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« Comments pagination | Main | More SciTech committee appointments »
Wednesday
Jun302010

A late submission to Sir Muir

Mann et al have submitted a (very late) tale of woe to Sir Muir Russell's emails review. The signatories are a veritable who's who of hockey and this team's pucks are considerably out of kilter.

They need Sir Muir to protect them from harassment, they need Sir Muir to defend the "consensus" and they want Sir Muir to write off some of the evidence completely as not being in good faith. Oh yes, and does Sir Muir know they were harassed?

Give me strength.

Read it here.

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Reader Comments (93)

Please teacher, the dog ate my homework and I have to go to my Granny's funeral.

Jun 30, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

From the style I thought Jo Abbess was going to be one of the signatories. I hope Sir Muir sees this as a blatant attempt to direct him as to what his conclusions should be, and gives the cheeky buggers a good slap.

Jun 30, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiam

Err.. wait just cotton pickin' minute.. we were working with David Holland to revise his submission, and were told that Sir Muir would absolutely NOT be accepting any more submissions. Period. LONG before this submission was dated. What GIVES?

Jun 30, 2010 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

"Not all the evidence submitted to the ICCER comes from parties with genuine
interest in furthering scientific understanding."

...quite true, in their case.

The situation with respect to scientific understanding was competently summarized by Kelly of the Oxburgh inquiry (though apparently Kelly's views did not warrant inclusion in the report on CRU science that borrowed his name).

I wonder if Kelly would be interested in submitting his perspective to Muir Russell?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Do I detect that the Hockey Team seems worried about the influence of McIntyre?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrCrinum

Hold on, I've seen all those names on the bottom of that submission together somewhere before...?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael

The use of the word "contrarian" three times suggests it was written by Mann, as he seems to be the only person to use the word. They also have information that has not been disclosed publicly; i.e. knowledge that the emails were stolen and knowledge of illegal spying on CRU communications. How do they know these "facts"?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Now, I know I am biased, but it reads like “We know better that you how to do your job, so we will help you out with a few pointers, but in some cases they are not just pointers they are MUST do demands”

This is not a submission of evidence, it is a list of instructions and then they wonder why “Through experience, we have learned that there is no review of climate scientists’ work that isn’t deemed a “whitewash” by climate change contrarians.”

Could it be that climate scientists want to write their own reviews,now where (peer) have we (review) heard that before.

It is a side of the mouth, “look guv, you and I both know I am right, now this is ere is how we is going to fix things”

However this submission maybe clever, if Sir Muir follows any of the “instructions” it contains, there will be an immediate shout of “whitewash, doing the wishes of the team” and deflecting again away from the actual malfeasance. I wonder, I wonder…..

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

How long has Gavin Schmidt been employed by the WOODS INSTITUTE FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT? Has he left NASA/GISS?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The document signature blocks listing the institution first, before the name, seems to imply each person is signing for his institution. Do others see it that way?

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Reynolds

Steve: Now I understand. A very strange way of adding signatures!

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"How long has Gavin Schmidt been employed by the WOODS INSTITUTE FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT? Has he left NASA/GISS?"

Institution's name is ABOVE the signature. See below...

"The document signature blocks listing the institution first, before the name, seems to imply each person is signing for his institution. Do others see it that way?"

That is how you do it, if you're signing for the institution itself, yes.

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

I'd hazard a guess that they've been made privy to some early conclusions and that they don't at all like what they see. This late joint submission is a last ditch attempt to get them changed. It might also explain Mann's surprising and implausible humility in the Panorama programme earlier this week. I felt then that something pretty serious had rattled his cage.

We could speculate from the things that they write about that the inquiry team:

- They have taken Steve McIntyre seriously...maybe have even read your Grace's fine work. And have been persuaded to look at the issues he raises rather than ignore them a la Oxburgh.

- They have taken the deliberate refusal to be open and honest with data very seriously and are proposing a degree of transparency that the signatories find very uncomfortable.

- That they do not propose to make the usual statement about 'consensus de blah de blah'..and may even cast a shadow upon that structure. This would be a shake to the very foundations.

- And that Sir Muir has been less than overwhelmed by the special pleading so far about just how difficult it is to sit in an office and comply with the law of the land re FoI. Nor that nasty sceptics are making their lives a living hell while the Earth fries without them.

