Boulton Tricks Muir Russell Again

Geoffrey Boulton has tricked the hapless Muir Russell again. Only a few days ago, Muir Russell assured us:

The Team will operate as openly and transparently as possible.

Russell said that the Team members were “selected” on the basis that they had “no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science”

Do any of the Review team members have a predetermined view on climate change and climate science?

No. Members of the research team come from a variety of scientific backgrounds. They were selected on the basis they have no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science and for the contribution they can make to the issues the Review is looking at.

According to the BBC here, Muir Russell repeated this in a statement last week:

Sir Muir issued a statement last week claiming that the inquiry members, who are investigating leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia, did not have a “predetermined view on climate change and climate science”.

The Inquiry gave specific assurance that Boulton did not have specific expertise in the “climate change field itself”:

Professor Geoffrey Boulton has expertise in fields related to climate change and is therefore aware of the scientific approach, through not in the climate change field itself.

In today’s bombshell (h/t Bishop Hill), Boulton said, in effect, that he had tricked poor Muir Russell. While Russell may have intended to “select” Team members on “the basis they have no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science”, Boulton had a different idea.

Throwing down a gauntlet against Muir Russell, Boulton said that, regardless of what Russell thinks, Boulton’s opinion is that the “committee needs someone like me who is close to the field of climate change”. Boulton told The Times:

“I may be rapped over the knuckles by Sir Muir for saying this, but I think that statement needs to be clarified. I think the committee needs someone like me who is close to the field of climate change and it would be quite amazing if that person didn’t have a view on one side or the other.”

Previously, Boulton had sandbagged Russell in respect to his past connections to the University of East Anglia – still unreported at the Inquiry website – see here. The Inquiry had stated:

None have any links to the Climatic Research Unit, or the United Nations’ Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). More information about each of the review team members can be found in the Biographies section.

Although Boulton’s Inquiry biography does not mention it, Boulton was employed at the University of East Anglia for 18 years, 10 years overlapping with Phil Jones. When confronted, Boulton said that he had had “no professional contact with the University of East Anglia or the Climatic Research Unit”. But as recently as Oct 29, 2009, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Boulton is the General Secretary) presented a program entitled “The impact of climate change on Scotland”, with presenters including Boulton himself, John Mitchell of the Met Office (and FOI fame) and an invited presenter from the University of East Anglia, Andrew Dlugolecki, described here as being a Visiting Fellow at the Climatic Research Unit itself; a similar title is ascribed to Dlugolecki in an apparently current bio here.

Dlugolecki is a participant in a Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry “Facing up to climate change” see here . This pdf is dated Jan 26, 2010 and Dlugolecki’s affiliation with the troubled UEA Climatic Research Unit was not mentioned by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

26 Comments

  1. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    If Muir Russel has any spine left he would give the assignment back.

  2. Steamboat McGoo
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Again – I am not in the least surprised at this.

    These people still do not seem to grasp that they cannot make statements and expect them to be accepted unchecked.

  3. curious
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t “trick” just another word for a well established and understood practice amongst knowledgeable peers and practitioners?

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: curious (Feb 14 18:51),

      could be, as long as one adds the oath to “never reveal the secret behind the trick”.

  4. WillR
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    I know you say that you “can’t make this stuff up…” and indeed I did check “The National Enquirer” on the basis that maybe somebody started the story there and maybe you stretched the truth a bit — apparently not — as there are no “Climate Gate” stories there at all… so what can I say. Perhaps somewhere a “B” movie script writer and a failed Enquirer reporter are somewhere in a lonely writers garret producing the scripts which these fellows are dutifully reading and acting out… any other explanation beggars the imagination.

    Maybe Boulton was “vetted” like Kim Philby was “vetted”.

    • geronimo
      Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

      From the way Boulton’s rubbing Sir Muir’s nose in it I would guess that he holds the position because someone who Boulton clearly regards as having much more leverage than the hapless Sir Muir has appointed him. He clearly feels invulnerable, and is openly out to whitewash the whole affair, and doesn’t care who knows.

      • Skiphil
        Posted Jan 15, 2013 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

        Yes! This is what I am thinking as I read through these threads about the Boulton appointment for the first time — I sense that Boulton is more of a power behind the throne, or at least is close to whoever can wield the power….. Muir Russell is merely a hapless, inept figurehead doing the bidding of others.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: WillR (Feb 14 19:06),

      Spymaster Phil, who talks in email code that only the team understands, is sleeping quietly. Mike Mann, Phil’s control, the American in charge of Team Central, is always on alert. Boulton, in charge of Team Scot, sends Crowley and Gabi to liaise with the Americans at the secret meeting of the NAS… Gabi overhears McIntyre and McKitrick talking about obtaining the secret data and retreats in panic mode. “I heard Mann PC1 discussed (PC is a teamism for their leaders known as the Principal Components), and they mentioned the Russians (Tornetrask, Taymir), warn Briffa! They may be after the West Greenland isotopes. Also, warn the Chinese, The Yang composite may be in danger.” Meanwhile, elsewhere in the US, Santer has been on stakeout for Pat Michaels. Called to the NAS, Santer is lurking in a dark alley waiting for an opportunity.

