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« Green thugs on the rampage | Main | Diary dates, shale edition »
Thursday
Jan292015

Official: Bob Ward is a smearmonger

This was just posted by Richard Tol. I reproduce it here for public edification:

Mr Robert ET Ward BSc, employed by the London School of Economics and Political Science to promote the research of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, has engaged in a smear campaign against me.

At least, according to the Daily Mail.

Mr Ward was not so pleased with that characterization of his work, and complained to the Independent Press Standards Organization.

Yesterday, IPSO ruled that a "smear campaign" is a perfectly fine description of Mr Ward's work.

My response to Mr Ward's work is here.

Professor John P. Abraham highlighted Mr Ward's work in the Guardian. See my response. Unfortunately, the Guardian is not regulated by IPSO. The Guardian is regulated by the Guardian.

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Reader Comments (86)

For a press and communications officer to be called a smear campaigner by an official regulatory body is very serious as it undermines his integrity and judgement. The LSE should now apologise to Mr Tol for the behaviour of its employee and seriously consider Mr Ward's position.

Jan 29, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCeed

perhaps we should ask the director of the LSE if he intends to apologise to Mr Tol for Mr Wards behaviour

https://twitter.com/craigjcalhoun

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCeed

Lets not forget Bob Ward's attemp to smear Donna Laframboise.

http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2014/03/05/rat-snake-bob/

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Mr Blobby was an irratating character, created for Noel Edmunds economic entertainment. He crahed around, burbling incoherently, treading on peoples toes, and causing untold damage. He faded into obscurity in about 2005.

Bob Ward is an irratating character, financed by wealthy financier Jeremy Grantham, he................

Has anyone ever seen Mr Blobby and Bob Ward, in the same room at the same time?

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

My, how times change, and people’s perceptions with them. Mr Tol has all the appearance of a die-hard eco-warrior: long hair blowing in the wind, shaggy beard, formless sweater – he is even clutching a plank of wood, which is pretty close to being a tree-hugger. Mr Ward, however, is often seen in a suit, with hair trimmed neatly, clean shaven, hands resting lightly, perhaps even seductively, on a keyboard; the archetypal business-type, for whom marketing is king; yet he, for reasons not apparent, is the hero of the piece, while Mr Tol is the villain.

I really do have to get out more, don’t I?

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

@RR

Ward - "hair trimmed neatly" - I guess you could call it that.

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

"Convicted smearmonger Bob Ward" is going to hang around his neck for ever - which is excellent .... One down, how many more Jeremy Grantham funded nutters and unprincipled eco-strumpets to go?

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The "FULL BOB WARD" is the new euphemism in Smear Testing, for something "VILE, WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION"

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Shouldn't that be "Mr Robert ET Ward BSc, PhD (failed)"?

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:33 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I quite like Blob Ward as a nickname for the man with the fastest fingers and slowest mind in the West

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I see that Bob Ward is a leading light at the Association of British Science Writers being on their executive committee. Surely he now has to resign.

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNote

Philip Bratby, I do not wish to be pedantic, but Bob Ward is still working hard on his failure. He is doing very well at it, if you read his own self publicity.

Jan 29, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Note, not if it is renamed British Science FICTION Writers. It will then be possible, and legitimate, to rewrite their history, and remove any opposition to their recommendation for Nobel Prizes, Knighthoods, and the Right to Drive Gaggles of Gullible Grauniad readers over cliffs of incredulity.

Climate Science Fiction, where the bounds of possibility, are limited only by your own imagination.

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

"Mr Robert ET Ward BSc, PhD (failed)"

I knew that reminded me of something.

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I thought it would be frowned upon for an academic institution like LSE to officially smear a fellow academic. What is LSE's response?

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob Burton, the London School of failed Economic Theory, might respond that they love anybody who comes to them with loads of cash from a sugar daddy.

Colonel GaDaffy knew a thing or two about bribing Mickey Mouse outfits, and his son gained so much useful knowledge, though I am not sure he is remembered too favourably now.

