Fred Pearce’s Column

Fred Pearce, whose one-man inquiry into Climategate (The Climate Files), remains the only reasonably objective inquiry to date observes here that nobody on the Muir Russell panel even asked Phil Jones whether he deleted emails”

Most seriously, it finds “evidence that emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them [under Freedom of information law]”. Yet, extraordinarily, it emerged during questioning that Russell and his team never asked Jones or his colleagues whether they had actually done this.


  1. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    Really, this is a bit of a jaw-dropper, innit?

  2. Phillip Bratby
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Had this been a proper legal inquiry, then there might have been inquisitors who knew how to cross examine witnesses.

  3. ZT
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    As the lawyers say “don’t ask a question that you don’t know the answer to” – from which one can conclude that when questions don’t get asked there is generally a good reason.

    • Neil Fisher
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: ZT (Jul 7 16:38),
      I can’t find a reference, but yet again “Yes, Minister” springs to mind – Sir Desmond Glazebrook (sp?) about trusting “chaps” in the City.

    • mpaul
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

      Or in this case, ‘don’t ask a question when you know that the answer is inconsistent with the conclusion you are trying to construct’.

  4. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Just above the excerpt quoted Pearce names Jones’ boss, the university vice-chancellor, as Sir Edward Action. What a pity that isn’t true.

  5. JCM
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    As I have said before, Britain is bankrupt.
    Financially, morally and intellectualy.
    Muir Rusell amply demonstrates my point.

  6. Steve E
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    “The university “failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements” – FOI law in particular – and “also the risk to the reputation of the university and indeed the credibility of UK climate science” from the affair.”

    Is this perhaps the crux? CRU had no oversight. Jones & Briffa were CEO and COO and CCO (chief compliance officers) acting without a Board of Directors or as the Board of Directors. Pearce’s comment about Jones’s new title as a demotion (something I missed in my comment on the Harrabin string where I thought Jones was promoted) is very insightful and seems to support this thought.

    Still, a good corporation would throw someone under the bus for what went wrong. UEA has failed again in its corporate duty.

  7. GrantB
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    It is a pity that the Muir Russell panel didn’t include an eminent historian.

    Someone who could inform the panel that their report will not be filed away and forgotten like similar reports from the pre-internet age. Someone who could point out to each member of the panel that their names will be forever associated with this report. Someone who could tell them that the obfuscation and tangential lines of enquiry that they have adopted will be critiqued and any criticisms published within hours and days. And like their report, these will be will be part of the historical record of this sorry event that future generations can research.

    Assuming that they use something other than Wikipedia of course.

    • GrantB
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

      One too many “will be’s”

    • ZT
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      True – I just watched the scarily complacent “Muir says everyone is exonerated (and we should trust him because he is a senior civil servant)” piece on BBC America from the Royal Institution – complete with disinformation on The Trick and CO2. What would Faraday and Davy have thought of this farce?

      The Wegman report truly shines in comparison with the British efforts.

One Trackback

  1. By Silly Season « The k2p blog on Jul 9, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    […] set up by an establish do tend to support the establishment that feeds them. The Pearce Inquiry into the Climategate scandal found evidence that emails had been deleted to avoid revealing them but concluded that the science […]

%d bloggers like this: