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DECC's climate docs

Leo Hickman has unearthed a repository of DECC documents on climate change. I'm not clear if this is as a result of a FOI request or something else.

He is posting interesting snippets on his Twitter timeline. This internal briefing by a not-very-literate DECC insider is interesting.


[Update: author names are in the document properties. This one appears to be by P Munro; a google suggests P is for Paul]

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Reader Comments (20)

What a dreadful internal briefing from an illiterate. No wonder the country is going down the pan.

Sep 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Spelling. See me

Sep 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Shocking stuff. Reads like an illiterate 6th former who's swallowed a Greenpeace pamphlet.

Yet again when we are exposed to the level of critical thinking by those in authority on Global Warming we can see them for the dunces that they are. Thank heavens for the internet so at least they are exposed to daylight.

Are they any impressive folk pushing the party line on this topic? It certainly doesn't seem so.

Sep 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonW

This one , perhaps.
Paul Munro DECC
Climate and Energy: Science and Analysis. in 2009

Sep 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

What's in it for Leo?

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

And btw...their definition of sceptic is not the Guardian's. What a mess.

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

S/he may be illiterate, and wrong, but has made some worthwhile points that the climate scientists and their envronmental backers should take on board if they are to communicate better:

1. Consensus has no meaning in science or politics;
2. There are uncertainties and scientists should say so;
3. Scientists should engage with critics and be truthful;
4. Scientists should not tell us that there is a problem and there is only one solution; (I SAY THIS PARTLY BECAUSE THE ARGUMENT ONE SEES FROM SOME CLIMATE SCIENTISTS TAKES THE
5. The IPCC shouldn't be quoted as a "bible" irrefutable truths;
7. The scientists believe we don't buy it because there isn't enough information and if they give us more information;

For the audience it was intended I believe it's quite sound advice.

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I'm with Geronimo

P(aul?) Munro has made a fair fist of outlining a strategy that just might get his department out of the horrible mess they have got themselves into.

And if I were he, and that was my sole objective, I'd probably come up with something similar. I hope that I'd have learnt to use the spell checker to iron out any mispronts and speling mistakes, and I'd resist the temptation to use CAPITALS all the way through...but otherwise not a bad try.

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I find myself in agreement with geronimo here.

Further, written in CAPS as it is, this was presumably something that the author was going to read out to his audience. I doubt I would have worried too much about the spelling and the punctuation, either. You may be being a trifle hard on his "illiteracy". These are just speaking notes, I think.

Frankly, if all the catastrophists commenting on Guardian articles were as reasonable as the author suggests they ought to be, the debate would be a good deal more productive, not to mention more gentlemanly!

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

To be fair, Latimer ('I'd resist the temptation to use capitals'), the PDF looks like a script that the speaker could read easily from a distance. Same reason for the line spacing. Quite a common ploy for a speaker to use.

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

It’s all about the nasty things done by us sceptics, but the only one mentioned by name is - George Monbiot

It was recently reported in the Sunday Times that professor Phil Jones, who’s been at the centre of the firestorm, actually contemplated sucide after his experience of sustained pillory by the media – indeed, redacted redacted George Mombiot [sic] demanded his head on a plate in the Guardian.
One piece of excellent news. Editors still know a “man bites dog” story when they see one. Science journalists don’t.
I recently attended a workshop on climate science communication at the science media centre. there were a number of science journalists present on the panel from the Guardian, Independent, Channel 4 and BBC. One insight I wasn’t aware of before, was that science correspondents were sidelined by their editors because they were not fulfilling their responsiblity as journalists and reporting the UEA story. They admitted that they had themselves dismissed the incident as a non-story – which in any case had been bubbling away for months.

One more repetition of something we’ve seen before

let’s take a closer look at the temperature record that was at the heart of the e-mail hacking incident.
Who originated this innaccuracy? Who was responsible for not correcting it?

Sep 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Fascinating (and encouraging) stuff. I wonder how it went down with the Mandarins?

Nice to know that: "although I think that Ben Goldacre is essentially right, he does miss out an important dimension - scientists and especially climate scientists have colluded in constructing this parody of science".

Was it what Leo was expecting? Presumably not...

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Interesting that the opening refers to the "CRU email leak" no?

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

The summary linked looks like a speech that someone has given rather than a summary - Autocue uses capitals doesn't it ?

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

The "speech" mentions Actionaid visit to Bagladesh. A guick google gives this page :

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

For an insight into the elitist arrogance and delusional thinking of DECC, you can hardly do better than this paragraph:

And yet despite this scientific consensus, there are a large number of people out there, not all of them complete knaves and fools...
Oh, thanks
...who just don't buy it. No doubt some of them will be funded by fossil fuel interests. But that's unlikely to be the case for the vast majority of people.
Really? I thought the oil companies were fanning out everywhere handing out fivers to buy support for themselves

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Registered Commenterrickbradford

And some classic psychological projection:

An urgent priority must be to reclaim the term 'sceptic' and restore it to its role as a vital element of scientific progress.

It is or should be ok to be sceptical about some proposition of science which are [sic] held out as being true (contingent ones at best) so long as you keep an open mind.

That is where 'climate change sceptics' part company with genuine scientific 'sceptics'. They are not prepared to change their minds in the face of new evidence.

Sep 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commenterrickbradford

The only "new evidence" I have seen in the last five years simply confirms my scepticism.
What "new evidence" would the writer be referring to, I wonder?

Sep 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I believe you have to read beyond the words, to me this speech is from someone who himself/herself is sceptical. Look at it again carefully and imagine if your own day job was to advise DECC on how to communicate the science. The core of what is said would be cheered to the rafters by people on this site if there hadn't been the throw away lines about big oil etc. It is my contention that the throw away lines, are there to persuade the listeners that he too is a true believer, but read it carefully and you'll see he's telling them that there communication is crap because the message is crap and unless they change their ways dramatically they'll persuade nobody except those pre-disposed to be persuaded. And he's right.

Sep 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I agree with Latimer and Geronimo about the message as a whole and with Mike's specific point above. To call people illiterate is like shooting the messenger, we should concentrate on the message.

The author sees himself in the position of a technical salesman, he has a product to sell. How the product was made and exactly how it works is over his head but he has to sell it and therefore he needs a sales story. The analogy holds good when he deals with the fact that the customers are not buying the product; the salesman can not change the product, he can only change the story and add incentives.

Sep 11, 2012 at 3:35 PM | Registered CommenterDung

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