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

RR, I hadn't noticed Tol playing guitar on the wooden plank.

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Registered Commentershub

Unfortunately, the Guardian is not regulated by IPSO. The Guardian is regulated by the Guardian.

That is incorrect.
It should read,
"Unfortunately, the Guardian is not regulated by IPSO. The Guardian is able to be regulated by the Guardian."

Jan 29, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

MCourtney Grauniad finances defy all prinicples of sound economic policy, much like their science, ethics, honesty etc.

Grauniad self governance defies all sound principles. 97% of Grauniad editorial staff said this proved they were right. The one dissenting voice out of the four people present, may have been out to lunch, but he wasn't sure about that either.

Jan 29, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

IPSO ruling now added.

Jan 29, 2015 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Golf Charlie,

That's yet another Ward lie. He cannot 'complete' it as he is now time barred - in the UK full-time PhD students must submit within 4 years, and even on part-time staff terms you only get 7 years. Extensions may be given under 'exceptional' circumstances, but 'abandoning my studies for 17 years to smear opponents for cash' probably won't cut it.

Ward's not only a deceitful failure, he's clearly a denialist.

Jan 29, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Ward is funny. He wants to double-dip: He's ok the news website printed his view that he was not in a 'smear campaign' and he wants to sue the same outlet for calling his work a smear campaign by way of quotation. Jobless.

Jan 29, 2015 at 5:27 PM | Registered Commentershub

Phllip Bratby
Wouldn't "PhD (chickened out)" be more accurate? The lure of lucre was too much for him perhaps? I reckon if somebody had offered me a five-figure salary when I was his age simply to regurgitate sh1t I might have been tempted.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:00 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I cannot stress how much I disagree with this post. Whatever one may think of Bob Ward, he was correct in his criticisms of Richard Tol's work. He was correct in his criticisms of the unreviewed and unjustified self-serving changes Richard Tol made to the IPCC report. What Richard Tol did was exactly the sort of thing skeptics raised hell over in the previous IPCC assessment report. It was bad enough I wrote a formal complain to the IPCC over it:

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2015/01/formal-complaint-with-the-ipcc/

And that complaint doesn't list half of what was wrong with Tol's published work and changes to the IPCC report. In fact, it doesn't even try to explain all the many things wrong with Tol's published work. The reality is Ward's criticisms of Tol's work is minor in comparison to the criticisms one ought to make. The reality is the way Tol compared the data he used was completely wrong. The reality is Tol used entirely arbitrary alignment for his data that has no basis in anything, rendering all of his comparisons meaningless. It is trivially easy to see this just by looking at the papers he "studied," as shown in this post (and especially the comments on it):

http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2014/08/missing-the-obvious/

On top of all this, Tol adamantly refused to provide the calculations he used to generate some of his data, for years. It was only because Ward complained to the IPCC Tol ever disclosed any of the calculations, and when he did, the calculations gave different answers:

https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/undisclosed-changes-in-the-ipcc-ar5-report/

Tol's behavior demonstrates everything skeptics have said is wrong with the climate science field. His behavior provides clear proof of the problems skeptics insist exist in the IPCC process. There are an incredible number of parallels to what happened with Michael Mann's hockey stick and the earlier IPCC reports. It is mind-boggling anyone, much less a skeptic, would defend Tol's work or alterations to the IPCC report. There isn't the slightest reason to do so other than, "We like what he says."

I strongly suspect no skeptic would be siding with Richard Tol if he held different views.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

@SNTFM
Not necessarily. PhD studies are time-limited now. However, the applicable rules are those of when Mr Ward started his studies.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

SayNoToFearmongers, Bob Ward's credibility is still credited with credibility by no less an authority, than Bob Ward, himself. It is all so incredible, that I don't believe a Ward.

If I saw him digging a hole for himself, I would assist with a JCB. On previous evidence, he is very capable of spreading whatever muck he wallows in, though digging through anything decent, seems beneath him.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Oh, it turns out Richard Tol posted the letter explaining the ruling. It is nothing like Tol would have people believe. Tol claims:

Yesterday, IPSO ruled that a "smear campaign" is a perfectly fine description of Mr Ward's work.

