The Scotsman has been reading the blogs it seems, picking up on the work of readers here in unearthing Professor Boulton's background in global warming alarmism. Some recognition of this blog would have been welcome, but such is life.
Professor Boulton makes an attempt to defend himself:
Last night, on being questioned by The Scotsman, Prof Boulton insisted he was a "sceptical scientist" prepared to change his views "if the evidence merited".
...and we must of course take him at his word on this. However, the panellists must be free of even the appearance of bias if they are to win the confidence of sceptics, and it is for that reason that Professor Boulton is unsuitable.
I think there now has to be a major question mark over the whole of the Russell Review. With two of the five panellists appointed having been shown to have been wildly unsuitable, many will conclude that Muir Russell has set out to produce a predetermined result, not to reach the truth.
Maybe they need to start again.
Well that was exciting wasn't it? I rolled in from the local hostelry at 11pm to find a message waiting for me from BBC News and the most extraordinary pair of articles about Phil Jones on the BBC website.
The BBC were pushing this story, which seems to have been some colleagues telling tales about the state of Jones' office, the spin being that Jones' untidiness is the reason he can't lay his hand on his data. This doesn't really ring true to me. In the emails, Jones was telling his Hockey Team colleagues that he was going to refuse to release the data, not that he couldn't lay his hands on it. If he really couldn't lay his hands on it, you would have expected him to start trying to collate the data anew, wouldn't you? And anyway, what was it that he sent to Peter Webster at Georgia Tech? I'm profoundly uncomfortable about this story.
Far more interesting is this Q&A between Harrabin and Jones, in which Jones announces that the existence of the Medieval Warm Period is still a matter for debate, a step that for most people would be enough to win them the "denier" label. He says only that "there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity". Most of us thought that the science was "settled".
The whole thing is a must-read, but it's also worth standing back and marvelling at Professor Jones' ability to express uncertainty in a manner that will be readily comprehensible to the layman. This is something that we have been told many times is very difficult to do. Perhaps we are getting somewhere now.
OK, so if Sir Muir and his team are no good, who should be on the panel? - people who are suitably qualified in the areas the inquiry are going to examine, but without the environmentalist baggage. Here's a few thoughts:
IT areas: John Graham-Cumming has suggested himself as a candidate and he would certainly be acceptable to both sides.
Paleoclimate: someone at CA suggested Atte Korhola. Perhaps not acceptable to the other side though.
Statistics: Ian Jolliffe?
Peer review: Harvey Markovitch? Ex-BMJ - expertise in research integrity and peer review ethics
Thanks to everyone who has been adding information about Geoffrey Boulton in the comments to the previous piece. Professor Boulton:
- spent 18 years at the school of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia
- works in an office almost next door to a member of the Hockey Team
- says the argument over climate change is over
- tours the country lecturing on the dangers of climate change
- believes the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2050
- signed up to a statement supporting the consensus in the wake of Climategate, which spoke of scientists adhering to the highest standards of integrity
- could fairly be described as a global warming doommonger
- is quite happy to discuss "denial" in the context of the climate debate.*
The idea that this man has no preconception of global warming science and has no connections with the CRU is clearly risible.
*This last bit is from that premium Scotman site. The full quote is: "Computer models of the natural climate have been very successful in simulating the changes of the recent past, until after 1970, when they suggest that there should have been cooling, not warming. Add human-produced greenhouse gases to the models, however, and the match between the model and reality is excellent. It shows that, since 1970, the human-induced component has begun to dominate over natural trends. Denial is equivalent to saying: "I don't know anything about science, so given the choice of trusting 99.9 per cent or 0.1 per cent of the experts, I'll go with the 0.1 per cent."
Long-term followers of the climate debate (and those who have read the Hockey Stick Illusion) will remember the NAS panel on the Hockey Stick, and how Bette Otto-Bliesner, the scientist who occupied the office next door to Caspar Ammann, was appointed to the panel, a move that called into question the panel's independence.
We've already had questions raised about the independence of another of Sir Muir Russell's panellists, Geoffrey Boulton, the ex-UEA man who has spoken out in favour of the global warming consensus, but I'm grateful to a couple of readers for filling in some more details.
Cameron Rose makes this observation:
I note that Geoffrey Boulton is based at the University of Edinburgh, with an office at the Grant Institute at the King's Buildings in Edinburgh. Interestingly, Gabi Hegerl, who, I understand, is a member of the 'Hockey Team' and features in the CRU emails, and was a key author of AR4, has an office on the same floor in the same building 3 doors along.
Of course, that does not mean he's not independent, but it hardly inspires confidence.
Another reader points me to an article that Boulton wrote last year (Link- pay site - I'm trying to get a copy) entitled...
Just how much more evidence of climate change do you need?
...while Benny Pieser, writing in his CCNet newsletter, notes this quote from Boulton back in 2005 (I'm not sure of the source)
The argument regarding climate change is over.
I think it behoves me to point out to readers once more the declaration on the review's website:
Do any of the Review team members have a predetermined view on climate change and climate science?
No. Members of the research team come from a variety of scientific backgrounds. They were selected on the basis they have no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science and for the contribution they can make to the issues the Review is looking at.
Does anyone have access to the Scotman's website premium content? If so can you get in touch please. Contact link at the bottom of the nav bar.
Got it now. Thanks to everyone who has been trying to get this for me.
OK readers, you have work to do.
Submissions for the Russell review are due by the end of the month and it will require some concentrated effort by the community to put something together so quickly.
Here's the Issues for Examination document published by Sir Muir and his team. The first question is "Does this cover everything it should do?" The document covers several broad areas, with more detailed questions under each heading. Are there any broad areas missing? Are there more detailed questions to be added under existing headings?
Here are the broad headings.
1. The allegation of ignoring potential problems in deducing palaeotemperatures from tree ring data that might undermine the validity of the so-called “hockey-stick” curve.
2. The allegation that CRU has colluded in attempting to diminish the significance of data that might appear to conflict with the 20th century global warming hypothesis
3. It is alleged that proxy temperature deductions and instrumental temperature data have been improperly combined to conceal mismatch between the two data series
4. It is alleged that there has been an improper bias in selecting and adjusting data so as to favour the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis and details of sites and the data adjustments have not been made adequately available
5. It is alleged that there have been improper attempts to influence the peer review system and a violation of IPCC procedures in attempting to prevent the publication of opposing ideas.
6. The scrutiny and re-analysis of data by other scientists is a vital process if hypotheses are to rigorously tested and improved. It is alleged that there has been a failure to make important data available or the procedures used to adjust and analyse that data, thereby subverting a crucial scientific process.
7. The keeping of accurate records of datasets, algorithms and software used in the analysis of climate data.
8. Response to Freedom of Information requests.
Answers in the comments please.
One of the problems with living in the country, with its early-to-bed, early-to-rise ways is that you're not geared to the daily cycle of TV news.
Someone from the BBC emailed a couple of times last night asking for a reaction to the Campbell resignation, but unfortunately your humble blogger was already fast asleep. I dare say they managed OK without me. And fame can wait.
A video of Rajendra Pachauri with some startling statements about the recent IPCC scandals. Apparently the Himalayan glacier melting thing is the only error in the IPCC reports. The other issues aren't errors at all. Oh yes, and it's OK to use non-peer reviewed literature in IPCC reports.