Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Ostrasleuth | Main | More Steve Jones »

UEA says it doesn't have Dennis emails

UEA has responded to the request by the mysterious Mr/Ms Tuppen for Paul Dennis's emails.

The University does not hold any copies of correspondence between Mr. Paul Dennis and Stephen McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Jeff Id (aka. Patrick Condon and Jeff Condon), Steven Mosher, or Thomas W. Fuller for the period 2006 to date.

For FOI geeks like me this is not unexpected. Paul Dennis indicated that he has deleted his local copy of the emails so the only copy will be on a backup server. IIRC someone (perhaps the ICO) has said that if the information is only on a backup server then it is not "held", although whether this is something that would stand up in court is another question. My guess is therefore that there may be more to the university's refusal than meets the eye.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (39)

Backed-up is not 'held'?! We've already past the point of defining the word 'is', I suppose?

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

gasps...just how bizarre can this get? I try to imagine a company like BP saying we have no emails on this topic.....Would the tax-dodging grauniad accept thius as an excuse?

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

UEA's unreality machine at work again, what ever else they must have a stunning Philosophy department , given the way they speed so much effort on the 'what really is reality and how do we know we or in fact anything exist' questions .

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Fairly obviously if they freely released emails to/from sceptics but fought every FOI for believers to the death, it would be such a blatant and obvious abuse that they'd be at risk of legal embarassment. Plus, there isn't even anything damaging in the emails to act as a consolation. Much more fun to hide them, and hint that there is.

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

In the US, one of the major reasons for comprehensive email archival is regulatory compliance. That implies that the archive is itself subject to regulation, since it is used to satisfy the regulation.

Might be different elsewhere, and even here I imagine there is a large gap between satisfying the letter and following the spirit (assuming the spirit wasn't malignant to begin with).

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

We are now seeing the beginning of a push back against freedom of information laws. There is a Tribunal ruling on backups, but it relates to an FOIA request and there are different criteria in the EIR. In particular I will argue that the direct effect of the Aarhus Convention requires public authorities to possess environmental information relevant to their function. This imposes a duty upon public authorities not to arbitrarily delete environmental information.

While I suspect that I may have different views on climate change than Ms Tuppen, I believe that the UEA should recover from backup any environmental information requested that is relevant to its functions if it is requested. I would also hope that Paul Denis, and his correspondents would agree to publish voluntarily all the emails requested, if UEA continue to refuse disclosure of them. We should all respect both the letter and the spirit of the law.

I doubt there is anything to hide in Paul Denis' emails, but there may be in other information that UEA "hold" on its backup servers and will apply the same arguments to.

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

Amazed UEA don't have these emails backed up especially since we are talking about emails from around the period climategate happened and afterwards. They have a strange IT policy, even for a small company, let alone a large university that has public funding.

Aug 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Tobis says the only way out of our problem is to reduce world population!

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Perhaps those correspondents named in the FOIA request might be prepared to send copies of their emails to this blog so that they could be viewed publicly, and then everyone could comment on them, including David Leigh, who may be looking for something, anything even, to support himself.

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Could it be that the emails in question are on the back-up server in the custody of the Norfolk Police? How convenient, then.

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDuke C.

"For FOI geeks like me this is not unexpected"

Not unexpected at all. Since this likely falls outside the statute of limitations, so they already know they can say what they like.

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

My above post is meant to be a joke, but you have to learn to think like them, :-)

Aug 23, 2011 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

JCF "Configuration of backup server was unfortunate as it did not remove deleted emails. Centrally, UEA emails are held only for a month and then deleted permanently. Not the case on the CRU backup server."

Aug 24, 2011 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

It remains my contention that there is a scheme behind the never-ending investigation by the police into the alleged hacking of the climategate e-mails. As long as the backup server remains in police custody, its contents are off limits. Just suppose that there are some real bombs in the unreleased e-mails ... their revelation could bring down the government greenies. So it may not just be UEA/CRU that is badgering the police not to complete this investigation, there could be "national security" reasons for not releasing the backup computer. Note that the Muir-Russell Committee reputedly never examined the unreleased e-mails in the backup computer.

Aug 24, 2011 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

I can think of one person who may have a copy...

Aug 24, 2011 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean Peake

Here it is, the Paul Dennis conspiracy from my perspective.

Aug 24, 2011 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Id

Uh, oh, off the deep end go the Masheys and Deep Climates of the world. In the absence of information, the mind is free to make up whatever it wishes. It'll be amusing to see what this bit of sensory deprivation stimulates.

Aug 24, 2011 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Jeff, I really like the irony with the Palmer Peninsula. The blush was on Nature's cheek, but fairly represented the whole lot.

Aug 24, 2011 at 1:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate, with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Re David Holland and the Aarhus Convention.

I would deplore the reference to any outside authority in any submission concerning any UK legislation. Has the UK become so spineless that it cannot decide matters for itself?

Preparations must be made for the inevitable. The UK people will not tolerate submission to the EU for ever, and selective opt-outs of EU directives and the like must happen sooner or later. Provided these start small, the EU will not have many options for retaliation. And once the door is ajar, it can be slowly opened further.

I see the UK has signed the Aarhus Convention independently of the EU. Bully for us. But that should not prevent us from changing our minds about it if it is best to do so.

But, on this occasion, I think it best we don’t.

