Seen elsewhere
Twitter
Support

 

Buy

Click images for more details

Recent posts
Recent comments
Links

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

Powered by Squarespace
« More on Newbery versus BBC | Main | Flagrant and cynical office »
Tuesday
Nov062012

More DECC Climategate correspondence

Leo Hickman has had some more of DECC's correspondence relating to Climategate.

The first one that catches my eye is this email to the minister at DECC, informing him that the Russell Report will be published on 7 July. Although the email is dated 2 July, there is a "message within the message" dated 26 May 2010. This would appear to suggest that ministers were aware of the date of publication six weeks before the general public, which would be odd for an independent inquiry. I would counsel against leaping to conclusions, but it's worth checking out. The redactions in the document appear unjustified to me too.

Then there is this discussion of a hitherto little noticed email exchange in the Climategate II documents:

6. One of the hacked email segments is of an email from a Defra official (REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED) to Professor Phil Jones in May 2009, discussing briefing for Ministers on the UK Climate Projections project. The text segment states “.....I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish…..”.

7. This conversation relates to a longer discussion between the Defra technical project lead and the contractors at UEA on a statistical tool called a “weather generator”, which is part of the package of climate information provided by the UK Climate Projections project. The weather generator provides statistical data about future daily climate variables such as episodes of heavy rain or very hot days. The discussion (of which the leaked sentence is one part) was a
conversation in which the Defra official was explaining to the contractor team that it was important for Ministers to have detailed briefing in order to correctly explain the tool to others.

8. The weather generator tool operates at a very small spatial scale (5km) which generated some contention within the climate science community whilst it was in development, as there are valid questions about the robustness of a climate projection tool operating at such a small scale. The request to the contractor was for information to help explain the strengths and limitations of the tool.

9. The project, including the weather generator tool, was assessed by a peer review panel in January 2009. The findings of the peer review were published. The weather generator tool was also peer reviewed at the project inception stage. The peer reviews both suggested that the approach used was valid, but that caveats needed to be explained.

10. The weather generator tool was launched by the Defra Secretary of State, along with the rest of the project, in June 2009. The tool is widely used by climate impact researchers, including projects funded through the Research Councils, UK Water Industry Research, the Environment Agency, Local Councils, the Macaulay Institute, and Manchester University to name but a few.

11. The hacked emails also contain exerts of emails from Bob Watson, Defra’s Chief Scientist; these do not appear to be causing media interest.

Or how about Lord Oxburgh being a signatory to a letter to the Times re Climategate?

Sceptics and parts of the media have seized the opportunity to claim that the whole edifice of climate change science is crumbling . This is far from the truth. We urge the media, the public, policy makers and the scientific community to calm their nerves and take a proportionate look at the evidence as a whole. What the overwhelming body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence shows is that climate change is happening and is very likely to be caused by human activity.

The whole directory can be seen here.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (33)

Let me see if I have this right; Lord Oxburgh is the signature of a letter to The Times saying not to worry about Climategate and later he is appointed to be the chairman of a panel investigating Climategate.

Was the letter ever published?

Nov 6, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered Commenternvw

There is also a covering letter that explains that some of the documents are new (620 621 629 630 633 638 640 642) and others have been slightly less redacted than before.

The general impression is of DECC proposing to ministers the 'Line to take', adding further spin to the output of the enquiries.

Annex A discusses the decreasing confidence in climate science post-climategate and describes this as a 'problem', ending with three pages of REDACTED.

Nov 6, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

It seems clear to me that DECC were not only aware of the date of publication of the "independent " Russell report six weeks before the event, but also knew what was going to be in it.

The government "line" was written before the report was, by the looks of it, and would have no doubt been adjusted if there was any subsequent disagreement between what was finallly written in July with the details that must surely have been discussed with Muir Russell in May.

"Independent", I think not.

Nov 6, 2012 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED

Nov 6, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

While David Cameron's in the mood for inquiries into inquiries, I would suggest that an inquiry into the (non) 'ClimateGate' inquiries would be a useful way to expend a bit of taxpayers' wonga.

We might even discover that they weren't so much 'inquiries' as 'whitewashes'!

Nov 6, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougS

Martin A.

I am in total agreement with your profound and, dare I say it without fear of redaction, game changing comment.

Nov 6, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

FOI is far from perfect when clearly the most important parts are REDACTED for apparently no other reason than they are embarrassing. No state secrets or commercial interests to hide here. Is this how FOI should work? Where are the FOI ombudspersons when you need them?

...and they are looking to remove the teeth from FOI.

Transparency makes the world a better place - get over it!

Nov 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

I was banned from the Guardian website for comparing Leo Hickman to a deflated Telly Tubby. Go on, Mr Guardian lifestyle correspondent. Sue me with your handbag.


Here is one that got through.


