Who Made the List?

The Oxburgh report stated that the eleven papers listed in their bibliography had been “selected on the advice of the Royal Society”. This assertion was immediately criticized at Andrew Montford’s and here. The Oxburgh Report’s claim that the papers had been selected “on the advice of the Royal Society” can be said with almost total certainty to be untrue – though they have taken no steps to issue a corrigendum. Nor has the identity of the author of the list ever been revealed by Oxburgh or the Royal Society. I think that I’ve figured out who actually prepared the list.

The question of who exactly chose the eleven papers arose again yesterday. You’d have thought that, given the controversy last spring and summer (Roger Harrabin weighed in on it as well) that Oxburgh would have found out who made the list. Or that Oxburgh would have had enough respect for the Committee to have an answer ready for them.

But that wasn’t the case. Oxburgh’s answers to the simple question – who made the list – were evasive and/or inaccurate. Oxburgh continued to pretend that the Royal Society had been involved in selecting the list, but fumbled even on the simple point as to whether he had been given the list (there’s incontrovertible evidence that he had) before they asked the Royal Society.

Here’s an approximate transcript of Stringer’s questions:

Q – Right. Can you tell us how did you choose the 11 publications?
Ox- We didn’t choose the 11 publications. They were basically what… We needed something that would be provide a pretty good introduction to work of the unit as it had evolved over the years. The publications were suggested to us came via the university and by the royal society, I believe. We feel ..let me just emphasize..they were just a start… because all of us were novices in this area, we all felt that they were a very good introduction – we moved on. We looked at other publications… we asked for raw materials, things of that kind. The press made quite a meal out of the choice of publications. For anyone on the panel, this all seems over the top. It didn’t have that significance.
Q – there are two things that arise out of that. It was a small unit. Are you saying that Jones, the subject of the investigation, chose the papers that were to be investigated… and that it wasn’t the panel or Royal Society?
Ox – No suggestion Jones chose them,
Q – Where did they come from?
Ox- I believe they came … I suspect that that the […] involved was Professor Liss who was acting head of the unit who’d been brought in from outside the unit…he’s been an chemical oceanographer who is broadly interested in area. he in consultation with people with royal society and maybe others outside the unit who had some familiarity with the area.
Q -So the list did not come from the unit – you’re absolutely categorical ?
Ox – Well I cant …
Q – So the list did not come from CRU?
Ox – I can’t prove a negative. There’s absolutely no indication that it did.
Q – Your publicity said that it came from royal society. The Panel was given the list before the Royal Society was asked.
Ox – I… Not as far as I know. You might be right but I don’t believe so. No certainly I don’t think that can be true.

Backstory
Once again, the backstory continues to fill in.

Last spring, Andrew Montford and I both observed that the list differed in only one article from the CRU articles listed in the references to the UEA submission to the Committee. Since then, there’s some new information that is relevant to the question.

The earliest version of the list comes on March 4, as an attachment to emails from Trevor Davies to UK Chief Scientist John Beddington and separately to Rees, Hoskins, Oxburgh and Liss. In the email to Beddington, Oxburgh said:

For background I attach 1) a draft letter which will be sent to David by Ron 2) a list of the papers we anticipate will be examined.

In the email to Rees, Hoskins, Oxburgh and Liss, Davies said:

I attach a draft letter which Ron will send to these people as the formal invitation. You may find it helpful background as you talk to the invitees and [...]. I also attach a list of CRU publications which we anticipate asking the panel members to assess.

I’ve placed the March 4 version online here. Note that it contains the additional editorial language:

These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails.

On Mar 11, the same list was sent to the panelists as an attachment – see here for a copy.

Davies was advised by the UEA Press that they would be under great pressure to identify the papers being studied (in the end, they didn’t identify the papers.) On March 12, Davies sent an email to Rees and Hoskins, saying the Oxburgh had reconciled himself to disclosing the papers, but wanted to be able to say that they had been chosen “in consultation with the Royal Society”. Davies asked for permission (even though the papers had already been sent out to panelists without consulting the Royal Society and had definitely not been “selected by the Royal Society” as Oxburgh later claimed in his report:

Dear Martin and Brian,

The UEA Press Office advises us that the Panel and UEA will come under enormous pressure for details of the publications to be assessed when we announce the membership of the Panel (probably Thursday).[not done until March 22 here ]

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

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

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

Best Wishes
Trevor

Within 12 minutes, Rees answered back that he had no relevant expertise, but was untroubled by the university using his name as a rubber stamp:

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

A few minutes later, Hoskins (who later admitted to Harrabin that he was not an expert in the area) closed the consultation as follows;

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

So much for British due diligence. Rees later described this process to Montford as consultation with “experts”.

