A “Small Document”

On July 29, 2009, Phil Jones emailed Tom Peterson of NOAA (1248902393.txt)

… I have a question for you. I’m going to write a small document for our web site to satisfy (probably the wrong word) the 50 or so FOI/EIR requests we’ve had over the weekend. I will put up the various agreements we have with Met Services.

The “document” was subsequently put up at the CRU website here and, as Jones said, it was “small” (1257 words plus references). Jones put up four scrappy agreements, none of which included language that supported his refusal to send me station data – that their confidentiality agreements precluded transmission of the data to a “non-academic”.

In today’s Times, the work involved in creating this “small document” of 1257 words increased to over 1000 hours.

Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world. With a staff of only 13 to cope with them, the demands were accumulating faster than they could be dealt with. “According to the rules,” says Jones, “you have to do 18 hours’ work on each one before you’re allowed to turn it down.” It meant that the scientists would have had a lot of their time diverted from research.

Jones blamed his notorious emails (e.g. his May 29, 2008 request that Mann, Ammann, Briffa and Wahl delete their correspondence on AR4 or his Feb 2005 refusal of station data to Warwick Hughes) on the provocation arising from the July 29, 2009 FOI requests for confidential agreements:

But he pleads provocation…. It was pure irritation, he says, that provoked him and others to write the notorious emails apparently conspiring to destroy or withhold data. “It was just frustration. I thought the requests were just distractions. It was taking us away from our day jobs. It was written in anger.”

And oh yes, Jones’ correspondent, Tom Peterson of NOAA, wrote back:

Hi, Phil,
Yes, Friday-Saturday I noticed that ClimateFraudit had renewed their interest in you. I was thinking about sending an email of sympathy, but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii ...

Not Tahiti, as some speculated.


  1. j ferguson
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    18 hours required by statute to turn down each FOI request?

    Maybe 18 hours could have better been spent producing first compliant response and furnish the data requested.

    Then how much time per FOI request after that?

    He clearly had decided not to comply with any of them early on.

    There is something sick here.

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

      Just read the legislation, the Regulations and the Code of Practice.
      No mention of ’18 hours’. I know of no legislation which spells out the amount of time which must be spent on a request for information.
      No lawyer drafting legislation would put in such a requirement because, for example, a refusal can be made in less than a minute if you were to request cabinet documents.
      Prof. Jones needs good advice, such as ‘Quote the legislation or the Regulations when you make a point about FOI’

      • j ferguson
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

        Is there any chance that 18 hours is “sufficient” time for consideration to show due diligence and has been established by precedence.

        “Well gosh, your worship, we spent 18 hours considering this FOI request.”

      • Harry
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

        There is a ‘cost limit’ on FOI requests. If the cost of complying exceeds a certain amount then the agency can refuse to comply based on costs. Between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 days work depending on agency.

        Click to access foi_guide.pdf

        • Nobody
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          Reading through your link I came to following conclusions:

          There is a cost limit under which FOIA can’t be charged. And that is about 2½ work days. If they spend less time than that they can charge onl the copying, mailing etc costs.

          The time spend over 2½ days can be charged. So if the time limit is reached they have 2 choises, either inform what amount of data they can give free, or inform how much it will cost to gather the information asked, and charge it. There is no blanket refutal for time spent on costs. Either charge the costs, or give the information that can be given free.

        • JCM
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

          see my links further down at 2:54 pm and 3:06 pm.
          They answer any questions re FOI in UK. I also found a document related to discussions re FOI and Higher Education institutions in 2008 or 2009.
          The process is supposed to be co-operative not adversarial.
          A dedicated person for FOI is the best way to handle FOI and the government brochures and online information advise proper data storage and cataloguing to help the intitution.
          I wonder what the UEA policies are for complying with FOI legislation and how they informed and trained the staff. I would not expect Prof. Jones to know all the details of the legislation and handle the requests but I would expect him to turn to the appropriate person/s before talking to the press and making misleading comments. He and UEA desperately need professional advice.

  2. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    Having found the released list of FOI requests relating to CRU at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_list_of_foi_requests recently, I’ve been trying to scribble on any MSM comment sections where stories have repeated the “overwhelming requests” excuse. My point has been that, before 2009, there were a total of 6 requests which is hardly harrassment over something like 3 years that the FOIA was in effect. The emails show that he was already complaining about the requests, and finding ways to avoid them, before 2009 so his avoidance was quite obviously not based on there being a large volume of spurious requests.

    About 1/2 of the ones in 2009 appear to have been triggered by a single campaign to have the confidentiality agreements released “bit by bit” after the initial request for them was refused. The remainder of the 105 total seem to have occurred after the “climategate” email leak. In both cases, I would suggest that the volume of requests was brought about directly by their own actions and can’t therefore, be complained about.

    Unfortunately, the papers seem to either not read their own comments sections or be quite happy for Jones to hide, unchallenged, behind a demonstrably false excuse.

    So come on, any MSM journalist who reads on here (we know you’re out there btw), I’ve provided the link and even counted the early requests for you so how about bucking the trend for once? 😉

  3. justbeau
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    The 1257 words may seem small (in a variety of ways). Despite brevity, they are still boring, arcane, and hard to read. One obscure theme seems that select data cannot be released, because original providers do not allow release. If true, there is a case to be made that privatized, non-public data should not even be used by government agencies or government-supported agencies. Secret data, reserved for the sole use of members of the Hockey Team, is absurd.

    There is an impression Peterson the US-NOAA scientist and Phil Jones inhabit a sheltered world in which they are not aware of obligations under FOI laws; are not asking for advice from lawyers knowledgable about FOIs; and invent lame reasons why temperature data is for their privileged use, though often such data have been financially supported with public dollars.

  4. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    The Times Article

    Some time after 2.32pm (UK time) the Times began to reproduce the full print edition of the Phil Jones story in a new on line article. 309 posts were made on the edited article before the change.

    I wonder why they edited the story in the first place?

  5. Charles
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    Most interesting comment from the Times story was Jones’ description of the FOI requests as a “coordinated attack” on the work of the CRU…when does asking for information constitute an attack…feels very defensive approach

    • justbeau
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

      There is an easy way to avoid FOIs: just make all raw data and computer programming fully transparent and available to outsiders. This is what people with nothing to hide would want to do, without being asked.
      But the Team did not want to be transpaent, because then their interpretations of data might be questioned.
      Among and to themselves, they justified their exclusive control of data as warranted, because 1) their critics had bad motives and were aiming to ruin the earth whereas 2) the Team members were the smartest, the only ones who could publish in elite journals, nominating each other for membership in elite professional societies.
      At root, this boils down to human frailities, among them vanity.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

        The reluctance to publish the data also results from incentives. Being the ones in control of the data meant that grants could be obtained and that any papers using any but the public product had to include Jones et al as authors. It turns out that it is not that hard to combine the data and grid it up, as various people have written their own code to do so. The only way to maintain control was and is to keep it secret.

        • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (Feb 8 08:21),
          The whole CRU episode is reminiscent of the 1990s Dead Sea Scrolls affair, which the NYT editorially identified as the scholarly scandal of the 20th c.

          Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s or shorterly thereafter. A committee of scholars was quickly appointed by the powers that were to study and publish them. But then this clique made careers out of sitting on the data and not letting any one but themselves and their students look at it. 40 years later most of the material had still not been published. Finally, Biblical Archaeology Review under Hershel Shanks did an end run around the establishment by locating and publishing backup copies of the microfilms of the material. (Unfortunately, BAR got in legal trouble when it overreached by including an unpublished interpretation of one of the most controversial documents without permission, but that’s another story.)

  6. Ian L. McQueen
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink


    I don’t know how to send a message directly to you. I trust that you read all psotings and can remove this before it goes public (may be Off Topic). I sent the following to timesonline in response to an article that can be accessed at the URL at the end of my positng.

    Best regards.

    Martin lejedge quoted from the print version of the article: “It was clear to Jones that the attack originated from an old adversary, the sceptical website Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, a former mineral prospector and arch climate sceptic.”

    I follow Climate Audit and know a little about it. Steve McIntyre is not a “former mineral prospector”, he is a mathematics whiz with a specialty in statistics which he put to use in analyzing mineral deposits and which he now (in retirement) puts to use in analyzing the claimed results from climate researchers. He found serious problems with Mann’s work, and probably would have also with Jones’s had Jones not blocked every request for the data on which he based his claims. McIntyre is ceaselessly and amazingly polite, and does not even claim to disbelieve AGW. He just seeks to apply the correct methods of science and verify (audit) scientific claims, the way that science should be done. McIntyre did not flood Jones with requests, contrary to the (apparent) assertions by Jones. If Jones made such claims, then he is just digging the pit deeper for himself.

    [I posted this two hours ago and I haven’t seen it yet. Apologies if it ends up posted twice.]

  7. cloud10
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know if anyone noticed the typo..”On the question of the science,however he remains bristlingly defiant”..it should have read “bristleconely defiant”..easy to make a mistake by proxy..it might have been the type setter not the original data.

    Also it was meant to be cue to Lady Di shot in front of Taj Mahal in the original script but we had to make do with the canal because the editor wanted the subliminal ” I might just jump in message”. We will save the Taj Mahal shot for Pachi..he said.

