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« Met Office in big trouble | Main | Best commentary on Nurse »
Saturday
Jan292011

More Horizon fallout

There is more fallout from the Horizon programme, some of which is more in the realm of tittle tattle than science and some of which isn't.

The tittle-tattle first. The famous pop-sci author, Simon Singh is trying to pressure James Delingpole into doing another interview, in which Singh gets to bring along a climate scientist to support him. This strikes me as a tad ungentlemanly of Mr Singh. What would be interesting is if Singh and Dellers both got to bring their chosen expert along - given that the Horizon programme majored on Climategate, we could have Phil Jones and Steve McIntyre to discuss the trick to hide the decline, for example.

Delingpole meanwhile has fired back at Singh in a typically robust posting. I was particularly taken aback by his observation that Singh's has claimed that he (Dellers) had "the arrogance to think he knows more of science than a Nobel Laureate", which is not something that Delingpole has said to my knowledge.

On the subject of the Trick, a blogger called Flay wrote an interesting piece about sceptics yesterday, and we had an good discussion about the Trick.  Climatologist Andy Russell appeared briefly and attempted to defend what is, to my mind, the indefensible. Flay also wrote a post about the Hockey Stick, which unfortunately I had to fisk for him, but he took it in good part, and I must say I have come away with quite a favourable impression of him. Just wish he wouldn't use the d-word.

Meanwhile, in the comments to the last post on the Horizon programme, Aynsley Kellow, who is a professor in the School of Government at the University of Tasmania, has said that the Horizon show included a howler on the relative levels of anthropogenic and natural carbon emissions. If he's right, it could be a tad embarrassing, both for Sir Paul and for the man who actually made the claim, Bob Bindschadler of NASA. I've emailed Dr Bindschadler to see if he will comment.

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Reader Comments (61)

That's easy. James just has to re-invite Christopher Monckton like last time.

If this happens I predict Mr Singh would find any number of extremely important excuses why the interview could not be on that day. Or any day.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

A lengthy rebuttal from Simon Singh posted on Delingpole's blog at 8.30. This story has legs, I wonder if it is what Nurse intended.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Delingpole's reply to Singh now up on his blog.

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Toad

Is there a link for that?

Jan 29, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

You've just posted Singh's reply which is also on Delingpole's latest blog 'The curious double standards of Simon Singh' - Delingpole's response to that is now up there.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Perhaps little OT but I came across this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1350206/BBC-propaganda-machine-climate-change-says-Peter-Sissons.html#ixzz1CMv09ajY

A Dutch Blog has paid attention:

http://climategate.nl/2011/01/29/scheidende-peter-sissons-luyendijkt-bbc/

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commenteropastun

I think Singh has the arrogance to think that he knows that Dellers thinks that he knows more of science than a Nobel Laureate.

I quite enjoyed his overpraised book on Fermat's last theorem but this is insufferable.

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

... we could have Phil Jones and Steve McIntyre to discuss the trick to hide the decline, for example.

Such wickedness is unbecoming a man of the cloth, Your Grace =)

Jan 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

This is the discussion of “hide the decline” in the Nurse Horizon programme. One wonders if anyone could be found on the consensus side to defend this view of what happened.

PN: ...just three weeks before the UN Climate Change Convention, what many saw as the world’s best hope to reduce carbon emissions before it was too late. [over image of Obama at Copenhagen. Cut to Phil Jones at UEA] And at the centre or it all was one man, Dr Phil Jones, head of CRU. The unit’s headquarters.
Tree rings have been shown to be a good way of measuring ancient temperatures. And they’ve mostly matched instrumental measurements since the advent of thermometers. However, after about 1960, some tree ring data stopped fitting real temperatures so well. The cause of this isn’t known.
When Dr Jones was asked by the World Meteorological Organisation to prepare a graph of how temperatures had changed over the last one thousand years, he had to decide how to deal with this divergence between the data sets. He decided to use the direct measurements of temperature change from thermometers and instruments, rather than indirect data from the tree rings, to cover the period from 1960. It was this data splicing, and his email referring to it as a trick, that formed the crux of Climategate.

