Who Recommended Oxburgh?

Who recommended Oxburgh to chair the Science Appraisal Panel? Who indeed?

In their press statement announcing the “Science” Appraisal Panel, the University of East Anglia stated:

His [Oxburgh's] appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.

We’ve already seen a case where an untrue statement about the role of the Royal Society was inserted into the Oxburgh report (the false claim that the eleven papers had been “selected on the advice of the Royal Society”.)

So it’s reasonable to ask for evidence of the Royal Society’s recommendation. Thus far, none has turned up.

In fact, it appears that the University’s statement is once again untrue and that Oxburgh was recommended by a UK government official, rather than the Royal Society.

In an email from UK Chief Scientist John Beddington to Trevor Davies on March 23, Beddington said that he had met Oxburgh the previous evening and that Oxburgh “moaned” at Beddington for having nominated him to chair the panel:

Trevor, thanks for the information on the announcements, which all looks to be going well. As it happens, I met Ron Oxburgh last night and he duly moaned at me putting his name into the frame, but my distinct impression was that he was rather pleased. Knowing him, he will certainly make it work.

Beddington also made a strange comment about Michael Kelly whose sensible observations about CRU have provoked great interest – Kelly’s first tranche of observations had been given to Oxburgh on March 22. Beddington to Davies:

You may know that I also talked to Michael Kelly who was very positive and understood the absolute need for objectivity particularly given his known stance.

Beddington’s nomination of Oxburgh is further attested in a May 19 BIS statement in response to Andrew Montford’s FOI request:

The appointment process and selection conducted by UEA was informed by advice from the Royal Society, to ensure appropriate rigour, expertise and objectivity.

As part of proper practice, in putting together a high quality panel the UEA leadership also took soundings on potential members, including candidates for the role of chair, from senior figures in the scientific community. As the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Beddington was one of those consulted. Professor Beddington offered two names of possible candidates to lead the Review, one of which was Lord Oxburgh.

He also proposed the inclusion of Prof David Hands, President of the Royal Statistical Society, as someone well qualified to contribute.

In addition, at UEA’s subsequent request, Prof Beddington provided his good offices to encourage these candidates to give positive consideration to an approach by UEA.

While the role of UK Chief Scientist Beddington in Oxburgh’s nomination is clearly attested, there is no evidence of any recommendation by the Royal Society in documents provided by the UEA in response to FOI requests. The first involvement of the Royal Society indicated in the FOI documents so far is a Feb 28 response by Brian Hoskins – after Oxburgh is already chair of the panel – an email in which Hoskins quickly agreed with a list of 13 candidates compiled by Oxburgh and Trevor Davies – without apparently checking Emanuel’s recent statements. If there were a document in which the Royal Society recommended Oxburgh, it would have been subject to both the UEA and Hoskins FOI requests. Thus, its absence from both productions is further evidence that the Royal Society did not actually recommend Oxburgh for the job.

This is not to say that the Royal Society would have registered concerns over whether Oxburgh’s chairmanship of a subsidy-seeking UK wind utility was, as Oxburgh himself worried, a relevant conflict of interest or whether the UK government should have asked this particular favor from the chairman of a subsidy-seeking wind utility. The Royal Society rubber-stamped everything else with no apparent due diligence, so there’s no reason to believe that they would have had any scruples about Oxburgh’s appointment.

The point is the narrow one – that it appears to me that the Royal Society didn’t actually “recommend” Oxburgh, as the University had stated in their press release – a press release in which the University pointedly didn’t thank or acknowledge the UK government for their help in selecting Oxburgh as chairman even though Beddington made a real contribution.

Rather than acknowledging the help of government officials, the UEA seems to have gone to considerable lengths to keep the involvement of Beddington and the UK government in the background, going so far as to make an untrue statement about the Royal Society recommending Oxburgh:

His [Oxburgh's] appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.