To Mick Kelly, climate science researcher at UEA .


Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a 'strategic partnership' with the TC, broadly equivalent to a 'flagship alliance' in the TC proposal. A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.

Shell's interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to 'real-world' activities . They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM.[Clean Development Mechanism] (aka Carbon trading)

]

source uea-tyndall-shell-memo.doc 11 September 2000

download here

http://www.libertyandpeace.org/wiki/climategate/uea-tyndall-shell-memo.doc


You promote carbon trading for Big Oil and we will help you lie about global warming. Obviously we would have to tell you what to research. Fair dinkum.

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

It's in the public domain, file 4386.txt and it's an email from

"Humphrey, Kathryn (ACC)" <kathryn.humphrey@DEFRA.GSI.GOV.UK>

I wish I had the time to do another FOI request to figure out the name of the idiot(s) who redacted the already-known.

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:10 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

BTW...try reading the CGII thread "should we, as a discipline, respond to Climate Audit". Fascinating stuff indeed.

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

This is the text of a email I received today from DECC

"Thank you for your email of 15 October, highlighting your doubts about global warming.

The vast majority of climate scientists agree that climate change is a major threat to global security, prosperity and equity. The sooner we act, the more potential we have to manage those threats. The Government is therefore acting now.

Science focuses on exploring questions - there are always areas of uncertainty. What policy makers need to know is: do we know enough to act? When climate experts tell us that warming is unequivocal, that there is a very high likelihood that we're causing that warming, and that the sooner we act the more chance we have to limit the impacts of the warming to an acceptable level - the answer is surely yes - we know enough to act.

Current carbon dioxide (CO2) levels - around 390ppm - far exceed the natural range of 180ppm to 300ppm over the last 800 thousand years, (determined from ice core evidence). The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by almost 40% since pre-industrial times. Global energy CO2 emissions reached an all time high of 30.4Gt in 2010. This is unsurprising as historically they have risen each year with the exception of 2009.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, average global temperatures may rise by between 1.1 and 6.4°C by the end of this century (relative to 1990 levels).

Natural factors (meteorite impacts, volcanoes, changes in solar activity and in the Earth's orbit) have caused changes in the past climate; but various modelling experiments have shown that recent warming can only be explained by the effect of higher levels of greenhouse gases, caused by human activity.

Whether or not people accept the science of climate change, there are a number of benefits of shifting to low carbon. It can reduce our dependency on finite fossil fuels, taking us towards a cleaner, quieter, more energy secure and fairer society. A transition to low carbon can also create high quality jobs in new industries and ensure we live in better insulated, more comfortable homes.

I hope this is helpful."

Same old same old. I have asked for clarification of some of the claims but being a government department their response time is poor.

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

[Snip - OTT]

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

FOI is far from perfect when clearly the most important parts are REDACTED for apparently no other reason than they are embarrassing. No state secrets or commercial interests to hide here. Is this how FOI should work? Where are the FOI ombudspersons when you need them?

Nov 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM Chairman Al

I think that the Freedom of Information Commissioner is the person to involve.

Anyone making an FOI request with unwarranted redactions should ask the public body responding to their FOI request to review their reponse. The public body has to do this in a reasonably short time - can't remember exactly but it's no more than a few weeks. If the requester is still dissatisfied, they can then ask the FOI commissioner to look at the case and make a decision. I think there are reasonably specific rules about what can/can't be excluded. Possible embarrassment is not a valid reason for excluding information.

Nov 6, 2012 at 11:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Redacted?

Goodness...... that's a result - as is redacting stuff that's available elsewhere.


When we actually got Environment Agency officials to comment on (rather than studiously ignore) our requests for specific documents under FoI - were told that "the document doesn't exist" and "the document was deleted" umm... until after 18 months - the requested documents were found within days by an "non departmental" FoI auditor.

Dolphinhead@10:51
Did some DECC apparatchik put their name to the copy n paste propaganda screed you received?

Name and shame and all that...

Nov 7, 2012 at 12:52 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Has anyone tried 'redacted" as the code for FOIA's protected batch?

Nov 7, 2012 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

The world is pretty much screwed. Obama gets another 4 years to turn the US into a communist country via his EPA attack dogs, courtesy of the bogus CAGW theory.

Nov 7, 2012 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterUranusIsGassy

Readers might wish to read this analysis, written at the time but confirmed by subsequent events; http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/25/global-warming-the-oxburgh-inquiry-was-an-offer-he-couldnt-refuse/

The Mafia who benefit from the windmills are pan-European. A UK businessman who died a year ago was connected to the business interests which paid for Brown's private office before he became CoE.

Nov 7, 2012 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

"The world is pretty much screwed. Obama gets another 4 years to turn the US into a communist country via his EPA attack dogs, courtesy of the bogus CAGW theory."

