Back online from a short hiatus in blogging (see comment below.)
It’s pretty discouraging that yet another inquiry is tainted by the selection of their panel. The University of East Anglia, seemingly emboldened by getting away with Geoffrey Boulton’s appointment to the ethics panel, have become much bolder in choosing the science panel.
Chairman Oxburgh, a former oil company executive, is a green entrepeneur. Kerry Emanuel is a Michael Mann coauthor who blamed Climategate not on the scientists who composed the emails, but on an adverse ‘public relations campaign’ (MIT debate here)
He is far more concerned with the well-funded “public relations campaign” to drown out or distort the message of climate science, which he links to “interests where billions, even trillions are at stake…” This “machine … has been highly successful in branding climate scientists as a bunch of sandal-wearing, fruit-juice drinking leftist radicals engaged in a massive conspiracy to return us to agrarian society…
Lisa Graumlich is a coauthor with MBH’s Malcolm Hughes – see here – both are presently at the same institute of the University of Arizona. The above link has as a scientific reference:
Hughes, M. K. and L. J. Graumlich. 1996. Climatic variations and forcing mechanisms of the last 2000 years. Volume 141. Multi-millenial dendroclimatic studies from the western United States. NATO ASI Series, pp. 109-124.
This volume was proceedings of a NATO workshop – edited by.. Phil Jones.
Jones, P.D., Bradley, R.S. and Jouzel, J. (Editors), 1996
“Climate Variations and Forcing Mechanisms of the Last 2000 Years.”
649pp Springer-Verlag, Berlin
Graumlich’s exposition connecting tree rings to global warming is on youtube here.
Sympathetic journalists attempted to pre-empt criticism of these inappropriate selections, by stating in advance that these choices would be criticized.
For example, Fiona Harvey of the Financial Times fatuously observed:
But already his appointment has been attacked by climate sceptics, as he has strong business interests in biofuels, is chairman of the wind company Falck Renewables, and a board member of Climate Change Capital, a major investor in carbon credits….
But then, who would be good enough to head up such an inquiry, in the eyes of the sceptic community? Lord Lawson?
And similarly at Nature blog:
Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, noted approvingly that the panel headed by Lord Oxburgh was made up of “high-quality” individuals of authority and integrity.
“We will now see predictable attempts by so-called ‘sceptics’ to discredit the panel before it has even started work so that its findings can be conveniently dismissed unless it hands a propaganda goal to those who promote denial and complacency about the causes and consequences of climate change,” he added.
And so it came to pass…
To suggest that the only alternatives are Lord Lawson or a panel led by a green entrepreneur with panelists who are not only activists but Mann/Hughes coauthors (Emanuel, Graumlich) is absurd.
I, for one, have never suggested that Lawson would be an appropriate selection for such an inquiry. Nor is it something that I would suggest. I come from a family and social framework which expects inquiries to be carried out scrupulously and carefully. One of my grandfathers, James C. McRuer, a prominent Canadian judge, chaired a prominent Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights in the late 1960s when I was at university – copies of which were given to his many grandchildren. He believed that this Commission was the most important work in a long career (in which he had previously been Chief Justice of the Ontario trial court.) Some years later, I learned that he had also chaired a commission of inquiry into the famous Gouzenko spy ring. One of my friends, Paul Cavalluzzo, was counsel to two important recent Canadian commissions – an inquiry into a tainted water scandal at Walkerton, Ontario (resulting in a number of deaths) – and an inquiry into the detention and torture of a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, in Syria.
I make this somewhat atypical digression into personal biographical details because I resent the idea that I automatically think that any and all inquiries are automatically suspect. I don’t. I think that inquiries (royal commissions) can play a healthy role in resolving disputes.
I think that the University of East Anglia had both an opportunity and an obligation to establish impartial and untainted inquiries. Kerry Emanuel is not an appropriate selection. Nor is Lisa Graumlich. Nor is Lord Oxburgh. They should resign and let the balance of the panel proceed without them.