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Hulme on Climategate anniversary

Mike Hulme is in the Guardian today, looking at the impact of Climategate, one year on. I'm not sure why everyone is doing their anniversary pieces today - isn't the anniversary tomorrow (or even Thursday)?

Hulme's piece is very thoughtful. I liked this bit particularly:

The simple linear frame of "here's the consensus science, now let's make climate policy" has lost out to the more ambiguous frame: "What combination of contested political values, diverse human ideals and emergent scientific evidence can drive climate policy?" The events of the past year have finally buried the notion that scientific predictions about future climate change can be certain or precise enough to force global policy-making.

I'm not sure that most people on the activist wing of the climate science community are in agreement with the last bit, but if true it's certainly welcome. Also worth saying that it's not obvious to me that the climate is something we really need a policy on at all.

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Reader Comments (20)

Interesting choice of words, but still the presumption that we need a "climate policy". We do not have a "hot weather" and "cold weather" policy, nor "tidal" policies.

Better weather forecasting can save lives, money wasted on climate forecasting costs lives, and the cost in lives and money keeps increasing.

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

It’s odd that in a pace about the possible effects the e-mails leaks has had on climate science. That the author makes no mention at all of the UEA investigation into CRU actions which came about because of this leak , while he does the IAC review. Especial has he works at UEA in the same area as Jones too.

Nov 16, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

"it's not obvious to me that the climate is something we really need a policy on at all"

Nor me. It's not as though we have any control over it, or even our own collective actions, insofar as they contribute anything.

Nov 16, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Hulme still seems to be in denial, though he hasn't got it as bad as some of the commenters. The issue is not just the science was always uncertain.

It's the added facts that besides the past being uncertain, the predictions are eyewash, the solution unaffordable and it probably won't work anyway.

This isn't a case of the poor plucky little climate campaigners being outspent by Big Oil - they have actually lost every round. The past, the present, the future, the scale of any problem, the feasibility of a solution, the economics of a solution and finally the task of persuasion - every one is an epic fail.

Nov 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"The events of the past year have finally buried the notion that scientific predictions about future climate change can be certain or precise enough to force global policy-making." For pity's sake someone please relay this to Cameron, Clegg, Huhne, and Osborne et al; before they banrupt us subsidising wind farms and demonstrations of carbon capture and storage.

Nov 16, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

I think there is hope for him. As for Mann, not a chance.

Nov 16, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Justice4Rinka 'hasn't got it as bad as SOME OF THE COMMENTERS' Try a 'left click' on the first few 'avatatars'. You'll find 14 of them list their 'education' as UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA including such old favourites as GPWayne, JohntheRock, ARebours and the newer one Pittthewelder !
More like the Beano than a national newspaper !

Nov 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Following your comment, Toad, about the number of Guardian CIF-ers who were educated at UEA, I idly checked the profiles of the commenters following the Mike Hulme piece. To put it mildly, I was surprised by the result. The following - a majority of the contributors - were all educated at UEA:


Most, but not all of them, are Warmers - SisterDingo between decidedly sceptical, for example.

Nov 16, 2010 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce

This is just classic Hulme. He can't give up on 'climate policy' because it suits his socialist agenda (that's his own admission, not my conjecture). He is after all professor of 'climate change', not 'climatology'. If the climate changes are minimal and/or not anthropogenic then he's probably out of a job. He's simply taking stock and recalibrating. HE needs to know what combination of 'contested political values, diverse human ideals and emergent scientific evidence' will play into the hands of his personal political agenda.

Nov 16, 2010 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Paul Boyce, I've just rechecked and following have now posted :-
Robinson RM
and you've missed out BassIreland
ALL 'EDUCATED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA and all 'responding' to Hulme !
That makes 25 or 26 all posting on this one blog. WTF !
It makes 'The Boys from Brazil' look positively innocuous.

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad


That makes 25 or 26 all posting on this one blog. WTF !
It makes 'The Boys from Brazil' look positively innocuous.

In California, we refer to the activity as a circle f**k. I cannot in good conscious give you the Irish equivalent, but I do think you should take solace in your finding. If most, if not all, of those polishing their nose on Hulme's wisdom or other parts of his anatomy are from UEA, what does that tell you?

