Harrabin on UEA’s “Sleight of Hand” (Phil Willis)

Excellent commentary by Roger Harrabin here.

Phil Willis, former Chair of the COmmons Science & Technology Committee has harsh words for the UEA, saying that when he “couldn’t believe it” when he learned that the university had tricked them. Willis described the UEA’s trick as “sleight of hand“.

80 Comments

  1. Orson
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    YES-excellent status account of the situation from insiders and critics. Harrabin treats SM well, too.

  2. David S
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    Harrabin and Pearce both deserve great credit for their open minded response to information as it came to them, given that they both started out as supporters of the “consensus”.

    Steve: They remain supporters of the consensus. All the more credit to them.

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

      yes, I have to admit that the report was largely neutral in its coverage. I did however write to complain about the use of “hacked emails”, because as the BBC know this would be prejudicial to any trial if or when a leaker comes to court.

  3. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Yes, very well done this time Mr Harrabin. Excellent summary for a short news report of the cracks between Willis and Oxburgh and how the former was in effect misled. Kudos to Willis for going on the record and saying as much. A highly sympathetic intro at the end for our host, Harrabin pointing to the key fact that Steve hadn’t even been interviewed by Russell, followed by a well-judged comment by Steve himself.

    But Roger … ‘obsessives’? On blogs like this? Perish the thought!

    Lots to play for in London next week.

    • mpaul
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

      Harrabin points to a culture of informality as the heart of the issue. I think ‘informality’ is the wrong word. ‘Sloppiness’ is a better word. Sloppy to the point of being junk. This is really what they were trying to hide — the fact that they have no methodology and no quality control. Its all just hacked together. Ross McKitrick has made the argument that climate data should be handled like national economic statistics. The Consumer Price Index, for example, is the product of rigorous fully transparent methods by professional statisticians. We spend a lot of money to produce the CPI, Why? Because the CPI matters.

      By contrast, the hockey stick is sloppy science. No one can even say what went into it or how it was constructed. It could be riddled with errors and no one has any way to know. How can anyone have confidence in this kind of science? This whole saga illustrates that, right or wrong, the science is of such exceedingly poor quality that it can not be relied upon.

      In climate science, peer review of papers (those that fit the consensus at least) is nothing but a cursory glace. No one ever asks to look at the data or methods. No one asks questions. No one checks.

      In the end, this is really what climategate has shown — poor quality work product by a bunch of sloppy academics.

      • theduke
        Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

        As regards the inquiries themselves, I think there is another kind of culture at work– a culture of empathy among civil service and academic types (and their associates.) There really appears to have been an “us vs. them” mentality at work in these inquiries. I think the panels sympathized from the beginning with Jones and his plight as well as the plight of EAU. Perhaps the panels felt that the blazing light of a world-wide scandal– made even more brilliant by the spotlight of Copenhagen– had been unfairly focused upon them. To them, Jones and his associates were doing what appeared to be important work and then had this dirty “trick” (to use a familiar term) played on them with the release of the private emails.

        The truth will have to come from other sources and it will likely take time for it to be understood. For now, Jones, Mann et al may have their official exoneration (which was not unexpected) but their credibility has been heavily damaged and will likely never recover.

      • Latimer Alder
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 2:48 AM | Permalink

        Mpaul

        You summarise my views about the science exactly.

        I tried to explain to an interested bystander yesterday where I thought the debate had actually got to.

        Is the whole place warming up?

        Maybe…but our data isn’t good enough to really tell us. Data collection standards are weak and unenforced. Large areas have almost no data. Once collected, the data ‘curation’ is weak and amateurly organised. So overall, we can’t tell.

        Is it going to be the warmest in the last thousand years?

        Some claim that they can ‘prove’ it by some clever statistics, but won’t/can’t reveal their methods (yellow to orange flag!). Others who say they have independently found the same ‘proof’ have used the same basic data, which is very very limited in scope. Meanwhile other contemporary records show that there was a warm(er) period about 700 years ago.

        My guess is that the guys who wrote the contemporary records had no knowledge of ‘climate change’ and so were unlikely to have falsified what was their reality. There is evidence that they grew grapes in Yorkshire, then I guess it was a lot warmer then than it is now.

        Is the warming (if any) due to CO2?

        Lab experiments show that adding even small amounts of CO2 to an atmosphere will cause a slight warming effect. Arrhenius developed a theory that showed that if you double the CO2 concentration from about 250 ppm to 500 ppm , you would expect to see a temperature rise of about 1.5-2.0C.

        Though there are many later theories (all involving amplification of this basic effect), no experimental work showing that Arrhenius’s basic equation is truly valid in the Earth’s climate has been presented, nor that any of the supposed amplifications have any basis in reality. Undoubtedly adding CO2 will produse soem warming, but it is a huge stretch to say that it is responsible for all warming. And to argue that ‘we can’t think of anything else, so it must be all down to CO2’is pathetic.

        What about the climate models?

        These models all apply one or other of the amplification theories, then try to retrofit what data there is to calculate how big an amplification there must be…then go on to extrapolate to make predictions about the future.

        This is really putting the cart before the horse…attempting to ‘measure’ a supposed physical effect by creating a computer model of how a complex system might work…then using the models lack of agreement with reality to supposedly determine the effect.

        This is scientific hogwash.

