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Thursday
Dec312009

Leaning on North

It looks as though Pachauri may be getting nasty over North and Booker's revelations of his conflicting interests in the Telegraph. There is a very mysterious posting up at his blog now.

Spread the word.

Update:

North in the comments to his posting gives some clues to the contents of the lawyer's letter he has received:

An entertaining, four-page missive. The last paragraph reads: "Please do not mistake our client's resolve to take whatever action is necessary to protect their reputations. If we do not hear from you in the timeframe indicated, proceedings will be issued."

Ho hum! The letter is barking mad but it still needs hours of constructing a careful response, the net effect of which will be the same as two Anglo Saxon words.

 

Thursday
Dec312009

Who would be in Professor Hardaker's shoes?

As the Climategate analysis starts to flow from Steve McIntyre's keyboard, it's interesting to note the theme of "climategatekeeping" emerging from the first few posts. It seems clear that there have been multiple instances of attempts to suppress or delay sceptic papers and just as many examples of warmist papers being rushed through to print on the nod. This angle to the climategate affair has been given added impetus in recent days by the extraordinary revelations of Spenser and Christy in their American Thinker article, showing how the journal editor at the International Journal of Climatology (IJoC) conspired with Hockey Team members to delay the appearance in print of a sceptic paper (Douglass et al).

IJoC, which is a journal of the Royal Meteorological Society of the UK,

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312009

Mann in the WSJ

Michael Mann has an article in the Wall Street Journal in which he describes the accusation that he plotted to keep sceptics out of the scientific literature as "false".

Society relies upon the integrity of the scientific literature to inform sound policy. It is thus a serious offense to compromise the peer-review system in such a way as to allow anyone—including proponents of climate change science—to promote unsubstantiated claims and distortions. The good news is that it is not happening today in relation to either climate scientists or the deniers of climate science.

His case is seriously undermined by his failure to explain the contradictory evidence in the emails.

 

Wednesday
Dec302009

The East Anglia publication scheme

Steve McIntyre has posted up an interesting article about the complaints made by Nature in its Climategate editorial, namely that scientists were being overwhelmed by freedom of information requests. As he points out, the actual number of requests made so far has been very small, a point reinforced by a brief perusal of WhatDoTheyKnow.com, the portal for many FoI requests to UK public bodies. Prior to Climategate, there were only ten FoI requests to UEA. This doesn't preclude there being requests made through other channels, but it does at least suggest that the problem is rather smaller in scale than Nature would have us believe.

But in many ways, this is besides the point. As well as the Freedom of Information Act, CRU information falls under the terms of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. These require public bodies to:

(a) progressively make the information available to the public by electronic means which are easily accessible; and

(b) take reasonable steps to organize the information relevant to its functions with a view to the active and systematic dissemination to the public of the information.

As far as I can see, the University of East Anglia, in common with many other UK universities, has failed to set up the legally mandated publication scheme. In other words, the alleged burdensome level of FoI requests has only been necessary because those scientists' have been flouting the law.

A similar point is made in the comments at CA by the economist Richard Tol:

I bet that I get far fewer requests for information (2-3 a week) than my colleagues in climate science proper. I do find these requests disruptive, because it means taking your mind of the data you’re working on and focussing on data you worked on years ago. I have a simple solution for that: I post all relevant data on my website. As the data is in the public domain anyway per the various freedom of information acts that govern my work, I might as well put the data there.

So it's simple. Publish everything as you go and you not only comply with the law but you make your life simpler in the long run.

I've put in a further FoI request to East Anglia, asking what steps they have taken to ensure compliance with the terms of EIR. In the meantime, the ecowarriors at Nature might do better to direct their ire at climatologists who flout the law rather than sceptics who are forced to use FoI to unearth the information that is being withheld.

 

Sunday
Dec272009

Hope you all had a nice Christmas

I hope everyone had a nice break - it snowed here so I got rather distracted from the blogging. Higher priorities like sledging and digging the car our took precedence. So my apologies for my failure to sign off at the end of term, and thanks for all the good wishes.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Dec232009

Sonia B-C on Marr

Sonia Boehmer-Christiansen, one of the most doughty fighters against the global warming movement, has written a complaint about Andrew Marr's performance in a programme on global warming broadcast on BBC radio the other day.

