Report from the Climategate Guardian debate

Via Maurizio Morabito

Report From Climategate Guardian Debate with Monbiot, McIntyre, Pearce, Watson, Keenan and some uea guy

As posted by Latimer Alder in my previous post:

Just back from the Climategate debate run by the Guardian tonight. We’re assured that the Guardian website will have a full video of the whole proceeding sometime tomorrow. So just some very sketchy impressions.

Steve obviously read the remarks from last night’s meeting and insisted on speaking from a lectern. This was a good move as it gave him more ‘authority’. And he was (mostly) crisper…making his points more directly. The others spoke while seated.

George Monbiot chaired the meeting and I think he did a fair job of it. He tried hard to be unbiased, and only once or twice strayed into partisan territory. And he managed to keep the speeches and questions mostly to time and to the point

Fred Pearce took a longer perspective than the others. He spoke well and described Climategate as a tragedy rather than a conspiracy…the tragedy being that the CRU guys had adopted siege mentality. Climategate has certainly widened his perspective.

Trevor Davies representing UEA/CRU was appallingly bad. He mouthed platitudes by the shedload, but was unfamiliar with the details of any of the subjects likely to be raised. And was several times embarrassed by doing so. Apart from the fact that he had a sharp suit. I can find nothing positive to say about him. Struck me as a devious smooth cove.

More here: http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/report-from-climategate-guardian-debate-with-monbiot-mcintyre-pearce-watson-keenan-and-some-uea-guy/

UPDATES

See the Guardian story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/15/uea-hacked-emails-climate-change

Video of the event is available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate

The audio of the debate is up. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/audio/2010/jul/15/guardian-climategate-hacked-emails-debate

151 Comments

  1. antonyindia
    Posted Jul 14, 2010 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    The Guardian now shows an article (wihtout the possibility to comment) from Adam Vaughan here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/15/uea-hacked-emails-climate-change

    It mostly follows what professor Trevor Davies, the UEA’s pro-vice chancellor of research said in that “debate”.
    No surprises here from “the AGW Guardian”.

  2. Barry Woods
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 1:17 AM | Permalink

    George Monbiot was actually a very good chair overall..

    You do really need to see the video, to see how bad the UEA’s Trevor Davis was, especially how, the admission that PHil Jones was not seen by Muir Russell after the enquiry panel had formed, was dragged out of him…

    George to his credit, did not allow him to get away with, stonewalling after Steve Mcintyres, filleting of the enquiry, George pursued the question, with Davis, until after much note shuffling, not sures, mumbling, refering to notes, he said Muir Russell last saw Phil Jones in January, Steve Mcintyre siad, confirming, BEFORE the panel had formed.

    Bob Watson’s admission, that he had only read a FEW emails was just laughable, given the debate…

    Fred Pearce did come across very well

    Keenan was very concise and tough, maybe overstepped the mark, saying all climate science was rubbish (assuming man made kind) What may be lost because he said that, is he talked about the human ‘cost’ of it all, hundreds of millions of poor effecteected, because we ‘must’ do ‘something’ about AGW,even as the uncertainties get bigger for AR5.

    His other valid point, that struck a chord, was how there is no processes, for chalenging academic fraud, incompetance, no way to hold anybody academic to account,(fraud/incompetance) Citing an example, (not climate science) that he was pursueing, where the university, said no method to do this.

    Former IPCC man Bob Watson, could only keep repeating, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, 95% scientists agree, very superficail platitudes, that just did not work in a debate, wher eevery one was knowledgable

    Personally, it was good to finally meet people, Fred Pearce was very easy to talk to, glad to meet Roger Harabin, if only so that I could introduce him to ‘Josh’ and a couple of others. I was in 2 minds whether to say hello, as I had perhaps ‘bothered’ him enough with emails, Roger has been courteous to ‘engage’ many times.

    The journalists present could not fail to see, what the Muir Russell enquiry was really about, following UEA’s and Bob Watsons poor performance here

    • toad
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

      Barry. Of course Monbiot and Pearce came across very well. It was not so much a ‘debate’ as a dinner party co-hosted by them. They had but one aim in view which was to highlight the ‘sins’ of UEA, and in this they were ably abetted by both McIntyre and Keenan. Naturally George did not ‘let Davies get away with it’. He was never going to.

  3. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

    See the Guardian take at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/15/uea-hacked-emails-climate-change

  4. matthu
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    I felt that George Monbiat exercised a little too much control in two ways: firstly, after alllowing each speaker only 5 minutes each at the outset, he then attempted to direct what questions they should address in the limited time available effectively controlling what issues would be debated, and secondly by oddly insisting that questions by the audience would alternate in gender, even though the audience was predominantly male (I estimate 85% male) he might have biased the questions towards a particular sector of the audience.
    I admit here a little frustration in being unable to ask a questions despite having my hand raised at every opportunity – but I have been invited to send a personal letter to Prof. Davies.

  5. Peter B
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

    I was there. They were recording it and Monbiot said the video would be up today.

    I fully agree with Latimer Alder. Trevor Davies was embarrassing. The Sunday Times correspondent asked Steve to confirm what he had said early on, that Muir Russell had not attended any session of his review panel where Phil Jones himself had been present, which the correspondent said was astonishing, if true. Steve replied with a precise chronology of when Phil Jones had been questioned by the panel. Monbiot turned to Davies, asking him to confirm. Davies was caught totally off-guard. He was obviously completely uninformed. When he said that from his notes Muir Russell had indeed talked personally to Jones, Steve said that had been before the review panel had started. Davies then said, “I will have to ask Steve to remind me of when the panel was started” which got a laugh of disbelief from the audience.

    Steve was very good especially at the beginning, when he gave his own presentation rather than allowing himself to be steered by Monbiot’s question. However, later he was asked by a member of the audience “where did the energy that heated the planet in period (something) came from” or something like that. Steve seemed puzzled that someone would even ask him this and he started explaining his own general position on climate policies, which some people (including Monbiot) took as him avoiding the question (which nobody who really knew what Steve’s interests and goals are would have asked in the first place). It seemed to me that Steve is so smart, and honest, that questions that are both extremely uninformed and asked in bad faith sometimes baffle him.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

      Steve is so smart, and honest, that questions that are both extremely uninformed and asked in bad faith sometimes baffle him

      The best response is this:

      “If you have to ask ME my inexpert OPINION on that question, then what does that say about the quality and depth of IPCC’s reporting, which I’m sure you’ve reviewed in detail? Why don’t you write to IPCC and suggest they cover that topic in greater depth in their next assessment? Great question. Thanks for that.”

      Get it down pat so that it’s automatic whenever anyone asks you to stray into “belief” territory.

      • Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (Jul 15 09:09), I would like to see Steve saying something like

        “What I’ve chosen to do is to audit Climate Science, not develop it further, because I see key IPCC statements that are based on questionable research. Since I work on my own dime I have to concentrate on what I and my readers see as essential auditing needed to uphold adequate standards in the science, and admit a degree of ignorance on the rest rather than claim knowledge that I do not have and do not need for the purposes of auditing key material.”

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

      Also polite. From my notes and the audio, the question was basically:

      Q. To Steve, “really simple question”, since 1980 temps increased by 0.6C consistent with wide range of evidence, where has that energy come from?

      which could have been a simple answer, like no it hasn’t, or the Sun, or not CO2. I think Steve attempted to answer the question hiding in the question by addressing the proxy reconstructions and climate sensitivity. Monbiot didn’t attempt to clarify the question, or point out the error in the temperature increase but span it into asking if Steve accepted if climate change was taking place, which is something he’s never denied. Not sure if Monbiot was hoping for some kind of ‘McIntyre gets it wrong’ story, but let that question get out of control especially given the nature of the question. I thought Steve handled it well though.

      • Redbone
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

        If anyone could accurately answer that question the entire climate debate will be settled.

      • bender
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

        For a moderator to not just allow, but actively coax, the discussion in a direction such as that – very far from the stated goals of the exercise – is disgraceful. The goal here was to analyze the meaning of climategate, not to debate CAGW.

        • bender
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

          If Monbiot is so damn sure of his science, why ask Steve’s opinion? (To play “gotcha”?) Why not just read the IPCC AR reports to understand the evidence for the various forcings and feedbacks? [GM, you know the answer, don't you? 300 - 60 indeed. There's 300 pages missing from those reports.]

