Oxburgh Tricks the Committee: 45 Hours in Norwich

In response to a question asking Oxburgh about criticisms that the report – all five of pages of it – appeared “rushed and superficial”, Oxburgh described how the panel had patiently stayed in Norwich to see the project through. Oxburgh (my approximate transcript at about 10:51 time on program):

After we had done all the interviewing and talking and scrutiny, we kept the panel together in Norwich while the report was written and while it went through a series of drafts. So we did not go through the endless iterative procedures with which your committee must be familiar, circulating reports, getting comments here, getting them back, balancing them with someone’s opposing comments. We did it all around the table, that probably saved six weeks over normal procedures.

Q: we all appreciate . can I just clarify this point – you said that all the committee members stayed in Norwich.

Oxburgh – [unintelligible]

Q – OK. Does that mean that they were spending all their time on this report over that 2 week period?

Oxburgh – Not over 2 weeks. Probably over 4 days, 5 days something like that. They’d done a lot beforehand.

Q- How much time did each individual spend working on this report?

Oxburgh – Gosh, you mean altogether, not just in Norwich,

Q- You said that it had happened over a 3 week period but most of the time was spent in Norwich.

Oxburgh – People had done an immense amount of work before, one of the most important things. They had a really tough work schedule before they arrived. Then in Norwich, when they were there, they worked continuously. Total number of person-days spent on this was around 15. Something like that. It was… does that answer your question?

Climate Audit readers know that you have to watch the pea under the thimble. The MP was clearly left with the impression that the panel had carried out operations over a 3 week period and that “most of the time was spent in Norwich” – though it was he that said so, Oxburgh leaving the statement uncorrected, having previously created the impression by saying that the panel had stayed in Norwich “while the report was written and while it went through a series of drafts”, later leaving the MPs with the impression that they were there for “4 days, 5 days”.

Through FOI requests, we have obtained the actual schedule of the Oxburgh panel online here.

Here is the actual schedule for the panel hearings in Norwich on April 7-8.

9:30 a.m. – 9.45 a.m. Taxi to CRU (drop off Zicer Layby) Met by Acting Director, CRU Prof Peter Liss and Jacqui Churchill, VCO Coffee and Tour round CRU
9.45 a.m. – 10.45 a.m. Meeting with Phil Jones, Tim Osborn and team in CRU Library 30 minute presentation by Phil Jones followed by questions
10.45-11.00 am Coffee served in CRU library
11.00-12:30 pm Discussion – CRU Library
12:30-1:30 pm LUNCH for panel members – room number 00.2 CRU
1:30-3:30 pm Discussion – CRU Library
3.30-4.30 pm If needed: follow-up meeting with Phil Jones and Peter Liss
4.30-5.30 pm Panel private meeting
5.30 pm Peter Liss to chaperone Panel to Zicer Layby for taxis to hotel
7.00 p.m. Working Dinner at Caistor Hall

Thursday 8 April
8.45am- 9.00 a.m. Taxi to CRU (drop off Zicer Layby). Met by Acting Director, CRU Prof Peter Liss Coffee in CRU
9.15 a.m. – 10.45 a.m. Meeting with Phil Jones, Tim Osborn and team in CRU Library
10.45-11.00 am Coffee served in CRU library
11.00-12:30 pm Discussion – CRU Library
12:30-1:30 pm LUNCH for panel members – Sainsbury Centre, Garden Restaurant – Jacqui to collect and escort
1.30 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. Final Meeting
3.00 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. Coffee + Depart in taxis from Zicer Layby

Travel arrangements (obtained through FOI) show that this schedule was adhered to. Oxburgh arrived in Norwich at 6:30 pm on the evening of April 6 and had a train reservation back to Cambridge at 3.40 pm on April 8.

Their schedule lists two appointments with CRU staff (with one potential.) On April 7, they were to meet with “Phil Jones, Tim Osborn and team” from 9.45 a.m. to 10.45 a.m., described as a “30 minute presentation by Phil Jones followed by questions”. The next day, another meeting was scheduled from 9.15 a.m. to 10.45 a.m – making a total of 2.5 hours of scheduled meetings. The schedule provided for a possible “followup meeting” with Phil Jones from 3.30 to 4.30 pm on April 7.