But most of all it tells us that these Masters of the Universe are narked in the extreme that their individual submissions have been subjected to the same rules as other mere mortals. And they need to remind us all just how important they are (little insignificant people don't get death threats) and how greater weight should be given to their self-determined 'morally pure' views than to mere non-peer-reviewed people who have not achieved AGW sainthood.

For hubris and nemesis I suggest that the inquiry send them each a copy of 'Bonfire of the Vanities' by Tom Wolfe. Good reading.

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I understand that we're looking at the Usual Suspects, but how those cheeky buggers have the balls to put their names to such a blatant attempt to direct the work of an 'independent' review is beyond me. As my Old Dad used to say: "More front than Woolworths!"

Normally we Brits respond very badly to being pressurised by this sort of overt special pleading. Let's hope Sir Muir will also see it as 'poor form' and react accordingly.

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerry Mead

This seems to me rather like opening a door to find a room full of rattlesnakes.
They are all there, rattling their little tails.
Not enough to submit like everyone else, they have to try to go around the rules of the game to try and bribe the referee.
I suppose it's a lot easier doing that than trying to compete in an honest way.
Absolutely typical and par for the course from a bunch of twisted researchers. (Scientists is too big a word for these people).

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterWeeWillie

OT Important.

http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/tangled-web-to-be-closed-down.html

Just thought I'd pass this on since you are on squarespace.

Whatever your views are on the subject matter at this site, the implications are chilling.

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterVan Grungy

I thought the ICCER proudly displayed on its website (as all clever committees do) that they faced a conflict of issue (with Campbell) as all serious committees usually do (dont they), successfully dealt with it with a selfless step-down, thus demonstrating its seriousness of intent and moral authority.

I thought it was all done so nicely. And now these people are complaining about it. They do not live in the real world?

And they quote DeepClimate? I think I know who drafted this letter.

Jun 30, 2010 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I know what's troubling them.

It is Sheldon Ungar's analysis of a rampage of public and professional opinion on a paper by Enstrom and Kabat on the risks of second-hand smoke.

Sheldon Ungar is based in Toronto, is a sociologist belonging to the constructivist school. Schneider has been opposed (vehemently) to his views in the literature.

The thing is, Mike Hulme suggested the paper to them, as you all know.

These guys want to coach Muir what to make of the Ungar paper - if he ever reads it, and he should. Becuase what happened with the Enstrom and Kabat incident is uncannily similar to what is done with climate skeptics - down to every little detail.

This is funny.

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

followup to the "Nature" post - expect more of the same:


28 June: GloucesterTimes: Getting help from the press
Blurring the lines of national coverage
For five days, esteemed scientists and elite journalists gathered on Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles, east of Aruba, to loll on the island's fine beaches, sip cocktails at the Tipsy Seagull and perhaps marvel at the flamingoes for which Bonaire is famous.
The official purpose of the October 2002 gathering of the Pew Charitable Trusts marine fellows was to train the scientists in the ways of the media, the better to market their message...
The scientists being trained on Bonaire had a ready pool of journalists on which to practice what they were learning about working the media. The list of reporters invited to Bonaire was a who's who of science journalism: Cornelia Dean of the New York Times, Natasha Loder of the Economist, Charles Alexander of Time magazine and Tom Hayden of U.S. News and World Report, among others.
Dean told the Gloucester Daily Times her trip to Bonaire was paid for by Pew, the powerful nonprofit that uses its multi-billion-dollar endowment to steer public policy on the environment and other issues....
While the New York Times has strict standards against junkets, Dean said, an exception is made for "teaching," and that's what she was doing in Bonaire.
"My goal was to help scientists to speak more clearly to the public," she said. ..
The journalists are wined and dined by the advocates and hired to train the scientists to use the media to advance their message.
The journalists, in turn, call on those same scientists as sources when writing about the advocates and their agenda...
http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x1703942593/Getting-help-from-the-press

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

A letter from, it would seem, some desperately anxious people. But why? What has Muir Russell done that would suggest they have much to worry about? Is it because the weight of the submissions is such that he cannot be expected to do a complete whitewash?

What possible purpose can such a letter serve? To insinuate lines of argument? To position themselves as victims, and beg for mercy?

I have long hoped that behavioural scientists are busy collecting good data about the climate alarmists, and that one day we shall see many penetrating studies on the how, and the why, of what they have done. This letter may yet serve some noble purpose.

