Graham Stringer Speaks Out

UK MP Graham Stringer has a strongly worded Op Ed here. (h/t Bishop Hill)

Stringer, who is on the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, described the Oxburgh “inquiry” as follows:

The Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia seemed to share Deer’s desire to get at the truth when he announced an independent review which would “reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong”.

Lord Oxburgh who was appointed to chair this panel, disappointed everybody. He explained that the Vice Chancellor was new and did not understand what he had promised. He soon made it clear that he would not reassess the science but he was just going to satisfy himself as to the integrity of the scientists. After a cosy chat with the Climatic Research Unit scientists he decided that they were decent chaps.

Interestingly however following a Freedom of Information Request notes taken by one of the panellists, Professor Kelly from the University of Cambridge, indicated that while there was no “blatant malpractice” it was impossible to show that the Climatic Research Unit scientists had not cherry picked their statistics.

He thought their methodology was “turning centuries of science on its head”. Oxburgh also quietly damned the climate team by saying “it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians”

This is the equivalent of claiming medical competence whilst operating on a patient without an anaesthetist.

He eviscerates the execrable Muir Russell, describing his report as “almost beyond parody” (almost exactly echoing Clive Crook’s words on the Penn State “inquiry”):

The other review carried out by Sir Muir Russell, a Civil Servant responsible for overseeing the huge over expenditure of the Scottish Parliament building, had even greater resonance with Deer’s concern about the accused investigating themselves. His review was charged with looking at the e-mails themselves. One of the main charges against Professor Jones was that he deleted e-mails that would show he was up to no good scientifically.

In a situation that is almost beyond parody Muir Russell stated that he didn’t ask Jones whether he had deleted the e-mails because they would have had to interview Jones under caution. What was the solution then? The Vice Chancellor asked Jones whether he had deleted the e-mails. This rather negated the purpose of having an independent Inquiry when the only person to ask the crucial question was the Vice Chancellor who saw his prime responsibility to the good name of the University. The accused investigating themselves again.

Stringer concludes:

The release of the unit’s e-mails from the and the accusations that followed demanded independent and objective scrutiny of the science by independent panels. This did not happen.


  1. Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    Stringer is exactly right.

  2. Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    We need more leaders like Stringer.

  3. Iain McQueen
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Try and get the National Press in UK,USA,Canada etc onto this. I think they might run with it as it is so forthright!
    A great read!

  4. Lucy
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    The “science” has recently been re-assessed.

    That’s some good science there boys.

  5. Luis Dias
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    The tide is turning…

  6. KnR
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    The awful nature of the CRU enquires, the quality of them reflected by the lack of coverage the results got from people like Monboit , did no one ,AGW support or not, a service. Whether through arrogance of stupidity they simple failed to address the issues seen in the e-mails and left the impression via basic incompetence that CRU and UEA cannot be trusted.

  7. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    You didn’t quote from Graham Stringer’s final comments, Steve: “We now know that the work done at Climatic Research Unit barely qualified as science; they kept it secret to stop other scientists checking it; thus breaching one of the foundations of the scientific method.

    “To stop politicians cheating, athletes taking drugs and financiers embezzling, we have increasingly strong regulators. We cannot assume scientists come from a higher moral plane.

    “Deer’s solution of an Inspectorate of Research Integrity has to be part of the solution to restore the reputation of science.”

    To paraphrase Mr. Stringer, the CRU delivered shabby science, the behavior of the CRU scientists was analogous to criminal malfeasance, and on their account science has lost its reputation. It couldn’t be more stark than that.

  8. stephen richards
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    We need more leaders like Stringer.

    Don’t look for them in the UK. Dopey Dave and nutty Nick are not going to change anything just yet. They did a deal that will keep them in power to 2014/5.

  9. Steve Garcia
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    (Formerly posted as feet2thefire…)

    Steve M certainly is more qualified than I am to say this, but this passage is one so obvious and that has been brought up again and again by skeptic commenters:

    Oxburgh also quietly damned the climate team by saying “it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians”

    So often the hockey team and their cheerleading squad have dismissed skeptics as not being qualified to assess the science. At the same time, as long as so much of it is statistics, Lord Oxburgh indicts them all as being rank amateurs who should have gotten some professional help. ALL of the conclusions drawn have to do with the results of the statistical processing of data, therefore, with the (in reality) small magnitude of the temperature rise results, the wrong statistical methodology – or a slip up on one character of code – could make all the difference to the numerical results.

    That since Climategate no one in CRU has come forward and volunteered to bring on board a top quality stat man, it is obvious that Oxburgh’s gentle jab has had no effect.

    The meaning of this?

    Evidently they don’t want to even make a token gesture to show the world they didn’t screw it up. Not at the risk of someone qualified actually finding it to be true.

    • KnR
      Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

      The trouble may be that as long as they get the result they need their not to bother about how they get them. Why check you are using the right Stats or using them in the right way if you obtain the expected results. When you combine that with ‘team’ approach designed to exclude others, which provides comfort and self-reinforcement. You can see why they take this approach. However, you are right time and again it’s the statistics which is catching them out and even the rubbish reviews outline this.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

      It’s not just skeptics who have made this observation. Wegman’s Report said much the same thing and he is past chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics for the United States National Academy of Sciences.

      He’s been smeared like everyone else who challenges the global warming narrative, but that’s fast becoming a badge of honor.

      Is Oxburgh next in line to be smeared? Probably not. He’s given them the tepid, inconclusive report they coveted.

  10. theduke
    Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Vincit omnia veritas

  11. Latimer Alder
    Posted Mar 15, 2011 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    Graham Stringer will be speaking at the Spectator debate in London on 29 March.

    I’m attending and hope to meet some ‘blogamis’ there. We’ll likely go to the pub afterwards to be convivial and put the world to rights. Please join us.

    • Posted Mar 15, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

      do we wear a special badge? I’m going

      • John Whitman
        Posted Mar 16, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

        I am jealous of you two guys.

        Take good notes of your pub talk!


  12. EdeF
    Posted Mar 15, 2011 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Almost beyond parody……..but not quite.

  13. Posted Mar 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    See you there! A drink afterwards sounds like a very good idea.

  14. Jeremy
    Posted Mar 16, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    I’m guessing that Phil Jones actually did try to delete e-mails, but it was the stored “recycle bin” on a server somewhere that tipped someone off. Phil Jones likely handed an unscrupulous and concerned sysadmin exactly what they needed, and knowing the internet as they should, they knew to wash their hands of it by throwing it on a russian server. The blog comments pointing to that link were likely posted under an anonymizer distributed proxy service making tracing it basically impossible at this point.

    Hilariously, if someone asks Phil Jones, “Did you delete e-mails?” He can say no, because clearly the e-mails he tried to delete were likely the exact ones that made it out into the public domain. So he couldn’t have deleted them, or else they wouldn’t exist and the inquiry into whether or not he deleted them would not exist. The question is whether or not he tried to delete them.

    It might be best at this point to find the leaker and question them. I doubt that will happen though.

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