Submission to UK Parliamentary Inquiry

Just sent in a submission to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry (cut-off noon Feb 10, 2010) see here . Given the limit of 3000 words – not that I wanted to spend a whole lot more time on something that will probably be disregarded anyway – I focused on paleoclimate rather than CRUTEM (presuming that others will talk about CRUTEM). I discussed bodging, cherry picking and deletion of adverse data (including the “trick”), trying to provide context rather than trying to drain the Climategate swamp. I’ll post it up if that is permitted under the rules, which I’ll check tomorrow.


50 Comments

  1. James of Perth
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Please post. Otherwise I will have to file a FOIA request! LOL!

  2. Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    I don’t understand why they continue calling them “the hacked email exchanges”. Has anyone produced any evidence of anyone from outside CRU “breaking in” and stealing this data? I have not heard of anything like that to date

  3. stacey
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Probably best not to post until the inquiry is over. I hope this advice is considered in the same spirit it is offered.

  4. ML
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:45 AM | Permalink

    Steve

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

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/22/uk-parliamentary-inquiry-into-cru/

    • philh
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

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

      Sounds to me that Steve can authorize himself to publish his submission.

      • gimply
        Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

        I’d say that THEY, not the submitter, must authorize publication by
        the latter, by my parsing of the policy sentence. ??

      • ML
        Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

        I think that the publication of Memorandum has to be authorized by Committee

      • Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

        It seems to me that it can be read either way, and is a good example of the drawbacks of the passive voice. IMHO Steve should either wait, or at least ask for clarification of the implicit subject.

      • Henry
        Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

        Re: philh (Feb 10 09:21), clearly Steve cannot publish himself given that

        Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee

        unless perhaps the Committee ceases to exist, which is quite possible given the coming General Election. At that stage he should contact the parliamentary authorities.

        • Area Man
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

          I wonder what exactly “ownership” could mean in this context. Copyright? Seems a strange thing to try to control.

          It also begs the question whether they would accept a sumission which was posted on a blog BEFORE being submitted to the inquiry.

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          Re: Area Man (Feb 10 19:16),

          A submission (opinion paper) is not evidence — so no — they will not hold copyright on your words — at least I can’t see it. If you hand in an original copy of a report or document with annotations by an author etc that proves something I think that would be evidence. Or a part, like you felt you had to submit a sample of seawater, a rock, a lost marble, an original document with a signature that proved a point etc.

          I have “The rules of Evidence” here if you want direct quotes. Maybe google for a definition of evidence and the rules — I have not looked.

  5. IanP
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    I hope you’re pleased with yourself, Mr Mcintyre! I read last night that Mr Jones is now comparing himself to the tragic Dr Kelly of Iraqgate. That’s a gross insult to the widow of that poor man.

    • Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

      Re: IanP (Feb 10 01:57), Steve is in no way responsible for the scenario which the scientific community has got themselves into. Not realising that the science has backed itself into a corner doesn’t help matters either.

      • IanP
        Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

        The first sentence in my post as intended to be funny, not a serious criticism of Mr McIntyre! I hope no offence was taken.

  6. Grumpy Old Man
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    As I posted on another thread. Kelly was trying to make critical information available to the public. Prof. Jones is trying to keep critical information secret. There is no comparision.

  7. Arthur Dent
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    As noted above submissions to a Select Committee of the House should be kept confidential. However, under normal circumstances all the written and oral evidence presented to the committee is eventually published to the web along with the committee report.

    Note that it is likely that the Committee will take oral evidence from people that it believes can nelp in its deliberations. I suspect that if Steve were to offer to provide input via video link this might be welcomed

  8. Don Keiller
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    So did I(send a submission to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry).

    I’m hoping that as a U.K. citizen, currently employed in a U.K. University, they might actually have to read it.

  9. Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    something that will probably be disregarded anyway

    Hopefully not. I think many now realise that you speak with considerable authority on paleoclimate.

    Thank you again for your tireless work.

  10. Robinson
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Off topic, but your photo is in the Guardian Steve. Apparently at first they labelled it “Climate Change Denier”, but by later editions, due to public pressure, they changed it to “sceptic”. I think we’re making some progress.