But back to Oxburgh’s evidence. Oxburgh had already sent the list out to panelists on March 11 and, when confronted by a possible need to publicly identify the articles, he and Davies wanted to cooper up the situation by saying the list had been developed “in consultation with” the Royal Society, asking the Royal Society for consent for such terminology on March 12.
But in his evidence to the Committee, Oxburgh, confronted with the assertion that the panel was given the list before the Royal Society was asked, prevaricated – even though he was the one who, according to the Davies email, had wanted to cooper up the situation:

Q – Your publicity said that it came from royal society. The Panel was given the list before the Royal Society was asked.
Ox – I… Not as far as I know. You might be right but I don’t believe so. No certainly I don’t think that can be true.

The Mystery Author
So who was the mystery author? Was it, as Oxburgh told the committee, “Peter Liss … in consultation with people with Royal Society and maybe others outside the unit who had some familiarity with the area”?

Well, there’s no evidence that Peter Liss was involved. Nobody from the Royal Society has taken ownership of the list. Nor have the mysterious outsiders been identified.

However, I think that there’s a clue in the companion editorial language: “These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails.”

Consider the following interesting exchange on march 19 between David Hand and someone at the UEA Vice Chancellor’s Office (presumable Lisa Williams of the Oxburgh Inquiry letterhead.) where Hand asks for further particulars on the actual criticisms against CRU:

From: Hand, David J
To: […] VCO
Sent: 19 March 2010 10:53
Subject: RE: Arrival and departure times

Dear […]
I assume you received my amended short bio?

At the end of your suggested list of peer-reviewed publications for assessment, you said “These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails. “

Would it be possible to give us details of these specific criticisms before the meeting?
David

Shortly afterwards, Hand received a reply from the VCO’s office (again presumably Lisa Williams), directing him not to Climate Audit or to submissions by me or Ross McKitrick to the Science and Technology Committee, but to the University’s submission to the committee and the university’s website where their press statements were located:

From: [....] VCO
Sent: 19 March 2010 13:14
To : Hand, David J
Subject: RE: Arrival and departure times
Attachments: -Panel Biographies.doc
David
Yes we did, thank you. I hope the version we now have is ok?

In terms of criticisms, perhaps the university’s submission to the Muir Russell and parliamentary select committee reviews would give you some background. Would it be helpful for me to send them on?

Also the UEA web page has various statements about the allegations which you might find informative.

Also the UEA web page has various statements about the allegations which you might find informative https:///www.ueas.ac.ik/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements

Best
[…]

There’s a pretty obvious candidate for authorship of the list: Lisa Williams of the Vice Chancellor’s Office.

She regarded herself as qualified to answer Hand’s inquiry about the criticisms. Perhaps she regarded herself as qualified to make the list. Tellingly, she referred Hand to the university’s submission to parliament – the precise source of all but one article on the list. My guess is that she collated the CRU articles from the university’s submission, for some reason, adding an extra Briffa article (Briffa et al 2001) and subtracting a Jones temperature article (Jones et al 1997). Or perhaps the variation took place in different draft versions of the university submission, Lisa working off an earlier draft.

Hand’s email talks about “your suggested list of peer-reviewed publications for assessment” and comments on the editorializing about the articles as follows:

you said “These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails. “

Maybe the “your” should be taken literally here – as referring to Lisa Williams herself, as opposed to the university generically though the latter would not be precluded if all we had was the Hand email.

In addition, inspection of the author properties of the list version sent to panelists shows Lisa Williams as the author. Why would she type up a list prepared by Peter Liss or the Royal Society?

