the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

House of Commons Report on Climategate

Posted by Jeff Id on March 30, 2010

Breaking news:

Today The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee released their report on climategate emails.  Professor Jones et team were exonerated from any wrong doing.  No big surprise there but oddly I’m a little busy right now with my newborn.  My wife and I thank you for the wishes everyone.  So with that in mind, I’ll post here, the summary, a link to the full report and some thoughts below.

Summary, my  bold:

CLIMATE SCIENCE MUST BECOME MORE TRANSPARENT, SAY MPs

The Science and Technology Committee today publishes its report on the
disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the
University of East Anglia. The Committee calls for the climate science
community to become more transparent by publishing raw data and detailed
methodologies.

Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

“Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the
science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds
on climate change mitigation.
The quality of the science therefore has to be
irreproachable. What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need
to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and
full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been
available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.”

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the
accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and
computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with
common practice in the climate science community but that those practices
need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails-“trick” and “hiding the
decline”-the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in
private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a
systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty
against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific
consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief
Scientific Adviser, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is
induced by human activity”. But this was not an inquiry into the science
produced by CRU and it will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel, announced
by the University on 22 March, to determine whether the work of CRU has been
soundly built.

On the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Committee
considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the University,
not CRU. The leaked e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at
CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid
disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics.
The failure of the University to grasp fully the potential damage this could
do and did was regrettable. The University needs to re-assess how it can
support academics whose expertise in FoI requests is limited.

Ends.

Of course the spending of trillions of dollars is absolutely unscientific and it has not been determined as being useful in any way whatsoever.  It makes environmental extremists happy because it mitigates our economic success, however it will do exactly nothing to solve climate change as we do NOT have the technology to do a single thing about it.  It’s fairly bold to put that comment right in the summary, but it shows just how far politics has gone these days.

Also, claims that “hide the decline” had a meaning outside of a non-braindead readers understanding, are more than difficult to swallow.  Again the point was to make the paleo-reconstructions look more consistent for the IPCC report.   Nobody except a few specialists would even recognize that there was some question in the data.   If you take parliaments report on this aspect of climategate, the data, as presented, is still good!!  I wonder if they would be as happy with someone plotting a stock market result by clipping the decline in one stock and replacing it with another.  As though that is too complicated for our pretty little heads to figure out.

When reading the following report, remember they are powerful government officials, talking about trillions of pounds in government directed money.  That’s enough power and influence to sway nearly any “average” politician, so what did you expect.  However, the review was not a complete loss they did conclude that it might make sense to release the temperature data and code.

One more baby step on disclosing data and methods.  I suppose that with the nature of the ‘science’, the politicians already know what they want, so that’s the best we will get.

The report is here — HC 387-I UEA Final (Embargoed) v2

Also, if you read the whole report, Graham Stringer dissented on several key issues.  The bottom of the report had several interesting votes.  I’ll try to write more later tonight when things quiet down but on many key issues, he found himself the lone wolf in the pack. Not surprisingly, I find myself in agreement with his positions on those, I’m surprised he had the guts to do it.

CLIMATE SCIENCE MUST BECOME MORE TRANSPARENT, SAY MPs

The Science and Technology Committee today publishes its report on the
disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the
University of East Anglia. The Committee calls for the climate science
community to become more transparent by publishing raw data and detailed
methodologies.

Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

“Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the
science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds
on climate change mitigation. The quality of the science therefore has to be
irreproachable. What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need
to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and
full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been
available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.”

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the
accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and
computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with
common practice in the climate science community but that those practices
need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails-“trick” and “hiding the
decline”-the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in
private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a
systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty
against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific
consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief
Scientific Adviser, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is
induced by human activity”. But this was not an inquiry into the science
produced by CRU and it will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel, announced
by the University on 22 March, to determine whether the work of CRU has been
soundly built.

On the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Committee
considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the University,
not CRU. The leaked e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at
CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid
disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics.
The failure of the University to grasp fully the potential damage this could
do and did was regrettable. The University needs to re-assess how it can
support academics whose expertise in FoI requests is limited.

Ends.


51 Responses to “House of Commons Report on Climategate”

  1. Scott said

    No bias present in that voting…. Sigh. Agree with your points based off of my reading of the summary. Exactly what was expected…still hate having my cynicism continually being confirmed. Maybe I’ll get the stomach to take in the full scope of the whitewash and read the report tonight.

