UK Parliamentary Hearings Today

Try here- I got wrongfooted as I couldn’t get the other feeds.

Start at 4 pm (11 am Eastern). Andrew Montfod (Bishop Hill) has article at Channel Four here with Channel Four feed apparently starting at 11 am Eastern here

BBC feed here.

Archived feed


  1. Pasteur01
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Did I misread your post? The hearing began at 10:00 eastern on BBC and

  2. Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Guardian is also liveblogging the hearing which actually started at 3pm GMT

  3. Copner
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It already started at 3pm. Bishop Hill already has a summary of the first half hour, and is updating every couple of minutes.

  4. Grumpy Old Man
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Seems to me that the committee is being carefully steered away from areas where CRU et al don’t want to go. I can’t see Lord Lawson putting up with that for long.

  5. Tom P
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    [Jean S: snip. - snip- ]

    • Tom P
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

      [Jean S: If you didn't get it, IMO your question was OT. Steve will answer it if he likes. This is about the hearings. Please do not reiterate.]

    • Area_Man
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Tom P (Mar 1 11:21),
      Jean S., I would respectfully suggest it is not in keeping with CA’s standards to snip comments such as Tom P’s. It’s just that type of moderation that will start CA on the slippery slope toward censorship like that at RC.

      Philosophical consistency is very important. If a CA reader were to post a similar question at RC and have it snipped, would the response be “Oh well, I was asking a useless question so that snip was justified”? If not, then please reconsider. Tom P’s comment/question does not harm CA (imho) but snipping it does.

      Steve has accomplished so much and he has done it by being

      1) right
      2) respectful
      3) consistent

      It would be a shame to compromise any of those qualities going forward. Just my 2 cents.

      [Jean S: Oh well, I somehow knew this ... Tom P has a reputation here to try to convert whatever thread to his own pleasing. There is a thread here where he could have posted his question (I would have e-mailed it) if he was only interested in the answer but he insisted posting it here. But whatever, Steve, Tom wants to know this time if you have submitted a "correction" of some sort of the figure issue Tom found? And now I'm off moderating, hijack this thread for whatever purpose you like.]

      • Area_Man
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Area_Man (Mar 1 12:13),
        … and I would also add

        4) possessing of almost superhuman patience
        5) tenacious

        IMHO snipping comments like Tom P’s tends to undermine 3) and 4).

        RomanM: JeanS need not apologize for finally doing something about TomP’s single-minded persistence. This is at least the third thread in the last week or so that he has tried to hijack for his own OT purposes. He has been warned on several occasions already that this violation of blog etiquette is unacceptable for him in the same way that it is unacceptable for all of the rest of us.

        There are other places on the blog where he is welcome to post on his topics. This thread is not one of them and if he continues to be OT here , it is possible that his comment may disappear entirely.

      • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Let me express thanks to Jean S and anyone else that moderates here. His point was only to put this question in the right thread. That Tom P should do.

        • Area_Man
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Mar 1 12:30),
          I guess the phrase “useless OT questions” is what caught my eye. It smacks of the same tone that undermines the integrity of other blogs. My point is that CA always has been and should remain above that.

          I understand Tom P’s history of posts, but that’s precisely why he should be tolerated rather than insulted. Insulting him gives him ammo and makes CA look more like other blogs and less like CA. Why do that?

          In the end of course it is Steve’s blog so his decision. If he agrees with the snip and rejects my observations, then that settles it. I will still have enormous respect for what he has accomplished and continues to accomplish.

        • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

          A bit of self-snipping should sometimes be encouraged for moderators, after the event. We shouldn’t be moralizing on it. That’s my last word on the subject, except to repeat that Tom P should have taken his question elsewhere, without complaint.

        • Area_Man
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Mar 1 12:54),

          Fair enough, Richard.

          My last word is this; the desired result could have been acchieved with a simple “snip – OT” and/or a suggestion on where the appropriate place to post the question would be. Insults such as “useless” are unnecessary and counterproductive (IMHO).

        • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, but it probably really was useless, therefore, truth is an absolute defense. Or defence, if you like.

        • kim
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

          I’m not sure you can say you’ve lived until you’ve been snipped by Steve.

        • AnonyMoose
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

          There’s a “contact” link in the upper left if someone has a question. If they want to say something in public and can’t find the right thread, consider adding a “Tips” article with a link in the upper left menu (similar to WUWT’s solution). The standard moderation for OT can become “OT – see Tips link or find the right thread.”

      • rcrejects
        Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 5:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Come on Area Man. This sequence of posts accurately illustrates the difference between the moderation policies of RC and CA. At RC, the post would be ‘rejected’ without comment. At CA there is a snip, and the reason is given (OT – go to the right thread). In my view, the RC approach is worlds apart from the CA approach.

        Having said that, our research at rcrejects is showing that RC is now acting more responsibly than it once did.

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

          1) not the same as RC, but starting down the slippery slope in that direction. It’s true that RC is moving in the right direction, so a shame if CA is at the same time moving in the wrong direction. Better to continue to lead by example and not provide ammo to detractors.

          2) I was wrong to have used wording that suggested it shouldn’t have been snipped; I should have focused only on the “useless” insult.

