The Oxburgh Report

The Guardian is reporting that the Oxburgh Inquiry into the methods of the CRU has released its report and has found that the CRU was cleared of malpractice.

The scientists at the centre of the row over the hacked climate emails have been cleared of any deliberate malpractice by the second of three inquiries into their conduct.

The inquiry panel, led by the former chair of the House of Lords science and technology select committee Lord Oxburgh, was commissioned by the University of East Anglia with investigating the research produced by the scientists at its Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

The work of the unit has come under intense scrutiny since November when thousands of private emails between the researchers were released onto the internet. At a press conference earlier today Lord Oxburgh said, “Whatever was said in the emails, the basic science seems to have been done fairly and properly,” although his panel did criticise the scientists for not using the best statistical techniques at times.

The report concluded: “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.”

I’ll post responses when I find them from the contrarian/denialist crowd, but for a start, here’s CA:

The BBC reports that Lord Oxburgh of Globe International is to report his report on CRU science, perhaps tomorrow. The panel was first announced on March 22, 2010 – see here. No terms of reference were disclosed then, nor, to my knowledge, have they been disclosed subsequently.

Harrabin says that “members of the panel are said to have cross-examined CRU researchers for a total of 15 man-days”.

To my knowledge, they have not interviewed any critics of CRU or targets of the Climategate emails.

I don’t expect many happy campers, nor do I expect any retractions. As I have said, it’s not about the science, so if the science is found to be sound, no diff.

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19 Responses to “The Oxburgh Report”

  1. The most important sentence from Steve is this one:

    IPCC presentations are how the climate science community speaks to the world.

    The audit is not only about the science, not even mainly about the Science. The audit is about the way it is told to the World.

    The crux of the matter has always been about telling stories. Steve’s admittance is quite telling.

    Interestingly, we can devise a pea and thimble game, where A asks about story-telling and B will respond about Science, or A asks about Science and B answers back about story-telling.

  2. The claims of ‘whitewash !’ have been waiting ever since the enquiry was first announced, and now the deniers have yet another excuse to wail about that all-encompassing conspiracy against them and their gurus.

    All they have left now is the Russell Report and when that gives them little but crumbs, they will be deep in troofer denial territory, decrying conspiracies everywhere.
    Surely then the more intelligent sceptics will start to question some of their scepticism and dearly-held beliefs ? If not, they can definitively be called Troofer Deniers.

    What does Monbiot say ?

  3. I don’t know what Oxburgh thinks he has accomplished. He never interviewed Steve McIntyre or anyone familiar with the issues involved in Climategate. If he thinks he is going to persuade skeptics without ever interviewing any of them, he is sadly mistaken.

    The Telegraph has an interesting story on this. See

    Note the lie Michael Mann tells at the end of the story. He claims Bloomfield supports his statistical methods. Hogwash. Bloomfield testified before Congress that he agreed with the Wegman Report.

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–
    DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.
    DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.
    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

    I just can’t imagine why Mann thinks he can get away with lying like that. This is all public record. It seems pathological at this point.

  4. So in a trail, the defense is not allowed to be cross examined? How about the fact that anyone could submit evidence.

    More egg on the face of the deniers (and I’m getting tired of accommodating them by calling them “contrarians”). That is two eggings in a matter of weeks, compounded by the McLean, Loehle and Monckton fiascos.

    And yes, the spin of the deniers is predictable. God, if only the weather were as predictable as 7M and Cram et al.

    Ron, can we harness some of that energy from your spinning please….jeez, and now your resurrecting the HS graph canard again? Desperate times indeed.

    Cram, actually look at the different chronologies overlayed on each other here:

    The lines are practically on top of each other for goodness’ sakes. Regardless,the science and stats have moved on since 1998 Cram, now time for you to move along too.

    In the meantime the planet warms. NASA data shows that the last 12 months were the warmest on record, despite the sun only recently just emerging from an unusually long funk.

    Deniers, you still have time to repent for your sins 😉

    Have a nice day Cram:)

  5. Ron Cram :
    I don’t know what Oxburgh thinks he has accomplished. He never interviewed Steve McIntyre or anyone familiar with the issues involved in Climategate.

    It’s about the science, Ron. This inquiry was on the science. WTH does McIntyre have to offer on the science??? NOTHING.

    Ron Cram :
    If he thinks he is going to persuade skeptics without ever interviewing any of them, he is sadly mistaken.

    But, you lot will never be satisfied. Who gives a crap about what the Denialati think anymore? You’re just a bunch of troofers and the reaction to this, plus the fact that HadCRUT has been verified by even ‘sceptics’ including Jeff Id (you know, one of the first to release climategate emails) confirms that your lot have big fat zero cred. If climate had a mommy they’d be ‘climategate birthers’.

    Unless, of course, Jeff Id, Roman M, and Dr Roy Spencer are all part of the grand conspiracy now. Which is it?

    Climategate is irrelevant to the Oxburgh inquiry. The science is sound and the conspiracy theorists don’t want to know.

