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« Thou shalt extrapolate | Main | DECC ministers meetings »

Climate cuttings 56

Here are a few bits and pieces that you may not have seen from the last few days.

Two years on, BH reader Jonathan Jones has managed to extract the CRUTEM data from UEA, with the Information Commissioner coming down almost completely against UEA's stonewalling. Huge kudos is due. Lucia is much amused by the commissioner's wording.

The Association of British Science Writers has issued its shortlist for this year's prizes. Fred Pearce's coverage of Doug Keenan's fraud allegations against Phil Jones is up for best investigative journalism. This is an odd one - given that Russell has said Jones did nothing wrong, surely Keenan's allegations are groundless? How can Pearce's article be prizeworthy? :-)

Lord Monckton upset lots of people by comparing a prominent Australian green to a Nazi. As a result, a campaign has been started to prevent Monckton from speaking at the University of Notre Dame. Irony is lost on some people.

A Scottish blog is reporting that green surcharges applied to consumers electricity bills may have no legal basis. Extraordinary if true.

Oliver Morton wonders whether the Guardian's Alok Jha should have disclosed the fact that the company he was writing about in his article on a new solar power centre was run by fellow Guardian columnist Jeremy Leggett. He is canvassing for people's opinions on the issue. Leggett says it's all fine and dandy.

David Stockwell has submitted a paper that will apparently demonstrate that recent warming is primarily due to solar variability - you can't see it at the moment though because it's under embargo until it's published.

And lastly, Roy Spencer looks at ocean heat and wonders if the missing heat that climatologists say is lurking down there somewhere isn't just missing.

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Reader Comments (36)

I will defer comment on the FOI ruling until Sir Paul Nurse has had an opportunity to comment.

Jun 28, 2011 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Dr Roy's article really has an absolute classic example of how to mislead with graphs from the IPCC.

Graph -

With this figure, the IPCC was cleverly able to make it LOOK like there was general agreement between their climate models (green shaded area) and observations (red curve), with no less than four ploys:

1) They chose a climate model (PCM1) that is the 2nd LEAST sensitive of the twenty-something climate models they survey. PCM1 produces even less warming than the IPCC’s official projected range of warming from a doubling of CO2.

2) For the PCM1 model results, they presented a rather broad range of warming (green shaded area), meant to represent natural climate variations about the average warming produced by the model. In this way, they were able to get the weak observed warming to better overlap with the model produced warming, suggesting agreement.

3) They omitted the 0 deg. (no temperature change) vertical line from the figure, the presence of which would have visually revealed the significant discrepancy between the PCM1 model results and the observations.

4) They made the ocean depth scale nonlinear, which disproportionally emphasized the agreement in the relatively shallow mixed layer of the ocean, while downplaying the rather large discrepancy deeper down. But there is NO physical reason to make the ocean depth scale nonlinear; the total heat carrying capacity of the ocean varies linearly with depth, not non-linearly.

Jun 28, 2011 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrancisT

Even odder among the shortlisted items by the Association of British Science Writers is Steve Connor, Science Editor of The Independent, for “Fabricated Quote used to Discredit Climate Scientist”.
Steve is honoured for having revealed that what he calls “the iconic smoking gun of the climate sceptic community” - Sir John Houghton’s "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen" was never said.
What he really said was “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster” - a fact which was not revealed in the article, but only much later, after Sir John’s professions of innocence and demands for apologies from Booker, Peiser et al.

Jun 28, 2011 at 7:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Prof. Ross Garnaut is not a green. He is an economist, who pretends to be the expert on climate change, and the well-paid lackey of the Labor Government but, in his spare time, he wrecks the environment of PNG with real pollution.

Jun 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterDeadman

I share Lucia's amusement. Reading about this decision on CA, I was amused, too, by Nik Stokes, Rattus et al's attempts to defend the indefensible by using incredibly convoluted circular arguments. They have obviously never got the hang of the basic principle of Occam's Razor.
Being serious in a joyful way. I see this decision as a vindication of FOI and a complete clearing away of the huge quantity of smoke worthy of a great maritime battle that the great and good at UEA have been puffing out to hide behind.

Jun 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Sorry, hit the 'create' button without thinking.
All credit to Prof Jonathan Jones who who quietly persisted with his FOI request..


Jun 28, 2011 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

"What if a powerful media conglomerate, such as modern day William Randolph Hearst, controlled the media around a major University to influence students and professors to directly advance his financial interests? I have found that person, HM Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson, who 1) has a direct connection to the British monarchy, 2) is on the board of many multi-national "green" corporations, 3) directly controls a major media market servicing EA University and other British Universities, and 4) as a member of the board of EAU (sic), has significant control over their environmental studies department."


Jun 28, 2011 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterstopcpdotcom

Andrew, please could we have a separate thread on the unequivocal ICO ruling regarding the release of CRUTEM data? I think this is a big story with a lot of implications, and it seems a shame to have it tucked away under 'climate cuttings'.