          Steve: In the pre-Dec 2009 setup, I had a widget that enabled me to move OT posts to an appropriate thread. This was a very effective way for me to deal with people who had a point in which they were interested, but who lacked the politeness to place the comment on a relevant thread. I don’t have that widget in the present setup. Pete H has contacted wordpress about incorporating the widget in their standard setup, but until then I would appreciate it if commenters who feel strongly about an unrelated point would have sufficient courtesy to place the comment on a related thread – particularly if they wish me to pay attention to it. I can locate it on a relevant thread when I have time to deal with it.

          [Jean S: So all the trouble and about 10 or more OT comments your complaint generated come now down to a single word I used. Since I do not regret that word (IMO it truthfully describes Tom's efforts) and you, apparently an expert on moderation and related issues, are telling us that this is now moving the whole CA to some dark directions, I hereby quit moderating any comments. It is waste of (my) time anyway. I hope you are happy now.]

        • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

          Totally agree. This is as a completely synthetic ‘debate’ snip – including Area Man and rcrejects – to try to discourage you and distract from the really important subject in hand. Both for the readability of the thread and for your own peace of mind, I say delete every post underneath your original snip of Tom P, up to and including this one. I promise you I won’t miss mine! And thanks for your many great efforts for CA, whatever.

          Steve: I’ve told Tom P that I’m very busy right now and can’t provide room service for him. In an incident last fall, he got hugely annoyed when room service didn’t attend to him within several hours of his request and went to realclimate to complain, where he was proclaimed as Gavin’s Guru.

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Mar 2 09:04),

          Again, the use of insults (this time “troll”) is unfortunate, especially since such behaviour is justifiably criticized when it appears in the Climategate emails (think “bozo”, “Climate Fraudit”, etc.).

          Jean S., I tried to provide a respectful and constructive comment. You are correct, it did come down to the use of one word. CA is often described in the press as having a higher level of discourse than most blogs, and my concern is that the use of insults by moderators would provide ammo for critics who may cherry-pick such put-downs as a way of casting CA in a bad light. I stand by that concern.

          I agree this whole thread is woefully OT. If Steve wishes to carry on this discussion and suggests a place to do so, I would be happy to engage further. I’ll just leave by saying that those who have attempted to characterize my motives are incorrect, and likely fail to see how closely their own comments and reactions to constructive criticism echo those of some mainstream climate scientists who have recently been in the news. I am happy (but not surprised) that, true to form, Steve himself did not engage in that type of behaviour.

          Steve: As you observe, blog policies do not permit commenters to call one another names. Because the blog is not moderated in advance, I place more expectations on commenters to comply with blog policies than other blogs, but also reserve the right to snip and delete comments that contravene blog policies after the fact – which I’ll do in this case. If a commenter breaches blog policies, I much prefer that readers do not respond in kind, but draw it to my attention.

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

          Re: Area Man (Mar 2 09:55),

          Understood and appreciated, Steve. At the risk of sounding sycophantic, your willingness to continue to engage with Tom P., and even to thank him when appropriate, is a refreshing example (one of very few out there) of what it means to be gentleman and a scholar. It’s an example others would do well to understand.

  6. Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Well done Ian Cawsey! He not only managed to mention McIntyre but has finally got to the heart of the matter. Quoting the response to Hughes then: “If it’s not standard practice, how can the science progess?”

    • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Correction, having checked photos via Google, make that Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Blackley, Manchester, who was easily the most intelligent member of the committee throughout. Apologies to both men. Bishop Hill’s live blogging threw me off course there!

      • Copner
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

        It was Graham Stringer.

        As far as I know he is the only scientist (he was a chemist before being an MP) on the panel.

        It was actually a killer blow, and was reported in full on Radio 4′s Today program by Roger Harrabin (it was the main item in Harrabin’s reports)

        Basically Stringer asked if Phil Jones had released all the data, including citing the email saying that he wouldn’t want to release data to people who want to undermine it.

        Jones disassembled a bit, and waffled around the issue about having released various bits of data at various bits of data.

        Stringer asked Jones if it was then his testimony that all the data had been released.

        Jones said no. He hadn’t released all the data.

        Stringer then said that science moved forward by challenge, testing, etc., so why wasn’t it released.

        Jones agreed said it wasn’t released because it wasn’t standard practice, but perhaps it should be standard practice in future.

        So the long and short of it, is everybody, even Jones is now arguing: release everything.

        I think you can bet that will be in the committee’s recommendations.

        Don’t be surprised by a future warmist attack on Stringer… you know he worked in the plastics industry (big oil!) in the mid 70s, and has made some controversial comments on dyslexia.

        • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          It was PM, at 5pm GMT, not Today (which begins at 6am!) – you can hear the Harrabin report from around 48min here. It does repeat the key interaction, as you say.

        • Copner
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

          You’re right it was PM. Don’t know what I was thinking when I typed that.

          @Jeff Alberts: Yes.

        • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

          I think you meant “dissemble”, as opposed to “disassemble”, though I admit the latter would be much more interesting with respect to Jones. ;)

    • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 5:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The reporter who’s nailed this the best that I’ve seen is Fred Pearce:

      Jones’s general defence was that anything people didn’t like – the strong-arm tactics to silence critics, the cold-shouldering of freedom of information requests, the economy with data sharing – were all “standard practice” among climate scientists. “Maybe it should be, but it’s not.” And he seemed to be right. The most startling observation came when he was asked how often scientists reviewing his papers for probity before publication asked to see details of his raw data, methodology and computer codes. “They’ve never asked,” he said.