But the IPSO never said anything of the sort. It explains its ruling on this particular point saying (in part):

The Committee acknowledged the complainant’s position that he had not been engaged in a smear campaign. However, it took the view that the claim that the complainant was engaged in a smear campaign against Professor Tol was plainly presented as Professor Tol’s characterisation of his activities. The allegation was clearly distinguished as his own comment, in line with the newspaper’s obligation under Clause 1 (iii) of the Code.

That says nothing about whether or not Tol's description of Bob Ward's work is "fine." All it says the newspaper accurately reported Tol's claim. This is made more clear shortly after:

While the Committee acknowledged the complainant’s position that he had highlighted Professor Tol’s reluctance to correct his work as part of his role as an IPCC reviewer, it remained the case that Professor Tol considered the continued claims against him to be a “smear”, and the newspaper had been entitled to report this concern.

There is nothing in the IPSO ruling which says it is "fine" to label Bob Ward's actions a "smear campaign." Richard Tol has simply made that up.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Oh, it turns out Richard Tol posted the letter explaining the ruling. It is nothing like Tol would have people believe. Tol claims:

Yesterday, IPSO ruled that a "smear campaign" is a perfectly fine description of Mr Ward's work.

But the IPSO never said anything of the sort. It explains its ruling on this particular point saying (in part):

The Committee acknowledged the complainant’s position that he had not been engaged in a smear campaign. However, it took the view that the claim that the complainant was engaged in a smear campaign against Professor Tol was plainly presented as Professor Tol’s characterisation of his activities. The allegation was clearly distinguished as his own comment, in line with the newspaper’s obligation under Clause 1 (iii) of the Code.

That says nothing about whether or not Tol's description of Bob Ward's work is "fine." All it says the newspaper accurately reported Tol's claim. This is made more clear shortly after:

While the Committee acknowledged the complainant’s position that he had highlighted Professor Tol’s reluctance to correct his work as part of his role as an IPCC reviewer, it remained the case that Professor Tol considered the continued claims against him to be a “smear”, and the newspaper had been entitled to report this concern.

There is nothing in the IPSO ruling which says it is "fine" to label Bob Ward's actions a "smear campaign." Richard Tol has simply made that up.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

@Brandon
You're wrong on all points.

No IPCC rules were broken. You may argue that the rules should not allow this, but they do. Material was moved from one chapter to another and rewritten, as suggested by the review comments.

The "hidden computations" are an inner product. The "hidden data" can be downloaded from the World Bank or any economic data site. The latest estimates, now publicly available with all background calculations, are somewhat different from the earlier estimates because we used data from the same set of national account revisions -- the latest set of numbers is consistent but anachronistic, whereas the earlier set is inconsistent but chronistic.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

"Yesterday, IPSO ruled that a "smear campaign" is a perfectly fine description of Mr Ward's work."
Now that Tol has added the IPSO ruling to his blog post, it does not seem at all what IPSO was saying. As I understand it, all they said was that the paper quite correctly attributed the smear allegation to Tol, that it was not their own claim. I do not see that it took any position on the correctness of the claim itself. Or am I missing something?

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSven

Oops, sorry. Brandon posted exactly the same point while I was writing mine

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSven

Sven, Brandon, the ruling is necessarily understated but the essence is the same. Tol is right, the IPSO ruled it is ok for Ward's work to be characterized as a 'smear campaign'. View the ruling in light of freedom of speech, not in light of the veracity of Mr Ward's claims.

The question is whether or not Mr Ward's work was a 'smear campaign, it was whether it was ok for a newspaper to describe it as being so.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:29 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub, but as I understand it, the ruling says that it was not the newspaper that described anything. Just that the newspaper was right to print the concerns of Tol who was describing Ward's action as a smear campaign.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSven

Thanks for your comment Richard - I understand this is the case (one of my lecturers completed his PhD 40 years after beginning it), but looking at Ward's history - whilst it's impossible to date his 'scientific' career since he never published in his field of fortitude-deficient studies - he claims to have worked at the Royal Society for 8 years before his current position, which he says began in 2006, dating the PhD as current in 1998.