Phil Jones: The Organisation wanted a relatively simple diagram for their particular audience. What we started off doing was the three series with the instrumental temperatures on the end, clearly differentiated from the tree ring series. But they thought that was too complicated to explain to their audience. So what we did was just to add them on, and to bring them up to the present. And as I said, this was a World Meterological Organisation statement, it had hardly any coverage in the media at the time, and had virtually no coverage for the next ten years, until the release of the emails.
PN: So why do you think so much fuss was made about the emails and this graph, rather than the peer reviewed science?
PJ: I think it’s that a number of the climate change sceptics or doubters, deniers, whatever you want to call them, just wanted to use these emails for their own purposes to cast doubt on the basic science. The basic science is in the peer-reviewed literature, and I wish more people would read that than read the emails.

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

If the Horizon program had been on Channel 4 and had made such a howler as the levels of human C02 emissions then no doubt a certain "Policy and Communications Officer" at the Grantham Institute would be complaining to Offcom as well as rounding up people to condemn the program (www.climateofdenial.net).

So will he now do likewise to the BBC Trust that Horizon has misled its viewers?

Or will we see double standards again?

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterComeonBob

Nurse's "cancer" analogy and his theme of an "attack on science" ae all built on the assumption that all branches of science are at the same level of expertise.

For example doctors can diagnose a disease and prescribe a cure, and astronomers can predict where the planets will be several centuries out into the future.

He then extends this same level of confidence in scientific expertise to every branch of science - in this example climate science. This is his incorrect assumption.

He assumes that because doctors can understand a disease, therefore climate scientists understand climate.

In science, you test your understanding by making predictions. An astronomer would predict the date of an eclipse. Scientific understanding is more than just describing what has already happened - or labelling and curating different observations. That's called stamp-collecting.

So the test of climate science is not a show-down with Dellers - it's making some detailed and testable predictions - then waiting and watching.

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I’m probably in a minority of one here but I'm not convinced that Singh is quite the Fearless Tribune for Truth he suggests he is. I fear his campaign to “reform” the libel laws would end up with a solution even worse than the problem, which is real enough.

What he and his ilk seem to want is a witch-hunters' charter - as his attitude to Dellingpole implies.

He famously argued in The Guardian that some chiropractors made some bogus claims but did nothing as far as I can see to stem the mob that turned on the entire profession as a result of a campaign he and others launched in the aftermath.

That’s not to endorse Chiropractic - I don’t - but to suggest that Singh’s apparent desire to debate science isn’t invariably extended to those he claims to debate with.

Fermat’s Last Theorem is, as noted, an entertaining read but his polemic on alternative medecine, Trick or Treatment is almost childishly inept as a work of scientific analysis. It seemed to me at least to be no more than a poorly written hack work for the pharmcos aimed at the gullible.

I wonder if I’m also alone in finding the charity he is closely associated with, Sense About Science, slightly more partisan than some might feel appropriate for an educational body. It seems among other things to act as an aggressive apologist for the increasingly discredited peer review process, for the AGW agenda, for the Met Office and for Big Science in general rather than for scientific inquiry as such.

* My favourite argument against homeopathy came from an osteopath friend who noted that he “wished it worked for alcohol”. But that’s off topic.

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Phil "China Syndrome" Jones:

1. "The basic science is in the peer-reviewed literature, and I wish more people would read that than read the emails."

2. "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is ! Cheers, Phil"

Yes, cheers Phil.

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

Bruce ..... Lord Monckton is on a new documentary in the Storyville series, Monday on BBC4 at 22.00 hours. It purports to tell the sceptics story!! Let's hope this is more sane than Nursey's horizon!!