        But there is a consensus among climate scientists that they are right.

        I’d have a lot more faith in all of this if they were able to provide some experimental ‘proof’..or even a demonstration. That a lot of people closely involved professionally in the current orthodoxy all agree that they are right is hardly earth shattering news. If you were to take any self-selecting group of people involved in any enterprise, you would probably be able to generate a similar consensus. In science, having your mates agree with you does not mean you are right…

        ‘Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation … Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts’.

        So said Richard Feynman….a true giant of science..and sadly one whose wise and profound words seem to be unknown to too many.

        Summary: the ‘science’ is very poorly done..the basic stuff of it (data) is in a chaotic state and in no sort of shape to draw any true conclusions. Building increasingly sophisticated castles in the air on such shallow foundations has been a bridge too far to convince me that there is any real substance in the CAGW orthodoxy.

        Please feel free to show me where I am mistaken. Just calling me a bastard or a shill or worse will not advance the argument.

        • micky c
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

          For a while when I first came to Climate Audit (a few years back I think – I don’t always post) I was a little bit annoyed (being a physicist myself) that Steve didn’t address the scientific quality in the papers he was auditing. He never seemed to ask the fundamental questions, as you have pointed out: where was that measured? How did you know that that varies with that? And these question go for every tool or proxy you use.

          However, quickly I saw what Steve was actually concerned with, which was to look at the basic repeatability of what was published. So before any assumptions or measurements, are the techniques that you say you used enough for me to take your data and reproduce your results? A kind of reverse engineering if you will. If so then we can proceed to the theory, etc. If not then it’s not looking so good is it? And as Steve found out, a lot of what is published in climate science uses quite ‘exotic’ methods to achieve their results and didn’t look so good. So never mind of the theory is actually not bad, your exposition is wrong.

          For a lot of physics experiments, there isn’t much complex data crunching and statistics. Just plain old data acquisition and multiple data sets of the same experiment. A lot of data but not really complicated maths. This is how I like to do things. For climate science, the same principle should apply but sadly it doesn’t.
          I would love someone to do actual experiments with CO2. I would love someone to give, with a good degree of certainty, a relationship showing how a certain type of birch has been shown to respond to temperature in different environments. And I would love someone to stand up and say we can’t use proxies because they are uncharacterized. These are the questions the public should be asking or seeking. And as for Richard Feynman, my mum bought me his biography (Genius) when I was 17, before I went to uni. It made a very big impression on me and still does. DISREGARD is my favorite.

        • RCB
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

          Check out this article

          http://www.intellicast.com/Community/Content.aspx?a=201

      • bender
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

        hiding the decline was not slop

        • mpaul
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

          As a bachelor I was a sloppy housekeeper. Whenever my girlfriend would come to visit, I would scurry around trying to ‘hide’ the mess. I did this because I was embarrassed by my messiness.

          I suspect this it how it started for the Team. They were embarrassed by the poor quality of their work product. After winning the Nobel Prize and becoming celebrities, this desire to hide their sloppiness must have become a bit of an obsession.

          But somewhere along the path, they crossed an important line. They made representations, relying on their reputations and their positions in public authorities to lend credibility, that their work product was of unassailable quality, when, in fact, they knew it was junk. To keep this pretense going, they began to remove adverse data to keep the story ‘tidy’.

          In the US this conduct normally runs afoul of 689.2(a)(2) which states that:

          (2) Falsification means manipulating
          research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not
          accurately represented in the research
          record.

          However, there’s an exemption:
          (c) A finding of research misconduct
          requires that—
          (1) There be a significant departure
          from accepted practices of the relevant
          research community;

          The Penn State and MR investigations show that it is accepted practice in the climate science community to “change or omit data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record”. The climate scientists argue that ‘hiding the decline’ by removing adverse data so as to misrepresent the suitability of tree rings as temperature proxies is not misconduct since it is normal practice in their community.

        • Tony Hansen
          Posted Jul 9, 2010 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

          In the old days it was common practice to feed slop to the porkers. This was stopped because of fears that slop could lead to foot in mouth disease.

  4. Bill
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Mr. McIntyre there is a post at this link http://www.pajamasmedia.com/blog/writimgpjmhelpedmake-me-enemy-of-the-state-38/ The National Academy of Sciences published a list of 496 scientist and academics who questioned the authority of man made global warming. A lot of familiar names, such as Watts,Pielke etc. One notable name missing, YOURS !!!!! Hvae been a steady lurker for over 4 years, keep up the good work. Sorry not on topic!!!!!

  5. bobdenton
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    A great interview on The World Tonight. You came across as composed, authoritative, moderate and reasonable. Listeners will have been able to compare how you present with how Mann, who was on shortly before, presents. He comes across as dogmatic, manic and paranoid, spouting his usual rubbish about denialist conspiracies.

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

      The programme can be replayed here. The Russell segment starts around 8mins.

      • Feedback
        Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

        Hey thanks a lot, you answered before I got to ask :).

        • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

          It was almost like a feedback loop …

        • Peter Pond
          Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

          Does the fact that you answered BEFORE the question was asked make it a POSITIVE feedback loop or a NEGATIVE feedback loop?

        • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

          I don’t want to be negative but the fact you had to ask a key supplementary question before I attempted to answer it might suggest that the whole mechanism is less well understood than people make out.