  8. Jimchip
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    I thought I would clear up any possible mis-impressions with respect to Tahiti. IMO, Tahiti has become the grouping term or chunking word for many of those spots they need to go case first to ensure a proper, hard-working setting later. ‘Tahiti’ can mean Hawaii, the South Pacific, anywhere nice along the Northern Mediterranean coast, etc., or in the winter, various places in the Alps or Rockie Mountains, as long as they get the extra money for skiing. (Poor Phil, too old to ski, needs to take a cable car.) Oh, and not in Jan. or Feb. at Boulder, too cold.

    Tahiti is specifically mentioned five times in the emails. Once wrt Tahiti getting ‘infilled’, and four times when Phil and Mike are all a twitter about the ENSO conference. There’s a lot of other topics in these, including mention of the “awful” “Re, Loehle, McIntyre. Funny–w/ each awful paper E&E publishes…” but I want to stay with Mike and Phil Go To Tahiti:

    On Dec. 27, 2007 Phil to Mike: “Have booked flights for Tahiti in April, just need to do the hotel now. Cheers.” On March 27, 2008 Phil to Peck: “I’m away all next week – with Mike. PaleoENSO meeting in Tahiti”. On Apr. 2 Mann to Folland (of the MET):”In Tahiti (w/ Phil), limited email.” And lastly, On May 9 Ray Bradley to Phil: “we need to get together at some place…sorry I missed Tahiti!” and Phil replies, “I can’t seem to find a meeting to go to when the paper comes out! Moorea was good – hope you’ll be able to get to Athens! Cheers.”

    That last email is also chock full of little details wrt to “Mike, Ray, Caspar”, unwanted press coverage (heh), beginning with “A couple of things – don’t pass on either.” and ending with “This message will self destruct in 10 seconds! Cheers.” That Phil, always a flair for the dramatic.

    • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

      jimchip. if you are using the online search of the mails be aware that some of the sites have incomplete corpi

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 7 13:42),

        Ya, I’m sticking with only eastangliaemails for the sake of common references and linking but I’m also, now, grepping, sedding, and awking (really just for fun) and drawing toons as that evil McIntyre chases spymaster Phil around the magazine, er, journal(s) called ‘Climate Science’.

        • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

          eastanglia cuts off some mails. they are all there but longer ones are truncated. I found out the painful way

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 7 23:25),

          Some of the longer chain mails are gold mines. I’m going back and re-searching by dates/places now that I have my timeline, sorta, figured out. My discovery by comparison wasn’t painful but it did motivate me to dust off some text tools. It’s interesting seeing the setup, the windup, the pitch…Oh, that’s baseball, not hockey.

        • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

          I’ve got an idea for a project if you are up for something.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 8 14:53),
          Ya, I have some time. Minor computer glitch that I made happen is all today 🙂

          Steve Mc or Jeff Id have my permission to give you my email address..It’s only fair since I FOIA’d ’em both, just for fun 🙂

          Is it about the 2001 meeting in Barbados? Wigley’s spy trip to Nice in 2003?

    • justbeau
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

      One 2009 meeting at the Tahiti Hilton had a section on climate change
      Looks like a nice place to have a meeting. The program listing presentations is 350 pages.

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Tahiti – it would be an interesting post if someone were to collate the Climategate destinations. There sure seem to be a lot of posts in which one correspondent or the other is jetting off to the South Pacific or equivalent. While us bloggers are chained to our generic PCs.

    • curious
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

      Doubt they have as much fun though! 🙂

      • John G. Bell
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

        Re: curious (Feb 7 13:41),

        I’ve been dreaming of Tahiti. Probably due to my vitamin D deficiency :). I fell on the ice and broke my hip last week. Cold kills! We could use some warmer weather around here. It is all ice and snow with more on the way. I’m wishing my PC was less energy efficient :). Might help in keeping my nose and toes warm.

        Still want Steve to vacation in Tahiti because I think they do have fun. I know I’d give it a try.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Feb 7 13:34),

      I agree. One of my initial strategies for examining the emails was to try to figure out when key team members were traveling based on the simple notion that they would have to ‘talk’ more by email while traveling in spite of the fact that somethings should only be said behind closed doors. I have my little cartoons doodled in on notepads,etc. but I’m not collating yet.

    • justbeau
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

      Many different businesses arrange meetings in nice locations, not just the Global Warming Alarmists. Hawaii probably convenes meetings, to rent hotel rooms. The local bigwigs convene a Global Warming meeting. Congressmen invite NOAA and NASA; it would be hard for them to decline. At least one of Tom P’s trips was brief, not a lot of time for golfing and mai-tais.

  10. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Wow, he did over a 1000 hours of work in such a short time.

    That makes me think of something:

    13 employess * 50 weeks a year = 650 man weeks
    650 man weeks * 40 hours week = 26,000 man hours

    26,000 man hours / 18 hour per FOIA = roughly 1400-1500 FOIAs

    So basically if jones is telling the truth and you have to spend 18 hours
    on an FOIA, that theory can be tested by submitting 1500 FOIA.
    To do it right the requests should be sent to each employee.

    Then 1 year from now we see if they have done any other work.

    Ha. Actually I think what jones means is that every FOIA has a time limit.
    You are allowed to reject the request if it takes too long, like 18 hours.

    So, you can reject it within 18 hours for other reasons.
    You can comply with it if it takes less than 18 hours.
    But at the 18 hour mark, you can stop.

    Dont know where they got the 18 hour thingy, but you will see that in Hollands
    request palmer suggests that it will take too long.

    PS. I’m not suggesting a campaign to test Jones’s Statement. However, Should he or one of his staff be reading this, they should always think Like so..
    “If we say something untrue ( the agreements bar release to non academics) or
    we can’t release any of the data due to agreements, what will people do to test our truthfulness”

    In short, my advice to Jones is that he should always tell the truth.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 7 13:40),

      Given how reactionary they became, “26,000 man hours / 18 hour per FOIA = roughly 1400-1500 FOIAs” was probably what they ‘saw’, a mere 40 being just the tip of the iceberg. Precautionary Principle 🙂

    • theduke
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 7 13:40),

      Yup. Tell the truth. As John Wayne once told Hank Worden: “I always tell it like it is so tomorrow I won’t have to be wondering what I was lying about yesterday.”

    • Beedster
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

      Remember that they work at a UK university. 50 weeks per year…?

      • Tokyo Nambu
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

        Actually, it’s not a matter of its being a university. The UK isn’t the US, and the typical amount of leave for a professional job is 25 days plus eight public holidays, total six and a half weeks. Long service, generous employers, purchasing leave with flexible benefits, etc, etc can take that to 35 days plus public holidays. University employees don’t get student term dates. If they did, they’d only work 30 weeks a year, which is by the way one of the reasons why Mandelson’s two year degrees scheme isn’t so mad: a UK degree is only 90 weeks, and given that the third term is entirely occupied with revision and exams a degree at my alma mater is now only 66 weeks of contact time. But staff do get at least six weeks’ holiday, including substantial University closures over Christmas.

  11. Henry
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    In the UK, the “disproportionate cost threshold” for parliamentary questions was £750 (see page 6 of this from December 2008). I think it used to be £700 in most of 2008 and has just become £800 in January 2010.

    I suspect that this number may also be used for FOI requests, since (apart from speed of response) they should be in theory be treated similarly.

  12. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink


    I search my FOIA responses ( my requests differ from what most people here do because I go after written policies and procedures, training guides in document control, training classes etc etc )

    Jones didnt HAVE to spent a single hour on any request. Here is what Palmer wrote me.

    I can post up the whole thing if anybody is interested, relevant bit follows:

    “The University does not have one, overarching policy or procedure regarding entering into confidentiality or verbal agreements. Each division within the University has policies and procedures specific to their area of work . This also applies to the preservation of written agreements. In order to answer your question for all of the University, it is highly likely that we would exceed the statutory appropriate limit of 18 person hours to locate, retrieve & review the requested information”

  13. ROB
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Peterson. Arrogant, and a real
    pain to deal with.

    What bothers me is that this
    “agenda” infiltrated to the
    higher levels of so many Federal

    • justbeau
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

      Maybe the arrogence cascaded down into the ranks of many NOAA and NASA scientists? Maybe it starts on high?

  14. R.S.Brown
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    I’m fascinated with the authors of the items cited after the 1,257 word document
    Phil Jones posted on the CRU website.

    A few of the citations go back to 1985, and some are from American sources, like Tom
    Peterson (TomP).

    Aside from Jones citing himself, as is his want in other venues, nearly every other
    author shows up one place or another in the unauthorized CRU email release.

  15. JCM
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Any questions read this : http://www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resources/document_library/freedom_of_information.aspx
    The ‘Detailed specialist guides’ are very good, especially the last one
    ‘Writing a refusal notice’

  16. justbeau
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    “to satisfy (probably the wrong word)”

    Dr. Phil feels a fleeting moment of honesty.

  17. Javier Escartin
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    The McIntyre requests of data and email are totally uncalled for. They are only intended to hinder the progress of science.

    Instead, please dedicate your efforts to do science and publish in peer-review journals, raise funds to do so, acquire data, estabilish contacts, and stop stone walling the efforts of people that want to work.

    snip – prohibited language

    Steve: All Jones ever had to do was send me the same data that he sent to Peter Webster.

    • pete m
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:54 PM | Permalink


      Science progresses when bad science is shown to be bad science.

      Science progresses when good science is shown to be good science.

      Science stalls when neither of the above can be shown.

      Get it?

