking of the logistics: it would be impossible for you to demonstrate the depth of so many problems in 3000 words. Essentially, prominent submitters such as you will have to raise key issues then cross-reference to supporting evidence – whether it be existing material, new material prepared in support of the submission, or submissions from others on a particular issue you highlight. So you need to grab the committee’s attention, make them feel that they must follow up your submission, perhaps invite you to tesify at hearings (if they adopt such an approach, which is very common in UK Parliamewntary inquiries). It would be worth getting some info on the committee members and their backgrounds. The Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology have put out a lot of briefs on related topics, e.g. climate change uncertainty, and some members might be quite cluey, you’ld have an idea of what level you could pitch arguments at.

      (And I hope, in the British vernacular, I’m not teaching my grandmother to suck eggs …)

  35. Bob McDonald
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Might I suggest:

    1. Multiple submissions, each addressing in detail one of the questions? This would allow 3000 words per question, minus some quibbling on the other two (not my expertise, no information available on the subject, etc.).

    2. Divide the writing into 3 teams, with a lead author for each question. Distill all team submissions into concise sections and then string them together (tell the whole story through proxy “interested persons” simply to up amount of data to be provided. It’s gaming the system, I know, but who cares. This is a very important issue, and an arbitrary limit of 3000 words doesn’t seem warranted, but I can understand the need for it, if only to help expedite the inquiry.

    I’d love to help, but writing is not my strong point, nor do I have a background in climate anything.

  36. Faustino
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

    I’ve drawn this inquiry to the attentions of Australia’s Lavoisier Group of sceptics, which includes some heavy hitters in climatology and related sciences, statistics and politics. Initial response is positive, there may be some good submissions.

    • Faustino
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

      PS: The UK committee system is very strong, including on science and technology issues, and often produces reports which are (a) valuable and (b) counter to the prevailing orthodoxy and/or government agenda, so don’t underestimate this opportunity.

    • Faustino
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

      One of the Lavoisier group, who is involved with Lord Monckton’s Australian tour, has now circulated details of the inquiry widely to interested parties. These will include, e.g., former Australian Statistician Ian Castles of the Castles-Henderson critique, and others with international reputations. FYI.

  37. Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

    I think the inquiry should examine ALL CRU emails to and from those involved, including the FOI and Information officers. If they only examine the “hacked” emails they’re only seeing part of the picture. The emails have, without a doubt, exposed some evidence of scientific tomfoolery. By examining all the emails availaible, they can fill in the gaps to see if there is more to it.

  38. Ray Girouard
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

    I hope that some of the regular commenters at CA, esp. those with UK or Commonwealth passports will find a way to insure that they are on the witness list. Perhaps Moncton will have suggestions re how to arrange this. May I suggest booking reservations as soon as the hearing dates are posted.

    • Ray Girouard
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

      snip
      In the U.S., the witnesses are the ones whose statements make it into the news media. Written work, while forming the foundation, seems to require too much effort on the part of the reporters in the sound-bite era in which we live.

  39. jim edwards
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    HEY, EVERYBODY, DON’T RUN OFF HALF-COCKED [Part I].

    Before you prepare your army to storm the castle, know that all of your efforts will never get into the committee record if you pursue the course I think I’m reading, above.

    Not surprisingly, this committee of Parliament doesn’t accept commentary from any Joe Shmoe off the street. The requirements for submissions are remarkably similar to those for filing Amicus briefs ['friends of the court' briefs] in US Federal Appellate courts.

    “The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

    Each submission should:
    a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
    b)be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
    c)have numbered paragraphs
    d)include a declaration of interests.”

    The key phrases here are “interested parties” and “declaration of interests”. These are legal terminology.

    Take a moment to follow the link Steve gave to the Science and Technology committee, then look at one of the reports which has been published.

    You can see that each ALLOWED written comment is published with the report.

    Look at the “Early Literary Interventions” report, for example:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/44/44.pdf

    Each “interested party’s” written evidence at the end of report begins with a “statement of interest.” As in US appellate practice, the statement of interest is not a statement that says “I think the subject is cool”, or “I believe there’s a conspiracy going on.”

    The statement of interest is a description that explains why the party submitting evidence has legal standing to be involved in the case.

    99 people out of 100 who send in a comment will likely not be able to provide a statement of interest sufficient to keep their comment out of the wastebasket.

    “Interested parties” will likely include:

    People who actually are involved in the controversy [Steve M., Holland, Willis E., etc on one side, Jones, Mann, Briffa, etc , on the other] Involvement might be because of FOI requests or involvement as an IPCC FAR chapter reviewer.

