Stringer (at about 9.53) observed:
A lot of the papers that the controversy was about – the multiproxy papers – were not included.
Trevor Davies answered:
I will dispute that.
Trevor Davies then proceeded to make a lengthy statement that did not, in fact, contradict Stringer’s point that the multiproxy papers in the most controversy were not included in the Oxburgh Eleven. He also tried to argue that I, of all people, had failed to adequately draw the multiproxy papers to the attention of the SciTech Committee. As so often with the Team and their apologists, you have to watch the pea under the thimble.
Davies asserted that there was “little comment” about which papers should have been on the list. While there has been more discussion about the long drawn out process in which it was discovered that Trevor Daves made the list (not the Royal Society, as Oxburgh had claimed), there was no instant of delay on my part in saying what should have been on the list. On April 15, 2010, the day after the release of the Oxburgh Report, I reacted immediately to their stupid list with a list of papers that had been at issue as follows:
Aside from CRU activities at IPCC (the sections in AR3, AR4 and AR4 Review Comments), the most prominent CRU articles criticized here are the following nine: Briffa et al 1992 (the Tornetrask chronology and “Briffa bodge”); Briffa et al 1995 (Polar Urals), Briffa 2000 (passim introduction of Yamal, Taimyr); Briffa et al 2002 (the famous cargo cult “assumption”); Mann and Jones 2003; Jones and Mann 2004; Osborn and Briffa 2005 [typo for 2006]; Rutherford et al 2005; Jones et al (1990) on UHI.[Oct 27: also obviously Jones et al 1998].
The Oxburgh Eleven includes five tree ring articles (Briffa et al, Nature, 1998; Briffa et al, Roy Soc Lond 1998; Briffa 2000; Briffa et al 2001; Briffa et al 2008). Four of these articles were noted relatively favorably in my May 2005 post in which I first drew attention to the “trick” A Strange Truncation of the Briffa MXD Series (see image below). I had no complaint with the original Briffa articles – it was the IPCC spaghetti graph with its false rhetorical effect that bothered me. Even for veteran watchers of peas under thimbles, it’s pretty amazing that four CRU articles – that not only had had not been the subject of criticism, but had been used to locate the trick – were chosen as somehow “representative” of the CRU corpus, while the articles that had actually been criticized here were for the most part excluded. Every CRU hockey stick article (Jones et al 1998; Mann and Jones 2003; Osborn and Briffa 2006) was excluded.
Trevor Davies mentioned this list in his testimony, but complained that the list Davies stated that this list was provided “after the Oxburgh report came out”. Well, that was the first occasion on which we got a chance to comment on the Oxburgh Eleven. Neither Oxburgh nor the University published a list of eleven publications and asked people whether these were the right ones. (Correspondence obtained through FOI shows that the UEA press office expected the list to be criticized; instead of being open and transparent about the list in advance, they did not announce the list in their press release.)
Stringer’s assertion – that Davies purported to “dispute” – was that the multiproxy papers (and my list seems to be common ground here) – were, for the most part, not in the list that Oxburgh was asked too review. Notwithstanding Davies purporting to “dispute” this point, it is self-evidently true as a simple comparison of the above list to the list of Oxburgh references shows.
Trevor Davies’ first attempt to create a dispute was by raising an irrelevant assertion. Davies said that “most” of the articles in my list were in the CRU submission to Muir Russell. I agree that “most” of the articles in my list were cited in the CRU submission to Muir Russell (the only omissions are Jones and Mann 2004; Rutherford et al 2005), but I fail to see the relevance of this to the list that Oxburgh was asked to assess. The Oxburgh panel did not list the CRU submission to Muir Russell in their references. It’s not established (or disproven) that the CRU submission to Muir Russell was sent to all Oxburgh panelists. Against this is the fact that David Hand’s detailed response to an FOI did not include any emails in which Oxburgh or UEA distributed the CRU submission to the Oxburgh panel. (It is possible, but not established, that Hand may have separately received a copy of the CRU submission in a separate email though it was not included in the list of Hand attachments.) But regardless of whether the CRU submission to Muir Russell with references to multiproxy articles was actually distributed to the Oxburgh panel or not, the fact remains that the vast majority of articles at issue were not in the list sent to Oxburgh (not that the two articles of actual interest were examined by Oxburgh with any care, but that’s a different story.)
