The response to the hearings is predictable.
Giving evidence to a Science and Technology Committee inquiry, the Institute of Physics said: ‘Unless the disclosed emails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research and for the credibility of the scientific method.
‘The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital.’
Last month, the Information Commissioner ruled the CRU had broken Freedom of Information rules by refusing to hand over raw data.
But yesterday Professor Jones – in his first public appearance since the scandal broke – denied manipulating the figures.
Looking pale and clasping his shaking hands in front of him, he told MPs: ‘I have obviously written some pretty awful emails.’
He admitted withholding data about global temperatures but said the information was publicly available from American websites.
And he claimed it was not ‘standard practice’ to release data and computer models so other scientists could check and challenge research.
Of course, there is no mention of the IOP amending issuing a statement clarifying their submission to prevent denialists from misinterpreting it.
The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.
That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.
The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work.
It reflected our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk in the present case, and that this has undermined the trust that is placed in the scientific process.
These comments, focused on the scientific process, should not be interpreted to mean that the Institute believes that the science itself is flawed.
Also, the article gets it wrong about the Information Commissioner ‘ruling’. But we won’t let facts get in the way of a good story. A quick glance at the Daily Mail (online) tells it all — this is a piece of … trash. I wouldn’t call it journalism.
Whatever your view on man-made global warming, you had to feel sorry for Professor Phil Jones, the man behind the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia. He has already compared himself to Dr David Kelly, and has said he even briefly contemplated suicide.
Today he made his first public appearance since the row began. He looked taut, nervous, often miserable. At times his hands shook. For those of us who, seven years ago, watched Kelly give evidence to another committee, the resemblance was disturbing and painful.
I liked this bit:
Finally Jones was released and he made a sudden, grateful escape. He hadn’t been helped by an earlier witness, Lord Lawson, father of Nigella and now Britain’s best known climate sceptic. With the aggression of someone who used to go eyeball to eyeball with Margaret Thatcher, Lawson laid about the “climate alarmists” and, without naming Jones, spoke with dripping contempt. “Proper scientists, scientists with integrity, wish to reveal their data and all their methods. They do not require freedom of information requests!”
He was asked why he didn’t reveal the name of all his donors. “This is called playing the man and not the ball, and in football he’d get a yellow card!”
Lawson has been around long enough to see off pipsqueak MPs, even if their questions are, actually, quite valid.
Yes it was quite valid and the MPs did back down like wimps on that one. I thought Lawson was a buffoon.
I did like to see this headline from the Guardian: Institute of Physics forced to clarify submission to climate emails inquiry:
In a statement issued today the institute said its written submission to the committee “has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.”
It says: “That is not the case. The institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing, and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.”
The institute said its critical comments were focused on the scientific process, and “should not be interpreted to mean that the institute believes that the science itself is flawed.”
The statement appears to contradict sections of the original submission, which suggests the emails showed scientists had cherry-picked data to support conclusions and that some key reconstructions of past temperature cannot be relied upon.
The institute statement says its submission was approved by its science board, a formal committee of experts that oversees its policy work.
The Guardian has been unable to find a member of the board that supports the submission. Two of the scientists listed as members said they had declined to comment on a draft submission prepared by the institute, because they were not climate experts and had not read the UEA emails. Others would not comment or did not respond to enquiries.
Interesting how much spreading of the IOP’s submission I saw but very little about this backtracking 0r ‘clarification’.
Here’s The Register, which starts out this way
Parliament isn’t the place where climate sceptics go to make friends. Just over a year ago,just three MPs voted against the Climate Act, with 463 supporting it. But events took a surprising turn at Parliament’s first Climategate hearing yesterday.
MPs who began by roasting sceptics in a bath of warm sarcasm for half an hour were, a mere two hours later, asking why the University of East Anglia’s enquiry into the climate scandal wasn’t broader, and wasn’t questioning “the science” of climate change. That’s further than any sceptic witness had gone.
In between, they’d wrought an admission from CRU director Phil Jones that he’d written some awful emails, and that during peer review nobody had ever asked to see his raw data or methods.
Perhaps the Honourable Members had noticed an incongruity. The Vice Chancellor of East Anglia, with Jones seated next to him, had said CRU had made a significant contribution to the human scientific understanding of climate change. Yet the practices of CRU looked more tatty and indefensible as the hearing went on. How could CRU be crucial to the science, but the science could not be discussed? Something was not quite right.
