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Bad choice of victim

Times Higher Ed has a not-unsympathetic profile of David Holland.

What drives a man to spend his retirement trying to refute the scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet?

"I'm a very bad loser. They chose the wrong guy to screw," explained David Holland, a climate sceptic who has taken the University of East Anglia to an information tribunal in the Climategate saga's most recent twist.


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Reader Comments (40)

They could also ask what makes climate scientists abandon honesty and the scientific mehtod to uphold an obviously flawed consensus!

Feb 2, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

David is quoted as saying

'I'm a graduate engineer so I trained for A levels in maths, physics and chemistry, which is more than some of the climate scientists can say'

There seems to be a good correlation between those with reasonable qualifications in chemistry (the Bish, Jonathan Jones, DR, me etc....) or engineering and a sceptical approach to climate matters.

Is this a reflection of the practical nature of both those two esteemed fields.....the need not just for theories but for observational data to back up those theories? What is sometimes called the 'Show Me' test?

To my mind 'climatology' is extremely weak in anything so 'grubby' as experiments and observations.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Anyone know whats happening here

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Brave man, Holland, to expose (the process is still going on) the Climate Industrial Complex; thanks Dwight Eisenhower.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

Anyone know whats happening here

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Anoneumouse

I noticed that too and have posed a question at WUWT.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Latimer: ditto. however, to break through the mass hypnosis is difficult because most people, and I include academic physicists, have a mental block when it comes to the key part of the delusional thinking, 'back radiation'. I have found however that if you explain it is a potential energy issue, that is accepted whereas if you tell them it's the artefact of the measurement, the response is to shout you down.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

You don't need a science background to know when you are being conned. A bit of spare time, an enquiring mind, some knowledge of how the world works and it is immediately apparent that we are witnessing a scam of monumental proportions. I applaud the efforts of David Holland, Don Keiller, his Grace, Thinkingscientist, Nic Lewis and all those many others who have taken the time to educate themselves in the ways of the climatology and to do something about it.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterN.Tropywins

Anyone know whats happening here
Feb 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Anoneumouse

I suspect he's just cutting back on the work involved, going by this post back in December.

Checking in and travel plans

At 68 + a bit I know what he means.

Feb 2, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterGrumpyDenier

"To my mind 'climatology' is extremely weak in anything so 'grubby' as experiments and observations."

How exactly do you do your experiments while sitting at your computer desk?

It isn't just experiments as you say but capturing and handling data properly that takes a back seat to theory and modelling. It is much easier to grab a dataset (probably satellite based) off someone else, munge it around a bit, and release a paper rather than go to Arctic Canada in winter to make your own measurements first.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Play the man not the ball.

What they at the tribunal for then?

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

I think it's more a question of having an analytical mind rather than being specifically biased towards the sciences. I could never get to grips with school science partly because my physics teacher was a pain in the neck and partly because I found playing around with language more fun! But that didn't stop me from forever asking "why?" Got me into awful trouble more than once.
I still reckon that in "mainstream" climate science the answers came first. I don't think that there are very many seriously analytical minds in CRU, for example. If there are why aren't they poring over every new paper written to see whether it re-affirms or challenges their hypotheses or as in this case apparently introduces a whole new, but plausible, concept into the whole argument?

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

CA is working fine for me (using Firefox, In Australia). No posts from Steve since 18 January, but plenty of comments since.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Gotta say that it is quite remarkable that a 'not unsympathetic' profile is published in the THES - one of the 'house journals' for academe.

In my experience professional academics like to think of themselves individually and collectively as somehow above the common herd - of both superior intellect and higher morality. And hence unchallengeable by the hoi polloi.

But David's stance takes all these issues head on and tests them in public. No wonder Ed Acton was said to be 'exasperated'. Surely no mere mortal could ask difficult questions of a Vice-Chancellor!

And I'm reminded of a remark by Richard Tol a few weeks back, to the effect that in academia the convention is that you don't say that something is wrong unless you can also show that something else is better/righter. Seems to me that this is a charlatan's charter. It might only take a few minutes to expose the 'wrongness' of something, but many months work to come up with the 'right' answer.

