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« Rip it up and start again | Main | Academic sceptics »

Oral evidence

The oral evidence sessions for the Parliamentary Inquiry into CRU have been announced.

Oral evidence

Forthcoming session:

Monday 1 March 2010

3.00pm The Rt Hon the Lord Lawson of Blaby, Chairman, and Dr Benny Peiser, Director, Global Warming Policy Foundation
3.30pm Richard Thomas CBE, former Information Commissioner
4.00pm Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia and Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit
4.40pm Sir Muir Russell, Head of the Independent Climate Change E-Mails Review
5.00pm Professor John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Julia Slingo OBE, Chief Scientist, Met Office, and Professor Bob Watson, Chief Scientist, Defra

I suppose that the best one can say is that at least sceptics are going to be heard for half an hour, but to me this looks like a determined attempt by the committee to hear only the message it wants to hear. None of the people who were actually involved in dealings with the CRU, who were involved in the nitty gritty of trying to extract information from them, the people who were insulted and abused in the CRU emails, the people who understand the technicalities of "Mike's Nature trick" and hiding the decline, none of these people will actually get a say. They are left outside in the cold.

Why would our elected representatives want to hear from people who actually know something about what went on?


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Reader Comments (26)

Actually it reads like one of those half-day PR conferences at a posh London hotel, coffee break included.

Something like "Climate, the changing face - how can you adapt?", with some nice attractive PR girls on the prowl handing out name tags.

With of course the token (non-scientific) sceptic.

The real question is: will the questions be soft balls or curve balls?

Feb 23, 2010 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

We should not expect much from our "Mother of Parliaments". Remember the climate bill that they passed last year with a majority that would have satisfied Walter Ulbricht?

Feb 23, 2010 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterGordon Walker

There is an election coming up. I do not know how safe are majorities of the Committee members.

There is a rift between the British Public and Parliament (that parliament cannot see). Wouldn't it be a good time for some MP's to stand up? Even if they genuinely believe in AGW, it is time Parliament again represented the interests of the public - ask the questions that need to be asked.

Such a stand would either be a parting gesture or a way of showing their constituents that some MPs are worth keeping.

Time for an MP to be make a name for themselves?

Yes I know, I will wake up now...

Feb 23, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

How independent are the other two international data sets?

That is the key part to this hearing on 1st March, if the data is independent then the issue is in house and Phil Jones becomes the fall guy, end of story. If not independent then the wider issue of AGW has to be discussed with all the financial implications. Lets hope Lord Lawson is aware of the implications of accepting Phil Jones head on a platter, it will jeopardise any attempt to remove the bedrock of AGW by critising the temperature data.

Feb 23, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord BeaverBrook

Interesting that they put 2 members of the "opposition" on first so that anything they say can be immediately countered by 7 members of the "faithful". The scripts to be used by this magnificent 7 have probably been printed off already and are safely stored in their briefcases.

At about 10:20 this morning, on "The Wright Stuff", Professor Robert Winston (human fertility expert) announced that global warming is probably caused by technology.

This programme is repeated at 11:00 this morning on channnel Fiver if you want to check it out.

Feb 23, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I phoned the Science and Technology Committee and confirmed that the session on March 1st is the only session for oral evidence: no others are planned.

I had expected the Committee to do nothing useful, but this seems to go beyond that. My interpretation is that the Committee is demonstrating its power—i.e. they do not even have to pretend that they are doing a real investigation—and thereby sending a message to skeptics.

Feb 23, 2010 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

Maybe Mr Harrabin could demonstrate his new journalistic approach and do a piece on what the blogosphere makes of the small range of people giving oral evidence.

He might ponder as to why people like Steve McIntyre were not asked to give evidence - given that he was "mentioned in despatches" in the emails.

Feb 23, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMr Cumudgeon

The two sceptics present therefore should focus on the procedural errors of this session, and the non compliant errors of CRU, they should well keep away from climate science issues.

Feb 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterHans Erren

Protest Bish to the committee. Please post their email address. I will protest too and anyone else who is interested.

Feb 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Hang on, people. A lot of this could be positive, for instance interviewing

1. An old Information Commissioner, if he confirms what the current one has said

2. John Beddington, if his recent emphasis against exaggeration of uncertainty is repeated

3. Muir Russell.

The last is most important. It's Russell sans Boulton and gives the committee the opportunity to ask what on earth he thinks he's playing at appointing someone with so many conflicts of interest.

The real gap is a UK-based expert on the various stats problems - for instance, Keenan. I can understand Doug's feelings on the subject. That is a real loss.

The questioning of Phil Jones will be the hinge point. If they go easy there it will have been, to coin a phrase, a travesty. But surely they are aware of the public disquiet? Surely they realise that many have read the emails for themselves? That people about to vote in a general election will watch this session in much larger numbers that most such hearings receive?