Re-reading the schedule, it seems that the panel only spent a relatively small portion of its time actually interviewing Jones, Briffa and the CRU Team – who, by the way, seem to have been interviewed collectively rather than individually – and most of its time in “Discussion”. Scheduled “discussion” took place on the morning of April 7 (11-12.30), the afternoon of April 7 (1.30 to 3.30 and 4.30 to 5.30), a ‘working dinner”, and more discussion on the morning of April 8 (11-12.30) and the afternoon of April 8 (1.30-3), making a total of 7 1/2 hours of scheduled “discussion”, plus undoubtedly time at dinner and lunch.

Based on the schedule, most of the discussion in the morning and afternoon of April 7 took place after the Jones presentation in the morning and a half-hour of questioning.

Jones’ second scheduled interviews was in the morning of April 8, finishing at 10.30 a.m. Suppose we take the following statement of Oxburgh’s at face value:

After we had done all the interviewing and talking and scrutiny, we kept the panel together in Norwich while the report was written and while it went through a series of drafts.

If the report was actually written “after [they] had done all the inteviewing”, keeping “the panel together in Norwich while the report was written and while it went through a series of drafts” actually resulted in the panel being detained only until 3 p.m. the same day.

This was anticipated in a March 4 email from Trevor Davies to the UK government Chief Scientist John Beddington who had suggested Oxburgh to UEA:

Thank you for the intial suggestion! He [Oxburgh] has cleared April 6/7/8 in his diary for a 2-day session at UEA, and anticipates writing the report on the last day.

No doubt Oxburgh was happy to do a favor for the UK government Chief Scientist, but surely Beddington should have thought twice about asking a favour from someone who is chairman of a subsidy-seeking wind utility (Falck Renewables).

As to Oxburgh’s description of his ordeal in Norwich as “4 days, 5 days”, I’m highly sympathetic to the idea that spending almost 48 hours in Norwich seemed like “4 days, 5 days”, but using conventional time measurement techniques – such as checking the day of the week – the panel actually spent less than two days in Norwich, skipping town just as Geoffrey Boulton arrived for his one interview with CRU the next day about proxies, neither panel having bothered to compare itineraries, with Oxburgh and Hand spending an extra day in Norwich (and Graumlich only one).

Again, while Oxburgh didn’t correct the impression that the MP had been left with, Oxburgh himself didn’t expressly say that the panel had spent “most” of three weeks in Norwich. In Phil Willis’ terms, it was one more example of “sleight of hand”. But if you watch the pea under the thimble, you see that the impression that the MPs were left with does not accord with the actual itineraries and schedules.

More on other aspects of Oxburgh’s testimony tomorrow.

[Note – Sep 8 evening: In addition to the session of the full panel on April 7 and part of April 8, previously on March 30, Lisa Graumlich had visited CRU together with Hand and Oxburgh and met with Briffa in the morning from 9.15 to 10.45 and had panel discussions as well. The 15 person-days is 3×1(Mar 30) + 6×2 (Apr 7-8)=15. Oxburgh and Hand spent 3 days in Norwich, Emanuel, Davies and Huppert 2 days and Graumlich 1 day.

Josh’s cartoon says it well:

52 Comments

  1. StuartR
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If Oxburgh’s secretariat is getting a bit tardy and leaving him in the lurch at enquiries, maybe he should start using FOI’s to expedite getting the records of his itinerary? ;)

  2. Shallow Climate
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, SM, “You da man!”, as they used to say to Tiger Woods on the PGA tour after every drive. Thanks for giving this piece of Oxburgh “testimony” some of your (characteristic) due diligence. The deviousness of it all! Plus, adding insult to injury to us scientists, Oxburgh also stated that scientists (unlike engineers) don’t necessarily keep their lab records. (!!!) From “Next Time I’ll Sing to You”: “…who, like a dung beetle, seeks to escape from his filthy biological environment by burrowing deeper into it.” It appears to me that Oxburgh is doing the same thing.

  3. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 3:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I hope you’ll communicate this itinerary together with what Oxburgh said to all the members of the parliamentary committee.

    Lying to a select committee is not to be taken lightly.