Aug 24, 2011 at 3:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Obviously, they were stolen, probably by the same evil cabal that stole the original emails :)

This reminds me of the old Boss Tweed cartoon.

'Twas him

Aug 24, 2011 at 4:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I notice that the Tuppen request was decided under FOI, not EIR - Tuppen didn't specify.

I must say I think this kind of thing is naughty - it is not up to the requester to specify. The university should consider its obligations to disclose under both pieces of legislation.

Aug 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Just in case anybody missed it...

Jeff ID above has published the sole Paul Denniss email to Jeff, at The Air Vent, anybody want to forward it to UEA. As Jeff says he received it on 19th November, and didn't really look at it (bit busy, climategate day)


I read your blog, and others, with great interest and often a smile. I think it’s fantastic that so many are involving themselves in the debate and thinking with clarity about the issues. and notably the statistics.

Anyway that’s beside the point. I’ve attached a short GRL paper we’ve just published on an ice core from the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. It obviously has relevance to the ongoing debate, the work of Eric Steig et al. and your own analysis of this paper.

Kind regards,


Paul Dennis
Head of Stable Isotope Laboratories
School of Environmental Sciences

Hopefully all the over recepients mentioned in FOI request can publish the emails.
As otherwise all the alarmist blogs can make up whatever stories they like

Aug 24, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

David Holland:

While I suspect that I may have different views on climate change than Ms Tuppen ...

But how do you know it's Ms Tuppen, David? The conspiracy theorists will have a field day :)

Aug 24, 2011 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

.... local copy of the emails so the only copy will be on a backup server.

There is no legal obligation for the UEA to keep any email either locally or on a backup server.

Aug 24, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS


Are you saying David H is misunderstanding Aarhus?

Aug 24, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Above I have pointed to a statement made in Dec 09 by the UEA IT staff

"Centrally, UEA emails are held only for a month and then deleted permanently".

I assume this remains the situation

Aug 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

As far as I can tell the Aarhus Convention doesn't require you to archive your emails.

Aug 24, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I think David's point is that the emails are environmental information, which the convention requires you to retain.

Aug 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Bishop Hill:
"the emails are environmental information, which the convention requires you to retain."

According to the convention you cite, it appears you are correct.

"3. «Environmental information» means any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any
other material form on:
(a) The state of elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape
and natural sites, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified
organisms, and the interaction among these elements;
(b) Factors, such as substances, energy, noise and radiation, and activities or measures, including
administrative measures, environmental agreements, policies, legislation, plans and programmes,
affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment within the scope of
subparagraph (a) above, and cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used
in environmental decision-making;"

Case Law of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee

Aug 24, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterCorey S.

I did send a copy of the email to Paul Dennis last night. He also had forgotten the date he had sent it.

Aug 24, 2011 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Id

Having done a rapid read through the pdf linked by Corey S I couldn't see what I was looking for so I will ask the question.

If UEA wanted to install a working wind turbine then that would have a local environmental impact so would fall under the remit of the convention.

If UEA wished to conduct an academic study on the impact on the local environment of an installed wind turbine then that is just another academic study no different to other non environmental studies so falls outside the remit of the convention.

Right or wrong?

Aug 24, 2011 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

I find this a bit strange. I corresponded briefly with Mr. Dennis shortly after Climategate, but I didn't tell anybody that I did so. I wonder why Mr./Ms. Tuppen put my name in the hat?

I also find it odd that UEA cannot find it. Email lives forever. Maybe if they checked behind their seat cushion, or under the duvet...

Aug 25, 2011 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Fuller

Tom Fuller, amazing how much information has leaked out of UEA, post Climategate, when the servers were in police custody, but with apparent access by pr spinners and Guardian journalists

Aug 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

M. Tuppen is the CA troll thefordprefect/Walt Man. His name is Mike Tuppen.

In the previous thread about the tfp's request, JEM observed that a Mike Tuppen worked for the Metropolitan Police Service:


Aug 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNiklas

Mr Tuppen has requested that the UEA check it's backup servers for copies of my email correspondence with McIntyre, Condon, Fuller, Mosher and Watts. He has also asked that the request be considered under the FOIA and the EIR regulations. I doubt whether the emails would be considered to fall under the EIR, and the university has already publicly stated it's policy of deleting all copies of emails from the backup server after one month. Thus this further request is unlikely to result in publication of the correspondence.

Jeff Condon has kindly published the sole email that I sent him in November 2009. In the spirit of the FOIA and EIR I am trying to secure copies and the permission of the other named correspondents that I have had brief exchanges with in order that they might be published to.

Let me re-iterate that this is a very short file indeed. One email to Jeff Condon, a few to Steve McIntyre asking if he knew anything about the release of data, files etc. from UEA, and at the request of Tom Fuller I answered some questions he had concerning my understanding and knowledge) of events surrounding climategate (which I add is very little).

Aug 25, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

If he is the same Mike Tuppen, has he been blogging in tax payer funded time?

Aug 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Thought the name rang a bell or two, just saw this over at Climate Audit where a Mike Tuppen posts as the Ford Prefect (is that moniker taken from "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"?:

Dec 29, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

this is the "idiot" called the ford prefect who tries to troll places like Climate Audit and the Blackboard...his ingratiating email to a "revered climate scientist" is available on a thread at climate audit...begging for the favour of knowing that he was on the correct track with some stupidity. he reminds me of Hengist McTroll

Dec 29, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>