    • R.S.Brown
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

      “Science” research is supposed to replicable. If it’s not replicable,
      it’s opinion. Even if a clutch of peers review the research, if they
      can’t replicate it, then the reviewers are saying it’s a good opinion
      and follows the stream of prior research.

      If the “scientist” won’t allow others to look at and use the original
      research data, including the processes developed to arrive at the
      “conclusion”, and does so repeatedly in a number of ways…
      that’s stone walling to keep the opinion alive.

      Freedom of Information Acts and open public documents laws are created
      to allow citizens in all walks of like to see what public institutions
      and public employees are doing with public funding. These are legal
      rights and as such are always “called for” when
      reviewing research opinions.

      The fact is many FOIA laws or the rules issued under them stipulate
      that if the institution gets 3 (three) requests for roughly the same
      information, then the instutional entity is supposed to put the information
      up on a web site or in a easily accessible reading room in accessible
      format… the good scientists don’t deal with it again. It’s handled
      by the FOIA personnel and in the case of emails, by the IT/FOIA staff.

      Unless the “scientists” refuse access to the basic, raw data, programs
      statistical treatments the public dollars (or pounds or euros) they would
      never have occasion to deal directly with FOIA requests.

      If the cornerstones of research are improperly laid, the “science” built on
      them ais shakey and the “progress” you fervently desire will fail the stress
      test of real life observations.

      • Dr. Ross Taylor
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

        I completely agree. The issue here is replication. Without replication the results are worthless (for example, see Cold Fusion). This has nothing to do with the red herring of being inundated with FOI requests. It is quite clear from the e-mail from Dr. Jones to Dr. Mann dated 2/2/05 that at that time Dr. Jones apparently did not intend to comply with even 1 FOI request:

        “Just sent loads of station data to Scott…. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone….Cheers, Phil”

        The point here is that what this also shows is that at least some data was available that could have been disclosed without any extra work- the file was already there and had just been sent to “Scott”.

        What appears to have been happening is that data was readily available for disclosure with a minimal amount of additional work, but it only seems to have been disclosed to those who were perceived as viewing “Hockey Stick Team” work in a favourable light. Whatever this is, it is not the process of disclosure for serious replication.

    • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Permalink


      Dr. Jones is trying to sell us his science. As a person who funded his science I have a right to accept it or reject it on my terms. My terms are simple: give me the same data you have given freely to others. Its not my obligation to “do my own science”
      If I buy a meal and it is not cooked properly, I have a right to send it back. Any chef who thought, as you do, that my complaints could be addressed by ordering me into the kitchen would probably be fired. Your problem and jones problem is one of arrogance.

    • rafnics
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

      Javier, you say: “please dedicate your efforts to do science and publish in peer-review journals, raise funds to do so, acquire data, estabilish contacts,” …
      As someone who has lurked here for over a year (this is my first comment), I think you underestimate the people here, and the amount of this they do. And they mostly search for the truth with care, honour and humour. Would you consider acknowledging that you fired off without due care?

  18. Stuart Lynne
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    If they just bunged the data up on a website in ZIP files when the received it the number FOI requests would be (probably) close to zero…

    Of course the alternative that they have a hidden agenda, specifically to avoid embarrassment is (probably not) just some paranoid conspiracy theory.

  19. ryanm
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Here in Florida, we have the Sunshine Law. Anything a government employee or a university professor emails is basically public record. Students’ email accounts are usually excepted.

    In a totally transparent world, simply open up ALL of the servers — create a mirror of the entire email system at CRU or Penn State and let the Sunshine rain down. In lieu of this, which would never happen, all public officials including professors who are public employees, should expect scrutiny and not be surprised when whistleblowers object to their version of science. Hope and change.

  20. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    So, am I reading this right? Jones, et al, blame FOI requests in 2009 as provocation for their actions in 2005 and 2008??

    And how many of those “60 or so” requests were for essentially the same thing?

  21. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    Should Steve give permission, given the small number of FOIs that were not refused, might the recipients who received a sensible response be able to copy us?

    I’m particularly interested in FOI_09-168 on Joe Horner’s http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_list_of_foi_requests above.

    Others would have specialist interests.

  22. Rattus Norvegicus
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I find it interesting that you didn’t own up to orchestrating this blitz. It seems the press hasn’t picked up on that yet.

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

      You are not reading enough. The allegations are out there, in The Guardian I believe or The Times.
      Any public official who gives me a hard time over an FOI only does it once, and then I get the information.

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

      Jones will forever be under scrutiny when it comes to FOI. Mens Rea.

    • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

      Actually it was orchestrated by Jones and Mann, plain and simple. The choices they made at the beginning caused all this.

      • Rattus Norvegicus
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

        Jeff, you are just wrong. On or about the 25th of July 2009, Steve posted a comment in one of his threads suggesting than people file FOI requests with the CRU for five countries each. The requests were to be for the records of the NDA agreements with the countries and that they were to be for the purposes of “academic research”.

        This was a well orchestrated attack on CRU, and nothing less.

        Steve: CRU gave a blatantly untrue excuse for refusing to give me the same data that they had sent to Peter Webster. I guess that doesn’t bother you. Phil Jones had to place a “small document” on their website – the myth that they were inconvenienced came long after. Read his own words on July. And you seriously believe that having to place a small document on his website in July 2009 was “provocation” for him asking Mann, Ammann, Briffa and Wahl to delete correspondence in May 2008??? But hey, it’s climate science causality.

        • Keith W.
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:56 AM | Permalink

          Actually, RN, it was posters who decided to do the requests, and not at the behest of Steve. I remember the thread, and thought about sending in a request, but found that before I had finished reading the thread ( I had missed a few days due to my birthday on the 26th), others were saying that the nations list had been completed. Not wanting to overwhelm CRU, I (and I assume others) did not pursue the matter further. Rather, I waited to see the results of others’ efforts.

        • Deech56
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

          Not true: Here is the first post after McIntyre’s request for
          records from Canada, UK, Australia, US and Brazil:

          Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59 AM

          I suggest that interested readers can participate by choosing 5 countries and sending the following FOI request to david.palmer at uea.ac.uk:

        • freespeech
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

          An attack? Surely you jest? How could this possibly be the case. Jones had already orchestrated a denial of the original data access FOI on the basis of contract restrictions. Unless he has been lying to his FOI officer, he must have produced these contracts as evidence of the restrictions they are operating under. So no real work would have been necessary, since it would have already been done.

          The point of asking for 5 countries is so that a refusal on the basis of “too much work” could not be used.

          Of course if this really is too much work, the one must believe that Jones was not in possession of thes restrictive contracts, which would mean that he knowinglingly deceived his FOI officers.

          By the way Rattus, when are realclimate cronies going to admit that they have been knowingly lying about Mann’s upside-down proxies? When are those guys going to acquire the mere semblence of academic integrity? Try asking that question on realclimate and see it get deleted by your “great scientists”.

  23. dp
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    FOI is a legal fact of life. Because they did not plan, budget, and staff to support this legitimate obligation, they chose to go outside the law to contain it as they saw fit. The “outside the law” bit is pretty important as they are finding out.

    Lesson learned: consider all obligations in your budget and staffing activities. The law does not permit an “inconvenience” plea as grounds for non-compliance.

    Or as a colleague used to say, “It’s hard – let’s do it wrong!”

  24. Margaret
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    I live in a country (New Zealand) with a very strong Official Information Act — basically it has to be made publicly available unless it meets a very small group of exemptions. What’s more if it does qualify for an exemption you still have to release as much of any information as does not qualify.

    And I work in a Government department which has a high profile — so we get many requests — and so I know exactly how annoying they can be

    BUT — and it is a big BUT —
    We have found the best way to stop the flow is to release the information — so if you are working on something that is likely to be requested you release it proactively. If it has bits that are exempt you prepare an OIA version with the exemptions all nicely identified and stick it on the department’s webpage.

    Problem not solved … but minimized … and what’s more it is relatively quick to do it while the information is fresh in your mind.

    A very good example of this can be found here — where all of the last years Budget papers were proactively released by the Treasury less than a month after the Budget was read in Parliament.


    including the advice given for the budget allocation for climate change.

    Click to access b09-tr-mof-env-clim-17feb09.pdf

    • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink


      The NZ OIA is excellent as far as it goes, but all the manipulation of data in Godzone is handled by NIWA. Quoting their website: “NIWA is a Crown Research Institute, established in 1992. It operates as a stand-alone company with its own Board of Directors and Executive.”

      My reading of the OIA shows NIWA is outside coverage of the Act and so requests can fail.

      I have asked the Ombudsman to provide a ruling, but with an 18month backlog, don’t hold your breath.

      My question around the data NIWA does publish, its so-called CliFlo web-based Climate Data – what is the source of the data?

      See http://cliflo.niwa.co.nz/


    • Anand Rajan KD
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

      While your attitude seems sensible, you have to agree that NIWA has not exactly covered itself in glory.


      Acutely embarrassing!


  25. Antony.I
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Even for openness in science it is better to avoid “keeping up with the Joneses” 😉

  26. Sera
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    It’s Super Bowl Sunday- has anybody checked ‘Harry’ lately?

  27. willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Well, as one of the first people who sent an FOI request to CRU, perhaps the Norwegian Rat or others could let me know how my request was too hard to answer, or required too much time. It was not orchestrated by Steve, nor was it a part of a concerted attempt to get Jones to act like a real scientist.

