It's always interesting when someone you have met is in the news, particularly if it is in relation to a major scandal. We have discussed the links between UEA's media management team and the phone hackers, but another odd connection between Climategate and illegal accessing of voicemails has recently emerged.
H/T Messenger for this podcast by Professor Murray Salby of Macquarie University. Salby looks to be pretty mainstream, having published with Susan Solomon and Martin Juckes among others. The message appears to be that much of the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide may be natural and caused by non-anthropogenic warming.
Andrew Bolt summarises the talk here, noting Salby's comments that anyone who thinks global warming science is settled is "living in Fantasia".
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely.
H/T Adalberto in the comments.
When the links between UEA and some of the people involved in the phone hacking scandal became clear, I put an FOI request into the university asking for their relevant correspondence. Today I've had a response:
We are assembling the requested information and it is clear that it is possible that to provide the information if it is held will require an assessment of the public interest. We are currently undertaking this assessment.
It is therefore anticipated that this will require an additional 10 working days to process the request above and beyond the current deadline of 15 August 2011 giving a revised deadline of 30 August 2011. If this timescale needs to be revised you will be advised as to the reasons and provided with a revised timescale.
Here we go again...
Today there are new manifestations of the madness that is gripping the UK.
The Telegraph (H/T GWPF) reports that UK manufacturers want hefty subsidies to compensate them for the green taxes that are hitting them so hard.
Meanwhile, I tried to buy some firewood for the winter yesterday. The first supplier I called said they could no longer supply hardwood because they had been priced out of the market by electricity generators. The second wasn't answering the phone.
When will Atlas Shrug?
A little while ago it looked as if biodiversity was going to be the next big green issue. It didn't seem to gain much traction, but here's what looks like another attempt to test the political waters: the Royal Society's latest seminar.
What would a global policy to regulate human use of fixed nitrogen look like?
Steve Jones appears somewhat irked at the criticism that has flowed his way since the publication of his review of the BBC's science coverage. Referring to the demonstration by Alfred Russel Wallace of the curvature of the Earth he expounds
Wallace was described as a "pitiful dastard… a swindler and impostor, a coward and a liar" and several newspapers published virulent pieces on the supposed dishonesty of the scientific establishment and its unwillingness to allow debate on such a contentious issue.
Of course, that could never happen today and all this has nothing to do with the tsunami of criticism that greeted my suggestion last week in a report to the BBC Trust that the BBC should stop giving excessive time to those who oppose science on the basis of belief rather than evidence and should promote debate between scientists instead.
This is quite interesting. Jones says that he has recommended that the BBC should reduce airtime to "those who oppose science on the basis of belief rather than evidence". If this were the case I imagine the "tsunami of criticism" would have been a minor ripple at most. However, Jones' description of his recommendations does not match the actual wording of his report:
I recommend that the BBC takes less rigid view of “due impartiality” as it applies to science (in practice and not just in its guidelines) and takes into account the non‐contentious nature of some material and the need to avoid giving undue attention to marginal opinion.
So far from seeking to sideline non-scientific criticisms, Jones delivered recommendations that focus on non-mainstream views. According to the recommendations I have quoted, you can be as scientific as you like, but if you are "marginal", you can be ignored. Far from defending science, Jones is actually building barriers to the scientific method.
And this from a fellow medallist of the Royal Society.
There is a suggestion in the comments that Jones is not in fact an FRS, although he is referred to as such here.
Michael Lemonick has an interesting article about the role of the sun in climate, inevitably discussing Svensmark's work. This has the feel of further jostling for position ahead of publication of the results of the CLOUD experiment.
[Svensmark's] idea is far from outlandish on a theoretical level, and lab experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva have shown that this can actually happen. Moreover, Svensmark and several collaborators have claimed to see a correlation between the sunspot cycle and cloud cover — more clouds when the Sun is quiet, fewer when it’s acting up.
Lemonick has just posted a correction to the article - he had got the relationship between cosmic rays and climate back to front.
Sir John Beddington has responded to readers' comments on his report "Preparing for the Future", which was much criticised by BH readers for its failure to quantify any of the alleged risks with which it claimed we are beset.
The response, as expected, does little to address criticisms in a meaningful way. Here's what he has to say about the failure to quantify the risks:
It was not in its scope to provide a formal or quantitative risk assessment but to identify a range of threats and opportunities that should be considered as signposts for action by policymakers, and a basis for further, more detailed analysis and assessment.
Norfolk Constabulary have now made a somewhat fuller disclosure of information about their dealings with the Russell inquiry, making available some of their correspondence.
Although they are not mentioned in the Norfolk disclosures, the first meeting between the Russell panel and Julian Gregory, the policeman in charge of the investigation, dates back to the end of 2009, when Russell visited Norfolk for exploratory talks. He was joined by Norton for a second meeting at the end of January 2010. The Russell panel has withheld the minutes of these meetings on the grounds that they might prejudice the police investigation.