Well, you nobody else is reading it. (Except maybe us.)

That is good news. He is preaching to the choir. The church is otherwise empty.

Nov 17, 2010 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Wow - I mean WOW!

Thanks so much to those who did the hard work of looking at the serial CiF (Komment macht Frei) commentators and their educations. I'd clocked that Graham Wayne was from UEA, but not the others.

Like many others I am sure, I have long wondered why the game there is so firmly rigged in favour of the warmists. Especially in its moderation policy (summarised briefly as 'Resistance is Useless, Dissent Will Be Supressed in the Interests of Free Speech. One Strike and You're Out'.

So now we know. It is the UEA fraternity brotherhood (Upsilon Epsilon Alpha?) that is in control. If only we could find a collective picture of them all wearing duffel coats and selling Green Socialist Worker together, then we might have the equivalent of the notorious Bullingdon Club photo with Boris the Unkempt and David Cameron.

But seriously, can anyone show a further connection with the Grauniad moderators? Normally I don't really believe in elaborate conspiracy theories as they are too hard to keep quiet and, as they often say on Crimewatch, allegiances change over time. Maybe this time is the one time when there might be a grain of truth hidden away?

Nov 17, 2010 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'Know thine enemy' or at leasr know where they're coming from !
A check on the names of overnight commenters on Mike Hulme's 'Climategate' blog reveals the following
This brings a total of 31 of people from that one institution on this particular blog.
So, in future, if you think you're posting on a serious website, you haven't, you've just wandered into the junior common room at the UEA.
I have pointed this out over there, but no-one seems interested. I don't think non-alumni are particularly welcome.

Nov 17, 2010 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

I have a mundane explanation for this.

The Guardian's software identifies the various subject areas each person has commented on, e.g., "Environment", "Global development", "Education", etc. As all of these people have commented on a thread dealing with the UEA, the software will flag "University of East Anglia" in the Education category, even though most of the commentators have probably never been near the place.

It was a beautiful idea, though. My own theory was that they had all completed the UEA's world-famous PhD course in CiF-ology (Rational Discourse and Etiquette modules strictly optional.)

Nov 17, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Alex Cull. You're probably right. It was fun while it lasted. It will be interesting to see whether any of the '31' come forward to say they've never been near the place. It would also be interesting to see why each one is described thus 'Education - University of East Anglia' . If it's not true, it is at least misleading.

Nov 17, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

You're right Alex, just checked, I too am an alumnus of that august educational establishment.
Presumably details of my Masters Degree in Climatology are in the post.

Nov 17, 2010 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

"What combination of contested political values, diverse human ideals and emergent scientific evidence can drive climate policy?"

This is just boilerplate bureucratic-socialist pronouncement.

Nov 17, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

Does anyone know what A level results are required to get into UEA

Would anyone take seriously a CV which listed attendence at UEA as part of someones education?

Nov 17, 2010 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

The UEA isn't just CRU, I would stress - back when I was living in Norwich it was more famous for its MA course in creative writing (now there's surely a connection waiting to be made!) and it's also well known for its courses in history of art, architecture and media studies. I've never actually studied there, although I was familiar with the place when I was a kid.

Nov 17, 2010 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

It is good to know we can all make fools of ourselves and be men enough to admit it. You nearly had me going there....a timely example of how easy it is to fall into the habit of believing something uncritically just because you want it to be true.
The influence the CRU has exercised in the past is hugely disproportionate to it's size. Do not think Nasa, think of three or four beardy boffins in cramped offices surrounded by paper.
I have often wondered who had the original idea of collecting all that raw surface temperature data and believing that they could somehow deduce from it a figure representing in any meaningful way the surface temperature of the whole planet. Then further have the hubris that they could also detect a minute but long term steady background rise or fall in that temperature.
You can talk to me all day about adjustments for this that and the other but the idea is just inherantly implausible to me. If I had suggested it as an experiment to my old physics master he would have laughed like a drain. Far too many variables, old boy!
The task seems to me to be pretty damn difficult even using satellite measurements.
I am obviously very much in the minority here as it is not an argument I ever hear advanced by anyone else. The queries all seem to be about just how the data is adjusted rather than about whether the whole project is actually feasible.

Nov 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

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