        • bender
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

          It should have been negative, by pre-empting the need for further commentary. Instead, it turned out to be positive, generating significantly more commentary than a simple two-step Q&A.

      • Dave
        Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

        That’s extraordinary. I think I now understand how he’s been exonerated by these inquiries, though:

        [quote]”Yes!” says Uncle Red cheerfully. “The man is a legendary donation-raiser.”

        “He must have a persuasive side to him that I have not been perceptive enough to notice yet,” Aunt Nina says.

        “No,” Randy says, “it’s more like he just goes in and flops around on the conference table until they become so embarrassed for his sake that they agree to sign the check.”[/quote]

        From Neal Stephenson’s novel Cryptonomicon.

      • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

        For those in the colonies who may be blocked, this snippet from The World tonight:

        [audio src="http://public.seani.justemail.net/mcintyre-world-tonight.mp3" /]

        I believe this is fair use, and of course I’ll remove it on request from suitable parties.

    • Feedback
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

      Any chance of seing or hearing this on the Internet?

  6. Mailman
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    Yes, but did anyone notice that the BBC got climateaudits URL wrong? Listed it as ClimateAudit.com instead of climateaudit.org.

    What got me about the BBC article on newsnight was that it was the sort of thing you would expect to see from a “gracious winner”.

    The BBC looks like it is now going all out to at least look impartial…probably because Black et all think they are three nil up.

    Mailman

  7. Feedback
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    bobdenton:

    Agreed. I haven’t heard Mann speak so much, but he sounds very strained, or tense. Then of course he just starts rattling off some automated phrases with accusations and (anecdotal) proof of global warming – but he meticulously avoids addressing the issues at hand.

    In contrast to Steve, who is thoughtful and measured and speaks of the need for due diligence – wich this is all about, after all, isn’t it.

    No doubt, this is 1-0 to our host.

  8. Steve E
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Repeated word “when”, “…saying that when he “couldn’t believe it” when he learned that…” Should delete first when.

    Balanced coverage. Must agree with Mailman “because Black et all (sic) think they are three nil up.”

    I know that your rules prevent political comment, but the team and those apologizing for the team have made a grievous tactical error. If they wanted closure they needed to sacrifice someone. Jones’s immediate reinstatement (promotion?) has guaranteed that this will go on.

    This guarantees your Guardian appearance will have an even greater impact.

    Render unto Caesar…

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

      I know that your rules prevent political comment,

      Actually that would be “prohibit”, not “prevent”. ;)

      • Steve E
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

        Thanks. You’re right.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

      Jones’s immediate reinstatement (promotion?) has guaranteed that this will go on.

      Incorrect. His position was redefined. He is now “director of research at CRU”, as opposed to “director of CRU”. A subtle, but significant, difference. He’s on a leash now.

      • Steve E
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

        Thanks bender, I caught that and corrected it on the Pearce thread. I just didn’t get around to it here.

        It looks like UEA will be taking governance seriously as a result of this report. Some of this could have been avoided had a proper governance structure existed with enforceable escalation procedures.

        I wonder if Muir Russell and UEA were tipped off on the ICO’s Holland EIR ruling? They would have lacked complete credibility if they hadn’t slapped wrists over transparency and FOIA actions.

  9. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    While Willis did a decent job of describing the reality of what happened, I’m having a difficult time accepting the nonsense.

    I haven’t dropped a link here in a while but I made a several hour attempt to gather the relevant hide the decline emails to demonstrate in their own words why Russell’s report is absurd.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/9498/

  10. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    I meant Harrabin did a decent job.

  11. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    I’m not sure if this is the right thread but this report is not in my opinion even handed.

    Finding: This simple analysis and the comparisons in figures 6.1 and 6.2 give rise
    to the following findings:
    Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is
    impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data.
    It is impossible for a third party to tamper improperly with the data unless they
    have also been able to corrupt the GHCN and NCAR sources. We do not
    consider this to be a credible possibility, and in any case this would be easily
    detectable by comparison to the original NMO records or other sources such
    as the Hadley Centre.
    The steps needed to create a global temperature series from the data are
    straightforward to implement.
    The required computer code is straightforward and easily written by a
    competent researcher.
    The shape of the temperature trends obtained in all cases is very similar: in
    other words following the same process with the same data obtained from
    different sources generates very similar results.

    As one of those who has reproduced an “independent” curve, and one who only now believes that CRU has a reasonably representative dataset, the data in question was of ‘which data they used’. Every effort was made to block access to this information by Jones and others. Every argument as to why the data wasn’t available was made. It was only after climategate that the code became available, I don’t believe it was the original code but close enough. Before this time, we had no way to know what the data was. Currently, we still have an incomplete list.

    The reason the list wasn’t provided was that there are real issues with urban warming in the ground dataset. It doesn’t mean that no warming has occurred but I believe there are real issues. Even a reduction of 1/3 of the trend would require changes to models these days and they will defend those tenths to the ends of the world.

    There is a lot of the kind of sophistry expressed in the quote above. The curves come from the same data, confirmation of their trends matching simply means that the code didn’t increase the trends, it does not confirm that an appropriate set of temperature stations were chosen, and it certainly doesn’t mean the results from the same data are independent.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

      So far as I can make out, the Australian BoM data used by Jones had already been “adjusted” by BOM before forwarding; it was used at least part of the time under written instructions that it not be altered without written consent of the BoM; and it was passed to third parties when written consent was also required in each case. Copyright might have been infringed by CRU, but I have no letters to indicate that it was bypassed by some WMO agreement from the early days. I have letters to confirm that there was no recent specific agreement of the type that Jones said prevented him from dispersing Australian data.