Jan 29, 2011 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRossa

Rossa. I gather they'll have another 'go' at Delingpole on this, but Lord Monckton is the main focus of their attack. Good job that both 'Dellers' and 'Chrissy Baby' have broad shoulders !

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Bish, I hate to be effusive but those are brilliant answers to Flay on the hockey stick and to Singh and everyone else on his Posterous blog. Not just accurate but scrupulously polite. An example to many.

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Simple Singh says 'on the balance of probabilities the consensus is 90% correct'
The BBC will never allow a proper debate by allowing two scientists to argue in a reasoned and timely manner.

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

The whole idea of putting Delingpole on a science programme stinks to high heaven. Delingpole is a comedy writer who has created Flashman type characters. His Telegraph column is written from the point of view of Delingpole at 19/20, a venom spitting, right wing nut job. It's a good part comedy.

The idea is to portray all opposition to AGW as being from lunatic fringe like Monkton who really is genuinely mad (global Marxist government) . Nigel Lawson is at least 200 years old and will eternally be linked with another perceivedlunatic, the wicked witch of the west Hilda M Thatcher who quite deliberately created the post industrial banking economy that is so desperate to see carbon trading as its biggest earner.

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Smith

Stacey, the BBC no longer have anything to do with it. The Bish's suggestion is Singh and Jones vs Delingpole and McIntyre. I'm sure we'd agree that McKitrick would also be fine with Dellers. Singh is proposing unedited video of the encounter released to all. I agree with Singh on the method and with the Bish on how to make the fight focused and fair. It should be a blast.

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

More from Mother Goosey Nurse’s Rhymes:
PN: .. quantifiying what temperatures might be in the future is very hard. However, through enormous amounts of data collection and research, climate scientists are reducing our uncertainties about the climate system all the time.
Back at NASA, Bob Bindschadler showed me just how much progress has been made.
BB [in front of twin screens projecting Northern Hemisphere cloud patterns]: Just to emphasise how good these models are, side by side comparison. Here’s data, actual observation, and this is what the computer is generating, predicting what should be happening. And you look at one, you look at the other, these major systems, it’s there. These cumulus clouds popping up in the tropics.
PN: And this is all happening in the same time scale, but one is just built on observation, what we actually see, and below that is data and the modelling that that produces?
BB: Exactly, so we’re just testing a model here. We’ve got data, we’ve got a model. How good do the model predictions match the data? And your eye will just tell you the answer.
PN: You see this great thing swirling here and then they swirl up there and then little puffs there ad little puffs there? Huh!
BB: So even that little detail about clouds, models are getting it right - now. And, visually, I think this is just so stunning, because seeing is believing.
PN: Sort of climate science is sort of moving from more tentative science to more certain kowledge. It still has uncertainties, but they’re getting less as time goes on.
BB There will always be a little bit of uncertainty, because there are some processes that we don’t fully understand, burt we measure scientific progress in our ability to reduce the uncertainties, and by that measure, we’re making extraordinary progress.

As Bob says “this is just so stunning” you get a good view of the two screens. Have a look, you doubting Thomases you.

Jan 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Well done Eric Smith: you the win lefty-libtard of the day award:

Its all Thatchers fault. Gotta love the logic to get to that premise. Still back to the topic (interesting diversion as Erics is. Thatcher...lol)


Simon Singh wrote on his own blog thingy:

"2. A few scientists exaggerate ... a few underplay ... I am only interested in the broad consensus after all the arguing."

If simon isnt reading his own blog perhaps he will see this here: Simons point above is a short and simple sentence but it raises so many questions ( ;-) H/T poorlazio). Im not a scientist but perhaps he can clarify a few things that have arisen in my mind with regards to that sentence and what it might imply:

-which scientists are exaggerating and/or underplaying?

-you dont mention that are opposed to such activity, am i right to imply that you tacitly approve of such activity if it serves a purpose?