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

29 June: UK Tele: Louise Gray: Greg Barker, climate change minister: 'We cannot go on relying on foreign fuel'
Barker, a former PR executive who took his close friend David Cameron to the Arctic resulting in that infamous snap with the huskies that was dismissed as a cynical stunt by critics, is “100 per cent certain” that man-made global warming is happening. ...
This strategy is central to the Government’s Green New Deal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. If that is to be achieved, between 400,000 and 1.8 million homes a year will have to be upgraded between now and then, at an annual cost of between £5 billion and £15 billion. ..
“We will bring new participants into the insulating business, like B&Q, Marks & Spencer or Virgin, as well as trusted energy companies like British Gas and others, to help pay for the upfront cost without the householder having to incur debt on their bills...
Mr Barker is committed to cutting carbon emissions but, unlike his predecessors in office, he doesn’t dismiss climate-change sceptics as “flat-earthers” – there are too many of them on the back benches for him to do that.
“There are people that take different views. I am not a scientist, but I do understand science is about probabilities...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/7860450/Greg-Barker-climate-change-minister-We-cannot-go-on-relying-on-foreign-fuel.html

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Wait until next Tuesday. And then you will realise how vacuous your comments really are. The Russell report will quash all your conspiracy theories.

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterolebjarne

30 June: BBC Video: Roger Harrabin: Advisers urge new UK climate policies
The Committee on Climate Change calls for a "step change" in power generation, home insulation and transport...
The government says it is committed to being "the greenest ever", and is expected to bring in new energy legislation within its first year.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10469837.stm

29 June: BBC: Richard Black: Advisors urge new UK climate policies
The is the committee's second annual report to parliament, and follows a year in which UK greenhouse gas emissions plummeted by 8.6%, mainly due to the recession but also because of increased fossil fuel prices.
"The recession has created the illusion that progress is being made to reduce emissions," said CCC chairman Lord Adair Turner...
The committee selects four areas where it says the step change needs to occur:....
Responding to the committee's report, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "As the Climate Change Committee makes clear, we mustn't rely on economic recession to cut emissions.
"There has to be an enduring shift to low carbon, driving growth in new technologies, and it must be locked into the fabric of our economy in good times and bad."...
Do you think progress is being made? What changes would you like to see introduced? Send us your views using the form below:...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10456314.stm

what loaded questions at the end, richard!

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Something seems a little odd that this submission was accepted 3 months after the deadline and then it was published on the ICCER site the day after the IAC Montreal meeting was broadcast when perhaps interested parties would be preoccupied. I suppose the Sir Muir schedule only applies to the plebs or perhaps everyone could write their own recommendations to Sir Muir now.

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

The tone and content of this vacuous and vituperative monologue is very familiar to most as the classic trademark of the climate alarmist - defensive anger and hostility, hackneyed tobacco comparison, ad hominem attacks, accusations of mischievousness, appeals to authority (their own, in this case) lack of substantive reasoned evidence af any kind, and demand that the 'science' be declared robust.

Jun 30, 2010 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

The reason it was accepted was that it was by right of reply i.e. those criticised in the report were given a right of reply. The reply has now been published for all to see - but I doubt it will change the content of the report. Though it could conceivably change the precise wording press briefing (a la Oxburgh) ...

Jul 1, 2010 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMatthu

My goodness, the wagons are circled, conestogas aflame with arrows, the pioneers running out of ammo. Where's the cavalry?
=============

Jul 1, 2010 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Not about climate issues but it is interesting to see economists using similar thinking to the pro AGW scientists. ( ie. if you don't have a PhD in climate science/ economics then you cannot comment. Bloggers are just a nuisance )
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100006729/time-to-shut-down-the-us-federal-reserve/

Jul 1, 2010 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

Ross.. excellent! Love the HHGTTG parody, particularly! :o)

Jul 1, 2010 at 12:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

Thanks or nice list of those whose should be stripped of future funding and sued to recover funds mispent.

Jul 1, 2010 at 1:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterLarry T

Mann (I presume it's him) declares this submission to be a response to other submissions, rather than his right of reply to the report. I don't know if this is misdirection and he's seen the body of the report and doesn't want to squeal on the panel for sharing (gut says yes; evidence says.. nowt) but I would be very surprised if Sir Muir - invited by the UEA to do an "independent" ::nod:: ::wink:: review - has written anything that properly or fairly addresses the points made in the submissions.