      Did I read somewhere that Pearce took exception recently to something Gavin said about him on RC? If so, it’s backfired, judging from this piece.

      • Bruce
        Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 12:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Feynman defined it, Cargo cult science.

        I’ve sometimes wondered if the bandwagon with Hansen et al in the late 80s couldn’t even begin to roll until Feynman had passed from the scene.

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

          Great observation.

        • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

          I think you make an important point: the power of someone of utter integrity in science who’s reached the pinnacle in reputation and stature (deservedly so in Feynman’s case – not always in others). Although we – following Feynman – eschew any argument from authority there may be a trace of paradox there, in the way science interacts with the larger culture. Not authority then – but a combination of inspiration, example and fearless bullshit-detection?

          The fact that Freeman Dyson was such a close collaborator with Feynman and is still alive (and compos mentis, despite the best efforts of Real Climate to suggest otherwise) – and of course British-born and a Fellow of the Royal Society which has been asked to do the scientific review by the UEA – has always struck me as a major protection from the utter corruption of ‘official’ science over here. Dyson’s done a sterling job in being the conscience of climate science in recent years, calling it back to first principles. (And Dyson’s daughter Esther understands a lot about Internet governance and open systems to boot. I liked her a lot when we met in the early 90s. Useful family.)

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          The great thing about Feynman was the fact that he was very effective at pointing out BS to a very wide dynamic range of audiences. True, he had the credentials and stature scientifically, but his plainspoken nature allowed him to communicate effectively and convincingly to laypeople who may not even be aware of his reputation.

          Couple that with a disdain for authority and one of history’s finest BS detector, and you have a guy who could have stopped Gore in his tracks and saved countless kids from having to be bombarded by propoganda.

        • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

          The only practical problem with such exalted views of Feynman is that he’s dead, a state from which he himself would not expect to influence proceedings! Making him out to be that unique can subtly imply we stand less chance of dealing with the junk science of our day than he did in his. But I don’t think that’s true at all. We’ve been given Dyson, at least for a season. We’ve been given Lindzen and Christy and McIntyre. And it’s not as if Steve is claiming to be a great scientist (though he loves his maths). He’s just got courage and integrity. And that’s all any of us needs. We don’t need Feynman to hold our hand – as he would be the first to say.

        • Area Man
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Mar 2 11:22),

          Well, the original point was that Global Warming Hysteria may not have gotten off the ground if Feynman had been alive in the 90′s. I think it’s a good point. That doesn’t take anything away from those currently working hard to promote the truth, but clearly Global Warming Hysteria DID get off the ground. Not sure exactly what the problem is with the stated opinion on Feynman’s chances of thwarting GWH had he been alive. OT anyway.

  7. Lewis
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Over – and a pretty unsatisfactary hearing it seemed to me – though I could not hear the whole of it, having to rush out. Anyway, I don’t know what unearthly hour is in Canada but, I’m sure, you’ll muse and tell us what you think!

  8. JCM
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The funniest part was the persistent attempt from Eccles (Ian Stewart MP) to establish that Jones and CRU were justified in their attitude to FOI. It was the only point here pursued and with he had absolutely no support from any witness. The loud and clear signal from today was ‘Make data available’.
    Very good chairman.

  9. David Longinotti
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    At the outset, it was clearly stated that the inquiry was not addressing the science, and so Lawson and Peiser did not present the many reasons for doubting the AGW hypothesis. At the close, when the AGW scientists testified, they were allowed to give a summary of the rationale behind the AGW theory, and why they consider it to be ‘unequivocal’. So the case for AGW was heard, but not the considerable uncertainties attending it (like the MWP). Frustrating.

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The science, or at least the perversion of the scientific method, is the heart of the Climategate issue. Preventing contrary views from being published, refusing to release data, and destoying data is not part of the science that I studied. Sadly, it is what UEA and its CRU were doing.

    • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I was thinking that. But despite all the unfairness and a lot of ineptness the big issue of reproducibility was very much to the fore from start to finish. Graham Stringer was a big reason for that but Phil Willis also lent weight. Lawson and Peiser did well, though not of course anything like as well as Steve or Ross would have done. Jones came across as very nervy and openly admitted, more than once, that he hadn’t provided the data and code to make reproducibility possible, because that wasn’t standard practice in Climate Science. “Perhaps it should be,” he said on one occasion without prompting, more than a little wistfully I thought.

      My reading of that: Jones hates himself for not being the scientist he knows he ought to have been. But there’s been massive pressure on him and others to fit in with a political-driven process. That’s not excusing them but I thought that you could see that in Jones’ manner and responses.

      The treatment of ‘hide the decline’ was highly inadequate. Even though Jones repeated the party line that the divergence problem had been discussed in the literature – so where’s the problem? – Stringer kept coming back to whether others, particularly critics, could reproduce the work. He made very good use of the dreadful Jones reply to Warwick Hughes – which was in the public domain way before Climategate, of course. But that’s the quirky way history works. Phil Jones would never have had to face questions from a Commons Select Committee on such a vital point had it not been for the actions of our favourite whistleblower.

