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Boulton contradicts Sir Muir

From the same Times article discussed in the last posting, a statement from Professor Geoffrey Boulton on the furore over his combining a position on the CRU emails review and role as a global warming activist.

Sir Muir issued a statement last week claiming that the inquiry members, who are investigating leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia, did not have a “predetermined view on climate change and climate science”.

Professor Boulton told The Times: “I may be rapped over the knuckles by Sir Muir for saying this, but I think that statement needs to be clarified. I think the committee needs someone like me who is close to the field of climate change and it would be quite amazing if that person didn’t have a view on one side or the other.”

This is quite extraordinary. How was it that the review went public with a statement that the panellists' views on climate change were not predetermined when one of the panellists openly admits that his views are just that? Did Sir Muir check the views of the panellists before he published this statement on the official website? What did Professor Boulton tell him then? For that matter, what did Philip Campbell say? We need answers to these questions because either Sir Muir has not checked to ensure that his panellists are independent or someone has not been telling the truth.

The Russell review is rapidly turning into a farce.


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Reader Comments (24)

I don’t see how this panel can be defended by anybody. The whole phenomenal cack-handedness of this exercise shows an utter disdain for the concept of sceptical enquiry.

Feb 14, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Indeed. Add that fact that apparently Jones is free to give media interviews (as well as enlist the support of Prince Charles) to give his side of the case and all the evidence against him is to be heard in secret, all of which is revealed after a couple of months during which neither Steve McIntyre nor Ross McKitrick were even contacted by Sir Muir. The Boulton clanger is extraordinary, as are his latest comments on it, for the reasons you point out Bishop.

For the record, I can't see how anyone close to climate change can take part in this inquiry. In that sense alone I agree with Boulton; that he is close to climate science. Therefore he shouldn't be there, because the whole point is to take a wholly independent look as to whether fundamental principles of science have been followed at CRU, or not. And it's impossible to divorce that crucial question from the larger one of whether the field of climate science as a whole has been corrupted, as Professor Lindzen has openly stated (for example in his excellent presentation to Cooler Heads last October).

Feb 14, 2010 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"The Russell review is rapidly turning into a farce."

I think that this could be stated in the past tense.

Feb 14, 2010 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterK.A.J.

IF the Time's quote of Boulton is correct, it shows that he is willing to mislead in order to achieve a desired goal. That's not a characteristic that is compatible with being a review panel member.

What goal did he have in mind when his purposefully misled (if only by omission) to get onto the panel?

Feb 14, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A

The laity would say FUBAR rather than farce.

Feb 15, 2010 at 12:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

Andrew30 notes a problem with a third panellist at American Thinker (Feb 14, 01:55 AM):

"David Eyton, head of research and technology at British Petroleum
is on the independent panel investigating the Climate Research Unit.
This is a clear conflict of interest.

At the bottom of this page:
From the Climate Research Units own web site you will find a partial
list of companies that fund the CRU. It includes British Petroleum.
British Petroleum has been funding the Climate Research Unit since 1974.

I think that any organization that provided funding to the Climate
Research Unit must NOT be looking at the process or the outcome, since they already bought the process and paid for the outcome."

And the latest CA post observes that:

"Geoffrey Boulton is the General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. There’s a BP connection here as well – BP is a corporate sponsor of the Royal Society of Edinburgh."

Feb 15, 2010 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

Time, perhaps, for the "Stinky Frostheimer" methodology to be introduced to select unbiased inquiry members?

Feb 15, 2010 at 2:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterb_C

am aware steve mcintyre believes the BBC Paul Hudson 'story' is a 'red herring'. perhaps. i heart steve anyway.
whatever information paul hudson received in the 'chain of emails' of 12th october was kept from the public then, and continues to be kept from the public now. that is why it remains important.

i hope someone with better tech skills will capture what remains in his archive, as it now only goes back to the october 9th 2009 explosive, game-changing thread:

Archives for October 2009
Whatever happened to global warming?
Paul Hudson | 12:28 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009
(N.B. on 12th October, the date hudson would later claim he received a 'chain of emails' from the CRU lot, hudson blogged again)
A few points about my article
Paul Hudson | 14:52 UK time, Monday, 12 October 2009

Archives for November 2009
'Climategate' - CRU hacked into and its implications
13:07 UK time, Monday, 23 November 2009
(excerpt) I was forwarded the chain of e-mails on the 12th October, which are comments from some of the worlds leading climate scientists written as a direct result of my article 'whatever happened to global warming'. The e-mails released on the internet as a result of CRU being hacked into are identical to the ones I was forwarded and read at the time and so, as far as l can see, they are authentic.
'Climategate' - What next?
Paul Hudson | 20:02 UK time, Tuesday, 24 November 2009
As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, 'Whatever happened to global warming ?'
These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. Complaints and criticisms of output are an every day part of life, and as such were nothing out of the ordinary. However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others.

previously i've pointed out hudson could not have received the series 125523796.txt he linked to on 23rd october, as some have 14th october date.

