Whitewash: Climategate enquiry papers "endorsed by Phil Jones"

Judge and jury at his own trial

The problems for Phil Jones and UEA/CRU just won’t go away. It has now been revealed that the eleven academic papers supposedly independently chosen for the Oxburgh enquiry were in fact reviewed and approved by Phil Jones himself. Bishop Hill reports:

When the original emails were released I reported on an inquiry made to Lord Oxburgh by Oliver Morton of the Economist about how Oxburgh’s Eleven papers were chosen. When he replied, Oxburgh said in essence that he didn’t know.

What I received was a list from the university which I understand was chosen by the Royal Society The contact with the RS was I believe through [name redacted] but I don’t know who he consulted. [Name redacted], when I asked him, agreed that the original sample was fair.

Well, now we know who the redactions were. The contact through with the Royal Society was through Martin Rees – we knew that already. The other redaction, the other person consulted about whether the sample of papers was reasonable, was…Phil Jones.

Now, whichever way you look at it, this is a funny question to put to the accused if one’s objective is a fair trial. I mean, what could Jones say? “You’ve picked all my bad papers”? And of course Jones must have known that the sample was not representative. (source)

And Anthony Watts again summarises the lunacy of this:

The investigations thus far are much like having a trial with judge, jury, reporters, spectators, and defendant, but no plaintiff. The plaintiff is locked outside the courtroom sitting in the hall hollering and hoping the jury hears some of what he has to say. And, to add insult to injury, when you let the accused endorse which pieces of evidence might be a “fair sample”, is it any wonder the verdicts keep coming up “not guilty”? (source)

Once again, we see climate alarmists fudging results to achieve a pre-conceived outcome. This is not the way that science, or independent investigations of scientific integrity, should be carried out.

But I’m not complaining – while this goes on, the warmists’ credibility is slowly but surely seeping away.

UPDATE: Even warming-crazed “Non Scientist” magazine calls out the enquiries:

Russell’s team left other stones unturned. They decided against detailed analysis of all the emails in the public domain. They examined just three instances of possible abuse of peer review, and just two cases when CRU researchers may have abused their roles as authors of IPCC reports. There were others. They have not studied hundreds of thousands more unpublished emails from the CRU. Surely openness would require their release.

All this, plus the failure to investigate whether emails were deleted to prevent their release under freedom of information laws, makes it harder to accept Russell’s conclusion that the “rigour and honesty” of the scientists concerned “are not in doubt”.

Some will argue it is time to leave climategate behind. But it is difficult to justify the conclusion of Edward Acton, University of East Anglia vice-chancellor, that the CRU has been “completely exonerated”. Openness in sharing data, even with your critics, is a legal requirement.

But what happened to intellectual candour – especially in conceding the shortcomings of these inquiries and discussing the way that science is done. Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be. (source)

Ouch, that must hurt.

Climategate – just a "storm in a teacup"

Nothing to see here

So writes Geoffrey Lean in The Telegraph (UK), who thinks that three coats of whitewash is enough to cover up the fudging of data, destruction of emails and corruption of the peer-review process revealed by the Climategate emails:

The result of Sir Muir Russell’s inquiry had been widely predicted – both by those who have long known that there was no evidence of scientific malpractice (but plenty of excessive secrecy and of flouting Freedom of Information laws), and by sceptics forecasting a whitewash [and we were right, too!].

The public’s reaction, however, has been much more surprising. Thanks to the free run enjoyed by the sceptics – through cowardice among scientists and green groups [wtf?]– it should have had a big impact. But new polls on both sides of the Atlantic suggest that, while acceptance of global warming has been falling, the much-hyped furore is not responsible.