        • Atomic Hairdryer
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

          Agreed. I think the IPCC motto should be the same as Pratchett’s Unseen University-

          Nunc Id Vides, Nunc Ne Vides

          The tough questions in the IPCC report are somewhat glossed over, and I liked Steve’s 300 page comment. Simplest way to disarm scepticism is prove evidence to support and explain the theory, not gloss over the uncertainties.

          Bob Watson made much of the certainty around the science, yet also gave the standard 1.4-6.4C range for sensitivity, which is quite a wide range of ‘certainty’. That’s when he wasn’t namedropping jobs he’d held, places he’d worked that is. Anyone know when he last published a scientific paper? I also liked Watson’s comment that $45tn wasn’t a lot of money, and ‘only a couple of percent GDP a year’. That’s nice. Can we have some?

          Monbiot did make an interesting comment regarding the CAGW side of the debate say environmentalists needed to be more careful about the science they use to support their cause. Not sure if there were any WWF or Woods Institute people in the audience though.

  6. HotRod
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    I was there. Not really Steve’s medium I thought, so while his character comes across, the detailed nature of his Climategate comments (to the non-readers of this blog) might not, entirely due to the brevity required by the format.

    Correct the Sunday Times guy grabbed a point Steve missed re Muir Russell, and Davies made an absolute arse of himself over it (I’m afraid it was me laughing loudest). V unimpressive man. Completely flopped on Keenan v Jones re China too.

    Rest of panel good – Watson’s transparent honesty and good intentions came across, Keenan was a revelation (to me), especially good with heckler/questions (clearly a mad obsessive maverick, but of the sort the world needs, of any and all ideological bases), Pearce slowly slowly realising that there is something going on here that is just not right.

    Steve when he was forced off-topic (ie not CRU/paleo/Crutem etc) made the two best points in the whole evening – and this is not just flattery – re IPCC.

    1 The IPCC, from being a compendium of the world’s best science, has become a giant publishing enterprise – if you are a scientist your career objective has to be to be in it, not out of it. It is a huge magnet which has the effect of distorting behaviour. I paraphrase, but that’s what I took away, and the audience silence meant they heard it and accepted it.

    2 Since water vapour and feedbacks are the elephant in the room, why aren’t there 300 pages of science and debate on that in the IPCC report? Effectively why spend so much time on the ‘easy’ stuff, and much less on the really important stuff.

    Can anyone remember the Sunday Times man’s name? I want to send him the CA link re Muir Russell not interviewing Jones.

    Steve -
    Jonathan Leake. I’d made the point in my talk and he followed up on it. I’m sure that he’d have been aware of the link as well.

    • Stacey
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

      I think the Sunday Times man’s name was Jonathan Leake.
      regards

      • Hyperthermania
        Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

        My notes say Jonathan L??? so I think you might be right. I was sitting next to him, amongst a load of journalists, who barely made any notes (presumably waiting for it to come out on video) and spent a lot of the time chatting amongst themselves, and bitching about their bosses.

    • jpkatlarge
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

      Hotrod, “arse of himself…”: I already told my daughter in the pub afterwards that when the video/podcast comes out it’ll be me cackling loudest at that point. Davies always comes across as very smug, and it was nice to see him get a little comeupance. His influence on all of this is still underestimated.

  7. Stacey
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    My take on the proceedings are as follows and I may well be wrong:-

    1 Mr Monbiot cleverly steered the debate away from the content of the emails and on to global warming.

    2 The guy who kept asking Steve about 0.5 degree rise in temperature since 1980 should have been controlled and only was so when objections were made.

    My view is that Steve should have either asked where he got the figure from or said politely he wasn’t there to debate global warming. Of course easy for me to say.

    3 My impression was that the apologists especially Professor Watson was given a disproprotionate amount of time to waffle on. I may be wrong.

    4 Both the apologists sounded like MP’s justifying their expenses.

    5 I agree with the earlier poster that Mr Monbiot skewed the debate by getting more women to speak, probably deliberately.

    6 I tried to speak but to no avail, next time? I will wear dungarees and sandals and tie my hair in a pony tail.

    Steve you did very well and came across with gravitas.

    • Richard T. Fowler
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

      I generally agree, and I’m very glad you offered these comments. They are very informative.

      Climate skeptics reading this page would, I think, do well to pay close attention to some of the unfair methods that are apparently being used to steer public opinion. Failure to expose these might be a fatal oversight.

      RTF

  8. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

    See Piers Corbyn’s account at http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6006

  9. Robin Guenier
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    I was there. Here’s my take:

    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=316#comments

  10. Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    Like I said, Monbiot was remarkably fair. The UEA defenders came across as jobsworths defending their turf. Admitting they need to be more open, that kind of thing – damage limitation, not a commitment to introduce science.

    The audience contained many sceptics and the greens sounded like Valley girls. If even the Guardian’s readers are going all scientific, the jig is up.

    In its vacuous report on the gig

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/15/uea-hacked-emails-climate-change

    the Guardian sets up yet another red herring to add to ‘hate mail’, ‘oil money’ and all their other diversions. They claim that Jonesy boy contemplated topping himself because of ‘hounding’. This is a despicable piece of emotional blackmail. Scientists must always be ready for their life’s work to be demolished by a better theory.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

      The report said that it was the media attention that was driving him crazy.
      Also, this is not “emotional blackmail” targeted at me and you. It is a signal to other climate scientists to keep the wagons circled.

      • Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (Jul 15 07:57), I agree with you about the signal. But my guess is, the report that said Jones was getting 2 death threats a week at one point is probably true. And having been myself, and seen others, on the end of hate material, and unjustly (from my POV) condemned, I have some (not total) sympathy with Jones. Not however with the reporters who get the word out about death threats to Jones but fail to report wheelnuts loosened off sceptics’ cars. One sceptic known to have received disquieting threats is Tim Ball – and he was badly affected I think. But I believe there are others.

    • toad
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

      It was ‘I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here’ with Ant & Dec(Monbiot & Pearce), the two ‘torturers'(McIntyre & Keenan) and the two comedy professors as ‘celebrities’ !

  11. dearieme
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Here’s some pertinent news from UEA.

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=412545&c=1

    • bender
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

      Sir Muir said, when presenting the report, that CRU scientists and UEA had “failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements (of the Freedom of Information Act) but also the risk to the reputation of the university and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science” (see box below).

      They failed to recognise the risk becauee they could not believe it was all true – and (as this report states) they still don’t! – that what these guys were doing (selective reporting of data, selective review of literature, thwarting access, basically subverting the scientific & science-policy process) was unethical.

      Now UEA gets to cut some costs and package the re-org as though it’s a necessary response climategate. Ah, university administrators.

    • Bob Koss
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

      They’ve probably spent an inordinate amount of time trying to track down the person who released the documents. Being unable to locate this ethical and courageous person, they might now have opted for a wholesale purge of all personnel who exhibit an inordinate amount of ethics. Sort of a mass execution attempt to eliminate perpetrator.

      • bender
        Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

        Who says they couldn’t locate him? What if they found him and his identity turned out to be highly embarrassing for UEA?

        • Phillip Bratby
          Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          The police investigation wouldn’t hide the perpetrator, would they?

        • bender
          Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          Who’s to say UEA would reveal the identity of the “hacker” if police asked? How much effort are police going to put into identifying this person?

        • ZT
          Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

          …or her

        • Bob Koss
          Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

          Phillip expressed my view.

          A few days ago Revkin mentioned contacting the the PD and they told him the investigation was still ongoing. He didn’t mention how many people were still working it. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they are close to one poor lonely soul stuck working it.

          Since it is Rob Evans’ last year at UEA I suspect he might be the designated hatchet-man.

    • Ross McLeman
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

      I’ve just left a snide comment at the times:

      They’ve put a Spin Doctor in charge of safeguarding their reputation for academic integrity? The place must be run by lunatics. No wonder Monty Pythons “Village Idiot” sketch on Youtube has had so many views this year.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

      The way to get and keep a good reputation is to do sound and reputable things. If you feel you need to appoint somebody to do ‘reputation management’, then self-evidently you are not doing these already. And you will be found out – to the even greater detriment of your reputation.

      Messrs Blair and Brown discovered this truth the hard way.

  12. antonyindia
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Another bit on the Guardian, but still no video:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

    Are we ever going to get to see that video?

    • Peter B
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

      “Inevitably, he failed to woo a sceptical chunk of the audience, who jeered when he failed to recall the exact date when the last inquiry panel was set up” – – that’s really putting it midly. He was clearly completely uninformed. It wasn’t just the “exact date” he failed to recall – it was even the *month*.

