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Orlowski on the hearings

Andrew Orlowski takes a long hard look at the hearings on Monday:

Parliament isn’t the place where climate sceptics go to make friends. Just over a year ago, just three MPs voted against the Climate Act, with 463 supporting it. But events took a surprising turn at Parliament’s first Climategate hearing yesterday.

MPs who began by roasting sceptics in a bath of warm sarcasm for half an hour were, a mere two hours later, asking why the University of East Anglia’s enquiry into the climate scandal wasn’t broader, and wasn’t questioning “the science” of climate change. That’s further than any sceptic witness had gone.

Readers should also note the contribution from Josh. New friends eh? ;-)



Rude bloggers

There's a fascinating analysis of the effect of rude blogging on climate science at the Times. In related news the Guardian decides it's no longer going to call us "deniers". At least not in news stories.

(H/T Anthony Watts)



IoP clarifies its submission to select committee

The Guardian reports that the Institute of Physics has issued a clarification of its submission to yesterday's select committee:

The Institute of Physics has been forced to clarify its strongly worded submission to a parliamentary inquiry into climate change emails released onto the internet....

In a statement issued today the institute said its written submission to the committee "has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming."

It says: "That is not the case. The institute's position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing, and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change."

This is very interesting. I think I follow developments on the climate front as closely as anyone, but I can't say I've heard anyone suggest that the IoP was saying anything more than it actually did - that the climategate affair had worrying implications for the integrity of climatology.

In these circumstances, one also wonders who it was that "forced" the IoP to issue a clarification.



CCE panel prelaunch minutes

Muir Russell's panel have published the minutes of a prelaunch meeting from a month ago. It's not hugely exciting but a few points are worth making:

  • They have two PR people on the team
  • Boulton's history at UEA was discussed, but Philip Campbell didn't raise the subject of Nature's part in the back story
  • "It was recognised that the questions were to be answered with respect to the standards and practices of the day".
  • "It was noted that it had historically been difficult to secure funding for curation of data"
  • "Muir agreed to approach the ICO in order to clarify where the review stood with respect to FOI"
  • "William, Kate and Jim agreed to speak about how submissions and correspondence to the review should be filtered. A protocol for this should be prepared."

Does anyone else get a vague sense that solutions are being worked out?

(As an aside, I might point out that protecting the PDF file so that the contents can't be copied and pasted is rather irritating). [Update: I've got a work around for this now - thanks]

Josh 8

More cartoons by Josh here.



Josh 7

More cartoons by Josh here.



Mistaken identity

I meant to apologise for some cases of mistaken identity. I was using Parliament's own video feed, which didn't superimpose the names of speakers. This led to me making a bit of a pickle of several of them, including Graham Stringer, the star of the show, who I labelled as Ian Cawsey for a while. I've been through and fixed them all, including in the comments. Sorry.


What Jones said about station data

Here's the bit from Jones statement that was bothering me:

Stringer: Well I will plug on because I've got one of the quotes from your emails which says "why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to find something wrong with it." Hughes. Now that's your email. Now that's the nature of science isn't it, that scientists make their reputations by proving or disproving what other scientists have done previously. Your statement there appears to be anti-scientific and the books that people have written around this issue have persuaded me that you have not provided all the information - the programs, the weather stations, - all the information available so that people can replicate your work, and to say the data is freely available in the United States doesn't enable anyone to go through your workings and agree with you or disagree with you.

Jones: Well the list of stations, we did make that available in 2008, so that has been on our website...

Stringer: How long had people been asking for it at that time?

Jones: Erm

Stringer: You're talking about some papers from 1990 aren't you, that have been kept secret?

Jones: No. There was a paper in1990 and we were asked for the data in that paper, which I was talking about in the previous question, that was made available straight away. The list of stations was made available after about six months, from the first FoI request in about early 2007.

Now I would be grateful if someone would check the transcript for me, but Jones' legendary email in which he rejected Hughes request for data was in early 2005, so I'm struggling to see how the list of stations was released "straight away" in early 2007. Am I missing something here?





The hearings - cheerleaders

It's all over! First something to eat and a glass of wine. Then I'll post up some reaction.

18:04 Is all CRU data and code available? Witnesses will check the story out and write.

18:01 Willis says chief scientist should prevent suppression of data in future. Beddington says there are issues. Proprietory data argument again. Beddington does not know if NOAA has same problem.

18:00 Beddington says new temperature set was not in response to the UEA emails.

17:58 Slingo says uncertainties order of magnitude higher for satellites.

Click to read more ...


The hearings - Muir Russell

One more to go

17:20 When will they report? Russell says he doesn't know.

17:19 Ian Stewart asks about Jones refusal to give data to Hughes. Was he consistent in refusing this? Russell confirms they will look at this. This is important because we know it was supplied to others.

17:17 Willis says peer review aspects have disturbed the committee.

17:14 Willis asks why scientific inquiry is not part of the Russell review. Why can't I understand Russell's responses? "It would be a completely different thing".

Click to read more ...


The hearings - UEA

Two more to go

16:52 Harris cites IoP submission. Do emails reveal anything that make Jones vulnerable? Jones says only seen a fraction of his emails. Says there is nothing in them to show that he has perverted the peer review process.

16:51 Harris asks about peer review process and manipulation thereof. Jones says they were already published and he was just commenting that they were not good papers. Asks about complaints to Peiser and E&E. This is Sonia B-C. Jones doesn't answer the question. Harris lets him get away with it.

16:49 Harris asks if there are issues of inter-group rivalry preventing disclosure of data.

Click to read more ...


The hearings - The ICO

That's the end of that one

16:05 Ian Stewart has another bid to see if they couldn't maybe just withhold the data. Thomas not impressed.

16:02 Discussion of whether ICO should discuss statements of ICO that FoI was breached at UEA. Was this appropriate. Is this part of the terms of reference?

15:56 Stewart talks of mass of requests and abuse of process. Thomas says there exemption for these kinds of things. Says 60 requests is not many. Stewart says scientists were exasperated. Thomas says he understands this, but sympathy is the wrong word. Says proactive disclosure is probably easiest approach.

Click to read more ...


The hearings - Lawson and Peiser

I'll start a new thread now

15:38 I think this is Iddon, saying that scientists often keep data back until they are ready to publish. Lawson says it's not a question of data being immediately available - mentions Yamal. More important that we are open where policy matters are concerned.

15:36 Lawson discussing surface vs satellite records. Says further investigation required.

15:34 Stewart asks if NASA and NOAA records are wrong or misleading. Peiser returns to the process - is the data and code available. Asks if parliament want the public to trust the data.

Click to read more ...


Bishop Hill elsewhere

I have a piece up at the Channel Four website, looking forward to the hearings this afternoon.


Interview with Michael Mann

Thanks to reader Kevin for pointing out Chris Mooney's interview of Michael Mann. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but feel free to tell me whether I should invest the time.