An American poll found that only 9 per cent of the respondents thought that “Climategate” indicated that climate scientists are untrustworthy, about the same proportion as told a Scottish one that they had altered their opinions as a result of it. A survey for the BBC indicated that just a quarter of those who had heard of it had changed their views – and that most of these had become more convinced of global warming, not less. (source)

Yes, and I wonder why that percentage is so low? I guess its because the MSM, like The Telegraph, played the whole thing down in order to keep the global warming bandwagon rolling, so that very few of the public were even aware of its significance.

And as a final two fingered salute to the rest of us, UEA has reinstated Phil Jones. But as Gerald Warner, another Telegraph writer points out, the Jones brand is toxic, so such a move will harm climate science credibility even more (read here).

And Michael Mann has gone feral now that he’s been “cleared”, ranting on in a ten minute interview about being “exonerated”, despite the fact that the Hockey Stick is still completely broken and discredited, and railing against “professional climate change deniers”. Keep up the good work. You and Phil Jones are doing your cause more harm than we ever could. Read it here.

CRU/UEA breached Freedom of Information rules

Eco-bullying won't work here

Impeccable timing! Released on the same day as Muir Russell’s almost-whitewash which cleared CRU of just about everything, a decision of the UK’s Information Commissioner has found in favour of David Holland against the University of East Anglia, for failing to provide access to documents requested under the Act. Isn’t that one of the things that Russell was supposed to be investigating?

46. The Commissioner’s decision is that the public authority [the University of East Anglia] did not deal with some of the requests in accordance with the requirements of the EIR [Environmental Information Regulations] in the following respects:

  • it failed to provide a refusal within 20 working days in respect of the request of 31 March 2008 and therefore breached regulation 14(2); and
  • it failed to provide responses in respect of the requests of 27 June and 31 July 2008 and therefore breached regulation 5(2).

And more importantly, the Commissioner notes:

The wider circumstances of this case, in particular the placement of a substantial number of emails allegedly from CRU onto the internet, has attracted considerable attention (November 2009). The emails suggested that some requests for information were considered an imposition, that attempts to circumvent the legislation were considered and that the ethos of openness and transparency the legislation seeks to promote were not universally accepted. This is of considerable concern to the Commissioner and in keeping with his duty to promote observance of the legislation he will now consider whether further action is appropriate to secure future compliance.

Read the decision here. (h/t WUWT)

Yet another Climategate whitewash

Whitewashing over the cracks

You wait ages, and then two climate whitewashes come along at once. A few days ago it was Penn State, sweeping Michael Mann under the carpet (so to speak), and now we have Muir Russell clearing the CRU lot of any wrongdoing as well. I guess that’s what happens when you only investigate one side of the story. And our own moonbat media lap it up. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The email leak heightened challenges to the legitimacy of climate change science on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit, prompting claims of data manipulation and suppression of inconvenient evidence and opposing views.

The Independent Climate Change Email Review, headed by former senior British public servant Sir Muir Russell, last night dismissed many of these accusations, finding no suggestion the world’s leading scientists had prejudiced the advice given to politicians.

”We conclude that the argument that [the unit] has something to hide does not stand up,” Sir Muir said at a London press conference. (source)

Gee, what a surprise. But with so much financial and emotional investment in the climate scam, what could we expect? So we have to look to the blogosphere to find the truth (as is so often the case these days). From Climate Depot:

Shameful Sham Climategate report urges ‘campaign to win hearts and minds’ to restore confidence in global warming science — ‘University of East Anglia’s enquiry into the conduct of its own staff at its Climatic Research — The most serious charge is poor communication — Sir Muir Russell even calls for ‘a concerted and sustained campaign to win hearts and minds’ to restore confidence in the team’s work’ (Full PDF report here.)