  13. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    The audio of the debate is up. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/audio/2010/jul/15/guardian-climategate-hacked-emails-debate

    “Some parts of the debate have been edited out for legal reasons”

    • Dave L.
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

      It has been edited. “Legal reasons?” Something about Doug Keenan I gather. What has been deleted?

      Is the above the long arm of EAU controlling the publicity of the debate, similar to how it “steered” the Oxburgh and Muir Russell Panels? Is that why Trevor Davies was on the debate panel?

      • Atomic Hairdryer
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

        Somewhat. Keenan made some accusations of serious misconduct in his opening segment regarding the Chinese weather stations saga. He also made some very good comments about the lack of accountability and integrity in science and lack of statistical integrity. That’s ended up with his entire piece edited out of the audio recording.

        During the panel Q&A, Monbiot asked him about the accusation, Keenan repeated it, but that segment was also cut. Trevor Davies response was left in the audio though but now out of context.

        The video on the Guardian is a 6m ‘highlights’ package though and includes some of Keenan’s comments from the section that was deleted from the audio.

  14. Kate
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone have the name of the WSJ journalist?

  15. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Trevor Davies’s very conciliatory opening remarks demonstrate a huge victory for the disclosure and transparency movement.

  16. Robin Guenier
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    You missed this one:

    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=316

  17. Robin Guenier
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    Apologies – I’ve already posted a link. The above was meant for WUWT.

  18. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    Bob Watson: what do you think of Lars Kamel’s manuscript? The one blocked by Phil Jones?

  19. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Bob Watson:
    “We need much more open debate.”

  20. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Bob Watson:
    “IPCC must not hide minority views.”
    “IPCC failed to admit mistakes.”
    “Openness and transparency essential.”

  21. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Pearce:
    McIntyre and Keenan are “data libertarians, not climate-deniers”.

    • theduke
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

      Perfect!

      • bender
        Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

        Piercing.

  22. bender
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Pearce:
    “A need for more candor in discussions of scientific uncertainty.”

  23. Amabo
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    It sort of pisses me off that this ‘reasonableness’ about being open with the science and so on is suddenly propped up as the order of the day. No it isn’t. Getting the science right is the goal. Openness is a prerequisite. You failed.

  24. dougie
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    looks like the video is available here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate

  25. dougie
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    sorry, above link only shows the opening 6 mts are shown.

  26. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately, I was delayed getting into London yesterday and so missed the debate.

    I skimmed through the Times of London and the Financial Times this AM and didn’t see anything. The Guardian article, already linked, was pretty insipid.

    Thanks for the video link!! I’ll check it out shortly.

  27. toad
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Just posted my summation of the evening on JD’s blog, so here’s a few notes on the above comments. Of Course Monbiot came across well, he was in total control, but the two comedy professors (Davies & Watson) were pathetic. Watson is not just a ‘pundit’ he’s a former head of IPCC and has some top job now.
    In the train coming home to-day I read most of Pearce’s book ‘The Climate Files’, a must read if you want to know why Pearce and Monbiot feel so strongly about UEA and their disappointment over all three ‘whitewashes’.(Particular venom is reserved for Lord Acton – The true pantomime villain) They know that Phil Jones let the side down and embarrassed them, and they don’t forgive that easily

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:34 AM | Permalink

      Hi toad

      Please, which JD do you mean? I’d like to read your report, but can’t track it down.

      • toad
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:49 AM | Permalink

        Hi Latimer Alder. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you. I was just behind ‘Julia’ (who was at Copenhagen). She asked the first question. I was wearing a badge with ‘denier’ on it. This got me into conversation with a fellow ‘skeptic’ who sat next to me. I met Piers Corbyn and shook hands with McIntyre, which made my evening.
        I also bought Pearce’s book, an absolute must-read.
        I was referring to James Delingpole’s Telegraph blog, which is currently being hijacked by a shrill harpie with a rose as her avatar.

  28. björn
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    It was funny to hear the woman using Newtons law of gravity as a final scientific truth, exemplifing consensus. Im I totally misinformed or did EINSTEIN prove Newton wrong? Despite consensus opinion at the time, wich did not like the new theory of relativity.

    • Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

      Newton wasn’t wrong, he just needed the opportunity to revise and extend his remarks – as Einstein may in the future.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 2:41 AM | Permalink

        Very good. Newton’s Fifth Assessment Report is that?

  29. Robert E. Phelan
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    I’m half way through the audio and get the impression that Monbiot is “randomly selecting” warmist questioners. The lady involved with an NGO concerned with South East Asia who thinks Global Warming is a bigger issue than, perhaps, the corruption hindering development? Fiona Fox? I suspect they tried to pack the hall.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

      I think I can absolve GM of that particular charge. There were few rumblings of discontent in the hall about the choice of questions, and there certainly wasn’t a numerical warmist bias among the attendees.

      I am no fan of Monbiot’s more hysterical writings, but I have to concede that he conducted proceedings well and reasonably fairly in this case.

      The only time he got twitchy was when Keenan accused Jones of fraud..and repeated it after being given a chance to withdraw (perhaps omitted from the audio). George is sensitive about defamation proceedings right now :-)

    • Christopher
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

      The Chairman, curiously, chose to select questions alternately from men and women. Three explanations came to mind: that he had some kind of irrelevant feminist agenda, that he was being polite in a charmingly old-fashioned way, or – much more plausibly – that he suspected (or knew) that a majority of the women in the audience were true believers in AGW.

      As a matter of idle interest the audience of about 50 the previous evening at the GWPF meeting (Holland + McIntyre) included only 3 or 4 women.

      “Packing the hall” …. surely not ?

  30. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    The print version of the Guardian article had the headline, “Shock delayed UEA’s response to climate emails, says professor.” (Slightly rearranged in online versions.)

    Davies was shocked, shocked, to learn that there was data hiding going on!

    We were shocked too by the reports from the original emails and that was one reason why we were accused of slowing our response. We had to verify that they were real.

    Couldn’t Davies have just sent Jones an e-mail asking if his messages were for real? Why would verifying that the most embarrassing ones were real take more than 24 hours?

    • Tom Fuller
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

      I find that odd. I had independent confirmation of the emails’ validity within 48 hours from a source. And I had to track the source down.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

      Hu

      I think we can safely discount anything that Davies said on Wednesday. Among a generally knowledgeable and articulate panel, he was noticeably ill-prepared and out of his depth.

      In the commercial world I am used to, his abyssmal performance would have been described as ‘career-limiting’ if not ‘career-terminating’.

      But in academe, where expected standards of professionalism and ability seem to be far lower, he is probably on course for promotion. I do hope not. Gardening leave with Phil would seem a good way out for him and for UEA.

  31. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

    Damian Carrington’s Guardian climate blog at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate has attracted several comments. This is the link that has the 6 minute video and 98 minute audio recordings attached.

    (I for got to /blockquote on my last post after the Davies post, but no biggie.)

    • Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Jul 15 18:00), David Holland posted there as “Skeptologist”

      I did not get the chance to ask two important questions side stepped by the Muir Russell enquiry. The first is: Why would a top British scientist email a top US scientist and seek his assistance to delete, on both sides of the Atlantic, information that had been requested under the FoIA just two days earlier?

      The second question is: Why did the Russell Enquiry not publish the only submission which explained, with reference to the leaked emails and other public domain documents, the most plausible explanation for such action? This submission only added extra detail and evidence to the submission that the House of Commons Select Committee published. The key allegations are therefore covered by Parliamentary Privilege, and Russell could have published the link to it at the very least.

      Trevor Davies hinted at legal action against Doug Keenan and, earlier in the Climategate story, Channel 4 News was persuaded to pull a story at the last minute, after being approached by UEA. There is at least a hint that UEA will try to suppress uncomfortable evidence with threats of legal action. Sir Muir Russell should not have taken on the enquiry unless he had an undertaking from the University of East Anglia that they would not make such threats or support any of the CRU scientists who did so.

      As Steve McIntyre said, there has been an effort to move the focus from the “Hockey Stick”, which is overwhelmingly what Climategate is about, to CRUTEM, which is scarcely mentioned in the emails and for UEA was a self-inflicted wound. Climategate is about the abuse of journal and IPCC processes to preserve the myth that we know to a fraction of a degree how warm it was a thousand years ago.

      No serious on-the-record public interviews were undertaken of the central figures or their accusers. An essay on peer-review and accounts of telephone calls to Review Editors Mitchell and Hoskins were quoted to argue that CRU scientists obeyed the rules instead of printing the IPCC Principles and Procedures, from which it is clear they did not.