East Anglia Emails 1255523796.txt
From: Kevin Trenberth <>
To: Michael Mann <>
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 08:36:36 -0600
Here are some of the issues as I see them:
Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation. What are the physical processes?
Where did the heat go? ...etc.
On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:
Hi Tom
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where
energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not
close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is
happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as
we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!...

the released east anglia emails do not provide any evidence that anyone at UEA/CRU officially contacted hudson or copied any of the emails to him. quite the opposite as ways were being discussed between 11 and 14 october of doing something about hudson's blog of 9 october.

East Anglia Emails 1255523796.txt
Michael Mann wrote:
...extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd,
since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from
what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.
We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for
the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up here?

from paul hudson's local newspaper:

27 November: Hull Daily Mail: BBC weatherman in global warming row
When contacted by the Mail, the weatherman said he was not allowed to comment and asked us to speak to the BBC press office.
A BBC spokesperson said: "Paul wrote a blog for the BBC website on October 9 entitled Whatever Happened To Global Warming. There was a big reaction to the article – not just here but around the world. Among those who responded were Professor Michael E Mann and Stephen Schneider whose e-mails were among a small handful forwarded to Paul on October 12.
"Although of interest, Paul wanted to consider the e-mails as part of a wider piece, following up his original blog piece.
"Last week, Paul spotted these few e-mails were among thousands published on the Internet following the alleged hacking of the UEA computer system.

26 November: Hull Daily Mail: Look North weatherman Paul Hudson in climate change scandal
...Mr Hudson, a climate change expert, says documents allegedly sent between some of the world's leading scientists – which discuss how to "spin" climate data – are a direct result of an article he wrote.
His essay, written last month, argued that for the last 11 years there had not been an increase in global temperatures.
It also presented counter-arguments to the belief man's actions are warming the planet.
The weather presenter – who is also honorary mayor of Wetwang, near Driffield – claims he was sent the leaked e-mails, which were apparently taken from servers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, over a month ago

1. while we await the results of 'investigations', BBC could release the alleged emails from michael mann and stephen schneider and any others in the 'small handful' which were sent to paul hudson.
2. who sent them to hudson? mann/schneider/richard black/other bbc personnel/a whistleblower?
3. read 1255523796.txt alongside hudson's blog of 12 october above for any hints that he had received any particular emails in that series before writing his blog.

to be credible, any investigation needs to look at all the above information.

Feb 15, 2010 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

This pannel should be now disbanded.

What is needed, to clear the air, is a properly constituted judicial pannel, headed by a hard headed high court judge, with a well financed secretariat.

There have been several such investigations (known as Royal Commissions in Australia) which have successfully got to the bottom of entrenched police corruption.

Nothing else will surfice as the risks to international society are so much higher.
(By that I mean, the risks of allowing the global warming fraud to continue).

Feb 15, 2010 at 3:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusie Dan

from realclimate blogger:

Sorry, but you chaps still aren’t getting “it”. I am on your side and I see that you still aren’t getting “it”. The problem is the defensiveness and obfuscation of the Team (as they call you). I see it and I am on your side. Let the “deniers” have what they want – data; code; public debate. Surely you all will “win” in that process with the facts. Only then will they relent.

[Response: Maybe on a different planet. There is more data than you can poke a stick at, millions of lines of code in the public domain, and climate scientists tripping over themselves to do outreach at schools, churches, clubs, museums, TV, radio and music hall. I'm collecting 'we surrender' emails from the sceptics as we speak.... - gavin]

Feb 15, 2010 at 3:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterKate

The Muir panel seems to have been selected in utter, utter cluelessness, or should that be CRUlessness?

And what's this, climate scientists are fighting in skeptics where now? in music halls?

Wow, Gavin Schmidt is sounding positively Churchillian. But his response could use a rewrite for better effect, I think.