    It was one, simple, solitary request. It was turned down for a succession of bogus reasons. According to their list there were exactly four FOI requests in 2007, when I made my request. How you guys continue to believe that hiding the data is in any sense acceptable is a huge mystery to me.

    Finally, Javier Escartin, you perfectly exemplify the popular misunderstanding of science when say:

    The McIntyre requests of data and email are totally uncalled for. They are only intended to hinder the progress of science.

    This reveals that you have a huge misunderstanding of how science progresses. It progresses by people finding flaws in other people’s work. Here’s how science progresses, you might want to take notes, this is important stuff:

    1. Someone publishes some new scientific claim, along with the details of the data and the math and the methods supporting the claim.

    2. Other people try to find flaws in the methods or the math or the data.

    3. If they can find flaws, the claim is thrown out. If they can’t, the claim is provisionally accepted as scientifically valid (until such time as someone might find a flaw).

    Now, please note that this cannot happen unless the data and the methods are revealed. It was Jone’s anti-scientific reply to Warwick Hughes’ request for data that led me to file the FOIA. Jones is obviously as clueless as you are about the scientific method. Jones said:

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

    Why make the data available? Ummm … because that’s how science progresses, and it can’t progress without public access to the data …

    You want to be a scientist? It’s just like your science teacher said in high school. SHOW YOUR WORK.

    The fact that I and others have had to file FOI requests to get climate “scientists” to follow scientific norms is a sad commentary on the current state of science.

    Javier, I can understand that you might not know how science works. But for Jones and the others, they do know how science works, and are trying as hard as they can to make sure it doesn’t work in their case. They are hiding their data and methods to try to ensure that their studies get accepted with no chance for anyone to ever investigate their results or disprove their claims. That’s scientific malfeasance of the highest order.


    • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

      Re: willis Eschenbach (Feb 8 03:38),
      Newbies should be reminded that it was Willis’s 2006 FOI request that for the first itme shook loose the list of stations that CRU used to compute its policy-guiding indices. See “A First Look at the CRU station list,” at https://climateaudit.org/2007/10/03/a-first-look-at-the-cru-station-list/.

      Javier should take a look at Feynman’s essay on “Cargo Cult Science” for insight into the true scientific method. See http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm.

      I would add to Willis’s list of scientific procedures laboratory replication of previous results, where applicable. The famous “cold fusion” claims turned into duds not just by others checking the calculations, but by others re-running the experiment and not getting the same results. In the case of weather data, we can’t go back and remeasure 1923 temperatures, but at least we can reexamine how the data was used to get CRUTEM3 etc. If it were not kept secret.

      • Bernie
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

        Methinks there are also some well known climate scientists who could benefit from reading this Feynman piece.

  28. stacey
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:49 AM | Permalink

    Your defence is?
    I was provoked. He asked me for the time I did not like his face or his accent so I punched him on the nose.
    Mr Girling’s piece is inaccurate, not properly researched and traduces a good man.
    What is Professor Jones doing speaking to the press is he not under investigation and could his actions be seen as an attempt to pervert the investigation?

  29. Martin Ackroyd
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Sunday, I looked at the Times Online article


    and I saw Steve’s comment starting something like “I’m just a few years older than Jones and I wish him well” (or something similar).

    Monday morning (today, 8 Feb) I could see Steven Mosher’s comment (12.30 am GMT) and David Holland’s (11.01 + 10.58 pm GMT). But I could no longer find Steve McIntyre’s comment there.

    Steve: It’s there at February 7, 2010 7:28 PM GMT

    • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

      Interestin. I likened his case to Nixon, who also got ill in the head. And suggested that his caregivers read his mail and that his angry supporters stop sending him hatemail

    • Martin Ackroyd
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

      Thank you. Yes, it is indeed there. I was disconcerted when I could no longer find it. Martin

  30. bluegrue
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    The bits left out from Tom Peterson’s e-mail

    Hi, Phil,
    Yes, Friday-Saturday I noticed that ClimateFraudit had renewed their interest in you. I was thinking about sending an email of sympathy, but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii – I left Monday morning and flew out Tuesday evening and am now in the Houston airport on my way home.

    What prompted you to snip that it was a two day trip, flights included? I can even tell you what he was doing there. A bare minimum of digging would have shown to you, that Tom Peterson was a panelist for the session “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” (page 14) on Tuesday, July 28 2009, at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference 2009.

    Steve: I’ve done enough business travel to know that these sorts of things are necessarily not a holiday and, as you say, it wasn’t in Peterson’s case here. But Hawaii is still a nice destination. And parlaying the endpoints of this sort of business travel can be a sort of hidden perq – one not exercised by Peterson in this case, but perhaps others did. I didn’t notice any emails mentioning meetings of climate scientists in Flin Flon or Saskatoon in January.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

      Re: bluegrue (Feb 8 05:08),

      It’s not that the travel would be blamed on TP in this case. Think of all the others who have more time and get to just hang around waiting for the star panel to show up. The “community” leaders are picking nice places for everyone. Not unusual at all, even outside of climate science. One of my fundamental questions is “was all this worth it, science-wise, or was this a snow job?”.

      • bluegrue
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

        You describe a behavior that I have failed to witness on any conference I have attended (solid state physics). Sure, there are slow days, but usually you go to the conference from the first to the last day of your stay, early up and late to leave. And you see the other people do the same. There’s simply too much to see and too many interesting presentations/posters to talk about. It may be different for some guests of honor, but the ones I’ve seen roamed the poster sessions in search of new interesting scientists to keep an eye on.

        • Dr. Ross Taylor
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

          I look on it from a slightly different perspective. I know a lot of useful discussion goes on at such conferences (however I think far more useful discussion takes places on the blogs now, when we are all at home). However, there is a certain snobbery and ego trip revealed by comments like “see you in Hawaii”, you can imagine “see you in Mexico”, “see you in Bali”, “see you in Copenhagen” etc. This is a club, talking the language of the club. The man in the street who is paying taxes to fund these trips to save mankind has a right to transparency. On any measure, he did not get this.

        • Dr. Ross Taylor
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

          Perhaps I should add for those who question the integrity of those who comment here, I have recently declined an all expenses paid academic trip to a reasonably exotic location because I felt that any discussion necessary could be done on skype, and that I would prefer that the money went towards student scholarships for the underprivileged. So I won’t see you in Hawaii, unless I’m paying for it myself.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

          Re: Dr. Ross Taylor (Feb 9 10:53),

          Uh, Dr. Taylor, I believe that I have integrity but I have time to to go and take notes for you, if you want. 🙂

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Feb 9 03:28),

          I agree with your description of a typical conference. I surmise that most climate scientists are the same way. The focus of a lot of discussions is based on a small group of abnormals who do not do things that way. Nor do they peer-review like normal, nor interact with editors like normal, etc.

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

      Re: bluegrue (Feb 8 05:08),

      I am sure I published a link about the Climate Conference in Winnipeg — for last Friday…

      • WillR
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

        Re: WillR (Feb 8 10:55),

        Sorry here’s an updated link… Arctic ice melt alarms scientists

        Sea ice in Canada’s fragile Arctic is melting more quickly than anyone expected, the lead investigator in the largest climate change study done in Canada said Friday.

        This is the most interesting paragraph…

        Barber and more than 300 scientists from around the globe spent last winter on the Canadian Coast Guard research ship Amundsen in the Arctic studying the impact of climate change. It was the first time a research vessel remained mobile in open water during the winter season. The Canadian government provided $156 million in funding for the study.

        Good cruise director…

        • Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          Research cruises are 24/7 bruisers. Take one, you might learn something, forlorn hope as that might be.

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          Re: Eli Rabett (Feb 8 15:03),


          Appreciate the thought — and I do read your web site. I can’t say I agree with all your theories and analysis — but that’s life.

          The reason I posted the link about the conference was twofold — first — exaggerated claims were under discussion, second there was a Winnipeg Conference – see the story at the link which has a Feb 5, 2010 date. Steve wondered why there only seemed to be climate conferences in warm areas — he made the comment as one was underway in Winnipeg. I can only guess that it was held in Winnipeg so that people could try the northern fare of roast moose, venison steaks and other delicacies. It seems he was unaware or I am certain he would have attended…

          As to the exaggerated claims feel free to check the specs on the Amundsen — it can handle 46 people at a time — and I presume that was “cozy”. So the bottom line is that when I read an article and they can’t get the simple facts right — that are easy to check — I start doubting the rest of the story. I suspect you check things as well. Maybe they had seven or eight rotations — but that’s not a year in the arctic. I have no doubt that the ship was there a year or more. Maybe some people were there all year. Now I have no idea. It would have been nice to know more.

          As for time away on field work — I rarely exceed 14 months, and stints of six months aren’t uncommon. So thank you I appreciate the comment.

          As to the exaggerated claims — please note that the CCGS Amundsen holds only 46 people. I think Steve might have been amused by the bad reporting more than he was taking a dig at Jones — but maybe both. I know I found the conference stories amusing and frustrating.

          Best wishes.

        • David S
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: Eli Rabett (Feb 8 15:03), 2 facts:
          Winter ice shrinkage Feb 7 to Feb 7 over last 7 years per IARC/JAXA 0.68% compound year-on-year; summer minimum growth 11% 2007-2008 and 11% 2008-2009.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

          Yaeh, I only used to do them for the Frequent Flyers points.