There are some fascinating snippets of which I would love to know the details. For example:

  • the BBC having a financial interest in the advancement of the global warming agenda
  • ditto the Royal Society
  • the IPCC is not allowed to assess the "for and against" of global warming since it is signed up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which states that global warming is real and dangerous

Read the whole thing.

 

 

Wednesday
Dec232009

Richard Tol on Stern

I'm very pleased to have had a comment by the eminent economist Richard Tol (even it is was to tell me that I was wrong about the Stern Report - the report was still flawed, but not for the reasons I had put forward).

Here's what he says:

Stern managed to focus the discussion about the Stern Review on the discount rate used. The issue is not that Stern argues for a particular discount rate. That is his right as a a citizen of a democratic country. The issue is that he used a single discount rate (without performing a sensitivity analysis) and that he used a discount rate that differs from the discount rate typically used by his own, democratically-elected government. And all without alerting the reader. Stern's use of the discount rate is a clear case of manipulation.

The sloppiness of the Stern Review is perhaps best illustrated with its assessment of an optimal climate policy. (By the way, the Stern Review concludes that the previously formulated long-term target of the UK government is exactly right.) Stern's "optimum" does not meet the first-order conditions. In the optimum, marginal costs should equal marginal benefits. Stern recommends that greenhouse gas concentrations be stabilized at 550 ppm CO2eq, but at that point his (faulty) estimates of marginal costs do not equal his (faulty) estimates of the marginal benefits.

When I pressed him over this, the paraphrased reply was that Newton and Leibnitz are so passe.

The subsequent discussion is very interesting too. In essence Stern is arguing that a philosopher king should tell us what is right, while Tol is making the libertarian case - that ordinary people should choose their own way. Global warming enthusiasts should be clear, both to themselves and to the public they seek to persuade, that this is their intention.

Which brings me back to my original point: Stern should be strongly criticised for not making this clear to his readers, and Ed Stourton, one of the most senior journalists at the BBC should hang his head in shame for precisely the same reason.

 

Wednesday
Dec232009

CRU website live again

Hat-tip to a reader for pointing out that the CRU website is now live again, although the data pages do not as yet seem to be complete.

 

 

Tuesday
Dec222009

Met Office code

John Graham-Cumming reports that the Met Office has published the code for preparing the land surface records.

This is slightly odd. What appears to have been released is the code for generating the CRUTEM land temperature index, which is actually prepared by CRU. However this does tally with what we know about the data the Met Office released the other day. This was, contrary to the impression given by the Met Office press release actually the corrected data which is used as input into the CRUTEM average and also the HADCRUT global temperature index. It's the latter index that most people are interested in.

If this is confusing you, I've prepared a summary of my understanding of how it all fits together. I'm not promising this is correct

I've made everything but the data and code released by the Met Office semitransparent. As you can see, what we are looking at are intermediates in the preparation of the global temperature index. While this is welcome, the guts of the changes are in the selection of the stations and in the correction of those stations for the plethora of problems with them - urban heat islands, changes in equipment, station moves, changes in observation time and so on. So while there is a feel of increasing openness, in reality, the shutters are only open the barest crack and it's still not possible to make out what's going on inside.

Meanwhile, even this extremely limited attempt at openness is not all it seems to be. John G-C has been looking at the code and running it against the data he has. What he has found is that prior to 1855 there was no southern hemisphere data and that when you run the Met Office's newly released code, this shows up as a gap in the graph of the average. But there is no such gap in the actual CRUTEM index. John's conclusion is that what we're looking at is not the actual code used in CRUTEM, but something written especially for public consumption. In light of the scorn that many programmers have been pouring on the quality of the coding standards at CRU, this might suggest that the original code was just too awful to make available for public inspection.

Tuesday
Dec222009

Stourton on global warming

I caught most of Edward Stourton's history of global warming on Radio 4 this morning. This seems to represent something of a shift for the BBC, moving from outright cheerleading and propaganising to something slightly more balanced. Stourton even managed to include some sceptical views (Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell) without sneering or otherwise belittling them. He also managed not to mention the Hockey Stick as far as I could tell, and one wonders whether this was significant or not.