      Gabi’s communication causes a Team Central Comm crisis with late night conversations among other team members. “Should we call Gabi with further instructions?” The decision is made. The code may have been broken and the IPCC may be in peril. “Tell Gabi to dump that one code paper. We’ll use the other without the data.” Boulton, just sitting down to morning tea, is relieved. “Get me the Minister”, he orders. McIntyre and McKitrick go out for a Starbucks.

      I made very little up.

  5. Robert
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    Pathetic. I do hope Russell does the right thing and asks Boulton to leave. Otherwise, the whole inquiry will have very little credibility. Makes one wonder about the world of academia. Seems they have been cloistered away in their own little world too long and need to wake up to the age of information.

  6. Robert Christopher
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    I have only just noticed, here, in the last paragraph!

    http://www.cce-review.org/About.php

    None have any links to the Climatic Research Unit, or the United Nations’ Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Independent?

    • Jim Stathos
      Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

      Good catch. You’re right. They didn’t even get the name of the IPCC right on their own web site! And these are the people trusted to run the investigation?

    • Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

      That’s fantastic. From the moment Climategate broke we’ve been told that although a few bad things were done but CRU researchers, under intolerable pressure from crazed outsiders like Mr. McIntyre, the core science of AGW is totally unaffected, because the same results have been reached (in global temperature reconstructions, GCMs and the rest) by completely independent groups across the world. What we didn’t realise until now is that the I in IPCC means Independent. So if all else fails, there’s your independent corroboration of the truth of the matter!

  7. RuhRoh
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Steve;

    Please snip this if redundant, objectionable, pylonic, or just dumb.
    I could easily have missed it among the Tsunami of Boulton material.

    While reading the Lindzen paper about fear-rooted endeavor, I was reminded about the need for (in this case RSE) funding for reports.
    Lindzen said that NAS reports are typically comissioned by sponsors and likely reflect their preferences.
    From one of the many pages you linked,:

    “Funding
    A key requirement for the RSE to be able to hold this inquiry is to raise funding from a range of sources independent from Government. The Inquiry currently has support from various sectors (public, corporate and charitable), but is still looking for further support to complete its work. Organisations wishing to join in helping fund this work would be most appreciated.
    Supporters of this inquiry to date include:
    BP
    City of Edinburgh Council
    GlaxoSmithKline
    Highland Council
    Marks & Spencer Group plc
    Royal Bank of Scotland Group
    RSPB Scotland
    Scottish Environment Link
    Scottish Estates Business Group
    Scottish Natural Heritage
    Scottish Power
    Scottish Rural Property and Business Assoc.
    Scottish Water
    SEPA
    Shell U.K. Limited
    The Binks Trust
    The Forestry Commission Scotland
    Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank Foundation ”

    OK and my question is,
    what is your perspective on the submission of materials;
    e.g.

    http://www.rse.org.uk/enquiries/climate_change/evidence/index.htm

    Do you see any value in supplying material they will be forced to acknowledge, albeit summarily?
    TIA
    RR

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

      Re: RuhRoh (Feb 14 19:39),

      “Do you see any value in supplying material they will be forced to acknowledge, albeit summarily?”

      Yes, for the simple reason that any submissions will be considered to be public, at least by the submitters, and others will have a chance to determine whether the inquiry acted according to their rules and remit or whether it was a dog and pony show. Inquiries and inquirers need know that transparency is going to be required whether it’s their preference or not.

  8. Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Steve, it’s not the BBC but the Times from which you’re quoting in the latter part of the post.

  9. Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    My correction refers to the third paragraph (excepting quotations). You do state correctly it’s The Times later on. What also depresses, with all the monotony of endless repetition, are the weasel words:

    Meanwhile, a member of the inquiry team investigating allegations of misconduct by climate scientists has admitted that he holds strong views on climate change and that this contradicts a founding principle of the inquiry. Geoffrey Boulton, who was appointed last week by the inquiry chairman, Sir Muir Russell, said he believed that human activities were causing global warming.

    He admits he ‘holds strong views’. And what may they be? That ‘human activities were causing global warming’. But hey, that could be changes in land use, indeed it could simply be the Urban Heat Island effect. And of course it doesn’t say how much warming. It doesn’t say that it’s anything but microcosmic, providing as much justification for massive reduction of CO2 emissions as the fact I just squatted a fly and that caused the local temperature to rise.

    He has ‘strong views’ about something totally non-controversial, in other words – and totally irrelevant. But we know from other quotes, already given on CA, that his strong views amount to a great deal more than this.