      Jones even held up the WMO 1999 Statement, showing the graph on the cover. It’s a real pity that no MP got down into whether that graph could ever have been considered an honest representation of the science for the general public.

      But still, it was at least all in the open. I think a number of the submissions – and their variety – had had considerable impact. The three amigos at the end couldn’t do much about the overall emphasis, which was “Clean up you act.”

      It was also heartening that Muir Russell said that Wegman had produced a very solid report and didn’t rule out using some independent stats expertise as the need arose. I missed any comments Russell may have made on Boulton due to a feed outage. Were there any?

      • EdeF
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I was impressed by the questions coming from MP Stringer, although there was some ducking and dodging on the answers. I don’t think the MPs nor the big brass witnesses have the detailed knowledge of the issues to ask more probing follow-on questions. If nothing more, this inquiry lets the MET and CRU know they are being monitored.

      • 3Ms
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Boulton was not mentioned. I am quite amazed that it was not brought up. There was ample opportunity to bring him into the discussion when Muir Russell was quizzed about the make-up of his committee. I keep asking myself WHY?

        • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

          No, Nigel Lawson brought up Boulton, right at the beginning. He argued that he wasn’t the right man. He called it ‘carelessness’ on Russell’s part to choose two duds! I was wondering if Sir Muir was questioned on this.

        • 3Ms
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

          Sorry I was not clear. Muir Russell was not questioned on this.

        • 3Ms
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

          If you would like to view it, the video of the whole afternoon is available here:-

        • Copner
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

          I think the words were “a certain carelessness”.

          For anybody not already aware, this is a common kind of ironic understatement used in British parliamentary/official circles. This kind of language is code to emphasize a point, in this case, a very strong criticism.

          c.f. Alistair Darling (UK) expresses “some concerns” about the banks to Hank Paulson (US), but doesn’t realise in British official code, he’s waving a gigantic red flag.

  10. stephen richards
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The BBC announced tonight 1/3 that the PC have accepted jone’s explanations for all the complaints about data loss and management and that the words in the emails have been misinterpreted. Whitewash on the walls of parliament and UEA. Nothing to see, move along now.

  11. Lewis
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Stephen Richards, could you provide a link?

    • stephen richards
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It was their local news broadcast. Not on web

      • 3Ms
        Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Local News Broadcasts are available on BBC I-Player. All areas are covered. It takes a bit of tracking down but the news broadcasts throughout the day are available. The one for Cambridge is 3 hours in length. See later post.

  12. Invariant
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My main impression after this hearing is that Phil Jones is in the wrong business. Clearly he should have been in the commercial software business with intellectual properties, patents and company secrets. His viewpoint is that the result of his research is a product that cannot in any way be checked, that’s exactly how a company like Microsoft works.

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Most commercial enterprises rely on proprietary knowledge (ie, trade secrets, etc.) to gain a competitive advantage and are entitled to protect their advantage over competitors through legal means (patents, trademarks, etc.).

      However any representation that a commercial enterprise makes to the public about the performance of their product had better be valid, otherwise they risk coming to the adverse attention of the authorities.

      For good reason, imputing motive is discouraged on this site. However without showing demonstrable evidence that their commercial product performs as advertised, many a businessman has gotten into serious hot water carrying on as disclosed in the leaked emails.

      • Invariant
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I agree that many a businessman would have gotten into serious hot water carrying on as disclosed in the leaked emails. Still, I suspect that many of the most serious issues in the emails not only would have been acceptable, but actually encouraged in a commercial business.

        On the other hand, I find it discouraging that also the UK Met Office views their climate model as a product that is available only to a closed group of collaborators worldwide. That’s not science!

        With a Ph.D. in Physics and more than 10 years of experience in commercial simulation business, I am very happy with the Institute of Physics submission, which actually is implying that climatology is a cargo-cult science as described by Richard Feynman.

        • Gord Richens
          Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

          Good point. A more appropriate incentive system would help.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Even Microsoft gets embarassed when they give a demo and their own software gives them the blue screen of death.

      • Invariant
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 5:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Sure, but at this point I think it is important to show our human side to the world as well. Certainly Phil Jones has not succeded in academia, this may partly be his own fault, but also be due to the somewhat incomprehensible way that academia and science is supposed to work. Academia is supposed to be a gentleman’s game, where personal interests or sucess should be sacrified in order to increase the common knownledge of mankind, that’s in some sense not so human – human beings like competition to fight and conquer, which resembles comercial business more. That’s why I think Phil Jones would have fitted better in business. When I was a graduate student in Physics some years ago, I worked with some very skilled and humble professors, so I think I know how scince is supposed to work, and I can confess that the impression of Jones today is not anything like that. I have read many of your papers Loehle, and I think that your way of always being humble and forward any doubt you may have is how science is supposed to work.

    • Debreuil
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

      In the software world, he would (err, might) survive until his first hard drive failure. I have no idea why people just give him a pass when he says data/code has been lost. In any industry I know, losing the ability to reproduce results isn’t just damaging for credibility, it is impossible to continue forward yourself without starting over. In the end I guess that holds in climate science as well.