49 Comments

  1. Hilary Barnes
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Blair regrets the FOI Act

    Your dissection of the Oxburgh inquiry would have been impossible without the Freedom of Information Act. The significance of the act had evidently not dawned on Oxburgh, who seems to have assumed that inquiries of this kind always have only one purpose : to prove that the best of the British people always do their best. This approach – the Establishment is always right – is no longer feasible under the Freedom of Information Act.

    No wonder therefore that Tony Blair, on page 511 of his recently published memoirs, has this to say with reference to the Freedom Of information Act..

    « Freedom of Information. Three harmless words. I look at those words as I write them, and feel like shaking my head until it drops off my shoulders. You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop….. « 

    « Some people might find this shocking. Oh, he wants to keep government secret….. and keep from « the people » their rigjht to know what is being done in their name.

    « The truth is that the FOI Act isn’t used, for the most part, by « the people ». It’s use by journalists….. The information is neither sought because the journalist is curious to know, not given to bestow knowledge on « the people ». It’s used as a weapon. »

    The act is dangerous, he does on, because governments need to be able to discuss issues in confidence, without which « people are inhibited and the consideration of options is limited in a way that is not conducive to good government ».

    To this one can only respond : Three times three cheers for Climate Audit and others who expose the incompetence and slovenliness of government decision making.

    • JCM
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      More dissembling from Blair. He knew full well how FOI would be used and that is why the legislation is not as open as in the USA. Soon to be remedied solely because of the UEA email fiasco. Take a bow Steve.

  2. Mike Davis
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am sure that now this has been brought to light the Royal society will be happy to make a retroactive recommendation that is to be inserted into the record some time prior to the appointment. Just like making up an action for a report after the report is complete.

  3. Mike Davis
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Make that an action plan for an investigation after the report is written.

  4. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Knowing him, he will certainly make it work.

    Hmmm… Make what work, exactly?

    • DaveS
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Interpretations of Beddington’s later “..played a blinder… drinks all round …” email vary. To me, it only makes sense if Beddington was satisfied that Oxburgh had achieved the ‘right’ result.

  5. Dusty
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Keep digging Steve; the lack of response from the Royal Society, HM Government and the UEA speaks volumes.

  6. theduke
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it possible that Beddington consulted with the Royal Society over the choice of Oxburgh? This doesn’t absolve the principals from trying to hide government involvement in the selection process, but it is feasible.

    This is a thorough dismemberment you are engaged in here, Steve. To say that you’ve proved this report lacks credibility would be understating the case. They hoped they could get back to business as usual once this report and others arrived at the preconceived conclusions, but you and others are making it sticky for them.

    Good work.

    Steve: if there were such evidence, there almost certainly have been an email in which the recommendation was delivered to UEA on which Hoskins and Davies would be parties. Both have been somewhat responsive to FOI requests and there is no such email in the productions nor are there any emails referring to such a prior nomination.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Folks, in addition to their questionable acknowledgment of the Royal Society, don’t overlook what they didn’t do: acknowledge and thank the UK government for their actual contribution and efforts. For some reason, they obviously didn’t want to thank Beddington for his help – but did want to thank the Royal Society who were negligible actual help.

      Is the failure to thank Beddington an oversight or did they want the inquiries to look “independent” of the government?

      • justbeau
        Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

        UEA seems to be using the Royal Society as a convenient fig leaf, instead of stating the honest truth: Lord Ox and his team were carefully selected by the Labor Party. The way they find it so hard to be honest about this implies knowing intent to mislead.

      • mpaul
        Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The Oxburgh report was delivered on April 14th just days before the general election on May 6th. Gordon Brown asked the Queen on April 6th to dissolve Parliament, but speculation was rampant on February 11th when CRU announced the Oxburgh panel that an election would be called for. It seemed like part of the rush to publish the report (get it done in 30 days) was due to the election. If it was a bit of electioneering, then one would certainly want to hide the appearance of political involvement.

      • TerryS
        Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 4:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The outgoing prime minister Gordan Brown, as head of the government, demonstrated the governments impartiality with this quote after the CRU emails had been released:

        “With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn’t be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate sceptics. We know the science. We know what we must do.”