    • bluegrue
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

      Steve, while it’s a cute quip, Flin Flon with less than 6000 inhabitants and corresponding infrastructure is straight out for logistic reasons, sorry. Saskatoon’s largest conference center offers conferences for up to 1000 participants (a single hall), but offers only 250 rooms. The only international flights seem to go to the US (Chicago, Denver). If you have small enough a meeting and don’t mind the inconvenient travel (why not do it in Chicago/Denver/Toronto, if you have to travel via these destinations anyway?), why not. Keep in mind, climate science conferences can have several thousand participants, depending on the venue.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

        Re: bluegrue (Feb 8 12:00),

        They should just video-conference the panels and everyone can stay home and take notes. Saves on GHGs, all that flying. One, big (several thousand) conference, once a year. Phil hunts for meetings to go to. “see you in Athens, cheers.”

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

          Bravo, you’ve just scuttled poster sessions, opportunities to strike up new connections and overcroweded the single remaining conference.

          Have you ever been to a science conference? If yes, you’d know that your proposal is vastly inferior in terms of knowledge transfer.

        • Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          Poster sessions can be easily arranged via web conferencing. Each poster can have its own web conference URL. The authors will be able to use both video and audio conferencing to interact with their audience.

          The point of this is not to replicate the existing conference structure but to utilize the new media to create something new and more effective. Instead of the occasional conference and visit, permanent collaborative sessions can be maintained between labs. Papers could be presented weekly via videoconference with ongoing discussions maintained via Wikis or mailing lists. Informal and serendipitous interactions can be fostered in the same way as these blogs demonstrate. People are being asked to make great economic and social sacrifices to cope with AGW. Why shouldn’t climate scientists do the same?

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Feb 9 03:36),

          I like my once a year science convention. Nothing is scuttled–It’s an addon and saves a lot of taxpayer paid bogus travel expenses that, apparently, were wasted. One quick example: Briffa grant, 3 year, 350KEuros, “1 (cheap) postdoc” (my estimate, 100KEuros) leaving 150KEuros for meetings. Meetings were explicitly mentioned as a majority of the ‘research budget’.

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

          250k EUR for a post-doc for 3 years and 2 meetings per year, plus some “data workshops”, the meetings being internal WG1 meetings, travel for that postdoc only. All of this was part of producing Task 1.4 for WG1. The money was meant to cover labwork as well: “Of course there are other records and there will be a need to restrict “new” collection/laboratory analyses to very specific , justified (and accepted by SC) situations , but the high resolution core(s) you told me of would be relevant. “

          Sorry, not 150k travel expenses for Briffa.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Feb 9 15:43),

          Sorry. “350 KEuros” was my typo. 100KEuros + 150KEuros, as I stated, = 250KEuros. How much does “a (cheap) postdoc” cost for 3 years? What expensive labwork that isn’t covered by postdoc salary? 150KEuros for meeting expenses; I didn’t say ‘for Briffa’.

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

          Why did you call it ‘Briffa grant’?

          Neither of us figured in the about 40 percent ancillary social costs that need to be covered by the grant as well.

          And who’s going to pay for e.g. carbon dating, pollen identification, magnetometry, … ? Not a one man job and someone has to pay for that and machine use.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Feb 10 10:40),

          Briffa wrote grant, hence ‘Briffa grant’. Grant pay for data training. People come to CRU for training. Travel cost money. Nothing wrong if not CRU. Since CRU, waste of money.

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

          Turns out, you have no idea what you are talking about, see below:

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

          I’m dissapointed with you, Jimchip. When you gave the “Briffa grant” example for money having been wasted, I had thought you were trying to give a sincere example. I took it at face value. Turns out, you misled me.

          The postdoc in question was Dirk Verschuren. A quick search for his name turns up a total of 3 e-mails. One of them is the one about “a (cheap) postdoc” and the 250kEUR, the other tow make it clear that the money was meant to come from a European Council research proposal called IMPRINT. It turns out, that IMPRINT was turned down in favor of MILLENIUM. Interestingly enough, MILLENIUM seems to have later approached former members of IMPRINT to gain the expertise MILLENIUM were missing. It further turns out, that Dirk Verschuren spent his scientific carreer at the University of Minnesota and the University of Ghent, Belgium (see his CV). He was never involved in any work at CRU.

          So the “Briffa grant” and “travel expenses that, apparently, were wasted.” turns out to be Briffa’s advice to a member of a different university on what formal steps to take and what to expect from a EU research proposal. So actually no money was spent on this, AT ALL.

          “Apparently” a smoke screen, jimchip. If you make claims, Jimchip, get your facts straight. snip

        • bluegrue
          Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

          For those interested in the rejection of IMPRINT, here is the e-mail where the rejection was announced and discussed, part of it is quite self-critical:


  31. Brownedoff
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    Martin Ackroyd 8 Feb at 4:02 am

    Go to page 4 of the comments – SM’s comment is there.

    • Martin Ackroyd
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

      Thank you. Martin

  32. GrantB
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Steve’s quote stops at “…but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii”. A two day trip could be classified as a quick trip and that is what’s quoted.

    What did you expect? “A bare minimum of digging” to ascertain the airline, the class travelled, take off and arrival times and accommodation details. I’m sure you’re making some kind of point though.

  33. bluegrue
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Steve, you left out important bits from Tom Peterson’s e-mail, I bolded them for the convenience of your readers

    Hi, Phil,
    Yes, Friday-Saturday I noticed that ClimateFraudit had renewed their interest in you. I was thinking about sending an email of sympathy, but I was busy preparing for a quick trip to Hawaii – I left Monday morning and flew out Tuesday evening and am now in the Houston airport on my way home.

    Leaving Monday morning to Hawai’i, returning Wednesday morning, at least 16 hours of the trip spent inside an airplane, not counting transfers and check-in/-out, dealing with 5-hour jet lags. I am soooo envious. Hmmm, does that sound like a holiday or like a trip to a conference? Let’s see, google “hawaii conference 2009 climate”. Yep, first hit: Hawai’i Conservation Conference 2009, held during July 28-30, 2009 at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference. Let’s have a look at the program. Page 14, Tom Peterson was a panelist for the forum “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” on Tuesday, July 28.

  34. bluegrue
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Sorry for the double post. I had turned off Javascript for the first post and it looked like it had never been sent in the first place.

    My point is, for what reason was the Tom Peterson quote included in the first place, and why was it truncated the way it was? A quick laugh at what “our day jobs” are? Enciting travel envy? A “quick trip” sounds more like a several day tour, rather than the short work stop-over it actually was.

    • GrantB
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

      Maybe, just maybe, he was having a little dig at those who bunkered down over many years and refused to admit they’d made the teensiest of mathematical errors, referring to ClimateFraudit.

      Have we now reached the level of debating formal definitions of what constitutes a “quick trip”. Is it one day, 2, 3…? Do you have some data to share with us? CI, SE etc

  35. Stacey
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    I couldn’t understand why Richard Girling gave Professor Jones such an easy time and such sympathetic treatment. I do now:-

    Review of his book Sea Change:-
    “Richard Girling calls the sea our civilisations amniotic fluid. His story of its violation by oil pollution, over-fishing, climate-change-driven erosion and our belief that we have the wisdom to manage the marine environment is shocking. Its a story of arrogance, ignorance and greed, and in Girlings electrifying prose it becomes a parable of wilful matricide.” – Richard Mabey

    Just another alarmist I’m afraid also on the UK governments payroll as a consultant to DEFRA etc?

  36. Edward
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink


    Have you seen this? Article in The Independent uses photo of Stephen McIntyre by the headline: “Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers” Implies Stephen takes money from the oil companies. Pathetic.


  37. JCM
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Try this : http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/08/climate-change-scientists-transparency-hacking
    Letters in Guardian today :
    “With reference to your article (Detectives question climate scientist over leaked emails, 5 February), I wish to make three points. First, we are in the middle of a police investigation. Detectives have taken formal statements from many of us in the school and university, including me. To my knowledge, Dr Dennis has not been singled out for attention, and he has publicly denied leaking any files, data, emails or other material. Second, the Climatic Research Unit is part of the School of Environmental Sciences, which has over 170 academic staff and researchers, working in many areas of science related to the environment.

    We are not “beleaguered”, as your journalists claim. As one of the world-leading departments in interdisciplinary research, we have always adhered to the highest standards in the production of academic knowledge. This includes promoting continuous, open debate among scientists from a wide range of academic disciplines in the natural and social sciences.

    My colleagues were not gagged, as implied in your report. At a meeting on 18 November, they were asked to refrain from commenting to the media only until the university had established the immediate facts about the hack. Several colleagues were responding to press and broadcast media by 20 November, and have continued to do so.

    Professor Jacquie Burgess
    Head of the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

  38. Stacey
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Permalink


    Professor Jacquie Burgess “………….I wish to make three points.”

    Then goes on to make I think about six points, maybe that sort of thing happens regularly at UEA?

    “My colleagues were not gagged, as implied in your report. At a meeting on 18 November, they were asked to refrain from commenting to the media only until the university had established the immediate facts about the hack. Several colleagues were responding to press and broadcast media by 20 November, and have continued to do so.”

    Disobeying orders Professor but allowed to do so?