Even though large parts of Europe and many of the United States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the skeptics and all the odious apparatus of Anti-AGW blogs, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in East Anglia and State College, Pennsylvania, we shall fight on the rotten sea ice and the rising oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence in our data and growing strength of our computer models, we shall defend our IPCC, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the eroding coral islands, we shall fight in the urban heat islands (even though we don’t believe they exist), we shall fight in the peer-reviewed journals and on the internet, we shall fight on the receding Himalyan glaciers; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, if the IPCC or a large part of it were abolished and starved of government funding and carbon credits, then our World Government beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Hockey Team, would carry on the struggle, until, in Gore’s good time, the New World Climate Order, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of Global Warming.

How's that?

Feb 15, 2010 at 5:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Can someone tell me if:

1. The Russell inquiry is to be open to the public?
2. If witnesses are to be cross-examined by competent cross-examiners?

It seems to me so far that the inquiry is teh biggest whitewash since Caesar appeald to Caesar.

[BH adds: I believe the answers are "no" and "no".]

Feb 15, 2010 at 5:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Murphy

Today's Times Online quotes Boulton as saying the inquiry needs someone like him "who is close to the field of climate change and it would be quite amazing if that person didn’t have a view on one side or the other.”

Feb 15, 2010 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Ackroyd

From Kate

[I'm collecting 'we surrender' emails from the sceptics as we speak.... - gavin]

The response should be "If you are then publish them. Oh sorry you guys don't do that..."

Feb 15, 2010 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

"The Russell review is rapidly turning into a farce."

I think that this could be stated in the past tense.

No it always was in the past tense - UK enquiries are deigned to kick an issue into the long grass, until either - the fuss dies down and media interest moves on, or until the hand-picked enquiry team has drafted a report which suitably muddies the situation and it ceases to be of interest to the public and press. Either way the objective is achieved and the party managing the enquiry simply continues with business as usual!

Feb 15, 2010 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilled Out

Boulton has a predetermined view on climate change and climate science, he must go. How can Sir Muir keep him after this.

Hasnt Sir Muir asked for comments from the public? Well this should be one of them. The panel should be fair and unbiased.

Feb 15, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard


Feb 15, 2010 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Here's my take, which Benny Peiser didn't publish in the last ccNet, so here it goes:

Dear Benny

It's not terribly surprising that the Muir Russell inquiry is already mired in controversy, because controversy is the food and drink of supposed investigations by headed by one senior civil servant (Russell) upon another (Jones). The uninformed confuse this kind of controversy for investigative rigour.

The public, who are paying for this farrago of nonsense, are given minimal time to respond to the terms of reference which has been drawn up deliberately to be vague and unintimidating so as to not "pre-judge" the outcome. Even when one of the appointed members was thrown over the side when his previous comments were revealed to have prejudged the outcome, the "inquiry" carries on regardless.

Then there will be silence for all of the testimony will be taken behind closed doors. We will not even be allowed to see the questions asked nor the transcripts of the answers provided (lest terrorists make use of them, we can surmise). We will not be able to verify any statements made nor evaluate the documentation presented (lest we be the terrorists).

Will they be under oath? Does it matter when there are no public consequences? Do the witnesses give testimony in the full knowledge that their answers will be checked against documentary evidence which can be challenged? Will witnesses be warned prior to testimony to not contact other witnesses nor disclose their testimony in advance to avoid collusion?

Of course not.

The entire point of this "inquiry" is to waste time and public money, to muddy waters, to bamboozle the public and to put maximum distance between events and investigation so that the supposed results become moot or at the very least diluted to homeopathic ineffectiveness by subsequent events.

We can expect the inquiry to regularly leak that this or that controversial aspect is being "thoroughly examined", that the principals gave "robust and detailed defences under cross-examination".

And then, months after anyone but a few die-hards could care about the inquiry, the report is given: some of the investigated are found to have broken minor civil service rules but despite all evidence to the contrary, the people whose actions precipitated the inquiry are proclaimed to be basically sound and honest, whose actions while seeming to be suspicious were simply mistakes happening while the principals were under extreme pressure from Malevolent Outsiders Whose Only Purpose Is To Stir Up Trouble.

The language of the report will be standard Civil Service passive tense dipped in a special brew of British ambiguity and euphemism designed to keep people unenlightened and make outsiders feel like ignorant peasants pressing their noses at the windows of some great philosophical debate held in the Stately House on the hill .

And then the principals will retire to spend more time with their families and gardens. Perhaps one of them will become a visiting professor at an American university. Memoirs of a life in science will be written for family and close friends.

How do I know this? Because I'm British and this is the consistent pattern when one part of the State investigates another: secrecy, obfuscation, timewasting and weak pseudo-judicial procedures, with leaks to the press before, during and after, and thick anodyne reports at the end which no-one will read apart from the summary of the conclusions.

