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« Boaden comes clean | Main | Mark Thompson on the GWPF »
Monday
Nov122012

Deja vu

As Anthony would say, "people send me things". Most recent has been this document, the agenda for a seminar at St Anne's College, Oxford later this week. Strangely, this doesn't seem to have been advertised anywhere, but you might realise why when you have finished reading this. You will need to put down any coffee cups you are holding before reading on.

Yes folks, the seminar is about "Communicating Risk and Uncertainty" with the emphasis very much on climate change. Yet again, a bunch of underutilised academics is going to sit around with some media folks trying to work out why it is nobody believes a word they say. We can all admire persistence and determination, but I think we may just have reached the point at which persistence teeters over the line into mule-witted stubbornness.

Oh yes, and it's the same bunch of underutilised academics and media folks it always is.Take a look:

Communicating Risk and Uncertainty
Thursday, 15th November, 0900 - 1700
Location: Tsuzuki lecture theatre. St Anne's College. Oxford.
http://www.st-annes.ox.ac.ukfaboutfhow-to-find-us.html

0900 Registration
Welcome by Professor Sir David Watson, principal of Green Templeton College
0930 Opening Address - Professor David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public
Understanding of Risk, Cambridge University:

The challenges of cammunicating risk and uncertainty'
10.00 - 11.00 Public Understanding of Risk and Uncertainty
• Professor Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University
• Dr Emily Shuckburgh, BAS/DECC
• Chair: Bob Ward, Grantham Institute, LSE
11.00 Coffee

11.15 - 12.15 The experience of different sectors in communicating risk and uncertainty
• Wendy Jarrett, Associate Director, Media Relations, National Institute for Health and
Clinical Excellence (NICE)
• Elliot Varnell, Consulting Actuary, Milliman
• Dr Roger Street, Green Templeton College, Oxford

12.15 -13.15 Communicating risk and uncertainty in climate science
• Professor Chris Rapley, UCL
• Peter Stott, Met Office
• Professor Rob Wilby (Loughborough)
• Chair: Richard Black, former BBC environment correspondent
13.15 - 1400 Lunch

14.00 - 15.00 The IPCC's communication of risk and uncertainty
• Professor Myles Allen, ECI, Oxford University
• Professor Arthur Petersen (Chief Scientist of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment
Agency)
• Chair: Cecilie Mauritzen, Director CICERO (Center for International Climate and
Environmental Research), Oslo

15.00 - 16.30 The media's reporting of risk and uncertainty
Panel discussion with:
• Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment analyst
• Fiona Harvey, Guardian environment correspondent
• Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent, Thomson Reuters
• Chair: Tom Sheldon, Science Media Centre

16.45 Close followed by drinks reception

Convenor: James Painter, james.painter@politics.ox.ac.uk

Same time next month?

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Reader Comments (28)

Same time next month?

Doubt it, not be back from Doha in time.

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:20 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

But where are they going to source the dead horse and the whips from?

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The seminar appears to be organised by Green Templeton but held at St Annes, just up the Woodstock Road.

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Perhaps there are some names above that will help fill out the mystery 28 climate goons from a similar conference years ago?

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Well, to be fair, I suspect BBC employees have learnt a bit about risk and uncertainty recently.

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

We already know the advice Aunty will give ...

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/6/29/letter-to-a-climate-correspondent.html

Nov 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMH

Goebbels would have been proud to attend such a Masterclass in propaganda dissemination.

Nov 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Interesting convenor:

http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/index.php/profile/james-painter.html

http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/index.php/news/james-painter-on-climate-change-coverage.html

Nov 12, 2012 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Spiegelhalter is a distinguished statistician of unimpeachable integrity. I am surpised to see him in such odious company. Except that, in my days as an industrial statistician, my advice to those in search of direction in a confused situation was to march towards the sound of gunfire. Go, David!

Nov 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

'Failure to Communicate' does seem to be a bit of a meme amongst the CAGW crowd at the moment. You'd almost think they were planning it.

/sarc

Nov 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I'm pretty much as thick as you get in these matters, but what does "Communicating risk and uncertainty" mean?

Nov 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I'm pretty much as thick as you get in these matters, but what does "Communicating risk and uncertainty" mean?
What would you like it to mean? :-))

Nov 12, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

John Shade - I was intrigued by David's title so I did some googling.

Here is a lecture he gave in May last year:

http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/madingleylectures/communicating-risk-and-uncertainty

I watched it - all reasonable stuff IMO. He mentions the IPCC around 45:20 and journalism, in response to a questioner, at around 61:20.

