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« Josh 39 | Main | Deutsche Bank on the MWP »

Oxburgh's learning curve

Steve McIntyre's post this morning looks very bad for Lord Oxburgh. Having been tricked once over what Oxburgh and his team were going to investigate, I don't suppose the Science and Technology Select Committee are going to be too impressed about being tricked again about the duration of the panel's deliberations.

You would have thought that, after all this time, the realisation would have dawned that you cannot get away with this kind of thing under the level of scrutiny that is directed at pronouncements on global warming.

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Reader Comments (26)

People like Oxburgh, Acton, Davies and Russell are establishment figures who think they can get away with anything, as they have in the past. No wonder they want the FOI Act changed. It depends on how strong the HoC S&T committee is.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Apart from Oxburgh's exaggeration of the time spent "in Norwich", I was more shocked to see the itinerary - a couple of power point presentations by the people they were primarily "investigating" and an agreeable dinner at Caistor Hall. Forty grand well spent - from UEA's point of view.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

The £40K was Muirs fee, don't think we know how much Oxburgh was paid.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

I hope Steve McIntyre's 'Oxburgh Itinerary' finds its way into MP Stringer's hands, and into the hands of the new Chairman of the HoCSTC.

Since they are both Labour stalwarts, I'd hope that they'll feel a bit of righteous anger at the way establishment figures like this Lord are bamboozling the representatives of the people.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans


Sorry, my mistake, too many shoddy enquiries to think about!

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

Sounds more like a PR tour than an investigation. I wonder if they got free coffee mugs with "UEA does it hotter" printed on, maybe free UEA branded thermometers too - that only go up!

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete


I added a comment to the above article:

Perhaps the journalists who write these articles should sometimes admit they don’t know, what’s worse is the thin attempt to push an agenda close to the BBC’s heart namely AGW alarmism. Hey admit you don’t know but hey here’s a handy web site that uses the best current AGW science products to change your mind. Tut. Tut.
Perhaps it’s DECC 2050 and AGW lobby the BBC included trying to push the green agenda on the back of the dodgy IPCC projections that should admit in reality that they don’t know.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJason F

Sloppy recall of events by Oxburgh. Is mumbling sloppiness a recognised defence mechanism when faced with an enquiring committee in Parliament?

Perhaps as well as disabling FOI, there will soon be made a case for disabling the recording of such enquiries?

After all, that allows anyone, anywhere, to find 'something wrong with them' - to borrow part of a memorable phrase from Phil Jones.

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Steve MnIntyre blows the climate community away with attention to detail every time. Clearly accuracy is a difficult issue for them. I have sympathy with this as I’m not so good with precision either. But then nobody is spending trillions on my pronouncements.

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

That is not the only thing that Oxburgh was dishonest about. Look at his career: decades in academia. So he surely knows that data is NOT normally available for journal peer review. This guy is a crook.

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSuramantine

@ Viv Evans. Being Labour stalwarts if anything makes it MORE likely that they will buy into AGW "tricks". AGW is part of the "Progressive" agenda, and has the status of a cargo cult. Furthermore, the Great and Good of the UK are hopelessly and irrevocably committed to the myth of imminent catastophy brought about by evil humanity and many have invested heavily in various snakeoil remedies the returns on which will be paid for, mostly, by taxation on an already overtaxed UK.

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

>I’m highly sympathetic to the idea that spending almost 48 hours in Norwich seemed like “4 days, 5 days”


Sounds like Oxburgh might be needed back for further questioning...

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

45 hours in Norwich cannot be construed in anyway as a review, more like a short break with friends.

Was Oxburgh rushed for time, or was UEA happy to rush out a report. Either way both misled the HoC committee. The committee expected a review of the science, that's what they were told by UEA. What they got, and didn't expect, was a few pages of waffle about scientific integrity.

It looks bad for Oxburgh and UEA, but will the HoC committee criticise both for misleading Parliament, the highest court in the land, at the way the remit was changed and how it was conducted?

The integrity of the HoC committee is now on the line. To ignore or fudge this matter will make the MPs look complicit in misleading the public.

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

An interesting comparison is that school projects proposed by the Met Office and undertaken by primary school pupils take more time than the actual few hours Oxburgh spent on his review.

I would imagine that if pupils presented their project reports without project notes, and the final report was sparse and couldn't be explained, their teacher would fail them.

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

It's a thing of sadness; the age of the great public inquiries is clearly over. It would have required Mandelson to manage this, carefully selecting the chairman to have the most impeccable disinterested credentials, but knowing full well that the fix was in. Crafting the terms of reference to seem to answer the question, but avoid it; producing huge volumes of paper which were nearly impenetrable and which contained damning evidence but coming to perverse conclusions, and most importantly, spinning it all out until the fuss had died down and interest had moved to something else.

Manders would have shifted heaven and earth to avoid having three inquiries.

With whitewash, there are artists whose workmanship you can admire even if the result is not to your taste, and there are crude daubers.

Sep 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

"Working Dinner at Caistor Hall"

That sounds arduous. Or was it just the hall staff who had to work..?

Sep 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I'm still intrigued by the member of the panel described as being 'active as a sceptic' and the one who was 'highly strung'.

The Kelly comment suggest him. If it wasn't then two of the panel questioning the 'science' would undermine the report's final outcome.

But of course it avoided the science anyway.

Sep 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

A good reporter would be checking with the other members of Oxburgh Committee as to the accuracy of Oxburgh's testimony. Surely the other shoe will drop.

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

James Delingpole has picked up Steve McIntyre's post.

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The highly strung one was surely Phil Jones. Perhaps he was considered a member of the panel?

[BH adds: LOL!]

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I believe this to also be pertinent: a communication from UK gov's Chief Scientist, Sir John Beddington to Oxburgh. Beddington having been the proposer of Oxburgh for the enquiry.

"Dear Ron Much appreciated the hard work put into the review, general view is a blinder played. As we discussed at HoL, clearly the drinks are on me! Best wishes, John"

From Oxford English dictionary;
British informal - an excellent performance in a game...
(blinders) North American - blinkers on a horse's bridle

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I’d love to know how these things make it onto paper. I can’t believe that people like Lord Ron or his panel members do (or can do) their own typing, so do they dictate it, or have secretaries making copious notes that they then have to cut and paste? How does it work?

Sep 9, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Universities are full of admin types who write committee notes and internal policy papers for a living. Presumably Oxburgh brought his own admin, or perhaps UEA lent him one. Did that sort of work myself for a few years, well paid but tedious.

Sep 9, 2010 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarkJ

Thanks, Mark. I was just curious how a single, agreed document arose, given the subject matter and the likely rigidity of views among fellow warmists. I wonder how the sceptic got on?

Sep 9, 2010 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I already gave Steve a eye's wider open and thank you to Bish don't you guys give up there are still people that will go with the true science.


Sep 9, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterLorne

The question of how the report was put together is an interesting one.

Oxburgh should be asked:

Was a minority report discussed?
Are the panelists "sworn to silence?"
Would he have any objections to the panelists being interviewed?

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

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