      This is part of the problem. Anyone can take the CRU figures and code and run them again and get a similar answer. The real question is, are the CRU inputs correct? There is little point in saying that they agree with other global estimates, because they all start with similar country data, adjusted by BoM so far as I know, in ways that they are coy about describing. If Jones did not know that some countries sent him adjusted data, then that was a goss failing. If he did not insert published caveats about adjustment, that was another gross failing.

      The investigations were simply not deep enough. The math and QQ were deficient and the Russell Inquiry should have seen this.

    • steven Mosher
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

      Ya Jeff, I’ve just completed my replication of CRU.

      Took one line of code to output the stations used.

  12. Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    Monbiot says the CRU has been vindicated

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

    This paragon of fairness is chairing the debate with Steve in London on July 14

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/30/guardian-debate-climate-science-emails

    From seeing McIntyre on YouTube at the recent conference in Chicago, I get the impression that he is used to polite discussion and honesty
    He won’t get that from Monbiot and the mob in London
    IMHO, it’s important to use phrases like ‘dishonesty’, ‘errors of omission’, ‘hiding inconvenient data’ early on, so the audience is forced to think – “either Steve is lying, or the establishment is”

  13. James Evans
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    Holey moley. Finally. This is just fantastic news. The BBC, of all people, is reporting the mechanics of the whitewash! There’s real hope. Well done to all who’ve helped make this happen.

  14. David Davidovics
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

    I just saw Steve McIntyre on CBC news 5 minutes ago. The story might get recycled tomorrow on the main news network so keep an eye out for it. I found it to be fairly balanced.

    A little surprised that they covered it since I haven’t seen any coverage since the climategate incident and even then, Rex Murphy spent the most time talking about it.

  15. Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    I’m sure typically astute CA readers have already got this but there were three significant outings for Steve on the BBC yesterday, discussed so far on this thread (with London start times):

    1. The Today programme (6am) – the excellent report by Roger Harrabin with signficant interview excerpts from Phil Willis and Steve.

    2. The World Tonight (10pm at 8 mins) – another excellent radio report, with Michael Mann given considerable time to say his piece, then a discussion between Bob Watson and Steve, which ended with Steve I thought in masterly fashion (kudos to the editors too therefore) on the crying need for due diligence in climate science, no excuses or complaining. Something our host has done more than anyone in the world. What a set up to be allowed to say that so clearly on the BBC on Wednesday, then to be landing in the country on the Sunday for a week. Wow.

    3. Newsnight (10:30pm for about 20mins from start) – the major daily TV news show interviews Steve in his garden and has other excellent, hard-hitting commentary from Fred Pearce, before a studio discussion with Yvo de Boer, Nigel Lawson and ‘leading scientist’ Bob Watson.

    From the moment in Susan Watts’ report that the camera panned across to the Russell panel to show Geoffrey Boulton’s label almost obliterating all else, including the hapless chairman, who seemed to have lost his altogether, I thought someone had got the message, subliminally or otherwise. On camera afterwards Lord Acton immediately fell back into the oldest false alternative in the book:

    1. Either you’re a believer in a vast global conspiracy behind AGW, in which case this report won’t make a blind bit of difference to you

    2. Or you’re a reasonable person concerned about the situation, in which case this report will put your mind completely at rest.

    That isn’t an argument from the facts, that’s propaganda, pure and simple, dear boy. The fear of being thought a mad conspiracist – yeah, I remember when that one worked like a treat. I remember George Monbiot trying it less convincingly as he tried to come to terms with Climategate on 23rd November 2009, desperately seeking to limit the damage (which to his credit he realised was great). But by July 2010, with all the scrupulous work before and after Climategate by people like Steve, Ross, Andrew Montford, David Holland and so many others … the old fear-of-being-thought-a-mad-conspiracist trick to hide the decline in public confidence is wearing just a bit thin, don’t you’ll think?

    Lord Lawson rightly pointed to the needs of the billion and a half without electricity at the end. Strange how the ‘right wing’ guy has to be the one to do that in this area. But whatever the label, it remains for me by far the most important point of the wider discussion.

    Not perfect, of course, but … way, way better. More significantly than anything, Steve McIntyre was treated with the respect in all three cases by our public broadcaster that his enormous, groundbreaking work has deserved. That I think changes everything.

    • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

      Correction: it was Bob Ward, not Bob Watson, debating with Steve on The World Tonight. And as great deal more respect he showed him than I for one have ever noticed before.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

      the old fear-of-being-thought-a-mad-conspiracist trick to hide the decline in public confidence is wearing just a bit thin, don’t you’ll think?

      There’s no “conspiracy”. There’s just rampant groupthink. A deep and widepsread understanding that the consensus as articulated is precious, in need of preservation against attack by evil forces. Tribal paranoia.

      • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

        But that’s the middle way that Lord Acton didn’t want you to have. And that’s the point.

        • bender
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

          Yep. And that tribalism (“the skeptics don’t rise above the level of conspiracy theorist nutters”) is indeed wearing thin.

