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Wednesday
Sep152010

Fred Singer on HSI

Fred Singer reviews The Hockey Stick Illusion in Right Side News:

This is probably the best book about the Hockey Stick...There is little one can add to Montford's comprehensive account.

Tuesday
Sep142010

Josh 40

Tuesday
Sep142010

GWPF report press

I'll post up links to any news coverage of the GWPF report here.

James Delingpole:

Climategate whitewashers squirm like maggots on Bishop Hill's pin

Here's Fred Pearce in the Guardian:

Andrew Montford's report for Lord Lawson's sceptic thinktank raises some valid criticisms but will most likely be ignored for its brazen hypocrisy

Roger Harrabin

[Montford's] report complains that the enquiries commissioned by UEA did not offer sceptics the chance to give oral evidence. He points to many instances where he says the enquiries failed properly to investigate serious allegations against academics at UEA.

Louise Gray in the Telegraph

[A] report for GWPF by Andrew Montford, a well known blogger, said the inquiries failed to ask the opinions of sceptics. He also said they were rushed and failed to ask a series of questions about why requests for information were refused or probe allegations of fraud in scientific papers.

Fiona Harvey in the FT

[I]n the latest salvo, the Global Warming Policy Foundation – a think-tank started by the UK’s former finance minister Lord Lawson – published its critical assessment of four of these inquiries on Tuesday.

“None of the panels mounted an inquiry that was comprehensive,” the GWPF concluded. None “managed to be objective” or “performed their work in a way that is likely to restore confidence in the work” of the UEA scientists who wrote the e-mails.

Tuesday
Sep142010

The press conference

Whew! That was quite a tough couple of days, but I think it went pretty well in the end. The turnout for the press conference was reasonable, although it was a worry at about two minutes to 11 when there were fewer than ten people in the room, and four of those were on the top table. In the end though we had the Times, Guardian, FT, Express and a few others. 

The presentations were fine - perhaps I might have made it a little shorter if I had my time over again - but of course the meat was in the questioning. I was a bit waffly on one of them, but chatted to the journalist in question after the event and made things a bit clearer. James Randerson's questions were interesting - were you paid for the report and how much - that kind of thing. This was pretty feeble stuff after the other journalists' questions. The other question he put, where I made a slight error in my reply, was when he asked why, since I was criticising Oxburgh for being partisan, the public should trust my report, given that I am also a partisan. My reply was that it wasn't enough to point to the partisanship, but to point out the subsequent errors or omissions, and I invited the press to check the citations in the report out for themselves. But I also began my reply with "Yes I am a partisan" or words to that effect. This is frankly, undeniable, but I saw James leap for his pen at that point, so I guess he will try to make something of it. 

The moment of excitement was at the end, where Graham Stringer piped up from the back of the room. I hadn't noticed he was there before then, but his comments did bring a certain focus to events. After the trivia of James R's questions, hearing from a member of the Science and Technology Committee that what was going on at CRU was literature and not science made the question of how much I was paid for the report seem somehow deeply irrelevant. 

So, I'm reasonably content with how thing went. It just remains to be seen what everyone makes of it.

Monday
Sep132010

Quickfire Bob

I'm off to the big smoke this morning, but I leave you with another example of Bob's superfast typing. This time it's his comment on the notice I posted, pointing readers to the Guardian article.

Sunday
Sep122010

Jones in El Pais

This is my adaptation of a part of a machine translation of an interview Phil Jones gave to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Q. How do you think Climategate will be seen in 20 or 30 years? Do you think it will be important or considered a story?

R. I hope people will be back to believing in science, but I think it will take some years. There are two different cases. Many people believe that the planet is warming. It is ridiculous to question the warming, which is clear and no scientist disputes it.  Then there are people who say that even so is not due to human activity.

Q. The debate about the influence of man is relevant?

A. There are scientists who still doubt it, but they are few. And when asked how to explain the warming that has occurred they have much difficulty because it is very difficult to find a rational explanation other than greenhouse gases.

Q. They say that there was a similar warm period in the Middle Ages.

A. We need more evidence on that period, about which information is very limited, and only for the northern hemisphere.

Q. But there were periods as warm as the present.

A. Yes, but we know why there were warm and cold periods in the past. The amount of solar radiation was different and so we will have ice ages in the future.  These processes are still happening and will continue, but they have a completely different timescale to humans.  Here we are talking about climate change in a century that is very fast compared to the past.

Sunday
Sep122010

For whom the bell Tols

Richard Tol has a strongly worded piece up at Klimazwiebel. His ire is directed at a statement by IPCC bigwig, Ottmar Edenhofer - this one:

I cannot understand, even if I try hard, the assertion that the IPCC would deliberately have omitted things, which would have been inconvenient, which would not have been consistent with the overall story.)

The response is forthright:

This assertion of the co-chair of Working Group III of the IPCC is at best peculiar if not outright false. In the following, I will back this statement in some detail, by demonstrating how specific conclusions from white publications, known to the IPCC lead authors, have been filtered out in support of a (false) claim of consensus in the Summary for Policymakers. At the time of his interview, Dr. Edenhofer was aware of these inconsistencies.

