From EU Referendum
Dear Mr Monbiot
Following the publication of your post here, I have written to your newspaper by e-mail, expressing my concerns about the piece, and inviting the newspaper to contact me to discuss it informally, to avoid the need to take expensive and (to you) potentially damaging action in order to protect my professional reputation.
Since your newspaper has not troubled itself to contact me, I am forced to take the step of contacting you and the newspaper more formally, which I am in the process of so doing.
In the meantime, however, I am writing here as the most direct means of contacting you, to ask you to remove from this post all references to myself, as being libellous and highly damaging – the precise details of which will be passed to your newspaper shortly.
You may, of course, leave this message visible or remove it, but you may wish to note that the addition of further comments arising as a result of references to me remaining in your post, and which are also of a libellous or denigratory nature, may form part of any subsequent action which I choose to take.
Commentators who choose to comment on this post may also wish to note that I would be happy to enjoin them in any legal action taken against Mr Monbiot or The Guardian newspaper if they too are of a libellous or denigratory nature. You have been warned.
Richard North (Dr)
The BBC's Panorama piece (the one featuring Michael Mann) is on tonight. The Panorama home page features a clip in which presenter Tom Heap visits the Rowe family "to find out what effect they think their lifestyle is having on warming the planet", which rather suggests that the programme is going to be toe-curlingly awful.
Meanwhile, Skeptic magazine has an article called "Climate Skeptics - the good the bad and the ugly", which looks interesting. If anyone can get me a copy of the text I'd be grateful.
Also there is this piece by PZ Myers proclaiming the deflating of Climategate. The basis for Myers' claim is the Sunday Times retraction of the Amazongate story, which seems a little odd since this was nothing to do with Climategate at all and the principal claims of Leake's article still seem to stand.
In 2007, Ross McKitrick wrote a paper on the Fourth Assessment Report which included a short section on the IPCC's use of Judith Lean's paper:
The IPCC acknowledges that solar activity is high, and possibly exceptionally high, compared to the last 8,000 years. The two most prominent proxy-based reconstructions (from teams led by Solanki and Muescheler, respectively), differ on whether an interval in the 1700s included a spike comparable to today’s but both agree that today’s solar output is very high compared to most of the current interglacial era.
The Amazongate story looks as though it may run for a considerable time. We have had, in rapid succession, a crowing article from George Monbiot, a fighting response from Delingpole and now articles from Booker in the Telegraph and North on EU Referendum.
It seems clear that the Sunday Times withdrew its article without a adjudication being made - it's not on the PCC's list of cases adjudicated and Monbiot says that the ST withdrew the article in order to avoid an adverse ruling. Strangely though, the case doesn't appear in the list of cases resolved - i.e. negotiated settlements - either.
The more interesting questions are the ones raised by Booker and North though. Just where did the IPCC's claim that 40% of the Amazon was at risk from climate change come from? The original source was a WWF report, which both Monbiot and Booker/North agree shouldn't have been used. Monbiot says however that the claim was indeed based on the peer-reviewed literature:
The projection was drawn from a series of scientific papers by specialists in this field, published in peer-reviewed journals, some of which are referenced in the first section of the IPCC's 2007 report (pdf).
Now this should be enough to set the alarm bells ringing - Monbiot appears to be saying, in essence, that the correct citations are in the WG1 report somewhere. But where? He links to one chapter of WG1, when the dispute is about a statement made in the WG2 report. And which paper or papers is he actually citing?
This skirting round the question of the actual papers that support the allegation that 40% of the Amazon is at risk from climate change suggests strongly that there are none. What is more one is tempted to conclude that George Monbiot knows it.
Shub Niggurath examines the evolution of the 40% claim through the different drafts of the IPCC report. This is very interesting, showing how the words "react sensibly" became "react drastically", apparently at the instigation of a reviewer from...wait for it...UEA. The problem is that "react sensibly" referred to precipitation-led change, while the reviewer's comments referred to fire-driven change.
Willis Eschenbach has an interesting piece at WUWT as well.
The Czech sceptic who wrote the original piece about the IPCC's handling of the question of a solar influence on climate has posted a proper translation, which can be seen here. The man in charge of the satellites used for collecting the data makes this rather damning assessment of Lean and Frohlich.
Fröhlich made unauthorised and incorrect adjustments... He did it without any detailed knowledge of the ACRIM1 instrument or on-orbit performance...The only obvious purpose was to devise a TSI composite, that agreed with the predictions of Lean's TSI proxy model.
Leif Svalgaard weighs in on this subject at WUWT:
Froelich does not ‘manipulate’ somebody else’s data. The ACRIM data is still there and has not been touched by Froehlich. What Claus does is to assign a different weight to the ACRIM data when he build his own private composite of all available data. Nothing wrong with that, just a reflection of Claus’ different [and likely correct, IMHO] opinion about what the degradation of ACRIM has been.
This is a startlingly different take on the question to the one you get from the original quote.
The FT is reporting the first appointments to select committees. These appointments are ongoing.
The Science and Technology appointments so far are as follows (colour-coded by party):
- Andrew Miller (chairman)
- Graham Stringer
- Stephen Metcalfe
- David Morris
- Stephen Mosley
- Alok Sharma
A quick Google suggests that none of these have expressed strong opinions on climate change.
The other commitee of interest is Environmental Audit
- Joan Walley (chairman)
- Martin Caton
- Zac Goldsmith
Another problem with the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report seems to have emerged. Apparently a sceptic blog in the Czech Republic is reporting that the IPCC's conclusions on the lack of a solar influence on climate were based on a single paper by Lean and Frohlich and the IPCC ignored reviewers' objections over the lack of support for the idea. What is worse, Lean and Frohlich are accused of adjusting their data in an inappropriate fashion.
The BBC Editors' blog gives us a glimpse of their forthcoming Panorama documentary about global warming in the wake of Climategate.
They interview Bob Watson, John Christy, Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Mann, the latter quoted as 'regretting the way his so-called "hockey-stick graph" was put in the spotlight by politicians' (!)
Read the whole thing here.
Tip of the hat to Marcel Crok for alerting me to the release of the names of the chapter authors of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.
No Briffa, Jones or Mann, but the paleoclimate chapter includes Tim Osborn. Having someone from CRU onboard might well be seen as somewhat controversial if not downright provocative. Other familiar names are Eystein Jansen, Bette Otto-Bleisner and Juerg Luterbacher.
Marcel advises that many of the authors were also on board for AR4. Perhaps nobody else wants to be involved any more.