  16. toby
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

    Harrabin’s best comment “The blogosphere … tends to the obsessive”. Take a look at yourselves!

    • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

      And you’re on this blog – so are we allowed to draw the same conclusion?

  17. Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 3:50 AM | Permalink

    The WordPress spam filter obviously objected to four links to the BBC and Guardian websites (dodgy destinations, I think we’d all agree) in a recent comment of mine. There was a link to and some thoughts on the Newsnight piece last night, which showed Steve relaxing in his garden with a laptop! For those that can’t wait for the details, it’s also on my blog as mcintyre on the beeb. Happy days.

  18. Barry Woods
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Credit is due to Roger Harrabin… from a personal level as well.

    I’ve sent a number of emails, following climate gate to journalists, websites, newspapers, bloogers, politicians, etc…

    And, of what might be called the ‘consensus’ Roger Harrabin has been the ONLY one to respond to me, and he had absolutely no need to do that, or to continue to do that.

    In fact as, Roger has replied to me, more times, than the following, Steve Mcintyre, Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, Andrew Montford, Keith Kloor, James Delingpole, Thomas Fuller, JeffID, then I must ‘surely’ be considered a part of the comsensus. If a similar survey (as the enquiries) were made of my emails!

    I was very critical of the BBC (and remain so of Roger Black and generally) but most people are open to reasonable calm debate, privately, my first one or 2 to the BBC, I might have been a bit ‘cross’.

    But on consideration of the fact that a good friend of mine, had edited the IPCC synthesis report with ‘the hockey stick’ in, it would be unfair to treat Roger any differently than my friend.

    The way forward for the BBC, is not to discuss man made global warming vs ‘sceptics’, but the VERY different, IPCC projections of it…. (and ask questions of the wilder, wwf, etc Gore, propaganda)

    As:

    What the BBC could best do, is continue with most scientists believe in the probabilty of man made global warming..(me included)

    But the issue REALLY is how MUCH…..
    I’m sure 98% would agree, that is why we always get the headline…

    But how many agree: (and the scenarios between)

    1) with the IPCC worst case projections.
    2) Versus the lower end of the scale projections, i.e 1.0C or 2.0C projections?

    And what are the feedbacks, might they be negative, even cancelling out some of the lower projections. This is where real scientific observations and experimentation comes in.

    ‘Sceptics’ (lukewarmers?) might think 2 is more likely, because of the apparent absence (in the real world) of all the positive, assumed feedback, that 1) depends on..

    As sceptics can agree with 1),
    they are in FACT agreeing with mainstream science, and could be described as one of the 98% of scientists that agree, yet just not agreeing with the wilder projections.

    So, maybe that percentage figure, should not be misused the way it is.
    Or used to paint ‘climate realists’, by the ‘alarmists’ as outside of mainstream science.

    If someone was brave, they could do a survey, of ‘climate scientists’ (the non media favourites, included) that asks about likelyhood of all the different scenarios. It would be interesting where the worst case ‘projections’ figure, in such a survey.

  19. Barry Woods
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, in the above, (should be)

    As sceptics can agree with 2)
    they are in FACT agreeing with mainstream science, and could be described as one of the 98% of scientists that agree, yet just not agreeing with the wilder projections.

  20. P.Solar
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

    more sleight of hand in the reconstruction?

    I have not had the time to see exactly what was “reconstructed” but since AFAIK the publicly available data they refered to in already adjusted an “homogenised” in a way that is not reproducible it seems that they can not possibly have verifies this crucial step which is what all the fuss is about.

    Simply plotting manipulated data is not a “reconstruction” and Mann’s claim that this is vindication of his and EUA’s work is , to use his favourite term “specious”.

    More straw man tactics and sleight of hand from the EUA appointed “independant” inquiry.

  21. P.Solar
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    Mike Haseler
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Permalink | Reply
    >>
    yes, I have to admit that the report was largely neutral in its coverage. I did however write to complain about the use of “hacked emails”, because as the BBC know this would be prejudicial to any trial if or when a leaker comes to court.
    >>

    You should complain about the use of “hacked” fullstop. There is , to my knowlege, no evidence that this is what actually happened despite a probing police inquiry.

    This slur is still being used in the media prejudice the listener against anything revealed in the emails.

    idem. for the term “private emails”. They were not private , they are subject release through FIA.

    Where do I complain? I’ll add my voice to yours.

    • Dave
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The BBC uses ‘hacked’ to mean something different to the rest of us, in line with their generally woeful tech reporting. I won’t be surprised if we read about the masked gunmen who ‘hacked’ a bank, one of these days.

      Personally, I’m not sure what term to use if you want to talk about these emails and specify which ones without using a whole sentence. ‘Climategate’ is to be avoided for stylistic reasons. ‘Hacked’, ‘leaked’, etc are not accurate because we don’t know. Don’t want to use an entire phrase every time: ‘the emails that were hacked, leaked, or otherwise obtained from CRU’. Any thoughts?

      • jcspe
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

        if trying to make no judgement about the source of the email release, how about: “non-officially released emails.”

        • Bob Koss
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          The scope of the authority of the person who released the documents is unknown. It is possible they had release authority. Therefore “released documents” with no modifier attached would be the neutral way to describe it.