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

      Stacey – her three points are the three paragraphs and are 1) the investigation, 2)not beleaguered and 3) not gagged.
      In my experience they should be gagged until UEA can issue coherent and honest statements in an open press conference. Freelancers are a problem and Jones and his ’18 hours’ comments wherein he shows his misunderstanding of FOI legislation hinder the credibility of UEA.
      Dr. Burgess refers in her final paragraph to ‘the hack’ without providing any evidence. She also needs serious professional advice.
      The Chancellor of UEA, Sir Brandon Gough, should speak on behalf of UEA
      on this issue.

  39. Eachran
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Mr McIntyre, I have read this particular thread and posts and frankly I find it absolutely incomprehensible.

    What is your intention here? Is it to blacken someone’s name or settle old scores or what?

    I tried to click on some links which didnt work and tried to make sense of some of the posts but was completely at a loss.

    If you are ever in Paris I can give you some lessons on how to be a human being at Cafe Charbon.

    In fact delighted to do so. Anything to help.

    • David Longinotti
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

      Mr McIntyre can speak for himself, of course, but perhaps I can help you connect the dots. One excuse that Mr. Jones has made publicly for not responding to FOI requests from SM and others is that they were maliciously intended to consume vast amounts of his time, and thereby divert him from his work. In this thread, Mr McIntyre points out that Mr. Jones’ has stated in personal communications that a document of less than 1300 words, with references, was sufficient to respond to 50 requests. It may reasonably be inferred that the burden of responding to the FOI requests is not nearly as onerous as is sometimes publicly claimed by the Hockey Team.
      Defending oneself against a charge of malicious intent is not the same as “settling a score”, words that carry an implication of vengeance.

      • Eachran
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

        Thanks David Longinotti.

        I suspect that the FOIs were malicious : I have just read some of The G’s stuff and it looks to me that Mr McIntyre has a big chip on his shoulder about something. (The reference is to orchestrated requests.Looks pretty damning to me.But perhaps Mr McIntyre can assert that FOIs were not orchestrated.)

        David Longinotti (I shall assume that you exist), have you ever complied with an FOI request? Some take an absolute age even though they look very trivial. And they certainly detract from doing real work.

        Added to which if Mr McIntyre is as good at sums as some claim then why doesnt he do some original analysis with the available data to help humanity. The data is there : is he too lazy to do the analysis himself?

        Anyway happy to join dots at Cafe Charbon : I would even buy the beers – if you and the other posters on this thread exist that is.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

          “why doesnt he do some original analysis with the available data to help humanity” — perhaps you were sleeping in class. The whole point of all these FOIs is that the data are NOT available. What Hadley puts out is a calculated product. They do not release their raw data or code for global weather stations. The excuse they have been giving is that they made confidentiality agreements. This seemed unlikely, and people asked “with whom?” And CRU said: “we can only find a couple of the agreements”. Plus they seem to have lost the raw data (or is that an untruth too?).
          And so what if they were orchestrated? Doesn’t an orchestra sound nice?

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

          Re: Eachran (Feb 9 14:22),

          “Anyway happy to join dots at Cafe Charbon : I would even buy the beers – if you and the other posters on this thread exist that is.” Thanks for the offer but it might not be PC. According to Wigley taking to Hulme: “However, it is generally believed that Fourier, in 1827, was the first person to allude to a greenhouse effect…Fourier is not appropriate because it would not be P.C. to name a UK centre after a Frenchman…”

          “The person who really deserves the credit is Callendar who, in 1938,…”

          Do you have a Cafe Callender? Cafe Tyndall is in Norwich.

    • Slartibartfast
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

      If you are ever in Paris I can give you some lessons on how to be a human being at Cafe Charbon.

      Is no one else baffled by what Eachran means, here? Apparently scientific critique as offered by Mr. McIntyre is unbearably rude, but bare assertion that the critic is not quite up to human standards is acceptable.

      Up is down, etc.

      What form the lesson might take is left as an exercise for the reader, apparently. Darts? Mortal combat? Drinking competition? More of Eachran’s compelling rhetoric?

  40. Keith Herbert
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    The argument of burden regarding freedom of information requests is only pertinent where it is not the task of the government agency to provide the particular information requested. So the payment of staff transportation from Department of Housing funds is not directly related to their task. An FOIA request for those records would be above and beyond what DoH normally does. They could claim a time infringing burden to provide that data (though not refuse the request).

    A government agency tasked with collecting and maintaining a public record should not generate an FOI or FOIA request for that data; it should be readily available.

    When employees at government agencies who collect public data feel entitled to horde that data it really goes beyond an FOI or FOIA request and bleeds into the realm of corruption. Wouldn’t we be outraged if the Library of Congress or the Patent and Trademark Offices behaved that way?

  41. MikeN
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    Those latest FOIA requests are a joke. You are becoming a caricature.

  42. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    can I suggest that some interested reader go back and reconstruct the timeline of FOIA requests and interleave that with the mails. Also, anybody who got a rejection letter, post up an example of that. CRU effectively answered all the FOI in a short
    period of time by posting up the 4 agreements or so that they found.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 8 15:01),

      Recent discussions included the Nov. 12 last emails vs. Nov.13 Steve Mc FOIA denial. Starting way back and moving forward? That could be fun, There’s always more in those emails than the specific topic one is hunting for.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steven Mosher (Feb 8 15:01),

      On the FOIA issue I’m starting here:

      From: Phil Jones
      To: Tom Wigley
      Subject: Re: FOIA
      Date: Fri Jan 21 15:20:06 2005
      Cc: Ben Santer

      I really like 2005 for all sorts of reasons and I’m going to move forward from there with a little late 2004 for context. Later, Fall, 2004 should the easy since Willis Eschenbach has stated his timeline. Maybe Willis has the emails interleaved now?

      Anyway, I’m starting in Jan. 2005 and pretty much moving forward. “Oh Goodie” 🙂

  43. UpNorthOutWest
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    What strikes me is how Jones, Mann et al are in a trap.

    If it takes more than a thousand hours to comply with the requests, it tends to indicate they don’t keep their source data in a place and condition that one would expect from scientists — especially on something so important, upon which so much is based.

    If it doesn’t take so many hours, they’re not telling the truth and don’t have much of a leg to stand on in not complying with the records requests.

    In the leaked e-mails they don’t hide their contempt for those who would deign to review their work. But even now, in their public utterings, they seem to be barely hiding their contempt.

    • Martin Ackroyd
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      “And, Professor Jones is not stupid.”

      I think he must be at least slightly stupid – eg to discuss by email how to flout FOI laws when he obviously anticipated FOI requests for his emails.

      Either that – or a delusion that he was untouchable.

  44. Don Keiller
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Steve, a “heads up” have you seen this
    at Deepclimate?
    “Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel”


    Steve: I’ve seen it. I don’t have time to respond for a few days. In respect to my part in this, what DC says is pretty much either fantasy or already known.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

      Re: Don Keiller (Feb 8 17:52),

      The important thing is that deepclimate says nothing about the science involved. The importance of Wegman’s involvement is that he has the statistical creds to pass judgment on M&Ms work, did so and nobody has had the guts to come forward and try arguing the science in opposition to M&Ms position. Mann himself only claims that the same results can be gotten by others; claimed to be independent. They’re not, of course (which was the reason for Wegman’s examination of the interconnections of the main team members.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

        Re: Dave Dardinger (Feb 8 18:42),

        A major Wegman recommendation was to un-cirle the wagons and get with some mainstream statisticians. They never did (I think I know why).

      • Don Keiller
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

        Dave, I agree entirely it is all about smear and innuendo and little or nothing about the science.
        I just wanted Steve to be aware (as he is).

  45. Robert
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    New calls for data sharing: http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/meta/cicerone-nas-editorial-data-sharing-2010.html

  46. JCM
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Steve – Interesting opinion from high up in The Guardian :

    “So far, so grim, but what can be done? First, climate scientists must make a public commitment to greater openness. They should acknowledge that the huge implications and importance of what they do mean the public expect and are entitled to a greater degree of scrutiny of their work. They should repudiate the laager mentality and evasions of the East Anglia researchers. Instead of grudgingly yielding to Freedom of Information requests, they should publish their data and workings online wherever possible.

    In the longer term more open ways of reviewing science should be explored. Royal Society president Martin Rees talks about an Amazon-style system where reviewers can openly rate papers online. It is in this spirit that the Guardian will today publish Pearce’s full 28,000 word account of the East Anglia emails affair online and invite anyone involved to tell us if we’ve got it right.”

  47. David A
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    How long would have it taken Mr Jones to send Steve M. the same information he sent to Peter Webster?

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: David A (Feb 8 22:29),

      He could have carbon copied Steve on the same emails and had a secretary make two copies instead of one of any paper. Not long at all. Phil didn’t like Steve. Phil liked Peter.

  48. Richard Wakefield
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Steve Desmog at it again:



  49. PeterB_UK
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink


    12 parts, Climate wars: The story of the hacked emails

    • Bernie
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      I read through the 12 parts. I am not sure how quite to respond. The tone is distinctly condescending towards the skeptics but ultimately the charges regarding inappropriate behavior regarding the disclosing of data, attempting to block critiques and specific methodological and statistical errors are all acknowledged albeit begrudgingly and buried within sly asides and personal attacks. There is in Part 12 an acknowledgement that the requirement for replication through data and method archiving championed by Steve and Ross is totally legitimate.