The time bar was in place then for certain.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:36 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

HYPOTHETICAL PHILOSOHY QUESTION

IF Jeremy Grantham interviewed Bob Ward, alone, for the job of Publicity Officer, and later announced he had the best person he could afford, how many liars were in the room?

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Richard Tol says:

No IPCC rules were broken. You may argue that the rules should not allow this, but they do. Material was moved from one chapter to another and rewritten, as suggested by the review comments.

But he knows this to be deceptive. Two sections were added to the chapter he was a Coordinating Lead Author of after all external review had been finished. One section was a section taken from another chapter, which Tol rewrote to suit his views. The other section was not taken from anywhere. It was created from scratch. Anyone who doubts this can find my discussion of the rewritten section here and the section created from scratch here.

Additionally, there were no review comments suggesting this be done. Tol's claimed there was before, but when I challenged him to provide the comments calling for the changes, he refused to. My response was to post all the review material for both chapters involved in this text, showing none of it supported Tol's claims.

I won't argue about whether or not Tol is right about the IPCC rules allowing this. If people want to say the IPCC allows entire sections to be added to their reports absent any external review, by the people whose work those sections are based upon, they can. If they're right, it's just more proof of the problems I've long said exist with the IPCC reports.

On a more humorous note, Tol claims I am "wrong on all points" yet says:

The "hidden computations" are an inner product. The "hidden data" can be downloaded from the World Bank or any economic data site. The latest estimates, now publicly available with all background calculations, are somewhat different from the earlier estimates...

Which clearly acknowledges the fact I am right about Tol refusing to provide his calculations and about those calculations, when provided, not giving the results he published. Tol can give whatever excuses he wants for it, but it's clear what I said was true.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

@SNTFM
He probably started his PhD in the mid 1990s. I don't know when time limits were introduced in the UK. In other countries, it was around that time.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

An interesting discussion........but I doubt if any of us here needed confirmation of the nature of Bob Ward by IPSO.

Jan 29, 2015 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

@Brandon
"refusal" is a big word

only one person ever asked (Bob Ward) - I explained to him where to find the data and how to compute the results, and he never came back to me so I assumed he had succeeded

we then decided to make everything available as one spreadsheet

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Sven, why split hairs? Imagine the opposite: if IPSO had ruled the Daily Mail not entitled to frame the story the way it did, Ward would have said it exonerated him.

That Mr Ward's work is a 'smear campaign' is Tol's opinion and the newspaper is entitled to report this opinion in exactly the same way it did - call it a smear campaign.

Again, remember it was Ward who went to court - claiming his work cannot be called a 'smear campaign' - and had his complaint set aside.

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:14 PM | Registered Commentershub

Richard Tol, I've seen the communication which shows your claim is untrue. Bob Ward did not just ask a single time. He tried to find out what your calculations were multiple times. There is no way you "assumed he had succeeded." In light of your repeated refusals, he publicly wrote about them highlighting the problem:

Disappointingly, none of the journals have so far secured an agreement from Professor Tol to make his calculations available, which means that a number of the data included in Chapter 10 of the IPCC report remain unverifiable.

To which you responded:

Finally, Professor Abraham repeats Mr Ward’s lament about lack of transparency. In fact, all data are in the public domain. It does take a bit of multiplication, addition and division to go from disaggregate data to aggregate data, but that should not be beyond someone with a bachelor’s degree in geology.

There is no explanation of "where to find the data [or] how to compute the results" like you claim (links to the sources of these quotes can be found in this post).

As for making everything available as one spreadsheet, as I demonstrated in one of the posts linked to above, that spreadsheet doesn't contain the calculations Ward tried to get. The calculations in that spreadsheet don't match the results you had published. Clearly, Ward could not have been expected to calculate the results you had published if you can't even providing calculations which obtain them.

