Seen elsewhere

Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

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

Powered by Squarespace

SciTech media coverage

I'll post coverage of the SciTech Committee's report here. Click on the names of the publications for links to the original articles.

Times Higher Education

The University of East Anglia’s Climategate inquiries were not sufficiently transparent and failed to properly investigate some key issues, the Commons Science and Technology Committee has concluded. 


A UK parliamentary report on the so-called ‘Climategate’ email theft has expressed “some reservations” about two independent inquiries into the incident. However, the House of Commons science select committee says it is now time to implement the inquiries’ recommendations and move on.


TWO inquiries into claims that scientists manipulated data about global warming were yesterday condemned by MPs as ineffective and too secretive.

BBC (Richard Black)

Inquiries into issues raised by 2009's climate e-mail hack did have flaws, a committee of MPs concludes.

But despite questions over remits and omissions, they say it is time to make the changes needed and move on.

GWPF (Press Release)

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) remains deeply concerned about the failure by academic and parliamentary inquires to fully and independently investigate the ‘Climategate’ affair.

David Holland's thoughts are here. Also Ross McKitrick has his own report on the inquiries.


Words that must remain unspoken

In the formal minutes that appear at the end of the SciTech report, it is possible to read a paragraph that was proposed as an amendment by Graham Stringer. This is important.

There are proposals to increase worldwide taxation by up to a trillion dollars on the basis of climate science predictions. This is an area where strong and opposing views are held. The release of the e-mails from CRU at the University of East Anglia and the accusations that followed demanded independent and objective scrutiny by independent panels. This has not happened. The composition of the two panels hasbeen criticised for having members who were over identified with the views of CRU. Lord Oxburgh as President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Chairman of Falck Renewable appeared to have a conflict of interest. Lord Oxburgh himself was aware that this might lead to criticism. Similarly Professor Boulton as an ex colleague of CRU seemed wholly inappropriate to be a member of the Russell panel. No reputable scientist who was critical of CRU’s work was on the panel, and prominent and distinguished critics were not interviewed. The Oxburgh panel did not do as our predecessor committee had been promised, investigate the science, but only looked at the integrity of the researchers. With the exception of Professor Kelly’s notes other notes taken by members of the panel have not been published. This leaves a question mark against whether CRU science is reliable. The Oxburgh panel also did not look at CRU’s controversial work on the IPPC which is what has attracted most [serious] allegations. Russell did not investigate the deletion of e-mails. We are now left after three investigations without a clear understanding of whether or not the CRU science is compromised.

This was voted down by the Tories Stephen Mosley and Stephen Metcalfe and the Labour MP, Gregg McClymont.


The new SciTech report

The embargo on the new SciTech commitee report is lifted at 1 minute past midnight so, assuming I haven't messed up, this should appear at the earliest possible moment. With a bit of luck, the report should now be available at the inquiry website.

The best that can be said of the report is that it is marginally better than expected. This, I suppose, is the great advantage of low expectations. My impression is of a group of people who know they are raising two fingers to the general public, and feel forced at least to admit that there is something amiss, but the overwhelming need to hold the line on global warming gets the better of them and leaves them looking at best foolish and at worst outright criminal.

First the good bits:

  • They recognise that UEA misled them over the nature of the Oxburgh panel's inquiry
  • They recognise that there were issues with the Oxburgh panel's independence and that it was not thorough
  • They recognsise that allegations of FOI breaches were not investigated.

However, when put in the context of the bad stuff, this rather gives the impression of them tossing a few scraps in our direction:

  • Asking for other working papers to be made available. (39) Some are already known to have been destroyed (This was noted in my report para 127).
  • They note that the panels looked at MBH98 (not a CRU paper) and try to use this to excuse the failure to look at CRU's own multiproxy papers.
  • In response to my pointing out their failure to investigate breaches of peer review confidentiality, they have obtained a statement from Russell saying, essentially, "it could be nothing". End of story.
  • They reiterate the absurd fiction that `hide the decline' was not an attempt to mislead, directly contradicting the Russell report.
  • I had pointed out several instances of peer review being apparently undermined. They ignored these, returning to the weak examples in the original report and standing by their original finding, that Jones was merely commenting on papers he thought were poor. We still do not know if CRU actually contacted any of the journals they discussed threatening. This is shameful.
  • The committee ignored McKitrick's allegation of fabrication in the original report. I pointed this out to them and they have ignored it again in this new report. Shameful again.

It is possible to believe that in the hectic rush to complete their original inquiry before the general election, the committee might have overlooked the McKitrick allegation, the ousting of Saiers, the allegations of `pal review', the cherrypicking and the bodging. Well...maybe.

To miss half a dozen allegations of wrongdoing could be considered a trifle careless. To miss them all twice, on the other hand, seems to represent a wilful disregard for the interests of the general public.


Goldacre on Nurse

(Well he is a doctor after all) :-)

Ben Goldacre has some interesting comments about the media's treatment of Delingpole today.

delingpole clearly a penis, and he's citing it for wrong reasons, but "peer-to-peer" review is not an insane idea

god, i'm really sorry, i like Nurse, but this is kind of slow, feels like a bit of a duty watch.