    • Feedback
      Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Maybe it’s err … an epistemological problem…

      • Cold Englishman
        Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Priceless, thanks for reminding us.

      • WillR
        Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Feedback (Sep 8 16:18), I though the Mr. Minister short about “A Public Inquiry” was spot on as well…

        Just call up you tube and this string on the end: watch?v=5FRVvjGL2C0&feature=channel

        I could not quickly find the short where Sir Humphrey points out that Inquiries are about protecting people — that comes to mind as well after watching the House Video.

      • 3x2
        Posted Sep 11, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Couldn’t find it on youtube and I really can’t be bothered setting up an account so a text version will have to do .. (from “The Compassionate Society”)….

        [M- minister, SH- Sir Humphrey]

        M: The enquiry gives us some time.
        SH: So does a time-bomb!

        M: Is there a disposal squad?
        SH: Disposal squad?

        M: Couldn’t we get the independent enquiry to exonerate us?
        S:Do you mean rig it?
        M: No, no, no, no! ….Well… yes.
        SH: Minister! Well it depends on who the chairman is. He absolutely has to be sound.

        M:How do you mean sound?
        SH: Well a sound man will know what is required. He will perceive the implications.He will have a sympathetic and sensitive insight into the overall problems.In short, he will be… “sound”.

        M:You mean… bent?
        SH:of course not! No, he will be a man of broad understanding…

        M: How about… a retired politician?
        SH:…and unimpeachable integrity.
        M: Yes, I see what you mean.

        M:A businessman?
        SH: Oh, really!

        M: An academic?
        SH:No, no, no.

        M:Alright, who’ve you got in mind?
        SH:Well..I thought perhaps a retired civil servant.

        M: Good thinking, Humphrey.
        SH:Sir Maurice Williams could be the man.
        M:Might not he be too independent?
        SH:Well, he’s hoping for a peerage.
        M:Well he won’t get one through this will he?
        SH:No, but the right finding will earn him Brownie points!
        M:Brownie points?!
        SH:They all add up until finally you get the badge!

        M:Very well, Sir Maurice it is.
        SH:Thank you, Minister.
        M:No..thank you… Brown Owl.

  4. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Total number of person-days spent on this was around 15. Something like that.

    According to your 6/4 post, there were 6 members besides Oxburgh, so if all were present, two days would be “around 15″ person-days, to within government precision.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/06/04/oxburgh-refuses-to-answer/

    • Robert of Ottawa
      Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 7:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You’re right Hu; I picked up on that. You noticed the sleight-of-hand too.

      So 6 people spent 2 1/2 hours cobbling together 5 pages of whitewash? They msut have previously decided upon what to write.

    • Hu McCulloch
      Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      And of course 14 or 15 person-days is 3 person-weeks, all spent in Norwich…

  5. Daniel
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Agree with Philip. Is there any limit with careless/recklessness ? Oxburgh’s defense is weak – not entirely surprising on the part of some who did not really volunteer but clearly was not in a position to decline the nice offering from the academic establisment. If the Guardian is realizing how awful this story is, what about other, less oriented, media ?
    Time will become more difficult for EAU leadership (Acton in the first place – who perhaps may be summoned by the Select Committee in the near future), and Sir Muir should spend some time preparing himself for some grilling.

  6. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hu

    I got the impression that the 15 person-days was the total each member spent since Oxburgh was asked how much time each member spent on the report, but it was not at all clear. They had each spent a long time working on it before they met in Norwich.

  7. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve:

    Having listened to it several times, I think the [unintelligble] words were “not all at once”.

    The following question “OK. Does that mean that they were spending all their time on this report over that 2 week period?” was actually “OK. Does that mean that they were spending all their time on this report over that 3 week period?”

  8. PJB
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    While I did not waste an hour of my life listening to this presentation, it did absolutely convince me of the total white-washing of the investigation.

    Everything that Oxburgh said was either evading the issue or shading and nuancing the response so as to deflect attention away. The effect of industrial lobbies (tobacco) on policy makers in the past?????

    Conveniently placed coughing fits were also noted.

  9. James Sexton
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Are not lies of omission taught anymore?

    • Kan
      Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 11:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes – by defense lawyers and how to avoid prosecution. If the question is not asked, it need not be answered.

      Its only silly everyday people who assume full honesty.