    Other SCIENTISTS who have had trouble getting info out of CRU personnel would probably fit here, as well (“Why would I share the data with you, when we have 25 years…”) If you look at the accepted statements of interest in the report I referenced, above, established scientists practicing in the field were allowed to give evidence.

    The University of East Anglia, and probably other Universities and research institutes.

    Academic societies like the Royal Academy

    Public-interest groups like CEI, or the Heartland Institute [...although you might need to find one in the UK]

    The Attorney General of the UK

    Other government agencies

    Certain professional societies

    If the UK is anything like the US [and I'm betting it is...] merely being a frustrated UK taxpayer who feels that he’s being taken for a ride is an insufficient interest to submit evidence.

    • Faustino
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

      As a former economic adviser in the UK and Australia, I think the British system will be closer to the Australian, where anyone can make a submission. In Oz all submissions to federal inquiries get published – I’ve made a number in both official and private capacities.

      • jim edwards
        Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

        Well, I hope you’re right, a UK solicitor or, maybe, Lord Monkton would be the person to give a definitive answer.

        I imagine that the committee might have more discretion to exclude comments than they normally utilize in mundane reports.

        This issue is bound to get a lot of comments.

        I have trouble believing the committee would publish a report with 1000 ten-page comments from angry, non-expert members of the public.

        And even if they allowed them in, the members on the committee certainly wouldn’t read them all.

        As a practical matter, only the institutional and expert comments can possibly have any effect, given that the committee is likely to be swarmed with comments from the rabble.

        If “civilian” members of the public wanted to put their thumbs on the scale, I think it would be much better to send letters to the individual members on the committee – rather than sending in official comments to the committee.

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

          If “civilian” members of the public wanted to put their thumbs on the scale, I think it would be much better to send letters to the individual members on the committee – rather than sending in official comments to the committee.

          That’s a helpful point. What I was concerned about, partly, by the way the flow was going on the thread after your initial contribution (but not just due to it) was losing the power of the ‘voice of the people’ in an election year. Of course there are nutters on both sides of this debate. But each of the UK nutters (including me) has a vote. That will begin to focus minds. It’s a mixture of the highest and the lowest – as usual in a democracy.

          I’m not saying that lots of us emailing committee members is the best way but it sounds reasonably plausible.

          snip – political reference

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

          Snip accepted. I’ve just left voicemail with the friend in London that works directly with people who will know the answer.

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Jan 23 11:09), Richard, noting that the instructions say

          Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

          I wonder if there would be a place for you or another/others to draft a “voice of ordinary concerned civilians” 3000-word account of what makes ordinary folk collectively have a right to appeal as “interested parties”. Surely this “long tail” is of great significance.

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

          “I wonder if there would be a place for you or another/others to draft a “voice of ordinary concerned civilians” 3000-word account of what makes ordinary folk collectively have a right to appeal as “interested parties”. Surely this “long tail” is of great significance.”

          Lucy, “ask and you shall find”

          As the creator of the petition on the government website: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/UEACRU/, with some 3000 signatures, I was thinking the same as you and I’ve started a wiki toward that end at: http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Inquiry.ClimategateInquiry

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

          I sent an email around 7pm GMT yesterday to the official email for the committee, to try and clarify some of this. I’ll post whatever I learn. But thanks for articulating what feels like an important idea (even if the committee doesn’t think so) – I might give it a go.

  40. jim edwards
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    DON’T RUN OFF HALF-COCKED (Part II)

    The written submission looks a lot like a trap.

    If Steve M. [to pick a possible submission author] writes a thoughtful comment, explaining that he is a published author who has been denied equal-access to taxpayer-funded data and methods because his conclusions have proved embarassing to “the Team”, that would be a strong comment.

    If Steve M. comes off as a blogger who incites 200 yahoos to write in duplicative comments, that would be bad.

    Mosher notes, above, that “…We used a group process to do FOIA once so follow the instructions.”

    That’s exactly the problem. The FOI mass action that occured in that particular instance was a clear abuse of FOI, and UEA / CRU should have summarily denied all of the requests-in-mass.

    The mass abuse in that one instance allowed certain CRU parties to suggest to the relevant information officers that ALL CA-linked FOI requests should be ignored.

    I warned of this way back in the “Fortress CRU” post [June 20, 2008], but was ignored. Jones and company did not ignore my analysis, however. Jones and Osborne immediately picked up on its significance [June 23, 2008 e-mail].

    Jones: “Have a look at Climate Audit. Holland has put all the
    responses and letters up. … Worth saving the comments on a Jim Edwards – can you do this Tim?”

    Osborn’s reply: “… If it turns into an organised campaign designed more to inconvenience us than to obtain useful information, then we may be able to decline all related requests without spending ages on considering them. Worth looking out for evidence of such an organised campaign.”

