British Due Diligence – Royal Society Style

The Oxburgh “report” said that the eleven “representative” publications that it reviewed had been “selected on the advice of the Royal Society”. The eleven articles were so implausible a representation that it seemed scarcely credible that they could have been selected by any person with any expertise in the field. I asked the Royal Society (as did Andrew Montford) who at the Royal Society had done the selection and their criteria as follows:

Can you tell me who at the Royal Society was responsible for providing this advice and what their criteria were for selecting these particular 11 papers?

This evoked the following reply, that, like all too many replies on climate topics, was totally unresponsive to the actual question:

The Royal Society agreed to suggest to UEA possible members for the Scientific Assessment panel that would investigate the integrity of the research of UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

Members of the panel were suggested on the basis of the excellence of their work and their breadth of expertise and experience (including statistical capability).

The Royal Society recommended that the panel had access to any and all papers that it requested and suggested that the review begin by looking at key publications, which were chosen to cover a broad range of subjects over a wide timescale.

I sent a follow-up pointing out the unresponsiveness, but received no reply whatever.

Andrew Montford also attempted to get this information from the Royal Society. As he reported at his blog, his first inquiries (which included telephone calls) were met with identical unresponsiveness.

On May 6, after considerable persistence, Lord Rees of the Royal Society replied:

Thank you for your letter about the Science Assessment Panel set up by the University of East Anglia.

The Oxburgh panel had access to any publications it requested. As has been previously stated, the University suggested that the panel looked in particular at key publications from the body of CRU’s research referred to in the UEA submission to the Parliamentary Science and technology Committee. This was done in consultation with the Royal Society. I advised that the panel’s mode of operation was primarily a matter from the chair. Not having the relevant scientific expertise myself, I consulted experts who agreed that the suggested papers covered a broad range of subjects over a wide timescale.

The panel of members was chose by the chairman Lord Oxburgh from a list of around a dozen approved by the Royal Society. In making the recommendations, I consulted widely and members of the panel were suggested on the excellence of their work and their breadth of expertise and experience. Nobody with a significant link to UEA was included on the list. I believe that the Royal Society’s involvement helped to ensure that these busy experts accepted this important task.
Martin Rees

You have to watch the pea under the thimble with these lords. Rees said that “as has been previously stated, the University suggested that the panel looked in particular at key publications from the body of CRU’s research referred to in the UEA submission to the Parliamentary Science and technology Committee.” The Oxburgh “Report” didn’t say that. It said something quite different: that the eleven publications had “selected on the advice of the Royal Society” and that the University had “agreed” that they were a “fair sample”. The language used here by Rees did not occur in the Oxburgh “report”, but was used in the press release on March 22, 2010 by the University announcing the inquiry.

More or less concurrent (Apr 16, 2010) with my unsuccessful request to the Royal Society and immediately after publication of the Oxburgh “report”, I submitted an FOI request to the University of East Anglia as follows:

Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations, I hereby request correspondence between the University of East Anglia and/or its officers and the Royal Society between December 1, 2009 and April 12, 2010 concerning the selection of publications considered in the Oxburgh “report”. Thank you for your attention.
Regards, Stephen McIntyre

Andrew Montford submitted a broader FOI request for all correspondence between the University and Oxburgh that was flatly rejected (more on this in another post.) I received a reply to my narrower request on May 26 – a reply that sheds remarkable light on due diligence as practiced by British lords.

Oxburgh visited the University of East Anglia some time during the week of March 8-12. I presume that the visit took place in the first part of the week, perhaps even on Monday March 8. (Beddington telephoned David Hand in the evening of March 8 for the purposes of “warming [him] up” – a call confirmed to UEA’s Trevor Davies by Beddington’s secretary on March 9. On March 10, Oxburgh emailed Kerry Emanuel, using his House of Lords c/o University of East Anglia letterhead, inviting him to join the panel, sending him a list of “around a dozen papers”, using language that left Emanuel with the impression that the papers had been selected by the Royal Society (as the Oxburgh “report” later stated):

I have been invited jointly by the University and the Royal Society to put together a small group to re-evaluate some important elements of the Unit’s published science. This work comprises around a dozen papers largely published in major peer-reviewed journals… Although all the panel would be welcome to read all the work, it is planned that each paper would be looked at in detail by at least two members and each member would be asked to pay attention to several papers in particular. I am attaching the list of publications that need to be scrutinized.