  22. DaleC
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    Transcribed from the audio at

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8795000/8795643.stm

    Copyright BBC 2010 etc etc

    I tried to find an official transcript, but no such luck. I hope this is OK – it’s well worth being able to ponder the nuances which slip by when just listening.
    *******************************

    …the leaked climatechange emails has said the scientist at the centre of the dispute has been the victim of a manufactured false controversy…

    … one of the most influential countries that will be attending the Copenhagen summit on climate change has said the stolen emails by scientists will have a huge impact on the talks…

    … the UN panel on climate change is to examine claims that British scientists manipulated data…

    The climategate affair broke just before Christmas. We still don’t know who hacked the emails at the University of East Anglia which threw climate science into an unprecedented state of self-examination. But the publication of the emails left the university open to allegations that scientists had manipulated data and conspired to subvert the peer review process. Investigations were clearly needed. The first enquiry, a general inquiry from the Commons Science Committee was curtailed by the election. It cleared the UEA scientists of wrongdoing, but blamed the university for being uncooperative with information. The second enquiry was set up by UEA in conjunction with the Royal Society and chaired by Lord Oxburgh. It was called the Science Assessment Panel and its stated remit was to examine the university’s key publications – the key science in other words which had been most subject to comment. The third enquiry – today’s enquiry – is by the former senior civil servant Sir Russell. It will present an analysis of the emails and judge if the scientists involved cheated. So now, three enquiries all with different and complementary themes.

    Certainly that’s how it sounded to Phil Willis, who chaired the commons committee:

    “The whole purpose of having this if you like tripartite approach to the emails scandal as it was, was that Muir Russel would look at the emails, my committee was looking to make sure that there was a proper scrutiny process in place, and of course the Royal Society, headed by Lord Oxburgh, would look at the rigour of the science.”

    Climate sceptics in particular were delighted. The UEA’s press release announced that Oxburgh would assess the science of the UEA’s most controversial papers. Skeptics assumed this meant it would assess the quality of the science, which they doubted. But they were to be disappointed. Lord Oxburgh told me the university had asked him not to assess the quality of the controversial science, but to check the integrity of the research, to make sure the scientists hadn’t twisted it to conform to a pre-set agenda, a charge on which they were swiftly exonerated by the Oxburgh review. Now it may have been a subtle difference to shift the remit from assessing the science to assessing the integrity of the science but it was a substantial one in the view of Phil Willis when he saw the Oxburgh report.

    “Quite frankly I couldn’t believe it. It took us no further down the line at all from what the select committee report did or indeed from what the Muir Russell inquiry will do. I frankly think that there has been a sleight of hand in that the actual terms of reference are not what we were led to believe.”

    The university would deny sleight of hand, and Lord Oxburgh told me that UEA had not tried to influence his findings at all – but that is by no means the only grumble over Oxburgh. There is also a complaint about the list of papers selected for his review. In his report Lord Oxburgh said the list was selected on the advice of the Royal Society. In fact the list was drawn up by the UEA itself then approved in just two emails within 20 minutes by two senior Society fellows neither of whom was expert in UEA science. What’s more, UEA told the society that that the papers had been the most controversial but climate sceptics say the list did not include any of the works they consider controversial. Skeptics sniff a conspiracy here, but there are other possibilities. One of them is a cultural clash in which the scientific establishment is carrying on in an informal way quite at odds with the process driven analysis on this topic in the blogosphere, which sometimes tends towards the obsessive. Lord Oxburgh declined to be interviewed but he offered a hint of this in an email he sent me.

    “I really can’t get very worked up about all this. There is an underlying presumption of a formality to our activities that simply wasn’t there. Critics are attaching an unrealistic significance to the original list of publications. We did not bother unduly about the origin of the list of papers. It reached us via the university and we understood simply that it was the outcome of UEA/Royal Society discussions.”

    He said that his panel read much more broadly through the UEA’s work anyway although to the dismay of his critics he hadn’t kept a list of what had been read. There is now a hot spotlight on today’s Muir Russel inquiry but already that’s been criticised because the panel didn’t interview the main critics of UEA science in the blogosphere – people like Steve McIntyre, the Canadian former mining engineer who has carried out an extraordinary inquisition of UEA science as a retirement hobby. His grandfather was a leading judge and McIntyre wanted a judicial style inquiry given the high stakes involved. His wish has not been granted, and he does not have high hopes of today’s report.

    “For people who have not carried out the sort of due diligence that I think is relevant to then make pronouncements, then the pronouncements I don’t think have a whole lot of weight.”

    Climategate has been a sorry affair, and some critics won’t be satisfied even after today’s inquiry. Many scientists admit that the crisis has led to greater openness in climate science and more acknowledgement of uncertainties, even though 98% of climate scientists in a recent poll still say they are confident that humans are warming the planet, the debate is over how much. The intriguing question now for the science authorities is how they will respond to the future challenges to science from the blogosphere, because those challenges will undoubtedly keep coming.

    • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

      The climategate affair broke just before Christmas. We still don’t know who hacked the emails at the University of East Anglia which threw climate science into an unprecedented state of self-examination.

      Where is the evidence of this “self-examination”? Must be happening in private, unless there has been a flood of data, methods and code that were previously unavailable in obvious places that I’m not aware of. I’ve heard that some previously requested items will now be made available, but don’t know if that’s actually happened.

