This month's tip drive is now upon us. Last month's innovation of the "Subscribe" button garnered four readers who will make regular payments to keep the BH blog on the road. Thanks to them and to those who have hit the donate button too. If you haven't donated before, maybe now is the time...
Doug Keenan is interviewed in The Register about the recent decision of the Information Commissioner. I liked Orlowski's comment:
Reader comments on the story have produced some fascinating responses: lifelong anti-copyright zealots can be found explaining the benefits of copyright, and veteran "open data" crusaders advocating data be kept under wraps. Climate debates can do strange things, with cherished principles being jettisoned - the means apparently justifying the ends.
This article, by N.G. McCrum (a pseudonym, I'm guessing) was originally published in the Oxford Magazine, a publication distributed to university staff. I am reproducing it here with the permission of the publisher. It is the sequel to an earlier article.
A second letter to a Climate Correspondent: the Rise and Fall of the Hockey Stick
My dear Fiona,
I have just read your first essay as climate correspondent in today’s London Sentinel and my pride in your achievement on reaching this pinnacle is immense but tempered with a nagging worry. My dear, your background knowledge is appalling! As your aunt and a retired press officer in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, I am e-mailing you quickly to give you warning that your ignorance has led you into a terrible blunder.
One of the apocalypsers we follow on a regular basis here at BH is Sir David King, the former government chief scientist. He's in the news again today, pressuring David Cameron into action on climate:
David Cameron must end his silence on climate change and "step up to the plate" to provide international leadership, the former government chief scientific adviser Prof Sir David King says on Wednesday.
Writing in the Guardian, King also reveals that after his declaration that global warming was a greater threat than global terrorism in 2004, then US president, George Bush, asked Tony Blair, then prime minster, for to have him gagged.
Gregory Barker, the climate change minister has given an interview to the Guardian in which he discusses problems with the climate change debate. He also touches on Climategate:
Barker said: "Over the last two years the climate agenda has been on the back foot. The IPCC scandal last year, the email leaks from the University of East Anglia – all were grist to the mill of the climate sceptics.
Martin Robbins really is a very interesting blogger. I'm sure we disagree on lots of things and he's very rude about sceptics as well, but to see his thought process set out is absolutely fascinating.
His latest post is about the shortlist for the annual awards of the Association of British Science Writers and it is a case in point. He is complaining about the fact that most of the people on the shortlist are either with New Scientist or the BBC and the fact that science writers don't get the time to do proper investigative journalism these days. He moves from there to the closeness of science writers to scientists, a situation he compares to the problems with the Westminster political village:
John Cook, of Skeptical Science fame, has an article in The Age, in which he is very rude about Bob Carter:
A Yiddish proverb states ''a half truth is a whole lie''. By withholding vital information, it's possible to lead you towards the opposite conclusion to the one you would get from considering the full picture. In Bob Carter's opinion piece on this page yesterday, this technique of cherry-picking half-truths is on full display, with frequent examples of statements that distort climate science.
Here are a few bits and pieces that you may not have seen from the last few days.
Two years on, BH reader Jonathan Jones has managed to extract the CRUTEM data from UEA, with the Information Commissioner coming down almost completely against UEA's stonewalling. Huge kudos is due. Lucia is much amused by the commissioner's wording.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change has issued the latest lists of meetings attended by ministers. It appears that Huhne and his buddies are still vigorously resisting any possibility of speaking to anyone who might question anything they do - only energy companies and environmentalists are welcome. Trespassers will be prosecuted.
I was intrigued by a meeting attended by Huhne's deputy Greg Barker. Barker met with energy retailers to discuss, among other things, "information on consumers' bills". Is this where the government says "you will not break out the cost of green taxes on bills under any circumstances"?
I've written to ask.
This lecture by Mike Hulme is interesting, if slightly drawn out. It is also frustrating not being able to see the slides. I liked the bit where he recalls rediscovering his former activism in support of the Kyoto protocol through reading the Climategate emails.
As he lists all the damage done by global warming activism, it's hard to avoid a certain feeling that the taxpayer would be better off without funding all these people paid to research climate change and promote "solutions".
(Tip of the hat to Shx)
Dear Sir Paul
In your article in the FT today, you repeat remarks you have made in the past about scientists having to be open about their work:
Scientists have an obligation to communicate their work to the world, and to be open and transparent about doing it. “Trust me, I’m a scientist” is not a good enough answer to give to policymakers or the general public who are looking to make informed decisions on important topics.
This is an area on which people on both sides of the global warming debate should be able to agree. However, it is clear that many in the climatological mainstream do not share this belief. The IPCC has indicated that drafts and review comments on its reports will not be published until after the main report and that, for Working Group I at least, the panel's new conflict of interest policy will not apply to the Fifth Assessment Report.
As I am sure you will agree, these decisions go against the principles of openness and transparency that you say you favour. This being the case, I am asking you, on behalf of the Royal Society, to make a public call for the IPCC to correct these issues.
I hope you can help.
Emily Shuckburgh spends much of her time wrapped up against the cold on the far side of the world, measuring atmospheric and ocean eddies for the British Antarctic Survey. But over the past few months she has been rolling up her sleeves and travelling across the UK to confront the public heat over climate change.
With support from Living With Environmental Change, a partnership between government departments and funding agencies, she has run a series of focus groups exploring people’s views on media coverage of science. She endorses projects such as oldweather.org, an attempt to engage the public directly in analysing historical sea temperature data. On secondment to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, she has also been posting videos on YouTube and engaging with “sceptics” via blogs.
Do you think we should have been charging for our time?
Michael Mann has a bash at Richard Muller at the Scientific American blog:
One might hope, however, that a scientist known for big ideas that didn’t stand the test of time might be more circumspect when it comes to his critiques of other scientists. Muller is on record accusing climate scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit of hiding data—a charge that was rejected in three separate investigations.
I think it would be fairer to say that two of the investigations didn't look at the subject and the one that did failed to report that they had found evidence of hiding data.