-is it ok for scientists to exaggerate or underplay so long as they are doing so in order to agree with the broad consensus?

- is there no place in science for the lone maveric going against the current percieved wisdom or the establishment? By extension then perhaps men such as Newton, Darwin, Gallileo, pasteur et al should be admonished retrospecitively for thier contributions to science? Or does this arguement only count in climate science?

-Do you agree that by relying on the arguement for consensus (as Sir Paul Nurse does in the horizon program) that you might alienate people? I think many people would agree that consensus is not the be all and end all of any aspect in our society.

Just wondering is all.

Regards

HB

Jan 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Brubaker

As someone who lives on the other side of the world, I find the very insular English old boys University atmosphere of this latest spat somewhat bemusing. It smacks of a Georgette Heyer novel about duelling pistols at dawn during the 18th century. Most of the people in the world who are affected by this lunatic religion of AGW, have never heard of any of these people and could care less. What on earth is going on? Please, keep on with digging into the money angle, and the science, and the politics of the UN, but leave the overblown theatrics alone.

Jan 29, 2011 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterxyzlatin

Henry Brubaker

"lefty-libtard"

Yes, Delingpole uses that language, but he is a grown up, petit bourgois, comedy writer who graduated from Oxford and was a friend of David Cameron, not Homer Simpson's idiot British cousin. So from him, it's comedy.

Thatcher initiated global warming politics under the guidance of eugenics fan and mentor to George Monbiot, Sir Crispin Tickell with a speech to the UN.

**

On November 8 1989, Margaret Thatcher shocked the UN with a speech on global warming


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2005/jun/30/climatechange.climatechangeenvironment1

**

Pathologically extreme right wing comedy writer vs Nobel Prize winning geneticist. That is the whole point of the programme right there.

Jan 29, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Smith

@xyzlatin

Jame Delingpole is one of the few mainstream journalists in britain openly skeptical (and on a regular basis) of AGW and scathing of the politics surrounding it. On a recent BBC tv program (many have it that the BBC is enraptured of CAGW not least for reasons regarding its pension fund, it is certainly biased in favour of AGW) Delingpole was made to either (a) look like a complete fool, or (b) was the victim of biased and hostile selective editing, depending on your point of view or prior predjudices

This was coupled with attempted character assasinations by various other parts of the media by journalists, bloggers and self styled experts such as Simon Singh. These 'attacks' also coincided with a whole host of new 'trolls' joining Delingpoles blogs to pour scorn on him with one post and then leaving, presumably to infer a lot of skepticism of his skepticism.

As such it may be that there is a concerted and coordinated effort to discredit him and his skeptical views. So whilst they might not be names you recognise (though I understand Delingpole has some following in the US) its of considerable interest on this side of the pond. Its of special interest to those of us skeptical of it all as well.

Jan 29, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Brubaker

Am I right or wrong in assuming those NASA screens were comparing satellite composites with meteorological forecast model outputs just days apart, and that met model forecasts were probably initiated already primed with the real pressure data current at initiation date? Passed off as long range climate models?

Jan 29, 2011 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Quite a tribute to 'Dellers' then, that the Nobel Laureate, the new President of the Royal Society felt obliged to enlist the combined efforts of his Alma Mater, the University of East Anglia, the Guardian newspaper with its coterie of hysterical tweeters and our unprejudiced National Broadcaster in a vain attempt to entrap and humiliate a single blogger.
I wonder whose reputation will have suffered most at the end of the day

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Pharos
There is no indication in the programme of what we are looking at that is so “stunning”. Horizon is not a science programme. It’s a boring Dr Who pilot starring a real scientist playing himself going “Gosh!” in front of a screen. Real actors do this better.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Yes, agree with your supposition Pharos.

Have we got a list of errors and misdirections given in the Horizon programme?