      Mitchell and Hoskins, incidentally, on instructions from the IPCC Working Group Co-Chair agreed with UEA to “resist” the enquiries which led the “can you delete all AR4 emails”. The actions of their respective public authority employers is being investigated by the Information Commissioner – material information that must have been known to Russell but is not in his report.

      Incidentally, my name is David Holland and anyone who wants to read the “banned” submission on a confidential basis need only ask me via crusub(at)tesco.net

      • PaulM
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

        Re: Lucy Skywalker (Jul 15 18:28),
        On this point, there is a blatant lie in the Russell Report. The final report paragraph 28 page 92 says

        There seems clear incitement to delete emails, although we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made.

        In fact they did see such evidence, unless they read David Holland’s submission with their eyes closed.
        (In fact they claim on the website that the DH submission “has been read and noted in full”.)
        Recall that they refused to publish David’s submission, on the pretence of legal issues. In fact his submission is very similar to his published submission to the parliamentary enquiry. In both versions DH spells out that he requested information from UEA on May 27 2008 regarding IPCC handling of Wahl and Amman. Just two days later comes Jones’s infamous “can you delete” email, referring specifically to Gene (Wahl) and Caspar (Amman).

  32. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Do you also hear the difference between the semiquantitative detailed examples of Keenan and McIntyre versus the arm-waving generalisations of the babblegobblers?

    It’s not easy for any of us to front audiences, especially with some hostile people, without much prior experience and coaching. The talk of style (above) is immaterial. Concentrate on the substance, please.

    (I apologise for my generalised babblegobble post).

  33. Allen
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    björn Posted Jul 15, 2010

    It was funny to hear the woman using Newtons law of gravity as a final scientific truth, exemplifing consensus. Im I totally misinformed or did EINSTEIN prove Newton wrong? Despite consensus opinion at the time, wich did not like the new theory of relativity.

    —-

    I thought she was completely disrespectful and an idiot to boot. Maybe she should read Thomas Kuhn with a critical eye and learn something about science itself. Climate science is in the pre-paradigm phase as far as I can tell. Steve’s comments imploring study of the effects of water vapour and cloud cover on climate need to be pursued because they may be confounders for the effect of CO2 on climate.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

      She was an ill-educated buffoon. And most in the audience recognised it too. She gave some light relief.

      My thought (possibly uncharitable) was that she had imbibed a lot of ‘post-normal’ science thinking about consensus and that guff, but none of the earlier stuff ..like experiments and collecting data or doing sums or proving things.

      But it was a credit to the general demeanour of the evening that she was treated so politely.

      And, as an attendee, I would stress that the whole thing was conducted with considerable decorum – the discussion was fiercely contested, but never impolite or unpleasant. If the rest of ‘Climate Science’ could proceed on such lines, then I think we would all benefit.

      Personally I have already had an informative and polite exchange with a guy who I’d have been unlikely to have ‘met’ before. So it was a step forward for me…and perhaps for him as well??

      • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

        Personally I have already had an informative and polite exchange with a guy who I’d have been unlikely to have ‘met’ before. So it was a step forward for me…and perhaps for him as well??

        This was certainly true for me. I’d talked to five non-sceptics in some depth by the end of the evening: a journalist, a well-known BBC journalist’s wife, the Senior Parliamentary Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, George Monbiot and Bob Watson. Watson’s comments were the most striking to me. I mean, surprisingly er, sceptical, as it would have been called even one year ago. The consensus it’s a-shifting.

        I haven’t written this up until now because I had a full day with Steve yesterday. I introduced him to two key friends in the City of London in the morning. Then it was time for him to go across to Soho for lunch with Christopher Booker. As I’d remembered time and street from Chris on Tuesday night I thought I’d try and help Steve out with finding the restaurant, which he wasn’t clear about. Dean Street is long though, with many eating houses! Running a few minutes late, I wondered how we were to find Booker without a mobile number. At which point Ian Hislop came the other way so I asked him – and introduced Steve as the man who’s broken the hockey-stick! That was both very funny and very convenient. Ian – a convinced warmista who’s a well known TV personality over here – said we were welcome to see if the Private Eye offices round the corner had a number for Chris. He said on hearing about Steve and Chris and the hockey-stick: it’s all rubbish, don’t believe a word Booker says about me. I think it was meant light-heartedly!

        Meanwhile a senior figure in the City was emailing me:

        Just wanted to say thank you ever so much for organising this morning; and to ask whether you would mind passing on to Steve my real appreciation for his willingness to give up so much time and be ever so patient with my inept questions.

        Basically, he’s a delightful guy to have in London town. All the more so under close questioning from highly intelligent outsiders (so far) to the debate.

        The standout point for me in all four gatherings in which I’ve been privileged to be involved has been Steve’s recommendation for the IPCC WG1: do 300 pages on feedbacks and 60 on the rest. We want to know why Lindzen is wrong. One and a half pages on this central issue is a joke. I 100% concur. Perhaps we need to form a “300-60 Campaign” to drive this point home from here on in?

        • David S
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

          Now I know why Steve was too busy to take me up on my offer of lunch. But it seems his time was far better spent. Interested in your “senior figures in the City” – is there any mileage in trying to get together some kind of discussion group for City people to try to counter all the alarmist stuff that is still being churned out by city institutions in the mistaken belief that it makes them look “with it”?

        • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          Sorry for the interlude, been introducing Steve to someone completely different from yesterday – a real expert on open systems and open source. We’ll come back to that subject too I’m sure. I’d like to say Steve’s head was spinning by the end of all this – but it’s a very adaptable head, unlike so many others in this area. But I think he found some things to interest him both days.

          I’ve been thinking something similar about the City David. The thing is, not everyone wants it to be known that they’re looking into this area – with the help of Steve McIntyre and co, that is! But the tide will turn and is turning. You can get me on rdrake98 on the gmail label if you want to bounce it around more.

        • toad
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

          “I think it was meant light-heartedly”. Page 355 of Booker’s ‘The Real Global Warming Disaster’.Booker says “In conversation one day with my Private Eye colleague Ian Hislop, I remarked casually how flimsy it seemed was much of the evidence behind the global warming scare, only to receive an almighty put down to the effect that George Monbiot of the Guardian knew a great deal more than I did and that I should think twice before daring to challenge such expert authority”.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

          You know how Hislop is – he can look stern but really be joking underneath. On the other hand, Booker makes clear in the passage you cite – and he told some of us the same story with relish on Tuesday evening, when I asked him about the Private Eye man, as he was on his way to Hislop’s 50th birthday party, late because of Steve! – that Hislop was genuinely put out by any idea of a challenge to AGW orthodoxy three or four years ago.

          When he said “It’s all rubbish” I wasn’t sure if that included

          a) the hockey stick

          b) Steve’s demolition of the hockey stick

          c) Steve coming over from Canada

          d) me accosting him in the street

          e) any discussion of these issues involving Booker.

          I think it was mock anger. But I may be wrong. That did happen once!

        • toad
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

          I’ve taken Private Eye for longer than I care to remember and up to now nothing has been sacrosanct until ‘AGW’ arrived. We scan every edition for some leeway but mocking AGW is only allowed in the odd cartoon, never in the text. I can’t imagine Hislop is after a Knighthood so I have to ask why, unless he still believes that George is the fount of all climate wisdom ?

        • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

          He deeply believes it. He’s one of the most moral men in British public life. People say “You must believe the best of your enemies.” Well, sometimes (being herded into a gas chamber, for example) that’s hard to compute. But in Hislop’s case, I’d absolutely take that line. I’m not even saying he’ll come round to my point of view. Whether he does or not, he’s doing what he thinks is right. We still have work to do – but there’s a deeper work still, that of loving one’s enemies. We talked about that as well in the wine bar afterwards, three of us. That’s what I call a good night!

        • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

          PS realised this might be confusing. Winebar afterwards = Wednesday night. Meeting Hislop in street = Thursday c1.05pm. And all through Steve was such an excellent model of how we should treat our enemies. That’s one of the reasons I’ve so enjoyed the time with him.

        • bender
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

          do 300 pages on feedbacks and 60 on the rest. We want to know why Lindzen is wrong.

          Why is Lindzen wrong?
          Why is Lindzen wrong?
          300 pages. Show me –
          why is Lindzen wrong?

        • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

          Preach it, brother!

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

        The standout point for me in all four gatherings in which I’ve been privileged to be involved has been Steve’s recommendation for the IPCC WG1: do 300 pages on feedbacks and 60 on the rest. We want to know why Lindzen is wrong. One and a half pages on this central issue is a joke. I 100% concur. Perhaps we need to form a “300-60 Campaign” to drive this point home from here on in?