When was the last time any of you saw one of these inquiries leading to prosecution? Or even censure?

It should be obvious to all that the Muir Russell inquiry is a waste of time and money. Where are the forensic statisticians? Where are the librarians and researchers? Where are the mathematicians? Where are the legal experts on international agreements? Where are the scientific ethicists? The experts in scientific fraud investigations? The computer experts?

Nowhere to be found.

Muir Russell was the senior civil servant responsible for the design and building of the Scottish Parliament whose budget for GBP40 million blew out to GBP400 million. He was investigated by the Fraser Committee. And then promoted. Then he retired to become Principal of Glasgow University. Now he's the safe pair of hands investigating another scandal involving civil servants.

Take a guess what's going to happen next.

Yes, I'm cynical.

John A

Feb 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn A

John A: Surely you could not possibly think that we are seeing the future Lord Russell?

Feb 15, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Whether he has a pre-determined view on global warming is a bit of a side issue --- one that some people would love you to bogged down in --- because the inquiry is supposedly not about the conclusions of the science (whether or not there is AGW) anyway.

The inquiry is real supposed to be about the **integrity** of the science process at the CRU.

So the real question is NOT whether or not Boulton believes in AGW, but instead the real question is whether there is anything that prevents Boulton being a fair and independent assessor of evidence regarding the **integrity** of the process?

The second level of that real question is whether there is anything that might make Boulton **appear** to not be a fair and independent assessor of evidence regarding the **integrity** of the process? (Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done).

So are in my view, the 3 issues regarding Boulton that need to be focused on:

1. Does he have personal or profession connections to the CRU and the scientists at the CRU which might prejudice, or appear to prejudice, his view on them?

2. Has he already formed a view (prior to the formal inquiry), or appeared to formed a view, regarding the **integrity of the science** at the CRU?

3. Has he relied upon the data generated by the CRU and relied upon the **integrity of the science** at the CRU, for his own research? Since if he has, this would make it appear as if he was (in part) investigating his own work - which surely would be, or at the very least appear to be, a significant conflict of interest?

Feb 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAWatcher

It's a whitewash all right, no question what we have is:

1. A senior civil servant heading an enquiry into scientific malfeasance at the UEA.CRU;

2. Said civil servant appoints 2 people onto the enquiry committee who have both expressed support for the CRU. Incredible as it may seem that's what he did, what we need to know is whether Sir Muir is gaga ( not unusual in retired high ranking civil servants), or naive (unusual in high rank civil servants), or so unworldly that he assumes that expressing support for the defendant before the enquiry does not in anyway imply that the committee members will support the CRU during the enquiry. (He's not unworldly);

3. We are then left to assume he deliberately chose these people, or, he didn't choose them at all, someone else, more powerful persuded him to put them on the enquiry.

4. If he deliberately chose them then he's unwordly, but we've already settled on the fact that a man who has negotiated the cess pool of the upper echelons of the civil service is not going to be unworldly. So someone chose them for him?

5. Well we can't say that for certain, but look at Boulton's show of utter contempt for Sir Muir, falsifying his stand on the issues, and today openly admitting he's a warmist. He clearly feels that Sir Muir, like anyone would who had the power do do so, cannot get shot of him. He clearly feels safe and that Sir Muir is litlle more than a stooge.

6. Or, Sir Muir is another version of Sir Humphrey who has planted these two pro-CRU members on the enquiry with two "whitewashers" in reserve. The first goes without much of a fight, the second seems to be tweaking Sir Muir's nose and goes when Sir Muir "loses his patience" with the antics.

7. The duo of "whitewashers" are drafted in, no one can complain that the enquiry is biassed and the whitewash takes place with a seemingly.

For sure if the enquiry goes ahead with Dr. Boulton on the team it will be tainted.

Just my random thoughts trying to figure out how so eminent a civil servant could have gotten himself into such a mess.

Feb 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"Allegations of bias against Review member rejected"

see Independent Climate Change em@il Review at

Feb 15, 2010 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil

They got his name wrong - maybe that's why Russell's background checks failed!

On Friday February 12, allegations were raised that Professor Geoffrey Bolton's background and views affected his ability to be a member of the Review. These have been rejected by Sir Muir Russell and by Professor Bolton.

Feb 15, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermisty

Since Boulton is an Edinburgh academic, whose views were regularly published in its paper & Muir Russell is also from Edinburgh it would be quite extraordinarily obtuse of the latter not to know the opinions of the former.

Feb 18, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

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