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Well hang on a moment.

The answers to A and B are pretty earth shattering are they not?

What about the hockey stick?

Or as my less restrained colleagues might express - WTF?

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered Commenteribjc

"H - If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

The fact that we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing - see my answer to your question D. "

Wow indeed!

Perfect questions, and from the BBC. That is a big surprise.

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterFTM

Thanks for the link.

What a contrast with the way the BBC reported AGW until this year. Compare it the spurious "answers" to sceptics questions from 2007:

At long last the BBC is actually looking intelligently at climate change. I made a formal complaint to the BBC Trust in January about the lack of quality and balance in BBC News coverage of climate issues, giving a number of detailed examples. I do not claim any causal link between my complaint and the change that has taken place over the last couple of weeks, but it is certainly very remarkable.

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Hadley

My God! The BBC grew a pair!

For a relatively short piece they managed to drive enough of a wedge between the "no there hasn't been historically anomalous warming" and "I fully support the IPCC conclusion".

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Excuse my cynicism but this strikes me as a pre inquiry set piece so that CRU and the BBC can set the scene as well as save face.

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Climate Audit also notes this one:

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Jones actually sounds like a scientist in places, there. In other places, he just sounds a bit desperate.

Feb 13, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

"Jones actually sounds like a scientist in places, there. In other places, he just sounds a bit desperate."

It's really hard to read. Inside that desperation there seems to be some relief. Some of the early Climategate emails show the unease of Jones and CRU with Mann and his views. Perhaps what we're hearing is regret, such as it can be displayed in today's intensively dissected reviews.

not banned yet may be right in saying this is all setting the stage for whatever may come from the inquiry.

Still Jones's responses left me gobsmacked.

Feb 13, 2010 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterpuhlease

No, he's not revealed himself as a closet sceptic but he has spoken like the basically reasonable man I expected him to be.

I have been wondering ever since the Climategate emails story broke what role the wives of Dr Phil and Dr Keith were playing at home. Maybe there has been some moral pressure from them. But who knows?

He's dropped Michael Mann right in it with the equivocation about the Mediaeval Warm Period. But I think Mann was the prime mover behind all the subterfuge and concealment in the first place so he deserves it. I hope Mann gets his comeuppance in his own investigation at Penn State University.

I expect Phil Jones' remarks on record to Roger Harrabin today will be bound to be taken into account in the USA.

We'll see!

Feb 13, 2010 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Well, a lot of wow.

But yet again, the suggestion that rather than criticising his work, people should do their own.

The idea that a theory only holds until it is proven false is central to the scientific method that he otherwise rushes to defend. Challenging his results should be an expected (and indeed welcome) consequence of publishing them.

The more he trots out this line of defence, the more opportunities the general public will have to become familiar with this principle and realise how far he, and his colleagues, have deviated from this ideal.

Feb 13, 2010 at 2:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean Inglis

Can someone pass this onto Gordon Brown and Ed Millibrand?

Feb 13, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy Scrase

"Can someone pass this onto Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband?"

Yes, indeed, Andy. I don't like being described as "anti-science" and a "flat-earther" by the likes of them.

Feb 13, 2010 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Most bbc news is viewed at six and ten pm, i`ll believe the bbc have grown a pair when i see it on the telly.
The bbc do allow positions that contradict their groupthink,usually via their website.
Compare the viewing figures for mainstream tv news with number of views a news item gets on, not really much of a comparison.
When the walls come tumbling down, backsides will have been adequately covered.
"Honest guv we wuz imparshal,it`s on the web thingy innit?"
Enlightening but wasn`t it rather like a priest interrogating the pope?

Feb 13, 2010 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered Commenter`ob nob

His answer to this question pretty much sums it up for me:

N - When scientists say "the debate on climate change is over", what exactly do they mean - and what don't they mean?

It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

Can we know have some sane discussions about future energy needs for the world?

Feb 13, 2010 at 3:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterrk

I have rarely read an exchange that makes me want to puke at every response. Had Jones not made the arrogant and non-scientific statement to Warwick Hughes about not sharing "his" data, I might have some understanding for his plea. This is a disgusting chapter in science, and Dr.Phil is not going to be favored among his peers.