Jun 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

I remember arguing with E-on regarding the "climate change levy" on our business tariff bills back in 2002! We're charged 0.456p per kWh unit (2008 numbers)

Domestic bills in England (from E-on anyway) don't have the same as the Scottish breakdown, it lists VAT at 5%, I presume they worked it into the price per unit and don't declare it.

Jun 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Whether or not this is a victory is beside the point.

In Alistair Cooke's "America" he wrote about the American bible belt taking an extreme fundamentalist position in response to Darwin's work. Those who accepted evolution - rational people - rubbed their noses in it so badly that the religious became ever more entrenched. Before this conflict very few churchmen would claim that Noah's Ark was a literal truth; after it many did. No juicy facts emerging from UEA under FOI will shake the faith of Huhne and his ilk.

The uebergreens have been spectacularly successful in getting "fun-ding" and influencing government policy. The Global Warming Industry now has its own momentum (remember Eisenhower's final address in which he warned of the 'military industrial complex'? This is a re-run.) with - oh, Lordy! - MBAs in Carbon Management and... ah, you know the rest.

Question: Where are we to find political momentum to counter this? Al Gore - love him or loathe him - has been more influential than a hundred Lawsons or Mocktons. The public say Global Warming is all cobblers, but wouldn't dream of going on a protest march with banners saying "We're not worried!"

There MUST be political mileage in reflecting Joe Public's view that AGW is nothing but hype. How?

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

"There MUST be political mileage in reflecting Joe Public's view that AGW is nothing but hype. How?"

Do the sums on the finances!

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I may be going mad, so I would appeal for readers of this blog for help.
On 14th July 2010 I was present to witness George Monbiot's finest hour, at a debate at Portland Place whereat he, ably assisted by McIntyre and Keenan, destroyed the arguments of Phil Jones boss, Prof Trevor Davies. Keenan even had repeatedly to remind Davies where he'd been on certain dates.While Bob Watson waffled impotently at intervals.
The only evidence I have that the debate took place is a dedication (dated) in Fred Pearce's book 'The Climate Files'.
On the subsequent days Monbiot trumpeted his achievement with videos of the proceedings, on his blog.
These have now all mysteriously disappeared.
The only evidence that there ever was a 'spat' between George and the UEA is still up there in a February post (5 months before). Even the susequent apology for this has now gone.
I think Latimer Alder was there as were many others, but I would like some confirmation that the event actually took place !

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Will Mr Palmer and his five daughters now be looking for opportunities elsewhere?

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Ref my request for help, see above. This is the one post that Monbiot has not deleted, his spirited attack on Phil Jones and the corruption at UEA.
Presumably that's how he wants 'history' to remember his part in all this, does he now think that he debate was an 'aberration' ?

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad


Eisenhower was right.
"Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

How prescient.

Also, the original draft version of 'Military-Industrial complex' was 'Military-Industrial-Congressional complex' which makes it much clearer that his intention was to attack the link between votes and funding.

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Top GoogleUK news hit for "UEA" @11:00am

"The Low Carbon Innovation Fund, based at the University of East Anglia (UEA), has invested £400,000 in new automotive technologies designed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions."

"ICO jones" pulls up a story on facebook face recognition...

Any journalists in the house??

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

A fine collection of 'bits and pieces'.
Presumably, the Scottish Power story will apply to all other electricity suppliers in the UK. What fun!
Refunds for everyone potentially unless the government passes retrospective legislation and it should at least force government to legislate for future 'renewable taxes' making charges open and transparent.
I look forward to comments about this from the many experts who write here.

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

As part of its commitment to transparency and accountability the University (of East Anglia) also has an active press office for media enquiries...

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

The obsession in certain quarters with the idea that Britain is about to be taken over by a sinister group of anonymous lefties occasionally gets out of hand. While I agree that the current Tory party is hardly what I would call 'Conservative' I don't think we've quite got to the stage where Common Purpose can be considered a major threat to the peace and security of the nation. (If we end up in adjacent cells, I will apologise).
Richard Jewson is indeed Lord-Liutenant of Norfolk but I can find no evidence that (other than that) he has any direct line to Buckingham Palace.
He currently holds five directorships, none of which appears to have any particularly "green" credentials and none of which would normally be described as "multi-national".
One of these directorships is Archant, a newspaper and magazine publisher with four daily papers in East Anglia and a slew of weeklies covering the east and south-east of England -- hardly a "major media market".
He is pro-chancellor of UEA which will give him no control whatsoever over its environmental studies department. If his job is anything like that of the only pro-chancellor I know personally he probably chairs the Remunerations Committee and the Appointments Board and stands in for Sir Brandon Gough when he can't be bothered turning up for minor university events.
So, with all the other important things going on, can we have a bit less of the conspiracy theories, please?

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

David Holland has just appealed a refusal by the Met Office to provide information, relying on some of the same arguments that have just been so comprehensively dismantled by the ICO.

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Re my previous post:
Correction: DH has not not appealed, he has submitted a request for internal review.

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Is it worth an FOI to UEA to establish how much all this has cost so far, especially as tuition fees are a bit hot politically.