Also, that spreadsheet leaves off calculations for two papers you had listed as having performed calculations for. The IPCC also removed the note saying you had performed calculations for those papers. How could Bob Ward be possibly expected to perform the same calculations as you if you can't even keep track of what papers you performed calculations for?

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:17 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

shub:

Sven, why split hairs?

This is not splitting hairs. There is a major difference between a newspaper reporting what a person says and that newspaper saying it themselves. Saying a newspaper can report accusations is nowhere close to saying the newspaper can make such accusations.

The IPSO would never have ruled it was okay for the paper to post Tol's side as true like Tol claims. As it points out, the paper quoted Ward disputing Tol's accusation to give both sides of the story, and that's how reporting works.

Again, remember it was Ward who went to court - claiming his work cannot be called a 'smear campaign' - and had his complaint set aside.

First, IPSO is not a court. Second, you really ought to note Ward's complaint covered multiple points. While IPSO may not have upheld his complaint on this issue, it didn't simply set aside his complaint as a whole. It ordered the article be changed because it felt his complaint had merit.

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

It ordered the article be changed because it felt his complaint had merit

You should note the asymmetry in your interpretation.

Tol is entitled to see merit in the IPSO's ruling on the 'smear campaign' just as you see merit in its ruling that certain parts of the news article be changed.

More accurately, IPSO's ruling on the use of 'smear campaign' carries merit in the same way its ruling on the corrections it asked the Daily Mail carry merit.

Always picture what's not there: if IPSO had been seized with by the representations of Mr Ward that his work was not a smear campaign, it could not have supported the right of the newspaper to characterize it as such.

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Registered Commentershub

shub, I find your latest response baffling. You say:

Tol is entitled to see merit in the IPSO's ruling on the 'smear campaign' just as you see merit in its ruling that certain parts of the news article be changed.

I never claimed I saw any merit in IPSO's ruling. I never said anything of the sort. You seem to be imagining things instead of just reading the simple sentences I wrote. Similarly, you say:

Always picture what's not there: if IPSO had been seized with by the representations of Mr Ward that his work was not a smear campaign, it could not have supported the right of the newspaper to characterize it as such.

Even though the argument in the IPSO ruling clearly says the newspaper did not characterize Bob Ward's actions as a smear campaign.

I can't see any asymmetry in my interpretation. It seems to be just another figment of your imagination.

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon, if Bob Ward is so concerned he can sue for libel and test Richard Tol's accusation there, just like Micheal Mann is in the US and we know how well that is going ;) In fact as its got you in such a tiss you can do it for him.

Jan 29, 2015 at 7:59 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

How long did it take for the IPCC to decide how the paper serviettes should be folded, and how far to the left they should be positioned? As for information dissemination, should it be like butter, spread, or smeared?

The United Nations IPCC, you know it makes non sense out of known science

Jan 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@shub, bish
The core of Ward's complaint was indeed that the Daily Mail was wrong to publish my opinion of his campaign as my opinion would have been unfounded and Ward was merely doing his job as a referee.

Jan 29, 2015 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

The good Bish wrote: "Richard Tol has now posted the decision notice of IPSO. I don't think the decision is exactly as he described it."
I read the decision too and agree. It is disappointing to see misrepresentation and "spin". It is exactly the sort of thing that we see from Warmists and should not see from a scientist.
I cannot comment on Brandon Shollenberger's allegations but one is weighing them against someone who one has seen as being less than 100% accurate and this is bound to colour one's view.
Just my 2p worth.

Jan 29, 2015 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

Breath of Fresh Air, I have no idea how concerned Bob Ward is, but I do know no matter how concerned he or I might be, there is no way I could sue Richard Tol for things Tol said about Ward. That's just not how the law works :P

Jan 29, 2015 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Updated by post again, showing that Ward's main concern was indeed the accusation of smear.

Jan 29, 2015 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

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