Now to British due diligence.

Two days later (March 12), after Oxburgh had already sent out the list of publications to Emanuel, Davies sent an email to Rees and Brian Hoskins at 11:07 a.m. saying that Oxburgh would like to say that the list (already sent out) had been chosen in “consultation with the Royal Society”. The email shows clearly that Davies is well aware that they will be severely criticized for the list and that they want to keep it secret. (In fact, they did keep it secret. The language of the press release was worded very evasively and no one guessed what they planned to do until after the “report” was a fait accompli. Davies:

Dear Martin [Rees] and Brian [Hoskins],

The UEA Press Office advises us that the Panel and UEA will come under enormous pressure for details of the publications to be assessed when we announce the membership of the Panel (probably Thursday [Mar 15]).[SM: In fact, the membership was not announced is until March 22 here; the Press Office's surmise proved incorrect and there proved to be no pressure on them for such details, which did not come out until the report itself on April 14.]

Initially we did not wish to do this but we have now been persuaded this is probably a good idea and it may, indeed, deflect other disruptive efforts by some in the media/blogosphere. Ron is comfortable with this, but is keen that we can say that it was constructed in consultation with the Royal Society.

I did send you this list earlier, which I attach again here.[List obtained] They represent the core body of CRU work around which most of the assertions have been flying. They are also the publications which featured heavily in our submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry, and in our answers to the Muir Russell Review’s questions.

I would be very grateful if you would be prepared to allow us to use a form of words along the lines: “the publications were chosen in consultation with The Royal Society”.

Best Wishes
Trevor

Seven minutes later, Rees reverted saying that he had no personal knowledge of the literature, but he had “no problem” saying that the list had been “drawn up in consultation” with the Royal Society – even though it had already been sent out – if Brian Hoskins was “happy” with the list:

From: Martin Rees
Sent: 12 March 2010 11:14
To: Davies Trevor Prof (ENV)
Cc: Hoskins, Brian J; P Liss; SJC
Subject: Re: CRU Science Assessmant Panel

Dear Trevor,
It seems to me that the scope of the panel’s work is a matter primarily for Ron [Oxburgh], but if Brian [Hoskins] is also happy with this choice of papers (as you know, I have no relevant expertise myself!) I see no problem with saying that the list was drawn up in consultation.
best wishes
Martin

Thirteen minutes later and only twenty minutes after the first email, Hoskins said that he was not “aware” of all the papers that might be included, but he did “think” that they covered the “issues of concern”. (Hoskins was subsequently asked whether he regarded himself as an “expert” in the literature and said that he didn’t.)

From: Hoskins, Brian J
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 11:27 AM
To: Martin Rees; Davies Trevor Prof (ENV)
Cc: Liss Peter Prof (ENV); sjc
Subject: RE: CRU Science Assessmant Panel

Dear Trevor
I am not aware of all the papers that could be included in the list, but I do think that these papers do cover the issues of major concern.
Best wishes
Brian

Davies then thanked Rees and Hoskins for their comments:

From: Davies Trevor Prof (ENV)
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 11:59 AM
To: Hoskins, Brian J; Martin Rees
Cc: Liss Peter Prof (ENV); sjc
Subject: RE: CRU Science Assessmant Panel
Dear Brian and Martin,
Thank you both for your comments.
Best Wishes
Trevor

Back to Rees’ letter of May 6 to Andrew Montford in which he said that he had consulted with “experts who agreed that the suggested papers covered a broad range of subjects over a wide timescale.” The record shows that Rees consulted only with one person (not plural), that the one person was not an “expert” in the literature and he merely thought that the list covered the “issues of concern” – which it didn’t.

The total “due diligence” – which involved no actual experts – took less than 20 minutes.

The claims in the Oxburgh report that the eleven papers were “representative”, were “selected on the advice of the Royal Society” with the UEA then agreeing that they were a “fair sample” are all untrue. Rees and Hoskins of the Royal Society know that these claims are untrue, but have taken no steps to ask Oxburgh to withdraw the false claim that they had been “selected on the advice of the Royal Society”.