The Muir Russell Review gets basic IPCC info wrong! Pielke Jr.: ‘The idea that IPCC presents a ‘best estimate’ understanding based on views of a selected group of scientists is completely contrary to how IPCC characterizes its own work… ‘To suggest that the IPCC is “not to produce a review of the scientific literature” is just plain wrong’

Climate Audit’s McIntyre on Climategate report: It ‘adopted a unique inquiry process in which they interviewed only one side – CRU. As a result, report is heavily weighted towards CRU apologia’ — ‘…a not unexpected result given that the writing team came from Geoffrey Boulton’s Royal Society of Edinburgh. Remarkably, the Muir Russell inquiry ruled on this issue without actually citing IPCC procedures…Instead of examining IPCC rules, they asked John Mitchell, the Review Editor, for his opinion. Mitchell, needless to say, was a Climategate correspondent, who gave untruthful answers when refusing David Holland’s FOI request for materials’

Climate Audit’s McIntyre: ‘Muir Russell’s [climategate report] contains many gaffes and errors, which are going to get placed into the sunshine over the next few days, as critics get a chance to work through the report. It’s too bad that Muir Russell decided that it was a good idea not to interview critics during the preparation of the report’

More Errors: Muir Russell writes that Oxburgh inquiry looked at the science. Lord Oxburgh has specifically stated that his inquiry did not look at the science’ — ‘An inquiry that doesn’t look at the science cannot understand Climategate’ — ‘Nor did the Parliamentary sub-committee’s one day hearing. Nor did either of the Penn State investigations [look at the science].’ ‘But in terms of making this issue go away, which is the obvious goal of all these investigations, it failed to do what it was meant to do…without looking at the science, they didn’t look at Climategate’

Meteorologist Watts: Muir Russell Climategate report is ‘another apologist who doesn’t ask relevant questions of both sides, only one side’

‘The subjects of their criticism were not invited, nor were climate scientists critical of their behavior’ — Sham: ‘The report finds a criterion: a ‘consistence of view’ with earlier work. The earlier work here was produced the academics under scrutiny. So the academics were judged against their earlier work, and not surprisingly, found to be consistent’

Microsoft Made Climategate professors Do It!? ‘Calling people ‘frauds’, ‘fraudit’, ‘bozos’, ‘morons’ and so on. It was Microsoft’s fault’ — Muir Russell blamed email itself for the language: ‘Finding: The extreme modes of expression used in many e-mails are characteristic of the medium….Extreme forms of language are frequently applied to quite normal situations by people who would never use it in other communication channels’

Sir Muir appears to have spent untold amounts of public money only to miss at least two of the ‘five key leaked emails’ identified by Fred Pearce

‘What Climategate is largely about, then, is whether academics were justified in making Medieval Warm Period disappear. Unfortunately, none of the 3 ‘independent’ reviews have grappled with this’

Mockery for Climategate whitewash: ‘We’re shocked, shocked!’ ‘Utterly shocked – that anyone could have thought that the review might have found otherwise’

Climategate? Never heard of it. ‘Climategate’ professor Phil Jones gets his job back has cleared Prof Jones of dishonest behavior — ‘Skeptics claimed report was a whitewash and questioned the reinstatement of Prof Jones. David Holland, one of the leading skeptics on the blogosphere, pointed out that Prof Jones referred to deleting emails in one of his communications. ‘Would you trust a man who has asked to delete evidence?’ he said’

‘Climategate’ scientists were ‘unhelpful’ and not open about their studies, finds review — ‘Review found that the graph referred to in this now infamous email from the centre’s head, Professor Phil Jones, was ‘misleading’ because it did not make plain what the scientists had done’

Anthony Watts sums it up:

“The investigations thus far are much like having a trial with judge, jury, reporters, spectators, and defendant, but no plaintiff. The plaintiff is locked outside the courtroom sitting in the hall hollering and hoping the jury hears some of what he has to say. Is it any wonder the verdicts keep coming up ‘not guilty’?”

UPDATE: Fred Pearce, writing at The Guardian, argues that it’s not so much of a whitewash after all:

The report is far from being a whitewash. And nor does it justify the claim of university vice-chancellor Sir Edward Action that it is a “complete exoneration”. In particular it backs critics who see in the emails a widespread effort to suppress public knowledge about their activities and to sideline bloggers who want to access their data and do their own analysis.