    I hope that ClimateAudit readers can restrain themselves, this time.

    If the committee receives hundreds of submissions from “civilians” who are linked to this blog, it will only reinforce CRU’s contention that Steve M. is a nuisance who should be ignored.

    Submitters should be quite clear that the purpose of this exercise is not to get Parliament to conclude that all CRU data is bad or AGW isn’t real. – That ain’t gonna happen.

    The goal here is to get Parliament to demand full disclosure, open access, and to get them to lightly slap the hands of Jones, et Al, perhaps getting committee members to be merely open to the idea that it might be prudent to re-work the data and analysis – if only to show the ‘deniers’ how delusional they are.

    Steve: For the most part, I agree with your advice here. Your timeline on the FOI situation is wrong – the lobbying to “ignore” CA-related FOI requests occurred long before the July 2009 requests for confidentiality agreements.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

      The group action is only to generate ideas for what should be in a final submission.

      As I see it there are only a few who have standing.

  41. Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    Yes, multiple submissions will be counterproductive. It would be best coming from Steve and Ross as far as the CA community is concerned.

  42. Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    @Bishop Hill “Yes, multiple submissions will be counterproductive”

    That’s why I’ve started a wiki response to the committee on: http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Comment.ClimategateInquiry
    and everyone who is willing to help is welcome to join in.

    I should also remind everyone who is part of the UK electorate that they can still sign the online petition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/UEACRU/

  43. Richard S Courtney
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

    Friends:

    I announced on WUWT that I have made a submission to the Select Committee. This resulted in the suggestion at WUWT that it may be useful for those making such submissions to coorddinate here. So, I copy below the cover note that was with my emailed submission.

    Richard

    *********

    Dear Members of the Science and Technology Committee:

    Please find the attached copy with Appendices of my Submission to your “Investigation of the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA)”.

    I will post a hard copy to you as your press release announces is required.

    My Declaration of Interests is implicit in my submission: i.e.
    (a) I resent having had a scientific paper blocked from publication by nefarious method
    and
    (b) one of the emails hacked (?) from the CRU was from me and it demonstrates that I complained about the ‘blocking’.

    However, my “Interests” are trivial in comparison to the importance of the substantive point of my submission: viz.

    The email demonstrates that 6 years ago the self-titled ‘Team’ knew the estimates of average global temperature (mean global temperature, MGT) were worthless and they acted to prevent publication of proof of this.

    Regards

    Richard S Courtney

    88 Longfield
    Falmouth
    Cornwall
    TR11 4SL
    United Kingdom

    Steve: Richard, I’d urge you to pick your best point and limit yourself to discussing that.

  44. Faustino
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    FYI, from UK government sites:

    Commons Science and Technology Committee

    Mr Phil Willis MP (Chairman)

    The Committee exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence.
    The Science and Technology Committee is unusual amongst departmental select committees in that it scrutinises the Government Office for Science (GO-Science), which is a “semi-autonomous organisation” based within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). GO-Science “supports the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and works to ensure that Government policy and decision-making is underpinned by robust scientific evidence”. The Committee therefore has a similarly broad remit and can examine the activities of departments where they have implications for, or made use of, science, engineering, technology and research.

    The Science and Technology Committee was re-established on 1 October 2009. There was previously a Science and Technology Committee which was wound-up in 2007 and replaced by the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, which scrutinised both the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and science. Following the reorganisation of Whitehall announced by the Prime Minister in June 2009 DIUS became part of BIS and the House of Commons re-established a Science and Technology Committee focused on science.

    Re Hadley-CRU: The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010. Six of the 14 committee members are doctors (medical? Science? Don’t know).

    The Committee recently published ‘The Government’s review of the principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice provided to government’, HC 158-I, Third Report of Session 2009-10 (14 December 2009). Volume II, the written evidence, HC 158-II, was published on Thursday 17 December 2009. (That inquiry is ongoing.) Another current issue is “Setting the scene on science, engineering and technology issues across government.”

    So don’t think that these guys are lightweights or pushovers.

  45. Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    I’ve provided background info on the members of the committee.

    • Faustino
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

      Bishop, I expect to meet Lord Monckton in Brisbane next week. I assume that he will be well aware of Steve and Climate Audit, and know the tremendous effort he has put in to promoting sound statistical work in the public interest? And that some at least of the committee will too? If you think not, I might raise Steve’s work with LM, given the efforts that have been made to discredit him over the years (if it’s OK with Steve, of course), as he will no doubt know the committee members.

      • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

        Lord Monckton is very aware of Steve. More to the point, perhaps, he will have a much better understanding of the how parliamentary committees work than the average UK contributor here (like me). Whether he knows the current committee members I’d not be so sure. Worth picking his brains, if you get the chance, for sure.