  2. kdk33 said

    “the politicians already know what they want, so that’s the best we will get”

    Bingo! Government funded science concludes: we need more government in order to fund more science.

    Who knew?

  3. Interesting that the presser comes right out and says that the emails and data were “leaked” . . .

    The take-home point here is not that the members of The Team were allowed to escape, but rather that the political reality is that so much has been invested in response to AGW that it’s political suicide to find that all the time, money and resources poured into AGW has been a waste of monumental proportions.

    Unfortunately, this means that the UK government evidently intends to continue lumbering down the road to economic and societal suicide instead.

    I’ve always strongly maintained that a politician’s long-term horizon extends only until the next election. Not that it’s comforting to see a pack of them confirming my suspicions, though . . .

  4. The Diatribe Guy said

    Jeff, just saw the news on the new arrival. Congratulations, man.

    And listen, as much as I admire your commitment to the blog, don’t you dare feel guilty about taking a respite to care for the fam and handle business. First things first.

    Good stuff, though. Governments talk about spending a trillion dollars here and a trillion dollars there as if it’s you and I talking about a $20 bill. We don’t have ten billion people on the planet, but let’s round up. We have more than a 10 trillion dollar debt in the U.S. alone. We need every man, woman, and child on the planet to give us $1000 to eliminate the debt we have. That’s everyone – including people from Haiti and Somalia and everywhere else. And that’s just the U.S. Worldwide debt per capita is so staggering taht it’s simply ignored and we pretend everything’s OK. So, let’s implement health care we can’t afford and let’s throw in some cap and trade. Hell, we have trillions at our disposal!!! Woo hoo!

    The insanity has reached proportions beyond comprehension.

    Um… sorry for the rant. I had actually just intended to congratulate you. I’m just kind of PO’d at pretty much all governments these days. Does it show?

  5. [...] Air Vent: Of course the spending of trillions of dollars is absolutely unscientific and it has not been [...]

  6. Derek said

    The only solution to AGW, because it is primarily a politically funded problem is,

    DO NOT vote for ANY politician, of ANY political party,
    that has ANY policies based upon man made “climate change”.

    If asked why you will not vote for “them”, then the answer is,
    as AGW IS FALSE,
    you know they are lying.

  7. M. Simon said

    Governments talk about spending a trillion dollars here and a trillion dollars there as if it’s you and I talking about a $20 bill.

    On my budget that would be quarters.

  8. [...] House of Commons Report on Climategate « the Air Vent [...]

  9. Kondealer said

    While this “inquiry” was in process, I submitted an FOI request to the ICO for all materials pertaining to “climategate”. They arrived on 24th March- after the deadline for submissions to the Inquiry. I therefore sat on them so as not to prejudice their report.
    As it is, I need not have worried.

    I make no other observations except that I do not believe the CRU ststement below really agrees with what the ICO have released (all documents are below) and that the Met Office alos did its best to hamper any FOI requests with repect to the IPCC.

    1)CRU statement
    Statement from Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia
    Thu, 28 Jan 2010
    The University of East Anglia has released the following statement from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton.
    “The University learnt yesterday that the Information Commissioner’s Office (the ICO) had made a statement to the media regarding the University’s handling of requests under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). We have not received any further information from the ICO although we are urgently trying to contact them. 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.

    “Sir Muir Russell is currently conducting an Independent Review of the issues surrounding what has become known as ‘Climategate’ and we very deliberately made our handling of FOI requests part of the terms of reference. I look forward to receiving his report and as I have said before it will be published and I will act accordingly if he finds there is indeed substance in these allegations.”

    2)ICO response letter to my FOI Request
    24th March 2010

    Case Reference Number IRQ0298380

    Dear

    I am writing further to our email dated 25 February 2010 in which we acknowledged your request for information to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

    Specifically your request stated;
    “I hereby request, under the auspices and authority of the F.O.I. Act (2000), for copies of all letters and emails from 01/01/2005 to present, that the ICO has had with UEA and/or CRU, the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and the University of Reading which pertains to any enquiries made, or advice given, regarding the FOI Act, its interpretation and possible release of information requested using the Act.
    I further request transcripts of any telephone conversations between ICO and UEA and/or CRU, the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and the University of Reading, on the same subject from 01/01/2005 to present .
    If telephone transcripts are not available I request dates, times and durations of any such telephone calls that fall into the aforementioned category.”

