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Wednesday
Mar242010

More peer review gatekeeping

Icecap has an interesting new article by three sceptic scientists - John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter - describing the successful attempts to deny them a right of reply in the peer-reviewed literature.

The practice of editorial rejection of the authors’ response to criticism is unprecedented in our experience. It is surprising because it amounts to the editorial usurping of the right of authors to defend their paper and deprives readers from hearing all sides of a scientific discussion before they make up their own minds on an issue. It is declaring that the journal editor - or the reviewers to whom he defers - will decide if authors can defend papers that have already been positively reviewed and been published by that same journal. Such an attitude is the antithesis of productive scientific discussion.

Read the whole thing (PDF).

Wednesday
Mar242010

Chris Rapley goes all fair and balanced

Chris Rapley used to be the director of the British Antarctic Survey, a position he used to great effect as part of the campaign to scare us all into believing in global warming.

He now runs the Science Museum in London and seems to have altered his views somewhat:

The Science Museum is revising the contents of its new climate science gallery to reflect the wave of scepticism that has engulfed the issue in recent months.

The decision by the 100-year-old London museum reveals how deeply scientific institutions have been shaken by the public’s reaction to revelations of malpractice by climate scientists.

The museum is abandoning its previous practice of trying to persuade visitors of the dangers of global warming. It is instead adopting a neutral position, acknowledging that there are legitimate doubts about the impact of man-made emissions on the climate.

What is more, he has come over all reticent about his own views on global warming, refusing to offer an opinion one way or the other.

The times they are a-changing.

Wednesday
Mar242010

The (missing) story of O

The Register is reporting that Lord Oxburgh forgot to declare another competing interest:

Lord Oxburgh, a geologist by training and the former scientific advisor to the Ministry of Defence, was appointed to lead the enquiry into the scientific aspects of the Climategate scandal on Monday. But Oxburgh is also a director of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar232010

Small world

I'm grateful to reader, Cumbrian Lad, who has pointed out something rather interesting. 

The seminar mentioned in the previous post is being organised by the Science Media Centre, an organisation we have met before, since they also organised the "what shall we do about the sceptics" meeting reported here the other day.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar232010

Climate science in the media

If anyone is going to a seminar called Climate Science in the Media I'd be interested to have a report on the proceedings. Details of the meeting, which are shown below, were apparently distributed by email only:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar232010

More silliness

Daniel Cressey at Nature's Great Beyond blog seems to be adding his voice to those who support the idea of Lord Oxburgh being a suitable chairman for the Royal Society panel despite the noble lord's conflict of interest.

Daniel's case for the defence is almost as obscure as Fiona Harvey's but seems to consist of a belief that since Bob Ward, the public relations officer at the Grantham Institute, predicted that the appointment would be criticised, we should shrug our shoulders and move on. I hope I'm not misjudging Daniel's position here, because he doesn't make his position very clear. I do sense, however, that his article carries an air of criticism of those who are pointing out the conflict of interest rather than those who are behind it.

You have to laugh, don't you?

Tuesday
Mar232010

Startlingly silly

Fiona Harvey, the Financial Times' environment correspondent weighs in to the debate over Lord Oxburgh's appointment at the head of the Royal Society panel looking into the CRU-science, and the fact that the noble lord has a financial conflict of interest.

But already his appointment has been attacked by climate sceptics, as he has strong business interests in biofuels, is chairman of the wind company Falck Renewables, and a board member of Climate Change Capital, a major investor in carbon credits.

Critics say this is enough to ensure his view of the science is biased, and have called for his removal.

And roughly speaking, this is where we are coming from. So, what's Fiona's take on this argument?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar232010

PR tactics

Keith Kloor's article at Nature Climate Feedback looks at the PR tactics that the warmist side of the debate might adopt. Should it be an offensive against the sceptics or something else.

I can't help but think that this is missing the point rather.

Monday
Mar222010

Myles Allen's ad hominem

Reader DR sends these notes from A Meeting on Sustainability at the University of Oxford

'What can be said about future climate? Using observations to constrain the forecast and the implications for climate policy.'

Myles Allen introduced himself as a member of an endangered species, a climate scientist. He agreed that energy measures will be needed regardless of climate change, but wanted to argue that climate change is important. He said that climate scientists have recently been faced by many questions, both from sceptics and from the policy community, and said that most people are asking the wrong questions. It is clear, he said, that CO2 is rising and temperatures are trending upwards.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar222010

The Times on Lord Oxburgh

I get a mention in Ben Webster's article in the Times about the Royal Society panel.

Monday
Mar222010

Having a lovely time...

Judith Curry drops us an electronic postcard from the Royal Society seminar on uncertainty - "it's absolutely fascinating" she says.

The good news is that we can soon share in the fun, since the proceedings are going to be made available as podcasts.

Monday
Mar222010

Oxburgh's conflict of interest

Commenters are also noting the background of Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of the RS panel. Lord Oxburgh is:

  • President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association
  • Chairman of wind energy firm Falck Renewables
  • A member of the Green Fiscal Commission

So we have a chairman with a direct financial interest in the outcome. I'm not sure this is a surprise.

 

Monday
Mar222010

Emmanuel on the Climategate emails

Reader Mac notes Kerry Emmanuel's comments on the Climategate emails, delivered at an MIT debate on the subject:

"What we have here," says Kerry Emanuel, are "thousands of emails collectively showing scientists hard at work, trying to figure out the meaning of evidence that confronts them. Among a few messages, there are a few lines showing the human failings of a few scientists…" Emanuel believes that "scientifically, it means nothing," because the controversy doesn't challenge the overwhelming evidence supporting anthropogenic warming. He is far more concerned with the well-funded "public relations campaign" to drown out or distort the message of climate science, which he links to "interests where billions, even trillions are at stake..." This "machine … has been highly successful in branding climate scientists as a bunch of sandal-wearing, fruit-juice drinking leftist radicals engaged in a massive conspiracy to return us to agrarian society…"

I'm speechless. Even after the debacle of Philip Campbell's resignation from the Russell panel, no lessons appear to have been learned.

Monday
Mar222010

Royal Society panel announced

The Royal Society panel that is going to examine the scientific aspects on the Climategate affair has been announced. This is the press release from UEA (via a reader - it doesn't appear on the UEA website at the moment).

Lord Oxburgh FRS, a former chair of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, is to chair an independent Scientific Assessment Panel to examine important elements of the published science of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

His appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar212010

Uninformed criticism

The Hockey Stick Illusion has now clocked up 24 five-star reviews on Amazon.co.uk, a number which is rapidly approaching the total number of books I expected to sell when I started writing. 

However, on the other side of the pond it's a different story, with two reviewers on Amazon.com now having given me the one-star treatment. Unfortunately, neither of them actually appear to have read the book, one implying that my target is the global warming theory as a whole and the other seeming to think that I have proposed "statistical adjustments". However, I'm sure they enjoyed themselves.

Click to read more ...