    It’s high time that this general habit of dissembling around vague generalities when pressed on much more thorny matters is nailed by the mass media. High time. Or by the blogs. We can do it, singlehandedly, by now I guess.

  10. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    I am in utter despair at this shabby shambolic pretence of independence. Look out for whitewash gushing about Norfolk, a lot of it seemingly made in Scotland, I’m ashamed to say.

  11. justbeau
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    How many false or daffy statements has Boulton made already? Instead of being rapped over the knuckles, maybe he should be rapped over the knucklehead. The East Anglia investigation is making the Penn State one seem a model of probity.
    It should be easy to run a smooth whitewash. The Muir Russell team is making the easy seem impossibly hard.

  12. JCM
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    If you think of this as a soccer match the score is :
    Sir Muir 0-2 Truth & Honesty; with two own goals and a pair of red cards. It is early in the game and the crowd are somewhat restless.
    Possibility of a rout is quite high. If Sir Muir don’t pick up the game relegation is almost assured. A rumour of change in management is gaining ground at Paddy Power. Sir Alex Ferguson is not available.

  13. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    Spring Meeting of Royal Society of Edinburgh
    The Country Symposium this year will be informal

    Fellows were notified at the end of last year this will be held at UAE Norfolk. Our guest of Honour and Master of Ceremonies, Sir Moor de Ruffill, has indicated a wish to make this very much more informal than envisaged. He prefers the concept of a ‘club style’ running meet over a several week period. Fellows are encouraged to invite guests (paying I’m afraid!) and there may be occasional places for visitors to watch specially arranged sessions, though for obvious reasons a great deal of the proceedings will be held in camera obscura totalis. Exchange of views can thus be franker on the one hand but release more tightly controlled at the end of proceedings
    Already some Fellows have started the symposium duties, but a few have had to leave early and more places are likely to become vacant.

    Invitations are extended to delegates preferably with relevant interests which cannot honestly be declared. Existing Edinburgh club members will have clear precedence, though good sponsorship potential will carry considerable weight.

    Dress daytime TV pinstripes
    night time informal – kilts, whatever

    Ethics – loose and flexible

    Delegates are encouraged to know at least half the attendees, but may bring suitable guests and their own secretarial help, though a large experienced secretarial team is being provided by R.S.E.

    Transport – Limos less than 6 litres only

    Evening sessions of entertainment (BYOB – Whitewash Old Spectacular recommended!)

    While campus cabins are available, other more capacious locations can be found; payment optional

    Please contact Geoffrey Mitford-Bolter, Gen Secretary, if you are interested.

  14. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    Spring Meeting of Royal Society of Edinburgh

  15. bobdenton
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Boulton’s response is now at the Review web site.

    http://www.cce-review.org/News.php

    He declared that he worked at UEA for 18 yrs at the news conference on 11th Feb etc.

    • Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

      Re: bobdenton (Feb 15 08:13),
      But that is about someone called Bolton. It is Boulton we are concerned about.

      • bobdenton
        Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

        I suppose we’ll be told they’re completely independent despite them both having the same data in their CVs.

  16. Neil
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    “Allegations of bias against Review member rejected”

    see Independent Climate Change em@il Review at http://www.cce-review.org/News.php

    On Friday February 12, allegations were raised that Professor Geoffrey Bolton’s background and views affected his ability to be a member of the Review. These have been rejected by Sir Muir Russell and by Professor Bolton.

  17. Bob Koss
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    UEA announced the formation of the panel on December 3. On December 10 Boulton endorsed the IPCC view on climate change by putting his name to this statement.
    Met Office

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] representations and Boulton’s actual position was brought to light by bloggers, Boulton said that the Inquiry statement would need to be “clarified”: I may be rapped over the [...]

  2. [...] McIntyre dénonce depuis plusieurs jours (ici, ici, ici et ici par exemple) le fait que parmi les 5 membres choisis pour l’enquête (menée [...]

  3. [...] to disclose connections to the UEA. Despite this, Russell kept him on the committee. As Bishop Hill reports, Boulton said, in effect, that he had tricked poor Muir Russell. While Russell may have intended to [...]

  4. [...] to disclose connections to the UEA. Despite this, Russell kept him on the committee. As Bishop Hill reports, Boulton said, in effect, that he had tricked poor Muir Russell. While Russell may have intended to [...]

  5. [...] to disclose connections to the UEA. Despite this, Russell kept him on the committee. As Bishop Hill reports, Boulton said, in effect, that he had tricked poor Muir Russell. While Russell may have intended to [...]

  6. [...] to disclose connections to the UEA. Despite this, Russell kept him on the committee. As Bishop Hill reports, Boulton said, in effect, that he had tricked poor Muir Russell. While Russell may have intended to [...]

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