Trevor Davies then argued that the references in my submission to the Sci Tech Committee were “covered” in the Oxburgh report, giving a rehearsed answer that Stringer was not in a position to contradict. Needless to say, you have to watch the pea under the thimble.
First, my submission to the Sci Tech Committee was a 3000-word submission directed to the terms of reference of the Muir Russell. In my submission to the Sci Tech Committee, I observed:
CRU scientists (and Climategate correspondent Michael Mann) were coauthors of all three reconstructions in the IPCC 2001 report and coauthors of six (of ten) multiproxy reconstructions in the IPCC 2007 report.
While I did not list these six reconstructions, they are easy to identify from IPCC AR4 and overlap with my April 15 list: Jones et al 1998, MBH99, Briffa 2000, Briffa et al 2001, Mann and Jones 2003, Rutherford et al 2005.
Trevor Davies’ position seems to be that by not providing specific citations for these six reconstructions in a 3000-word submission (where the citations affect the word count), this got both Oxburgh and UEA off the hook from having to deal with the multiproxy reconstructions actually at issue. This argument is absurd. The obligation to deal forthrightly with the articles actually in controversy rests entirely with UEA. Had the Oxburgh panel asked me (or even the public) for submissions on a list of articles, I would have given a list along the lines of my April 15 post. My submission to the Parliamentary Committee was not designed as a list of publications at issue, though any reading of the submission clearly showed that the multiproxy reconstructions were at issue. My submission began:
Reconstructions of temperature over the past 1000 years have been an highly visible part of IPCC presentations to the public. CRU has been extremely influential in IPCC reconstructions through: coauthorship, the use of CRU chronologies, peer review and IPCC participation. To my knowledge, there are no 1000-year reconstructions which are truly “independent” of CRU influence.
This is explicit notice that the multiproxy reconstructions were at issue and no fouling of the waters by Trevor Davies alters that. In addition to my submission, I had even sent a separate letter to the Committee observing that the proxy reconstructions should be more clearly distinguished as a point at issue in the terms of reference.
In my Sci Tech Committee submission, I also discussed problems arising out of Briffa et al 1992 (the Tornetrask chronology and “Briffa bodge”), Briffa et al 1995 (Polar Urals) and Yamal (Briffa 2000) and their knock-on impact on multiproxy studies both by CRU and others. Davies said that the Tornetrask chronology of Briffa et al 1992 was “covered” in Briffa 2000, an article on the list. He made a similar statement about Briffa et al 1995, the Polar Urals chronology, which he said was “covered” in Briffa 2000.
As always, twisting. None of the issues raised in my submission about Briffa et al 1992 or Briffa et al 1995 were addressed or “covered” in the Oxburgh panel. The issue with the Tornetrask chronology was the Briffa bodge – not discussed by Oxburgh. The issue with Polar Urals was the failure to update the Polar Urals chronology. Again, not covered by Oxburgh, who “commended” CRU for continually updating their chronologies, without asking why the Polar Urals chronology at issue wasn’t updated.
As to Davies’ “dispute” of Stringer’s observation that the multiproxy articles in controversy were not in the Oxburgh list. The observations in my April 15 post remain valid. It is a simple matter of fact that the articles most at issue (and discussed at length at CA) were not on the Oxburgh eleven. Nothing in Davies’ statement changes that fact. Nor should the SciTech Committee or anyone else accept Davies’ attempt to blame omissions from their list on people who were never asked to comment on Davies’ ill-designed list.