Stringer asked Oxburgh if Jones had selected the articles – which was categorically denied by Oxburgh. But think about this for a moment. Lisa Williams (or someone like Lisa Williams) collated the list of articles from the UEA submission to Parliament defending CRU – a submission in which they put their best possible face on things like the trick – selecting articles where the trick was disclosed. (I had cited some of these articles in 2005 in my first posts on what was later called the “trick”). Whether Jones personally chose the citations for the UEA submission, it seems inconceivable that CRU wasn’t involved in choosing the citations that put the best possible face.

My guess right now – CRU selected the articles for the submission and that Lisa Williams made the list based on the UEA submission, adding her own editorial comment that

These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails.

My surmise is that the selection has nothing to do with the Royal Society. Nor with “outsiders who are familiar with the area.” But with an administrator at UEA with no knowledge of the area.

I caution that I don’t know this for sure. The persons who should have known the answer before saying that the articles were “selected on the advice of the Royal Society” are of course Oxburgh and his panelists, including David Hand.

It would have been easy for Oxburgh to find out who actually made the list, together with its editorial comment, and inform the Committee. However, Oxburgh thought so little of his obligations to the Committee that he didn’t bother finding out, instead spinning his own guesses about Peter Liss consulting with the Royal Society and mysterious outsiders. Guesses and fantasies where he could have obtained facts.

Update (late afternoon): As others observe, the evidence in favor of Lisa Williams is inconclusive. However I am totally certain that the March 4 list that was sent to panelists on March 11 was produced at UEA based on the UEA submission. Maybe it was done by Trevor Davies and not Lisa Williams, maybe it was someone else. I’ve sent an email to Lisa Williams asking for clarification. What is not in doubt for me is that the list was either drafted by CRU or by someone with UEA administrative responsibilities who had no expertise in the area and that Oxburgh’s allusions to consultations with mysterious outside experts is a fairy story for the Science Committee.


38 Comments

  1. Manfred
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    “…because all of us were novices in this area, we all felt that they were a very good introduction”

    Untrue !

    “There were six other panelists.
    Kerry Emanuel of MIT was a coauthor with Michael Mann, who was one of the scientists most implicated in the climategate emails and a friend and coauthor with Phil Jones.
    Lisa Graumlich of the University of Arizona is a colleague and coauthor with Malcolm Hughes, another climategate email author. Some of her previous work was published in a booked edited by Phil Jones.”

    http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/inquiries_response.pdf

    Steve- note Oxburgh’s “inaccurate” description of these authors in his testimony.

  2. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    In addition, inspection of the author properties of the list version sent to panelists shows Lisa Williams as the author. Why would she type up a list prepared by Peter Liss or the Royal Society?

    Williams could easily have copied and pasted a list she received into a document she was generating, so I don’t see that the author properties of the file are decisive. It must have been someone with more expartise than her.

    Q – there are two things that arise out of that. It was a small unit. Are you saying that Jones, the subject of the investigation, chose the papers that were to be investigated… and that it wasn’t the panel or Royal Society?
    Ox – No suggestion Jones chose them,

    Indeed, Oxburgh had made no suggestion that Jones had chosen them, and in particular had not said that. Watch the pea! :-)

    If UEA had already hand-picked 10 of the 11 papers, presumably in consultation with Jones, it seems plausible that the last-minute amendment of the list (to make it not identical to the original list?) might also have been made by UEA in consultation with Jones.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    I sent the following email to Lisa Williams:

    Dear Ms Williams,

    As the originator of the attached document, could you please advise me whether you were the author of the following comment in the attached document sent to Oxburgh panellists:

    These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails.

    Could you also advise me whether you were collated the eleven articles in the list.

    If you were not the author or collater, could you please tell me who was the author. Thank you for your consideration.

  4. stan
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    Sloppy, sloppy and more sloppy. Would anyone want to put these people in charge of anything important? I’m curious if any of these folks have lawyers. Does anyone help them prepare for hearings? Does anyone actually read anything?

  5. Noblesse Oblige
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    The depressing conclusion is that these people have learned nothing, so the slide in science integrity continues. This is material for Montford’s second edition of “Illusion,” which I look forward to.

  6. FarleyR
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    I expect Lisa Williams will be off sick and not answering her emails for rather a long time to come!