  7. Green Thunder
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There is of course a question of what is meant by The Royal Society. Any recommendation would have to be made by the Council of twenty one fellows or a delegated sub-committee possibly on the basis of recommendation of the paid officials. It would be unlikely that they would poll all 1400 fellows. Generally speaking any pronouncement of the form “such and such” a society recommended X is usually nonsense.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Agreed, Green Thunder. And if a member of the Royal Society asked for records of the meeting at which the “selection” was made or minuted, the Society would be duty bound to provide a response. The Star Chamber style went out of fashion long ago.

    • Jane Coles
      Posted Sep 15, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Geoff Sherrington is right. Any Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) who was sufficiently determined and well-briefed could secure answers to the RS-relevant questions simply by asking them. If an exchange of letters failed to extract the answers, then the questions could just be repeated at one of the regular minuted meetings of Fellows (e.g., a Council meeting). Under those circumstances, answers could not be refused (other FRSs present would not stand for it). So — does the readership of CA include anyone who knows an FRS sufficiently well that they could suggest this to him or her? The FRS does not need to be a sceptic — they just need to care about the reputation of the society that elected them to a fellowship.

  8. martyn
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is the failure to thank Beddington an oversight or did they want the inquiries to look “independent” of the government?

    The nail has been hit well and truly on the head. With the support of an influential clique in Government and elsewhere these people who are blatantly lying feel they are untouchable.

  9. Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 3:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sadly there has been little interest by the media in Oxburgh’s Inquiry and I very much fear there will be none over this deceit. Interesting though was the admission by Oxburgh that he doubts that it is possible to re-construct average global temperatures for the past thousand years. Althought it’s an admission of the bleeding obvious, at least it was made. One moment of truth in a tissue of deception!

    • See - owe to Rich
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Derek,

      I thought it was Phil Jones who made this admission? And that Oxburgh refused to confirm or deny that Jones made it?

      Re Tony Blair (Hilary Barnes, 1st comment), if Blair admitted to being a “naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop”, why couldn’t he have told us earlier? We were believing that he was the best thing since sliced bread!

      I am in the happy position of being relatively immune to FOI, so I can say “thank God for FOI!”.

      Rich.

      • JohnH
        Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 2:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I find it strange that the FOI act was seen as a mistake by Blair, he is really admitting that despite being the leader of the party that was the architect of the bill he and his ministers were unable to change the culture of Govt it was designed to break down, eg deals behind closed doors, ignoring the voters and self serving decision makers. Sir Humphry is alive and well and no doubt now has a googlemail address. It just beggers belief that after the years that the FOI has been in place the likes of Acton and Oxburgh do not understand what it was meant to achieve and have not changed their methods of working.

  10. pesadilla
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 3:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I doubt that these people know under which thimble, their own pea is. They appear to be suffering from
    devious incompetance.

  11. George Steiner
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 4:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mr. McIntire you are shooting small caliber bullets in all directions. I suggest you consolidate all the lies, my word, not yours and make them into a more potent ammunition.

    • Punksta
      Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

      A job for His Grace.

  12. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Investigating one issue at a time, thoroughly, is superior for now. But a synopsis from time to time would be helpful for reviewing this six months or a year from now.

    “You may know that I also talked to Michael Kelly who was very positive and understood the absolute need for objectivity particularly given his known stance.”

    And indeed, Oxburgh has been so scrupulously objective he did not familiarize himself with any of the key, underlying facts or seriously interview the key witnesses.

    • Max Beran
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      My take on what the Beddington/Kelly exchange was about was a gentle reminder that Oxburgh’s enquiry was not into the correctness of the science but that of the scientists. So we see Kelly landing some powerful punches at the former but at the same time talking about the difficulty of the area and the valiant and heroic efforts of those engaged in it, thereby rather letting the scientists themselves off the hook. This Kelly compounded by introducing the linguistic red herring about simulation models not being experiments which gave Oxburgh the further opportunity to downplay Kelly’s contribution as a difference of culture between two types of science.

