More scratching of heads among the chattering classes as they try to work out why nobody believes their global warming propaganda - next week they are all jetting off to Norway for a chat about what to do:
We cordially invite you to the seminar Carbonundrums: From Science to Headlines as well as to the ensuing debate New Realities, New Narratives in Climate Reporting, on Tuesday 8th of February 2011 at Litteraturhuset. We will address important questions such as: How is the press reporting on climate change? What can we learn from Climategate? How should we communicate scientific uncertainty? What determines how people perceive climate change?
Panellists include Fiona Fox, Bob Ward, Roger Harrabin, Fred Pearce, Naomi Oreskes and Rasmus Benestad. That's one very large carbon footprint!
The whole thing will be webcast here.
Fred Pearce is on the receiving end of the full fury of the warmosphere for his article about the Lisbon conference in New Scientist. Pearce, discussing who agreed to turned up, said this:
But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.
Another interesting aspect of Emma Jay's letter to James Delingpole. This:
Sir Paul is very aware of the culpability of scientists and that will come across in the film.
Now we need to recognise that the film was almost entirely about Climategate and also that this is Delingpole we are speaking about - he was on the programme purely because of his prominent role in breaking the Climategate story into the mainstream media. So I think there can be little doubt that the scientists Ms Jay is speaking about is Messrs Jones et al.
So, if we are to understand correctly, Sir Paul made this programme about Climategate, in the full recognition of the "culpability" of the scientists and yet said nothing this about his concerns in the programme itself. Indeed he presented a rather chummy interview with Jones, with the UEA man presented as the wronged party. Can this be right? An alternative explanation might be that Ms Jay sexed up the message to Delingpole in order to encourage him to take part, but at the moment we have no way of knowing which explanation is the right one.
I wrote to Emma Jay asking for a comment on the implication that her email had misled James Delingpole and I've just had a response from the publicity people at BBC Vision.
Just to let you know, your request for comment has been passed onto BBC publicity. We’re currently liaising with the relevant parties and will come back to you with a response.
Autonomous Mind notes a comment left at Climate Audit and apparently here too (I seem to have missed it), concerning somebody who asked Stephen Metcalfe MP why he voted against Graham Stringer's amendment to the SciTech Committee report on the Climategate inquiries. Metcalfe's response to detailed questions was to blank and evade.
This is remarkably similar to the approach taken by Phil Willis when I wrote and asked him about his reasoning for his decisions on the original SciTech report into Climategate.
Their refusal to explain their reasoning suggests strongly that they know the truth but, for whatever reason, choose to vote to keep it quiet.
I wonder what is motivating them?
I'm grateful to reader Steve for pointing me to this article by Carl Phillips, an epidemiologist, who is looking at the efficacy of peer review. The whole article is worth a look, but here are some choice quotes:
Do the reviewers ever correct errors in the data or data collection? They cannot – they never even see the data or learn what the data collection methods were. Do they correct errors in calculation or choices of statistical analysis? They cannot. They never even know what calculations were done or what statistics were considered. Think about what you read when you see the final published paper. That is all the reviewers and editors ever see too. (Note I have always tried to go the extra mile when submitting papers, to make this system work by posting the data somewhere and offering to show someone the details of any analytic method that is not fully explained. This behavior is rare to the point that I cannot name anyone else, offhand, who does it.)
Does this mean that if you just make up the data, peer review will almost certainly fail to detect the subterfuge? Correct.
Does this mean that if you cherrypick your statistical analyses to exaggerate your results, that peer review will not be able to detect it? Correct.
But it serves just fine for justifying the uprooting of the economy.
The big news from the story is the degree to which Delingpole was misled about the programme by the Horizon producer, Emma Jay. This is the extract from the letter she sent to Delingpole:
“The tone of the film is very questioning but with no preconceptions. On the issue of who is to blame no-one will be left unscathed, whether that is science sceptics, the media or most particularly scientists themselves. Sir Paul is very aware of the culpability of scientists and that will come across in the film. They will not be portrayed as white coated magicians who should be left to work in their ivory towers – their failings will be dealt with in detail.”
Note the words "most particularly the scientists". It's funny, but I don't remember any scientists coming out of the programme so much as ruffled, let alone scathed. In fact, we were presented with the rather unedifying prospect of the President of the Royal Society apparently giving the seal of approval to the practice of hiding uncertainties from policymakers, the great man standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Phil Jones and discussing the wicked sceptics.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that Emma Jay grossly misled Delingpole as to the nature of the programme.
It does occur to me though that in the internet age, this kind of thing, while remaining possible, will be hard to sustain in the long run. Anyone who is ever approached by Ms Jay can immediately put her name into Google and discover that she cannot be taken at her word. In the internet age a TV producer or journalist stands or falls on their integrity.
Emma Jay's looks to be gone, as does that of Rupert Murray, the guy who dissembled his way into Monckton's confidence. I wonder what these question marks over their trustworthiness will do for their career prospects.
Bob Ward is commenting on the thread below Fiona Fox's piece on the Horizon programme. So far, two gross misrepresentations of sceptic views. First this:
To claim that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas is to promote a demonstrable falsehood, not just a point of view.
Has anyone claimed that it isn't? Not to my knowledge. And then this:
Both James Delingpole and Christopher Booker have claimed that the Horizon programme was wrong to suggest that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are more important than emissions from natural sources such as volcanoes. In fact, human activities emit at least 100 times more carbon dioxide each year than volcanoes, as the United States Geological Survey points out here:
Do you see the lovely, seamless elision from "natural sources such as volcanoes" to "volcanoes".
Phil Jones is speaking tomorrow to the Spalding Gentlemen's Society. There is a brief story in the local paper here.
One interesting snippet from the article is this quote by Jones:
I received a lot of nasty emails from November to March/April last year from people threatening to kill me among other things. I passed them on to Norfolk police who said they didn’t fulfil the criteria for death threats.
I'm slightly bemused by this - a death threat that doesn't meet the police's criteria for death threats. I can't help but be reminded of the poor chap who sent a joke tweet about blowing up an airport and received the full penalty of the law.
I was just wondering when all those signatories to the Ofcom complaint about the Great Global Warming Swindle were going to launch a similar action now that we know that the BBC has misrepresented the science of global warming in the Horizon programme the other day. As I remember it, the people involved were not political campaigners but were concerned with climatology being correctly relayed to the public.
Can anyone recall who was involved?
After the Paul Nurse programme the other day, eyebrows were raised over one of the claims in the show, namely that emissions from fossil fuel burning dwarfed natural emissions. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:
Bob Bindschadler: We know how much fossil fuel we take out of the ground. We know how much we sell. We know how much we burn. And that is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. It's about seven gigatons per year right now.
Paul Nurse: And is that enough to explain...?
Bob Bindschadler: Natural causes only can produce - yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year. So there's just no question that human activity is producing a massively large proportion of the carbon dioxide.
Paul Nurse: So seven times more.
Bob Bindschadler: That's right.