A Coincidence?

The Muir Russell Inquiry revealed itself to the world on Feb 11, 2010. Nothing good has been said about it since. At this press conference, the hapless Muir Russell looked into the camera and said that we should believe that they are independent because they “are independent”. Their website contained (and still contains) misrepresentations, primarily about Geoffrey Boulton. One panelist has already resigned.

The previous day – February 10, 2010 – was the last day for submissions to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry, asking about the terms of reference of the Russell Inquiry.

Obviously, if the submissions were going in this week, they’d be totally different. The problems with the UEA “remit” are not the terms of reference, but the composition of the panel and the implementation of the remit by Geoffrey Boulton (Muir Russell at this point appearing to be a hapless figurehead). These are the issues that would be the topic of submissions this week.

People have been wondering about the long delay between the announcement of the Inquiry on Dec 3, 2009 and its unveiling on Feb 11, 2010. And the short fuse for public submissions. Perhaps the unveiling of the Inquiry on the day after the last day for submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry is a coincidence. Or perhaps the wily Boulton waited until the submission period was over before putting his cards on the table.

Regardless, there’s an obvious answer. The Science and Technology Committee needs to re-open their submissions. That’s what interested parties should be demanding.

Forget the idea that Boulton might do the honorable thing and resign. He’s the one that’s running this wretched inquiry, not the hapless Muir Russell.

The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:
Feb 11, 2010
February-15-10 1:25:57 PM
Climate Change E-Mails Review
Box 18
196 Rose Street


  1. SimonH
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Error: “Nothing good has been said about it sense.” – replace with “since.” :o)

  2. Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    OT: It might be useful, for those that agree, that the online petition that proposes that Al Gore and The UN IPCC Should Give Back Their Nobel Prize.
    Please see more at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nomorenobel/

  3. UK John
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    What do these people look like?

  4. ZT
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    What a miserable pit British science has fallen into 😦

  5. Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    The case Muir seemed to make for “independence” relies on the concept of
    “taking orders” That’s how he responds in the video.

    Since the inquiry does not “take orders” from UEA and can look at what it likes, he deems it “independent”

    To us “independent” means more than this. “independent” means “has no conflict of interest”

  6. Paul
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    I mam not a scientist, not even close to one, but I understand what a conflict of interest is and I know when the wool is being pulled over my eyes.

    These people are not just doing a diservice to science but to all people who just want to know the truth.

    “I am not upset by the lie, I am disappointed that I have now lost trust.”

  7. Brent Hargreaves
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I think you made a small typo above. Sumbissions by the public to the Muir Russell Inquiry need to be in by 28 Feb, not 10 Feb as you wrote above.

    I’m going to propose that Boulton’s links to UEA make him an unsuitable member.

    Keep up the magnificent work. I reckon that your tenacity in demanding scientific rigour is of great importance, and will be celebrated in future accounts of science at the millennium.

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

      Re: Brent Hargreaves (Feb 15 16:57),
      No, there are two issues, you’ve missed Steve’s point.
      First there was the request for comments on “the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review” that had to be in by Feb 10.
      Then on Feb 11th the terms of reference were established, and submissions to the ‘Independent’ Review were invited with a deadline of 1 March.
      These submissions must be within the remit – so complaints about the conflict of interest of a panel member can be ignored!
      If anyone is considering making a submission, please read the instructions at the website http://www.cce-review.org/ very carefully.

      • Brent Hargreaves
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

        PaulM Feb 16 07:00: Thanks for clearing up the submission deadlines.
        My letter, which is now in the post, will therefore fall on stony ground. I wrote:
        Dear Sirs,
        It would appear that a member of your Review Team, Professor Boulton, is a former employee of the University of East Anglia, and hence fails to meet the criterion of independence.
        Professor Boulton is on record as an advocate of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming and a former colleague of addressees of the emails under investigation. I submit that his predetermined views disqualify him from sitting on the enquiry.
        Yours etc,

        Steve: In this sort of letter, it is important to connect these points to the representations by the inquiry. The Inquiry claimed that they selected people because they had no predetermined views – presumably because they had believed this to be important.

  8. Greg Cavanagh
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps they’ll give Steve Al’s old peace prize.

  9. Robin Edwards
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    Could we please have the latest news on the last date for submissions to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into the terms of reference of the Muir Russell Inquiry? Is it really 28th February? Or was it 10th February? I wish to submit something. Perhaps Brian Hargreaves was referring to two different inquiries.


    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: Robin Edwards (Feb 15 18:04),

      It is Feb. 28, in honor of the Jesus Paper last day acceptance date used to make it eligible for IPCC.

  10. curious
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Suggestion on submissions – copy it to your relevant elected representative to get it on the public record without contravening the “publication rules” – whatever they are!

  11. jamie
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    The damage this whitewash investigation is doing to the students of The University of East Anglia and the reputation of the university in general is untold.

    The longer the cover up goes on, the longer the students in climatic studies are having their future careers compromised. The future prospects for the new and recent graduates are bleak, the UEA should at least allow those students that have studied under Phil Jones to transfer to new fields of study at the University foc, especially after recent revelations by Jones.

