Climate cuttings 15
Jun 23, 2008
Bishop Hill in Climate: Cuttings

A reader on one of the Basher for Liberty posts said that he missed the Climate Cuttings roundups I used to do. By strange coincidence, there have been a couple of interesting developments recently, so here I am going to revive it, at least for one night. Who knows, maybe I'll get all enthusiastic again.

Here goes:

Today is the twentieth anniversary of James Hansen's famous speech to congress in which, foaming ever so slightly at the mouth, he told the assembled eminences that we were all going to burn. To mark the occasion, (and now slavering wildly), Hansen has called for oil company executives to be tried. Rumours that he screamed "Burn them! Burn them!" are, as yet, unsubstantiated. In an article at the Graun, he said (again) that we have to act now. Commenters were rude to him.

Readers at Climate Audit have been paying lots of attention to Dr Hansen's work. Having finally forced him to release his code, experienced programmers have been astonished at the sheer amateurishness of the way he has written the programs to create a global temperature record. "Like descending into the hell described in a Steven King novel" was one opinion on the experience of trying to make head or tail of Dr Hansen's work.

David Holland has been trying to get hold of IPCC review editors' working papers. The review editors are the guys who are supposed to go through the IPCC draft report to make sure that it reflects different opinions fairly. Having got hold of the comments of the review editors, he found that they pretty much all just sent in a form sign-off saying that everything was fine and dandy. Given the importance of their job, Holland took the view that there must be more, and asked to see the working papers of the Met Office's John Mitchell who was a review editor on a key chapter.  This opened up a can of worms. The Met Office has given Holland a disgraceful runaround, first of all claiming that all the working papers were destroyed, and when it was pointed out to them that this would contravene both IPCC and Met Office data retention policies, they changed their tune and said that Mitchell was performing this work on his own time.

Meanwhile Holland has been pursuing a completely separate Freedom of Information request to get similar information from Keith Briffa of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. This time the excuse has been that the information is confidential. This is pretty extraordinary, because the IPCC reviews are all meant to be entirely transparent. It's hard to see how a reviewer can have expected his comments to be confidential. In a classic piece of bureaucrat-speak the CRU opined that

The public interest in withholding this information outweighs that of releasing it due to the need to protect the openness and confidentiality of academic intercourse prior to publication which, in turn, assures that such cooperation & openness can continue and inform scientific research and debate.

Academic openness requires confidentiality it seems.

Pollsters discovered that the British public doesn't believe the global warming hype. It's not surprising really - they've kept the story too black and white. It doesn't "feel" like the truth.

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