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

      Bishop Hill, that’s great, Do you mind if I use that pretty much verbatim on http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Inquiry.ClimategateInquiry

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

      Very helpful indeed BH. What’s your take on the best way to play it? Do we want to encourage lots of submissions from all and sundry or just a few, from the most clued up people associated with CA?

      I know that I don’t know. It depends crucially on what interested parties means. Is Jim Edwards right that it rules most of us out and thus anything we write will go straight into Crown’s binbag? David Holland and Tim Curtin didn’t seem to be agreeing with this (though they may). Faustino certainly doesn’t. It would be very helpful to have something authoritative on this basic point.

  46. BadgerBoy56
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    My contribution will be to hit the CA tip jar! The intrigue just continues to build.

    Not to divert the thought process, but this new IPCC story certainly appears to be gaining traction in the UK http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6999051.ece

  47. VMC
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Richard M has commented on Bishop Hill re. an item in the Daily Telegraph (23 Jan) on the inquiry. I’ve just read the item, which quotes Phil Willis as follows:

    “There are a significant number of climate change deniers, who are basically using the UEA emails to support the case this is poor science that has been changed or at worst manipulated.

    We do not believe this is healthy and therefore we want to call in the UEA so the public can see what they are saying”

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

      Although this “quote from Louise Gray in the Daily Telegraph” has been repeated here and by James Delingpole (on a Telegraph blog!), nobody has given a URL. Searching on the Telegraph itself or on Google doesn’t find it for me. Treat with caution until a URL is produced.

      • VMC
        Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

        The Louise Gray article is in the good old-fashioned “paper” version of the DT, which I bought this morning. It’s halfway down page 17.

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

          Which would explain how you read it! Any idea why they don’t seem to have included it online? Anyone know how often that happens these days? (I haven’t bought a physical newspaper for quite a while.)

      • David Shepherd
        Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

        No need for caution. I have a copy of today’s DT in front of me, the short article from which this quote is taken is on page 17, titled: ”Climategate’ emails face investigation’. It is below a much longer article by the same reporter:’ £3m global warming expedition marred by dud battery’, which refers to the failure of key equipment on the comical Catlin Arctic Survey, and includes the statement ‘Cambridge University scientists said the data (from the Catlin Survey) proved global warming was happening faster than ever and the Arctic could be largely ice-free within a decade’. Quite why the ‘Climategate’ article doesn’t show up on the DT website I can’t explain – I tried searching on Louise Gray and Phil Willis. The Catlin article is on the website.

        Other than the obvious predisposition of the committee’s chairman, it should not be forgotten that the Climate Change Bill was passed by a large majority, only 4 (or thereabouts) MPs voted against it; this gives an idea of the mindset of most MPs on AGW.

        • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

          True, but the Climate Change Bill was passed in November 2008. There have been a few changes in the landscape since then, of which the slowest or most stubborn MP will be aware. All to play for.

        • VMC
          Posted Jan 26, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

          On the Bishop Hill blog – “Who’s on the select committee?” thread – Martin Brumby has posted an excellent e-mail he sent to Phil Willis. Martin’s also posted the reply from Phil Willis, which includes:

          “I’d also like to add that I accept that my use of the phrase ‘Climate Deniers’ was a mistake, and I shall endeavour not to use it in the future. I apologise for any offence caused by my error, although I assure you that none was intended.”

          So he may not be as anti-sceptic as the Telegraph quote implied.

          (Sorry I don’t know how to do links)

        • Posted Jan 26, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

          Thanks very much for alerting us. Both letters are here

  48. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    One nuance in the terms of reference that I’d like to see modified – although the Climategate letters are largely directed to the paleo studies (Hockey Stick) with a minor in CRUTEM, the terms of reference seem to focus a bit on the temperature record.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

      I think getting the temperature record released (with code etc) would be more useful longterm as a focus.

  49. Richard S Courtney
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre: Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    “One nuance in the terms of reference that I’d like to see modified – although the Climategate letters are largely directed to the paleo studies (Hockey Stick) with a minor in CRUTEM, the terms of reference seem to focus a bit on the temperature record.”

    Yes. My submission to the Committee directly addresses this (see above at Jan 23, 2010 at 5:22 AM).

    Bishop Hill: Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    “Yes, multiple submissions will be counterproductive. It would be best coming from Steve and Ross as far as the CA community is concerned.”

    There is a problem but I am not sure that such severe limitation is desireable.