    As previously explained we are treating your request as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA).

    As you have requested information in relation to three organisations for your ease of reference I will deal with each one in turn.

    Firstly with regard to correspondence between the ICO and the University of East Anglia in answer to your request we have identified that we hold four enquiry cases from the University of East Anglia and we have enclosed a copy of the correspondence contained within these cases.

    Three of these cases relate to written enquiries from the University dated 8 April 2005, 12 August 2008 and 15 December 2009 and the fourth is a record of a verbal enquiry dating from 24 November 2009.

    As you will see from the attached information the first enquiry, submitted in April 2005 is concerned with repeated requests arising from the construction of a multi-storey car park and the second, submitted in August 2008 concerns publication schemes.

    The record of a verbal enquiry dating from November 2009 was seeking advice on information held on computer back up systems. This call was made after the climate data emails were placed in the public domain, at which point the ICO was aware of a potential issue with the University’s handling of related requests. As you may be aware from my colleague Mr, it is not common practice to record verbal enquiries made to the ICO; however in this instance the Officer concerned recognised the wider interest in the case and with this in mind made a note of the conversation.

    The third of the written enquiries dated December 2009 concerns the same topic as the verbal enquiry. In all these instances the enquiries were dealt with by the provision of general advice.

    By general advice, the ICO refers to high level, non-specific guidance on how an authority might consider approaching a request. This may involve directing an authority to published guidance or good practice notes. Where such decisions exist, it may also include referring an authority to relevant Decision Notices or the findings of the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights). In all circumstances, the ICO will make clear that they cannot discuss the specifics of actual requests.

    You will note from the attached information that we have redacted the names of two of our employees. This information has been withheld in accordance Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by virtue of Section 40(3)(a)(i). Section 40(2) allows a public authority to withhold information from a response to a request when the information requested is personal data relating to someone other than the requestor and either the first or second condition in Section 40(3) is satisfied. In this instance the disclosure would satisfy Section 40(3)(a)(i) as to disclose such information would contravene one of the Data Protection principles.

    It is the policy of the ICO to only disclose the names of its employees who are either above a certain level or those who are customer facing. In this instance these names do not fall within our disclosure criteria. Therefore we consider that such a disclosure would be unfair and in breach of the first Data Protection principle which states that – “Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully”.

    We are also aware, however, of at least one other verbal enquiry, made in late 2009 and which also concerns information held for the purposes of FOI or EIR. This particular enquiry is recalled from the memory of the Officer who took the call and is not recorded in a permanent format. As before, the University were provided with generic advice as a result of this call.

    Please be advised that the attached information is all the records of enquiries / advice which we hold which fall within the scope of your request in relation to the University of East Anglia.

    In regard to correspondence between the ICO and the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre which relates to “enquiries made, or advice given, regarding the FOI Act, its interpretation and possible release of information requested using the Act” we have conducted a search of our system however we have been unable to find any enquiry cases which relate specifically to the “Hadley Centre”. We have however identified one freedom of information enquiry case which relates to the Met Office.

    This enquiry was made on 30 June 2008 and relates to whether an Intergovernmental Panel would be covered by the FOIA. In answer to your request we have enclosed a copy of the information contained within this case.

    We have also identified that advice was provided to the Met Office in regard to a FOI section 50 complaint on 28 April 2008 at the point at which the case was being closed. The advice which was provided is as follows;

    “……the Commissioner does not propose to serve a decision notice in this case. He does, however, take this opportunity to remind the Met Office of the need to respond to requests under the FOI Act “promptly” and to stress the importance of learning from the experience of dealing with requests so as to minimise delays in future cases. Certainly if a pattern of delay or breaches of the Act were to emerge from future separate complaints concerning the Met Office, his approach would be likely to be a more formal one.”

    For your information the substance of the complaint was that the complainant did not believe that all the information they had requested had been provided to them. The complaint was closed in line with our robust case handling policy. For your information our robust case handling policy is available from our website via the following link;

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/forms/a_%20robust_%20approach_%20to_%20foi_%20complaint_%20cases001.pdf

    Please be advised that the attached information and the above paragraph are all the records of enquiries / advice which we hold which fall within the scope of your request in relation to the Met Office / the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre.