In statements on release of the Oxburgh “report”, both Rees and Hoskins (as also Bob Ward) praised the 5-page and undocumented Oxburgh “report” for being “thorough” – the benchmark for Royal Society “thoroughness” apparently being set by the 20 minutes taken by Rees and Hoskins to respond to Davies’ request.

I understand that the Royal Society is BP’s first choice for an investigation of the Gulf oil spill.


69 Comments

  1. mpaul
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Contrast this circus with the recent inquiry into the USC athletic practices:

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ys-uscpenalties061010

    I guess the difference is that one inquiry dealt with a matter of extreme public importance (college athletics) and people who are held to high standards of behavior (college students), while the Climategate inquiry merely deals will matters trivial (the reorganization of the global economy) and people who should really not be expected to behave according to any standard of conduct (climate scientists and member of Parliament).

    It’s sad that these people don’t see the profound damage that they are doing to the credibility of science through these sorts of shenanigans. And it’s doubly sad that other scientists don’t stand up and enforce a code of professional conduct in their community.

  2. ZT
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Time for Oxburgh, Rees and Hoskins to resign.

    • Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

      Yep, it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to make that self-assessment.

  3. Dave L
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Quoting Lindzen:
    “In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, WHERE GOVERNMENT LARGELY DETERMINES THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY, AND WHERE THE PRIMARY ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES IS THE LOBBYING OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR SPECIAL ADVANTAGE.”

    The Royal Society has become nothing other than a bunch of “good ole boys” who are attempting to keep the gravy train rolling along … all of those government contracts. Gotta keep the younger troops happy.

    The prostitution of science in return for government funding; or how I awoke and found myself in bed with a politician. Another sad day for science. This is becoming more revolting than Climategate.

    Is the National Academy of Sciences any different?

    • Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

      Is the National Academy of Sciences any different?

      Step at a time. The oldest, some-would-have-said most prestigious national academy has just now, in what we’ve just read from Steve, been utterly exposed. Hopefully many of its fellows will now be shamed into demanding radical change, top to bottom. The knock-on effects will be immense.

    • Mike Smith
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

      From President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address:
      “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    • Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 4:04 AM | Permalink

      I didn’t know about that part of Eisenhower’s famous Farewell Address until Richard Lindzen quoted it last year. I agree it was prescient and, as a software guy, I strongly agree with Lindzen’s warnings about simulation and programs replacing theory and observation. But the question for our generation is: how does one escape from such bad science and proto-tyranny? Eisenhower didn’t tell us that. A rebellion from within one of the national science academies would be a great way to get the ball rolling. The Royal Society already has 43 known dissidents on the subject of climate change – though 41 of the names are currently unknown to the general public. This latest exposure of utter sloppiness and slipperiness, all under the assumed protection of the prestige of the Royal badge, should be enough.

      • linzel
        Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

        “Society already has 43 known dissidents on the subject of climate change..”
        If the linked article is correct, then your statement is inaccurate. they do not necessarily dissent on climate change, they dissent on the
        “The society has been accused by 43 of its Fellows of refusing to accept dissenting views on climate change and exaggerating the degree of certainty that man-made emissions are the main cause.”
        They are different.
        Also “He refused to name the other signatories but admitted that few of them had worked directly in climate science and many were retired.”
        “Only a fraction of the society’s 1,300 Fellows were approached and a third of those declined to sign the petition.”
        Be accurate or be nothing.

        • David S
          Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

          There is nothing wrong with Richard Drake’s comment, as you would realise if you knew the background behind the article. They are dissidents because they are seeking to have the Society revise a statement, believed to have been written by Bob Ward rather than by a Fellow, that in their view misrepresents the degree of consensus and levels of uncertainty about catastrophic AGW. If one third declined to sign, then two thirds signed, which given the gravity of the challenge to the Society’s establishment, is quite a high number. At no point does RD seek to imply that there are more than 43 such dissidents, or that there is unanimity, so your last soundbite is entirely unnecessary.

  4. geo
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    So UEA, in the person of Davies, not only picked the list, but lead the RS down the garden path by assuring them that “They represent the core body of CRU work around which most of the assertions have been flying” in soliciting the ability to use the RS good name, when in fact there wasn’t a single controversial paper in the bunch.

    Well, isn’t that lovely.