Most seriously, it finds “evidence that emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them [under Freedom of information law]”. Yet, extraordinarily, it emerged during questioning that Russell and his team never asked Jones or his colleagues whether they had actually done this.

Secrecy was the order of the day at CRU. “We find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness,” says the report. That criticism applied not just to Jones and his team at CRU. It applied equally to the university itself, which may have been embarrassed to find itself in the dock as much as the scientists on whom it asked Russell to sit in judgment.

The university “failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements” – FOI law in particular – and “also the risk to the reputation of the university and indeed the credibility of UK climate science” from the affair. (source)

Climategate was indeed a "game changer"

Nothing to see here

But hang on a minute – haven’t we just spent the past six months listening to scores of AGW-funded scientists try and sweep the whole Climategate debacle under the carpet? Wheeling out the “nothing to see here” line? What’s more amazing is that this piece is published in The Age, or “Pravda on the Yarra” as it is less than affectionately known (kind of the Aussie version of The Guardian). It appears that climate scientists are all of a sudden suffering pangs of remorse for all the hype and spin, and think that more openness and honesty is required. Well, bravo at last for that.

SENIOR climate scientists have conceded that their world has changed irrevocably – and for the better – in the wake of the so-called Climategate scandal.

As Sir Muir Russell, chairman of the inquiry into the leak of the University of East Anglia emails, finalises his report for publication in Britain tomorrow [which we can guarantee will be another paper-thin whitewash], scientists the world over agree the affair was a ”game changer”.

”The release of the emails was a turning point,” Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, told The Guardian . ”The community has been brought up short by the row over their science. Already there is a new tone. Researchers are more upfront, open and explicit about their uncertainties.”

Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said researchers had to accept that the affair would not only result in their own science being judged but also their motives, professionalism, integrity and ”all those other qualities that are considered important in public life”.

Hans von Storch of the KGSS Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany, told the newspaper that trust had been damaged by the affair:

“People now find it conceivable that scientists cheat and manipulate, and understand that scientists need societal supervision as any other societal institution,” he said.

Judith Curry, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the scientist who has worked hard to try to reconcile warring factions, said the idea of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists as ”self-appointed oracles, enhanced by the Nobel prize, is now in tatters”.

The outside world, she said, could now see that the science of climate was ”more complex and uncertain than they have been led to believe”.

Alle-freaking-luia. As I have said many times before, I have no axe to grind whether CO2 is causing climate change or not, but I do expect our governments to make decisions on the future of the planet based on impartial, unbiased science, not on quasi-religious, politically motivated dogma.

Read it here.

Penn State whitewash clears Michael Mann

Squeaky clean?

Penn State knows how to look after its own. Avoiding difficult questions and clearing Michael Mann of anything. And this is just the latest in a string of so-called investigations into dodgy practices exposed by Climategate, all of which have, amazingly, found nothing wrong! How’s that for consistency?

The ABC gleefully reports:

American climate change scientist Michael Mann has been cleared of manipulating his research findings.

The allegations arose in the ‘climategate’ scandal which erupted when emails between Dr Mann and other scientists were taken [er, leaked, more likely] from a computer at the University of East Anglia in Britain and posted on the internet.

The Pennsylvania State University findings follow two other investigations in Britain effectively exonerating climate scientists accused of misconduct. [Whitewash, whitewash, whitewash]

Dr Mann’s data adjustment procedures in particular were called into question when private email messages between him other scientists were posted on the internet.

The Pennsylvania university received a number of complaints about its professor’s conduct and it launched two separate investigations in response.

They looked broadly at whether Dr Mann had falsified, suppressed or destroyed data, or deviated from accepted research practices.