Of course, my presumption is based entirely on a whitewash trend line that I've drawn from the Parliamentary Enquiry, through the Oxburgh report, and a week or so into the future. We can judge it on its own merits, when it's released. If I'm wrong, and it's NOT been done over by Tom Sawyer and his mates, I'll be delighted to stand corrected.

Jul 1, 2010 at 1:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

A psychologically fascinating submission -- dripping with victimhood, as you would expect, but impressive amounts of denial and projection in there, too.

And projection doesn't get much better than the assertion that 'contrarians' used the Washington blizzards to try to 'prove that global warming was a hoax,' whereas in fact, many AGW supporters used them to bolster their case.

(National Geographic): 'As snowstorm-ravaged states on the U.S. East Coast dig out, scientists say the past week's "Snowpocalypse" could be a taste of harsh winters to come—and that, strangely enough, global warming may be to blame.

'Attributing snowstorms to warmer weather seems contradictory, but climate scientist Amanda Staudt says relatively warmer weather causes more water to be evaporated from the oceans and thus creates more moisture for winter storms, as long as temperatures remain below freezing.'

Jul 1, 2010 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I see the author's initials are DJS. None of the signers have those initials. Anyone have an idea who it might be?

Jul 1, 2010 at 2:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Koss

Aren't there supposed to be a couple of thousand signatures? I can't believe they didn't try to get as many names as they could.

Jul 1, 2010 at 2:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

A classic "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with Bull Shite" tactic.

As I have said many times before, this is not an argument based on scientific facts, but rhetoric. We need to learn that. There are several other threads posted today which underscore that point. For example, Fiona Fox and NatureNews both are filled with the dreaded "PR" word.

John Shade

I have long hoped that behavioural scientists are busy collecting good data about the climate alarmists, and that one day we shall see many penetrating studies on the how, and the why, of what they have done. This letter may yet serve some noble purpose.

Well, for what good it does, I am. However, there are many, many studies that have been around for years and what good have they done? For example:

The Power Elite. by C.Wright Mills. Oxford Press, 1956

The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer, 1951.

And of course, there is Mein Kampf in which Adolf Hitler espoused the use of Große Lüge, or big lie. You would think we would learn from that bitter lesson, yet we still find the the True Believers that Hoffer wrote about.

Jul 1, 2010 at 3:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

"Have another biscuit, Bernard?"

Jul 1, 2010 at 4:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

In his signature it looks as though Gavin Schmidt has missed out the 'm' and the 'd' from his surname...

Jul 1, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

it will take more than this to recapture our trust, BBC:

30 June: UK Tele: BBC told it must reveal salaries of biggest names
(Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust) “I do believe we should release the names of those who receive the biggest incomes from the BBC. You might try to characterise this move as a change of mind. It’s true that we’ve been listening carefully to licence fee-payers and we believe that this is one of a small number of areas where we need to recapture public confidence.” ...
The move follows a series of announcements by the BBC this week about cost-cutting measures. On Monday, Caroline Thomson, the chief operating officer, announced a cap on pay for people recruited as senior managers, and on Tuesday the corporation said that it would make cuts to its pension scheme that are designed to save £50 million a year.
The BBC has also angered union leaders by proposing a pay freeze for all staff earning more than £37,726 a year, with a flat-rate pay increase of £475 a year for lower earners.
Bectu, the broadcasting union, yesterday threatened a strike ballot if the BBC did not improve its pay offer, which it described as “insulting”...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/7864700/BBC-told-it-must-reveal-salaries-of-biggest-names.html

Jul 1, 2010 at 5:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Mann & gang seem to be thinking that tobacco companies cause global warming. How interesting.

Jul 1, 2010 at 5:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

IRT to the Mann gang's point on weather.
The early Senate hearing that started AGW hype was infamous for having its AC turned off and to use the hot room a s a stage prop to make believe that was how AGW would make the world.
Did I miss Man & pals' condemnation of that? Or perhaps Gore's false claim that Katrina was a global warming caused storm? Or Hansen's false prediction that Manhattan island would by now be awash due to AGW?
I will carefully re-read their letter and see if it speaks to those AGW promotional frauds.
....nope. Not there. It is Ok for AGW promoters to use any prop, make any statement and ad hom any skeptic. But God help any skeptic who does something Mann & pals do not like.
So the letter, like the hockeystick, is just another prop in the theater of climate hysteria.

Jul 1, 2010 at 5:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

That's a fascinating screed, Bishop. Many thanks for making it known.

