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« Channel Four on the Campbell resignation | Main | 11 days later »

Campbell resigns

Channel Four news here in the UK has just reported the Philip Campbell has stepped down from Sir Muir Russell's review because of the statements to Chinese radio that were reported here. This was undoubtedly the correct thing for him to do.

There was some discussion on the Channel Four report of sceptics seeing his departure as "taking a scalp" - I don't see this as being the case. The panel needs to be unbiased, without predetermined positions on the issue of climate change or climate science - these are, in essence, Sir Muir's words. Campbell clearly didn't meet this requirement and his resignation therefore became inevitable.

A replacement will obviously have to be found, and I am going to make some suggestions to Sir Muir as to where such a person might be found. In the meantime we still have the issue of Geoffrey Boulton, the ex-UEA man who has spoken out strongly in the past in favour of the global warming position. Although he's not as wildly inappropriate as Philip Campbell his position on the panel still makes it look somewhat unbalanced. I would suggest that either he needs to go too or he needs to be balanced with somebody of sceptical views.


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Reader Comments (25)

I have to say this is good news. It shouldn't just be sceptics who welcome it.

Surely anyone must agree, some questions have to be asked both about how Campbell could have been appointed to this investigative role, and why he smugly accepted knowing his clear predisposition?

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Your Bishness has a credit in the Channel 4 news site article:

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

This is turning into a farce before it even gets started. Geoffrey Boulton surely has to go as well, in light of his views. You have to wonder about the mindset of whoever put "the Team" together.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

Congratulations are also in order to commenter Mac I believe, who posted the link to the Chinese website that C4 picked up on, leading directly to this resignation.

Powerful stuff.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrew

It would seem that Sir Muir couldn't organise beverages in a beer factory.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Surely Philip Campbell should resign as editor-in-chief of Nature?

To remain in that position is clearly untenable.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJC

It's good news in that it illustrates that Muir is having difficulty with his cover-up and is under political pressure even before he starts.

He's had weeks to select his colleagues and he must have known Campbell's prior on AGW (if he didn't, he's inept and shouldn't be running the thing). He clearly assumed or hoped he'd get away with it.

Given that Campbell's interest in covering the story up is less than the other board members (his reputation is as nothing compared to the eye-watering £millions at stake for ScottishPower, BP and the rest if AGW goes down the toilet), it strikes me that he's a sacrificial lamb to divert interest in the interests of others.

BTW, Channel 4 News Science Correspondent Tom Clarke was going on about "sceptics" having a field day over the resignation. Does anyone know where? I suspect he made that bit up but I could be wrong.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave B

I suggest
Hans von Storch as a replacement.

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterP Gosselin

He has the right mindset, but as a victim of the Team, probably not suitable. Zorita perhaps?

Feb 11, 2010 at 8:59 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

He should resign as Editor-In-Chief of Nature... My bet this will now happen real quick

[BH adds: why should he resign?]

Feb 11, 2010 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephan

Not a scalp? It's a scalp.

They're on the run already. They know the science wont' stand unsupported by pots of state cash and mass media propaganda. And they have seen that they can't see bloggers off with bluster and insult. Go to it mate.

Feb 11, 2010 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrankFisher

Given the topic and the likelihood that all informed parties will have an opinion on the substance of the emails, balance, integrity and a lack of immediate self interest are probably more appropriate for this investigation. Campbell seems to have missed on all three of these criteria!

Feb 11, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie


Getting a scalp kind of implies wanting to bash the inquiry for the sake of it. I think we have to go on trust at the moment - that they do genuinely want to run a balanced ship, even if the appearances are to the contrary.

Feb 11, 2010 at 9:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

As replacements, Peilke (Sr. or Jr.), are non-skeptics who would command respect from the skeptic community. Wegman would be the best statistician for this, but McIntyre or McKitrick would be good choices.