The shocker was that he covered the Stern Report without informing the listener that Stern reinvented the subject of economics in order to get to the answer he did. Let us say charitably that this is probably a case of embarrassing incompetence on Stourton's part rather than anything more sinister. Still, it is hard to credit that an organisation with the resources of the BBC could make such an oversight.

Meanwhile, no reporting of Rajendra Pachauri's conflicts of interest (latest revelations here) from our national broadcaster. I guess there are limits to how far the BBC is willing to go.

 

Sunday
Dec202009

Great Northern

Richard North has two articles in the newspapers today, both on the extraordinary financial conflicts of interest in the IPCC process.

In the Telegraph, he and Christopher Booker look at how IPCC boss Rajendra Pachauri has reaped vast sums of money from his involvement in the trade in carbon credits:

What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations.

These outfits include banks, oil and energy companies and investment funds heavily involved in ‘carbon trading’ and ‘sustainable technologies’, which together make up the fastest-growing commodity market in the world, estimated soon to be worth trillions of dollars a year.

The Mail meanwhile, has completely messed up, attributing the story to a completely different Richard North, and printing the wrong photo alongside the article to boot. The story though is a good one, looking at the big picture of how Copenhagen was a victory for the money-men, retaining the lucrative trade in carbon credits.

Forget 'Big Oil' - this is 'Big Carbon' making the most of a 'business opportunity' that was created by the first climate treaty at Kyoto in 1997.

The frenzied negotiations we have just seen were never about 'saving the planet'. They were always about money. At stake was this new 'climate change industry' which last year ripped off £129billion from the global economy and is heading for that trillion-pound bonanza by 2020 - but only if the key parts of the Kyoto treaty could be renewed.

 

Sunday
Dec202009

Searching for Phil Jones

This was rather amusing until environmentalists started to get violent.

 

Sunday
Dec202009

Tool of big oil

Coincidences are funny things. Just hours after joking about my "connections" with the oil industry I got an email from Rob Schneider, the secretary of the Scottish Oil Club, wondering if I'd like to attend some of their meetings. (I always thought these approaches were meant to be accompanied by a large cheque, but what do I know?).

I've written a rather non-commital response explaining that I'm likely to be criticised if I do go, although Rob assures me that the club has as many (warmist) university types as it does sceptic oilmen. This is certainly borne out by the list of forthcoming speakers - I'd be interested to hear what Jeremy Leggett has to say at his talk in February, if only so I can ask him some difficult questions.

 

 

Saturday
Dec192009

In which I go beyond the pale

The Yale Climate Forum has a post up about Climategate - standard "move along now nothing to see here" fare. Perhaps attracted by the Yale name, I decided to make a small contribution to the debate there, picking up on some remarks by the piece's author Zeke Hausfather. Here's what he said about "hiding the decline":

This may be somewhat dubious in that it gives the impression that proxy reconstructions match the observed temperature record better than they otherwise would.

My comment was that "somewhat dubious" is a remarkable way to describe what Jones did. I pointed out that if he had done this as part of a share issue he would be looking at a long jail term. This is factually correct, and was posted pretty much in the terms I've given here.

Unfortunately though, The Yale Climate Forum viewed the posting of a true statement in mild terms as being completely beyond the pale and they decided to delete my comment.

I complain regularly that the climate debate often lapses into those on the other side of the argument claiming that words have different meanings to normal when they use them. The word "Forum" is clearly used in a profoundly different sense at Yale.

 

Saturday
Dec192009

Smearing at long range

A few days back I mentioned the attempts to connect Steve McIntyre to big oil by pointing out that he had once given a talk at a think tank that had once received a donation from an oil company.

I'm not sure everyone believed me, but there's another hilarious example of the same thing today, with a connection being "revealed" between McIntyre and the Russians. Speaking of James Delingpole's story about the Institute of Economic Analysis, who have accused the Met Office of cooking the temperature books, Unity has this to say.

What Delingpole failed to disclose was the series of connections linking the Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) to a number of Western right-wing economic think tanks and, through those think-tanks, to a number of high profile global warming deniers and, through one of these, directly to Steve McIntyre.

I can't help but be reminded of the old saw about everyone being connected to  everyone else in the world by no more than seven links of association.

(Declaration of interest - I know a guy who works on an oil rig. That's my credibility shot then.)