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Acton's eleven

Steve McIntyre has followed up on the intriguing question of who selected the eleven papers for the Oxburgh panel to assess.

Oxburgh didn’t disclose how they selected their supposedly “representative” and “fair sample”. “Fair sample” and “representative” are statistical terms – terms were used in a report coauthored by a very senior professional statistician in a context where statistics are very much at issue. So I presume that the Royal Society took some care to ensure that the eleven publications actually were “representative” and a “fair sample” – and not ones that were pre-selected by UEA, rather than the Royal Society.

Click to read more ...


Another university in deep water

Doug Keenan has won his long battle to force Queen's University Belfast to release their tree ring data to him. Another long story of university academics blocking legitimate requests and flouting the law, apparently with impunity.

Full story here.



Thought for the day

Does anyone else find it a bit odd that almost all of my big media appearances have been in what would generally be considered left-wing outlets?

  • Prospect
  • BBC
  • The Courier  (I think - can't imagine a right wing paper would sell much in Dundee)

There have been citations in right wing outlets - Spectator, Telegraph, and so on - but the interviews and reviews have all come from the left.  Isn't that strange?


JG-C has his findings confirmed

John Graham-Cumming, who found what appeared to be an error in HADCRUT a couple of months ago, has had confirmation from the Met Office that his observations are correct. The effect is relatively minor, narrowing the error bands slightly IIRC, but it is another powerful demonstration of the power of audit.


Live debate

The link for the live debate is here. Unfortunately my login information hasn't arrived yet. I hope this gets sorted in the near future!


Russell inquiry can't report the truth

David Holland emails with the amazing news that the Russell panel is unable to publish his submission because of fears of claims of defamation claims. Here is what the panel told him:

Your submission has not yet been published as the Review's legal advice is that it could be open to a claim of defamation under English law if it publishes the current version of your submission, as it makes references to, and comments upon, a large number of individuals. The Review, unlike the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, does not have Parliamentary privilege.

Click to read more ...


Times debate

I'm doing an online debate for the Times website tomorrow at 3pm. The theme is "The Climategate inquiry: can we trust the outcome". Opposition is to be confirmed but I understand they're trying to get Bob Ward.




Here is the link to the BBC World Service Interview I did earlier today. There is also a podcast here.


Intriguing possibility

From Lord Oxburgh's report, paragraph 3 of 26.

The eleven representative publications that the Panel considered in detail are listed in Appendix B. The papers cover a period of more than twenty years and were selected on the advice of the Royal Society. All had been published in international scientific journals and had been through a process of peer review. CRU agreed that they were a fair sample of the work of the Unit. The Panel was also free to ask for any other material that it wished and did so. Individuals on the panel asked for and reviewed other CRU research materials.

So, not only did the Royal Society pick the members of the panel, but they also picked the papers that were to be examined.

I wonder who it was within the Royal Society that might have done this work. I mean, one would need a pretty in-depth understanding of climatology to be able to pick a representative sample of papers from the CRU oeuvre would one not? That sort of understanding isn't found on every street corner. So who might they have turned to?

How about the Royal Society Advisory Group on Climate Change? You know, the one with Phil Jones as a member.

They wouldn't have would they?


More radio

I've just returned from Edinburgh where I did an interview for the Newshour show on the World Service. Listeners in the UK should be able to hear it again on the iPlayer shortly. They are also going to use a clip on the 1800 news too (presumably Radio 4).

The interview went much better than the last time. I made the point that the scope of the panel missed key allegations and cited Ross McKitrick's point that Jones had inserted baseless statements into the IPCC reports.

The interviewer came back asking whether sceptics would ever be satisified. I said that we would, if presented with evidence that the allegations were false. For example I pointed out that Ross McK had listed the evidence that would have to be produced to disprove the allegation that Jones had fabricated parts of the IPCC report.

At this point they cut me off, which was a pity, because I wanted to point out that the panel's point that the IPCC had misrepresented CRU science was risible, the IPCC authors in question being CRU people anyway.

Still, all in all, I'm not too unhappy with my performance.


The Oxburgh report


It's the climate, innit?

Matt Ridley:

A scientist does a study of how Arctic seabirds die. It's not a bad idea: die they do, but not from the usual diseases and predators that kill birds in more temperate zones. So what does kill them?

He pores over thousands of records from birdwatchers in the Arctic and concludes that weather-related events kill a lot of them. Fulmars run into cliffs in fog, Murres get buried in landslides when cliffs collapse. Birds get swept away in storms. And so on.

Now the scientist has two options. He can say in a paper that a lot of Arctic birds die due to `factors related to weather' and bask in perpetual obscurity. Or he can slip in, just before the word `weather', the phrase `climate and'...

Read the whole thing.


Slap it on all over

Rumour has it that Lord Oxburgh has completed the scientific review of the CRU, which will be published tomorrow. That was quick, wasn't it? I don't know about you but I haven't even seen terms of reference yet. Whitewashing is a quick job isn't it?

Is anyone going to take any bets as to whether the scope of Lord O's work is so restricted as to prevent him investigating the most serious allegations?



It's true!

Regular readers may recall a short piece I posted a few weeks back in which a correspondent alerted me to the potential for fraud in the solar power industry. The prices paid for green energy were so high that it appeared to be profitable to generate that energy by shining conventionally fuelled arclights on the solar panels.

Although the exact details are slightly different there is now an intriguing report of the scam in practice. The text is based on a machine translation of the original German text:

After press reports,  it was established during inspections that several solar power plants were generating current and feeding it into the net at night. To simulate a larger installation capacity, the operators connected diesel generators.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said one industry expert to the newspaper "El Mundo", which brought the scandal to light. If solar systems apparently produce current in the dark,  will be noticed sooner or later. However, if  electricity generators were connected during daytime, the swindle would hardly be noticed.

As I said last time around, this is the insanity of greenery.


Courier feature

This is the feature about yours truly that appeared in the Dundee Courier a couple of weeks ago.

Climate of change

TAKE AN ice hockey stick and lay it on its side. The now horizontal shaft, according  — while the blade, pointing practically straight upwards, is temperature over the last few decades. Accelerating, running away, threatening the planet.

Click to read more ...