    • dp
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

      I’m not sure that is an improvement. Steve has said he accepts there has been global warming. His efforts here are not that of a climate change skeptic but of a climate science auditor. It would be more accurate to describe him as a lukewarmist that has found serious errors in the analyses and who wishes to help correct that. Only Steve can clarify his role in all this, but this is my impression from reading his work.

    • Roy_US_Ohio
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

      It unfortunately still makes a distinction that suggests that skeptics cannot be scientists and vice versa. I also wince at the reference to Steve’s “ignorance of climate science”.

      Establishing a global mean temperature over time is obviously a multi-disciplinary pursuit. I can easily identify meteorology, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, statistics, data management, and programming as necessary areas of expertise. What mystifies me is the assumption that a climate scientist must be an omniscient master of all disciplines. It should be obvious that a specialist in any one of these disciplines will be more expert in that area than a climate scientist. Whence comes this assumption that a climate scientist is better at statistics than a statistician?

  11. Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    Steve

    Last minute I know, but email address on your post of 22 Jan is incorrect should be scitechcom@parliament.uk

    Still – 1 whole hour to go

  12. Stacey
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    @ Robinson above

    They take of the insult but then continues the snark:-

    JRanderson
    9 Feb 2010, 4:07PM

    peterwibble
    MartinFulbright

    Thanks for you comments. That one slipped through. We’ve changed the caption. I agree that “denial” has connotations that are not helpful, although my colleague George Monbiot disagrees.

    Please snip if you wish it will not offend

  13. Paul Zrimsek
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    3000 words? Goodness me, that’s almost 2400 hours of work!

  14. L Nettles
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    Anybody else that wonders about the definition of “bodging” can go here

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-bod1.htm

  15. Barry F. H. Graham
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    ClimateAudit readers might be interested in the article “The global warming guerillas” which appeared in the (London) Spectator edition of 6 February.

  16. FredL
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Today in the Netherlands, an article was published in Elsevier stating that : for the IPCC 2007 report, the Netherlands supplied 110 reviewers and lead authors. As it now appears, 109 of these belonged from the GW camp. Four members of the delegation were known environmentalists :
    – Donald Pols from Milieudefensie ( a radical environmentalist group )
    – Steve Sawyer, Arjette Stevens, Sven Teske from Greenpeace
    Steve Sawyer is considered to be one of the best lobbyists from Greenpeace.

    Only 1 known skeptic, Mr. Hans Labohm, was invited.

    The 4 environmentalists helped in drafting the proposals for measures to be taken. These measures were subsequently adopted by the minister of the environment, Jacqueline Kramer. (she herself has been an active envirnmentalist).

    Some members of the Dutch delegation actively profited by the membership.

    Questions are being raised in the Dutch parliament today and the VVD ( a rightwing liberal party ) has demanded a clarification from the Dutch prime minister, J.P. Balkenende.

    For the few that speak Dutch, a link to the article :

    http://www.elsevier.nl/web/Nieuws/Wetenschap/257959/VVD-Uitleg-Balkenende-over-Nederlandse-klimaatblunders.htm

    • Bruiser
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

      For those looking to translate articles… I’ve had quite a bit of success with Bing Translator: http://www.microsofttranslator.com

      Enter the langugage you’re looking to translate From and To in the appropriate fields, then paste the text or URL of a web page in the text box on the left. Click ‘Translate’ and watch the magic happen.

      For web pages, it returns the original page on the left, with the translated version on the right.

  17. sam mccomb
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    I hope that Steve, Jean S and perhaps a few others will consider making formal complaints about the behaviour of Mann, Briffa and Jones asking that their conduct be investigated under the disciplinary procedures of the Penn and East Anglia Universitys. Such formal complaints are likely to wait on the findings of the two reviews before proceeding. However, the substance of any complaint/s is likely to become a part of the reviews now set up. If you wait until after the results of the reviews are published you may find that it is more difficult than it would be now, to have your complaint/s fully considered. That might be because one or both reviews cover the ground about which you wish to complain but do so in a manner that you find inadequate.