Feb 13, 2010 at 4:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJAE

This is the second time Jones has thrown Mann under the bus. Mann must be getting sore by now.

Feb 13, 2010 at 4:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Eagar

Q: Can you confirm that the IPCC rules were changed so lead authors could add references to any scientific paper which did not meet the 16 December 2005 deadline ... who made the decision and why?

Jones: No answer. *Question should be put to IPCC. *


Q In the e-mails you refer to a "trick" which your critics say suggests you conspired to trick the public? You also mentioned "hiding the decline" (in temperatures). Why did you say these things?

Jones: I was justified in curtailing the tree-ring reconstruction in the mid-20th Century because these particular data were not valid after that time - an issue which was later *directly discussed in the 2007 IPCC AR4 Report.*

Jones seems to shift the weight of responsibility on to the IPCC, or lean on it for support, as he sees fit.

More specifically, there is no "IPCC" that can answer the first question. Does he expect Pachauri to answer for the Jesus paper?

There is a funny bit in the end
"I wish people would spend as much time reading my scientific papers as they do reading my e-mails"

I find this ironic in the sense that people *have* been reading his paper (Jones et al, 1990) for almost ten years now, and scratching their heads about the UHI effect and related data. He wants them to read more of his papers now.

He does come across like a decent guy though.

Paleo killed the thermometer star!

Feb 13, 2010 at 4:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnand

Updated at

Feb 13, 2010 at 6:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The statement that he thinks "recent warming has been largely man-made" because of "the fact that we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing" reveals a totally unscientific logic. Is he saying that the only factors other than humans that affect the climate are volcanoes and "solar forcing " (whatever that consists of)? How many unknowns do we not know if the science is not settled.

Not much logic shown.

Feb 13, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Since Roger Harrabin asked on WUWT " I am trying to talk to UK scientists in current academic posts who are sceptical about AGW", it seems that somebody suggested the name P Jones (even if he won't admit is publicly).

Feb 13, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It should be pointed out that we do not have a synchronous period of Global warming even today. There are many hundeds of places around the world that have been cooling for at least a statistically significant 30 years-some for longer. This gives the lie to the IPCC assertion that the only places cooling are Southern Greenland and some small parts of the tropics.

I suspect Jones and others must know this hence the move away from that phrase towards 'climate change.'


Feb 13, 2010 at 7:33 AM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

Interestingly, the close relationship of climate with statistics (by definition of the former), is clearly reflected in this interview, when questions and answers refer to statistical significance. Thus, I guess it would be appropriate if all climatologists, perhaps including those that have served as heads of climate research units, knew some decent statistics (so as to be more careful when speaking of statistical significance).

Related references:

Cohn, T. A., and H. F. Lins (2005), Nature’s style: Naturally trendy, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L23402, doi:10.1029/2005GL024476.

Koutsoyiannis, D., and A. Montanari (2007), Statistical analysis of hydroclimatic time series: Uncertainty and insights, Water Resources Research, 43 (5), W05429, doi:10.1029/2006WR005592.

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterDemetris Koutsoyiannis

I have some sympathy for the man. Had he been slapped on the hand much earlier and under more check and balance supervision, he would be a decent scientist and all that sorrow would not happen. What a waste.

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJean Demesure

From the BBC website

'These statements are likely to be welcomed by people sceptical of man-made climate change who have felt insulted to be labelled by government ministers as flat-earthers and deniers'.

A lovely piece of finesse from Harrabin. Apparently only government ministers have been misusing these terms. Not the AGW-proponents, nor even the dear BBC itself. How much grief there must be in that august body about the tremendous U-turn going on. All those illusions shattering one by one.

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

In (H) Jones answers "The fact that we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar.."

Yes true.... but only for TSI....Not 'other' factors such as the magnetic field of the sun... UV etc.

The sunspots are a symptom of underlying factors occurring deep inside the Sun, a bit like the spots of say measles being an outward sign of an underlying 'disease' in the body ..

Sunspots too are a symptom... of the suns magnetic field... e.g. strong field = more spots, and the reverse is true, no one knows what 'causes' the sunspot cycle (or more accurately the suns magnetic cycle) and why their are somtimes 'grand maximums and minimums.