  13. Lewis
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mariam Cook refered to the Guardians coverage – I think the final impression given – although this is an agw paper – is probably accurate – ie., no punches were ‘sought’ or landed. Unfortunately, as I expected.

    • Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Ian Katz, Guardian deputy editor tweeted two hours ago:

      Pathetic questioning of UEA’s Phil Jones by science and tech committee – made Chilcot and co look like rottweilers

      Chiclot’s referring the big Inquiry into the Iraq War here, which is widely seen as too soft. If a major player at our premier AGW-evangelising paper takes that view, it gives some idea of how much the debate has shifted.

      • Phillip Bratby
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

        It needed a good criminal barrister to ask some serious questions and get proper answers. The committee allowed the questioners to side-track the questions and not give the answers.

    • Sean
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I agree that no punches were landed, but I also agree that none were intended. Count me as a contrarian, but I think the purpose of the hearing was more to get Jones’ (and others’) views into the public record, than to win any points against him. In fact, I think I got a much better picture of Jones than I would have gotten from an adversarial US-style hearing.

      But given that questioners were more concerned with drawing out the views of those testifying than in challenging their statements, the lack of anyone testifying on the ‘other side’ had an even more significant deleterious impact on the proceedings than it would have had in an adversarial setting.

  14. Lewis
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Though I’m irritated about the rediculous questioning as to AGWF funding. What a hoot?

  15. bobdenton
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    VC Acton said that there were only 3 members of staff at CRU in the context of having to cope to cope with the FoIA requests.

    CRU website shows 17 members of staff and 10 graduate students.

    • AJC
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      They previously claimed,a an excuse for being snowed under by FOI requests, that they only had one secretary for 13 members of staff. Now its a ratio of 1 to 3.

      Of course this is pure semantics from Acton: the term “academic staff” excludes research and support staff who, in reality, would have produced the responses to the FOI requests.

      btw the vast majority of the FOI requests were for non disclosure agreements rather than actual data or code.

    • jim edwards
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I believe he was alluding to the fact that only three members of CRU draw a salary from UEA School of Environmental Sciences [including the director]. I suppose they are the staff.

      The other scientific members of CRU have to generate their own income through grant-writing. They must not be the staff.

      • AJC
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 7:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Since 1994 three senior staff have been funded by ENV/UEA and two others partially funded. The others, as you say, are on soft-money.

        I say again that is a very lame excuse for inability “to cope with the FoIA requests”. Acton was making smoke.

        of their salaries paid. The fact that CRU has and has had a number of long-standing research staff is testimony to the quality and relevance of our work. Such longevity in a research centre, dependent principally on soft money, in the UK university system is probably unprecedented. The number of CRU research staff as of the end of July 2007 is 15 (including those fully funded by ENV/UEA).

  16. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree completely with Jean S and RomanM on snipping Tom P.

    When someone persist in the same questions and lines over and over again the intent of the blog to inform is being expropriated by the indulger.

    I believe whole heartedly in free speech but if someone comes into my house and continues to interrupt the conversations with repetitive questioning he is removed for my guests and my own quest for free speech. It would take a real dolt to, after being removed, go running down the street complaining to all that his free speech had been abridged and a fool to take him seriously.

    Having said that, this is Steve M’s blog and he can do what he wants.

    If Tom P is directed to an appropriate thread I have some questions for him.

    • Dave L.
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I have a suggestion: Why not create a special thread just for Tom P.? That way he can drive by whenever he wants to and post his questions. Perhaps there could even be a way to link his e-mail address to feed directly into the special thread. The thread could even be given a special name like ‘The Bottomless Pit’ or something more cordial. Someone would need to volunteer to be moderator though.

      • stephen richards
        Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I seem to remember SteveM doing precisely that some time ago. TomP has persistently demonstrated a thick skin and skull. No cure I’m afraid

        [RomanM: C'mon guys, don't bait the bear, please. Don't encourage his response.]

    • Tom P
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “If Tom P is directed to an appropriate thread I have some questions for him.”

      If it’s about Steve’s submission to the Select Committee, this apparently would be the place to respond:

      [RomanM: This thread is called "UK Parliamentary Hearings Today" and is NOT the place to continue your inconsiderate OT quest. Besides, Steve responded in the comment you refer to: "Thanks for noting the inconsistency. I re-used a graphic and will have to check against the generating script to see which I did. I have a hugely busy week, but will try to post up a turnkey script for the a various results". When he finds time, he will do what he says. Please go to Unthreaded if you must post an OT comment.]

  17. Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Having watched the live feed while keeping an eye on Bishop Hills’s live blogging (see here:, it struck me how Jones as well as the ‘three cheerleaders’ (Profs Beddington, Slingo and Watson) were always getting into flull-on mode, speaking from a big height, as soon as they were asked questions touching upon their ‘science’.
    Other questions – the squirming, blushing, hand-waving and weaselling were striking.

  18. Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Using MPlayer one can save the Windows media stream on harddisk:

    mplayer -dumpstream 'mms://' -dumpfile uk_parlamentary_hearing.asf

    I use Kubuntu with the Medibuntu codecs package. Don’t know whether the Windows version of MPlayer comes with WMV-support.