It ends with:
None of this could have been predicted when Lord Lawson and Benny Piesar from the Global Warming Policy Foundation opened the hearing. Both got a duffing up, with Tim Boswell (Con) and Stewart trying to turn it into an inquiry into Nigel Lawson. Lawson had said the GWPF refused donations from energy interests, but kept donors anonymous.
The GWPF had made a tactical decision not to question the science, but procedures – similar to Russell’s view of his remit. They’d stressed that if Jones and colleagues had behaved properly, there would have been no FOIA requests implying there would be no leak and no inquiry.
That chimes with the view that Climategate is a disaster of the climate scientists’ own making. At that stage in the day, MPs were sceptical that anything significant was being withheld, and if it was, it was for justifiable, perhaps even honourable reasons.
Three hours later, the day closed with three big guns of the scientific establishment and most prominent advocates of warming: former IPCC chair Bob Watson, the Government’s chief scientific advisor John Beddington, and head scientist at the Met Office, Julia Slingo OBE. Since the story broke, Watson has been a prominent in emphasising the “Keep Calm and Carry On” message: that the science is untouched, and cannot be questioned.
The three were slightly too chummy and jovial, and seemed unaware of the connection MPs had made: that rotten scientists perhaps mean rotten science.
I agree the skeptics took a ‘duffing’ – deservedly so. However, I thought that the final three were strong in countering the dreck that skeptics have been putting out there in la la land. Of course, it’s very interesting to see the different takes people have on the same hearing.
Here’s The Telegraph, which suggests that the dominoes are close to falling:
So, if the good old CRU at East Anglia has been churning out garbage, there is no way of building a firewall between it and the other organisations on which the IPCC relies: they all go down together. And down they are going, beyond peradventure. It is a changed world from Copenhagen. Even leaving aside the discrediting of the AGW scam, the $45 trillion Danegeld to carbon companies is no longer going to materialise, since Barack Obama’s Cap and Trade (cap and bells, more like) ploy is already in the Congressional garbage can, as a consequence of his becoming a lame-duck president since the Massachusetts election.
The American Conspiracy Theorist Thinker claims that the WWF and other scientists are motivated by greed: Climategate: Is it criminal?
Trading on the European Climate Exchange is open to the world market, but the carbon credits only involve the European Union (EU) nations giving brokers the ability to hide trading activities in other countries and avoid paying taxes. This is known as a Carousel Fraud. Curiously, this thread of tax avoidance is also spun into the tangled web of e-mails from East Anglia University. In one of the e-mails dated 6 March 1996, two members of the Jones Gang, Stepan Shiyatov and Dr. Kieth Briffa, discuss how to avoid paying taxes in Russia:
Also, it is important for us if you can transfer the ADVANCE money on the personal accounts which we gave you earlier and the sum for one occasion transfer (for example, during one day) will not be more than 10,000 USD. Only in this case we can avoid big taxes and use money for our work as much as possible.
This is not an isolated e-mail concerning money. On 7 October 1997, Andrew Kerr of the World Wild Life Fund (WWF) sent an e-mail to essentially the entire global network of the Jones Gang expressing grave concerns that Kyoto would be a “flop” and fretted about the possible economic impact it might have…
Here’s a key element of denialism: reverse the logic. Turn the accusations against your enemy that have been made against you, even if they make no sense. This is a good example — the argument that climate scientists and AGW advocates are motivated by the money they will make in alternative energy and technology…
But when you mention the financial interests of the fossil fuel industry and their funding of denialism, you get accusations of being a ‘commie’ or ‘anti-capitalist’ or a ‘conspiracy theorist’. If there ever was a clear case of mucking up the science to protect financial interests, it’s on the part of the petroleum and coal industries and related economic sectors. One has to conclude that they figure the masses are so stupid that a simple reversal is enough to convince them that the lie is in fact, truth.
The ‘Skeptic’ Blogs: (and I say that with scary quotes)
Interestingly, McIntyre does not comment besides posting a few quotes from other media. This is typical. He lets his chorus do the dirty work.
Maybe for those who have been following this issue for longer, reading mockery of Jones is vindication.
To me, it is a bit sad. This is a man who believed that the danger that humanity poses to itself is so extreme as to justify abandoning scientific principles in order to convince people to do something about it. Even for a climate scientist, this must have been a difficult path to go down that could only be justified based on a hope of saving humanity from itself.
He may have acted in a corrupt manner, but he did it with the best intentions. And that is a bit sad.
Hopefully the scientific process will be reformed so that others will not have to make the choice between principles and beliefs by making it impossible to seem credible while hiding data and methods.