At the very beginning, the writers express concern after "seeing some of our own submissions delayed or redacted". I wonder if they ran afoul of the review's policy:
"The Review will publish all submissions and evidence by the conclusion of the Review, unless there are legal difficulties to prevent publication, or unless they are abusive or potentially defamatory." (from http://www.cce-review.org/Evidence.php )

Jul 1, 2010 at 7:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

This gets even more intriguing.

I just studied their bit about transparency, FoI etc again. What they seem to be saying is that 'we have some nice laws in US that mean that we only have to account for our published papers, not our working and drafts and stuff''...FOI (in the UK sense) does not apply there. And then there is an apparently altruistic appeal to adopt the US standards because

'They would also avoid placing burdens on scientists at CRU (and elsewhere in the U.K.) that their colleagues in the U.S. Federal Government do not have to bear'.

Which is very kind and nice and neighbourly of them....and very much out of character for those I have had the experience of blogging with. They don't do altruism...they do scorched earth with extreme prejudice. And whether Phil Jones gets an extra request or two to show us his legal agreements with some faraway land or not is not something they would normally concern themselves with.

So why are they so bothered? Difficult to be certain, but something has definitely spooked them. I'd guess that there are other e-mails waiting to be released that have some seriously embarrassing content, and this is their damage limitation exercise.

And the overall tone of the letter is really quite pathetic. The only concrete complaint they seem to have is about an article in the Daily Mail which they take exception to. . Whatever its many other qualities, the Mail is not often taken as a serious paper for intellectual or academic debate. All the other whinges are generic..no references, no names, no dates, no specifics..just a litany of victimhood. Better expressed on the privacy of the therapist's couch than in public as a submission to an enquiry

Overall I am underimpressed by the sheer banality of the submission. It does not read to me as the collected wisdom of some great intellectual powerhouses. More as the wriggling of defendants who know they are going down for a stretch and are trying to plead mitigation, not innocence. Beta minus (query minus minus)

Jul 1, 2010 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

“The Shelby Amendment”

“Ultimately, after receiving more than 12,000 comments, OMB issued guidelines
(reported at 65 Fed. Reg. 14406) that balance the public’s interest in disclosure against scientists’ need for confidentiality and protection from harassment”.

12,000 comments from a population of 300 million pretty well balanced to amend a Law!

Not only are we dictated to by the EU regarding what we can and can’t do in our own country but Mr. Mann and his colleagues are also trying to influence the UK FOI laws. Is there any need to have an elected government in this country it seems we could be governed by any two bit Tom, Dick and Mike who wants to have a turn?

Jul 1, 2010 at 7:31 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

They are Americans, they are assuming a powerful committee set up to investigate malfeasance is going to do just that, whereas the Brits expect a committee set up to investigate malfeasance is set up for the sole purpose of disproving it. Remember the Hutton Report anyone?

Even for an old synic like me there are interesting issues here. The first, of course, being the submission itself. Rumours abound that the inquiry is going to report in the next week, so as someone has said, maybe I'm wrong, and that Mann et al have seen the "galleys" and it's not good. (Keep in mind that Mann is so thin skinned "not good" may mean it isn't a ringing endorsement rather than a report with mild criticism). Then there is the acceptance and publication of the submission, why would Muir Russell do that? it flies in the face of logic to take and publish a submission in the last week of the report. Maybe Sir Muir isn't angling for a "P" or is ticked off at the number of people who've tried to influence him into "playing a blinder". I doubt it, but maybe, just maybe, there's going to be a British establishment inquiry that plays fair by the British public.

Finally Dr. Jones, it must be clear to all by now that unless he atones he will finish in the Scientific Hall of Infamy with Mann and the others in this sorry affair Whatever the outcome of this inquiry history, as in the case of the Widgery and Hutton reports, will get to the truth. In the unlikely event of Russell et al finding malfeasance, we should be generous to Dr. Jones and let him return to work and restore his reputation for posterity. I think he fell in with a bad crowd.

Jul 1, 2010 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@Latimer: A good point about more emails, I've wondered all along if there was second shoe to drop, but you'd have to be particularly Macchiavelian to have guessed there'd be investigation which, in the face of all the evidence exonerated he CRU, and wait until they're given a clean bill of health before dropping the second shoe. There is, of course, the intriguing possibility that emails post Climategate have been stolen, and we will have sight of the immediate reaction of the Team, but I doubt it, unfortunately.