  13. Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 4:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Rich,
    You can listen to Oxburgh at this link – http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=6581 You need to go about 90 minute in to get to the relevant bit. He seemed to have a bit of memory loss on whether Jones said it, but he then admits that it would be impossible to do. The poor old chap seemed rather vague on a lot of things, as you can see from the proceedings.

  14. T G Watkins
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hilary Barnes’ comment says everything, not only the Blair govt., about the British political system. I have written to my newly elected MP re ” the inquiries” and the obvious whitewash with not even an acknowledgement.
    I am a retired medic and ‘pillar of the middle class’ but even I am beginning to believe in conspiratorial theories! These people seem to have no sense of shame.
    Keep going Steve, lots are listening (reading).

  15. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 6:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What does this say about the Royal Society if indeed they were not involved, before the fact, in suggesting the 11 papers and Oxburgh? Involved or not, should not they come forward in the interest of clarity in this matter? In the end will they say it never was an issue with them so they ignored the matter? The Loyal Society?

    • dougie
      Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      exactly Kenneth

      I’m reading a book at present on the origins of the Royal Society – Hooke,Boyle,Wren etc.. (the greats of the scientific method).

      they must be turning in their graves.

      • stephen richards
        Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The Royal soc was just as political at that epoque, witness the Newton-Leibniz argument over calculus. Leibniz complained to the RS and either didn’t realise that Newton was president or thought he would get a fair hearing. His complaint against Newton was rejected, of course, by Newton. So no difference there then !!

        • Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

          Dead right. Perhaps we need to go back further, to the writer that said “Put not your trust in princes.”

    • Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Kenneth Fritsch (Sep 12 18:19), The Royal Society’s own work on the pressing issue of Climate Science has been condescendingly thin, and blatantly activist. In 2007 they did a 12-page pdf presentation on CC controversies, without references, supposedly answering 8 “misleading arguments”. This was well-hidden in their archives and though they promised us a new statement this summer it has not appeared.

      They did a joint 3-page pdf with NERC and the Met Office last November where they say the UK is “at the forefront of tackling dangerous climate change”. It includes the statement

      even since the last Assessment Report the scientific evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change has grown.

      They did a 2-page statement for Copenhagen last December called “Preventing dangerous climate change” which said

      There is no such thing as ‘safe’ climate change

      and

      It is certain that GHG emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these GHGs are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years.

      Bob Ward as recent PR man for the RS, together with the above, all suggests that the RS have abandoned Science for alarmist activism, at least until recently. Since all their work mentioned here draws on others to make sweeping statements (some of which we now know are false) without actually doing science, it seems of a piece that they would have to draw on expertise outside themselves for anything to do with expert pronouncements on UEA. And going on their record here, they would be incapable of evaluating the science that UEA did.

      However, their promised new guide to climate change does include Michael Kelly as one of the team of authors. If Kelly is given sufficient standing, this guide could turn the corner and actually return the RS to Science. Sure, the RS were caught with their pants down. But all these little well-aimed kicks from Steve and others could be having the desired effect – even if “he who must not be named” is never mentioned let alone thanked.

  16. ZT
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Somewhat off topic, but also a further example of Oxburgh’s tricks: In a letter of March 15, Oxburgh explicitly asked panel members to review 3 or 4 papers from the list provided, yet in his comments to the parliamentary committee were more grandiose, mentioning a ‘tough schedule’, ‘driving hard’ and various other illusions to more extensive investigation (during their two days in Norwich). (Please snip, if appropriate/not on topic).

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/35907/response/94112/attach/4/David%20Hand%20s%20attachments%20from%20emails%20supplied.pdf

    • mrsean2k
      Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 5:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: ZT (Sep 12 20:22),

      This may be OT WRT the the narrow point made in the OP, but very relevant to the process as a whole – good catch.

      Some of the more interesting points (to me anyway):

      “I have been invited jointly by the University and the Royal Society to put together a small group to re-evaluate some important elements of the Unit’s published science.”

      compare with:

      “the science was not the subject of our study”

      “It is hoped to bring the external reviewers together for two days in Norwich with a view to carrying out any study of original material or interviews that they regarded as necessary and for agreeing a report.”