    One purpose of disciplinary procedures is to try to establish acceptable norms of behaviour. If, for example, one ground of complaint was the cherry-picking of data, those hearing the complaint would have to decide whether that was acceptable or not in terms of University procedures and wider scientific good practice. I think the bristlecone story needs comprehensive re-telling. A big chore perhaps but likely, IMHO, to be worth it. Other Universities would IMO have to pat attention and word will get round.

    I am no expert, no scientist, but I think complaints about cherry-picking data, “torturing” the data to reach a pre-conceived conclusion, failing to archive full research information and failing properly to respond to FOIA requests would be what I would want to complain about.

    Regards

    Sam McComb

  18. Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Off topic, but I thought folks here might find this interesting. Someone in the IPCC just admitted the IPCC doesn’t do science:

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/12721

    Unbelievable.

    • FredL
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      Isnt it just unbelievable?

      “.. said Anton Imeson, a former IPCC lead author from the Netherlands.”

      See my earlier posting Feb 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM.
      The Dutch IPCC delegation of 207 turned out to be an environmentalist lobby group.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

      Re: AJStrata (Feb 10 11:10),

      This is old news. The IPCC has used this “excuse” many times before.

      • Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

        Dardinger,

        Well I understand there are folks who can identify every piece of bark in this forest of confusion, but you forget that right now the public in general does not know this and is now questioning its unwavering confidence in the IPCC.

        This is not about old news a few long time followers of this topic already knew – this is about removing the confidence of the IPCC and allowing the opposing views some time in the lime light to educate the people that there is solid science on the other side of the argument.

        Don’t dismiss these moments when the people can have a gestalt awakening and give the skeptics a fair chance to make their case.

        The window will be huge, but only open for a short time. Be prepared

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

          Re: AJStrata (Feb 10 11:44),

          Maybe so, but remember that the warmers have also stated many times that they have a right to lie to influence the public because it’s so important to save the world. If we resort to their sort of behavior why should people accept what we say (either)?

          BTW, this isn’t a new dichotomy of opinion. I once argued with John Daly, RIP, that he wasn’t always careful to make his statements exact and he responded much as you do. In this case, however, I was more just giving you a fact, thinking you might have been unaware this was normal rhetoric for the IPCC. I thought of saying more, but figured it’s sometimes better to respond than to go into too much detail to begin with.

  19. Richard
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Looking forward to reading your submission, Steve, when it is available. As an interested lurker, I think that the paleoclimatic evidence (or lack thereof) is the real “smoking gun” in this whole extended conversation. It’s very hard to argue (for or against) the theoretical science of global thermodynamics, but it is not at all hard to argue about the science which attempts to relate the physical evidence (e.g. tree rings, ice cores, etc.) over the past millenia to global theories.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. Jimchip
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    Maybe a similar inquiry will happen in the US. Always the optimist, this email from 1996 says similar US interests might want to have a look at CRU paleo, “Based upon the anticipated award for NOAA support during fiscal year 1997 on climate change data and detection, DOE has authorized the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)…Dr. Phillip Jones shall begin initial work in support of the pilot project identified in the Early Detection of Climate Trends report. He shall prepare for and participate in a meeting on greenhouse signal detection, to be held in Washington, DC on September 17-18, 1996…”

    Regarding “rather than trying to drain the Climategate swamp”– I really think that’s the correct approach. One can point out it’s a swamp in another context. One can say, “There’s the drain”…
    It’s someone else who has the responsibility and the authority to pull the plug out and watch it drain.

  21. Area Man
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    It’s hard to understand exactly why they want to prohibit publication of memorandum submissions. Can anyone help me understand why that would be important?

    And what does it mean when they say “…must be kept confidential…”? If I choose to publish a memorandum I submitted, will they

    a) take some form of action against me?
    b) refuse to consider my memorandum?
    c) something else?
    d) all of the above?

    • Keith W.
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

      I believe it has to do with how evidence is viewed in a trial setting under British (and its derivative American) law. The judges/jury is supposed to come into the trial impartial, with no preconceptions, or at best rudimentary ones, about the subject matter at hand. If a piece of evidence has been presented to the general public for view and discussion, then that piece may provide a preconception, and therefore be given undue weight in the deliberations and evaluation of the total evidence. Unless the evidence was provided by an eminent authority on the subject being investigated, and his opinion on the matter was already well published, then premature exposure of the piece would probably lead to its exclusion from consideration.