Feb 11, 2010 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

Getting a scalp recognizes the state of war that the AGW promotion industry has declared on science and society, at large.
Skeptics have been demeaned, bashed, slandered, lied to and lied about for a long long time.
Even today, AGW believers endlessly echo the comforting lie that skeptics are wicked denialist scum, funded by a vast, oxymornically well known but secret all powerful consipracy of 'big oil'.
The AGW promoters thought that all of this was OK, in their self-declared state of righteousness.
The fact is that selling a lie, like AGW catastrophism, is the crime. The costs and pain that AGW imposed policies and laws causes is real, on skeptics and non-skeptics alike. There should be a real cost to the promoters, as the AGW social movement is unwound and tossed into the trashbin of history.
A good place to start is with the editors of the media organizations that willingly sold out to the AGW charlatans.

Feb 11, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I note that Geoffrey Boulton is based at the University of Edinburgh, with an office at the Grant Institute at the King's Buildings in Edinburgh. Interestingly, Gabi Heygerl, who, I understand, is a member of the 'Hockey Team' and features in the CRU emails, and was a key author of AR4, has an office on the same floor in the same building 3 doors along.

Of course, that does not mean he's not independent, but it hardly inspires confidence.

Feb 11, 2010 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterCameron Rose

I am not sure if the panel to examine the CRU allegations is supposed to be unbiased, but possibly with little direct expertise -like a jury-or to have expertise but to have obvious bias?

As has been mentioned Geoffrey Boulton-another of the panel- is undoubtedly qualified but he is hardly objective

So is this an objective 'jury' in which case Geoffrey Boulton is clearly unsuited, or merely a opanel of experts brinng their own prejudices, in which case Boulton is eminently suited.


Feb 11, 2010 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

My assessment would be that if Boulton believes in the 'consensus' he also agrees with or at least accepts the means by which that consensus was fabricated, in which case he's not suited for any sort of impartial review panel.

Feb 12, 2010 at 6:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

I'd be happy to replace him. I'm pretty independent.

Feb 12, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Graham-Cumming

Could the way forward be for so-called sceptics to take the initiative here and hold their own inquiry? It's quite clear now that whatever they touch, those who believe in climate change cannot be trusted to be impartial. If a separate inquiry were held, chaired by someone whose credentials were impeccable, with two sceptics and two alarmists on the panel, this would seize the PR initiative and highlight that the UEA approach is both fundamentally biased and dishonest.

Surely there is someone out there who would fund such an effort in the genuine interests of real science. Or am I being hopelessly idealistic?

Feb 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Horbury


To some extent what we have been doing for the last ten years or more is an inquiry isn't it? Sir Muir and his team will presumably have access to statements and correspondence that we don't, so may be able to answer questions that we wouldn't.

Feb 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"Getting a scalp kind of implies wanting to bash the inquiry for the sake of it."

Completely understand your angle there Bishop, but I'm still not sure if you grasp the scale of the battle that's going on. AGW is a significant part of it, but it's only a part - you're on the frontline in a war to control this planet; it's not being fought with tanks and guns, but information. And misinformation. Controlling the narrative is as critical to established power as is controling, say, oil supplies. And they will put the same resources in as they would to control any other strategic necessity.

Feb 12, 2010 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrankFisher

Yes, Geoffrey Boulton must go also.
The info on the panel members states that
"None have any links to the Climatic Research Unit",
a misleading piece of spin.
He spent at least 10 years at the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA,
so he cannot be regarded as objective.
Curiously, this fact is omitted from the biographies of the panel members at

Feb 12, 2010 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

Gabi Hergerl is the wife of Tom Crowley and has previously worked in the paleo-dendro field with Hans von Storch. She was also a member of the NAS panel that reviewed M&M's work in debunking the 'hockey stick' and is mentioned in the CRU emails as representing the 'Team's interests' on the NAS panel.

IMO no one on the Muir Russell investigation 'team' should come from academia. No one! We should not be having academics investigating the misdeeds of other academics. Instead the panel should consist of people who have had no previous involvement in academia and specifically no previous involvement in the whole AGW industry.

Feb 12, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

Bish - you may be in a position to have this question asked of the members of this panel - "do you have any investments, such as greentech stocks or carbon credit derivatives?" I think we ought to know.

Feb 12, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Forrester-Paton

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