    Clearly, the Committee cannot afford the time to hear and/or consider input from each and every person and organisation that may want to state an opinion. So, of necessity, the Committee must concentrate its efforts on considering actual evidence from persons who were involved and/or affected by issues raised in the leaked files. The Committee can then evaluate that evidence to determine if it shows nothing of concern, or shows some degree of incompetence, and/or shows some degree of malpractice.

    However, that judgement is to be made by politicians, not lawyers. Hence, the Committee will consider public opinion to be an important factor in its judgement. For example, the Committee exists to provide accountability that good scientific advice is being used by government and, therefore, if the public do not trust that advice then it cannot be good.

    A recent example of this need for ‘good’ science to be acceptable to the public was when a Chairman of a Scientific Advisory Committee was sacked because he persisted in saying the use of canabis is less harmful than the public thinks it is. But government has to value the public perception as being more important than a scientific opinion, so he was sacked. The House of Commons debated his dismissal and approved it. As one MP said in that debate, to applause from other MPs,
    “Scientists should be ‘on tap’ and not on top”.

    So, many organisations and people will want to have an input to the Committee. Indeed, does anybody expect WWF and Greenpeace to not make submissions? And the Committee will want to be seen to be taking note of such inputs.

    Hence, the real question to address is,
    ‘How can those not directly mentioned in the hacked (?) emails play an effective part in helping the Committee to reach correct judgements?’

    It requires a professional lobbiest and PR consultant to address that question. And I cannot provide a useful answer to it because I am completely incompetent in lobbying and PR.

    It has been suggested elswhere that a petition signed by interested but not involved persons should be provided. Perhaps that suggestion is right, but – as I said – I am not competent to assess the worth of this suggestion.

    I hope to see pertinent exertise post helpful advice on this to us on CA.

    Richard

    • jim edwards
      Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

      Well, as Steve has noted, this inquiry seems to be fairly constrained in terms of subject-matter. It’s really an inquiry into process.

      Greenpeace and WWF might want to comment because they support certain outputs, but I doubt that outputs are going to be in question here, and the committee will undoubtably begin with some preamble about how climate science is fundamentally sound, and the climate crisis is worse than ever. Greenpeace probably isn’t going to have much to say about the independence of data sets [but Gavin probably will...].

      One point Steve has made over the years is for climate data to be maintained by accountants/statisticians, rather than scientists – much as labor statistics are computed.

      Hansen, Jones, et Al should make a series of public work instructions and hand the data over to the bean-counters to compile according to a priori rules.

      Perhaps members of the UK public should write in to their MPs, demanding such a scheme, arguing more efficient use of a scientist’s time, reduced risk of data loss if a key scientist is unavailable, and elimination of dissenters ability to claim data manipulation by politics.

  50. Kate
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    If you want to speak out, there are direct email links in this article to the committee members. If you have time you could let them hear from you. Tell them we are watching with interest.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100023449/wow-uk-parliamentary-investigation-into-climategate-may-not-be-a-whitewash/

    Here’s a direct link to the names of investigators.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/1/22/whos-on-the-select-committee.html?lastPage=true

  51. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    I think the pertinent issue that will see light in this whole exercise is what the BP committee will do to shed light on the CRU problems of transparency. It would appear, as Jim Edwards has partly argued, that the submittal process has been set up to include comments from interested parties that are submitted confidentially, i.e. free from discussion in the blogosphere. The parties of interest, whose comments will be most likely accepted must avoid discussing, I would think, will need to limit their discussions on blogs of what they might submit.

    The rest of us can recommend away and let those with proper submission credentials take some heed if they so chose. I would say keep it informal and not make suggestions by committee or under any special rules except those requested by blog owners.

    Personally, I would have little faith in the outcome such a political body proceeding in the US doing anything other than pushing preconceived opinions and agendas. It is good to see that there will no doubt be those who will test the system and lets us know in blog land how the system really works – as Steve M and others have done in the past.

    What is a bit disconcerting for me is that some posters here seem to think this process somehow signals a major break through in making the science involved more transparent. While that might simply involve over confidence in an outcome that appears could just as well come down on those making the complaints and comments, I think even more worrisome is to believe that this event will have any major influence on the whole AGW debate or outcome. Remember that Steve M and others test the system in attempts to make the science more transparent and available for third party analyses and not to directly influence the debate or outcome on AGW.

  52. Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Help!

    I’m having problems finding details of the terms of reference of the Sir Muir Russell inquiry. Does anyone have a website for the inquiry or something that details the terms of reference to add to this: http://www.climatemice.com/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Inquiry.UEAInquiry

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

      As far as I can tell, there is no website for hte UEA inquiry, and the only written documentation is the original UEA press release.