    • Henry
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

      Re: Area Man (Feb 10 12:12), in theory they can deal with this as a contempt of Parliament and in the past could even lock you up in the clock tower (Big Ben would ring every 15 minutes to remind you of your bad behaviour). In practice they would only do this if you were famous and they really wanted to get you, and to avoid it you could provide a suitable apology, or if they wanted to question you and you refused; it is more likely they would simply ignore your submission, which they can do anyway if they wish.

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

      Much better to just stick to the rules and avoid anything that may annoy the Committee. Take the high road or as my mother often said “If you are not sure, don’t do it”.

  22. Ray Girouard
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Re: FredL (FEb 10 10:49. Is there an English translation of the Elsevier article available? I looked in vain for an “English” button on their web site.

    Thanks

  23. mpaul
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    Well I certainly hope you followed the proper MLA Citation Style Rules this time. Remember, The parenthetical reference should precede the punctuation mark that concludes the sentence, clause, or phrase that contains the cited material. Failure to strictly follow these rules will surely cause your submission to be rejected.

  24. stephen richards
    Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    Steve

    The CRU inquiry gets started today but look for a whitewash. The Vice Chancelor of the uni said today that the enquirer has been working with the uni to understand and resolve the issues in one or two of the emails. He also said that they uni would be revisiting some of their major papers but doesn’t expect much in the way of changes because they were all peer reviewed.

  25. stephen richards
    Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Just a footnote to my last comment. The new Dr Jones ie his replacement, announced tonight that the science is settled.

  26. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Feb 12, 2010 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    Here is an emailed acknowldgement that I have received from the UK Commons Committee.

    “Thank you for sending your submission to the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The submission will be made available to members of the Committee.

    The Committee may make use of your evidence for the purpose of carrying out its inquiry, including-if it wishes-printing and publishing your evidence, or making it available for public inspection in the Parliamentary Archives. The Committee will not publish or otherwise disclose personal postal or e-mail addresses or telephone numbers. Once submitted, no public use should be made of your submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

    If, on further consideration, there is information in your submission which you believe to be sensitive, you should contact the Clerk to explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account when deciding whether to publish the evidence.

    Details of the programme for the inquiry will appear in press notices and will be published on the Science and Technology Committee website at http://www.parliament.uk/science/.” End quote.

    My emailed reply was –

    Dear Mr/Dr Boyd,

    The submission to which you refer can be used in public by you in its entirely. I wish to make no changes to my submission after reading your email below. I understand completely what your clear email says and means.

    While I will not use wording from the submission without the permission of the Clerk, the matter is quite broad and of course I reserve the right to make private and public exchanges about the subject matter of the Inquiry, without quoting from my Inquiry material, or indeed even referring to the Inquiry.

    I would be pleased if you made two small grammar corrections. The first is so that the relevant sentence reads “The Committee might make use of your evidence….” “May” implies permission, “might” implies probability.

    The second suggestion is to rephrase “ … disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit …”. This could be read as a fact that the CRU was the source of the disclosure, as it might have been, but that is not established to my knowledge.

    If you wish to make a direct quotation from my submission, I request that I see it in context before release. At other times and in other places, I have been quoted out of context in Parliamentary reports. I do not seek a repetition.

    If you are establishing an automatic email notification broadcast system for statements from the Committee, would you please include me on the mailing list? There is limited success these days in asking a multiplicity of interested individuals to open a web site from time to time, merely to see if an addition has been made.

    I wish you well with your Inquiry. I regard it as very important in the progress of science.
    END of response.

  27. Posted Feb 13, 2010 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    I spoke to Andy Boyd on the telephone on Thursday after I received the same form email as Geoff. I said I’d been thinking of emailing Phil Willis with further concerns I have and he assured me that any email on this subject will be read, very carefully, at the moment. Formal submissions will have personal details like address, telephone numbers and email addresses taken out, then presented to the committee (I think he said on the 24th), then published on paper and on the Web. That should all be done this month.

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