In a surprising display of balance, however, the ABC also quotes a view critical of the investigation:

But John Roskam, executive director of the Melbourne-based free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, says questions still remain over Dr Mann’s research.

“This was not an independent review – this was effectively the university examining itself and the result is entirely predictable,” he said.

“The university was highly unlikely to be critical of one of its most high-profile academics who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants.”

Mr Roskam says the four separate ‘climategate’ inquiries – two in Britain and now two in the US – are all compromised.

“The reviews did not answer the questions about why data was missing; why data was not shared; why there hasn’t been a full and open, transparent process,” he said.

“Unfortunately many people still think that these reviews and processes are part of a general lack of transparency about the whole climate change debate.” (source)

And Marc Morano sums up the whole shabby affair:

This is not surprising that Mann’s own university circled the wagons and narrowed the focus of its own investigation to declare him ethical.

‘The fact that the investigation cited Mann’s ‘level of success in proposing research and obtaining funding’ as some sort of proof that he was meeting the ‘highest standards’, tells you that Mann is considered a sacred funding cash cow. At the height of his financial career, similar sentiments could have been said about Bernie Madoff.

Mann has become the posterboy of the corrupt and disgraced climate science echo chamber. No university whitewash investigation will change that simple reality.’ (source)

Yet another whinging letter from climate scientists

Still an embarrassment

Climate scientists can sense they’re being found out. You can always tell, because they start writing bleating letters to journals banging their fists and saying “It’s not fair” like toddlers who don’t get their own way. And yes, another one appears today in the pages of Science. You can read the full text at the Guardian (of course) here. The opening paragraph sets the tone:

We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet. [and our wallets – Ed]

And our own chief scientist Penny Sackett can’t support it quickly enough. Sackett is a regular on these pages (see here and here) for her extreme views on climate change, and she still hasn’t learnt that being a scientist is all about free-thinking and impartial enquiry, not eco-Marxist environmental advocacy:

AUSTRALIA’S chief scientists Professor Penny Sackett has backed a group of eminent international scientists calling for urgent action on climate change.

Professor Sackett said governments everywhere needed to show more leadership on climate change action.

“Even if each one of us on the face of the earth stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, not another ounce into the atmosphere, the temperature would still rise,” she told ABC radio today.

“I would say that every delay makes it harder for ourselves in the future. I’d like us to also think about how much more difficult it makes it for the next generation.”

In their open letter published in the journal Science, the group of 250 scientists called for rationale [sic] debate and not to have discussion deflected by extreme views. (source)

Rational debate? Don’t make me laugh. And “extreme views” in this context means anything that challenges the pseudoscience of An Inconvenient Truth, I guess. And then there is the inevitable victim status plea for the sympathy vote. The letter reads:

“We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them.”

You have to laugh, don’t you. So let’s get this straight: destroying emails is innuendo perhaps? Fudging data is innuendo maybe? If these guys were accountants or lawyers they would understand this concept better – because they would be in prison.

Just more evidence that the consensus scientists can see their cash cow being sent to market, and they are doing everything to keep their precious funds flowing in. Sorry guys, the public (who are far more intelligent than you have ever given them credit for) are not falling for it any more.

UPDATE: And a timely Galaxy opinion poll demonstrates that exact point:

Two out of three Australians are not convinced climate change is man-made, and even those who do believe it is aren’t prepared to pay much to fix it, a new poll shows.

A Galaxy Poll, commissioned by the conservative Institute of Public Affairs, found 35 per cent of respondents blamed humans for global warming.

Fully 26 per cent believed it was just part of a natural cycle, while 38 per cent remained uncertain. [Total 64% – Ed]

Thirty-five per cent said they would not be prepared to pay anything to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming.