  53. IanP
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    re: jim edwards Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    This is the only reference I’ve been able to find that is as sceptical as I feel about the possible outcome of this investigation. UK readers at least will remember the recent investigations into aspects of the Iraq War which ended in disappointment for most, not least because the terms of reference were so closely controlled.

    This doesn’t appear to be the case here, and I recognise that the people in the spotlight aren’t the politicians themselves, but there’s an awful lot of political and financial capital tied up in this issue, so don’t expect too much.

    PS – just watched an episode of a BBC documentary series on the history of Christianity, specifically the rise of the Catholic Church. There are so many parallels with AGW (eg Indulgences~carbon credits)!

    • Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

      Three questions for you and the other pessimists you refer to:

      1. On 17th November 2009, would you have predicted that the AGW debate in the UK would be where it is today?

      2. Is each member of the Science and Technology Committee up for re-election this year?

      3. Does any of us know what is possible unless we try?

      • IanP
        Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

        Richard, I’m as hopeful as you are, but also a realist. Incidentally, I made my small contribution before looking on the SWUT site. It seems I’m not alone.

        I regularly bombard my prospective parliamentary candidate and David Cameron with links to articles on this and related sites and have suggesed to them that there are votes in this movement. You never know…

  54. Nunavut Polar Bears Curling Team
    Posted Jan 23, 2010 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    This is an important match. Leave the field to the pros – you know who you are- and may the cheerleaders & fans stay well off the field. Wave pom-poms at the victory celebration when the time is appropriate.
    This is time for science, not punditry.
    That means dispassionately understanding details and facts, not having passions. That means doing work, not telling others to do it.

    If the facts won’t tell your story- you have no story, mmk?

    Let the workers have right of way – this is not a liberal bacchanal. No whooping and hollering – people are trying to study.

    Let the pros have their day- it’s what they’ve been waiting and preparing for. It belongs to them. This is their moment to shine.

    Kill ‘em, men.

    I see that a certain measure of the political science of demagoguery has filtered in to the untutored psyche to the degree that it’s the overarching concern (meta vs raw, opinion vs science, attitude vs understanding) of many here now. Maybe it’s just blogger’s disease – a steinbeckian stream of unconsciousness consisting 95% of adjectives and exhortations and very very light on the substance that endures – telling facts. I really have a fever and the only prescription is STFU with the punditry. Less cowbell, more beef.

  55. Frank
    Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps it is good to have a parlament enquiry to clear the CRU-scientists….
    I think that the “scandal” about the CRU emails is a hypocrisis where the press like vultures were eating strange out-of context interpretations of poorly worded emails….

    I would love to tease bits and pieces of the emails of Mr McIntyre….Using the methods he used there are interesting statements for sure…. I fear that he probably will not give them to me and I am too moral to get them illegally… Perhaps I should make a freedom of information request for that…. (hahaha)….

  56. P. Solar
    Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/23/breaking-news-scientist-admits-ipcc-used-fake-data-to-pressure-policy-makers/

    About half way down a comment by Andrew30 (22:01:58) links carbon trading company to funding at CRU.

    maybe this should make it to the Select Committee.

    Murari Lal->WWF->CRU

    Murari Lal-> Halcrow Consulting->Carbon Trading

    How about we skip the middle man:

    Carbon Trading-> Halcrow Consulting-> WWF->CRU

    Strange how many of these financial links seem to leading to India. I’ve never seen so many links to indian business and media reports as I have this last week or so.

    Whether this is due to Pachauri’s influence or vice versa remains to be seen.

  57. DavidEdmonds
    Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    I am an enthusiastic supporter of your cause, but how can I help? Getting it all
    into 3000 words is going to be a big challenge. Every word must count.

    When I had similar work I found the following advice helpful. I hope
    you also think so, and don’t think me presumptuous in sending it to you.

    Help the Committee , and make the most of your word count, by suggesting lines the Committee might want to follow up.

    Avoid the use of words, particularly adverbs, which are imprecise; they add little to the meaning and can detract from, rather than add to, the persuasiveness of the text.

    Prefer the active to the passive mood – it is almost always more persuasive.

    Avoid repeating a meaning within a sentence or paragraph.

    Don’t mix major and minor arguments. A weak or unimportant argument can detract from the weight of the better ones. If a good argument can stand on its own, let it do so.

    I wish you every success.

  58. Frank
    Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    This is a particular hypocritical comments. Science does not work as a stock market. You do not get more funding if you get a higher temperature increase…. So the feedback is long… If you would start to show that climate change does not exist it would take 5-10 years for funding to get reduced…. (with many people retiring) As University scientists the people you critizise have a stable income that does not depend on their research funding. Most universities do not pay bonuses so they have a limited personal financial interest.

    Scientists are not lobbiyist and most of the people that you are calling climate alarmist would be very happier if they would not have to worry about climate change and could buy a big car with a good conscience…..