      If this self-examination had actually occurred, wouldn’t we be seeing posts at RC to the effect “Wegman Was Right”…

    • Eksperimentalfysiker
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

      Roger Harrabin’s notes are here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10507144.stm

      • bender
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

        The only response to diligent blogospheric probing is a culture of disclosure. Fact: in an educated society the internet increases the cost of running a democracy. That’s not Steve McIntyre’s fault. It’s the new reality. Reform is the only rational response.

  23. kim
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Heh, Cowville missed on the ‘integrity of the science’, too.
    ================

  24. P.Solar
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Lord Oxburgh

    “I really can’t get very worked up about all this. There is an underlying presumption of a formality to our activities that simply wasn’t there. Critics are attaching an unrealistic significance to the original list of publications. We did not bother unduly about the origin of the list of papers. It reached us via the university and we understood simply that it was the outcome of UEA/Royal Society discussions.”

    Well yes , when there is a public inquiry into an issue that is intended to drastically change the whole global economy and energy policy , I think there is an EXPECTATION that any inquiries will be “formal”.

    This whole “back of an envelope” approach is astounding.

    It seems pretty inconceivable that this kind of inquiry can take place without written notes. This whole claim seems more likely to be untrue and simply designed to preempt anyone doing FIA claims to find out things like what the list of paper studied actually was or whether it was submitted by the Royal Soc. as was falsely claimed.

    • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

      You have to give the context to feel the full weight of Oxburgh’s comments:

      Skeptics sniff a conspiracy here, but there are other possibilities. One of them is a cultural clash in which the scientific establishment is carrying on in an informal way quite at odds with the process driven analysis on this topic in the blogosphere, which sometimes tends towards the obsessive. Lord Oxburgh declined to be interviewed but he offered a hint of this in an email he sent me.

      Well yes, compared to Lord Oxburgh, I guess we’re all obsessives. We try hard to stick to the evidence, to identify the really key problems and to write it down for others to check every detail. Or to put it the Casablanca way

      “I’m shocked, shocked I tell you to find that real due diligence has been going on in here.”

      It is obsessive when you compare it to dear old Lord Oxburgh, who couldn’t quite be bothered to have a written terms of reference; who used a list of CRU papers that had a full 20 minutes due diligence carried out on them by two Royal Society grandees who both later admitted they didn’t know the area; who couldn’t, like Muir Russell and the Parlimentary inquiry before him, find time to interview Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick; about whose inquiry there is ongoing uncertainty on the little matter of whether it was ever meant to look into the science of CRU; and who couldn’t even confirm either way afterwards whether this crucial statement had been made to his panel:

      Phil Jones admitted that it was probably impossible to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy.

      You know, compared to that I have to agree with Roger Harrabin that I am obsessive – and I hope always to be so.

      • bender
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

        [Oxburgh] couldn’t even confirm either way afterwards whether this crucial statement had been made …

        And yet some will choose to call this “sloppy”. Folks, he had a choice to make. He chose to dodge the question. That’s not slop.

        • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          Not slop – and it must stop. Answers please, Lord Oxburgh.

      • geronimo
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

        “We did not bother unduly about the origin of the list of papers. It reached us via the university and we understood simply that it was the outcome of UEA/Royal Society discussions.”

        Ahem. There is an email from Trevor Davies to Martin Rees in which he says that Oxburgh had asked him to get the RS to approve the papers, so, “…we understood simply that it was the outcome of UEA/Royal Society discussions.” doesn’t make sense. Oxburgh was certainly bothered about the origin of the list of papers, bothered enough to ask Trevor Davies to get an endorsement so he could say the papers were selected by the UEA in conjunction with the RS.

        He played a blinder according to Beddington, but these people are apparently unaware of the blogosphere and assume that they can tell us black is white, the MSM will report that it’s so, and we’ll all move on. I’m afraid times have changed for your lordships and there will still be people hunting down the truth many years from now.

        • DaveS
          Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

          This is something I’d noticed. There is a clear contradiction in Oxburgh’s claims. He hasn’t explained why he included the blatantly false statement about the source of the papers in the report itself; nor has he explained why, if he really didn’t know the source of the papers, it apparently didn’t occur to him to ask.

          The more he says, the less credible he sounds.

        • James Evans
          Posted Jul 9, 2010 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

          “…but these people are apparently unaware of the blogosphere and assume that they can tell us black is white, the MSM will report that it’s so, and we’ll all move on. I’m afraid times have changed for your lordships and there will still be people hunting down the truth many years from now.”

          Exactly so. In the good old days that would have worked, no problemo. But these old boys don’t quite seem to get that things have changed. The real indication of that, is that they continue to write their cunning conspiracies down in emails. It’s almost comical. At some point perhaps they’ll get their heads round the whole FOI thing, which is what started this thing off in the first place.

          Harrabin’s piece made a fascinating distinction between the informality of the scientists, versus the obsessiveness of the blogosphere. Which is simply a way of saying that the scientists aren’t used to having people check up on whether they’re telling the truth. People are now obsessively checking what the scientists do and what they say. And this really irritates some people.

  25. P.Solar
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    Lord Oxburgh

    “We did not bother unduly about the origin of the list of papers. It reached us via the university”

    So you have an inquiry into the validity of the science but don’t “bother unduly” about what science you look at.