        That would make the IPCC report useful. That would never do.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

      Sorry to be a pedant, but my understanding is that Newton’s Laws work well for the things they are good at – relatively large, relatively slow moving objects. I believe that the Apollo missions to the Moon used Newton’s Laws only…and that is a pretty good verification for me.

      Einstein showed that they weren’t good under other circumstances..small things moving very fast.

      Whether you would describe this extension of understanding as ‘proving Newton wrong’ or not is a matter of opinion, but I think you’d be being a bit harsh on Isaac if you did. He got it exactly right for the things that he could explore and understand in his time.

      Maybe sometime in the future somebody else will show that Einstein isn’t the whole story either.

      • Phillip Bratby
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

        I think it fair to say that Newton’s laws are approximations to the exact solutions of Einstein. At human conditions, the difference between Newton and Einstein is too small to measure or be of concern (eg when v<<c).

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

        This is actually an important question. Scientific theories are not true or false but wither useful or not useful. Both Newton and Einstein’s theories are useful in that they can make useful predictions. Now take the climate science “consensus” as exemplified in the IPCC ARs. For a doubling of CO2, this consensus make predictions for a temperature rise that ranges from the benign to the catastrophic. It is obvious to me that the IPCC consensus is in no way useful in making predictions that can be used for creating policy.

        The IPCC consensus is not true or false. It is simply not useful in any real way. So it makes no difference if 95 or 99% of scientists support the IPCC consensus. They cannot provide any useful guidance to policy makers.

        The IPCC is a failure. it cannot provide any useful guidance. This is a scandal of which Climategate is only a minor sympton.

        • Hoi Polloi
          Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

          “Scientific theories are not true or false but wither useful or not useful.”

          “All Models Are Wrong, But Some Are Useful” (George E.P. Box)

      • björn
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

        Well Allen, as long as politicians are involved in the scientific process, they will control the science.
        Politicians thrive on control, conspiracy and manipulation.

        • Allen
          Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

          Björn, I don’t have an objection with politicians being involved in the funding of the scientific process, if that’s what you meant. However, based on the Climategate emails it appears that some climate scientists steered themselves into warmist advocacy due to the selective funding agendas of certain government bodies (i.e. the UN). Ultimately an objection ought to lie against scientists who deceive themselves when they say that their government-funded research is not agenda-driven. These ones should heed Climategate as a warning that government funded research money that leads to pre-determined outcomes can be as tainted as funding from private enterprises.

  34. ZT
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Is it simply impossible to have competent people in positions of responsibility in the UK now?

    Looks like the experiment in inbreeding (sorry, the monarchy) and cronyism (sorry, the establishment) has run its course. The answer was – fail.

  35. dp
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    Is it possible I actually heard a panel member say Mars has no greenhouse gasses? Last I checked it is some 95%+ CO2, is it not? If you add in the atmospheric water vapor you have a substantial GHG world.

    Any faith I may have had in institutional science is gone.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

      The point he was trying to make is that Mars has very little atmosphere at all. So whether what it is 95% CO2 or 95% cow fart doesn’t really matter….95% of diddly squat is still diddly squat. By comparison there is a lot of atmosphere on Venus.

      Bob Watson said a lot of dumb things on Wednesday as you can read in my wee report above. But this wasn’t one of them.

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

        The reason that Venus is hot is that it has a very dense atmosphere. It does not matter whether this atmosphere is CO2, argon or any other gas. It is the extreme density of the atmosphere that will make it hot. This was shown on the Watts Up Worth That blog by Steve Goddard. Lubos Motl was initially dubious but checked the idea and came to an agreement with it.

        As I understand it, an atmosphere has a lapse rate (due to gravity) of decreasing temperature with altitude. Now at the boundary of the atmosphere, the amount of energy emitted must match that received from the Sun. The temperature at this boundary can be computed from the Stefan-Boltzmann law and from this the temperature at the planetary surface can be computed from the lapse rate. The denser the atmosphere the higher the temperature will be at the surface. This is just may layman’s interpretation so Goddard’s article at WUWT should be examined for any required clarifications.

        So the contention about Venus and Mars and green house gasses was quite wrong.

  36. Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    @Christopher & Phelan – Monbiot’s “irrelevant feminist agenda” is the recognition that still, today, for whatever reason, women are less confident on average at speaking in public.

    “Monbiot suspected (or knew) that a majority of the women in the audience were true believers” – you underestimate him and them – several of the hardest sceptical questioners were ladies.

    He did not ‘select warmists’ – on the contrary. Seeing all the bikes and beards outside, I was expecting a granola-eating Guardian-reading greenshirt lynchmob, but it was nice to be wrong for a change.

  37. Barry Woods
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Tom Fuller
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 7:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I find that odd. I had independent confirmation of the emails’ validity within 48 hours from a source. And I had to track the source down.
    ——————-
    No need to find it odd. Simplest explantion best, why have a conspiracy, when incompetance does just fine!

    just imagine good old fashioned incompetance, obliviouness to the internet blog, etc. complete failure to understand what was going on, implications,etc..

    George Monbiot at the debate, said that UEA, pr response was a TOTAL car crash, have a listen. I think they just stopped answering the phones/email and went home for a few days… hoping it would blow over. – Catch the email thief annoucements (MP’s expenses failed defence)

    UEA is a bit of a backwards, out of the way university, BEST known, amongst the general public, for it’s Creative Writing courses

    “Welcome to Literature and Creative Writing
    The School has a long-established international reputation in literary studies, and particularly for its pioneering courses in creative writing…”

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/lit/

    Even when I did my A levels and was thinking of applying to universities, lots put it as their last choice (in case they messed up their A levels) – Affectionality known, as UEA – Univeristy of Easy Access.

    Trevor Davis’ performance, totally gave me the promoted beyond competance, good at meeting type empty suit, that is pervasive now, in UK life (politics, media, academics)

    • Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

      WAY too many commas, dude.

      • Roger Knights
        Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

        And too few hyphens.

  38. Barry Woods
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    I think someone in the community (or team) must have upset Fred Pearce at some point, as he came across very well as an investigative journalist ( a green minded one, still very much AGW as a problem) wanting answers, acountability and transparency. Realclimate and team would be wise not to attack him for simply doing his job.

    That is why, I’ve said his book is probably ‘more’ important’ initially than ‘the hockey stick illusion’. As Fred CANNOT be dismissed as a sceptic/deniar. And it is VERY critical of the IPCC processes and those at Cru and ‘ the team’

    Many people (activists) there probably disliked Keenan, but I think he came across very well to the journalists there (vs the establishment ‘wafle’) The journalists/analysts there, BBC, Times, etc all seemed keen to speak to Keenan and Steve Mcintyre afterwards and seemed to be genuinely interested in the issues and enquiring.

    Ie Not the reprehensible people (big oil denialists) the CAGW advocates had tried to paint them as..

    Steve Mcintyre came across as totally genuine, with his explanation of why he intially got involved – ie in Canada a leaflet was sent to every home, with the ‘hockey stick’ graph in it, and it looked like a ‘salesman’s’ pitch to him, and ‘suspect’

    Trevor Davis response to ‘The Times’ journalists question is just painful to watch.. (should be used as a video for PR people as an example, of how to do everything wrong)

    He could have ‘easily’ said a dozen ‘simple’ things, even just simple deflections, to not make it look like the car crash answer that he gave. ie proof of UEA media PR incompetance.

    I await George Monbiots next blog on this with interest, and others. BBC- Harrabins Notes, Times, etc

  39. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    McSteve being present at the meeting is very important for his image. Being painted as the Antichrist of the AGW, all the alarmist have been able to see that no little horns stick out of his head, neither does he has hoofs.

    Weblogs and publications is one thing, but actually bringing the message personally adds another dimension. I wonder if Steve talked to Monbiot and how they got along.

  40. Kate
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    One commenter wrote at:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/audio/2010/jul/15/guardian-climategate-hacked-emails-debate

    “Here’s McIntyre at the debate: He [McIntyre] noted that if he was running a government, he would be taking action on climate change.”

    Can someone point me to that statement?

    • Bernie
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

      I cannot point you to a statement from the debate, but I can confirm that Steve has frequently commented that he would listen and feel obliged to make decisions based upon the best available expert opinions. In other words Steve is not against taking actions to address AGW based on the current state of our knowledge. BUT, and this is a big BUT, he is not inclined to listen to experts who he believes avoid answering questions about how they came to their conclusions. But I am sure others can provide you with more precise citations and Steve may even chime in.

