Natalie Hanman, the new editor of Comment is Free, wants authors of CiF articles to get down and dirty in the comments threads with the punters.
Quite right too.
And I would have joined in with the people who commented on my CiF article the other day, if only the Graun didn't have my comments premoderated.
I wonder if they will make the connection?
Via a discussion thread at Wikipedia comes the government's official response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report. Some points of interest:
In the instance of the CRU, the scientists were not legally allowed to give out the data (although there is the question of whether they could have gone back to national meteorological societies to get permission to release data).
The Muir Russell Review concluded that the scientific practices used to produce the WMO graph were not misleading, but that it was misleading of the team not to have communicated the methods used more clearly...We welcome the findings of these reviews...
The Ministry of Justice will continue to work with the ICO to determine the extent to which offences have not been prosecuted as a result of the time limit currently in place. The case for any amendments to the legislation will be assessed in the light of these discussions.
The Government welcomes that UEA established two independent assessment bodies to investigate allegations arising from the data loss incident, and the key scientific publications of CRU.
...it is of great importance to us that the reviews have considered both whether CRU’s science was sound...The Committee’s findings are in agreement with the Government’s assessment that the disclosure of emails from CRU does not undermine the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.
The Government also welcomes the Committee’s support for CRU and the scientific reputation of Professor Phil Jones
The response was produced under the auspices of the Departmen of Energy and Climate Change, so this is Chris Huhne's responsibility. It might be seen as rather embarrassing for Mr Huhne to speak of independent inquiries looking at CRU's science when it is already clear that the inquiries were not independent and didn't actually examine CRU's science either.
Fred Pearce has a long piece at the Mail on Sunday, setting out in gory detail why Rajendra Pachauri should fall on his sword or be sacked.
There is a pattern of behaviour here, I think, from the man with arguably the most important role in protecting the world from climatic meltdown. Complacency. Loyalty to those who do not deserve it. Intemperate statements at inopportune times.
Climate scientists should not tolerate this. Environmentalists should not tolerate this. The UN should not tolerate this.
Christopher Booker returns to the subject of Rajendra Pachauri and his Teri-Europe charity and wonders why the Charities Commission were so understanding about Teri having failed to declare as much as 80% of its income.
The FT has given space in its letters columns for more of Jeremy Grantham's staff - this time from the other institute, at Imperial - to respond to Lord Turnbull's article the other day. Dr Simon Buckle's contribution is much more measured than Bob Ward's laughable piece the other day, as you would expect from a former diplomat. He agrees that the IAC recommendations should be put in place immediately, but rejects calls for a renewed inquiry into what went on at CRU.
The problem with a civil service insider saying that there should not be a credible investigation of CRU is that it ends up looking like Sir Humphrey sweeping problems under the carpet. Again.
[Post amended to correct Dr Buckle's affiliation]
I'm slightly late to the story, but it's being reported this morning that the Royal Society has bowed to pressure from sceptics and will replace its position paper on climate change, incorporating more of the uncertainties that concern sceptics.
Climate change: a summary of the science states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.
This is certainly welcome.
RP Jnr has also been reading Bob Ward's article in the FT and picks up on many of the same points I did, including the oddity of a publicly funded university - LSE - spending money on employing a political "attack-dog", as Roger calls our Bob.
Bob Ward, the PR guy from the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics has responded to Lord Turnbull's article in the FT with a letter to the editor that is standard fare for afficionados of the Ward oeuvre.
Turnbull's article called, you may remember, for an overhaul of climate science. Ward's response has two main thrusts:
- he thinks the graph in GWPF's logo is wrong
- he wants GWPF to reveal its funding sources.
I'm frankly amazed that the FT would publish a letter criticising a logo - I can't believe their readers are impressed by this kind of thing. The second point, however, is worth a closer look. Here's what Bob said:
The public and policymakers need robust and reliable information about climate change. They also expect openness and transparency from researchers in order to have confidence in their integrity and to be sure that they are not being influenced by vested interests. Yet Lord Turnbull does not mention this, and does not explain why the foundation refuses to reveal its sources of funding.
This has actually been explained to Bob before. He knows that GWPF vets donors to ensure that they have no connections with energy companies. But more significantly, he also knows that a charity cannot just reveal the identities of its donors without their permission. This would be a breach of the Data Protection Act.
What we see here is an employee of LSE - a civil servant paid for with our taxes - knowingly calling for someone to break the law in the pages of a national newspaper.
This is a guest post by Shub Niggurath. Shub followed up on an odd detail in RK Pachauri's expense claims. It could be nothing, but is interesting nevertheless.
The Guardian recently published an article about a "limited-review" of the IPCC chairman RK Pachauri's personal accounts by KPMG, a firm of accountants. This report had widespread play as it followed closely behind the Telegraph's apology to RK Pachauri over its article about his business interests. For example, using conclusions and language from the report, George Monbiot went on to claim that the IPCC chairman had "no conflicts of interest".
Andrew Turnbull, the former cabinet secretary who wrote the foreword to my GWPF report, has an article in the FT looking at where we go from here:
The UK government should demand the changes recommended are implemented immediately for the IPCC’s forthcoming Fifth Assessment. Only if confidence is restored in the science will there be the trust with the public which policymakers need. Climate science needs to be less dogmatic, welcoming rather than suppressing diverse views, and candid about uncertainties. It needs also to recognise the strong natural variations upon which man-made emissions are superimposed.
I really must stop linking to this guy - but some of his postings are just irresistible. I picked this quote almost at random from his current posting, which picks up some of the ideas Matt Ridley puts forward in The Rational Optimist and has a damn good curmudgeonly rant in support of them:
Pessimism is of course a proven fund-raising tool; "save the whales!" is always going to bring in more cash than "the whales are being saved!" But much more than that, we have today the amusingly ironic spectacle of tenured professors with salaries, health insurance, lifetime job security, and excellent retirement plans courtesy of TIAA-CREF being showered with worldly rewards (bestselling books, "genius" awards) for telling us that progress is an illusion and the end is near . . . while still preening themselves as daring outsiders courageously taking on the mighty and powerful. The fact that it takes no daring at all to adopt such an intellectual posture these days does not stop any of the practitioners of this business model from invariably announcing themselves to be the bearers of "dangerous" or "heretical" ideas and congratulating themselves for "speaking truth to power."