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« Words that must remain unspoken | Main | Goldacre on Nurse »

The new SciTech report

The embargo on the new SciTech commitee report is lifted at 1 minute past midnight so, assuming I haven't messed up, this should appear at the earliest possible moment. With a bit of luck, the report should now be available at the inquiry website.

The best that can be said of the report is that it is marginally better than expected. This, I suppose, is the great advantage of low expectations. My impression is of a group of people who know they are raising two fingers to the general public, and feel forced at least to admit that there is something amiss, but the overwhelming need to hold the line on global warming gets the better of them and leaves them looking at best foolish and at worst outright criminal.

First the good bits:

  • They recognise that UEA misled them over the nature of the Oxburgh panel's inquiry
  • They recognise that there were issues with the Oxburgh panel's independence and that it was not thorough
  • They recognsise that allegations of FOI breaches were not investigated.

However, when put in the context of the bad stuff, this rather gives the impression of them tossing a few scraps in our direction:

  • Asking for other working papers to be made available. (39) Some are already known to have been destroyed (This was noted in my report para 127).
  • They note that the panels looked at MBH98 (not a CRU paper) and try to use this to excuse the failure to look at CRU's own multiproxy papers.
  • In response to my pointing out their failure to investigate breaches of peer review confidentiality, they have obtained a statement from Russell saying, essentially, "it could be nothing". End of story.
  • They reiterate the absurd fiction that `hide the decline' was not an attempt to mislead, directly contradicting the Russell report.
  • I had pointed out several instances of peer review being apparently undermined. They ignored these, returning to the weak examples in the original report and standing by their original finding, that Jones was merely commenting on papers he thought were poor. We still do not know if CRU actually contacted any of the journals they discussed threatening. This is shameful.
  • The committee ignored McKitrick's allegation of fabrication in the original report. I pointed this out to them and they have ignored it again in this new report. Shameful again.

It is possible to believe that in the hectic rush to complete their original inquiry before the general election, the committee might have overlooked the McKitrick allegation, the ousting of Saiers, the allegations of `pal review', the cherrypicking and the bodging. Well...maybe.

To miss half a dozen allegations of wrongdoing could be considered a trifle careless. To miss them all twice, on the other hand, seems to represent a wilful disregard for the interests of the general public.

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Reader Comments (7)

Thanks Bish. Any mention of Doug Keenan's submission on Jones 1990 paper?

Please check your email.

Jan 25, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I now know for certain that establishment Britain is corrupt. I owe no allegiance to the establishment.

Jan 25, 2011 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Congratulations Bish!

You are well cited in the report. You are right to point to the minority report of Graham Stringer to whom we are indebted. However I must just mention one definite factual error in paragraph 41. Not all "the ICCER written evidence was indeed published online" as we all know. I have put some more comments here

Jan 25, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

To me, this comment is very characteristic of the whole report:

"In our view, the debate about the 11 publications examined by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) is frustrating. While there is no doubt that the papers chosen were central to CRU's work and went to the heart of the criticisms directed at CRU, the allegations that certain areas of climate science such as key multiproxy temperature reconstructions were purposely overlooked could have been disregarded if the SAP had set out its process of selection in a more transparent manner."

It starts with a mis-statement of facts and goes on to say, "we really wanted to disregard criticism, but you botched it up and made it nearly impossible for us to figure out a way to ignore this one'.

It's also stunning to me that their primary conclusion is, 'yeah a few laws might have been broken and the inquiry panels tried to mislead us, but let's just move on'.

Jan 25, 2011 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

Does anyone know if anything has been written about Doug Keenan's allegations of fraud?

Jan 25, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

What a cosy little stitch up. Did we really expect anything more from a bunch of makeweight parliamentarians with eyes on advancement and directorships when their allure with the voters has worn off?

Jan 25, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAutonomous Mind

As usual, you can't expect the establishment to be overturned overnight.
This is another small step in the right direction.
The summary talks of 'reservations about both inquiries', 'should have been more open', 'did not fully investigate..deletion of emails', 'unsatisfactory', all moderately encouraging.

Jan 25, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

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