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

      Kate, comment is taken slightly out of context. Near transcript from my notes and the audio from a question about certainty and calls to action-

      “SM: Businessmen and goverments make decisions under uncertainty all the time. If he were minister of the environment (go for it!) he would take advice from institutions, no matter how much that may differ from personal views. But he would expect better performance than we’re getting from those institutions. From his own position, he took an interest in the Hockey Stick due to the way it had been promoted.”

      So the Guardian comment overlooked his comment about the quality of advice the politicians were getting.

      • Latimer Alder
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

        Atomic – please can you put your notes from Steve’s remarks up on the Guardian blog?

        They’ve been misrepresented a bit by some others who are trying to make a point that Steve didn’t.

        I’d do it myself but I am banned from CiF for disagreement with the CAGW line.

    • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

      Re: Kate (Jul 16 10:11), So it would appear that Steve talked about taking advice in order to make decisions. Nothing about taking action on climate change – so the Guardian reader’s comment could be a misrepresentation of Steve’s position. Perhaps he really does not want to say and would rather just do what he does well – help re-establish an adequate and trustworthy (because auditable) scientific foundation , in order to let the science not only speak for itself, as it does to many of us, but also be heard by official Science, which would then once again be worthy of that name.

  41. Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    The published (mp3) recording of The Guardian debate has my opening statement edited out (apparently for legal reasons). A transcript of the statement is at

    http://www.informath.org/apprise/a4040/b100714.pdf

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      It’s a shame they did that as you made some very good points. On the FOI issue and academics moving to back channel communications like Gmail, I don’t think that provides them with any protection and in fact the reverse. I’m assuming some academics think that because the data are no longer ‘held’ by the authority, FOI and EIR no longer applies.

      But they may have missed this rather important section-

      http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1876329

      Offence of altering etc. records with intent to prevent disclosure.

      “77.
      (1) Where—
      (a) a request for information has been made to a public authority, and
      (b) under section 1 of this Act or section 7 of the M40 Data Protection Act 1998, the applicant would have been entitled (subject to payment of any fee) to communication of any information in accordance with that section,
      any person to whom this subsection applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.

      (2) Subsection (1) applies to the public authority and to any person who is employed by, is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of, the public authority.”

      So if this is happening, I suspect the ICO would take a very dim view of prima facie evidence of a s.77 offence being committed, and a potential £5,000 fine for every work related Gmail sent.

      • Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

        Thanks kindly. About Section 77, this requires a “record held by the public authority”: with Gmail, the record (i.e. the e-mail) is never held by the university; so I doubt that the section would apply. I should check that, though, with the ICO.

        • Atomic Hairdryer
          Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

          I’ve not seen directives straight from the ICO on this, but have seen several legal interpretations in business. That’s been complicated by needs to comply with FOI in different jurisdictions, as well as other laws like Sarbannes Oxley, Basel II etc.

          Opinions I’ve seen rest on the action of using a backchannel shows intent to conceal, potentially compounded if it’s using official systems. General advice has been to block webmail and ‘private’ email where possible to comply with retention directives, and warn staff that ‘private’ email is archived or discoverable. In the US, this is currently being tested against Andrew McLaughlin under FOIA and the Presidential Records Act.

          Gavin Schmidt’s admitted doing it, but it’s not exactly in keeping with the new spirit of openeness we heard from Davies or Watson on Wednesday.

          I also liked Watson’s new noun for FOI’able data, given a dictionary definition for foible is “a minor weakness or failing of character; slight flaw or defect”. We saw some of those in the 0.3% of the emails that leaked, what more flaws are hidden in the rest, currently protected from discovery by the police investigation?

    • Dave L.
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

      Doug,
      I saw Phillip’s post indicating: “Some parts of the debate have been edited out for legal reasons”. Then I sat down to listen to the recording posted by the Guardian, and after awhile I realized that the other panelists had made opening remarks but not you, but …

      Thanks for the link. Your remarks were (are) on target.

  42. Ken Finney
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed that the video posted by Guardian has *no* footage of Steve speaking, nor even any reference to him, other than a single first-name-only reference in the preamble to a Monbiot question (to Davies, I think) ?

  43. George Steiner
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    “In other words Steve is not against taking actions to address AGW based on the current state of our knowledge.”

    This is what happens when the competent statistician Mr. McIntyre becomes the saintly Mr. McIntyre. And as he is a lefty to boot I am not surprised that he is ready to take action. Saints are like that.

    Never mind that there is no experimental proof that CO2 causes global warming. Never mind there is no proof that there is Global Warming. I wonder if the saintly Mr. McIntyre would have been ready take action against Giordano Bruno based on the than currently available knowledge?

    • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: George Steiner (Jul 16 13:26), it looks like Steve may have been misquoted, see my response to Kate.

      • Ken Finney
        Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

        I agree – Steve has been misquoted.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

      Action in proportion with evidence – that is Ross McKitrick’s view, and I couldn’t agree more.

  44. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    the whole affair got derailed.

    1. Stupid questions about AGW from the floor. Its not about the SCIENCE being right or wrong.

    2. Focus on the question you can answer rtaher than the real one.
    Climategate is NOT about the land record. The question in play is NOT about global temps. NOT about China. sideshow circus.

    3. The focus, as I said on Nov 19th 2009 IS THE FOIA. FOLLOW THE FOIA.

    The FOIA lead to the command to delete mails. Behind that is the story of the decline and the hockey stick.

    FOIA: Decline: Hockeystick.

    FOIA: you have the ICO on your side, follow that path completely.
    Why did Jones ask to delete mails. the Issue is NOT if he did delete the mails. Don’t get sidetracked. The issue is WHY did he ask. Start with the demonstrated ( See the ICO opinion) wrong doing and work back from that.

    and The lengths the team went to to protect the icon from McIntyre’s attacks.

    The sad thing is that stupid sceptics OVERCHARGED the case. They charged Fraud; CRU defended. Easy defense. Just change the subject to the global temp record and spend a couple days coding and you are done. Making the WRONG charge was good for “ink” but still to this day the real storyline has only been told by a few people. SteveMc, Bishop Hill

    Sheesh.

    • Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

      This is all true Steve – and valuable – except that it’s highly unrealistic to think you’re not going to be asked about the big question (of sensitivity) in an open forum like this. Steve admitted to me that he felt that he fumbled that answer. But he also made some incredibly valuable points about it, as he did even more so in private the next morning in the City.

      I was there at both public events and at three other private ones with Steve and trust me, the Guardian one wasn’t anything like as bad as your analysis might suggest! When Davies talked of the inquiries being independent there was a widespread mixture of laugher and groans, showing that loads of people couldn’t take that seriously. Everyone on the panel noticed that and it changed their subsequent attitudes. When Watson said for the upteenth time that humans were changing the climate I coulnd’t take it and shouted out “How much? How much?” earning myself a public rebuke from Moonbat himself (who I had a very friendly chat to afterwards, in which I said I thought he’d chaired it very well – and I meant it).

      When Keenan made the crucial point on policy that those convinced of CAGW talked as if there was no cost to ‘mitigation’ but there was in fact a massive cost, especially to the developing world, a number of us felt that we had to indicate our heartfelt agreement. I don’t think even Monbiot slapped us down on that. That also really got through to people. And when I tackled Watson afterwards he said something that deeply surprised me. I will report that. But I want to sleep on it. A few more nights perhaps.

      I want to hear Steve’s considered reaction, in print. It’s been a great priviledge to have him here in London. We wish him the richest blessing in everything he does as he returns to Toronto and in the rest of his days.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

        FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.

        and then FOCUS. keenans crap about linux ( which I support) was a waste of air. same with China.

        I thought steve handled questions well. WRT the off topic question
        he was asked..he started out fine.

        ” that’s the wrong question. It’s off topic. My readers sent me here to talk about why Jones wanted mails deleted. and why Russell did not meet with Jones to ask him that question. Mr Davies here should know the Answer.. Trevor why did Jones ask to delete the mails?”

        Its an old trick. Always get back on point. Even if you have to say
        “thats a stupid question, I’m here to discuss X. Repeat if necessary. 10 times. 100 times.

        Its easy to handle any off topic question. You call it wrong or stupid ( I’ve seen Jobs do this, its genius) and then bridge to your talking point and sit down.

        • Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

          Funnily enough, Steve Jobs became a focus of our discussions with this open systems guy yesterday. Yes, he is brilliant – but of course he insists on total control of his environment. Steve M didn’t have anything like that on Wednesday. Doug Keenan was already invited. Steve could have done with much longer than he was given for his introductory remarks. There was so many factors that were far from ideal. But, even so, it was a bruising experience for those trying to hold the line on the inquiries. Monbiot moved back, resiling from his resiling. Watson played to the green activists publicly but said something privately, unprompted, that completely threw me. Pearce is really hitting some sore spots. Everyone, including Davies, was saying “We need more open debate” but by the end you could tell that the tired old story of certainty will never survive this.

          And I loved the Linux analogy at the end!

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

          Dont get me started on Jobs.

          the issue is every skeptic saw this as an occassion to make there favorite skeptical point. Scattershot blather. And all CRU have to do is defend against charges never made. From the git go it was clear that the mails could NOT change the science. They are words and words aint science. It was clear that put in context the mails could expose a culture. But that question cannot be asked or answered in the context of the present debate. You get ill informed attacks that claim fraud and a defense that amounts to this. “we didnt commit fraud, therefore, we committed no wrongs.” Not a very high standard.

          Steve: Obviously we agree on most of the nuances. I made precisely the point of your last sentence in my speech. Fred Pearce had a summary statement that I quoted in which he concluded that the emails evidenced a variety of misconduct but not “outright fraud”. Obviously the public expects and is entitled to more from climate scientists than merely not committing “outright fraud”. “Exoneration” on only this count is meager exoneration indeed.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

          You get ill informed attacks that claim fraud and a defense that amounts to this. “we didnt commit fraud, therefore, we committed no wrongs.”

          Logically, you’re right. Illogically, a gathering of almost 300 at the Royal Institute of British Architects with a good balance of sceptics and convinced on the panel and in the audience is being seen as a breakthrough simply because it didn’t descend into a punch up. And I’m in the illogical camp.

          It’s not just the sceptics who force the argument back to sensitivity and attribution, with all the tired knockdown points then given another outing, it’s everyone. And that is bound to happen in a gathering like this. Climate Audit with all its discipline and focus (yeah, right!) this ain’t. But I agree with Damian Carrington, the man who put this together. This was another kind of game-changer. The patient testimony of the man they refused to show on the video being of course the crucial ingredient.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          Mosh, While the first question didn’t involve my core expertise, I probably could have done a better job on it.

          I mentioned Lindzen in my response, but perhaps I didn’t frame the issue as clearly as I could have or should have. With a little reflection I might have said something like:

          There are two issues here. First, you see quite substantial year-to-year fluctuations in temperature that seem to be unforced – the relative warmth of the 1998 El Nino year would be an example. If there are mechanisms for long-term persistence in the time series behavior – and there is considerable evidence of this, then you can have decadal scale temperature fluctuations that are stochastic rather than forced.

          Nonetheless, during this period, there has obviously been forcing through increased levels of CO2. The big issue is whether recent temperature trends shed light on the sign and magnitude of feedbacks – whether they are mildly negative as Lindzen holds or strongly positive as IPCC model ensembles hold. I haven’t examined ocean heat content statistics and can’t comment on them authoritatively, but I am somewhat familiar with data on tropical troposphere and tropical surface temperatures over that period. Their trend is about half the trend of the IPCC model ensemble and appear to be closer to the Lindzen view of the world than the IPCC model ensembles.

          However, this is an area that is outside my core area of proxy reconstructions.

          Obviously, I felt a bit more at ease as the questioning went on – and I think that that showed. The first question came while I was still unwinding from having to make a lot of quick changes to my presentation to adjust to a time decision that I learned about 2 minutes before show time – which I’ll discuss in my post on the Guardian panel.

          The questioner himself seemed to be quite satisfied with my answers overall, as he introduced himself after the panel and apologized if it seemed like he was badgering. When I listened to the audio just now, I think that I mentioned Lindzen appropriately.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

      Why did Jonesy ask?
      Why why why?
      Why did Jonesy ask
      to delete those files?

      Why is Lindzen wrong?
      Why why why?
      Why is Lindzen wrong
      on the cooling effect of clouds?

      Hello, Gavin.
      Hello? Gavin?
      Gavin? Hello?
      Nobody home.

    • Eric Barnes
      Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say that “sceptics OVERCHARGED the case”. All of these investigations only looked where they could find no evidence of wrongdoing. I think the most unforgivable offense of all of the investigations was the failure to talk to *anyone* involved in the FOIA requests, tampering with peer review, or critical of the IPCC or “Team”. The sceptics were never involved and had not impact in either direction. As little as I like the Cuccinelli investigation, at least there is someone at the wheel on the sceptics side.

  45. Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    After some thought, this event is a bit of a closure for me. I mean, everyone paying attention just witnessed the largest scope and most obvious scandal and cover up of our lives. There are many scandals, but how many are more widespread than climategate? Where do you think these “panels” (or more appropriately plywood boards) will go down in history?

    It’s not good for them, and this was history –it was… And We, the interested, or We the people of whichever country, have the white hats.

    Whitewash doesn’t beat white hat.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 16, 2010 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

      Jeff Id,
      I love you, man.
      bender

    • stephen richards
      Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

      Bals wood is nearer the mark :)

      • stephen richards
        Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

        sorry BALSA

  46. Craig Bear
    Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    I think i could swallow the IPCC’s “message” in AR5 a little bit easier (i.e. handle the fact i think it’s very politicized) if they included some sort of Tiger Team that presented the other side of the argument or at least attempted to include all the papers that are not included purely because they disagree or don’t necessarily disagree but dampen the “Oh my we’re all going to die” message into a more muted tone. In fact that argument is what almost makes it more ridiculous. I think it’s quite convenient for the IPCC to add in some ‘Hollywood’ chapters and information to get the paycheck pushers scribbling a bit more frantically without actually caring so much about the process, the science and proper management of these research activities. Yes i don’t want these amazing scientists to be overwhelmed with paperwork and meetings and so fourth, but i do think they could quite easily improve their data tracking, QA/QC and general amalgamation of research for the pursuit of the science itself and better transparency to the government, public and other organisations that are interested in this.

    • Craig Bear
      Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

      Just to add:

      If that is what all this achieves then it will improve the debate, considerably. If they just say that is what they will achieve and continue plodding along as they’ve been plodding along then this whole affair will have been a great waste of resources, time, money, people, and effort; which is a disgrace.

  47. Tom Gray
    Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    There was no direct member of the “Team” on the panel. Does anyone see this as significant? There are quite a number of “Team” members in the UK who are not employees of UEA and were only peripherally involved with the Emails. No “Team” members and specfically none of the inner members from RealClimate were on the panel. This has to be indicative of a changing political climate that the grandees within the IPCC will have to acknowledge.

    Steve: The core Team has generally refused to appear with critics and this was one more occasion. Bob Watson hadn’t read the emails. Neither Watson nor Trevor Davies were involved in the original Hockey Stick issues.

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

      Trevor Davies was a Team Manager (Emeritus). Varoius of his remarks suggested that Jones is ill and incapable of facing his critics. The uncharitable might think that he was good enough at throwing the s..t around, but not too keen on any arriving his way – but I couldn’t possibly comment.

      But Davies performance was so transparently woeful that I am vastly encouraged. If this was the best showing that the Team can muster, then I’d be confident in Aldershot’s Sundy 3rd XI giving them a sound thrahsing…and still getting to the pub for opening time.

      I think that they have been so used to having the argument all their own way that they have forgotten what it is to be questionned in circumstances where the interlocutirs can’t be dismissed as Deniers, Big Oil shills, or incapable of understanding the ‘Science’.

      Even Bob Watson must have noticed that on Wednesday there were some pretty bright, aware and successful people in the audience who understood the issues – many of them better than he did – and were totally unconvinced by his O level General Science platitudes.

      The scientific world of AGW is composed of only a few hundred true believers…and I think they spend a lot of time intellectually m…..bating each other (see Steve’s comments re IPCC as a magnet). But when those with wider experiences and perspectives shine a light on their antics, the manifold failures of process, of rigour and of intellectual honesty are exposed so clearly.

      Bravo Steve, bravo Doug Keenan…and bravo us bloggers for slowly bringing down this shoddily built castle in the air

  48. Tom Gray
    Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    I have never heard SMc’s direct opinion of the IPCC reports so clearly than from this debate.

    To paraphrase him, they are a laundry list of papers from scientists who are looking for citations. There is no direct focus on the pertinent issues that will be of importance to policy makers. The paleoclimate section is a direct example of this and can offer no useful contribution. If the primary issue is sensitivity and there is insufficient knowledge to make any definitive statement even on the sign of water vapor feedback then the IPCC should direct research effort to that area. It should greatly de-emphasize other research that yield no direct current benefit.