    With regard to correspondence with the University of Reading between the ICO which relates to “enquiries made, or advice given, regarding the FOI Act, its interpretation and possible release of information requested using the Act” we have conducted a search of our system and have identified that we hold three freedom of information enquiry cases in regard to this organisation.

    In answer to your request I have attached a copy of the information contained within these enquiry cases. The first enquiry is dated 9 May 2007 and relates to their agreements with overseas universities and the application of the FOIA and Data Protection Act 1998. The second is dated 5 March 2009 regarding Trusts and the third is dated 18 August 2009 and relates to publication schemes.

    You will note that some of the information attached has been redacted. The information which has been withheld constitutes the personal data of third party individuals and has been withheld in accordance Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by virtue of Section 40(3)(a)(i).

    Section 40(2) allows a public authority to withhold information from a response to a request when the information requested is personal data relating to someone other than the requestor and either the first or second condition in Section 40(3) is satisfied. In this instance the disclosure would satisfy Section 40(3)(a)(i) as to disclose such information would contravene one of the Data Protection principles.

    We consider that such a disclosure would be unfair and in breach of the first Data Protection principle which states that – “Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully”.

    We have also identified that we hold a written record of a telephone conversation with the University of Reading dated 11 September 2009 in relation to a FOI Section 50 complaint in which advice is provided by the ICO in regard to internal reviews of requests. A copy of this telephone note is also attached.

    Please be advised that the attached information is all the records of enquiries / advice which we hold which fall within the scope of your request in relation to the University of Reading.

    As you will appreciate it is possible that the University of East Anglia, the Met Office or the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and University of Reading may have contacted the ICO by telephone on other occasions however as explained above we do not routinely log or record telephone calls.

    In the event that these organisations were provided with verbal advice, the ICO would not explicitly support the use of a particular exemption or exception as to do so would undermine the Commissioner’s role as an impartial regulator. Further the ICO has duty to support the presumption of disclosure implicit within FOIA and EIR.

    If you are dissatisfied with the response you have received and wish to request a review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been handled you should write to the Internal Compliance Team at the address below or e-mail Internalcomplianceteam@ico.gsi.gov.uk

    Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40 working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the Commissioner.

    If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write to the Case Reception Team, at the address below or visit the ‘Complaints’ section of our website to make a Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations complaint online.

    Yours sincerely

    Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

    3) Correspondence between the ICO and UEA (the more interesting stuff is at the bottom

    Enquiry Cases submitted by University of
    East Anglia to ICO
    1 2jAPR 2005
    From:
    Sent:
    To:
    Subject:
    on behalf of Mail(Qico
    11 April 2005 10:34 .
    foi-enquiries
    FW: query regarding possible s.14 ‘repeated request’
    —–Origirial Message-~— .
    From: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB) 1212 (mailto:David.Palmer(Quea.ac.uk)
    Sent: 08 April 2005 16:53 ‘
    Subject: Query regarding possible s.14 ‘repeated request’
    Sirs,
    I am the person responsible for administration of FOIA at the University of East Anglia. I have received a request that I would like to receive some advice on from your office. .
    Specifically, we received a request some time ago (now ‘under appeal) for: “documents relating to the proposed building of a multi-storey car park….Qf particular use would be any consultation documents passed between the
    University administration. before or while decisions were being made;” I have dealt with’ this as a request under EIR. . . .’ .’ .,’ . . I . . I have now received a ‘request from the same requester as follows: “To find out how much *e’xplicitly* has been spent
    on the car-park planning to date…. i’mean those direct costs ássociated with the planning probess, e.g. the cost of planning permission application and the amount paid to consultaritsalready. ….. To get specifib it would be theconsultancy costs paid to (consultants) …. used in this process, plus probably the costs ofàdJertising the car parktender in the tradeJpuriial, and any other associated costs.”. . .
    This request includes the names of specific consultants (excised here).
    Would this be a ‘repeated request’ under s.14 FOIA tO,which I could therefore apply Reg. 12(4)(b) as being ‘manifestly unreasonable’? First time I’ve had one of these so would be interested in the ICO opinion..:. I
    Cheers, Dave Palmer
    David Palmer
    Assistant Librarian
    universitY of East Anglia
    Norwich, England
    NR47TJ