  19. SK
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You can also download or stream from:

    That is the link from the paliament homepage.

  20. ianl8888
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Below is a purported quote from Jones, made during the course of this Inquiry:

    “But for the first time he did concede publicly that when he tried to repeat the 1990 study in 2008, he came up with radically different findings. Or, as he put it, “a slightly different conclusion”. Fully 40% of warming there in the past 60 years was due to urban influences. “It’s something we need to consider,” he said.”

    This report is from the Guardian. Can anyone confirm its’ accuracy, please ?

  21. Paul
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What questions should have been asked but weren’t?

  22. David Holland
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was sat behind Sir Muir Russell and feel sure that he mentioned at one point, rather quietly, that his review had received an evidence submission from Mann. Did anyone hear that? If it’s so I think that will be an interesting read when the submissions are posted.

    Julia Slingo also seemed to say that they were confident of their GCMs because they use the same code as their weather models which are tested twice a day. Did anyone else hear that? We have an old Grandfather Clock that is dead right twice a day. I thought the usual argument was that climate models were different from weather forecasting models and could be relied upon for a bit longer.

    The MPs definitely got the message on disclosure which is strongly represented in the written evidence. The ex Information Commissioner Richard Thomas was also well received and the MPs seemed to take on board his message that scientists should not have needed the FOIA to make them disclose all their data and code.

    UEA played hard for sympathy over the multiple requests for confidentiality contracts but I think most MPs knew the real problems predated the the upsurge in requests. Thomas did not even think the numbers were that exceptional.

    Most importantly the Select Committee seemed to have come across a statistician called Wegman and thought a bit more attention should be paid to what he said. On the other hand the trio that brought the proceedings to an end thought differently and assured the MPs that that hockey stick debate was over long ago.

    The MPs did a fair job but then they were no Bartons among them. For me the big disappointment was that no MP, not even my own who got “the countless letters” on the matter, thought it important to ask the professor why he wanted Mann, Wahl and Ammann to delete all their AR4 emails with Briffa.

    I have just watched the evening news an I think the coverage was fair.

    • bobdenton
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, when asked the second time about the need for statistical expertise – he said that a submission from Mann had appeared on his screen at midnight and it looked as if he might need bought in statistical expertise to digest it.

    • ThinkingScientist
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Muir Russell clearly stated he had received a response from Mann and I think he said he received it the previous evening. It struck me that Mann may have waited to reply until reading SteveM’s submission…

      Julia Slingo in particular, but also the others of the “3″, appeared to me to be conflating issues, possibly deliberately. They talked about how their code was checked twice a day and that there needed to be a delay before releasing data and code, but it is unclear to me to how this relates to CRU code and the years of requests to release basic temperature and and code. She also implied that becasue their code is checked twice a day (!) it must be okay. This is surely conflating. The issue is CRU and temperature adjustments and averaging, not Met Office weather code, or even GCM code. If I had been sitting there I think I would have asked her if she was aware of the Harry_Read_Me file…

      Other impressions I got from Julie Slingo et al were a deliberate attempt to downplay the relevance and reliability of satellite data and how it required special processing, calibration etc. Perhaps they know there is a divergence from surface temperature data looming? Nothing like sowing seeds of doubt early. The implication was that the surface station was the arbiter in all this. She and the others then led into a neat argument that whilst the CRU data was absolutely reliable, it was only monthly and therefore could not give detailed resolution concerning issues such as extreme weather. This was then used to subtly construct the argument that more detailed, daily analysis was necessary. This was a clever piece of sublimal manipulation to get the desired result for the Met Office: more research needed to imporve the resolution: more money please.

    • ThinkingScientist
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Further comment regarding the BBC coverage on the 10 O’clock news. They referred to “one skeptic in particular” but they sure weren’t going to mention SteveM by name. I shall be complaining to the BBC tomorrow…Sigh!

    • 3Ms
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sir Muir Robertson (verbatim) …“The answer on the statistical analysis is, without giving too much away, a minute to midnight Professor Mann produced a submission to us on my computer screen. We will be looking at that and that will no doubt bring up the need to refer to the sort of science that you are talking about and if that takes us into the statistical area, fine.”

    • curious
      Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 7:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The comment MR makes about Mann is made in response to a GS question re: the need to have statistical input as well as a sceptical scientist on his panel. MR replies “without giving too much away” he has had a submission from Professor Mann at 1 minute to midnight last night. This occurs at 2h08m on the Houses of Parliament recording at the link 3Ms provides above. I was not impressed by MR in the slightest – he showed nil investigative vigour or initiative. Richard Thomas did a good job appropriate to his position and left no doubt re: the presumption of disclosure. Lord Lawson IMO should have done more to set the scene on the FOI issue and how little effort providing the NDAs would have taken as the Committee seemed to confuse data release with the NDAs. UEA were shameless and the Gov. science combo. did not give anything except the tired weight of numbers (ie lack of critics) argument to support their case. IMO the MPs either did not understand the detail of the issues (except GS) or decided to give the witnesses a soft pass. It will be interesting to see how the report deals with the written evidence they have received. Disappointing in my opinion, however, pending the report, the lack of rigour displayed today does go a long way to explain how we have the situation we have.