The more I learn of the cosy little world of acdemia, the less I either like or understand its mores and modus operandi.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer Adler - "Is this a reflection of the practical nature of both those two esteemed fields.....the need not just for theories but for observational data to back up those theories? What is sometimes called the 'Show Me' test? "

It is why a good number of meteorologists are sceptical as well, or at least prepared to grasp the changing reality - data is everything.

I don't want to open another GHE rant (and the Bish rightfully wouldn't stand for it), but it is also why I don't just dismiss Slayers out of hand - some are scientific engineers who have had to understand the outcomes, not just sit around pontificating on theory.

I also support the remarks of others who recognise the contribution of those who get stuck in to the CAGW crowd on our behalf.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

It isn't really just a matter of knowing engineering and science. I was trained as an historian and it is because I KNOW as an historian that climate has cycles and affects how humans live and has consequences as a result, that I refute so much of CAGW premise.

I also did O level physics and chemistry and using that basic knowledge tells me how much rubbish is spouted about the effects of carbon dioxide on the environment.

My usual response is "Of course it's becoming warmer, be thankful, the alternative is far, far worse."

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

Not only 'O'level Mr Barrett but 'A' level and university, in the 60's, tell the same story. The GHG theory is wrong.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

I'm having trouble accessing Climate Audit as well. I keep getting " " which appears to be offering web creation etc. and domain name services.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

Strange, I have no difficulty accessing Climate Audit

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

I am having the same problem as meltemian.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce Cunningham

Me too Bruce.
Perhaps those still seeing the site are actually viewing cached pages?

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM | Mike Jackson
Feb 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Latimer Alder

Very well put. An inquiring is a mindset that you would hope all scientists had. If someone throws a random numerical fact at me (ie 80% of Scots live in London) I will always do a ballpark/order of magnitude kind of check in my head to decide if it is believable. I'm obviously a sceptic!

With regards academia, having worked in academia and industry, I can't think of a better word than arrogance to describe how a significant number of 'academics' come across. One of the reasons is that academia is a self selecting group of people who are good at passing exams when they were around 20. Once you move outside this area you quickly realise there are brilliant gifted people who don't have a qualification to their name for whatever reason. You also get a much bigger mix of expertise and opinions which I think is vital to the running of a successful company. I work in IT which is still a technical, academic discipline in lots of ways, but also obviously a vital enabling technology to basically any other industry in existence. You get a large number of people still who are extremely disdainful to 'The Users' and how stupid they are.... which is obviously really missing the point as their job itself is just a means to the end of helping the company to make money, or whatever they do. IT in isolation is pretty meaningless, it is the applications of it that have made enormous progress the last few decades.

Connecting up my academic and industry experience. Things like the climategate emails really show things like IT really don't seem to have changed much in academia in the last 20 years, while in industry it changes at startling speed. I'm sure there is lots of good IT work going on but clearly a significant amount of good practices and improved tech that seems to have got lost in a time warp somewhere.

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton


From whois:

Domain ID:D105658560-LROR
Created On:31-Jan-2005 13:07:55 UTC
Last Updated On:02-Feb-2013 08:41:20 UTC
Expiration Date:31-Jan-2014 13:07:55 UTC
Sponsoring Inc. d/b/a (R14-LROR)

It looks like Steve forgot to have the domain renewed (or perhaps pay for it).
Some of you will still be accessing the site without any issues. This is because your DNS is still using a cached lookup of climateaudit but these lookups will expire.

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Generally speaking, when a consensus forms around an erroneous belief then more harm than good is likely to come of it. It is therefore a moral duty for some, at least, to test widely accepted theories in an attempt to refute them. Any such attempts should be welcomed and aided.

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

Nope, went to CA via Google and it works fine (sorry Bish for O/T).

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna


For those having problems accessing Climate Audit, I suspect they simply left the domain name renewal a bit late. WHOIS shows it being renewed/activity at 8.41 this morning, so my guess is that someone forgot to renew, and it was suspended.

We'll now have to wait for the renewal to propagate through the DNS system

Details from WHOIS for .org domains

Created On:31-Jan-2005 13:07:55 UTC
Last Updated On:02-Feb-2013 08:41:20 UTC
Expiration Date:31-Jan-2014 13:07:55 UTC

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

At 12.25 CA link to is not taking to steve's site, something v odd currently.

