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Climate cuttings 56

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.

Click to read more ...


DECC ministers meetings

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.


Mike Hulme on ABC

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)


An open letter to Sir Paul Nurse

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 The IPCC has indicated that drafts and review comments on its reports will not be published until after the main report and that, for Working Group I at least, the panel's new conflict of interest policy will not apply to the Fifth Assessment Report.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.

Yours sincerely



The FT magazine has a brief piece looking at the work of Emily Shuckburgh: remember her?

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, 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?


Mann on Muller

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.


Jack Hughes et al [2011] - Josh 110

Careful and precise measurements by Jack Hughes here,  Jun 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM 


Cartoons by Josh approximately here


Zombie science - Josh 109

Obscure cinematic reference? Well yes, but then isn't that kind of appropriate?


More cartoons by Josh here


Sir Muir and form UEA4/5

Reader Matthu has got hold of some tantalising new information about the financial arrangements surrounding the Russell Inquiry. UEA have released to him copies of the claims for money made by Russell and Boulton. UEA claims of this type are made on form 4/5, the former covering occasional employees and the latter self-employed contractors. It appears that this is a single form though.

Unfortunately, only page 2 of Boulton and Russell's claims have been supplied, so it is not clear whether they have claimed as temps or as self-employed contractors. However, Matthu's request covered all financial source documents, so unless the university has "overlooked" any attached invoices, it looks as though they were temps. Matthu has queried this aspect with the university to make sure.


A meeting of moderates

I am still pretty overwhelmed with "stuff" at the moment. Just life things, really - IT problems (Bill Gates, you are useless), school problems (Perth & Kinross council, you are worse) and of course the day job too. This is leaving precious little time for the blog and for thinking about peace conferences.

Almost off the top of my head, therefore, is the idea that the objectives for such a peace conference should be quite limited. So when Leo Hickman suggests as a starting point...

Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science
Energy security
"Clean" energy (if CO2 is not your concern, then surely reducing localised air pollution is a valid goal?)
Halting deforestation
Halting biodiversity loss
Conserving marine habitats
Avoiding economic instability
Protecting the poor and vulnerable
Ensuring global food supplies seems to me that he is hopelessly overambitious. At the very most, a conference might address the first point. That would be an important objective. The rest is a wish-list, with many tradeoffs needing to be made. These are not questions to be decided at conferences.


What's up with Norfolk Police?

A few weeks back I got some general ledger details from UEA and we discovered, among other things, that UEA had made a big payment to Norfolk Police Authority. The police authority is the body that oversees the constabulary, which I thought was rather odd.

I therefore put in an FOI asking them for a copy of the invoice plus any related correspondence. The immediate response was slightly strange in that I was passed straight on to Norfolk Constabulary's FOI department. At the time I assumed that Norfolk Police Authority and the Constabulary itself must share financial ledgers. I thought nothing else of it.

However, today the reponse has come back.

Click to read more ...


Leo Hickman on peace talks

Leo Hickman in the Guardian muses about the possibility of peace talks to end the climate wars. Yours truly is mentioned:

I admit that I sometimes find it hard to detect the signal from all the noise when observing climate sceptics, but the most positive contribution the more moderate climate sceptics (or "luke-warmers", as they are sometimes described) such as McIntyre and Andrew Montford have brought to the debate is their dogged insistence that climate science must be transparent, open, fair and free from influence. I don't think anyone could argue that this is not a worthy goal and, even if you disagree with their motivations, tone and methodologies, we will come to thank climate sceptics in years to come for forcing these obvious improvements. So, would a "meeting of the moderate minds" within this debate be productive?


Bit distracted

I'm a bit distracted by other things at the moment. Normal service will resume soon.



Last week David Holland had a response to an FOI request for correspondence between UEA and Russell and Boulton. This turned up on one of my Google alerts and I have been busying myself analysing the results. David is away on holiday at the moment, but interestingly, if you go to look at the page for the request now, you see this.

I wonder what's up?


Conjuring up the future - Josh 108

I can't believe the IPCC can pull this one off - can they?