    • mpaul
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

      Yes, that’s the “Trick” in this instance. Davies tells the not-so-Inquisitors that “They [the 11 papers] represent the core body of CRU work around which most of the assertions have been flying”. This assertion is objectively not true and Davies would surely know this. But the not-so-Inquisitors accept the statement at face value (or perhaps they were in on the “trick”).

  5. geo
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    Oh, bother, I just noticed this part of Davies email:

    “They are also the publications which featured heavily. . . in our answers to the Muir Russell Review’s questions.”

    Is that new information that essentially the MR review was also carefully scoped to ensure anything actually controversial was kept out of consideration?

  6. AndyL
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    Steve
    Are you sure that the first RS response was totally unresponsive?
    Based on what you show below, it looks like an accurate and complete list of what they actually did. They didn’t answer the question about “who was responsible for providing this advice” as none was given – and I suspect that you were expected to realise that.

    • bender
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

      If there’s an answer to Steve’s question then please tell us how the 11 articles were chosen.

      • AndyL
        Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (Jun 10 17:00),
        Steve asked “who at the Royal Society provided this advice”

        The reply listed the Royal Society’s involvement, which did not include providing any advice on which papers to review. In effect, they pointed out that the question was based on a false premise.

        • bender
          Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

          There are many ways to generate unresponsive responses, and choosing to point out false premises is one of them.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

          bender – you are The bender? – you have long helped to confirm for me that a straight answer to a straight question leads to the best outcome of information entropy.

  7. Lucke
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    And this in itself puts another nail in the climategate coffin, does it not?
    If there was indeed nothing to find in the Climategate affair, why botch this whole report that is supposed to exonerate everyone by similar shoddy groundwork?

  8. Sean
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Steve, Have you ever seen the UK series “The Thick of It”? Brilliant comedy. In any case, one of the first season’s episodes dealt with a Minister misrepresenting his due diligence on some matter to the government. I immediately thought of that reading this.

  9. Eric
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    How are you getting these emails? The legend of the auditor grows…

    Has Obama contacted yet to help him figure out whose ass to kick over this spill? If not, why not? It is about time he did something substantive!

    seriously though… thank you

    • Tom Anderson
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

      Steve, That is my question as well. How did you get a copy of these emails. Another hammer!

    • Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: Eric (Jun 10 17:13),
      Reading the post carefully, it seems that Steve got these emails by a FOI request to UEA.
      Interestingly, it seems he has been sitting on them for two weeks since he got them on May 26th!

      I am not sure what is more astonishing – the dishonesty of trying to pretend that the RS had been involved in selecting the papers, or the stupidity (post-climategate) of engaging in such behaviour and discussing it by email.

  10. Martin A
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    “I understand that the Royal Society is BP’s first choice for an investigation of the Gulf oil spill.”

    Really and truly? Or is that satire?

    • bmcburney
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

      Yes, it is satire.

      And I understand the Royal Society will restrict its inquiries to BP drilling activities in the Gulf of Alaska.

      That was satire too.

  11. Neil Fisher
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    SM:

    “The claims in the Oxburgh report that the eleven papers were “representative”, were “selected on the advice of the Royal Society” with the UEA then agreeing that they were a “fair sample” are all untrue.”

    Parse the words carefully, and you will see that these comments are in fact true – or at least, not untrue.

    1) “representative” – subjective and it’s easily argued that the papers were typical of the work that CRU did and are therefore “representative”.

    2) “selected on the advice…” – the RS did indeed advise that the panel should look at a sample of CRU papers and not the complete body of published work.

    3) “fair sample” – once again, subjective and easy to argue that the papers were a “fair sample”. One could even argue that the papers chosen were “fair” work (not good work and not bad work, merely fair work).

    I’m not suggesting that this is the wording I would use, and I certainly would agree that the wording is highly misleading, but I don’t think it’s true to say that these statements are “demonstrably untrue” – “misleading” certainly, but not “untrue”.

    Having said that, I would also add that this particular wording is hardly in line with a desire to be “transparent”. These particular examples, if my parsing above is correct, could more properly be called “translucent”, IMO – they allow enough light in to allow the trusting to accept the findings at face value, but not enough to expose the details to even the most mildly sceptical observer. That’s regretable, but hardly surprising – alas.

    • Tom Anderson
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

      What you can not parse words with is what Davies said: “They represent the core body of CRU work around which most of the assertions have been flying.” That statement is indefensible.