Having read his Cambridge bio page I'd guess he'd be a good guy to sit in on Myles Allen's presentation and query his response to NicL's work:

http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/Dept/People/Spiegelhalter/davids.html

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/11/8/an-error-too-embarrassing-to-correct.html

Given Myles' views on data sharing you'd expect him to be all for a little bit of embarrassment:

http://climateaudit.org/2012/05/31/myles-allen-calls-for-name-and-shame/

Nov 12, 2012 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

It's just observable evidence of the fact that they really don't know very much but would like it to sound authoritative with a 'get out of jail free' card in the event of things going awry.

The Met Office and their associates have learned a lot about this problem in the current millennium starting with Dr David Viner who predicted in 2000 that snow would become a 'rare and exciting' event in the UK. Children would just not know what snow was.

Nov 12, 2012 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

The greatest risk and uncertainty they should ponder is the drying up of their grant funding.

Nov 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

This is huge! A quote from the Met Office (dated 12 Nov 2012):

The science does not exist to make detailed forecasts for temperature and snowfall for the end of this month, let alone for December or even the winter as a whole.

http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/whats-in-store-this-winter-responding-to-the-headlines/

I hope this will enlighten the attendees of the seminar on Thursday.

Nov 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Billy - Looks as if the science sort-of-used-to exist though:

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/hiding-the-evidence-met-office-winter-2009-winter-forecast/

Nov 13, 2012 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

You'd think they'd have something better to do?

But, then again, they are academics and media luvvies, so - no - they probably don't...

Nov 13, 2012 at 2:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

What have we got here?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oik6dXm-0l0

Nov 13, 2012 at 4:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Some of those attendees / speakers were invented by JB Morton for “Beachcomber”or even Peter Simple. “We are all guilty”. Was it just an expenses scam? – the well known trick of inventing the takers of hospitality to pad out the expenses claim.

Nov 13, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBill Irvine

I heard Roger Harrabin referred to as 'energy correspondent' or 'energy editor,' on the radio this morning. He was dealing with the business of energy price fixing.

Nov 13, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

This event is what I believe is known by some people as a 'circle jerk'.

Nov 13, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Registered Commenterrickbradford

I know Nick Pidgeon a bit, he's basically a green campaigner masquerading as an academic and has been doing so for at least ten years. He is very good at siphoning large amounts of money from the government and climbing the greasy pole, even though everyone in Psychology thinks he's thick. I think he's thick too, I once saw him in action in at another conference on 'risk and uncertainty' where he gave an exceptionally mediocre talk about global warming and failed to understand some basic points that were put to him. I've heard from some of his colleagues that he doesn't drive, but that doesn't stop him constantly travelling to preach the message. ('Circle jerk' is right -- contrary opinions were definitely not welcome at these sorts of events).

Nov 13, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGel

@ Gel:
"He is very good at siphoning large amounts of money from the government and climbing the greasy pole, even though everyone in Psychology thinks he's thick. I think he's thick too, I once saw him in action in at another conference on 'risk and uncertainty' where he gave an exceptionally mediocre talk about global warming and failed to understand some basic points that were put to him."

1) Guvments don't have any money, it is ALL taxpayers money. You should realise that when Guvments want to kill a project they tell everyone how much Taxpayer's money it's going to cost! When there's an election in the offing, they tell you how much they are spending on gold-plating things & how much more they will spend once elected!

2) Risk & uncertainty rarely exist these days due to the "End of Human Life As We Know It" Precautionary Principle! There must be NO risk, if there is any risk regardless of how small, ban it or tax it! Health & Safety then goes into overdrive because somebody can be sued! Hence the conker fiasco in schools, no ball games in the playground, teachers reluctant to engage in after school activities for fear of career loss if sued, etc.

Nov 13, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

@ Stuck-Record:

" 'Failure to Communicate' does seem to be a bit of a meme amongst the CAGW crowd at the moment. You'd almost think they were planning it.

/sarc"

No, I'd say it was a failure - of the communicants.

Propagandizing weirdos, green loonies and porkers supping deep at the public money fountain - someone needs to turn the spigot off but it will not happen: because it's EU policy and Brussels makes the rules not Westminster.

Nov 13, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"I'm pretty much as thick as you get in these matters, but what does "Communicating risk and uncertainty" mean?"

It pretty much comes down to assessing how much accessible rope there is in the area, divided by the number of lamp posts, and whether there is uncomfortably enough of both to go around.

Nov 13, 2012 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRastech

I'm not sure if this event is "open" or not but if anybody does go and is able to jot a brief report it'd be appreciated.

Nov 14, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I've started a discussion thread here that I hope folks will want to join:

Helping beleaguered climate scientists communicate

Nov 16, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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