      In a way the whole series reminds me of Mark Antony’s funeral speech in Julius Caesar where Mark Antony begins by applying one meaning to honorable and gradually turns it into a sneer. Here Pearce seems to have done, consciously or unconsciously, the reverse. Part 1 makes Steve look like a nasty ill-motivated person, while Part 12 there is an acknowledgement that Steve’s efforts to bring clarity and integrity back to Climate Science are both legitimate and close to being realized.

      • justbeau
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

        The collection of essays are probably intended as a prudent smoke, but do not inhale, straddle.
        They reveal malfeasance. Yet the Guardian wants this revelation to remain credible. They do not want their readers to think they have joined the brigade of low-brow skeptics, so the bad news will be discounted and ignored. The Guardian wants to seem still well-intentioned. It cannot come out and admit, game, set, and match to the skeptics.
        Nevertheless, the overall mixed message is not highly flattering for proponents of alarmism.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

        Re: Bernie (Feb 9 13:30),

        A little metadata from the Guardian link:
        Just weeks before the Guardian publishes its major investigation into the hacked climate science emails, we give you exclusive access to the book that gives the most comprehensive account of the scandal” Someone(s) writing “the most comprehensive account of the scandal” and invites you to participate:

        “In a unique experiment, the Guardian is publishing the full manuscript of its major investigation into the climate science emails stolen from the University of East Anglia. In a collaborative effort to get close to a definitive account, we are inviting experts with knowledge of the events to add their comments and criticisms”

        • Bernie
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

          I saw that, but with so many knowledgeable folks who have personal insights I was loathe to add specific comments on each part.

          But it does create a dilemma, like the IPCC AR4 Report – Who actually writes the final version? If it is the likes of DeepClimate and deSmogBlog or Joe Romm – I am not sure I want to waste my time. Even now many of the comments fail to address the content and simply want to keep repeating “we are destroying the planet.”

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:17 AM | Permalink

          Re: Bernie (Feb 9 16:20),

          “Who actually writes the final version?” applies to IPCC, too. Good analogy. I guess the Guardian is getting ready to issue it’s consensus report. “we are inviting experts with knowledge of the events to add their comments and criticisms”, just like IPCC. Hmmm, was Steve Mc a reviewer? Is Wahl an undisclosed source close to the investigation?

          Final Headline: 15 Guardian journalists say…so it must be true. Anyone who doesn’t believe the Guardian is a denialist.

          Good analogy 🙂

  50. Erik in Cairo
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    I sent the following letter to The Times:

    Sir, I would like to direct your attention to a number of unasked questions regarding “The leak was bad Then came the death threats” published on February 7th, 2010. I will restrict my comments to paragraphs 9 and 10.

    It strains credulity to accept Professor Jones’ version of events uncritically. Concerning the “vexatious” Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests he mentions, I am one of only 40 people who can speak directly to the question of one of the senders’ motives, since I am one of the senders. These FOI requests were not intended to “interfere with” the CRU’s work.

    On the contrary, the reason that they were coordinated” was to keep the CRU from receiving, pell-mell, hundreds of duplicate or unnecessarily similar FOI requests. Each sender selected 5 different nations for which to make a request, and then informed the others of the selection, so that a request could be made for all 197 sovereign nations while causing the least inconvenience to the CRU.

    Why was this done? There is a simple explanation. As the leaked CRU emails demonstrate, Professor Jones appeared to be disingenuously hiding behind a claim that he could not release climate data to the public because of unspecified “confidentiality agreements” with other countries. This seemed like a transparent contrivance to avoid releasing the requested information – a contention which the leaked CRU emails support – so, at Steve McIntyre’s behest, a group of Climateaudit.org readers agreed to assist him with discovering which nations had confidentiality agreements with the CRU and in what way the CRU was limited by these agreements.

    In other words, I did not send my FOI request to the University of East Anglia in order to pester the climatologists at the CRU. Likewise, I have no reason to believe that any of the other 39 FOI request senders did either. More importantly, Professor Jones knew exactly why he was receiving these 40 FOI requests, since it was his use of a contrivance to avoid previous FOIs which raised the question of confidentiality agreements in the first place.

    Even assuming the ingenuousness of a scientist unfamiliar with the “snakepit of international politics,” how can one credit the claim that Professor Jones makes about the motives of these FOI senders?

    The 40 FOIs, in sum, merely asked that the CRU disclose all of its confidentiality agreements. In other words, one request would have been the same amount of work as forty.

    If Professor Jones doubted the motives of the FOI requesters, then why did he do no due diligence? That is, if he is to be believed, then one must assume that he did not even bother to use a search engine to find the source of the near-identical and complementary messages within the 40 FOI requests?

    If for no other reason than to save his team “18 hours” of labor per request, wouldn’t even the most incurious of leaders seek to discover who was ending 720 hours worth of “coordinated” FOI requests?

    If he would have searched, he would have found that these FOI requests were publicly “coordinated” on a blog which was frequently monitored by many of his colleagues at the CRU and around the world, and free to read without the need of FOI requests or secret handshakes:


    For that matter, why didn’t The Times ask these questions?

    • Eachran
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

      So Erik the requests were orchestrated.

      The problem I have is that you orchestrated the requests because of the e mails, except that you had no knowledge of the e mails at the time.


      Erik do you exist or are you simply an e mail address tied to Mr McIntyre?

      I exist, you can meet me at Cafe Charbon in Paris this week if you wish. Happy to connect dots with you and David L that is if you are not the same person.

      • Erik in Cairo
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

        Eachran, please read the link I provided.

        It was a cooperative effort. It was an openly, publicly cooperative effort. No one made any attempt to disguise that. I played a very small part, and can only speak to my motives and the motives which were expressed in writing by others.

        Professor Jones is wrong to cast aspersions on the motives others, especially when he knows that those accused where merely reacting rationally to his machinations.

        I will speak for myself; I can empathize with Professor Jones. It is very easy to justify ones own actions. For all I know, he believes that he did the right thing. What I don’t believe is his claim that he thought the FOI requests were intended “interfere” with the work at CRU. He never thought that; believe that would have made no sense whatsoever. And, Professor Jones is not stupid.

        As to Paris, last time I went there I had sticker shock.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

          Re: Erik in Cairo (Feb 9 14:48),

          “I will speak for myself; I can empathize with Professor Jones. Yup. “It is very easy to justify ones own actions.” I agree and no one else was saying “Uh, Phil, maybe not the best approach.” He was busy convincing them of his approach. Some, more distant, tried to disagree occasionally.

          “What I don’t believe is his claim that he thought the FOI requests were intended “interfere” with the work at CRU.” Interfere makes no sense at all and that ‘only have a staff of 13’ stuff is bogus, too. They were definitely playing smoke and mirrors. Wrt to this issue I think Phil was (and maybe still is) in denial about his situation. He was at the height of his powers and could judge a complicated statistical analysis with a single glance. And he forgot he can be wrong doing that. He also couldn’t believe he could have been wrong back in 1990 wrt UHI. He lost the notion that he could be wrong. No Popper Falsifiability for him.

        • Martin Ackroyd
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

          “And, Professor Jones is not stupid.”

          I think he must be at least slightly stupid – eg to discuss by email how to flout FOI laws when he obviously anticipated FOI requests for his emails.

          Either that – or a delusion that he was untouchable.

        • Anand Rajan KD
          Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

          “I think he must be at least slightly stupid – eg to discuss by email how to flout FOI laws when he obviously anticipated FOI requests for his emails.”

          This stupidity is compounded by another – his belief that he would delete emails from his computer and that would be the end of it. Studidity slightly bordering on malice actually.

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

        Re: Eachran (Feb 9 14:32),

        The problem I have is that you orchestrated the requests because of the e mails, except that you had no knowledge of the e mails at the time.

        A little careful reading on your part would be helpful. Erik never said anything about the orchestration being caused by the e-mails. He says that the subsequently leaked e-mails show the justification of the orchestration and the subsequent reaction to these FOI requests (in the e-mails) shows that the stonewalling was still in place.

        BTW, before complaining about others who use aliases (I don’t), you might want to out yourself. Trolls who live under glass bridges and all that.

      • Don Wagner
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

        Steve did exactly that. Worked with the available data. He couldn’nt replicate the results. He asked for the Codes and data to find out why not. He was rebuffed. If Prof Jones was unwilling tO abide by the conditions binding him to FOI regulations, why was he working there. Perhaps if you’d quit trying to impress us with name dropping of Paris Cafes and did a smidgion of research yourself, you could find this out as welland stop wasting our time with baseless accusations

  51. James Evans
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Off topic, but for your info:

    Some parts of the UK Media seems to be getting a little hysterical –

    Climate economist’s email security breach

  52. willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Eachran, you seem to be overlooking a couple of points:

    1. The planning of how to avoid the FOI requests began long before a CRU received single FOI request. See my post for a detailed timeline.

    2. I made the first FOI request. With only one request on the table, there was obviously no “coordination” or “orchestration”, just my single request. See this post for the results of my request. Jones et al. turned it down for bogus reasons. Perhaps you could speak to that?

    All of this talk about “orchestration” misses the main issue — the data should have been made public from day one. But from before day one, Phil Jones and the rest of the fools were already “orchestrating” how they would shield their work from public view … and I still fail to see why you or anyone is defending that. Perhaps you could address the issues of Jones’ attempt to circumvent the scientific method I raised above, before talking about the orchestra …

    Finally, Eachran, you say:

    Added to which if Mr McIntyre is as good at sums as some claim then why doesnt he do some original analysis with the available data to help humanity. The data is there : is he too lazy to do the analysis himself?