      • RomanM
        Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

        Re: Tom Anderson (Jun 10 17:40),

        Not a problem. Definition 4 for represent from wordreference.com:

        typify, symbolize, symbolise, stand for, represent
        express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol; “What does the Statue of Liberty symbolize?”

        ;)

    • Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 3:23 AM | Permalink

      Re: Neil Fisher (Jun 10 17:23),
      2) No, it’s completely false to claim, as the Oxburgh report does, that the papers were selected on the advice of the RS. The list of papers (selected by UEA) had already been sent out before the RS was even asked.

      • Neil Fisher
        Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

        Re: PaulM (Jun 11 03:23),
        So no-one who is a member of the RS was asked about it and suggested that they should examine a subset of papers? Not which ones, just a subset? I quite realise just how manipulative and misleading the cited statement would be if that were the case, but would it be “untrue”? It certainly seems to me that Lord O could have consulted – at least verbally – someone in the RS on how to proceed.

  12. pete m
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    I must admit to getting tired of all these nit picky posts by Steve into the various enquiries set ups (not so much his destruction of their reports).

    However, this takes the cake. I also note the supporters have all been saying how these inquiries have “cleared” scientists etc.

    So this tiresome task of pulling apart the tissue thin investigation does have a benefit, and thanks got to Steve for sticking to the task.

    I now hold no hope for any other the inquiries to do anything other than paper over aweful practices behind such important work.

    The real culprit is the final report (IPCC) which is based so heavily on this conduct and work. Sadly no real inquiry there either.

    • JEM
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

      “Excuse me, madam, are you sure these are the clothes your husband was wearing the night of the murder?”

      “Yes, quite certain.”

      “Good enough. Thank you, madam, I’m sure we won’t be troubling you again.”

      The work Mr McIntyre is doing, the ‘nit-picky’ level at which he scrapes through the whitewash oozed by these sham investigations, is critical.

  13. artwest
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    If Oxburgh was serious about conducting a fair inquiry (monumentally big “if”, I know) then surely he would be furious if he learned that he had been deliberately misled into believing that he was looking at the contentious papers. The people he was supposedly investigating made a fool of him.
    Do we know what his reaction has been, assuming he now knows?

    • philH
      Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

      “Do we know what his reaction has been, assuming he now knows?”
      Let me guess his response: “So what! Sue me!”

  14. RoyFOMR
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    I, as a Brit, am so ashamed that the script of “Yes Minister” has been so misunderstood that it is now revered as a political guide rather than the satire it was meant to be!
    An establishment bereft of ideas while succoured and fattened by wanton, wishfull ideologies is not a pretty sight unless viewed by the beneficiaries.
    Lord help us ‘cos the Lords have let us down!

  15. It's always Marcia, Marcia
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    It’s just standard practice. Go walk off the emotions you feel about it.

    • TA
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

      It is irrelevant whether it is standard practice. The mainstream press is claiming these scientists were exonerated. Many people seem to believe that. The sleazy sham of an investigation, whether standard or not, needs to be exposed to counter the claim that the scientists were exonerated.

  16. Scott Brim
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    A short question … If an investigative panel’s strategy for evading its responsibilities is both to whitewash and to stonewall, then (a) should the entire stone wall be constructed first and then be whitewashed later; or (b) should each individual stone be whitewashed separately just before setting it into place?

    • bender
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

      Quote of the day. :)

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

      I think they are trying to make a stone wall OUT OF whitewash, which is why it falls down so easily.

      • bender
        Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

        A new day, a new quote of the day.

  17. Orson
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    Yankee straight talk on this self-dealing butt covering state of affairs typically gets me censored here.

    How about simply: climategate II?

    • tomdesabla
      Posted Sep 22, 2011 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

      Exoneration-Gate

  18. Peter Pond
    Posted Jun 10, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    I am flabbergasted. The apparent bureaucratic obfuscation is appalling. If I were a member of the RS I would be asking pointed questions of Lord Rees. If I were Lord Oxburgh or Prof Davies, I would be realising that my reputation is now at serious risk.

    However, with the decline in the relevance of the MSM, they are all likely to escape without any serious investigation by journalists or any authorities.

    Let us hope that Steve and others like him can persist in their determination to get at the truth.

  19. Thomas H
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:49 AM | Permalink

    Comment of dubious value:

    CC: Peter Liss –> CRU Acting Director for the duration of the Review
    CC: sjc ???