      So two days in Norwich was always the aim, at least as far back as 10th March – and in fairness later on in the correspondence he asks that they review and prepare in advance. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable approach – it it’s stated clearly rather than leaving an entirely different impression.

      “The group I met pointed out that in the light of more recent experience and knowledge, the conclusions of some of the earlier work that we are asked to look at would certainly need to be modified.”

      Any examples of that floating around? Or was that concession dependent on the tone of the “enquiry”. And if the aim was not “the science” but how it was practised, why add this apologia in advance?

      I guess that it in general it leaves the door open so that “the science” can be lauded if anyone sees fit to do so, but sidestepped if a different view is held.

      • curious
        Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        mrsean2k – I think that your analysis is supported by Professor Kelly’s notes which are dated in advance of the Norwich trip yet refer to presentations from the scientists. He also has a section on his subsequent thoughts. FWIW – IMO his comments read as well considered.:

        http://www.bishop-hill.net/storage/kelly%20paper.pdf

        Re: the Royal Society’s involvement – Oxburgh’s Panel had three RS Fellows; Oxburgh, Professor Kelly and Professor Huppert. Between them I would have thought they should be able to clarify the Society’s exact involvement.

        • mrsean2k
          Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

          Re: curious (Sep 13 08:43),

          I get a file not found for that link – ISTR the Bishop was having teething troubles, I’ll poke around.

          And a small typo, I should have written:

          “That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable approach – *if* it’s stated clearly rather than leaving an entirely different impression.”

          As usual, it’s the appearance of evasive action after the fact that raises eyebrows.

        • curious
          Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

          mrsean2k – just tried the link in the comment above and it worked ok for me.

          For info -Cut and paste of Professor Kelly’s subsequent thoughts from p7 of the .pdf:

          //Subsequent thoughts:
          (1) My second reading reinforces my initial observations and concerns.

          (2) On a personal note, I chose to study the theory of condensed matter physics, as opposed to cosmology, precisely on the grounds that I could systematically control and vary the boundary conditions of my ob-ject of study as an integral part of making advances. An elegant theory which does not fit good experimental data is a bad theory. Here the starting data is patchy and noisy, and the choices made are in part aesthetic, or designed to help a conclusion. rather than neutral. This all colours my attitude to the limited value of complex simulations that cannot by exhaustively tested against ‘real’ data from independent experiments that control all but one of the variables.

          (3) Up to and throughout this exercise, I have remained puzzled how the real humility of the scientists in this area, as evident in their papers, including all these here, and the talks I have heard them give, is morphed into statements of confidence at the 95% level for public consumption through the IPCC process. This does not happen in other subjects of equal
          importance to humanity, e.g. energy futures or environmental degradation or resource depletion. I can only think it is the ‘authority’ appropriated by the IPCC itself that is the root cause.

          (4) Our review takes place in a very febrile atmosphere. If we give a clean bill of health to what we regard as sound science without qualifying that very narrowly, we will be on the receiving end of justifiable criticism for exonerating what many people see as indefensible behaviour. Three of the five MIT scientists who commented in the week before Copenhagen on the leaked emails, (see http://mitworld.~nit.edu!video/730) thought that they saw prima facie evidence of unprofessional activity.

          (5) I think we should consider using the opportunity to make entirely positive recommendations that would improve the situation, such as(i) wider peer review to prevent narrow and premature orthodoxies being developed unchallenged and (ii) more effective engagement with the end-users of their findings beyond politicians and policy makers. Engineers seem more sceptical that others on the implications of the findings to date.

          (6) There is late-breaking news about attempts to suborn the workings of the Journal of Geophysical Research, which I think we should examine and comment upon having heard from one of the co-authors before I was approached on this mission. See http://icecap.us/images/uploads/l\/lcLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24.pdf
          MJK//

          I hope you can get the link to work as the whole document is worth reading.

        • mrsean2k
          Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

          Re: curious (Sep 13 09:52), And it works for me now as well, thanks.

          It certainly appears that Kelly was diligent in his preparation – very worthwhile read as you suggest.