  7. MarkJ
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    Obviously if Lisa Williams is an administrator she would have run her alleged actions past a very senior (managerial) academic such as Trevor Davies. UEA did a pretty good job controlling the remits of both reviews, though clearly not their job to do.

  8. Dave L.
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Note that Oxburgh asked Phil Jones about the 11 papers, and Jones replied that he thought the 11 papers represented a fair sample.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2010/7/18/more-on-oxburghs-eleven.html

    So did Jones know which papers had been selected before his meeting with Oxburgh? If so, when and how? Jones still has to be a suspect in my opinion for selecting the original list or participating in its preparation.

    Seems like Oxburgh has good “evasion” credentials.

  9. Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    It is astounding the lengths they went to to sweep this away, they did everything except actually studying the material. The hemming and hawing over a question which should have been a no-brainer is incredible.

  10. justbeau
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Lord Ox is a marvelous rogue. What a wonderful farce Kerry Emanuel is aiding and abetting.

  11. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    The British aristocracy continue to surprise. Looking back in history, First Baron Lytton in 1871 published about a magical substance named vril. Baron Bulwer-Lytton noted that opposing forces possessing vril would not use it for reasons we now name “Mutually Assured Destruction” or “MAD”. Later one John Johnston, selling liquid bovine products, coined “Bovril”.

    Bovril is said to help a bad cough, Lord Oxburgh, as well as fictional self-destruction by the invisible forces of vril.

  12. intrepid_wanders
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    I say my guess, it was Edward Acton (Maybe Davies) all along. Ms. Williams is a capable Registrar or Faculty Manager, but the Vice-Chancellor’s office are calling the shots. She is just a note taker.

    http://www.123people.co.uk/ext/frm?ti=person%20finder&search_term=katie%20phillips&search_country=GB&st=person%20finder&target_url=http://www.uea.ac.uk/vco/people&section=weblink&wrt_id=216

  13. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    Assuming that the notes from intrepid-wanders above are accurate, is it not extraordinary that the Investigator, Sir Muir Russell (MR), should tell representatives of the subjects of his Inquiry (UEA) that “MR would like to give team opportunity to demonstrate openness, frankness in their handling of the data – it will be difficult to demonstrate integrity but not impossible. Notion that part of the data was selected, suppressed, deleted is damaging to UEA’s reputation.”

    The University of East Anglia announced there would be an Independent Review on 3 December 2009. MR made these comments on 18 Dec 2009. He is described then as “Independent Reviewer”. Announcement of his official appointment as Inquiry chair was about 11 Feb 2010.

    Is there something I am missing? Like plotting behind the scenes?

  14. Alex Heyworth
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    “Rees later described this process to Montford as consultation with “experts”.”

    If ever there was an apt occasion for the old saw about “x is the unknown quantity, and a spurt is a drip under pressure” this is it!

  15. Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    Cutting to the chase.

    Ms. Lisa Williams has to be deemed clueless as to which papers are relevant. Well beyond her pay grade.

    Someone told her.

    In true LeCarre fashion she is the “cut out”; the signer who has not a clue what she is signing off on.

    Identifying her is the first step in determining who actually made the list.

    It will be interesting to see if the Parliamentary Committee is willing to use its extensive powers to dig deep. I doubt it but Stringer seems to have his ears perked up.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

      you’re right that Lisa Williams is the first step in finding out who made the list. We can all speculate, but I think that we’ll find out soon enough.

      In six months, nobody’s managed to identify the author of the list and the editorial comment and I happen to think that Lisa Williams makes as much sense as anyone else. Reasonable people can differ as to who actually made the list and also who made the associated editorial comment about the list. But we’ll find out.

      Don’t forget that Lisa Williams also was handler of the Muir Russell inquiry, author of the minutes of the December meetings of Muir Russell at UEA, and the apparent UEA point person for the inquiries. She’d been on the file for four months by the time of the List and probably knew the file or thought she knew the file.

      As to whether this was “above her pay grade”, she confidently responded to David Hand’s inquiry about the issues in her own right without seeking counsel from anyone else. If it’s someone else at UEA, then so be it. As I said above, we’ll find out soon enough.