  10. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 5:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If this were to have been a true inquiry, it would have taken more time since more people would have been interviewed. Since this was an exoneration, it was easy:
    Have a few presentations by those to be exonerated.
    Have a nice lunch and dinner at which to discuss how best to exonerate the folks at CRU.
    Spend time in between the meals discussing the exoneration.
    Then rush home to write up the exoneration.

    Steve - nope, the exoneration was written before dinner.

    • Feedback
      Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 8:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Hmm, the word LUNCH is written in capital letters, so it must have been important. I suppose the LUNCH was free, but you know, investors know there’s no such thing. There usually is a hidden er.. trick somewhere.

      And so on… Thanks Steve for your thoroughness. I just love it when it blows all the fog away.

  11. mpaul
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oxburgh’s presentation was very damaging to the UEA. Any reasonable observer would conclude that the investigation was superficial, that Oxburgh was the wrong person to lead it (conflicts of interest along with strong personal biases), and that the UEA had interfered with the investigation by limiting the terms of reference and rigging the evidence. It further came to light that Acton issued a misleading (at best) press release.

    Russell proved to be a much more skilled whitewasher than Oxburgh. But now, Russell surely must be concerned that he’s going to get a lot of scrutiny because Oxburgh made such of mess of things.

  12. ZT
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 6:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is amusing seeing Oxburgh trying to have everything his own way. e.g. driving his team so very hard, but doing the report in an afternoon over tea and scones; doing lots of background research, but sticking to an externally cherry picked collection of papers; keeping an open mind, but scoffing at the standard practices of scientists and engineers. What happened to consistency and honesty?

    • Atomic Hairdryer
      Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 5:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s a benchmarking thing. Rather than being the scientific assessment our MPs may have been expecting, it became an assessment of their honesty and integrity. Who’s standards were used to benchmark that?

      Rigorous examination of the data seems to have been a couple of power point shows and a chance to look at some tree rings through a microscope. The science is thus settled. Acton may have a problem though if the integrity terms of reference were decided before he appeared in front of the committee.

      People should be too suprised at UEA’s actions though. Prior to CRU, UEA was probably best known for it’s Bradbury. People from that faculty may have helped Acton with these inquiries.

  13. Robert of Ottawa
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    To translate for North Americans:

    “Working dinner” = nosh and piss-up

  14. Cris
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “People had done an immense amount of work before, one of the most important things. They had a really tough work schedule before they arrived.”

    It sounds to me like they had each written their sections before they did the actual investigation. Very efficient!

  15. ZT
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And for those not afforded the educational advantages of the Beano and Viz, ‘nosh and piss-up’ = a sumptuous meal with a large number of drinks, at the tax payers’ expense.

  16. Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Only you Steve..

  17. AndrewS
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I’m really glad you’re not my Dad!

    My excuses for arriving home late at night would soon be torn to shreds!

    Keep up the good work.

    • Jeff Cormack
      Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Best characterization ever!!!! I’m thinking great premise for a Fox TV show… ” Steve McI, Helldaddy”. Thank you for the giggle! And thank you Steve!

      All the best…… Jeff

  18. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Sep 8, 2010 at 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You not playing fair Steve. You had their schedule before the questions were asked.

  19. R.S.Brown
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 1:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Oh! What a fine bunch of rubens,
    Oh! what a jay atmosphere;
    They have whiskers like hay,
    And imagine Broadway
    Only forty-five minutes from here.”

    Forty Five Minutes from Broadway
    George M. Cohen, 1905

  20. Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A hilarious post! You had me laughing out loud – I will try to cartoon it but the facts are always going to be funnier.

  21. Peter Maddock
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “blowing the fog away”

    Yes that is the sense that I get most times I read Steve’s articles – it is an intense lucidity which is a pleasure to read.

    However in my mind, a thought, a picture keeps repeating – it is like Steve’s mind is a searchlight suddenly shining on a topic previously kept firmly hidden and dark. Cockroaches suddenly caught in a bright light scurry in all directions to avoid the light.

  22. chris1958
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    But you’ve got to allow for all the time spent in meditative post-prandial cogitation so conducive to deep thought :-)

  23. John Marshall
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This looks like the standard British Government procedure for a whitewash. What I expected. What does it matter that CRU lied, the Hadley Center lied, as long as government policy remains unaffected that is the important thing.