    Does anybody work in PR at the UEA? The old boys club of Russell, Boulton et co is only delaying the inevitable and making a mockery ot the existing students in climate research.

    • SimonH
      Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

      I’m reliably informed that the problem is not limited to the CRU. A friend’s son just started at UEA in Sept, studying something relating to computing/IT (I’m unclear on the course title at the moment) and considers himself very unlucky to have picked the UEA for his degree course. Though the kid has absolutely no interest in climate science at all, his confidence in the value of his own UEA degree as a result of both Climategate and the open mockery of the “independent” Muir Russell enquiry, is being damaged. Morale is low. I really feel for the kid.

  12. curious
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Jamie – its not just the UEA. Try to put a number on all the climate change related higher ed offerings. And then on the number of students who are on them or who have been through them. Absolute shame on those who try and whitewash this.

  13. curious
    Posted Feb 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    ps – you’d think Muir Russell should understand:


  14. tommoriarty
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    It seems pretty clear that the tree-ring data that Michael Mann used in his 2008 version of the hockey stick has a worse correlation to temperature than to atmospheric CO2. You can see the details here.

    best regards,

  15. geronimo
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    Take a look at the Wiki profile of Sir Muir Russell. He “retired” from the Civil Service in 1993 after 5 years at the Scottish Office where he oversaw the £360million overspend on the Scottish Parliament.

    He appears to have gone through public life with a significant achievement, it doesn’t look good for a fair inquiry, if it was the people who were “hounding” the CRU would be called to give evidence.

    On the question of the FOIs, I’ve checked the records, there were a total of 105 from Jan 2005 until December 2009, five years they are distributed as follows:

    4 in 2007

    2 in 2008

    99 in 2009:

    58 were identical requests for the contracts the CRU held with various countries, each one had a list of different countries

    26 appear to have come after the CRU emails were released.

    15 others, I haven’t been able to analyse.

  16. John Silver
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    One of Boultons Research Interests is: “the future evolution of glacier cover in the Himalayas”.


    Did he write the infamous part about the Himalayan glaciers in the IPCC report?

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

      Re: John Silver (Feb 16 07:30),

      Did he write the infamous part about the Himalayan glaciers in the IPCC report?

      No, but if you find the right glacier and look at the face of it at just the right angle, you’ll see deep within it a holographic picture of Geoffrey Boulton. Coincidentally, just before this picture is melted out, the Earth will be destroyed via global warming to make room for a hyperspacial bypass.

  17. Gerry B
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    What we are seeing here is a PR event.

    Muir Russel would have had to expose the fact that
    (1) the climategate emails and programming are true and valid copies
    (2) that Jones did defy FOI requests, and asked others to do so
    (3) That they have been hiding the decline (or lack of recent warming)
    (4) that there most probably was a significant Medieval Warm period
    (5) that Jones has ‘lost’ the original data and can’t reproduce it…

    etc etc etc.

    This is now all out in the public domain : all that remains is for the inquiry to formally confirm it.

    If on the other hand Jones hadn’t admitted all this in advance his buddies would have had to expose him in a more formal way leading to possible criminal charges.

    Don’t expect anything new from the Inquiry.

  18. Jimchip
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    ‘Coincidences’ deserve timelines. Based on recent events ‘cuz I’m not going too far back at all:

    Starting at CA, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Oct 29, 2009. Then we have that The Muir-Russell inquiry is formed on Dec. 3, 2010. Next, we have the RSE (Boulton, General Secretary,) “has launched its next major inquiry, Facing up to Climate Change…” on January 10, 2010. The UK Parliamentary Inquiry into CRU is announced on Jan. 22. Last update on the evidence page for “Facing up to Climate Change” is Jan. 29. The schools competition page last updated on Feb. 8. Last day for the UK PI is Feb. 10. On Feb. 11 the current inquiry is announced at UEA and at cce-review.org/. The deadline for CCE submissions is Mar. 1, 2010. “The Review hopes to have submit preliminary conclusions to UEA in Spring 2010.” The deadline to submissions to RSE Facing up to Climate Change is May 1. The deadline for the schools competition is June, 2010.

    Of course, all inquiries, competitions, etc. are claimed to be completely independent. The shills in the shell game also pretend to be independent.

  19. johnh
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    Here we have some comments from the last major project Mr Muir was involved in, the building of the New Scottish Parliment Building.

    The Accounting Officer and Permanent Secretary, Muir Russell, was semi-detached
    from the process.

    Tory peer Lord Fraser said there was no single “villain of the piece” when it came to the problems which plagued the building of the Scottish Parliament.
    Announcing his findings, the inquiry head said it still astonished him that ministers were kept in the dark over cost increases.

    He cleared the late First Minister Donald Dewar of misleading MSPs.

    However, he named Sir Muir Russell, former head of the Scottish civil service, as a man with responsibility.

    He said: “Clearly the top man was Sir Muir Russell – there was a number of very sharp criticisms made of him in the Scottish Parliament, and I respectfully adopt their recommendations.”


  20. Lea
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Small typo. “Nothing good has been said about it since.” should read “I have said nothing good about it since.” Cheers.

  21. Hugh Roper
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Great stuff, Steve. Keep it up. Nail Boulton. Hugh

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