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What is the consensus based upon?

The FT changes tune slightly and admits there might be a tiny problem with climatology. The walls are not exactly tumbling down yet, but it may be that the Pink'un is struggling to hold the line.

Interestingly, they tell us that the IPCC needs to "give weight to all the evidence, not just the consensus". This appears to be an admission that the "consensus" is (a) not a consensus and (b) is based on a partial selection of the available evidence.

I agree with them.

I think, however, that the FT should expect a campaign of criticism.



French academy shames British one

Much excitement in France over the announcement that there is to be a national debate on climate change under the auspices of the French National Academy.

The move appears to have been prompted by the success of L'Imposture Climatique, a book by the sceptic scientist Claude Allegre, who has sold no less than 100,000 copies so far (a number which makes me extremely jealous).

The striking thing about the story though is what it reveals about the attitude of the French Academy of Sciences:

Noting that the Academy does not take sides on the issue, and that the Academy’s website already reports the views of scientists on both sides of the debate, [Academy president, Jean] Salençon aims to defend the scientific method and the principles of scientific inquiry, not any one scientific position. When asked if sanctions might be in the cards for Allegre, a member of the Academy, or any other climate sceptics, he replied: "Under no circumstances! There is no question of ethical sanctions. Even less of an expulsion. The nomination for the Academy of Sciences is perpetual. It cannot be reversed, not even through a resignation.”

Defending the principles of scientific inquiry eh? Not an approach that would win much favour with the grubby lobbyists of the Royal Society, with their guide to Facts and Fictions About Climate Change.



Rational Optimist

Matt Ridley has a new website up, promoting his new book, the Rational Optimist. There is also a blog, which should be interesting. Welcome to the blogosphere, Matt!


Quote of the day

Greenpeace announces its new approach towards climate sceptics:

We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

And we be many, but you be few.


US availability

A couple of people have asked about US availability for the Hockey Stick Illusion. We are currently discussing a possible deal with a US publisher. While these talks are ongoing we are not going to ship any further copies to Amazon in the States.

I am not confident that we will do a deal, because the publisher concerned is talking about very long lead times to get the book to print - as much as a year. I hope we can persuade them that this is not a good idea. If not, we will start to ship to again and will also start work on ebook editions.

Once again, if anyone knows a tame North American publisher, I'd love to be put in touch.

Update: Try here if you are outside the UK.


Dundee Courier

For local readers, there is a full-page feature about yours truly and The Hockey Stick Illusion in today's Dundee Courier. It's not online at the moment.


Der Spiegel

Blimey. Peter Webster's comments in the Der Spiegel article are quite something, aren't they?

While amateur climatologist McIntyre spent years begging in vain for the raw data, Webster eventually managed to convince Jones to send them to him. He is the only scientist to date who has been given access to the data. "To be honest, I'm shocked by the sloppy documentation," Webster told SPIEGEL.

Click to read more ...


Russell review submissions

Sir Muir and his band of merry men have published some of the submissions they have received. Included among them is a letter I wrote to Sir Muir after the resignation of Philip Campbell, suggesting a way by which his panel could appoint a mutually acceptable replacement. I didn't received a reply to this, or to a subsequent email. It's rather odd to see it now listed as a submission to the panel.



New Nature climate change journal

Nature is launching a new cross-disciplinary climate change journal.

Nature Climate Change will publish original research across the physical and social sciences on a monthly basis and will strive to forge and synthesize interdisciplinary research. As such, it will be the first Nature branded journal to publish peer-review content from the social sciences community.

I've left a comment asking if they are going to require authors to submit data and code with their manuscripts.


Keep on gatekeeping

Ross McKitrick shows plainly that, despite the furore over the emails and the frantic issuing of denials, mainstream climatologists, are still determined to keep sceptic views out of the literature.

This is the story of how I spent 2 years trying to publish a paper that refutes an important claim in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The claim in question is not just wrong, but based on fabricated evidence. Showing that the claim is fabricated is easy: it suffices merely to quote the section of the report, since no supporting evidence is given. But unsupported guesses may turn out to be true. Showing the IPCC claim is also false took some mundane statistical work, but the results were clear. Once the numbers were crunched and the paper was written up, I began sending it to science journals. That is when the runaround began. Having published several against-the-flow papers in climatology journals I did not expect a smooth ride, but the process eventually became surreal.

This is simply astonishing stuff. Read the whole thing.


Live chat of statisticians

Statisticians are currently live discussing climate science here.

There is an accompanying AMS article here.

Quote of the day

Frank Furedi at Spiked

Investigations that are meant to serve as a ‘corrective’ to people’s misguided or immoral sentiments used to be called rituals. And that is what this the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s ‘limited inquiry’ was mostly about: a ritualised pseudo-investigation aimed at correcting people’s allegedly backward views.



BBC World Service

I will be on the BBC World Service at 14:05 today. The internet link is here.

I was rather nervous, and I don't think I came over very well, but I managed to get a couple of key messages over:

  • they've missed the point of the Nature trick
  • they should have interviewed McIntyre.

Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce has one of the more interesting responses to the Parliamentary report, picking up on some interesting omissions and contradictions in what our elected representatives had to say.

His points on the "Nature trick" are less informative though. He points to statements by Sarah Palin and Senator Inhofe on the subject and rightly points out that the idea that CRU were trying to hide the "fact" that temperatures are not rising is false.

Of course they weren't.

So. Now we have, yet again, disposed of this canard, can we get on to the real accusation, namely that Jones hid the decline from policymakers so as to make the proxy reconstruction of the Medieval Warm Period look more reliable than it actually is?



Stephen who?

Has anybody noticed how little attention the committee gave to Steve McIntyre's evidence? I said at the time that their failure to invite him to give evidence smacked of not wanting to know the truth. In particular, SM's evidence put the Nature trick in clear perspective, but despite that the committee concluded there was no case to answer.

It looks as though my original surmise was correct.