If I was in the UEA Student Union, I think I might be getting a bit upset by now

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Toad - I was there. I even took 3 photos of the venue, but it looks like someone has hacked into my mobile phone and deleted all the people from the pictures, all I can see are rows of empty seats. So either it is a very elaborate cover up, or I got there before everyone else arrived - oh yeah that was it.

It was real, I have copies of my electronic ticket & invoice from amiando:

Climategate: The greatest scandal to hit climate science or a storm in a teacup? on July 14, 2010

I sat on the front row, next to some seats that had been reserved. BIG mistake... I ended up being surrounded by journalists who for some unknown reason reminded me of the Hyenas in The Lion King. I wouldn't like to suggest that they are all prejudiced, but when Piers Corbyn was given the opportunity to ask a question, the hyena next to me tutted and whispered to me - "You know what he's going to say before he even opens his mouth " - Just as well really, because I didn't see any of them taking notes.

The highlight of the event was George wetting himself about DK making accusations of fraud, I believe that part was edited out of the video - shame.

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyperthermania

Toad, re last year's debate, there's still a video of this on the Guardian site, although it represents just a fraction of the entire proceedings:

It's also possible (or at least it was, earlier) to download an MP3 of the audio. I have a sound recording of the whole debate, (taken with my MP3 player/sound recorder) but the quality isn't brilliant; have been meaning to put together a transcript at some point.

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Re toad

Here is bishop hill's original post on the debate:

There are various links in the comments that might still be active.

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Hyperthermania. Thanks for the confirmation that it took place. OK so the original video posted on Monbiot's blog was doctored, but that was presumably how he wanted it remembered, and of course, Keenan was hoping that it would result in legal action against him, which he was only too ready to defend.
For George the whole thing was a personal triumph, which makes it very strange that he's deleted it and yet left the vigorous attack on Phil Jones and the UEA that he posted in the February.
The highlight for me was when a Caroline Lucas lookalike in front of me, stood up and said 'my names Joolia and I was at Copenhagen', she must have quite near to you !

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

The audio recording is still up at
Alex Cull
Give me a time (mins and secs) to come in and I’ll give you a hand with the transcription.

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

McIntyre’s invitation was an afterthought, provoked by the publicity around the fact that a number of readers put up his air fare. I believe he was edited out of the short video the Guardian put up, while Keenan’s contribution was edited out of the audio.
The Guardian’s aim in originally planning to have the little-known Keenan as sole representative of the sceptics seems to have been the hope that his comments wold be libellous and therefore wouldn’t have to be reported. Pearce was aware of Keenan’s accusations against Wang and Jones and would have informed his masters. The Guardian was clearly and presciently hoping for a dress rehearsal of the Russell enquiry, with no witnesses and no questions asked.

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Regarding the debate about Climategate, on 14 July 2010, I have a copy of the full recording, made by The Guardian. I am not allowed to publish the recording, but I could supply the parts that were redacted from the published version, for making a transcript. If someone wants those parts, feel free to e-mail me: doug symbol keenan symbol informath symbol org.

One part that was redacted is my opening statement. A transcript of that is at

Jun 28, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

From the linked post at Spencer's blog:

The problem in the IPCC models seems to be that they mix excess heat too rapidly from the mixed layer into the deep ocean. This allows the models to retain high climate sensitivity, while limiting the amount of surface warming they produce to match the observed warming to date.

Voila! The models can thus “explain” the surface temperature record AND STILL predict strong warming for the future.

Which sums it up nicely. One to watch.

Jun 28, 2011 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Looking at the Association of British Science Writers awards I see there is someone we know on the judging panel.

Bob Ward.

Enough said.

Jun 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGLane

Many thanks Alex Cull, TerryS, Geoff Chambers and of course Doug Keenan himself.
Two points occur to me - How much have things really changed since then ? Would those same people say the same today- particularly Pearce, Davies (re the UEA)and Watson (re the IPCC) ?
Secondly I believe Monbiot is above all a showman who loves being centre stage ( I think we can just hear him 'cautioning' Piers Corbyn). Getting Steve McIntyre there was the 'coup' of the decade, dangerous though it was.
Will we ever see such high level protagonists on the same platform ever again ?
Hearing Billy Graham in Hong Kong nearly 60 years ago had nothing on this !

Jun 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Jonathan Jones..You have truly opened the floodgates! Kudos for your efforts!

The commissioner would seem to prove that there are honest people out there! I guess the UEA Jones will be having another sleepless night!

In these days of students paying for their degree education what is the going rate in Norfolk?

Jun 28, 2011 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Update @ 5:00pm - well, at least The Register has it now:

GLane: "Enough said." - sadly true, but even so, here's the link to the full line up:

"The ABSW’s awards aim to reward excellence in science journalism and will be judged by a panel of highly credible and respected judges."

Jun 28, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"Fred Pearce's coverage of Doug Keenan's fraud allegations against Phil Jones is up for best investigative journalism."

All the real investigative journalism was done by Keenan, not Pearce. How could Pearce possibly accept an award for Keenan's work (and Keenan's willingness to risk a costly libel suit)?

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles


I agree. See my later post about the ABSW awards.

Jun 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

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