It is the suns magnetic field that could be the 'cause' of global warming /and (cooling in particular) during a 'grand solar minimum' by letting in cosmic rays from the background Galaxy, they, making/seeding cloud cover, (which being white) increases the Earths albedo reflecting away sunlight, thus cooling Earth

The fact is that low activity on the Sun and cool periods on Earth has been noticed by astronomers for a very long time, (even William Herschel discoverer of Uranus said in 1803 that "when there are few spots on the sun the price of wheat goes up" ) the best example being the 'Maunder' period on the sun, and the little ice age on Earth.

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterStargazer

I just popped over to RealClimate .... wanted to understand their reaction to Jones's interview. There is none.

But more remarkable still, there have been only ten entries in this calendar year. Only ten entries in one of the most turbulent times in climate science ever?

Have they all given up and gone home? Or just keeping their heads down and letting poor Phil take all the heat? Another example of the newly exonerated Mann's inhumanity to his fellow man?

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

It's staggering, simply staggering, that a couple of days after the public enquiry starts into this whole affair, Phil Jones decides to have an interview with his tame friend Harrabin. Not a coincidence at all. Nothing to see, nothing strange.

When Steve McIntyre joked years ago that the hockey team's fall-back position was, "the dog ate my homework", he was obviously far more accurate than he realised.

I was telling a friend the other day that the most outrageous thing about the way the Warmist camp have handled themselves was the constant retrenchment. They start with outright dismissal of all allegations until the evidence is overwhelming and then they step back one position.

Then they just continue the outright dismissal tactic from their brand new position, this time slightly further back.

The shamefulness of it is the way that they pretend that the original defensive position never existed. 'We've always thought this,' they say.

Harrabin is slowly unveiling his new defensive position. I've heard it at least three times in separate interviews/articles in the last two or three days. It goes like this:
the argument amongst climate scientists has never been about consensus or certainty. It's always been about how we calculate and deal with levels of risk caused by climate change.

Don't you feel better you know now?

Don't you feel silly for imagining that Harrabin, the BBC, all the mainstream media, government advisers from every country, NGOs, Michael Mann, Briffa, Jones, Nature, Greenpeace, FOTE, STC, Science magazine, uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, have been telling you for the last 10 years that the SCIENCE IS SETTLED, AND THAT THERE IS A CONSENSUS.

I know I feel better.

Feb 13, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Stuck Record:

"the argument amongst climate scientists has never been about consensus or certainty. It's always been about how we calculate and deal with levels of risk caused by climate change"

Or... No,the science is settled.

Well actually, I think we do need to bring these guys to task.
IMHO this is a dark period of our history. There are some comparisons with the rise of Nazism and the obvious Orwellian links

Prime Minisitor of UK calls half his electorate "flat-earthers". How can this happen?

Some self-examination would surely help. There seems to be a problem with denial though.

AGW grief councellors needed

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy Scrase


'Don't you feel silly for imagining that Harrabin, the BBC, all the mainstream media, government advisers from every country, NGOs, Michael Mann, Briffa, Jones, Nature, Greenpeace, FOTE, STC, Science magazine, uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, have been telling you for the last 10 years that the SCIENCE IS SETTLED, AND THAT THERE IS A CONSENSUS'.

I knew that the wheels really had fallen off on the day that Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) accused AGW-critics of being 'flat-earthers'. GS&M to the critics.

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I would have thought the link to the “Phil Jones Q&A” article on the BBC web site should have been in a more prominent position there seems adequate space on the front page of the Science and Environment section beneath the “Climate data not well organised” headline. Perhaps I am just being finicky.

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

I argued a few weeks ago that the time has come to really start taking names. As I said then, it's been obvious for several years now, to anyone with a brain or desire to look, that catastrophic man-made climate change is at best a delusional belief system, or at worst a gigantic cynical con. Each of those two camps has a myriad of different reasons for believing what they believe.

The people that I'm interested in, and I believe we need to make a record of, are the cynical exploiters. The governments, NGOs, big businesses etc. The people who stand to make billions if not trillions of dollars out of the unmitigated misery of current and future generations of the disadvantaged.