Ouch.

Sunday
Sep122010

Josh 40

Saturday
Sep112010

More discussion of me

The Liberal Conspiracy blog has a post up discussing my Newsnight appearance.

The author is somewhat rude about me and refuses to link to this site. Apart from that there's not a lot to say about it. A bit airy-fairy really.

Saturday
Sep112010

Quote of the day

Judith Curry

[The Hockey Stick Illusion] has almost become a litmus test for seeing who has an open mind, open enough to at least read the book and ponder the actual issues that it raises.

Saturday
Sep112010

Judy blogs!

Judith Curry has decided to formalise her longstanding campaign to get people on both sides of the global warming debate to fling foul abuse at her. Her new blog is called Climate etc .

Welcome to the blogsphere Judy!

Friday
Sep102010

Some points from El Reg

A couple of important points about the Oxburgh hearing have been pointed out to me.

Firstly, towards the end of Orlowski's Register piece, we are told that Professor Acton has agreed to return to talk to the Science and Technology Select Committee again. No date is given, however.

Secondly, in the comments on my earlier thread about his piece, Orlowski notes that Google News has not indexed his article, something which he says is very unusual.

It's all becoming quite interesting.

Friday
Sep102010

Can one trust the Guardian?

A couple of readers have noticed the extraordinary speed with which Bob Ward managed to respond to my article.

This is odd enough, but when I tell you that at approximately 5pm, James Randerson sent me an email to say that he had posted my article up, it looks...well... not quite right.

But then if I tell add in this comment from reader, Jono...

The other strange feaure about Bob's reply is [that it is] completely missing the link back to Andrew's rebuttal. It's almost as if he only saw a text version when preparing his reply.

...it all looks...very odd.

Especially if I tell you that the drafts that passed between me and the Guardian had no links in them.

Ho hum.

Friday
Sep102010

Moderation in all things

I'm just wondering if I'm the first author on the Guardian website whose comments are on premoderation at the same time...

If you are having comments deleted at the Guardian, do feel free to post them here.

Friday
Sep102010

Bob's response

Here's Bob Ward's quickfire response from the previous thread, interspersed with my comments

So you have responded to my critique of your book with an ‘ad hominem’ attack on me – how very hilarious and predictable. You obviously cannot rebut or justify the inaccuracies that I have drawn attention to, so you resort to desperate tactics instead.

Well, I actually posted a pretty detailed rebuttal to each point you made and I provided a link in the Guardian piece to the blog post in which I did so. How unfortunate that you missed it!

What a shame - you could have explained how the errors occurred, or apologised for them. Or you could even have come clean about the other errors in your book. For instance, I pointed out that you falsely claimed that a paper by Shaopeng Huang and colleagues “never appeared in print”.

Well this is very interesting, because in fact it is not me that claims this, but David Deming. I would have thought it impossible to read the book without taking this on board - it's a blockquote, after all. What an unfortunate mistake you have made there (another one!).

What I did not have space to mention was that the alleged source of this inaccurate claim, a paper by David Deming, actually acknowledged that the paper by Huang and co-authors was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Hold on, I thought you said I made the claim. It's excellent that you now say that it was Deming who said this, but I must say you seem a little unclear about all this.

But you decided not to quote the relevant part of Professor Deming’s paper which contained this information, hence giving a misleading impression of his views. You attempt to portray these multiple errors as “peripheral to the Hockey Stick story”.

Your answer on these two sentences lies in the fact that they are related - I didn't mention the fact that Deming said that Huang got his findings into print elsewhere because I was merely trying to illustrate the point that sceptics said it was difficult to get into the scientific literature. (see the extract from the book here). You keep (accidentally) telling everyone that I'm trying to prove a case of journal bullying re Huang, but as I don't actually say this, imply it or believe it...well, people can draw their own conclusions.

Yet your book’s erroneous account of the fate of the Huang et al paper invites readers to “compare it to later events in this story” and makes explicit reference to it elsewhere in his tale.

Correct! I do say this. I think the similarity of Huang's handling by Nature is very similar to what happened to McIntyre and McKitrick. The story of the M&M submission to Nature is presumably the other "explicit reference to it elsewhere in [the] tale" that you mention, isn't that right? It is, after all, the only other reference to Huang in the book, as I'm sure you know.

Which is very odd, because there is no mention of journal bullying when I discuss the M&M Nature submission either.  And you must have known this, because you have read the book, right? How on earth are you managing to connect both the M&M and the Huang Nature submissions to journal bullying when I suggest nothing of the sort on either occasion? What an unfortunate series of errors you have made, Bob!

In the concluding paragraph of his book, you warn readers of “the powerful, relentless forces of corrupted science”,

Yes?

but the fundamental problem with your account is that it displays clear evidence throughout of confirmation bias – however, I am happy to accept that this was completely unintentional rather than deliberate.

You'll need to explain.

It remains to be seen whether your report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation also suffers from the same fundamental flaw.

The problem with claiming flaws without any evidence is that we're all none the wiser.

Is there anything else?