    University of East Anglia
    Earlham Road
    Norwich
    Norfolk
    NR47TJ
    14th April 2005
    Dear Sir/Madam
    Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding a request received under
    The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
    The matters you raise will be allocated to one of the Commissioner’s Compliance
    Officers who wil give detailed consideration and respond accordingly.
    I should point out that we do have an amount of correspondence awaiting
    allocation. We will, however, make every effort to give you a substantive
    response as soon as possible.
    Should you wish to contact us regarding this matter please be sure toquote the following reference number:
    EN00071 038
    Failure to do so may delay the processing of your request.
    Yours sincerely
    The Information Commissioner’s Office
    19th April 2005

    Dear Mr Palmer
    Ref: EN00071038
    Thank you for your e-mail of 8th April regarding the Freedom of Information Act
    2000 s.14. Unfortunately, the Information Commissioner’s Office is unable to
    provide advice in individual cases as this would compromise the Commissioner’s
    impartiality in the event of a subsequent complaint. Public Authorities must
    determine their response to requests, taking into account all the facts at their disposal
    and the public interest and seek legal advice for complex cases. Awareness guidance
    on all of the exemptions is available on our web site
    ww.informationcommissioner.gov.uk and on the DCA (Department for
    Constitutional Affairs) website at http://www.foi.gov.uk .
    If you have any further queries you can contact the FOI Approvals Team directly on
    01625 545350.
    Regards.
    – ASSISTANT COMPLIANCE OFFICER – FOI
    From: Websi te Feedback
    Sent: 12 August 2008 12: 12
    To:
    Subj ect: FW: ICO Contact Message
    Online Assistant
    01625 545 II
    ww.ico.gov.uk

    – – – – -Original Message- – – —
    From: Website Feedback
    Sent: 12 August 2008 09: 42
    To: Website Feedback
    Subj ect: ICO Contact Message
    A user has completed the contact form. Please find the details below.
    The following has been sent from ww. ico. gov. uk
    Name: David Palmer
    Email:

    Message: We are starting the process of ensuring our university’s compliance
    with the new Model Publication Scheme and are conducting consultation workshops
    with units of the University responsible for the information identified within
    the Model Publication Scheme and Definition Document for HE.
    A number of specific questions have emerged requesting clarification of the
    Definition Document as follows:
    1. Within the class ‘How we make decisions’, you request minutes of teaching &
    learning committees and staff/student consultation meetings. These meetings
    take place at a number of levels within our institution and record keeping can
    vary with the level. To what level of the organisation do we have to publish
    such minutes?
    2. In the same section, you request publication of appointment committee minutes
    – clearly the vast majority of these minutes would need to be excised on DPA
    grounds prior to publication. What is the expectation of the ICO in regards the
    publication of such minutes – there wont be much of use left after the removal
    of the names!
    3. In i Services we offer’ class, you identify i Services for outside bodies i as
    something that sshould be included. Do you have any examples of what you mean by i services for outside bodies i?
    Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
    Cheers, Dave Palmer
    Information Compliance & Policy Manager
    University of East Anglia

    12th August 2008
    Case Reference Number ENQ0210537
    Dear Mr Palmer
    Thank you for your enquiry. I will attempt to answer the three questions you
    raised.
    1. The minutes of teaching and learning committees and staff/student
    consultation meetings were listed in our previous model scheme, so overall
    the requirement has not really changed. The phrasing has slightly changed
    however, with these previously being refèrred to as ‘liaisons’. I would suggest
    that formal meetings and liaisons would need to be included. However,
    individual staff and student consultations, where there may be limited, or no,
    records of the meeting in terms of minutes and where there may be limited
    public interest, may not need to be included. These may also contain personal
    data and may be exempt due to section 40 (although this would vary on an
    individual basis). The expectation, in line with other public authorities,
    definitely extends beyond high-level board meetings.
    2. With regard to appointment committee minutes, these are included in the
    definition documents for other public authorities as welL. Generally disclosure
    would depend on whether it would breach the Data Protection Act, and
    therefore be exempt (as you highlighted). Procedures would definitely be
    expected, but all other information will be dependant on whether you believe it
    to be exempt. In most cases, where minutes do contain personal data it would
    be best to redact the exempt information, and disclose the remaining content.
    3. ‘Services for outside bodies’ is, again, in other definition documents also. It
    is intended to catch those services for which a fee is not recovered. This may
    be reciprocal arrangements, or research undertaken for free, for example. If
    no services fall within this category, as a fee is charged, and hence they fall
    into the ‘services for which the university is entitled to recover a fee together
    with those fees’, this is fine – you would simply need to be aware that this is
    why you have not put anything within this section.
    Yours sincerely