          There’s a small error that looks as if it’s been introduced by faulty OCR for the link to the SPPI paper quoted in the Kelly PDF.

          It should read:

          http://icecap.us/images/uploads/McLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24.pdf

        • OldUnixHead
          Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

          mrsean2k:

          I was able to see the pdf file at Bishop’s old web site URL (http://bishophill.squarespace.com/storage/kelly%20paper.pdf). The one posted above is at his new site name and does not include the “/storage/” subdirectory.

        • OldUnixHead
          Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

          OK, I got cute with the text and mistyped. Trying it again: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/storage/kelly%20paper.pdf

      • ZT
        Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The ‘tricks’ (to use Oxburgh’s definition) abound. Another interesting one is Oxburgh asserting that his speedy inquiry was needed to address serious allegations, then when asked whether he looked at Keenan’s allegation, saying ‘I don’t recall doing so, if I did.’ If the inquiry needed to be speedy to address allegations, surely Oxburgh should have addressed Keenan’s comments.

  17. artwest
    Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is par for the course. I remember decades ago the head of an “independent” inquiry into a major UK road project being asked how he came to be chosen.
    This incidentally was the Dept of Transport wanting to build the road and the locals objecting.
    So who was it who asked him to take the job? The Department of Transport.

    • artwest
      Posted Sep 12, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

      PS, for those who think that Oxburgh’s appointment was somehow specifically typical for a Labour government, the road inquiry head was appointed in a similar manner under a Tory government.

  18. Dave L.
    Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I periodically bring this quote up for illustration purposes; it was made by Lindzen concerning climate science:

    “In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.”

    What is the primary role of the Royal Society? Is it not to lobby the government for research monies?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7054472.ece

    Do you think the Royal Society is going to bite the hand which feds it? Hence expect continuing “quiet” from the Royal Society.

    • Fred Harwood
      Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

      You may be right, Dave. However, even a minority of the RS could, if it would, clarify the matter. Should that happen, perhaps we’ll be the first to hear it here. If not, the RS and its individual members would seem to be risking the very reputation that brings home the bacon.

  19. Stacey
    Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “but my distinct impression was that he was rather pleased. Knowing him, he will certainly make it work.”

    There is something wrong about the syntax “he will certainly make it work” what does he mean?

    What would someone acting in good faith have said?

  20. Larry Geiger
    Posted Sep 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From a post at Roger Pielke Jr. in an interview with Fred Pearce:
    “McIntyre tended to respond by seeing them as having something to hide, when often they didn’t.”

    Steve- actually, I quite often observed that they were more likely being primadonnas.

  21. Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 2:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Failure to thank Beddington seems to be intentional…

  22. Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 5:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    On a somewhat related note, Andrew Montford’s report “The Climategate Inquiries” is available at:

    http://www.thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/Climategate-Inquiries.pdf

  23. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Sep 14, 2010 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oxburgh’s reaction to the Jones comment – shown below – says a lot about were he stands on the climate issues and his potential biases about them. He testifies at some length that he looked up the word “trick” in the Oxford dictionary, I believe, and found one of several meanings that would make use of the word here seem to imply nothing deceptive was intended by Jones. In doing so he completely ignored the context and the use of the words “hide the decline”.

    “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

    In my view of Oxburgh’s testimony, I would say that he was prompted and prepared by others, but that his delivery seems to be a bit vague and kind of like the unpreparted Sahara Palin performance with Katie Couric.

    Oxburgh did mention the problem of climate scientists not dealing better with the uncertainty of their findings. I think that this is an area that is becoming a more widely established criticism of some climate scientists.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Niche Modeling » Climate Models Falsified on Sep 13, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    [...] science, corrupt institutions, and incompetence. Its a sad [...]

  2. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Sep 13, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    [...] Who Recommended Oxburgh? Who recommended Oxburgh to chair the Science Appraisal Panel? Who indeed? In their press statement announcing the [...] [...]

  3. [...] a review and the appointee will be his choice.  So – the question is – who will it be? Perhaps he can ask pal Lord Oxburgh to play another [...]

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