Feb 2, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterfourayes

I can't get Climateaudit either using Firefox or Opera! I end up in Alpus,net

Feb 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Being of an engineering peruasion does not, it seems, necessarily put you on 'our side'...
Having recently been sent my 50-year membership of my engineering institution (thank you, thank you - you're too kind.. Please sit down...) I was amazed to read the result of a survey in our 'trade' journal that suggested that 65% of respondents wanted MORE wind farms..! I did of course immediately put finger to keyboard and fire of a missive (published) expressing astonishment that such a high proportion of engineers viewed wind farms as a viable method of producing electricity. Others also wrote in the same vein, so maybe the question was misunderstood...
On the broader matter of questioning the 'status quo' - my local paper reported that the police were 'saddened' by the number of motorists caught speeding. Now, safety issues being paramount, I question whether the speed limits aren't at fault. In America they tend to set speed limits to the natural 'gait' of the road - with the result that the traffic moves freely but within the limit. Problem is of course, if you adopted that procedure in this country, less motorists would be fined for speeding, which would cause problems for the Treasury....

Feb 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The report in the THE seems quite condescending to me. Sympathetic references to Acton being exasperated and so on and the general tenor that Holland is some unbalanced obsessive. I applaud his persistent search for truth and to uncover wrongdoing. A couple of good comments underneath from BH regulars.

Feb 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle


I thought it was a puff piece devoid of anything useful what so ever.



Feb 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

I felt the piece on David H was accurate without editorializing. which is the definition of good reporting. It was not sympathetic or "unsympathic." It simply portrayed him as a man on a mission and described the difficulty of the mission. I wonder what he thinks about it.

Feb 2, 2013 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Anthony Watts has explained the status of ClimateAudit at WUWT:

Feb 2, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Re: Why are climate scientists not critical of their work? Part of the answer is Rapture of the Computer Model. When training engineers to use models the greatest obstacle is getting them to understand that reality is not inside the computer program. Fortunately, reality intervenes. Engineers who take their projections from models to planning sessions with the VP of Finance learn in great detail how inadequate their work is. Then they are willing to learn. For climate science, there is no VP of Finance.

Feb 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Here is an interesting THES article on Green funding. Not unsympathetic.

Profits of doom

The European Commission has paid environmental campaigners directly to carry out its political agenda. In 1999, at a cost of about EUR500,000, it set up a new group, the European Environmental Bureau, while also paying both the Friends of the Earth and the WWF EUR250,000 each to set up offices in Brussels. On another occasion, the Climate Action Network was given EUR140,000 for "capacity building". In fact, the Commission funnels about EUR3 million (£2.48 million) a year to environmental groups that it favours.

But that's a drop of oil in the Gulf of Mexico compared with the amounts that private foundations in the US are estimated to provide each year to environmental causes. The sums involved run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. One green organisation - the Tides Foundation - had net assets of $142,007,356 in 2006. Local green groups may rely on "flapjack and organic-soap fundraising mornings" - but real campaigns are funded by a very different and largely invisible mix.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I have met David Holland several times.
What drives him is a sense of decency and fair play.
Something sadly lacking in most climate "scientists", banksters (pun intended) and
"me-too" politicians. i.e every single one of the useless parasites.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I have met David Holland several times.
What drives him is a sense of decency and fair play.
Something sadly lacking in most climate "scientists", banksters (pun intended) and
"me-too" politicians. i.e every single one of the useless parasites.

Feb 2, 2013 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

esmiff's THE link is very interesting.

Feb 3, 2013 at 12:28 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

When I looked at the article there were 5 comments all in support on David.

Feb 3, 2013 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Academia, is full of pseuds and 'precious minds'. Some, indeed most of these types, inhabiting the halls of UEA believe that they speak 'ex cathedra' and in nonchalantly assumed and self awarded wisdom cast their pearls down unto the masses.
A "commoner" answering back is perceived to be a monstrous slight - how dare they!

There has always been, a feeling that UEA is somewhat 'second rate', the antics of its humanities climatology annex nicely illustrates the point.

Feb 3, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I put a copy of the undertaking signed by Acton concerning the future performance of him and his University with regard to FOI in the comments on the TES article.

The text of the undertaking puts the exasperation of Acton at the tribunal into context.

Feb 3, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

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