Jul 1, 2010 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The Team appears to be providing a misleading picture of US law to Sir Muir.

"'They would also avoid placing burdens on scientists at CRU (and elsewhere in the U.K.) that their colleagues in the U.S. Federal Government do not have to bear"

In the US, federal FOIA applies to federal agencies. [State FOIAs apply to various state agencies - in their respective states.]

Neither federal, nor state, FOIAs apply to private individuals, private corporations, or non-profit NGOs.

Federal and state governments don't generally have the power to require private parties to hand over their correspondence or other documents - absent a court order / warrant.

The OMB interpretation of the 'Shelby Amendment' which is referred to in the Team's letter is a special-case, indirect application of federal FOIA to private parties [who are normally immune to FOIA], IF they choose to accept federal money to do research.

See here - http://www.research.fsu.edu/contractsgrants/documents/create/TabB.pdf

[Of course, scientists can always elect NOT to suck on the government teat - and thereby retain their immunity from FOIA... ]

The Team authors tell Sir Muir that OMB interpreted the rules to limit the amount of information subject to FOIA. They do not make clear that this limitation on FOIA is solely for private parties who accept federal money. I don't believe the OMB interpretation limits the scope of federal FOIA's existing power over actual federal agencies - just because they happen to be doing some science.

The Team implies that, in the US, agencies of the federal government aren't subject to FOIA when they do science. This is wrong.

Of course, CRU is directly subject to UK FOI law because it is part of UEA, which is a publicly-funded agency / institution.

If Jones, Briffa, Osborn, et Al. want to quit their jobs at CRU / UEA and seek partial government funding while working out of their homes - the Team's analogy to US rules would be more apropos.

Jul 1, 2010 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterjim edwards

Note the following text at the bottom of Gavin Schmidt's NASA Web page:

"Email: gschmidt-at-giss.nasa.gov *

*Please note that emails sent to government addresses may be subject to disclosure under FOIA and that you should have no expectation of privacy. If you want to contact me in a non-official capacity, please do so via my columbia email. (Replace the -at- with the @ sign). "

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/gschmidt/

Gavin is apparently aware that his e-mails are discoverable under federal FOIA; how can he sign a letter that implies that they aren't - and that CRU personnel should be, therefore, protected from UK FOI law ?

Jul 1, 2010 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterjim edwards

We have a small group of eco-activists in our area who are permanently at loggerheads with the local authority over things that the LA "must" do or that they claim the LA have "promised" or "agreed to".
Every time the LA disagrees with them they get very huffy and send out all sorts of inaccurate, offensive and libellous letters in all directions.
I am always reminded of the AGW camp when I read them and I was immediately reminded of them when I read this letter.
The mindset is the same. We are right; you are wrong; our version of events is what actually happened; do not dare dispute with us. As far as I can tell it is an approach which is hard-wired into the genetic make-up of "environmentalists" and serves only to confirm the belief that AGW is not, never was, and never will be about the science but is purely to do with eco-politics.
The sooner those who argue the science truly understand that the sooner it might be possible to convince the remaining sane politicians that they are being led by the nose.
Meanwhile,my message to Sir Muir is "you are supposed to be objective; be objective!"

Jul 1, 2010 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

I like the way they feed conclusions that "should" be reached, rather information that should be considered. As in:

"We believe that it is important to state unequivocally in your findings (and any
summary of your findings) that nothing that you have seen calls into question the
scientific consensus on human-caused climate change."

Jul 1, 2010 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

UK FOI and the EIR very simply trump anything that the Team might direct Sir Muir to recommend in his report, so the Team's instructions to Sir Muir are moot in this regard.

A big (and growing) part of me actually is hoping that, as suggested here in comments, the appearance of this letter as a late submission is actually Sir Muir poking the Team in the eye for trying to influence his report. He might easily have just received it as an aside letter, rather than as a submission, and - as is its implied purpose in the letter itself - merely taken it under advisement.

My desire for Sir Muir to break the cycle and serve up a distinguished enquiry report of integrity may be just that, though, and not at all rational. Knowing how Acton can wriggle and writhe around "cogent prima facie" evidence of illegality to such an effect that the ICO is the one that gets criticised, seemingly for Phil Jones' email, in the Parliamentary Enquiry report.. well, let's just say that I can't imagine Sir Muir doing much more than a tip-toe dance around anything that might reflect badly on the CRU or UEA.

Jul 1, 2010 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

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