  16. Watchman
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 4:21 AM | Permalink

    It should be pointed out that in most British Universities, and I have no reason to doubt UEA was different, there are a limited number of staff in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, who all have day-to-day responsibilities (as do senior staff such as the Vice-Chancellor). Therefore, unforseen crisis such as your highest profile research centre looking like it is committing academic fraud draw upon staff resources that are already committed to doing other jobs.

    As UEA has not given any indication it invested money in staff to deal with this problem, we can assume this happened here. This will mean that senior admin staff were required to process the enquiry, and to provide lists of material and the like. In such a case, if a list of papers was required, it is likely that Ms Williams or someone reporting to her merely picked up the already extant list for the Muir-Russell review, ran in past someone who made the change (I can’t see a University administrator being prepared to make a change which would require academic judgement) and sent it on. [snip -please avoid this word] they probably had two other things to do by lunchtime and this was the easy option.

    Speculation, but it allows us to consider that as with much of the CRU problems, this is another case of not actually doing all the work.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

      This issue originates in the statement in the Oxburgh report that the list was “selected on the advice of the Royal Society” and was “representative” and that CRU agreed that it was a “fair sample”. None of these are true. Oxburgh’s excuse is that it doesn’t “matter” whether the statements are true or not, since they supposedly examined other relevant papers. That’s a different issue and whether they really did carry out due diligence on these other papers seems very questionable.

      • Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

        Come on, Steve, what did they do between courses? Surely having grilled Jones so exhaustively – or should that be grilled steak, I may be getting confused – it was small beer for such exalted brains to take in the full set of papers investigating the dendroparanormal and pronounce them (and all that sail in her) as full of integrity as the next man. Pass the port, my dear chap. For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly fellow, and so say all of us, and so say all of us … (singing fades into distance, cut to enchanted larch, final credits.)

      • Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

        Oxburgh’s excuse is that [whether the list was 'representative' or 'fair sample'] doesn’t ‘matter’.

        This is a continuation, is it not, of an historical – and rather consistent pattern of response – whenever any questions are raised about this particular group of scientists and/or their work.

  17. Chris
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    Two things will happen.

    One will be a new press release on the UEA’s CRU Responses page where Oxburgh will clarify his use of the phrase ‘misleading’, probably giving another OED definition which will ‘enhance its clarity’. In the same release, Acton will ‘thank Lord Oxburgh’ for this clarification.

    The second is that the HOC Committee is unlikely to continue with this. Stringer may issue a statement or speak to a journo but I can’t see them re-opening the hearings.

    We knew they weren’t serious about examining the detail of the emails (nobody has so far) as they have not had anyone critical of the UEA/CRU, apart from Lord Lawson who didn’t really know all the details, before them anyway.

    • mpaul
      Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

      It seems to me that Stringer was well informed going in to the session and, like any good lawyer, knew the answers to his questions before he asked them. If Stringer did not intend to pursue this, he would not have asked incendiary questions.

      I think the committee with recall Acton and will then call for a new investigation that is truly independent. This new investigation will not have a sock puppet for the UEA as its chairman. I’d like to see SMc as a member of the new panel. Maybe make Shapiro the chairman this time.

  18. curious
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    Thank you Steve for keeping at this.

  19. Ron Cram
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    It seems to me there are two main issues:
    1. The papers were described as having “been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU’s research findings as a result of the theft of emails.” This simply is not true.
    2. There is no indication Oxburgh or his panel ever looked at the papers which were criticized. His vague statement that they looked at other papers is not meaningful.

  20. Ron Cram
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Parliament should have asked Oxburgh these questions:

    How do you know the papers you examined were the papers which were criticized? What due diligence did you do to make sure you were targeting the right papers? Did you ask any of the respected skeptics who have been critical of the CRU and the emails?

    • Shallow Climate
      Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

      Ron Cram: Right on the money. Appreciated.

  21. curious
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Ron C – they should also have asked him how his business commitments sat with the status of an “independent inquiry”.

    http://www.ccsassociation.org.uk/about_ccsa/staff.html

    http://www.ccsassociation.org.uk/about_ccsa/strategic_vision.html

    http://www.falckrenewables.com/:

    “Falck Renewables’ mission is to help expand the global use of wind energy”

    etc etc etc.