  20. Matthew
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    Prof. Stephen Cox,
    School of Computing Sciences,
    University of East Anglia,
    Norwich NR4 7TJ.

  21. Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 4:04 AM | Permalink

    Thomas H

    SJC is Stephen Cox, exec secretary of the Royal Society (essentially its CEO).

    Matthew

    You have the name right, but I think you have the wrong Stephen Cox. The email address attached to SJC is a Royal Society one, not UEA.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

      Bishop Hill, Is that different to a UEA email address being attached to a House of Lords Coat of Arms on a letterhead?

  22. justbeau
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Martin Rees should resign. The Royal Society should not be in the business of making up farcical stories to provide cover for scientific malfeasance. Members of the Royal Society should start a petition in support of his departure.

  23. Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Shame on you, Steve, for being “disruptive” of their secret proceedings.

  24. Shallow Climate
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    This post: simultaneously revelatory and sickening (albeit not surprising). I second Bender’s “quote of the day”. As for SM: He once described Gavin Schmidt (that’s “Schmidt” with an “m”) as “Hansen’s bulldog”. SM is his own bulldog–such tenacity! He’ll take on anybody of any size. Good! Somebody better do it. He is a great example of that old staple, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

  25. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    The whole committee couldn’t even each read all 11 papers? How lame. And of course, hand-picked papers from CRU will NOT show a problem because they have all done good work. That isn’t the point. The worst abuses were not even in the peer-review literature, but in the IPCC and WHO graphics and text. I’m sure if you only viewed video of Tiger Woods taking out the trash you would say he was an exemplary husband…FAIL

  26. mpaul
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    Another thing that is extraordinary about this is that Trevor Davies is, in effect, the SUBJECT of the investigation. So here we have the subject of the investigation orchestrating the obfuscation by writing to the Royal Society asking that they cooperate in further malfeasance. What’s astonishing, is that no one at the Royal Society seems to even give it a moments thought. Rather, then cheerfully comply.

    Imagine that an Enron exec sent a similar note to the Financial Accounting Standards Board asking them to say, after the fact, that they (FASB) had picked the transactions to audit when in fact it was Enron. FASB surely would have viewed such a request in a dim light and most certainly would not have complied. (In fact, they probably would have notified the FBI).

    If the Brits are at all concerned with their standing in the world of public opinion, this surely must be viewed as a scandal of the first order.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

      The academic world has an implicit view that they are all good chaps, and can’t really be guilty of bad conduct. It is a jolly good club to belong to since they only let fine upstanding individuals in. Your conduct has to be way past outrageous to get censored.

    • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

      If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you.
      – Friedrich Nietzsche

      I say a silent prayer
      For our friend’s soul

      Let it be known he has
      Friends he can call his own

  27. Jimmy Mac
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    “If the Brits are at all concerned with their standing in the world of public opinion, this surely must be viewed as a scandal of the first order.”

    Of course we do but the truth is NOBODY CARES. The MSM will not pick this up when we have ministers making criminal claims against their expenses etc, which are far easier to understand failings. The British MSM pushes the agw agenda when asked, or doesn’t care when not.

    If you took 100 people off a British street and asked about this, 95 of them won’t have known about the enquiry anyway, and the other 5 would be so sold on the ‘benefits’ of agw policy that they don’t care if bad science or political shenanigans is used to justify it anyway.

    On the one hand, it’s a shame these people aren’t brought to book over this, on the other side, there is no ‘public’ case to prove, since the public couldn’t give a hoot either way.

    • bender
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

      If that public “doesn’t care” then maybe they’d be willing to agree in advance to foot the bill for all these climate fixes and adaptations?

      • ianl8888
        Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

        C’mon, bender – all they want is for AGW to be “fixed” with someone else paying for it

    • Britannic no-see-um
      Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

      A significant number do care, but are frustrated by disenfranchisement of their views both in the MSM and main political parties. They just have blog comments available- so far…

  28. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Trevor Davies, Martin Reese and Brian Hoskins, surely one or all of you are aware of Steve McIntyre and this blog. Please help us understand why we and the scientifc community should not conclude that you have been duplicitous and deceptive in your representations to the public regarding the Oxburgh report. It is my belief that any or all of you or your representatives would be free and welcome to post your responses here.

    Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your response.

  29. KevinUK
    Posted Jun 11, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Steve M

    I’m gutted! Seriously is Oxburgh, Lord Oxburgh of LIVRPOOL? As a born and bred ‘Scouser’ please let me assure anyone who had read this thread that not all ‘scousers’ are – snip- like Oxburgh clearly is.

    This has got to be wider published Steve! Have you already or are you planning on doing a guest post on WUWT about this? In this thread you clearly demonstrate that the Oxburgh inquiry has been a complete and utter set up.

    Also given that Brian Hoskins was a review editor on the IPCC AR4 WG1 he is also clearly shall we say ‘being economical with the truth’ when he says that he isn’t familar with the details of CRUs ‘core’ work. He was in regular contact with the ‘good Dr Phil’ and Susan Solomon the other WG1 lead authors throughout the entire AR4 production process.

    Also for those who don’t already know he is also along with Rees a member of the UK’s Climate Change Committee
    – snip- policy

    What a joke!

    Steve: I’m prepared to stipulate that Hoskins is not familiar with the paleoclimate literature.

  30. James Evans
    Posted Jun 12, 2010 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

    OK guys, we’ve been asked to investigate some friends of ours, who got caught fiddling with the truth when some emails of theirs got published. Our job is to fiddle with the truth of this situation, so that they don’t get in trouble. Hang on, I’ll just write all this down in an email…

    Doh!

  31. Adrian
    Posted Jun 12, 2010 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    http://www.andrew-miller-mp.co.uk/

    Newly selected head of the Sci & Tech Select Committee in our freshly baked 2010 House of Commons. He beat Graham Stringer MP to the post.

    I’ve e-mailed him a link to this Blog article, copying in Stringer and Tim Yeo MP.

    I’ll see what they say.

    Its public money that the UEA appears to be wasting, right ??

    • Adrian
      Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

      (reply to my own post, for ease of following…)

      I received a latter (traditional mail) from Mr Andrew Miller MP on Science and Technology Committee notepaper, dated 15 June:

      Dear Mr XXXXXXX

      Thank you for your e-mail of 12 June about Lord Oxburgh’s Report into the University of East Anglia’s work on climate change, and also for your kind sentiments about the Science and Technology Committee.

      The membership of the Committee has not yet been announced or agreed by the House and so it has not yet met. I shall ensure that when the Committee is formed your e-mail and Mr McIntyre’s comments are drawn to Members’ attention.

      Yours sincerely,

      Andrew Miller
      Chair

  32. John Murphy
    Posted Jun 12, 2010 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    What’s Trevor Davies’ position at UEA?

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

      His UEA page calls him “Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer”. As such he is part of the Executive Team of eight that runs the university under Lord Acton. His research interests are listed as:

      Climate variability; links between climate variability and atmospheric composition and deposition; chemical hydrology; carbon reduction.

      His biography begins:

      Professor Trevor Davies is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Enterprise and Engagement. He was appointed to this position in 2004, following a six-year term as Dean of the School of Environmental Sciences. Prior to this, he was Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) for a five-year period which started in 1993.

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

      He’s one of two Pro-Vice Chancellors, for Research and Knowledge Transfer.

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

      That means he’s a senior member of the executive team of eight which runs the university under (Lord) Edward Acton.

      (Split into two posts to avoid WordPress two URL spam-supression rules – at least I think that explains the black hole a previous attempt went into.)

  33. JCM
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    In case anyone is wondering why the UK is bankrupt, I think you now have an answer.
    It was not the bankers.

  34. James Evans
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    I really don’t get it. Why isn’t this news huge? I can’t see that it’s being covered AT ALL by anyone.

    A former CRU boss chooses the papers to be examined in an investigation of the CRU? And then he pretends that the Royal Society chose the papers? And the Royal Society agree to go along with it??

    Why is this not resignation time?

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] See the article here: British Due Diligence – Royal Society Style « Climate Audit [...]

  2. [...] The FOI requests showed just how cursory Royal Society “due diligence” was. See here. After the list had been sent out to Oxburgh panelists (Oxburgh was very sly about this at [...]

  3. […] so gracious. Hoskins was the go-to person for the University of East Anglia when the Royal Society laundered the list of articles for the Oxburgh inquiry: although Hoskins himself had no informed knowledge of […]

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