Feb 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

This oligarchy masquerading as a democracy is a travesty, a disgusting sham that sickens me to the heart. I will be voting for whichever of UKIP or BNP will take most votes from my MP.

Feb 23, 2010 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian Williams

If they wanted the truth, all there would be is one competent lawyer grilling Jones and Mann separately and back to back with rapid-fire short answers to all questions. They wouldn't stand a chance. Close ups of their sweating faces would doom them just as it doomed Nixon in his debate with Kennedy.

Feb 23, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterdfbaskwill

Just remember folks, this is a British "establishment" enquiry. It will, therefore, produce the result that the establishment has pre-ordained for it.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Now belt up and learn to respect your betters!

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPogo

Are you sure they aren't running auditions for a new season of Yes, Minister?

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the 'disgusting sham that sickens me to the heart' approach bothers me. This isn't Germany in January 1933, not yet. It's too easy to come out with such melodrama on blogs. Do we ever thank God it's not Germany '33 or Stalin in the days of Lysenko? The equivalents of Lawson and Peiser would be in concentration camps or shot by now rather than having their (admittedly brief) chance in front of our democratically elected representatives. We are in better shape than so many have been in human history and in the world today.

There are real threats to our freedom under the guise of AGW 'mitigation', that I would agree with. Which means a level of respect for the freedoms we still have is a key part of what we should always communicate.

The fact that this short afternoon is in public is a key fact, compared to Muir Russell's sorry efforts so far. Surely now is the time to email individual members of the committee, to help them, in a very clinical way, to take the lid off the current attempts to minimise the what was revealed by the Climategate whistleblower.

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Steal $1000, you go to jail; steal $1 million and you get the option to pay it back. Steal tens of billions via climate change fraud and it's too big to finger anyone for the crime.

The results of the enquiry? The odds-on favourite is:"The scientists could have been more transparent and less dismissive of opponents, but there is nothing that invalidates the overwhelming consensus that the science in favour of AGW is solid."

Any takers at 2-5 on?

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I have no doubt that Lord Lawson will more than hold his ground with this committee - and they know it. Coming first will help/enable him to set the terms of the debate and lines of questioning for the session. With luck, it should be broadcast.

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

Now "the focus of the inquiry is the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research and the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA. It is not an inquiry into global warming."

I would like to know in what way Professor Julia Slingo OBE, Chief Scientist, Met Office and Professor Bob Watson, Chief Scientist, Defra can contribute to the integrity of scientific research. From what I have seen and heard from them, their expertise is in the area of lack of integrity. Perhaps then the inquiry will learn from these experts in lack of scientific integrity.

Feb 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Is thi session open to the public ?

[BH adds: Yes, I understand it will be public]

Feb 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterFreddy

The usual suspects lead the charge and is it not noticeable that the alarmists get the last word?

Feb 23, 2010 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

People, we are dealing with bureaucrats here, keep repeating this until it sinks in:

"the focus of the inquiry is the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research and the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA. It is not an inquiry into global warming."

They will be hearing oral evidence on the implications of the disclosures on scientific integrity and the terms of reference of the review.
That is it.

Please note that that is NOT 'evidence on the disclosures and implications of the disclosures'. It is simply evidence of the 'implications of the disclosures ON SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY'.

Feb 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

No wonder the debate is over. They keep forgetting to invite the other side.

Feb 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRott

Jiminy Cricket:

Re the possibility of MPs standing up and representing the interests of the public, you might be interested to see this:

It seems it's only possible for a maverick like David Davies to express a view on this extraordinarily important issue. There are, I think, two others who have done so - one of whom is my MP, Peter Lilley.

Feb 23, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

As a professional physicist working in climate science I refute the notion that it is humans who drive the climate. The human contribution is small with 80 percent of the late 20th century warming due to cloud reduction. In the Cambrian Era carbon dioxide levels were 20 times higher than today with no runaway greenhouse effect. The geological record shows that for 80 per cent of the last 800 million years the earth temperature has been around 22celsius, today it is around 14 celsius.In the Medieval Warm Period vikings tilled Greenland when temperatures were higher than today. If carbon dioxide levels are supposed to produce warming how is it that for the last 15 years there has been no statistically significant warming and satellite records confirm that the earth has been cooling for the past nine years( see the Science and Public Policy Institute web site edited by Lord Monckton CO2 report for December. www.scienceand and click on Reports). Surface temperature data has been interfered with and altered and the Met office has only taken surface temperature data from outlets at warm locations leaving data at cool locations. Also 90 percent of the worlds glaciers are advancing not retreating. I fully support Senator Inhofe and his attempt on the floor of the US Senate to ask that there is a Justice enquiry by the Abama administration if any criminal acts have been committed by the CRU matter

Feb 23, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerri Jackson climatologist


Have you spoken to Roger Harrabin?

Feb 23, 2010 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

A better description for the "alarmists" might be" sciencetologists" requires the same degree of absolutism that the cult demands.

Feb 24, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Parr

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