    FOI Good Practice.
    24.11.09
    Telephone call from Dave Palmer at University of East Anglia
    Message from CST :
    “I spoke with Dave Palmer of UEA late yesterday afternoon.
    He wanted to know, as soon as possible, whether we have issued guidance
    the same as or similar to that on the MOJ’s website regarding whether
    information is ‘held’ and therefore searchable under FOI where an individual
    has intended to delete it but is prevented from doing so only due to the
    technical set up of the computer (the relevant page on the website is
    http://ww. i ustice. gov. u k/g uidance/foi-proced u ral-i nformation. htm and the
    relevant passage is copied into this email below with the bit he wants
    confirmed in bold/underline).
    Would someone in your team be able to give Mr Palmer a callback today – he
    was keen to speak to someone as soon as possible. (His number is 01603
    593 523)? FOI CST suggested that it was best answered by FOI GPE.
    MOJ advice:
    Information deleted from the system before the request was received
    Instructing a computer to delete a particular item may not result in the item
    being destroyed immediately. At least for a period, the information might still
    be retrievable, albeit at substantial cost and with potential disruption to the
    system. However, where it is the intention that data should be permanently deleted, and this is not achieved only because the technology will not permit it, authorities may regard such data as having been permanently deleted. This information is no longer considered to be ‘held’ by the authority and does not have to be retrieved or provided in response to a request.
    This approach is not justified where the information has only been temporarily
    deleted and is stored in such a way that it could easily be recovered, for
    example from the Deleted Items folder in Outlook. This information is still
    considered to be ‘held’ by the department and may have to be provided if a
    request is received. ”
    Telephone call made 24.11.09, answering machine, and message left to call
    back.
    Dave Palmer called back circa 12 noon.

    Explained that there was at the moment some difference of approach
    between processing personal data and information held for FOIA and EIR. As
    the directive on which the DPA was based was issued because of the
    concerns about the ease of access to personal information in electronic
    systems, personal information in any form of back up is still clearly held and
    therefore processed for the purposes of the DPA. Under the FOIA and EIR
    our current line is not as strong. We acknowledge that information in a back
    up may continue to be held. It may be better to err on the side of caution. If it
    is known that information is held in a back up it may be better to answer on
    the basis that the information is held and if necessary to consider the cost
    issues. Explained that we have been preparing guidance on the point, but that
    it has been slow to reach completion while our line on information in computer
    back ups is resolved.
    GSS
    Page 1 of 4
    From: Sent: 16 December 2009 15:20
    To: ‘Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)’
    Subject: RE: Information Commissioner’s Office
    Dave,
    Perhaps I should have been a little clearer with my initial response. Our existing guidance does not include the ease of accessibility by other means as a factor in the consideration of regulation 12(4)(b). However, it is not a factor we have explicitly ruled out either, which is why I stated that if you intend to use this approach (and the applicant complains to ourselves) we will make a decision based on the facts of the case. The outcome of such a case would inform our approach on this issue.
    However, I would reiterate that the issue of information already in the public domain, and the degree of accessibility, is addressed in regulation 6(1)(b). You may wish to assess the implications of this regulation.
    Regards

    From: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB) (mailto:David.Palmer(§uea.ac.ukJ
    Sent: 16 December 2009 11:00
    To:
    Subject: RE: Information Commissioner’s Office
    Many thanks for your informative response to my initial inquiry, I appreciate your position regarding not wishing to commit yourself at this stage to a ‘ruling’ on whether information is ‘held’ for the purposes of Reg,12(4)(a).
    In regards 12(4)(b), i note that you do not consider availability as a ground for assessment in determining whether a request is ‘manifestly unreasonable’. i do note, however, that DEFRA guidance states that “The availability of other related publicly available environmental information, for example, in an Environmental
    Impact Statement, may support refusing a request on the grounds it is manifestly unreasonable for the public authority to spend public resources on providing the same information in a different format (Regulation 6).”
    Is the ICO position that it excludes the availability of information as a factor in determining whether it is unreasonable for an authority to spend public resources in providing information in a different (or indeed in a same) format? It seems that a consideration of Reg. 6 also may go to the consideration of a ground under 12
    (4)(b)….
    Cheers, Dave

