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The wonders of the internet

While I was last down in London I attended Matt Ridley's lecture at the Royal Society of the Arts. During the Q&A session at the end, someone asked an question and I gathered that he was the author of a book on plant breeding. It sounded absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to corner him and get the details, but now, by the wonders of the internet, I have tracked him down. (From here).

Noel Kingsbury turns out to be the author of Hybrid, which looks like a splendidly iconoclastic take on plant breeding and, inevitably, on GM. It's on my shopping list already.

Kingsbury also has a blog here which looks quite interesting - this piece on invasive exotic plants is a good alternative take on what is generally perceived as a major problem.



The Climate Files

Updated on Jun 9, 2010 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Fred Pearce has new book out on Climategate and will be speaking about it at the Royal Institution on Monday. Readers will remember Pearce as the author of a detailed series of postings on the Climategate emails in the Guardian at the start of the year. The book sounds pretty interesting...

To coincide with the launch of his new book, The Climate Files, the veteran environment journalist Fred Pearce discusses how the emails raise deeply disturbing questions about the way climate science is conducted, about researchers' preparedness to block access to climate data and downplay flaws in their research."

Click to read more ...


Russell report imminent?

I hear on the grapevine that Sir Muir Russell's panel will be reporting "imminently". I imagine that means in the next few days. My guess would be that they will make the announcement on Friday so that they can run for cover straight afterwards.

Only a rumour, but I thought it was worth passing on.


A rebuttal

A blog called Scholars and Rogues has attempted to defend the authors of the Climategate emails. Mosher is on the case.


Conflicted public servants

Afficionados of the Climategate "inquiries" (as it seems we must now call them) will be interested in this article by Douglas Carswell, the maverick Conservative MP for Clacton.

Scientists who drew up the guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic allegedly had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit, reports the Guardian.

As he points out, there is a revolving door between the civil service and big business and conflicts of interest are two-a-penny. Sound familiar?


Scientists who drew up the guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic allegedly had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit, reports the Guardian.

Some fun before the weekend

This posting by Donald Clark made me laugh.

Have a nice weekend.


Monckton to overthrow government..

...or something like that. Lord Monckton is apparently to be the new deputy leader of the UK Independence Party and is wondering if global warming sceptics will now all leave the Conservative Party.


The irrational polemicist

George Monbiot has written the most extraordinary review of the book I'm currently reading - Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist. I'm not sure I've ever read such a bilious review of a book before, and certainly few that have been devoted quite so much space to ad hominems. If anything, Monbiot comes over as slightly deranged. Ridley has nevertheless posted a polite and detailed rebuttal here (James Delingpole weighs in here). But despite appearing to be the rantings of a lunatic, Monbiot's is still an interesting piece - mainly for what it leaves out.

Click to read more ...


Climate lessons

Regular commenter John Shade has started a new blog called Climate Lessons, which will look at the way environmentalism and other green issues are taught in schools.

Why not pay him a visit?


Bob Ward again

Bob Ward is on a roll. Today he has an article in New Scientist in which he gives us his professional opinion as a PR man on how climatology can save itself. This is the bit I found interesting:

"Don't underestimate your critics and competitors". This means not only recognising the skill with which the opponents of climate research have executed their campaigns through blogs and other media, but also acknowledging the validity of some of their criticisms. It is clear, for instance, that climate scientists need better standards of transparency that allow for scrutiny not just by their peers but also by critics from outside the world of research.

I praised Bob yesterday for his call for openness and I'm going to praise him again here for making clear that he doesn't see openness as a limited thing that should apply only to the Royal Society. My one concern here would be the words "for instance". That clearly implies Bob recognises that sceptics have valid criticisms beyond the need for transparency, but the question is, which ones does he think are kosher?

Later in the same piece he says this:

It is also important to engage with those critics. That doesn't mean conceding to arguments based on ideology rather than evidence...

...and again, it's hard to disagree. But arguments based on ideology are a problem from a sceptic perspective too. Can those on the other side let go of the Hockey Stick and the absurd argument that its dramatic shape has been replicated by other studies (conveniently overlooking the flawed ingredients that are behind them)? We can only hope.

The paleo studies are mostly rotten. We just need someone to admit it.


Bob Ward on openness

Bob Ward has an interesting letter in the Times, prompted by the rebellion of Royal Society fellows over the Society's statements on climate change. This is the intriguing bit:

To avoid creating even further misunderstanding about the causes and consequences of climate change, the Royal Society and its Fellows should now open up their internal debate to the public, and clarify whether the criticisms made by the “sceptics” have any validity.

Openness has long been a clarion call for sceptics, so Bob's intervention is most welcome. Let's hope that his enthusiasm for transparency extends to the availability of climatologists' data and code.


Dennis Bray on global warming and Stalin

Must-read post from Dennis Bray over at Klimazweibel, examining the similarities between Stalin's regime and the conduct of global warming science. He makes ten direct comparisons between the warmism and Stalinism. Here are the first couple to whet your appetite:

1. To begin, Koba’s reign of tyranny, was a reign that was indulged by Western intellectuals.

Climate change, particularly its remediation, is a point of contention. It is, however, indulged by Western intellectuals as if there only facts and no assumptions . (See statement by professional/scientific organization)

2. The Cheka - The Extraordinary Commission - (a soviet state security organization) operated by instilling fear in people. People needed to know they were never safe for the Cheka to operate successfully.

The IPCC and Co. tend to let people know they are never safe and people need to be kept this way if the IPCC and Co is to maintain its existence. (Although recently, the IPCC has been accused of understating the potential dangers of global warming and the public are beginning to have their doubts.)


Lovelock on CRU

Hot foot from demanding the suspension of democracy in order that his pet projects can be put into practice, James Lovelock comments on CRU

Globally-respected scientist James Lovelock praised climate researchers at the University of East Anglia at the weekend stating they were some of “the best in the world”.


Analysis of the Russell evidence

I'm grateful to reader, Messenger, who has prepared this analysis of the evidence submitted to the Russell panel (or at least those submissions that have been published so far).

Critical submissions


Defensive submissions





And here's the really interesting part: no less than 33 of the submissions criticised the inclusion of Geoffrey Boulton on the panel. Muir Russell said, remember, that it was important that his review had the confidence of sceptics.

Has he changed his mind?


Muir's new man

Readers will remember the resignation of Nature editor Philip Campbell from the Muir Russell inquiry - Campbell's position became untenable when he was found to have prejudged the outcome of the inquiry by telling a television interviewer that the scientists involved in the Climategate emails had done nothing wrong.

Click to read more ...