  23. geo
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought the MPs did reasonably well for politicians rather than scientists. I still yearn for someone to ask Jones “if we have an unexplained divergence problem after 1960, how can you be sure we don’t have one prior to 1850?”

  24. Redbone
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have just finished watching the entire series, thank you so much for your genuine and persistent efforts, Steve. Although the first two parts were a bit depressing, largely due to Lord Lawson’s rambling, watching Phil Jones getting grilled in the third part was marvelous. Professor Acton certainly made for an unbelievable act. And who was the Russian double agent behind them? The fourth part was quite good as well, the fifth a whitewash as has been said.

    My opinion is that Phil Jones and the CRU are in way over their heads now, they are not prepared to handle any real scrutiny. I feel that all these folks that are involved in the emails are headed for a very nasty confrontation with reality.

    But keep up the good work, think that I’ll stop by the tip jar on my way out. Thanks again.

    The entire proceeding is still available:

    • jpkatlarge
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 3:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The man sitting behind and between Acton and Jones was Trevor Davies, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of UEA, in charge of Research, and essentially the fund-raiser for much of the Environmental Sciences efforts, including CRU. He was a past head of CRU, and a Dean of the Environmental Sciences faculty. He has also co-authored many papers with Phil Jones, and could be considered his mentor. He was also a colleague of Geoffrey Boulton’s when he was at UEA (in the same department). He is at the heart of the UEA attempts to manage all this, and probably prepares much of their public responses, hence all the notes passed to Acton.

  25. Christoph
    Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for posting this link, Steve!

    I was wondering how I could see Jones’ ridiculous answers that I’d been reading about out of his own mouth.

  26. Alex Heyworth
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 1:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This debacle is exposing one corner of a much bigger scandal about how science is now done (and about how large bureaucracies mislead the public about science issues). An excellent analysis of the issue is at (under the title Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels).

  27. geo
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So CRU received 60 foia in a rush in the summer of 2009 after engaging in stonewalling for years, and we should feel sorry for them. Happy to see the MPs did not generally buy that argument and seemed to recognize cause and effect there (which even still ignores how simliar all those foia must have been, so would not require large amounts of separate work to address).

    And, btw, the US Department of Energy received 1,605 foia in 2008.

  28. TurkeyLurkey
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 2:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For some reason,
    Slingo’s decision to mislead those poor clueless MP’s regarding ~’twice daily testing’ with the various forecast bureau’s was among the most distasteful of the various evasions deployed today.

    She had to know that they would be hoodwinked by her ‘robust’ protestations.


    • AJC
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 8:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

      What confidence can one have in Slingo’s veracity (or comprehension) in view of John Graham-Cumming’s recent discovery of Met Office errors?
      “The station errors in CRUTEM3 and HadCRUT3 are incorrect”

  29. Ausie Dan
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 2:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I liked the three wise monkeys at the end.

    Have they all been locked in their cages for the last four months, with appropriate blinkers and ear muffs on?

    Are they as stupid or as ignorant as they sounded?
    Or do they think we are?

    They do not seem to be aware that the world has in deed moved on.

  30. Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 6:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Not for the first time, reading the London papers this morning reveals a picture in many ways very different from the one we thought we’d witnessed yesterday! They don’t all agree of course but the overall thrust is that Phil Jones did himself no favours. “I have obviously written some very awful e-mails” and his shaky demeanour are widely noted. Perhaps it’s the old Frost/Nixon lesson about the camera doing the job more than the words. And Lawson has to get a lot of credit for soundbites like ‘lonesome pine’ and ‘you get a yellow card’ for ‘playing the man not the ball’, which the sketchwriters loved. Most of all everyone seemed to get Lawson’s point about real scientists not needing FOI to force them to release data.

    I always think that the Parliamentary sketchwriters are the real barometer of these things, so here are five examples, starting with the guy I went to school with, who I consider the pick of the bunch in this instance:

    Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

    Simon Carr in The Independent

    Simon Hoggart in The Guardian

    Andrew Gimson in the Daily Telegraph

    Anne Treneman in The Times

    • Vid S
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 7:55 AM | Permalink | Reply


    • Copner
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It is because of a case of misplaced expectations by some skeptics. Some people seemed to think that the committee would give Jones etc., a grilling, and then stand up and proclaim “Guilty!” at the end of the day.

      The reality is nothing like that ever happens in a UK parliamentary committee. Ever.

      The value is it got Jones on the record, and he made some telling admissions.

      • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

        But I think there’s another, altogether deeper factor than that, and that is that the media meta-narrative has completely changed, dramatically and almost overnight, as a result of that amazing, brave, creative and beautifully ironic whistleblower from UEA and his mighty deeds of 17 November 2009.

        I was trying to get my head round this after watching Newsnight on the Select Committee hearings last night (starting around 18:45). Again, although Susan Watts has been very supportive of the Met Office and official AGW line in the past she’s one of many who has greatly changed her tune. But why, when so much of the bad stuff has been known for years? I was trying to puzzle it all out when the next programme on BBC2 – a repeat from Charlie Brooker – provided some very convincing answers. It’s not for the squeamish in terms of bad language – or if you’re a right- or left-winger. But it explained to me what’s going on: the scary meta-narrative has changed – everything that fits with the new story is now news and therefore noticed, even if, like Jones’ lamentable response to Warwick Hughes in 2005, it’s actually been known about for years.