  6. Without getting into the wonders of deep denial, and the unsubstantiated use of words like ‘lie’ and ‘lying’, it looks like we’re going back to the deniers’ favourite : the ‘hockey-stick’.
    They DO have a big hang-up over that, don’t they ? Why can’t they just let go, accept that they have lost the argument and move onto something more recent. Oh, I remember – they haven’t got anything more recent, especially now that every official report is part of their all-encompassing conspiracy.

    Anyway, more from Bloomfield :

    “Mann’s methods were all quite reasonable choices. I think in some cases a lot of work by others in following up on that have showed that some of those choices could have been made better, but they were quite plausible at the time. I would not have been embarrassed by the work at the time, had I been involved in it and I certainly saw nothing that spoke to me of any manipulation or anything other than an honest attempt at constructing a data analysis procedure.”
    (ABOUT 52 MINS IN)

    He also mentions earlier about ‘unintentional’ ‘distortions’ and how subsequent work using simple averaging arrives at ‘similar reconstructions’.

    [audio src="" /]

  7. Ron Cram projects …

    I just can’t imagine why Mann thinks he can get away with lying like that. This is all public record. It seems pathological at this point.

    You’re the liar, Ron, a serial liar as you’ve proved right here at shewonk’s blog over and over.

    JMurphy, thanks for providing more of the testimony from Bloom, which of course has been perpetually quote-mined by scum-of-the-earth types like Ron Cram.

  8. Now, now dhogaza, didn’t we just get into “trouble” at RC for that kind of rhetoric? 😉

    Thanks JMurphy for shining some truth on the matter.

    It must really hurt to be a denier right now. If I were them I’d lay low for a long while.

  9. I liked this, I think Dr. Allen had a certain failed auditor in mind when he says this:

    “Yet climate scientist Myles Allen of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, is cautious about the panel’s call for improved bookkeeping so that others can later review a body’s work: “Science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems and either confirming or refuting published results, not by ‘auditing’ old calculations. There is a danger that if climate science starts to be treated as a bookkeeping exercise, this would actually impede progress in understanding how the real Earth system works.”

    • This whole “audit” meme is bollocks. For the most part, the IPCC review of the literature in its assessment reports is as sound science as you are going to get without wholesale change of science with perhaps unknown and unintended consequences on its value to humanity. And just to satisfy some cranks and denialists who won’t accept the science regardless? I don’t think so.

      The call for a CA-like audit of IPCC reports and science is bogus IMNSHO. It’s a facade meant to hide the real intentions of its proponents — delay delay delay deny deny deny.

      Hopefully, scientists can now get on with it and leave the contrarians and denialists in their dust.

  10. I agree, and so does Dr. Allen. I sense that people have finally had enough of the antics of ClimateFraudit.

    IMHO, ClimateFraudit and WUWT should shut shop. It is going to be interesting to see if they last much longer. They might, but they are becoming increasingly marginalized and with good reason.
    McIntyre (aka the ambiguous dog) may he not RIP.

  11. Here is yet another quote from Steve, this time from the follow-up post:

    As to a supposed “unawareness of the difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted”, of their “funding and labour pressures” and the “need to publish”, well, boo hoo. These studies have been cited in documents being presented to the public to justify major public expenditures and policies.

    Major expenditures and policies seem to be important matters, matters that are important enough to criticize Oxburgh and, more generally, to justify audits. But these matters are off-topic where audits take place. Boo hoo indeed.

  12. Cram is spouting nonsense as usual. Two prominent deniers wasted valuable time at the UK House of Commons Comittee Hearing and all they had to say was to admit that they were wrong about the travesty, hide the decline and the trick – that it was much ado about nothing.

    But did that satisfy anyone? Any apologies? Nah. Deniers are still touting it as ‘evidence’ on blogs all over the place.

  13. CA said: “To my knowledge, they have not interviewed any critics of CRU or targets of the Climategate emails.”

    Yet that didn’t seem to bother them when the Wedgman report didn’t contact Mann et all, which IMO is an even greater infraction… especially given the recent revelations about that report.

  14. OT but interesting

    Climateaudit site has been sanitised.

    do a google search
    Google – fraud site:

    over 400 hits

    Most link to pages with no use of fraud some link to valid use.

    But then check the cached pages and a different story is revealed!

    Is McIntyre worried by the threat of defamation claims? Unfortunately to remove the defamatory comments now is too late!


  15. TheFordperfect,

    Wow. Very interesting. Good job.

    I could be wrong, but DC, Eli and John Mashey might be interested in this.

  16. Spread where you will mapleleaf


  17. PS the google cache shows the last cache date, the post shows the posting date. This enables you to roughly guess when it was deleted and how long it was on view.

    I’ve posted this on CA, and my blog (for reference)


  1. 2010 in review « The Policy Lass - January 9, 2011

    […] The Oxburgh Report April 2010 18 comments […]

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