    This sounds like the opinion of a skilled research manager. Maybe S.Mc should be appointed to head a successor to the IPCC. The current IPCC has obviously failed.

    • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

      That’s a great comment.

      • Bernie
        Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

        I think Steve’s view is aligned with and reinforces Roger Pielke Snr’s long held opinion and why Pielke constantly references the NRC Report on Radiative Forcings (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309095069 ). Personally I would feel very comfortable if Pielke Snr was given a significant role for AR5 – but I can hear the screams from RC as I type this.

  49. John Norris
    Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    The investigations, and any follow up debates or analysis, should stick to the subject at issue, the behavior of the scientists. These supposed expert investigators or expert analysts that are clearing the scientists, drive, or let themselves get driven to, a debate on AGW facts. For a long time coming that debate will carry a great deal of uncertainty, and thus will end up in some sort of draw. STICK TO THE BEHAVIOR OF THE SCIENTISTS! That behavior is clearly on the record in the e-mails, and if the focus remains there, and investigators actually read the e-mails, the appropriate results will follow.

    Steve certainly pointed out the failures in the investigation with respect to their focus, and he also tried to be responsive to the questions. The bottom line is he didn’t have time to explain both. For any succeeding events the point needs to be driven home; scientists behavior is the issue, and the evidence is there for the reading.

  50. john a
    Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    The critical question for the people in the climategate emails, is, “Have you ever discussed these topics in any other venue? If so, where? With who?”

    Climategate emails are probably just the tip of the iceberg. All of Mann’s, Briffa’s, Jones’ emails and correspondence should be examined to see who else was part of these plots and what other steps they took.

    It’s not the emails that need to be investigated, it’s the scientists themselves. They’re the suspects, not the emails.

    • bender
      Posted Jul 17, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

      There is no basis whatsoever for assuming that there must be more.

      Others have speculated on a second dumping of emails, and this too is a misguided expectation. It’s over. There was one CRU conspiracy and it’s been exposed.

      Now, about Trenberth’s missing heat …

      • Paul Leili
        Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

        “There is no basis whatsoever for assuming that there must be more.” – Bender

        If in a few of the emails UEA/CRU were replaced with BP and references were made to deleting all emails regarding Deep Water Horizon operations I somehow doubt the inquiries would be limited to the released emails.

        ‘Climate Science’ is either a serious consideration or it is not. As billions have been spent already and governments are enacting laws based on ‘Climate Science’ I suggest that ‘Climate Science’ is important and must be above reproach.

      • Roger Knights
        Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

        “There is no basis whatsoever for assuming that there must be more.”

        But there’d be no harm in asking if there were, right?

        • kim
          Posted Jul 19, 2010 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

          For sure, a proper inquiry would look at more than the released emails. If one doubts that more emails would reveal more scandal, then one must have vast faith in the abilities of the Miracle Worker to find all that was there.
          ==============

  51. Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 3:50 AM | Permalink

    Schneider taking a swipe at Steve?

    “It is completely inappropriate, if there’s an announcement of the new cancer drug for pediatric leukemia [with] a panel of three doctors from various hospitals, to then give equal time to the president of the herbalist society, who says that modern medicine is a crock. They wouldn’t even put that person on the air, so why put on petroleum geologists—who know as much about climate as we climatologists know about drilling for oil—because they’ve studied one climate change a hundred million years ago?”

    Steve: remind me of that quote if I don’t write about it. One of the issues in the debate with the Team is whether Mann-Jones reconstructions rise above phrenology i.e. IPCC has in effect allowed herbalists to have a chapter in IPCC and that’s what’s being criticized.

    http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2010/julaug/features/schneider.html

    • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

      I’m sure such a quote can be used against Steve by those deliberately trying to muddy water but Steve’s neither a geologist nor into petroleum. Ian Plimer would be much more in line with the serious part of Schneider’s description. But even Plimer, who’s not always as careful I think as his fellow-countryman Bob Carter, a marine geologist, is nothing like a herbalist commenting on modern medicine. Modern geology is a pretty ancient discipline compared to climate science, going back to guys like Adam Sedgwick at the start of the 19th century. For that reason we do well to listen to the geologists. But more than anything to the evidence they (and anyone else) are bringing to our attention.

      I agree though that Schneider’s mention of a “panel of three doctors” with a herbalist added seems suspicious. When exactly was the article written and published? It’s the kind of sly complaint the brave officers of New World Climate Order will no doubt try to make stick against their erstwhile allies The Guardian. Most of all to keep in line the credulous, to make sure they won’t even consider a McIntyre, even when he’s in front of their eyes. But compare with Damian Carrington, who organised Wednesday:

      It was hard to reconcile the much-demonised McIntyre with the open and avuncular Canadian on the stage. Despite being the highest-profile critic of CRU, he pointed out none of the three enquires had asked him to give evidence. He ducked a question on how much the Earth was warming – “I don’t know” – he was convincing in saying his motive had always been wanting the temperature data only because he felt it was important and should be available. He noted that if he was running a government, he would be taking action on climate change. Hardly a classic sceptic … In the bar later, the extraordinary events continued, with Bob Watson and Doug Keenan swapping contact details and promising to stay in touch.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

        Long time readers of CA would not be surprised by Steve’s position, which have been consistent throughout. “I don’t know” is not ducking — its an honest answer.

        The difference between the medical experts and the herbalist, is that the MD’s demand a higher standard of evidence. It is ironic that the much vilified sceptics are the ones demanding the higher standards of evidence. So its not a valid comparison for that reason.

        Its also interesting that the press seem surprised that Steve and others are not raving loonies, and the establishment look like geese next to him. Its my experience that getting the stakeholders together always, always, gives a positive result. And if you miss someone, you end up having to go back and do it again.

        The various enquiries may have to be redone somehow because of the omissions of relevant input.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

          Its my experience that getting the stakeholders together always, always, gives a positive result. And if you miss someone, you end up having to go back and do it again.

          That exactly summarises what it has felt like in London this past week. We’re all going back and doing it again. Things cannot possibly be the same now. Though some will try to paint the one crucial person out of the picture, even removing him from the video summary :)

    • JamesG
      Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

      Or even those with PhD’s in Mechanical Engineering and Plasma Physics like Schneider or Applied Maths like Schmidt or Geology like Mann etc, etc. Obviously what many “climatologists” know about the study of climate is mainly what they picked up by reading and this depends on what they choose to read or not read. Their actual “expertise” about climatology can be better judged by the number of times they are proven correct (very few) as opposed to wrong (very often).

    • stan
      Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

      A really bizarre choice for comparison. He likens climate science, where no one ever checks anyone else’s work, to the medical development of a new drug, where the work is checked and re-checked and double checked at every step of a long difficult process with multiple stages. Steve Mc’s very purpose has been to encourage the scientists to be more rigorous in checking the work.

      If climate science was as rigorous as the development of a new drug, few of us would ever have heard of Steve. Some journalist needs to spell out the drug approval process, interview Steve about how climate science comes so woefully short of that rigor, and then ask Schneider to explain why he thinks his work is worthy of being considered equally rigorous. Might be fun. After all, he opened the door on this line of questioning.

    • Tom Gray
      Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

      Taking Schneider’s metaphor at its face, one could well ask In the case of climate science, just what is being announced. The IPCC consensus is that a doubling of CO2 will result in a temperature rise that could eithr be benign or catastrophic. So people could support the consensus and advocate drastic action or no action. So using Schneider’s metaphor, one doctor could say that the new cancer drug was a breakthrough and another could say that it offered nothing new. What would people say about an announcement like that? Would they say that it was a crock? Or would they say it was worse than a crock, that it was useless.

    • Britannic no-see-um
      Posted Jul 18, 2010 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

      If he thinks they’ve only studied one climate change, he clearly has not paid his $49 for a copy of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir Studies in Geology no 47 -Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change Eds Lee Gerhard et al 2001 372pp.

    • Posted Jul 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: pgosselin (Jul 18 03:50)

      Schneider taking a swipe at Steve?

      Andy Revkin at 1:06 p.m today in the New York Times

      Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford University climate scientist who for decades built the case that global warming, while laden with complexity, justified an aggressive response, has died. … In an e-mail message to a group of contacts, his wife, Terry Root, a biologist at Stanford, said it appeared that he died of a heart attack today as a flight he was on was landing in London.

      We’re thinking of his family.

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