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« 28gate in the Express | Main | A triumph of hope over repeated failure »

The roadmap

This is a guest post by Chris Horner.

Information continues to flow in the struggle to bail out the Hockey Team, piecing together the relevant "context" to ClimateGate. This pursuit is of critical importance to the Team, and "the cause", given the solemn vow that this missing context would explain ClimateGate away as something other than "the worst scientific scandal of our generation". Despite this, and the eagerness of certain among the team to claim "exoneration" where sadly none exists, the Team don't seem to want to be helped.

To date we have been provided many hundreds of public records from numerous public bodies, if still not the entirety needed for the job at hand. But now we have a very helpful roadmap for going forward.

A few weeks back we received from the University of Arizona two indexes of emails, in response to a request for records citing Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ammann and Wahl, GRL, Famiglietti, and Saiers. The indexes were produced by two gents whom the University asked -- in a move more than slightly burdened by conflicts -- to turn over what they thought ought to be turned over, and withhold what they thought the public shouldn't see. Being more expert on the Open Records Act than the school’s OPRA officials, apparently.

That latter category amounts to around 1,700 emails, laid out as an accessible if incomplete roadmap of what was going on, when, helping fill in blanks: date, author, general description, and a generally ill-fitting, often risible basis for withholding. These details can be seen here and here

Questions abound for students of the scandal. One leaping from the pages is, who are the other correspondents whose identity might justify the claimed privilege, which does not otherwise apparently apply? Where a paper involved has the withholding faculty member as a co-author, it is identified; so, what are these other papers whose mention in an email makes the entirety privileged; were these gents authors? What does this tell us about the relevant process, and possibly beg about "pal review"?

Also, catch the date on emails withheld as being “correspondence to Phil Jones and others in the deliberative process of drafting IPCC 5th Assessment Report”, written before there was an AR5 deliberative process (for whatever that is worth: Arizona's law recognizes no such exemption; also, IPCC acknowledges performing no scientific research). There are also some fun claims of privilege for, e.g., a workshop concepts paper, an AGU meeting abstract, and a “UCS summary". That’s just the Overpeck index of withholdings; the Hughes index crafts dozens of categories or reasons why emails should be exempt (e.g., not merely “correspondence between authors”, and “between colleagues”, but “between collaborators”...).

A helpful roadmap for the interested, particularly now as our attentions are again drawn to the IPCC process. It's hard to say which of these records are likely to be of most interest in providing the Team their missing context. Unless of course you are RC, who might have thoughts, at least on the correspondence with UEA...

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Reader Comments (5)

Good article by Booker.

Yes, "the worst scientific scandal of our generation". Does it have any rivals?

Dec 18, 2012 at 8:23 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

One hopes that RC has more gifts for the public.....

There is so much more that needs to be understood.... to fill out that all-important "context" we've heard so much about from apologists for The Team.

Dec 18, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

There's a need to ensure that the IPCC / Gatekeepers don't slip in any work that the reviewers haven't already reviewed. Perhaps a log should be kept?

It should also be noted that the cut-off date for peer-reviewed published literature to be included and assessed in the final draft lies in the future (15 March 2013).

Fourth paragraph

Dec 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

Somebody said that secrecy eats the soul. It does.

Dec 18, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Raskolnikov leads the zombie horde.

Dec 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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