But my greatest contempt and anger is reserved for the media. In many ways it is to be expected that government and NGOs will feather their nests and rip people off. We know they are not to be trusted. But the job of the media is to expose this. And instead, we have lived through an era where the media have conspired with this collection of lunatics and self-interested conmen to almost bring the world to its knees.

Even more importantly they have potentially destroyed the only safety valve that remains when politics, direct action, and the media have failed: namely truth.

Science is truth. These people have debased that, and science is going to have a very long uphill struggle to retain its integrity.

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I am greatly encouraged by this - this would never have happened without the very hard work of all the skeptical bloggers, who winkled out all the facts, and they deserve a hearty congratulations!

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey

If the Yamal data for the last few decades is so obviously wrong that it needed hiding), why should the rest of it be any different? Why did the interviewer not ask that question?

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRay Tomes

The Q&A session between Roger Harrabin and Phil Jones is now linked from an article on the front of the science and environment site which is also headlined on the front page, so clearly there is to be no more hiding bad news on the 'Norfolk' pages!

Credit to RH on this, but those are the sort of questions he should have been asking all along, it's only what the bloggers and climate enquirers have been asking for 10 years.

I suggest his next step is to read Your Lordships book, and then go and ask Michael Mann a few penetrating questions (ideally with a statistician beside him).

On the human level, I have sympathy for Prof. Jones, he is, like us all, only human, and I'd be the first to admit my paperwork organising powers are minimal. But on a professional level, with the money these peeps are playing with, an admin assistant costs very very little, Especially when all of us are paying huge increases in taxes as a result of their pronouncements, directly or indirectly.

As for Gordon and Dave and their camp followers, well, isn't it typical of politicians to be hitched to the wagon, all ready to set off, just as the wheels come off. As noted above - the real guilt is theirs. Nothing less than public sackcloth and ashes (literally) would satisfy me from them.

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

That second BBC piece was condensed in the R4 8 o'clock news (together with a mention that the early records were paper-based and Jones analysed them on paper too ... a picture was painted of a disorganised office with lots of untidy piles of paper - so rather like the computer files ... though that wasn't a comparison they made).

So a wider public will be aware of this.

If this was the state of the records, no wonder perfectly reasonable FoI requests could drive him to distraction. But then wasn't he asking us to take his work on trust? I'm asked to change my lifestyle on the basis of this?

(A surprised non-scientist)

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

A particularly interesting detail of Jones’s exchange with Harrabin was when, in response to the question “Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming experienced from 1975-1998 …”, he replies “This area is slightly outside my area of expertise”. In other words, he (and the CRU) are not really climateologists at all: they’re collectors, processors and publishers of temperature data. And, as Jones now admits, they haven’t even done that very well: the data was “not well organised” and he was not good at keeping a paper trail.

So, if the effect of natural forces is outside his area of expertise, what value can be put on his unsurprisingly vague support (referring to IPCC chapter 9) for the AGW hypothesis? None, I suggest.

Indeed, on the basis of his comments, it could be argued that there is no such discipline as climatology.

Feb 13, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

What a story to wake up to!
There is a need to get an initial reaction from Mann, if any investigative jounalist is ready to progress this story.

The pace of the demise of AGW is increasing, the Russell report could well be a non event by the time they publish.

Feb 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord BeaverBrook

I have no sympathy for Jones or any of them. We're talking of wasting TRILLIONS of dollars chasing after a chimera that was their doing. We're talking a recent attempt to basically bring the entire Western World's economy to a screeching halt (Copenhagen) over unproven garbage! We're already talking hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of deaths in Third World countries the last couple of years from famine due to the diversion of food crops and land to the production of biofuels to feed this insanity.

Nope ZERO sympathy!

Feb 13, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJLKrueger

I *may* have played a tiny part in this. I emailed Harrabin regards his request on WUWT for names of sceptical UK academics, suggesting Dr Keiller, as per this email.

Harrabin didn't grasp the bearing of plant biology:
"Thanks again - but I am struggling to see the relevance of his work here to climate change."

But he seemed happy with my reply:
"In the "leaked" email he's challenging dendrochronological methodologies employed in historical temperature reconstructions... some of which, most rational people (including plant biologists) would find outlandish. e.g. teleconnection, whereby trees allegedly respond to global climate rather than the local climate that they physically experience.

