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Cited by Booker

Christopher Booker cites The Hockey Stick Illusion in his column this weekend, the first time it's made an appearance in a broadsheet.

The centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report was Michael Mann's notorious "hockey stick", the graph purporting to show temperatures in the late 20th century soaring at an unprecedented rate – later exposed as a statistical artefact. Another new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion by A W Montford, brilliantly tells the bizarre tale of how Mann's colleagues, calling themselves "the Hockey Team" and now at the heart of the IPCC, managed to resurrect the discredited graph for inclusion in its 2007 report. Montford's book, if inevitably technical, expertly recounts a remarkable scientific detective story. And of course, it was incriminating leaked emails between members of the Hockey Team that were at the centre of the recent "Climategate" scandal at the University of East Anglia.

Most disturbing of all are the glimpses the story gives of the inner workings of the IPCC, an institution now so discredited and scientifically corrupted that only those determined to shut their eyes could possibly defend it. This is now compounded by the recent revelations by Dr North and myself in these pages of how its chairman, Dr Pachauri, has built a worldwide network of business links which provide his Delhi institute with a sizeable income.




Just had word from the publisher that The Hockey Stick Illusion is reprinting. Pretty chuffed.


David Holland on BBC news

UK readers can see David Holland interviewed on the BBC news here. The interview was moderately inconsequential IMHO, although David handled himself very well.

Also in the letters pages of the Times are old friends Bob Ward, the warmist PR man at Lord Stern's Grantham Institute, and Don Keiller, a sceptic academic.



East Anglia responds to ICO findings

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Sir Edward Acton, has issued a statement in response to the annoucement by the ICO that the university was in breach of FoI legislation.

The ICO's opinion that we had breached the terms of Section 77 is a source of grave concern to the university as we would always seek to comply with the terms of the Act. During this case we have sought the advice of the ICO and responded fully to any requests for information.

Given that Sir Edward seems to be implicated in the breach of FoI legislation himself (at least according to one of the emails) "grave concern" is possibly an understatement.

(H/T Martin Rosenbaum via Steve2 in the comments)



Lawson lays down the law

Nigel Lawson has written to Sir Muir Russell, setting out his views on the Climategate review that Russell is to head (H/T Anthony Watts). There is much to admire here, and one can hear Lawson's years of experience in the points he makes. Most importantly though is how he closes the letter:

Finally, there is the question of openness and transparency. It has increasingly come to be recognised that, if the findings of an inquiry are to command public confidence, it is necessary for the inquiry to be held for the most part in public (national security being the most obvious cause for exception), with transcripts of each day’s evidence made promptly available. The current Chilcot Iraq inquiry is only the latest in a series of inquiries where this has been the case. It is also the only way of demonstrating fairness towards those under investigation.

This will put huge pressure on Sir Muir, who has spoken in the past of the importance he attaches to carrying the confidence of the sceptic community. Readers may remember the poll conducted here, which suggested strongly that sceptics were divided as to his reliability between those who thought he couldn't be trusted and those who didn't know. With probably the most prominent sceptic in the UK now asking that he hold the hearings in public, it will surely be hard for him to resist.



Talking to Brian Micklethwait

If you click here, you can catch a longish interview I did with Brian Micklethwait. For those who don't know of Brian, he is best known as a libertarian thinker, working for the Libertarian Alliance and writing regularly at Samizdata, the biggest UK libertarian blog, as well as his own site

We cover a lot of ground, and there is some background on me, for those of you who are interested in such things. (Heaven forbid I should ever gain a public persona). I haven't dared listen to it yet, but I'll give it a bash tonight.

We recorded this in the runup to Christmas, when I was still rather concerned about the book being published while the Climategate story was hot. I guess I needn't have worried.



Rosenbaum on no prosecutions

The BBC's FoI correspondent, Martin Rosenbaum, has written an interesting piece on the "no prosecutions" story. Read it here.


Some MSM attention

Yesterday's Daily Express (a mid-market tabloid for those of you who don't know it) had a two page feature on the climate scandals, and gave The Hockey Stick Illusion a passing name check.

Much of the current panic began in 1998 when Dr Michael Mann and
his co-authors published their now-discredited 'hockey stick' temperature plot. named for its shape that showed a long trend of steady temperature drop over a 1,000 year period and a sudden rise since the early nineties, it became the foundation stone for the global warming brigade.

