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The two cultures of science

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.

Click to read more ...


More from the police

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.

Click to read more ...


Chill man - Josh 114

From the post at Climate Etc - more name calling of skeptics, but this one is ok.



I'm off on my travels for the next week, so blogging will be non-existent.


John Droz on sea level

John Droz, writing at WUWT, has a very interesting article on a battle of wits over sea level rise. As I noted after the Cambridge Conference, I have made a mental note to pay more attention to this aspect of the global warming debate. There are some remarkable stories in this area. The conclusions of the paper Droz is writing about are startling enough

To reach the multimeter levels projected for 2100 by RV requires large positive accelerations that are one to two orders of magnitude greater than those yet observed in sea-level data.

The story of the counterarguments from Profs Rahmstorf and Vermeer is rather remarkable too.



Speccy on Beddington

The Spectator has picked up on one of the aspects of Sir John Beddington's activities that has been bothering me.

Sir John Beddington’s job is to advise on science. Instead, he appears to have appointed himself minister for propaganda.

There is of course also his role as internal lobbyist to worry about, but it's good to see someone else noticing what's going wrong.


UEA response to EIR requests – it depends who you are

This is a guest post by Richard Brierley.

This post is written to publicise an interesting anomaly in UEA’s treatment of requests sent to it under the Environmental Information Regulations.

Readers should know that my interest is only in compliance with EIR Regulations.  I am neither qualified nor sufficiently knowledgeable to get to the meat of some of the requests for data from UEA or to understand it even if it is disclosed.  I am a lawyer by training and the recent QUB and UEA ICO cases have interested me greatly – they have shown a strong reluctance on the part of these publicly funded organisations to retain for their own benefit the work for which we have all paid.  Thus is identified a friction between what those institutions consider to be their valid interests and what the Regulations provide – public access.  I have become highly interested in the way in which these interests are balanced and my preference is in favour of public access, (which is under the Regulations the presumption from where we all start), to information created or produced with tax payer money.

Click to read more ...


Contradictory Chris

Chris Huhne is on the climate change warpath again. Here's the transcript from his latest speech. Much to take issue with, such as this apparent contradiction:
Severe droughts are now twice as common as they were in 1970. Research suggests human action doubled the risk of the 2003 European heatwave. And climate change made the autumn 2000 floods in the UK about twice as likely.
Climate change above 2 degrees is called catastrophic for a reason. Warmer air carries more water. Humidity means storms, hurricanes, flash floods.



Climategate emails online

A few people have emailed in recent weeks to say that the online versions of the CRU emails have disappeared from the web. I'm therefore grateful to Marcel Crok for pointing me to this version at YourVoiceMatters.


On the media

The big story in the UK (or at least in Westminster) is the phone hacking scandal and new lines of inquiry are still being opened up. Today the noise on Twitter is that while he was editor of News of the World Andy Coulson paid the Conservative bigwig William Hague 200,000 a year for a weekly column. Coulson later joined the Conservative administration as Prime Minister's spokesman.

It's all slightly nebulous but it certainly doesn't feel right does it? £4000 for a (short) article is preposterous money.

So what has this got to do with our normal fare here at BH? Well, in the wake of the BBC's report on science coverage, I was struck by the revelation that the wife of the report's author makes television programmes for a living. Repeating myself, it's all slightly nebulous, but it doesn't feel right, does it?


Public investigations

After the charade of the House of Commons investigation into Climategate, one has little confidence that anything coming out of the Palace of Westminster is worth the time of day. However, two new inquiries have been announced that may be of interest to readers here.

Several readers noted yesterday that the House of Commons SciTech Committee are going to investigate Science in the Met Office.

More intriguingly, the House of Lord SciTech Committee is going to investigate the role of Chief Scientific Advisers:

“The Committee is keen to gain a clearer understanding of the ability of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers to provide independent advice to ministers and policy makers within their departments and find out more about their influence across government. We would encourage anyone with any interest in this issue to contact us with their views and experiences on the role that they play.”

Some of the questions to be addressed are:

  • How do CSAs ensure that departmental policies are evidence-based?
  • What is the range of expertise provided by the network of CSAs across government departments?
  • What influence do CSAs have over research spend?

BBC review is out

The BBC review of science coverage is now out.

Readers may remember that Tony Newbery (of Harmless Sky) and I made a submission to the review. In it we demonstrated that the BBC Trust had misled the public over a seminar discussing climate change coverage back in 2006.

Obviously this was quite a serious allegation and one that should have raised some important questions for the review. This is how Prof Jones chose to address our allegations in his report.

A submission made to this Review by Andrew Montford and Tony Newbery (both active in the anti‐global‐warming movement, and the former the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science) devotes much of its content to criticising not the data on temperatures but the membership of a BBC seminar on the topic in 2006, and to a lengthy discussion as to whether its Environment Analyst was carrying out BBC duties or acting as a freelance during an environment programme at Cambridge University. The factual argument, even for activists, appears to be largely over but parts of the BBC are taking a long time to notice.



Shub and the IPCC renewables report

Shub Niggurath has been looking at the nitty-gritty of the IPCC's renewables report and, in AGW parlance, "it's worse than we thought".

...the situation is analogous to a biological experiment where some of the control cases also appear in the study group or the use of a new experimental methodology where a fraction of the target subjects are themselves used in the training set. An even more accurate analogy would be like attempting to compare two clinical studies: the first one, where a small number of patients with good outcomes are selected and the study examines patient records retrospectively to see that such patients received quality healthcare at substantial healthcare costs, and a second prospective study which aims to attain the same for all included patients, with the exact same good outcomes operating as constraints. Healthcare costs (akin to CO2) in the second study would necessarily be high! The result is circularity of inference, and the root of the problem lies in the cross-inheritance of input parameters between scenarios of fundamentally opposite types.


What's the deal with Norfolk Police?

Updated on Jul 19, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Updated on Jul 19, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Norfolk Police have decided to disclose the £10k invoice that they sent UEA at the start of the year.

The covering letter for the FOI disclosure is here. The constabulary's explanation for the transaction is as follows:

Whilst conducting their investigation into the acquisition of data from the computers at the University of East Anglia, the Investigation Team engaged the services of a company with the ability to forensically examine the relevant server from the UEA. The Independent Review, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, subsequently requested access to certain data on this server and the Constabulary facilitated the request by acting as a conduit to confirm the requirement and the cost of meeting it. Norfolk Constabulary was subsequently invoiced for all work undertaken and UEA subsequently reimbursed the Constabulary for the work that had been completed at their request.

Click to read more ...


The National Press Club debate 

An interesting debate between Monckton and an economist called Richard Dennis.