    From: ico.gsi.gov.ukJ
    Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 20094:15 PM
    To: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)
    Subject: Information Commissioner’s Office
    Dear Dave,
    fie://C:\temp\FW _ Information Commissioner’s Office (Ref. ENQ0282883).html 08/02/2010
    Page 2 of4
    You appear to you have reached a view as to whether the University of East Anglia holds the information requested. It would be inappropriate for me to state whether we agree with
    your conclusion because we may receive a complaint from the applicant and we should not prejudice any future investigation by forming a view now.
    Information which is reasonably accessible by other means is not a factor we currently include in the consideration of regulation 12(4)(b) – the request for information is manifestly unreasonable. If you wish to rely upon this exception, and assuming we do receive a complaint from the applicant, we will of course assess this approach.
    However regulation 6(1 )(b) states that – Where an applicant requests that the information be made available in a particular form or format, a public authority shall make it so available, unless – the information is already publicly available and easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format. You may wish to consider whether this regulation is applicable.
    We hope this information is of some assistance.
    Regards
    FOI Good Practice Officer
    Information Commissioner’s Office
    Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
    Tel: 01625545841
    Fax: 01625 524 510
    Email: ico.gsi.gov.uk

    From: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB) (mailto)
    Sent: 15 December 2009 12:01
    To:
    Subject: FW: EIR Inquiry
    Importance: High
    Apologies, but just some information to add to the mix. i now understand that the copy was taken on 22 November, after receipt of the request, so we did not ‘hold’ the information at the time of the request. However, on a larger point i have been informed that the data that was copied was from an external web
    site and therefore whatever was copied was from data that was purportedly illegally obtained. We have no way of verifying that the data copied is accurate and it would not, in our opinion, be considered the “official”
    UEA record of the datalinformation requested (in this case correspondence from 1999).
    Cheers, Dave
    ve Mr (LIB)
    December 15, 2009 11:32 AM
    id(§ico.gsi.gov.uk’
    Inquiry
    Hamid,
    Further to our phone conversation of this morning & your request for this query in writing, i am writing to gain clarification on a point regarding EIR Reg, 12(4)(a) and Reg, 12(4)(b).
    Reg. 12(4)(a)
    Our situation is that we received, on 20 November, a request for information that was only ‘held’ on afie://C:\temp\FW _ Information Commissioner’s Office (Ref. ENQ0282883).html 08/02/2010
    Page 3 of4
    hacked back-up server that was taken by the Police on 24 November into custody pursuant to their investigation. The requested information had been ‘deleted’ from all email accounts and was only on the server due to the technical set-up of the server – the intent of the persons was to delete the information, We would hold that, in this scenario, we would not ‘hold’ the information for the purposes of Reg.12(4)(a)
    pursuant to DOJ guidance on their website and in the absence of ICO guidance on this point. Some of the information on the hacked server was loaded on a variety servers around the world and is now readily accessible.
    In terms of the request, what if a copy of the material ‘in the public domain’ had been taken by someone in our institution prior to 20 November, and, we felt that at least some of the requested information was within that copy (and the information in the public domain)? Would we ‘hold’ that information at the time of the
    request for the purposes of Reg, 12(4)(a)?
    Reg 12(4)(b)
    If this information is available widely publicly, albeit resulting from an illegal hack of our servers, can we reasonably claim 12(4)(b) on the basis that the information is reasonably accessible to the requester by other means?
    Thanks for your assistance in advance.
    Cheers, Dave P.
    David Palmer
    Information Policy & Compliance Manager
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich, England

    And Finally correspondence between the UK Met Office and the ICO

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Page 1 of 1
    —–Original Message—–
    From: metoffice.gov.uk)
    Sent: 30 June 2008 14:43
    To: Wales External Mail Account
    Subject: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Importance: High
    Hi
    i sent the following email to you last week but as yet haven’t heard anything.
    I wonder if you could give me some advice please.
    1 The IPCC is an intergovernmental panel based in Geneva. Can people apply for information from them under the terms of FOI?
    2 If a person has undertaken work for the IPCC in a personal capacity, can the company he works for be asked for information he has done for IPCC, to be released?
    3 If a limited amount of emails are held by this person, which were sent confidentially from within the group dealing with IPCC, do they have to be considered for release?
    Your help will be greatly appreciated.
    Could you also answer: if someone requests information from the IPCC can they do this, as IPCC are basedin Geneva?
    Regards

