I am in the process of writing a post showing that Mann’s claim that he had personally been exonerated by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (report here) of a wide range of counts was also untrue. It’s so untrue that it’s hard to even make an interesting post of it.
In the process of writing the post, I noticed the following quotation from Mann’s Reply Memorandum, which has some extra interest given the evidence that the doctored quotation in Mann’s pleadings came from the SKS blog, rather than original documents. Mann and/or Cozen O’Connor wrote:
In March 2010, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the skeptics’ criticisms of the CRU were misplaced, and that its actions “were in line with common practice in the climate science community.”
The first sentence is completely untrue: the Committee Report said nothing of the sort. The assertion that “criticisms of the CRU were misplaced” is neither made nor supported in the Committee Report. This phrase originated instead with SKS, who, once again, altered the language, though, in this case, not going so far as to fabricate a quotation.
Contrary to the assertion that the Commons Committee had found that criticisms of CRU were misplaced, the Commons Committee was extremely sympathetic to criticisms of data obstruction, particularly given the importance of climate science. For example, they stated that, if CRU’s practices were “found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change”. (It is hard to conceive of a more thorough misrepresentation of this finding than the wording in the Mann/Cozen O’Connor pleading.)
As we explained in chapter 2, the practices and methods of climate science are a key issue. If the practices of CRU are found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change. In this event we would recommend that the scientific community should consider changing those practices to ensure greater transparency.
In paragraph 54, the Committee again unequivocally pointed to the importance of climate science for public policy and the resulting transparency requirement:
54. It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. We think that this is problematic because climate science is a matter of global importance and of public interest, and therefore the quality and transparency of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data used to generate their published work, including raw data; and it should also be made clear and referenced where data has been used but, because of commercial or national security reasons is not available. Scientists are also, under Freedom of Information laws and under the rules of normal scientific conduct, entitled to withhold data which is due to be published under the peer-review process. 78 In addition, scientists should take steps to make available in full their methodological workings, including the computer codes. Data and methodological workings should be provided via the internet. There should be enough information published to allow verification.
Similar statements are made throughout the report. Rather than the report rebuffing “skeptic” demands for data transparency, the Committee squarely endorsed these demands.
In this context, they commented that the “focus” on Phil Jones was “misplaced” – not because transparency was wrong, but because the problem was more far-reaching than Jones himself. They observed that “many of the problems at UEA” would have been avoided with data transparency. In the Summary, for example, they stated:
We believe that the focus on CRU and Professor Phil Jones, Director of CRU, in particular, has largely been misplaced. Whilst we are concerned that the disclosed e-mails suggest a blunt refusal to share scientific data and methodologies with others, we can sympathise with Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew -or perceived- were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.
In the context of the sharing of data and methodologies, we consider that Professor Jones’s actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community. It is not standard practice in climate science to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. However, climate science is a matter of great importance and the quality of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data that support their work (including raw data) and full methodological workings (including the computer codes). Had both been available, many of the problems at UEA could have been avoided.
The Committee thoroughly endorsed demands for data transparency as a matter of considerable urgency and categorically did not find that “skeptics’ criticism” was “misplaced” on this point – only the focus on Jones.
As noted above, the phrase “criticisms of CRU were misplaced” does not occur in the Committee Report. The first few Google entries for the phrase point to SKS, with the first entry pointing to the same SKS post providing the doctored quotation in the Mann pleadings about the Muir Russell report. Here is the phrase as occurring at SKS: indeed not only the phrase, but the entire sentence is pretty much lifted from SKS. (This is true of other points in the pleading as well, a matter that I will return to.)