Richard Drake sent in an interesting selection of opening night reviews for the Parliamentary Inquiry from UK parliamentary reporters, most of whom seem to be new to the climate wars and offering a relatively fresh perspective. Here are some excerpts as a teaser – the originals are accessible and recommended.
Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail:
Jones was accompanied by his university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Edward Acton, who provided much-needed comic relief. Professor Acton, a younger version of Professor Calculus from the Tintin books, beamed and nodded at everything Professor Jones said. ‘I think that answer was spot-on,’ he cried, after listening to one response from the terror-stricken Jones.
Professor Acton’s left eyebrow started doing a little jiggle of its own. His eyeballs bulged with admiration for the climate-change supremo. His lips were pulled so wide in wonderment they must nearly have split down the
seams like banana skins.
Others, watching the tremulous Professor Jones, will have been less impressed. He may be right about man-made climate change. But you do rather hope that politicians sought second, third, even 20th opinions before swallowing his theories and trying to change the world’s industrial output.
Simon Carr in The Independent:
“I’m a scientist,” Labour’s Graham Stringer said. “If I want to check your results, I can’t.”
Dr Jones fiddled with that allegation (he’s not without Westminster talent) but the committee didn’t look persuaded. His reply to a request for information was quoted: “Why should I make data available to you when you only want to find something wrong with it?” Stringer concluded: “That is unscientific!”
His defence was a bit unscientific too: “I’ve obviously written some very awful emails,” followed by a wry smile. But the committee declined to be charmed. Why wouldn’t he release the codes?
“Because we had an awful lot of work invested in it.”
Yes, by the sound of it there was considerable data smoothing and oiling and homogenising and substituting and standardising… I don’t know much about statistics but I know what I like. And when a scientist says: “We couldn’t keep the original data, only the added-value data,” all sorts of sirens and alarms go off.
Simon Hoggart in The Guardian:
The sight of another scientist being skewered makes for painful viewing. Whatever your view on man-made global warming, you had to feel sorry for Professor Phil Jones, the man behind the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia
Andrew Gimson in the Daily Telegraph:
Next to him, holding a metaphorical hand, was Professor Edward Acton, his vice-chancellor, who interrupted at intervals to tell the committee what a splendid fellow Jones was and how his unit was doing magnificent work warning the world.
Which made it all the more astonishing that it turns out that the unit has only three full-time members. Given the importance they claim, it’s as if the British army consisted of half a dozen men and an officer.
Acton conceded that not everything pointed in the same direction. It’s acknowledged that several hundred years ago Earth became much warmer. If we knew why, we could explain a lot. “The early medieval period is something we should spend more time researching,” he mused. This was probably the first time anyone had said that to a parliamentary committee since Simon de Montfort ran the place.
We fear this whole affair will not end well, and that as far as UEA is concerned, the climate has already become distinctly uncomfortable.
Anne Treneman in The Times:
Professor Jones’s face was immobile, eyes steady behind wire specs. He seemed, like a dead calm sea, almost glassy. And, like ships in the Bermuda Triangle, questions that got near him just seemed to disappear.
He kept insisting that most of the raw data was public. But, said MPs, what about his method, the codes he’d used. Was that public?
“That is not the case,” he said.
Graham Stringer, a Labour MP, asked why. “Because it hasn’t been standard practice to do that.”
Well, protested Mr Stringer, how could science be tested?
Professor Jones didn’t have much of an answer for that, or much else.
Only once did he admit to anything and that was about an e-mail. “Uh. Yes. I have obviously written some very awful e-mails,” he murmured.
Oh dear. It seems the planet is in more trouble than I thought.