    Your role as an “independent” inquiry does not stop you taking a list of what to inquire into from the very people who’s conduct you are supposed to be independently inquiring into.

    UN-BE-LIEVEABLE ! (In every sense of the term)

  26. George Steiner
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    Harrabin is due for the St.McIntyre award 2nd. Class

  27. Stacey
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c257510c-89cd-11df-9ea6-00144feab49a.html

    “Sceptics brand climate inquiry a ‘whitewash’”

    Financial times. Fiona Harrington mentions CA and a number of posters.

    Apologies if already posted and ot.

    Steve. If someone comes up to you next week and says “It’s gonna snow in Barry tonight” you’ll know who it is.

  28. stephen richards
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Do not get caught up in Haribin’s PR. This man will remain firmly in the ‘AGW to 2°C’ until told otherwise by the BBC. -snip

    Steve; All the more credit to Harrabin and Pearce for calling things as they see it on the CRU affair.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

      I’m unconvnced that that is what H is doing. I listened carefully to the broadcast, very carefully, with my project managers hat on. There is an openness about his appeal but as we would say, the door is merely ajar. His employers will not allow him to open it any further, in my opinion. I saw an interview with the CEO of the BBC this last week-end. There is absolutely no give on the subject of AGW from the UK governments position or that of the IPCC.

      [snip – please do not use such language or slang]

      Incidently, there was no criticism of Fred in my piece or at least none implied.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

      I think we may have a language problem here. I neither swore nor was I abusive. It must be a Franco-anglais problem.

      steve - keep the rhetoric down please. Not swearing isn’t enough.

  29. bender
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Oxburgh’s defense in the Harrabin interview sounds like it was from a read statement.

    This is a “must listen”.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

      Contrast with Willis’s remarkable statement and tone.

  30. SidF
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    This could be off topic here, but I haven’t seen the question being asked as to whether the CRU/UEA have ISO 27001 information security certification?
    They would certainly need this to be in charge of data/information that is going to be used to make decisions to make major changes to the current economic and industrial structure of the world.
    ISO 27002 , the Code of Practice for Information Management requires that information/data is managed in such a way that there is:

    “the preservation of confidentiality (ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorised to have access), integrity (safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information and processing methods) and availability (ensuring that authorised users have access to information and associated assets when required).”

    But are any of our government departments that use climate data to make decisions certified to ISO 27001?

  31. Keith Herbert
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Harriban said the skeptics were delighted to have the inquiries preceeding Muir Russell, specifically the Oxburgh inquiry. He said the skeptics expected the science they questioned to be the subject of the inquiry.

    This rings untrue to me. I don’t recall any skeptics thinking the inquiries were going to do more than skim the surface and exonerate East Anglia.

    Harriban concludes by suggesting Steve McIntyre expected the proceedings to be more of a court style hearing. Though Steve may have preferred that, I don’t recall he or anyone else, expected it.

  32. Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Harrabin might not know much about the science of global warming a is probably happy to defer to “scientists”, but like any journalist he can smell a whitewash from a mile off. I think that what we will find is that while the scientists may appear to have been exonerated, the journalists are starting to get a sense of how the pro-AGW lobby has massaged the truth here with these three very iffy enquiries. I think that this will cause a certain amount of uneasiness. Or at least I hope so.

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      Posted Jul 9, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

      I got that feeling from the last Pearce debate at the RI. There were a lot of journalists there, and a sense that journalists should only report on approved stories from ‘climate experts’. Shortly after, we saw the PNAS paper with a handy list of who should be trusted and who not. Hopefully good journalists will ignore these kinds of PR tricks.

      Looks like the Guardian debate is warming up as well, Trevor Davies has joined the panel. UEA’s VC’s don’t come out of the inquiry very well in my opinion showing very lax management. I’m tempted to ask SidF’s question. As an occasional supplier to government, bids often require compliance to a slew of ISO quality and security standards, yet UEA/CRU were happy to let ‘world leading’, high policy impact work get done on a wing and a prayer.

      • kim
        Posted Jul 9, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

        A butterfly wing of paleoclimatology and prayers to Mammon.
        ============

      • Steve E
        Posted Jul 9, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

        UEA’s VC’s don’t come out of the inquiry very well in my opinion showing very lax management. I’m tempted to ask SidF’s question. As an occasional supplier to government, bids often require compliance to a slew of ISO quality and security standards, yet UEA/CRU were happy to let ‘world leading’, high policy impact work get done on a wing and a prayer.

        IMO I think this is a key takeaway. Governance and oversight were completely missing at UEA through the whole affair. In the corporate world–even in government–a head would roll. The University needs to revisit its policies and procedures (including escalation and dispute resolution mechanisms) and put them out there publicly.

  33. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Jul 10, 2010 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Regarding Mann’s verbal comments, has anyone noticed that he pounced on the Eastern Seaboard heatwave as an affirmation of “climate change”. So when it’s hot it’s global warming and it’s climate, but when it’s cold, like last winter, it’s just weather. Apart from the fact that of course climate change causes freaky weather of every which sort.

    Pchah.

    Rich.

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    […] Harrabin on UEA’s “Sleight of Hand” (Phil Willis) Excellent commentary by Roger Harrabin here. Phil Willis, former Chair of the COmmons Science & Technology Committee […] […]

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