Nov 7, 2012 at 7:38 AM | UranusIsGassy

Much as I'd love to disagree, there is no doubt that you are 100% correct.

The cAGW scam is so deeply embedded that even the greenies are turning their attention to other things. http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83315

OK, it is plain to see how deeply corrupt and ridiculous the greenie position is. There is much of interest in this latest posting by the Bish. But, in our heart of hearts, we know it is as surprising as someone finding a document suggesting that the Mafia is run by people who are not law abiding.

There are a (very) few signs of cracks in the political greenie monolith. OK, I guess one day the truth will out. But that day will only really be in prospect when people start to get fed up of shivering in the dark.

Nov 7, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"There are a (very) few signs of cracks in the political greenie monolith. OK, I guess one day the truth will out. But that day will only really be in prospect when people start to get fed up of shivering in the dark."

Bear in mind Martin that the only places in the world this madness is taking place are Europe and the Anglosphere, so let's hope the lights haven't gone out by the time our politicians realise that the western industrial civilisations are to become a backwater in world trading.

Nov 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Nov 6, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Dolphinhead

Interesting little missive full of weasel words like can & may, etc. No mention of contradictory evidnce of the thousands of tests carried out pre-1958 that demonstrated that CO2 levels over Europe were way higher than 300ppm. Danish research showing over Denmark alone CO2 levels were around 330ppm 9,500 years ago. The way CO2 is dissolved into ice gives losses as do the coring & extraction processes, & that todays 390ppm will probably not eveon show up in future ice-cores in several hundred years time. No mention of Tropical Earth with no ice in the past, nor that there was more CO2 in the atmoshpere 800,001 years ago, by default! The "science" is based upon flawed computer models that do not accurately model the atmosphere, make a multitude of assumptions which are not fully or clearly understood. Computer modelling IS NOT scientific experimentation, it is modelling nothing more nothing less. Neither was there any mention of the positive benefits in a warming world with increaed CO2 in the atmosphere, longer growing seasons, lower water demand, more to go around, less energy expended on warming our homes. Why is it all so negative? It has to be a "scare story" either wise nobody will listen to them! Well done for making the enquiry though!

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

geronimo: the Green movement was always a vehicle for Marxism but was hijacked by the Mafia. In the US, GE won Obama so got contracts for the windmills. Here, it has been more subtle. ROCs were payback for the Mafia and DECC was stuffed with Common Purpose EU apparatchiks.

However, the decay of the RS has caused scientists to look at the corruption of science, politicians have realised 'decarbonisation' is impossible using windmills and the Public is waking up to disgraceful troughing. The game has changed: the surgical removal of 30 years of Establishment decay.

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

"but various modelling experiments have shown that recent warming can only be explained by the effect of higher levels of greenhouse gases, caused by human activity."

And there, in a nutshell, is the problem with so much of climate science and with modern politicians (i.e. not knowing that there is no such thing as a 'modelling experiment', and that models cannot be used to PROVE anything about the real world).

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan Blanchard

"We note that after three reviews, there is no evidence of scientific
malpractice at the University, and the evidence of 20th century warming
remains strong."

They knew in advance the outcome of an "inquiry" that hadn't yet completed? And who says our government officials are a bunch of lazy, pen pushing, layabouts sitting at desks doing the Guardian crossword waiting for their pensions? These boys and girls are clairvoyant! We should have them investing for the government in the futures markets! Or there was a conspiracy after all? Unthinkable! the government and the scientific establishment are as above reproach as the boys in the CRU. Aren't they?

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish….."

Ha ha. In fact, bwahahahahahahahahahaha...

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Dolphinhead

"Whether or not people accept the science of climate change, there are a number of benefits of shifting to low carbon"

That sounds like a tacit admission to me, or at the very least, a back-door exit.

Nov 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

" there is no evidence "

That one is beginning to be a bit of an alarm signal to me. It is a form of words people, especially politicians, use to cover up what is beginning to be obvious to someone else. It is used to turn away objection when in fact it has very little information content on its own. If you didn't really look for evidence, of course there is none. The honest thing to say is 'what is your evidence?'.

My exercise to the reader:
Note whenever you hear that phrase. Is the speaker a weasel? Probably best to treat him as one.