He's also specifically questioning Briffa about the Yamal controversy that erupted on the CRU a couple of months before the email leak/hack. If that means little to you, the simplest, short exposition that I'm aware of can be read here:

The field of dendrochronology is key to the assertion that there is anything particularly unusual about the climate circa 1850+ as compared, for example, to the supposed Medieval Warm Period."

Feb 13, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterZer0th
Feb 13, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMissie

As a further aside: I distinctly recall Harrabin remarking to Gabby Logan regards the depth and breadth of knowledge to be found on some of the sceptical blogs. Perhaps one of our best bets is to proactively attempt to "educate" some of the more open minded MSM enviro journos. Most of which seem only dimly aware of the issues.

Feb 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterZer0th

Ever so slightly loaded question for that Oxford event:

Surveys suggest that the public in the UK seems to be becoming more sceptical about the science of climate change: should the media give more voice to sceptics or ramp up the voice of scientists?

Feb 13, 2010 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Who fed these questions to Harrabin? He hasn't the capability to invent them himself.
Question A, together with Jones' honest answer, demolishes the AGW hypothesis without any need to invoke the MWP or tree rings.
If warming occured in three statistically similar spurts of which, only the now terminated latest episode, could possibly be anthropogenic then "post hoc ergo propter hoc" is the sole argument left standing.

Feb 13, 2010 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterGordon

Wow indeed. I'm absolutely impressed. Out of the bunker he went.

He seems to get bored at about halfway, and starts referring to other documents and people. He could do better than that.

At any rate, he seems, for the most part, to be willing to discuss, and even goes against a few core beliefs of ACGW. As marchesarosa says, he spoke as a basically reasonable guy.

There's a few things I still can't have, one being that mankind is warming the planet because we can't find another cause for it. Oh well, maybe spirits then? Why not just say you don't know.

Feb 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosualdo

Yer Grace

Please note the end of the last sentence in Harrabin's introduction:
"The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA's press office."

More than likely, Jones' responses have been 'adjusted' by management and the press office ahead of the Muir Review to save UEA's cash cow, its own reputation and to soften the image of Jones as can be inferred from the climategate emails .

Feb 13, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterE O'Connor

Meanwhile back at the ranch:

Feb 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Cedit where it's due: Roger Harrabin's questions to Prof. Jones were right on target.
Until now Harrabin's bias in favour of the AGW hypothesis has coloured the debate in the UK and possibly further afield. Most of his reporting was sycophantic towards the high priests of the AGW religion and dismissive towards skeptics.
I sense that the tide has now turned. NOT because of politicking or propoganda, but because in science "the truth will out". Fake hypotheses will always be refuted. Fake hypotheses cannot be propped by their bent proponents for more than a brief time.
But, whilst science doesn't depend on opinion polls, public opinion is important: our dumb politicians are frittering away billions of our money on the AGW gravy train. They must be stopped.
And the likes of Roger Harrabin are highly influential in this process. He now seems to have lost his faith - a word best defined as 'holding a view regardless of the evidence'. Better late than never, Rodge!

Feb 13, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrentharg

The first question and answer is a game-changer. If the general public heard this in a single news report on the six or ten - the whole edifice would crumble.

Fair play to Harrabin, not liked much on here, but an honourable man and here he proves it.

Feb 13, 2010 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete

This response is almost an admission that the "science" is a load of crap.

V - If you have confidence in your science why didn't you come out fighting like the UK government's drugs adviser David Nutt when he was criticised?

I don't feel this question merits an answer.

Feb 14, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterM ick from the bush

The worst I've seen on the subject was Tim Ball on the Cohen Show (UTube). It all started with Maurice Strong and guess who? u got it Jones. This was a group of activist whos declared aim (Club of Rome) was the termination of all western industrial activity and the formation of a world government through the auspices of the UN. This was a group of fascist deliberately using global warming to suppress industrial activity. Strong and Jones were at the meeting which set up the IPCC with the terms of reference which guided it to falsify the data and evidence to turn CO² into the bogey man and by controlling CO² they could control the world. They new they couldn't do it through fuel prices because everyone would protest so they did through CO². Don't sympathise with Jones nor Harabin Nor the BBC. These people set out as a group to control you and everyone if they could.

Feb 14, 2010 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

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