- natural CO2 emissions much less than anthropogenic
- temperature changes happening faster now than ever before
- more certainty than ever before about AGW

etc

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterQ

I think it is arrogant to imagine that Nobel Laureates are either omniscient or totally impartial. Some have been deeply flwed in areas of their thinking.

Linus Pauling won 2 Nobel prizes however, as great as he was, his views on Vitamin C bordered on daft.
Since Sir Paul Nurse is continuing the work started by Lords May & Reece, i.e. politicising the Royal Society, perhaps we should think of another Nobel Laureate, the physicist Johannes Stark, now what book did he write, oh yes "Nationalsozialismus und Wissenschaft ". Wasn't that another consensus?

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

It is just another "kick Dellers when he is down" pile up.

As a result, the irony is sometimes delicious. For example, Joe Romm - possibly the most humorless blogger in the entire world, had a post on Delingpole. Keith Kloor believes Dellers' work is 'buffoonery' masquerading as journalism. What does that mean? Perhaps all climate related journalism should be like the New York Times like- Justin Gillis' eyewatering ecoboredom, or the life-threateningly pompous puffery of Andy Revkin. Dellers laughed a whole bunch of climate ducks right out of the water and the seething hatred is clearly visible.

(BTW, I like Kloor so don't say anything about him.)

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I wonder if we shall be enjoying 'eric smith's' terrifying rants here on a regular basis. The bulk of what he has to say merely establishes his extreme left-wing credentials.
However when he says 'The whole idea of putting Delingpole on a science programme stinks to high heaven', could I remind him that it was no less an exalted personage than the President of the Royal Society who chose to knock on James's door to solicit his opinion.
I assume Sir Paul thought that JD's views mattered, even if you don't.
I also assume that Delingpole will appreciate 'eric's' reference to his excellent 'Coward' (flashmanesque)series of WW2 books.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Eric Smith wrote:

Thatcher initiated global warming politics under the guidance of eugenics fan and mentor to George Monbiot, Sir Crispin Tickell with a speech to the UN.

This is not quite correct. The AGW bandwagon was already rolling along quite nicely thank you by the late 1980s - Hansen's famous "heated room" presentation to the US Senate's energy committee took place in 1988.

Sir Crispin Tickell, then Britain’s UN representative, had taken a year’s sabbatical in 1976 to study meteorology and astronomy at Harvard, had written a book on AGW and bought into a growing movement. As he explains it:

“I think I persuaded Mrs. Thatcher of the importance of climate change and she took it up in a famous speech at the Royal Society in 1988. She came to the United Nations in 1989 and gave a speech on it. She attended the World Climate Conference with me in attendance in 1990. And certainly that aspect of it she was always very strong about . . . Indeed I remember an all-day meeting with her ministers in which we discussed nothing else.”

Another influential British voice at that time was Met Office director John Houghton, a respected atmospheric physicist driven by a mission to unite Christianity, science and environmentalism and blessed with a fire-and-brimstone style to match. AGW had long been an issue close to his heart – he was a veteran of the climate conference circuit well before Thatcher’s zeal was sparked.

Reasons proffered for her developing interest in things environmental differ according to source but it is uncontroversial to note that she had motive to prefer an energy policy that steered clear of coal and was keen to rehabilitate nuclear power.

Her speech to the United Nations General Assembly in November 1989, posing new international challenges for the decades ahead now that the Cold War was over, was perhaps the zenith of the Tory Right. With a passing nod at the now more fashionable issue of ‘population control’, she lauded the climate conference industry, saying:

‘I believe we should aim to have a convention on global climate change ready by the time the World Conference on Environment and Development meets in 1992’, before announcing that:

“The United Kingdom therefore proposes that we prolong the role of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change after it submits its report next year so that it can provide an authoritative scientific base for the negotiation of this and other protocols. We can then agree to targets to reduce the greenhouse gases, and how much individual countries should contribute to their achievement. We think it important that this should be done in a way which enables all our economies to continue to grow and develop.