  24. GSW
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Like the title. Have we now arrived at an accepted definition of the usage of ‘trick’ ?

    verb – good/clever way to deceive.

    • Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 6:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I think it’s much more subtle than that: it’s whichever of those nine definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary takes your fancy at the time. One syllable conveys all the flexibility with the truth, in dogged pursuit of tax-payers’ money, that may be climate science’s great legacy to the English-speaking peoples.

  25. Cold Englishman
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From the “You couldn’t make it up department”, the google ad for this article on my PC is:-

    Ads by Google

    Job Vacancies in Norwich
    Find the right job for you & get expert career advice with Monster.

    I guess academics don’t do irony.

  26. TheSkyIsFalling
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Love the article, but I want to correct the negative impression about Norwich. It’s a beautiful city with a lot going for it. I’d gladly be a well-paid academic with leisure to enjoy the city!

    • Cold Englishman
      Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

      In that case take up the add I just pointed out.

  27. dearieme
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    @TheSkyIsFalling: shush, man, or everyone will want to live there.

  28. dearieme
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Do we have their dinner menu? Did it include “Pork Pie”?

  29. RalphieGM
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Love the way “LUNCH” is capitalized. And “Working Dinner” seems a bit silly what with cocktails flowing. This was a junket.

  30. DennisA
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “surely Beddington should have thought twice about asking a favour from someone who is chairman of a subsidy-seeking wind utility (Falck Renewables).”

    Well, he must have been worthy, as he had Rajendra Pachauri’s support: “The chairman, Lord Oxburgh, is an eminent geophysicist who served as chairman and non-executive director of the oil company Shell, but who has since taken up business interests in biofuels and renewables. Critics say this amounts to bias, and should disqualify him from chairing the panel.”

    “Mr Pachauri robustly defended the choice: “Someone of that calibre is not going to be influenced by minor considerations of this kind. There is a kind of atmosphere of pointing fingers at everyone.” FT March 28 2010

    Perhaps that’s because he sits on the Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank with him and a few other famous names:

    Lord Oxburgh
    Member of the Advisory Board, Climate Change Capital; former Chairman, Shell

    Dr. R. K. Pachauri
    Chairman, Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change

    Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
    Founding Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

    Professor Robert Socolow
    Co-Director, The Carbon Mitigation Initiative; Professor, Princeton University

    Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer
    Former German Minister for Environment
    Oxburgh is also a director of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment.

    Lord John Browne of Madingley
    Managing Director and Managing Partner (Europe), Riverstone Holdings LLC; former Chief Executive Officer, BP

    John Coomber
    Member of the Board of Directors, Swiss Re; Chairman, The Climate Group

    It’s a small world.

    Oh, he is also a vice-chair of Globe International, along with Lord Hunt, http://copenhagen.globeinternational.org/globe_legislators_forum/participants.aspx

    Oxburgh is another Blair Baron, ennobled in 1999.

    The new president of Globe International is Lord Deben.

    Who he?

    Why, John Selwyn Gummer of course: “He was created a life peer as Baron Deben, of Winston in the County of Suffolk on 21 June 2010″

    Tenth Delhi Sustainable Development Summit calls for a global integrated action to tackle climate change
    7 February 2010

    “The Summit closed with a resounding endorsement of IPCC and Dr Pachauri as the Chairman of IPCC by Rt Hon. John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, UK.”

    http://www.teriin.org/index.php?option=com_pressrelease&task=details&sid=184

    That was nice.

  31. Dave
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    With all due respect, I don’t think Oxburgh is a good subject for Steve to be spending his time on. His inquiry did exactly what it said on the tin, and he’s never pretended otherwise. It was nothing more than a check to ensure that no outright, obvious, deliberate, criminal fraud had taken place — as opposed to bad science, bad practice, etc. Well, that’s something CA agrees with.

    In the above example, Steve’s interpretation is possible, even plausible, but not the only one:

    “Q – OK. Does that mean that they were spending all their time on this report over that 2 week period?
    Oxburgh – Not over 2 weeks. Probably over 4 days, 5 days something like that. They’d done a lot beforehand.”

