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« Peer review in the response | Main | Attention deficit disorder »
Friday
May062011

Sir John responds

The "government" has responded to the Science and Technology Committee's report into the UEA inquiries.

After two independent reviews, and two reviews by the Science and Technology Committee, we find no evidence to question the scientific basis of human influence on the climate.

We note that this report from the Committee makes recommendations aimed at strengthening the transparency of scientific research, and that the principle of transparency is one to which the Government is fundamentally committed.

Which I guess is pretty much as expected.

The report was apparently prepared by the Government Office for Science - Sir John Beddington's crowd - with input from various other ministries. One wonders what input the government actually had, apart from applying a signature to the document in question.

I'll take a look at the report in more detail in a moment, but first I want to say something about Sir John's role in the Climategate affair. We know that the first person UEA's Trevor Davies wrote to when the story broke was Sir John. We know that Sir John pushed Lord Oxburgh, conflict of interest and all, to stand as chairman of the scientific inquiry, despite the noble lord's objections. We know that on completion of that inquiry, Sir John wrote to congratulate Lord Oxburgh, saying that all agreed that he had "played a blinder". We also know that Sir John was pivotal in getting the Russell panel to spend a lot of time on the peripheral issue of the surface temperature records.

And now he is personally responsible for putting together the government's response? And he tells us that there is no evidence that the scientific conclusions on the IPCC are undermined?

Are we expected to take this seriously?

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Reader Comments (18)

A letters to one's MP is in order, I think.

May 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Science and Technology Committee. Is this commiittee also repsonsible for sewerage collection, toxic waste and other putrescent filth? Its members would be well qualified.

May 6, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Lewis

"Are we expected to take this seriously?"

I'll bet Sir John was cowering behind his wife and firing at his attackers.

May 6, 2011 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Were the enquiries LOOKING for a scientific basis? Or were they looking for cheating scientists. There is much even in the whitewash reports to show that cheating took place. The work of a cheat neither proves nor disproves the science. As you may read elsewhere, look for the pea under the thimble.

May 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

At some level these bureaucrats had to know they weren't playing cricket. What made them think their perversion of the game would not be noticed by the spectators? Yeah, Magical Thinking.
===============

May 6, 2011 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

To be diplomatic I will describe the Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s involvement in the Oxburgh inquiry as “manipulation”.

I am left with the impression that Sir John views his “manipulation” as a “clever, skilful” action, I know what was meant by “a blinder played”

This leaves this particular UK citizen with an out and out distrust of the “establishment”, a distrust that is not just confined to “Climategate”.

If the Government Chief Scientific Adviser is prepared to manipulate a major inquiry that was called for by a committee of the House of Parliament, what else are members of the “establishment” prepared to “manipulate”?

May 6, 2011 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Interesting to see this published on a day when the Cabinet Ministers in charge of universities and climate change (Cable and Huhne) are much more concerned with the implications of the AV results and their own political futures. National interest? Don't you believe it. And who will bother with any scrutiny away from the blogosphere?

May 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterjheath

Yes, like jheath, I find it interesting to note the date this was published.

Interesting but not surprising.

And the price quoted on the front cover appears to be grossly in excess of what it is worth.

May 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"the considered view of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, that “the general issues on overall global temperature, on sea level and so on, are all pretty unequivocal”.

Yes, pretty unequivocally a putrid brew of incompetence and bullshit.

Nice blinder, Prof. Sir John!

May 6, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"The Government notes that providing advance copies of reports to stakeholders is
common practice in public and parliamentary life."

Did any critic of the UEA whosoever receive an advance copy? C'mon, now! Hands up!

May 6, 2011 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"There are however ethical, legal and commercial constraints which may preclude datasharing
which must be considered, to which the Government is giving attention to in its
broader work on transparency. A set of common data access principles is being developed
across the Research Councils: these principles start with a presumption in favour of
openness and transparency, whilst ensuring appropriate protection and safeguards are in
place to protect commercially sensitive and personal data."

You bet your sweet ass that "appropriate protection and safeguards" will be in place! And they'll be more watertight than a crab's foreskin.

May 6, 2011 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

From the response: "We note the Committee’s conclusion that the selection of papers examined by the SAP was representative of the work of CRU in all areas in which allegations had been made."

The devil in me wants to misquote this -- but increase its accuracy! -- as "the selection of papers examined by the SAP was ... the work of CRU."

May 6, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Pathetic.

May 6, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Green Sand at 1:46 PM

You put my feelings in a nutshell - and these twisters expect people to vote for them? That they expect to be believed (do they?) makes me livid with rage. The word "establishment" makes me puke.

May 6, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

We should not be surprised. This whole affair of the investigations has been a stitch up. There is a strong mutual interest between the academics, the politicians and the business interests that will profit from the subsidies on offer for there to be a stitch up. In these terms Beddington has indeed "played a blinder". He, and the others will now merely trot out quotes from this and other reports to assert that all is well and a compliant media will parrot it in their reports.

I suspect that the public focus may well shift to another issue, notably the ineffectiveness of the remedies proposed for the problems they claim to exist and the alternatives that are available. The Matt Ridley report on shale gas is an example. If the politicians do want to get themselves off the hook (and I am not convinced that they yet do) then the search for and adoption of more economic and practical solutions to their perceived problems would be a way to do it. This is my line of approach to my MP.

May 6, 2011 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

Using my personal establishmentspeak to plain English app translator, this reads- Hands up, the inquiries were cover-up whitewashes, but they were only doing what we wanted them to do in the first place, so please ignore this regrettable abberation and imagine it never happened. Trust us.

May 6, 2011 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

"we find no evidence to question the scientific basis of human influence on the climate"

- So did they "review" the whole IPCC report and all the studies it cites?

May 7, 2011 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

Come on you cynics out there.

Cur John just used a trick to hide the decline in the reputation of British science?

That's all a simple standard method beloved of all time servers and jammy dodgers.

May 9, 2011 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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