        We need to be very responsible in our handling of the truth in this remarkable phase, even more than before. We have a wonderful example in Steve McIntyre. Because the overall battle against junk science (and the totalitarian tendencies that it always seems to accompany) isn’t by any means won. But boy do we have some opportunities now that we didn’t before.

        • Navy Bob
          Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

          Haven’t seen the Charlie Brooker piece, but I think the main reason for the change you’ve observed in the meta-narrative is that the emails gave journalists something they could finally understand: lying, coverups, destruction of damning secrets. Yes, all the scientific malfeasance has been known for years by those who took the time to follow it, but journalists don’t have the technical ability, interest or patience to understand such things, and their inherent political bias predisposed them to parrot the party line. But now they’ve smelled traditional blood in the water, and their basic journalistic instincts have taken control.

        • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

          Yep, all true. And yet … ‘A Miracle Just Happened’. I think it was said the best that very first time.

    • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

      There is also Fred Pearce in the Guardian.

      I watched the BBC report live. I have to say I am impressed. It is difficult for me to imagine hearings of this type on the climate issue in the Russian Duma.

      • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It’s typical of us Brits that most of us weren’t very impressed – so thank you and don’t give up on the ideal, from which we all fall short.

    • Erasmus de Frigid
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail:

      “Jones was accompanied by his university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Edward Acton, who provided much-needed comic relief. Professor Acton, a younger version of Professor Calculus from the Tintin books, beamed and nodded at everything Professor Jones said. ‘I think that answer was spot-on,’ he cried, after listening to one response from the terror-stricken Jones. “

  31. jpkatlarge
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The public ‘grilling’ of witnesses is only a small part of the activity of a Select Committee on any topic. The tenor of questioning is not a useful guide to the sorts of conclusions and recommendations, if any, that a Select Committee may reach. The written submissions and members’ own opinions play a much greater part in determining the outcome. In this case, unless the committee gets a move on, it may be overtaken by a General Election anyway.

  32. Hoppy
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I just love the section:

    MP “So if a peer review asked for the data you would have given it”
    PJ “Yes I would but they have never asked for it”

    Hmmm. I see the peer review process is robust then!

    Steve: When I was a reviewer of Wahl and Ammann, I asked for verification r2 statistics; they refused and Schneider terminated me as a reviewer. When I was a reviewer of Mann et al (submitted to Clim Chg 2004), I asked for supporting data and code; Schneider said that no one had ever asked for such things in 28 years of editing and it would require a policy change by the editorial board. Jones and Santer were on the editorial board and the matter is discussed in a number of early 2004 Climategate letters (which Jones “confidentially” sent to Mann.)

  33. 3Ms
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This is the Cambridge Local Radio Broadcast of Yesterday where Professor Beddington was interviewed. Track to 2.22.

    • 3Ms
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      More precisely, track to 2.22.48

  34. PaulinManchester
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Having watched the whole of the Committee Hearing, do others also feel that there was acceptance from the AGW supporters that the Mann Hockey Stick is now dead? I came to this conclusion from the comment on the MWP made by Professor Acton, that this needed more research, and the the ‘dead’ comments from Bob Watson towards the end when the Hockey Stick was specifically raised.

    • Tom C
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

      While much to be hoped for, I would not assume this to be true. Probably lots more thimbles to hide this pea under, though it will get harder to do so.

  35. Pete Ballard
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So my question is, will now CRU release all their data, metadata, and code? Did Jones commit to doing it? By when? In my mind, this is the only issue that really matters.

  36. David Longinotti
    Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In the inquiry, on the one hand, we heard from the Beddington Team that there is an enormous amount of independent work in climate science, peer-reviewed by hundreds, such that evidence for global warming is unequivocal.

    On the other hand, we heard from Jones that all the temperature analyses basically use the same data set, that the differences in the analyses are mainly in the methodologies by which the data is ‘homogenized’, and that in climate science, no one asks to see the detailed algorithms for those methodologies.

    • Sean
      Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      This to me is the essential conundrum for Jones. If the source of the data is completely different for all three, then his raw data has NOT been released, but he could reasonably claim that the three independently support one another.

      However, if the source for all three is basically the same and they differ only in their PROCESSING of the data, then the independence would only be significant if the processing is significant, which would mean that we should see it and understand it.

      Or, the last possibility is that the source is the same and the processing is light and relatively unimportant, so basically the similarity of the three series is just a result of three groups doing the same easy task and not making any significant mistakes.

      This would cover both the independence and (to some extent) the disclosure issue, but would make you question why CRU needed all that funding. Since they will never want anyone to travel down this line of reasoning you will always see a well-choreographed dance around alternatives 1 and 2 above.

  37. Bryan Sweeney
    Posted Mar 3, 2010 at 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The most worrying part of the proceedings was when Jones admitted that no one from the AGW proponent scientist viewpoint asked him for any evidence to back his conclusions.
    They just took his word for it -that’s “standard scientific practice”.
    The worlds economy dislocated because his friends are too lazy or complacent to bother examining the data on which this pack of cards is built.

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