“The challenge for our negotiators on matters like this is as great as for any disarmament treaty. The Inter-governmental Panel's work must remain on target, and we must not allow ourselves to be diverted into fruitless and divisive argument. Time is too short for that.

The IPCC thus accords with Margaret Thatcher’s ‘vision’. The intolerant approach and the destiny-laden rhetoric were of course routine Iron Lady stuff but it is hard to believe that, even in her wildest dreams, she thought she would get to see the western left a-whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ in support of her calls to drown dissent. She would probably have shunned their company but it would be churlish to begrudge her due pleasure at the irony of it all.

It was time for legacy building. In May 1990, she opened the Met Office’s spanking new Hadley Centre.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

I wonder if we shall be enjoying 'eric smith's' terrifying rants here on a regular basis. The bulk of what he has to say merely establishes his extreme left-wing credentials.
However when he says 'The whole idea of putting Delingpole on a science programme stinks to high heaven', could I remind him that it was no less an exalted personage than the President of the Royal Society who chose to knock on James's door to solicit his opinion.
I assume Sir Paul thought that JD's views mattered, even if you don't.
I also assume that Delingpole will appreciate 'eric's' reference to his excellent 'Coward' (flashmanesque)series of WW2 books.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

I read both Simon Singh and the flay dude's posts. Both of them cite skepticalscience.com. Strange.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

I think that's fairly standard OP now. Nothing untoward.

Jan 29, 2011 at 2:59 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

DaveB

Nothing to disagree with except Hansen is a nobody. Thatcher was a global political figure.

More generally. Delingpole may have fans here, but his political writing on his blog would be seen by 95% of the population as unacceptably extreme. That's why the put him on the programme. To demonise AGW scepticism as part of a lunatic fringe.

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Smith

Hahahah dread0, brilliant to juxtapose those two statements. You couldn't make it up...

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

@DaveB, 2:20pm wrote
'The intolerant approach and the destiny-laden rhetoric were of course routine Iron Lady stuff but it is hard to believe that, even in her wildest dreams, she thought she would get to see the western left a-whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ in support of her calls to drown dissent.'

Margaret Thatcher has a whole section entitled 'Hot Air and Global Warming' in her 2002 book 'Statecraft'.
A few quotes to give you a flavour of her opinions at that stage:
1. '. . . as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.' Ch 11 p. 450 paperback edition.
2. 'By the end of my time as Prime Minister I was also becoming seriously concerned about the anti-capitalist arguments which the campaigners against global warming were deploying.' Ib p.451
3. 'Actually, President Bush was quite right to reject the Kyoto protocol.' Ib p.452
4. '. . . is carbon dioxide responsible for whatever global warming has occurred? Here too the uncertainties are formidable.' Ib p.454
The whole section is worth a read to balance the earlier speeches which are so oft quoted. Hers was a serious and critical consideration of the issues giving sue weight to the uncertainties and the balance of thee demands of political action.

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterCameron Rose

'Cameron Rose'

Like every other politician, Thatcher was a puppet and a consummate liar. When it came to the time the free market right was expected to disagree with AGW, she changed horses. Thatcher's regime, like her friend Pinochet's was orchestrated in Washington through her handler Rupert Murdoch. Former senior CIA operative Miles Copeland has written that Thatcher was installed by the CIA (Tebbit stood down), possibly because her husband was a director of Burmah Oil and the North Sea was taking off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Copeland,_Jr.#Retirement

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Eric Smith:

Nothing to disagree with except Hansen is a nobody.

Would that he was. He was director of GISS at the time and politically sponsored by Tim Wirth and Al Gore. (Amusingly, Booker suggests he was groomed for the 1988 presentation on account of a prior bad performance.)

The meeting led to media feeding frenzy and unarguably acted as a significant political catalyst for the AGW agenda. The "Hockey Stick" and the dodgy stats that support it are his creation. In short, he's a nobody who became a somebody but shouldn't have.