Nov 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

eSmiff -

when sceptics get an opportunity to respond to allegations they are funded by Big Oil, they need to be prepared to counter-attack:

Wikipedia: Climatic Research Unit
The CRU was founded in 1971 as part of the university's School of Environmental Sciences. Initial sponsors included British Petroleum, the Nuffield Foundation and Royal Dutch Shell...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit

2007: University of Michigan: Andrew J. Hoffman: Corporate Governance & International Business Leadership
The Coming Market Shift: Business Strategy & Climate Change
Introduction
(opening line) In many respects, the scientific debate is irrelevant...
http://www.erb.umich.edu/Research/Faculty-Research/Hoffman_ComingMarketShift.PDF

7 Nov: SMH: Peter Hannam, Carbon Economy Editor:: Former UN official says climate report will shock nations into action
THE next United Nations climate report will ''scare the wits out of everyone'' and should provide the impetus needed for the world to finally sign an agreement to tackle global warming, the former head of the UN negotiations said.
Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks, said his conversations with scientists working on the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested the findings would be shocking.
"That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,'' Mr de Boer said in the only scheduled interview of his visit to Australia. "I'm confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.''...
Mr de Boer, who is now special global advisor on climate change for KPMG, said the best prospect may be for nations to settle on targets that they write into their national laws, rather than a binding international deal...
He said superstorm Sandy may spur more Americans, and people elsewhere, to consider the risks of climate change, but warned: "It's a bit like being shocked into stopping smoking when you've been told you've got terminal cancer."
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/former-un-official-says-climate-report-will-shock-nations-into-action-20121106-28w5c.html

Nov 7, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

18 Oct: Reuters: Ex-Citi director to head PetroChina emissions desk
PetroChina has appointed Garth Edward, a former Citigroup director of environmental products, to head its new UK-based emissions trading desk, Point Carbon News reported on Monday...
Edward said the desk, which will also engage in proprietary trading, will deal in most credits including EU allowances (EUAs), the carbon permits traded under the bloc's emissions trading scheme, and certified emissions reductions (CERs), which are issued by the UN under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The business will be based in London for the time being, Edward added.
"PetroChina has a small CDM portfolio ... but I don't know that CDM will be a major focus of business activity," he said...
"I'm not sure that's where we see the significance of things," he added, but would not comment further on the desk's focus.
Edward, who also formerly ran Shell's environmental products business, left Citi in June.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/18/carbon-petrochina-idUSLDE69H1NK20101018

28 Oct: UK Telegraph: Emily Gosden: Shell attacks ‘ridiculous’ effects of European energy policy
Royal Dutch Shell has attacked the “ridiculous” impact of European energy policy, warning that governments are erasing the environmental benefits from expensive renewables by allowing coal use to increase...
“CO2 is priced at such a low level it’s meaningless,” he said. “We want a higher CO2 price…
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/9639356/Shell-attacks-ridiculous-effects-of-European-energy-policy.html

28 Oct: Forbes: BP: Renewables Growing Fastest But Can’t Compete Without Help
Renewable forms of energy are growing far faster than any other form of energy, a BP economist said in Chicago last week, but are unlikely to significantly impact the world’s reliance on fossil fuels without continued government interventions, such as a price on carbon…
“The other big issue of course is climate change, and a price on carbon, all else being equal, seems like it would help the cost competitiveness of most renewable forms of energy...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/10/28/renewables-growing-fastest-but-cant-compete-without-help-bp/

Nov 7, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

26 Oct: Der Spiegel: Joel Stonington: Is Europe's Emissions Trading System Broken?http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/europe-looks-to-fix-problems-with-its-carbon-emissions-trading-system-a-863609.html

Nov 7, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

I really don't understand why a firm of accountants like KPMG would even have a special global advisor on climate change, let alone hire an ex-UN bod to nail their colours to the mast. All they need is someone adept in emissions trading to help them spot lies by their clients.

Nov 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

@David S

KPMG think they have spotted a market opportunity in climate change consultancy - advising clients on how to de-carbonise etc....

Nov 7, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Dolphinhead's response from the DECC, a precise summing-up of the official position, politely worded, logically presented, amounts, in the end, to diddly-squat – or slightly less. It is official guff from first to last.

I don't entirely mind its snooty tone. I would assume that any government department worth its name should be able to present its case with a degree of conviction, aka piss off pleb.

On the other hand, who could not be amazed and appalled by its credulous acceptance, in fact apparent welcome, that if the 'vast majority of climate scientists' assert X then X must be right with all the urgent (for which read insanely expensive and wholly pointless) responses this demands. Then of course we get the reference to 'various modelling experiments' (which mean what exactly?) followed, inevitably, by the claims that a switch to 'low carbon can also create high quality jobs in new industries and ensure we live in better insulated, more comfortable homes'.

Leaving aside that 'low carbon' is wholly meaningless when the actual subject is carbon dioxide – unless of course the DECC is already actively attempting to create a new life form, perhaps using its 'various modelling experiments' as a guide – we then get the obligatory reference to 'high quality jobs in new industries'.

My cat could do better than this half-witted, smug tosh. And this is what our government is determined in its high-minded, superior way to impose on us all? Do me a buggering favour.

Nov 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Sorry I don't understand the necessity to use the word redacted when a perfectly good word exists already, namely Censored.

Nov 8, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>