[Delingpole] is absolutely a dick. but that was weak, and if it was their killer moment, makes the press activity of today a bit ugly tbh

well, sorry, delingpole didnt do brilliantly on a question, and fumbled, but they say they interviewed him for 3 hours. thats the killer mo?

if that was the killer delingpole moment that the bbc have been crowing about all day then i'm actually quite unimpressed


Greens want your pension

The Confederation of British Industry appears to have designs on your pension, which it thinks should be spent on green boondoggles. This is from the British bosses organisation's latest press release (H/T Damian Carrington).

"Some bold initiatives would be in order. For example, rebuilding large parts of the nation’s power generating industry will require more investment capital than the market left to itself is likely to supply. So I would favour the development of a green investment bank designed to channel long-term finance from the pensions institutions into energy infrastructure – not easy to do, but perfectly possible with a bit of imagination and courage.

Yes, that's right. Your pension manager doesn't want to invest in the green scam, but with a bit of "imagination and courage", for which I take it we should read "compulsion", all difficulties can be overcome.


More Horizon coverage

There are a couple more articles on the Horizon programme doing the rounds. Delingpole says he was done over by the BBC here and the Guardian agrees here.


Inquiry into winter transport chaos

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee is to launch an inquiry into the chaos in Britain's transport network this winter. No doubt the Met Office's "warning" will receive an airing. (H/T GWPF)

Transport Committee announces inquiry on the impact on transport of recent adverse weather conditions

The impact of the recent cold weather on the road and rail networks in England and Wales and on the UK’s airports, including the extent to which lessons were learnt from winter 2009-10, the provision of accurate weather forecasts to transport providers in advance of the bad weather, and the recommendations of the Quarmby reviews of the resilience of England’s transport systems in 2010.

The Committee expects to hear oral evidence on this issue in February and would welcome written evidence from those affected by the adverse weather conditions by Wednesday 2 February 2011.


Mad? Drugged? Or just civil servants?

Also in the Independent, the simply flabbergasting story that the Environment Agency is proposing airlifting fish from the Lake District up to Scotland, in order to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Fish from the Lake District will be moved to cooler waters in Scotland under radical plans – which will be unveiled this week – aimed at coping with climate change.

Haunting the Library (to whom a hattip is due) wonders if the government are on LSD. It's possible, but I wonder if this is just one of those bureaucratic documents that the minister signs off without reading. The explanation is more likely to just be bureaucrats wanting to expand their empires, and grubbing about for a way of doing so.



New climate journal?

This new journal looks as though it was set up specifically with climate sceptics in mind.


What's next?

Two interesting days ahead. Firstly I should get my embargoed copy of the House of Commons report on the Climategate inquiries later today, so there will be some reading to do.  The embargo is lifted at midnight, UK time, and I'll time a post to go up shortly thereafter, so those of you in other parts of the Anglosphere may be able to read it at a sensible time.

Then later today we have the BBC Horizon programme on wicked sceptics. I'm really looking forward to this. There is a trailer article here in the Independent, in which the paper's science correspondent Steve Connor manages to get the trick to hide the decline completely wrong. You would think that after all those inquiries, a science journalist would understand what Jones did.


Matt on 'bat

A few days back I climbed down rather on the George Monbiot advocates violence thing. Interestingly, Matt Ridley has recalled an incident when he was on the receiving end of one of GM's diatribes, which was delivered in the following terms:

Crucifixion wouldn't have been good enough for him.

... which does seem rather oddnow that George is calling for an end to vitriolic abuse and calls to kill people.



Ellee Seymour has had a chat with Lord Deben, the politician formerly known as John Gummer, and who, if you go a little further back, was called John Selwyn Gummer.

Lord Deben is now the head of GLOBE International, the green legislators organisation. Given the number of GLOBE's members who have come to the attention of the constabulary, it's a wonder that anyone would want the role.

The report is, well, pretty toe-curling.


Ignorance in academe

Tim Worstall has a lovely post looking at a new Campaign for the Public University. The campaign, featuring the cream of UK academia says it is "seeking to defend and promote the idea of the university as a public good".

As Tim explains, they seem to be a bit mixed up about what a public good is though. Which is not very impressive for the cream of UK academia.



Marshall rethinks

A few weeks ago I reported on a skirmish in the battle over the University of Virginia's struggle to withhold emails from the state attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. A state congressman, Bob Marshall had proposed legislation that would allow for government employees to be fired for breach of FOI legislation.

Now, we hear, Marshall's bill has been rebuffed by a subcommittee of the legislature and he has been told to try again.

[T]he bill Marshall offered before the FOIA/procurement subcommittee of the House general laws committee contains language he didn’t intend. It allows a judge to terminate the employment of a public employee if they’ve been found guilty of violating FOIA. Marshall, who does not possess a law degree, offered a disclaimer. He’d simply asked for staff to create a bill that contained punishment for violating FOIA, he said.

“I just asked … to draw me up a statute where there was something punitive there,” Marshall said


Conservation of worry 

This was sent to me by a reader. It compares discussion of climate change and nuclear war in books by date. Click here for source and a larger version of the graph.

Hattip to Luca Turin for the graph and also the basis of the headline.