This is mild compared to others:
intentions are the most dangerous path in science. We don’t give Josef Mengele sympathy or a pass because of all the good things that came out of his research on hypothermia, because his methods (abuse, torture, and killing of prisoners) was an abomination. He worked with the “good intentions” of saving German sailors and pilots from hypothermia in the ocean.
In this case, it’s not that Jones was actively killing anyone (passively is another question:http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/politics/2010/03/02/baby-shot-in-global-warming-suicide-pact-somebody-should-sue-al-gore/) but his work is, in a way even worse.
…Jones may have started with good intentions, but like any path paved with good intentions, it led him straight to the hell he is mired in today. A destination he earned and so justly deserves.[my emphasis]
When someone calls Godwin’s Law,
Come on, Jeffrey, you just proved Godwin’s law early in the discussion, and thereby lost the argument by reductio ad Hitlerum. However much you disagree with Jones’s ideas, actions and methods he is no Mengele, for pity’s sake, even for rhetorical purposes.
Richard Drake is having none of it, for he thinks the analogy is appropriate. Yes, Mengele and Jones — they do belong together in the same sentence — on CA, that is.
I beg to differ. I think the point about Mengele was well made, in this context. We should talk about the guy more often, not as a monster but as a genuine scientist who went horribly wrong, because that’s what he was. Nobody’s saying Jones reached anything like the same depths. But the good intentions bit deserved this challenge.
I’ve never rated Godwin. The problem with his law is that when it’s OK to break it it’s often vital to do so. It never seemed to me to make for good net ‘jurisprudence’. And there was nothing ad hominem about this, which is the normal case I’ve heard cited.
I really doubt if Prof Jones was motivated by an intense fear for humanity! He must have seen how tenuous was the data supporting AGW!
It is important to remember that making the changes demanded by AGW enthusiasts will cost lives. You can’t make a change of that magnitude without killing people, if only because so much resource will have to be redirected into alternative energy sources.
Prof Jones was a second rate researcher that thought he had a lucky break by finding a subject that was rewarded well without much scrutiny.
Dave Andrews thinks the scientists were motivated by fame and fortune:
Steve may snip this but whilst ‘the lust for fame and power’ is an accusation that I think could be levelled at people like Mann, and possibly Hansen, in the case of Jones and some others I think they were largely overtaken by the political processes of the UN. Suddenly they were ‘the most important scientists in the world’, feted at every turn.
Of course, McIntyre lets all this go on without comment. Like I say, he drops the crumbs and the nutcases follow the trail.
Symon sums up the questioning: “They don’t exactly give PJ a tough ride, do they? To quote the former UK Labour Chancellor Denis Healey, it was like being savaged by a dead sheep…”. Fred Pearce of the Guardian commented that: “…the Commons committee tiptoed round embattled scientist and sidestepped crucial questions”.
Jones kept saying that the “products were available” over and over again. So I guess according to him there is no problem. When pressed for the underlying data, he said that it was available at NASA ans NOAA. Phil, you idiot! We don’t trust you. I want to be able to take YOUR data and confirm that YOUR data isn’t faulty. then take your data and process it with your computer filters to confirm that you haven’t, with your programmes forced results to confirm your hypothesis, then check YOUR programs to be certain that you haven’t manipulated the software. It does me no good to look at your “product” or other people’s data when your behavior is what I trust the least.
Stop referring to other people’s data and your “product”. What a bullshitter!
Supercritical’s powers of reason are supercritical:
Did you see the Government Chief Scientific Advisor get a bit of a telling-off at the end?
From watching that session I’d say that CRU,UEA, the Met office, AGW theory, are now toast.
Also the Chief Obfuscator Acton lied when he said that Canada wouldn’t allow the release of the data. That is a complete lie. Canada make no such restrictions. The only thing Cnada would like is the acknowledgment that they participated in the data collection and according requests that data links point sto environment Canada, which make all data publicly available. I know because I use it every day.
This is what those academic scientific dictators do. They nuance lies.
This cracked me up:
Gore and The UN IPCC should be forced to give back their Nobel Peace Prize. The flaws in Gore’s film and the errors in the 2007 UN IPCC Report that have been discovered since the award was given should disqualify both parties. Irena Sendler who risked her life daily during World War II to save the lives of over 2,500 Jewish children is much more deserving. Please sign the petition to demand that Gore and the UN IPCC have their award taken away. http://www.stripgore.com
I think I’ll start a new law for losing arguments:
The Shewonk Law: The mention of Al Gore in a post on climate change that has nothing to do with Al Gore is grounds for epic fail.