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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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What did Fox know?

This appears to have been the view of at least some attendees at the annual conference of the World Conference of Science Journalists, held this year in Doha. Fiona Fox reports a conference session set up to discuss the role of the science media centres, with Connie St Louis (chairman of the Association of British Science Writers) invited to assume the role of critic-in-chief. 

Connie took on her role as critic enthusiastically and told the audience that the SMCs are actively encouraging the trends towards lazy 'copy and paste' journalism, are becoming too powerful and are vulnerable to being hijacked by maverick scientists, campaigners and funders alike. Connie told us that she teaches her students to do real journalism - to 'dig out' original stories, ask the tough questions to mainstream scientists and to keep a distance between themselves and the scientists they report.

This seems exactly right to me but in many ways St Louis' criticisms don't go far enough. The blogosphere has been diligently investigating climate science and asking those "tough questions" of climatologists and yet has been completely ignored by the Science Media Centre.

At times the centre has gone further, adopting the role of spin doctor on behalf of mainstream science. Its reaction to the Oxburgh report is a case in point, with the centre seeking reactions from Martin Rees and Brian Hoskins, both of whom had helped to arrange inquiry (or whitewash if you prefer). No mention was made of their involvement, however. This then raises the uncomfortable question of whether the SMC is so close to the scientific establishment that it is actively involved in covering up the misdeeds of scientists or whether it is was just blind to the possibilities. Did Fox know of the involvement of Rees and Hoskins in setting up the inquiry or was she kept in the dark?

I will write and ask.

(Incidentally, is it just me that sees scientifically literate people meeting in Doha for navel gazing purposes as strong confirmation of the suggestion that well educated folk are unconvinced by the idea of catastrophic manmade global warming?)



Old arguments

A new book has been attracting a few reviews recently: James Powell's The Inquisition of Climate Science looks as though it's going to be another screed about how sceptics are all funded by big oil and are all creationists in their spare time (reviews here and here).

The repetition of this narrative is looking increasingly bizarre to me. As Judy Curry has noted, the sceptics who have been making all the running in recent years have all been completely divorced from any of the oil companies or Washington think tanks that are said to be behind the alleged conspiracy. The arguments we are hearing from Powell and his ilk seem to have moved on little in the last twenty years - they are irrelevant to the reality of the climate debate.





Gas prices

Help me with something, dear readers. UK retail gas prices are going up by 20%, apparently because of a hike in wholesale prices caused by turmoil in Libya and demand in Asia. Yet when I look at this chart of US prices, I see no sign of any recent hike worth the mentioning.

Is this because the UK wholesale market is very different? Where can I find a graph of UK wholesale prices? Is some other factor other than supply and demand involved?

I find it hard to equate the vast new supplies coming on line from shale gas deposits with the prices hikes we are seeing.


More bend it by Bayes

Nic Lewis's article on the IPCC's "bending by Bayes" of the Foster and Gregory estimate of climate sensitivity got quite a lot of interest a few days back. Nic has followed up with a searching letter to IPCC lead author Gabriele Hegerl.

I think this one will run for a while yet.


A correspondence of warmists

The Economist's letters page features missives from Bob Ward and Ottmar Edenhofer.

Ward rather remarkably takes up a criticism that has been made by sceptics for many years, calling for the IPCC to issue its reports at the same time as the Summary for Policymakers.

Edenhofer, meanwhile, is in misdirection mode, noting that the IPCC has got itself a shiny new policy on conflicts of interest but forgetting to mention that it doesn't apply to the Fifth Assessment Report.


IPCC Science: Fit for purpose - Josh 111


Clearly the correct thing to do with data that does not fit. 


Slow blogging

I'm somewhat off colour - blogging may be light for a couple more days.


IPCC on climate sensitivity

Nic Lewis, best known as one of the co-authors of the O'Donnell et al paper on Antarctic temperatures has a must-read post up at Judith Curry's place. The title tells you all you need to know:

The IPCC’s alteration of Forster & Gregory’s model-independent climate sensitivity results.

This is pretty shocking stuff.



Testing two degrees

One of the questions I would have liked to ask at the Cambridge conference the other week related to a graph shown by John Mitchell, the former chief scientist at the Met Office. Although Mitchell did not make a great deal of it, I thought it was interesting and perhaps significant.

Mitchell was discussing model verification and showed his graph as evidence that they were performing well. This is it:

Click to read more ...


Material World on climate models

The BBC's Material World programme interviewed Prof Paul Valdes, a climate modeller. The message appears to be that climate models are very bad at reconstructing major climate shifts in the geological record and are probably bad at predicting future ones too.

The conclusion of the interview appears to be that it's worse than we thought. This struck me as slightly odd given that the rest of the interview appeared to revolve around the fact that the models don't tell us anything very useful.

Eduardo Zorita has further thoughts at Klimazwiebel.

Material World excerpt


Pearce on the new FOI disclosures

Fred Pearce has an article up about Jonathan Jones' successful attempt to get the CRUTEM data from UEA. He has interviewed Prof Jones in the process:

"I am extremely concerned about the apparent pattern of secrecy and evasion," he said. "My sole aim [in pursuing the case] is to help restore climate science to something more closely resembling scientific norms."


Mooney unspun

Falkenblog looks at Chris Mooney's recent output and concludes that he doesn't understand standard errors:

[Mooney] concludes that 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. Yes, Mr. tendentious English major without an understanding of standard errors, it is.


Huhne mangles economics

Tim Worstall is quite magnificently rude about Chris Huhne's grasp of economics and his (ahem) forgetfulness about what Lord Stern actually said in his report.


The Haunting 2

Haunting the Library is back in the saddle after a long lay-off. He marks his return with a piece about the Club of Rome.


Conflict of interest

Updated on Jul 1, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The AGW upholder community is all a-quiver with the news that Willie Soon received a lot of money from the oil industry. Even Monbiot himself is on the case, with a stream of tweets on the subject:

Secret funding of climate change deniers exposed again: . Key issue here is that interests never declared.

Click to read more ...