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

      snip – enough editorializing about alarmism

      • Frank
        Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

        British scientists are employed on a 12 months basis. In most European Universities you may not reinforce your salary by grants.
        If you claim in a scientifically founded way that there is no warming or less warming or that the warming is not attributed to CO2 emissions I would not think that the work would be unpublishable. There will be certainly a larger degree of criticism to that research but the reviewing process in most scientific journals is anyway tough.
        Climatology is large and there is large interest into paleoclimatology. The total research funding devoted to that discipline is quite minor (compared to other areas). And there would be no real problem for most of the scientist to build another research program…. I know several scientists that are going in and out of climate change research.

  59. Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Mike Haseler

    Please use my blog post as you see fit.

    The UEA inquiry has not published terms of reference beyond the initial press release. I emailed UEA about this but was told that they were not responsible for the review and I would have to email Sir Muir for info. I did so, but he has not deigned to reply.

  60. Frank
    Posted Jan 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Yes funding for students and research associates is soft money and people are always looking for grants. However, groups like the CRU have one leg in climate change and one leg in normal climatology. Global change is small science (with few resources) and people could readjust their research priorities if funding get reduced…. If you look at the staff of CRU in climate change it is about medium size biotech lab…. A hypothetical non-existence of climate change would not remove the need to have normal climatology or paleoclimatology research.

    Basically the fact is that it seems to be difficult or impossible to build physically realistic climate models that do not predict a climate warming. The physics behind the main mechanisms in these models is pretty simple (something like high school or college physics). There are minor mechanisms like clouds, aerosols etc that tend to be complicated. These mechanism might increase or decrease the climate warming. However, nobody was able to show that these mechanisms are strong enough to keep the climate constant…..

  61. Chris Savage
    Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    As a UK-based political consultant (lobbyist) I would give the following advice:

    First, evidence is not restricted to UK citizens.

    Second, the committee must base its report on the evidence it receives so it is important to ensure the key things get written into the record. Don’t assume someone else will do so.

    Third, this committee has a history of being fairly thorough and non-partisan so I would not start from an assumption that it will be a whitewash for CRU.

    Fourth, however, I would focus evidence on the areas where the committee has competence ie the conduct of science. Do not expect it to second-guess climate change theory. Quite a few members of the committee including the chair have supported motions urging the UK government to be even more extreme in its carbon targets.

    • Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

      This Chris Savage?

      In the absence of evidence of deliberate misinformation (the Internet can be a strange place) … you’re more clued up than anyone who’s yet posted. I’m going to follow your advice and I recommend others do the same. Thank you very much.

  62. OrpheusLite
    Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Surely the biggest problem is going to be the cascading effect of bad data being used by one paper, then that paper being referenced by many others? Once the results of a specific paper are discredited, there needs to be a review of all referring papers, then a re-assessment of the worthiness of those papers etc. Given that any data corrections are going to trickle out over a period of time, it will be necessary to track the implications of each one across the whole of the discipline.

  63. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    I agree with Chris Savage that the issue here is the conduct of science. In legal terms, it’s about procedure.

    • George Butterworth
      Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

      Steve,
      Having read all the above comments it is apparent that we are struggling to define the approach and structure for the input to the Committee. I agree with Chris and yourself that the issue is the conduct of science. Given that there are a number of non-scientists on the Committee, we need to define the ‘scientific process’ and use it as the format for providing our comments/criticisms.
      eg Step 1 Collection of Data
      – ensure that the collected data is representative of the population
      – verify and maintain calibration of instruments employed
      – maintain database of all collected raw data
      Step 2 Data Analysis
      etc etc
      Following this outline avoids all criticism about political interest.
      I am sure that the contributors above can find a good definition of the process.
      George (retired ex-nuke)

      • Posted Jan 28, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

        snip – politics

        • Posted Jan 28, 2010 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

          Ah yes sorry ‘politics’. Sorry forgot that has nothing to do with climate change!!

        • Posted Jan 29, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

          Well that’s the hope, that one day it won’t. The integrity of science will be restored. And that’s the intended focus of this blog, which is why some of us are snipped from time to time.

  64. Faustino
    Posted Jan 29, 2010 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    I spoke to Lord Monckton briefly this afternoon (29 Jan in Brisbane). He said (1) that the 3000-word limit is to avoid the inquiry being overwhelmed with material; (2) he knows Steve and CA and thinks that the committee will take account of any submission from him.

    FTR, about 300-400 people crowded into a room to hear LM and paleo-geologist Ian Plimer, whose anti-AGW book “Heaven and Earth’ has sold over 100,000 copies. The speakers were very entertaining, very convincing and very well received.