    Again, you misunderstand the scientific method. There are two parts to it: those who publish new ideas, and those who try to replicate and find errors in that work. Anyone can pick either part, there is no obligation upon anyone to do both. And both are critical to the advance of science. If everyone did as you suggest, no one would be checking or replicating or trying to find errors in anyone’s work, and science would grind to a halt.

    Regards to all,


  53. Roy_US_Ohio
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    The language of the NDAs seems fairly straightforward to me. All of them do indeed prohibit sharing with third parties and/or limit use to a prior stated purpose.

    However, one of them does acknowledge the the use of the data will likely lead to publication, and insists on credit as a source. The one in Spanish also insists on proper credit for any use of the data that leads to publication. The one from Bahrain requests non-sharing without prior authorization.

    At the very least it seems fairly simple enough to generate requests to those same sources if they can be identified. It would be nonsensical for CRU to claim material is under embargo without some sort of documentary proof, ESPECIALLY since some of these agreements include crediting the source of the data as a prerequisite for publication. As CRU is operating under at least two such agreements, they must know the specifics of the partners with whom they have these agreements, as those institutions must be listed as sources in any published papers in print or on the web. If they don’t know the specifics of these agreements, and cannot easily access the documentary evidence of same, then they are regularly running the risk of unintentionally violating agreements with data providers who insist on a source credit.

    In short, they are either familiar with the specifics of their NDAs or they are likely unknowingly violating some of them. At this point, I’d be willing to believe either scenario. The remaining question is whether or not they are mindful of all their NDAs but don’t know where to find the documentation. If that is the case, then they are grossly negligent with their legal documents. From any angle I see this, assuming that no one is lying, the defense is either incompetence with honoring their NDAs, incompetence in keeping themselves apprised of their NDAs, or incompetence in handling the documentation of their NDAs.

    The Oslo NDA goes into some specifics of the data provided, and includes some equivocating language about its limitations. This always strikes me when I consider the aura of certainty with which some of these fellows proclaim their conclusions.

    I am a database administrator and former programmer. I have no expertise in climate science, statistics, or law, so I could be wrong about any or all of this. My knowledge of NDAs is based on my familiarity of their use in the IT industry.

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: Roy_US_Ohio (Feb 9 17:24),


      I looked at this previously as well and agree with you. The only additional point I would raise is that the agreements you are reading are not what existed at the time the data was interchanged. The Spanish agreement for example was originally much weaker — the stronger agreement is available from the Spanish web site. (The agreement in Spanish is much more clear.) I believe that during (or after) this kufuffle they (CRU/Jones?) solicited stronger agreements so that they could be “paraded”. I could be wrong on this — but that’s what it looks like. So the water seems fairly muddy to me.

      • Roy_US_Ohio
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

        Unfortunately that’s impossible to verify unless someone made a copy of the original pdf. The only independent indicator of when these documents were created is the single fax timestamp from 2003. All other date references are on the documents themselves.

        But honestly, these are so few in number that authorization for data-sharing should be fairly easy. The alternative explanation, that they cannot find all of their agreements, is incredible. I don’t know their organizational structure, but surely someone other than the climate scientists must be responsible for handling and storing legal documents. If the work involves anything other than a simple administrative request, then they have a rather critical legal problem. The only likely explanations I can see are either outright deceit or a complete lack of procedure for handling legal documents, something akin to the state of their data and program code.

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

          Re: Roy_US_Ohio (Feb 9 20:19),


          See the link to agreements before Steve’s requests… Look for the SPanish language agreement that is part of the request form.

          And the agreements from Spain that appear to have appeared later. See that the agreements are much more formal.

          See this thread….

          So right — can’t prove it –it’s just suggestive. But it makes it look like they did not know/understand their obligations — if any. It is also as you point out unusual that did not know.

          Hope my comment is more clear now. Anyway this makes it really puzzling as to their strong stance that they could not relese the data when they simply did not have any signed agreements to show…

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

      I have read many papers that utilize the Hadley data and looked at their site, and have never seen an acknowledgment of their sources as it seems these NDAs (e.g., Spain) require. Oops.

  54. justbeau
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Phil Jones wrote “The inability of some agencies to release climate data is not uncommon in climate science.”

    Maybe it needs to become uncommon. If the original collector cannot allow its release under reasonable circumstances, maybe the information should not be aggregated at CRU or NOAA, in the first place.

    I can understand an original temperature collector wanting some acknowledgment. (Its not unlike library archives that wish their collections to be cited by historians).

    Also I can see an originator might not want someone to take their data and sell it or give it to others.

    But for pete’s sake, these are just temperature data from the past. They are not of great innate commercial or national security significance. The only significance past temp data acquire is when a climate scientist argues the world is overheating, based on secret analysis of secret data.

    • Roy_US_Ohio
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

      I would add that if Phil is correct, then that is an institutional problem with climate science. If he sees nothing wrong with that state of affairs, then I submit that he has been relatively cloistered within the academic environment and his own field. I cannot say too much about the industry within which I work, but audits and production of data to satisfy legal requests are common. We have specifically structured processes in order to be able to comply with such requests with a minimal amount of time and trouble. If anyone would argue that scientific research should be above such things then I would dearly love to hear their case for why that should be so.

  55. TJA
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    This is on the Discover Magazine’s blog:

    But in the meantime, it appears that following ClimateGate and GlacierGate, we are once again getting some revelations taking on the other side. Maybe this means the pendulum will shift, and good science can move back off the ropes, where it has been for too long. We’ll see. I’ll be watching closely.


    Which links to this:

    All this, along with new information about the circumstances of the Wegman panel’s formation and mandate, raises serious doubts about the supposed independence of the Wegman panel.

    In my last post, I laid out some inconvenient facts about McIntyre’s fellow travellers on his way to taking his place in the pantheon of climate skeptics. As noted there, McIntyre (and McKitrick) had achieved some measure of fame with their lionization by the Wall Street Journal in early 2005.


    • Roy_US_Ohio
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

      I am assuming that by “inconvenient facts about…fellow travelers” he means the funding from oil companies. If I’m wrong, please correct me. If I’m right, may I ask if research scientists are at all schooled in logic? Any argument that a person’s conclusions must be wrong because they’re “in the pocket of” one entity or another is fallacious. They are either right or wrong based on their evidence and the strength of their argument, not by who pays their bills. I must say that I was a bit surprised by the unequivocal anti-capitalist paranoia. I would have expected a research scientist with a public blog to be a bit more self-aware. The disdain for the popular notoriety gained by McIntyre and McKitrick is especially ironic, considering that it is a bare fraction of the praise and notoriety accorded Jones, Mann, et al through the broader European, Canadian, and U.S. media.

  56. Roy_US_Ohio
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    I’m going to stop talking around this and speak plainly. I shouldn’t be calling these NDAs. They are not non-disclosure agreements, they are agreements for the use of the data. Their obvious purpose is to prevent the recipient from using the data for personal profit or without acknowledging its source. The use of the term “academic purposes” is to prevent the data from being used for commercial purposes. Thus the distinction of concern is the one between an academic purposes versus a commercial purpose.

    I suggest that the CRU folks know this very well, so they give these agreements little concern. In their minds, they are merely a formality, a “gentleman’s agreement”, no different from the verbal agreements to which they refer. They have no intention of using the data for commercial purposes, so in their minds the issues of concern in these agreements will simply never come up. No need to give them any thought.

    They mention these agreements not because they see them as legitimate roadblocks, but because they can be used as convenient excuses. They know very well that Steve and Ross have no intention of using the data for commercial purposes. They also know that the use of the data for checking and replicating results is an “academic purpose”, regardless of the pretense that an “academic purpose” can only be accomplished by an academic institution.

    From reading some of their e-mails, their intent is fairly easy to divine. They know that the enforcement component of the U.K.’s FOI act is undetermined until it is defined in the courts. They are therefore going to use any argument they can manufacture for non-compliance. They are not concerned with the legal merits of their arguments, nor whether anyone else believes them. They are going to make arguments with just enough plausibility that it appears that they themselves might believe them. As long as they appear ignorant, they can continue to stonewall. As long as no enforcement body calls them on it, they can stonewall. This is why they float such absurd notions as that the Data Protection Act, intended to protect personal information, precludes them from sharing climate data.

    I don’t think they themselves believe that they are doing anything wrong or nefarious. They apparently believe that they are perfectly in the right. I am sorry that Ben Santer has been so sheltered that he believes countering Douglass’s paper was an imposition on his life and his research. Perhaps he could have let the matter go, and moved on, or perhaps there was a critical imperative in saving the planet, and no claims to the contrary could be allowed to succeed.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

      Re: Roy_US_Ohio (Feb 10 11:46),

      I agree. There’s always the money angle, though. Phil got ‘confused’ with respect to the raw data and his “value-added”, smoothed, data. They started to protect their value-added data as if it were their personal proprietary data in spite of the fact that most of their funding came from various government agencies via grants and awards. Big Climate meets Big Pharma and likes the notion. They tried to get some money from Big Oil, who would, of course, have input on the research although I don’t know whether that worked.

      Wrt to Santer: Maybe he’s mellowed out after getting a life again after his trip to Rio 🙂 If Pat Michaels shows up with a black eye the answer would be no.

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