    Those four or five days could include the time spent preparing before going to Norwich.

    The problems with the Oxburgh report are to do with how its scope has been portrayed, rather than with the report itself. More needs to be made of what wasn’t investigated – because that’s where the controversy is, not with their entirely reasonable decisions given their terms of reference.

    All the inquiry did was to raise the lower-bound of possible guilt slightly by checking that there was at least some work there.

    Steve: of course, there are issues with the report itself. However, I think that Oxburgh’s testimony is relevant. If you listen to the testimony, there can be no doubt that Oxburgh left the impression that his committee had spent a number of days in Norwich after they had finished receiving evidence, writing and revising the report. Not a hint that they decamped within a few hours of receiving Jones’ April 7 evidence.

  32. WillR
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why does one have to presume that the committee was tricked? Is it not simpler to assume that all were working through what was perceived to be a difficult situation? It would certainly explain the lack of seemingly obvious follow-up questions. I did go to the web site and listen to the hearing.

    Steve: I think that it’s evident that the questioner MP left with the incorrect impression that the committee had spent far more time in Norwich than they actually did, Look at his questions in seqence…

    Q: we all appreciate . can I just clarify this point – you said that all the committee members stayed in Norwich.

    Q – OK. Does that mean that they were spending all their time on this report over that 2 week period?

    Q- How much time did each individual spend working on this report?

    Q- You said that it had happened over a 3 week period but most of the time was spent in Norwich.

    Do you seriously think that this MP left knowing that nearly all the panel had spent less than 48 hours in Norwich?

    • WillR
      Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: WillR (Sep 9 12:24), You often refer to the type of answers that were given as “non-responsive”. I would characterize the answers given as such. “Did the MP’s even once say — you never answered the question? Could you please do so.” I admit that the answers could be called “slippery” and that normally the questions would appear to be direct. However, non-responsive answers were never called to the degree that they should have been. I do not recall if any of the panel were lawyers — but if so then it is even more questionable that the answers were not “called” as non-responsive. Hence my questioning of the entire process.

  33. HaroldW
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    With the update, sounds like Steve has worked out the “person-days” reference accurately. That covers the time spent at Norwich. As for preparation, it’s obvious that Prof. Kelly spent considerable time in reviewing UEA papers advance of the visit. It’s not apparent to me about the others. Prof. Emanuel at least would probably not need to read the papers specifically for the review; he’d most likely have read them already.

    I wonder if any of the other panel members invested time in advance, or if only Prof. Kelly did his due diligence. We’ve heard that the RS’s list of suggested papers [let's not go into who actually selected them and vetted the list] was only a jumping-off point; Oxburgh: “everyone went far beyond this and examined other published and unpublished material.” Aside from Kelly’s notes, do we really know that other panelists read the selected papers, or additional material?

  34. pat
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 11:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is why Lord Oxburgh would like to do away with FOI. Tricks are becoming difficult to hide.

  35. jason
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry you felt the need to criticise the city of Norwich.

    As someone who lives here, I have to disagree and urge you to stick to what you arte good at, as assessing the quality of a city is obviously not one of your skills.

    Steve: no offence meant against Norwich. It’s too bad that the Oxburgh panel left so quickly and didn’t stay to savor its pleasures.

    • TheSkyIsFalling
      Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I totally agree. It’s one of the nicest cities in the UK, and has a super-abundance of pubs too.

  36. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anthony sends the following image courtesy of one of his readers:

  37. WillR
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I finally remembered a “Yes Prime Minister” episode that may be of interest to people who wish to decode this whole “Inquiry” situation.

    It is all about a banking scandal and how information is to be “disseminated” — or not, who was dishonest or not, and how to suppress a scandal;

    “Ignorance is safety and it is not a crime to be deceived…”

    “Some of my friends are honest — but they are smart enough to get away with it…”

    “Well we have to make the bad news look good…”

    Watch, enjoy and think of the inquiries…

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  2. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Sep 9, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    [...] Oxburgh Tricks the Committee: 45 Hours in Norwich In response to a question asking Oxburgh about criticisms that the report – all five of pages of it – [...] [...]

  3. [...] important posts on the hearings can be found at Harmless Sky and Climate Audit (here and [...]

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