Of those who believed climate change to be man-made, 27 per cent said they would be prepared to pay only $100 or less a year in increased tax and utility costs. (source)

More heat than light

Climate sense

Paul Monk, writing in The Australian Literary Review, skillfully sums up the current parlous state of the climate debate, with reference to a number of recently published books from both sides of the debate. It is a long read, but very well worth it, and the conclusion is spot on:

Collectively we need to do better than this. Not only is that so because the stakes in climatic and economic terms, as everyone agrees, are about as high as they can get, whether the AGW hypothesis is correct or not; but because we need to cultivate better habits of debating matters of moment, as regards both what is so and what is to be done.

And it is for precisely this reason that the recent disclosures about the IPCC’s sloppy handling of evidence and the scandalously anti-scientific behaviour of the “hockey stick” team led by Americna climatologist Michael Mann and the East Anglia Climate Research Centre are so disturbing. These people have been supposedly conducting the AGW Solvay conference for about 20 years. What we are beginning to see is that they have not been following the Solvay rules at all. In fact, they have been seeking for some considerable time to prevent or discredit any attempt to refute their hypothesis and have manipulated evidence in an effort not merely to confirm it, as bona fide evidence might be taken to do, but to appear to confirm it, when they knew that there were all kinds of uncertainties in the data. This is, quite simply, inadmissible.

Georges Monbiot has lamented recently, in the wake of the Copenhagen conference, that “climate scepticism” is “spreading like an infectious disease”. He may or may not be right, but his attitude is dead wrong. The AGW hypothesis is, in the nature of the case contestable, a claim based on highly complex data. Where inferences from the data or the reliability of the data itself seem unclear or tendentious, scepticism is completely natural.

But more importantly, scepticism is the life blood of science and democracy. Those who sincerely believe AGW is threatening civilisation should themselves be as rigorously sceptical as possible. They should be soliciting challenges to their data and inferences. That’s what the scientific method is and it doesn’t end because someone, scientist or otherwise, feels certain of their ground. It goes on and we need it to do so.

It is the same with the proposal for an ETS as public policy. Let’s have an end of denunciation, vituperation and exasperation.

For the sake of science, civilisation and democratic governance, we need clarity in this matter. And clarity comes through making one’s arguments explicit and then trying to find where one could be in error. That’s the gold standard for all parties to all serious debates.

Read it here.

VIDEO: Phil Jones at the UK Parliamentary Select Committee

Video of Prof. Phil Jones’ entire appearance at the UK Science and Technology Select Committee on 1 March 2010 (courtesy of live stream from Parliament TV, but converted and uploaded to YouTube by ACM). There are five parts, each of about 9 or 10 minutes. Jones is accompanied by the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof. Edward Acton. Part 1 is here, links to the others follow:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

They don’t exactly give PJ a tough ride, do they? To quote the former UK Labour Chancellor Denis Healey, it was like being savaged by a dead sheep…

Thanks to reader Pete for the original Parliament link (here) which is highly Mac unfriendly, the rats.

"Standard practice"? Apparently not…

As Anthony at WUWT reports, learned and respected societies are distancing themselves from Phil Jones’ claim that withholding data was “standard practice” (see here):

The Royal Statistical Society:

The RSS believes that a crucial step in improving the quality of the debate on global warming will be to place the data, the analysis methods and the models in the public domain. (source)

The Royal Society of Chemistry:

The RSC firmly believes that the benefits of scientific data being made available and thus open to scrutiny outweigh the perceived risks. To this end, scientific information should be made available on request as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act. (source)

And earlier, and even more stinging rebuke from the Institute of Physics:

The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.

As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much ‘raw’ data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

Where the nature of the study precludes direct replication by experiment, as in the case of time-dependent field measurements, it is important that the requirements include access to all the original raw data and its provenance, together with the criteria used for, and effects of, any subsequent selections, omissions or adjustments. The details of any statistical procedures, necessary for the independent testing and replication, should also be included. In parallel, consideration should be given to the requirements for minimum disclosure in relation to computer modelling. (source)

Phil, mate, you’re on your own (apart from the rest of the AGW movement, that is).

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