New book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, by scientist Andrew Montford, tells how the figures don't stack up and how lone researcher Steve McIntyre exposed the myth. In fact the hockey stick, based on a computer generated model ignores natural climate fluctuations in the past. Christopher Booker, an author who believes the theory of man-made global warming has been disproved describes the original work as "one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history,of science' and adds: "Temperatures have always gone up and down over the years. The trend since 2001 is down. Noone knows what is going to happen but almost all the computer models on which man-made climate
change claims are based have been shown to be wrong.

There are a few nuances that I'd take issue with, and I'd not normally be described as a scientist, working in scientific publishing rather than research, but all in all I can't complain (apart from the fact that they recommend Booker's book at the end rather than mine!)



German home educators granted asylum in US


A US judge has granted ­political asylum to a German family who said they had fled the country to avoid persecution for home schooling their children.

Sometimes politicians forget who are the servants and who are the masters.



No prosecutions story hits MSM

The news that there will be no prosecutions over CRU's breaches of the Freedom of Information Act has hit the MSM, with both the Times and the BBC covering the story with some prominence.

It's interesting to note that the BBC is now referring to them as "leaked" files, as is the Met Office's Vicky Pope, who has a commentary piece in the Times, which comes across as a remarkably disingenuous piece of spin, repeating the line that the temperature data sets are independent despite the fact that it is known that this is not true.



Why do they want to know?

Via a correspondent, I have obtained a copy of the form that the police are sending round to sceptics as part of their investigation of the climategate leaks. Some of the questions being asked are pretty surprising:

18) What is your stance on climate change?

19)  Are you a current or past member of any political or environmental organisation/ group? Details:

20) Do you contribute to, participate in, or administer any internet based website, forum, blog, etc.  including any related to climate change? Details:

Is it just me, or is this rather sinister from a civil liberties point of view? I simply can't see that contributing to a blog is relevant to the inquiry. One can't help but get the impression of innocent people having police files being built on them, simply because the forces of law and order (in the shape of NDET) haven't got anything better to do.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that the offence being investigated is described in the form as, variously, a theft, a leak and a breach. But never a hack.

One thing we can say about the hacker/leaker is that he/she was possessed of some relatively sophisticated IT skills, so it's also interesting to see that the police seem to have no interest in whether any of the people they are quizzing have this skillset.

Very odd.




Will he stay or will he go?

Someone has started a prediction market on poor old RK Pachauri. The contract pays $1 if he resigns or is removed as head of the IPCC before 1 May this year.

It's currently trading at 43 cents, which seems about right to me.



...and another...

Even big time warmists like Andrew Weaver are jumping ship now:

Andrew Weaver, probably Canada’s leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform. If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it’s a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years.

Weaver is of course the scientist who said that it is "dangerous" to give both sides equal weight in the AGW debate and when speaking of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report said, it "isn’t a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles"



ICO believes FoI offences committed at CRU

Jonathan Leake at the Sunday Times has discovered that the Information Commissioner believes that offences were committed under the Freedom of Information Act at CRU. As readers here know, the ICO is not able to take any action because there is apparently a six month time-bar on summary offences such as these.

The emails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland's requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information. Mr Holland's FOI requests were submitted in 2007/8, but it has only recently come to light that they were not dealt with in accordance with the Act.

The legislation requires action within six months of the offence taking place, so by the time the action taken came to light the opportunity to consider a prosecution was long gone. The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. It is important to note that the ICO enforces the law as it stands - we do not make it.

Intruigingly, there does seem to be a hint of a possibility of action under the data protection act.

We will also be studying the investigation reports (by Lord Russell [sic] and Norfolk Police), and we will then consider what regulatory action, if any, should then be taken under the Data Protection Act.

(Source-press release, so no link).



Chief scientist: fundamental uncertainty in climate science

The UK government's chief scientist, Sir John Beddington, is the latest rat to flee the sinking ship Climatology, with an interview in the Times in which he comes out of the closet:

The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

Now he tells us. If Professor Beddington really believes this, it's hard to fathom why he hasn't said so in the two years in which he's been in office. 

Professor Beddington also thinks that people should be nicer to sceptics.

Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

Again, not a word about withholding data and code until the ship starts to go down. Where has he been?