I probably agree with your assessment of the rather tedious "Dellers" but that's beside the point. What matters is that it was the worst kind of gutter journalism on the part of Paul Nurse to stitch him up the way he did, the antics of an apparatchik. To see senior scientific figures behave so badly is dispiriting.

Jan 29, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

It does seem to be SOP, Bish, just so one does not have to wade into the literature and the very specific problems that lie hidden within. Very useful for that indeed.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

DaveB

All scientists are political nobodies until they are sponsored. Hansen was also sponsored by Soros. It is literally unbelievable that a small (Soros funded) advocacy group was more powerful than NASA and the US government. Hansen was allowed to spout his nonsense. It is also important to remember that Al Gore, like his father is owned and operated by Occidental Oil.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Cameron Rose:

The whole section is worth a read to balance the earlier speeches which are so oft quoted.

I'll do as you suggest but I'd argue for now that it was all a bit late for that by 2002; the damage had long been done. We still have the IPCC, the Hadley Centre and even, on the odd occasion, Tickell and Houghton.

Besides, my gripe is that Thatcher's speeches on AGW are rarely quoted - her role tends to be swept under the carpet by commentators both left and right. Booker's account is IMO a notable exception and all the better for it.

Hers was a serious and critical consideration of the issues giving due weight to the uncertainties and the balance of the demands of political action.

Not sure what you mean here though I would like to know.

++++
Eric Smith:

Former senior CIA operative Miles Copeland has written that Thatcher was installed by the CIA . . .

Miles Copeland was well known for regularly talking though his arse. This, I respectfully suggest, is a case in point. No reason for the rest of us to follow suit.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Shub observes, re Skeptical Science:

It does seem to be SOP, Bish, just so one does not have to wade into the literature and the very specific problems that lie hidden within. Very useful for that indeed.

Agreed. His stuff on OHC had me chewing my desk (again). Such certainty.

Also it allows know-nothings to pretend to some understanding of whatever topic it is they are pushing the CAGW line on.

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Dave B above:

Wise words re Copeland.

Be warned, 'debates' with E Smith can go on, and on...

Jan 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Miles Copeland was well known for regularly talking though his arse"

Well known to whom ?

LOL !!

Politically informed opnion in Britain would not have been surprised that Thatcher was a CIA operation. Pinochet +Thatcher = Monetarism experiments.

"During the Iran hostage crisis, Copeland met with Israeli officials during the crisis to carry a "track two" diplomatic initiative to Tehran offering a compromise"

"Working closely with Archibald Roosevelt (son of Theodore), and his nephew Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., he was instrumental in arranging Operation Ajax, the 1953 technical coup d'état against the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh."

He sounds like a useless idiot to me too .

Jan 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

BBD - "Also it allows know-nothings to pretend to some understanding of whatever topic it is they are pushing the CAGW line on."

I left this comment on Bart Verheggen's site. (He refused to publish)

SkepticalScience.com publishes junk from climate babies who’s only raison d’etre for wading into this or that topic is their instinctual belief that the consensus must be correct.

Quite the co-incidence? :)

Jan 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

Scepticalscience is extensively quoted at the Guardian. It is run by John Cook who has no post grad science qualification and is a born again Christian (not a favourite philosophy at the Guardian),

Jan 29, 2011 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

I'm sure that anyone who knows anything about the inner workings of TV will know that it generally takes many, many months between the idea for a TV program being suggested and its arrival on the screen. It often takes years.

Yet Nurse becomes president of The Royal Society on the 1st Dec 2010, and within two months he has a TV program on air. It was only the 3rd Horizon episode since he took office. Why did the BBC fast-track his program? Is the BBC susceptible to FOI requests?

Jan 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

James Evans

No the BBC is largely exempt.

Also, Nurse was appointed a long time back, but has only just taken office.

Jan 29, 2011 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

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