  22. Dave
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Just a brief note:

    “In addition, inspection of the author properties of the list version sent to panelists shows Lisa Williams as the author. Why would she type up a list prepared by Peter Liss or the Royal Society?”

    This should be corrected/struck-out. Speaking from an IT perspective, there are so many reasonable ways that her name could be in the author field of a document she didn’t write that it carries no weight. The argument stands up fine without it.

  23. Sean
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    I’ve mentioned this point before, but it is so on-topic I hope no one minds if I mention it again.

    From CBS News:

    “[Goldman] told investors that a manager chose what was inside those securities, but they actually let the hedge fund of John Paulson, who was negative on the market, choose what was inside,” Louise Story, who is covering the story for The New York Times, told the NewsHour. “Investors were not told that, so that was misleading.”

    The result of this deception was that Goldman paid a $550 million settlement and admitted that it was a “mistake” not to tell investors that Paulson helped chose the list of bonds that went into the deal.

    I know Steve has made the point on many occasions that the disclosure and diligence standards in climate science fall far short of those int he business world. What this sorry episode shows, in bright lights, is that they fall far short of the much-criticized standards of Wall Street.

    Steve; no apology for bringing this incident up. However, be wary of the moral that you draw. I, for one, am not suggesting that this is a beauty contest between climate scientists and Wall Street. I’m sure that climate scientists aspire to higher standards and so they should. Under either set of standards, Oxburgh shouldn’t have said that the papers were selected by the Royal Society if they weren’t. he should have just issued a corrigendum at the time and got on with things.

  24. Ian L. McQueen
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    A key verb is missing from the following: “Shortly afterwards, Hand received a reply from the VCO’s office (again presumably Lisa Williams) directing him not to Climate Audit or to submissions by me or Ross McKitrick to the Science and Technology Committee”.

    IanM

  25. Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    snip – editorializng

  26. Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    snip – off topic

  27. philh
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    My guess is that the list was drawn up by the inner circle at UEA. Who else would know how to pick the non-controversial papers? They knew that Oxburgh and the panel wouldn’t have a clue as to the relative unimportance of the selected papers. Oxburgh probably suspects this is what was happening and from the outset realized this was going to be a problem and determined to brazen it through with RS ploy.that has backfired and now he is caught between a rock and a hard place and can only hope it just goes away. This whole thing was a set-up from beginning to end.
    It will be interesting to see what the Bishop has to say next week and watch how it is “covered.”Most likely with you know what.

  28. JCM
    Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    No surprise here. The brain drain from the UK started in the 1950s and continued for several decades. Oxburgh et al are about all that is left after the best left. The country is bankrupt in many ways.
    The committee hearings are not treated seriously by any participant and the MPs do not appear eager to press the point.

  29. Dave
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    A technical note:

    “In addition, inspection of the author properties of the list version sent to panelists shows Lisa Williams as the author. Why would she type up a list prepared by Peter Liss or the Royal Society?”

    It’s far more likely than the layman might think for someone to be the ‘author’ of a Word document they didn’t write. Because of the way Outlook and Word integrate, something like saving an email as a document can put your name on it. Similarly, since Word is quite free and easy about slapping your name on documents, if you get an email, and copy&paste part of it to a Word document to save, or even just convert from another format, you can end up as the author.

    I wouldn’t read much into it, other than that the text has at some point passed through Lisa’s computer.

    Steve - As others have observed, the fact that Lisa Williams name is on the document means at least that she handled it and can resolve the small mystery of who made the list. Given the total uninformativeness of Oxburgh and the Royal Society on the matter, please do not underestimate the value of such clues. Perhaps it was really Phil Jones or Trevor Davies or Peter Liss or John Beddington – but right now Lisa Williams is the person who can identify.

    • Dave
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

      Steve>

      I didn’t mean to take issue with anything other than your (probably rhetorical) question “Why would she type up a list prepared by Peter Liss or the Royal Society?”

      I was just clarifying for the benefit of less it-literate readers that the assumption underlying a literal interpretation of your words would be contraindicated.

      I entirely agree that Ms Williams should (be able to) assist you with this query.

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