  65. Faustino
    Posted Jan 29, 2010 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    Letter in today’s Times:

    Sir, As a scientist and one who also requested data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) under the Freedom of Information Act, I am pleased that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that University of East Anglia (UEA) and CRU failed in its duties under the Act (“Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data”, Jan 28).

    Two things must now happen. First, all data, adjustment procedures and computer code relating to the CRU temperature records must be released for proper scientific scrutiny and verification. Until the data is verified all published papers that rely on the CRU temperature record for their conclusions must be withdrawn as being “unproven”.

    Second, Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, must do the honourable thing and resign. Failing that, he must be dismissed if UEA and CRU are to retain any scientific credibility.

    Dr Don Keiller
    Deputy Head of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

  66. jazznick
    Posted Jan 29, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    Lord Lawson is calling for a public inquiry into CRU – he mentions that a statistician
    would be a helpful addition to the procedure. Are you available Steve ????!

    http://www.thegwpf.org/news/476-lawson-calls-for-cru-inquiry-to-be-held-in-public.html

    • Posted Jan 29, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

      Strictly speaking Lord Lawson is calling for the existing inquiry into CRU by Muir Russell to become a public inquiry. The whole of his letter is worth close study, in the light of possible submissions to the Select Committee, which might well want to refer to it. I can’t see any reason any CA regular wouldn’t want to endorse the points about this becoming a public inquiry, or the involvement of experts in the stats and the law.

      In case people missed it yesterday I gave links to the BBC iPlayer for Lord Lawson on Question Time and David Holland and John Beddington on PM, two slots of around ten minutes on UEA/FOI/AGW that were much better than anything on the BBC thus far.

  67. Eric Rasmusen
    Posted Jan 30, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    A very important mistake you need to correct:

    A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to ccitechcom@parliament.uk and marked “Climatic Research Unit”.

    SHOULD BE

    scitechcom@parliament.uk

  68. Eric Rasmusen
    Posted Jan 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Sherrington had good tips above on what to submit. Most importantly: think about how your readers will react, those being (a) pro-warming MPs, (b) anti-warming MPs (maybe— I don’t know if there are any), (c) unsure MPs, and (d) staffers. Imagine yours is the 800th submission a young staffer is reading, and he is skipping going out with his girlfriend to read it. What he wants is NEW information. So don’t write unless you have something NEW to say.

    One kind of new thing is “I, a very important person, believe X”. Probably most us are not important enough for that, but if you’re a senator or an emperor, go ahead and say, “I think the CRU people are evil”.

    More likely is report of a fact they might not notice otherwise.

    Also possible is report of a reform or action they might not think of. That is what my own submission is about.

    A submission is much more useful if it only says one thing than if it says many things, and if it is short rather than long. If the committee wants to follow up, they can do it themselves. But they are skimming submission as fast as they can, and they will appreciate brevity.

    All these things, by the way, are what effective lobbying is all about: helping out the government officials by providing useful information (including political effect info they may not know about). Professional lobbyists know that the official’s time and attention is like gold: hard to get, and too precious to waste.

    3000 words is plenty– more than necessary for this kind of thing. I used about 800.

    Don’t do this in the hopes of being published in a report. I am sure every submission will be properly filed away in a basement somewhere, and probably even have its first paragraph read (if that paragraph isn’t good, they can be excused for not wasting their time by going further), but this is not the way to immortalize yourself.

    I have posted a poorly formatted version of my own submission to the committee at the bottom of my blog post at

    http://rasmusen.dreamhosters.com/b/2010/01/an-interesting-ex-post-facto-law-case/

  69. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Just finished the “final” final draft — OK, maybe not quite final, but I’d be happy for it to go right now, and anything more should be polish.

  70. Chris Honeycutt
    Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    The key to the climate files isn’t in the emails, it’s in the code – the HARRY_READ_ME file, among others. I disclosed this information to others during the Climate Conference, but, due to a variety of factors, this information was suppressed.

    I would like to find out where I can submit an audit of the code, which shows that the data was tampered with during the last 1900 years to artifically impose a trend on the data.

    How may I do this best?

  71. Posted Mar 3, 2010 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    In your paper you say of the tree ring data “there was no scientific basis for such an arbitrary adjustment”. (para. 8).

    But my understanding is that there _is_ a basis for such an adjustment. Tree rings have a close relationship to temperature, except in the later years of a tree’s life, when rings are stretched thinner, and therefore produce a false impression of colder climate. Dendrochronologists therefore have to make an adjustment to the data to allow for this fact.

    Please explain.

    Steve: Different issue. The aging adjustment had already been done. The Briffa bodge was arbitrary.

5 Trackbacks

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