    FOI/Data Protection Manager
    Met Offce Alexandria 1
    Fitzroy Road Exeter Devon EX1 3PB United Kingdom
    Direct Tel: +44(0)1392884036 Fax 08709005050
    email: §metoffice.gov.uk

    http://ww.metoffice.gov.uk

    Met Office climate change predictions can now be viewed on Google Earth

    10th July 2008
    Case Reference Number ENQ0206460
    Dear Ms
    Thank you for your query to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Please
    accept my apologies for the delay in our response.
    With regard to your Question 1 asking whether the scope of the Freedom of
    Information Act (the Act) extends to the IPCC.
    The scope of the Act applies to only local and national public authorities and
    does not extend to international organisations such as the IPCC. It cannot
    therefore be used to request information from the IPCC.
    I have also considered the Environmental Information Regulations (the EIR)
    since they are based on an EU Directive. However, the IPCC is a much
    broader organisation with many non-European members. The IPCC do not
    therefore fall within the scope of the EIR. Similarly, the scope of our national
    Data Protection legislation does not extend to the IPCC.
    In terms of your questions 2 and 3 – the Information Commissioner’s Office
    deals only with requests which fall within the scope of the Act, the EIR or the
    Data Protection Act. Unfortunately, I cannot therefore advise you with regard
    to these questions. I would however suggest that you contact the IPCC
    directly for clarification of these issues and in relation to your final question. I
    have been on the IPCC website and their email address is quoted below:
    IPCC.Seccawmo.int
    Although I cannot answer all of your questions, i hope you have found my
    comments helpfuL.
    Yours sincerely
    Senior Complaints Officer

  10. curious said

    Graham Stringer’s questions at the oral evidence session made it clear he got the point and was interested in getting to the truth of the matter.

  11. twawki said

    How can there be transparency when committees are rigged to get a whitewash outcome!

  12. Adam R. said

    “How can there be transparency when committees are rigged to get a whitewash outcome!”

    Haw-haw!

    So funny to watch deniers in full squirm. You thought you had a smoking gun and it turns out you don’t even have the smoke.

    And such wonderful critical thinking skills on display, too:

    “If asked why you will not vote for “them”, then the answer is,
    as AGW IS FALSE,
    you know they are lying.”

    Hilarious. And while we’re on the subject of deniers’ attempted smear jobs, there’s this news:

    http://www.grist.org/article/ipccs-pachauri-cleared-of-financial-wrongdoing/

    Not the best of times to be a spear carrier for Exxon-Mobile is it, folks?

  13. Critical Reasoner said

    Notice that “Jones’ actions are considered in line with common practice in the climate science community”. That suggests that common practice in the climate science community differs from common practice in the broader science community. I wonder why that would be so.

  14. Jeff Id said

    #11, Adam,

    Not deniers.

    Just what the hell makes you think it’s ok to chop off a data series and replace it partially with another – without saying anything to anyone that you had done it????

    People have to be idiots or advocates to have the opinions you expressed.

  15. Sam said

    Congrats on the newborn! Mine is almost 5 weeks. I did lay off the blog a bit, and my wife appreciated it. So don’t worry about posting here, you’ve done enough recently to warrant an extended vacation. Take care.

  16. tarpon said

    And who thought bankrupt countries would behave any different?

    The problem is the public is catching on the the government grants for the right type science scam … You get what you pay for.

    The suggestion that all climate science is, is lies, makes perfect sense.

  17. Derek said

    All in all, you do not have to consider “why” for very long to realise why so many now do not bother to vote any longer.
    In the UK at the last election nearly as many did not vote (roughly 40%) as voted for the winning party.
    The political vacuum is growing, politicians expenses, climategate, etc, will only make it bigger.
    Someone will have to step into the “void” created by the growing mistrust of politicians and politics, honestly.
    They whoever they are, when they step into the void, have better get burocracies reined in, accountable, under control and,
    not the political puppets they now are of the few as well.
    That is the hope for our future.

  18. DeWitt Payne said

    Roger Pielke, Jr. has a somewhat different take on the report. It does come out rather strongly for transparency.

    We recognise that some of the e-mails suggest a blunt refusal to share data, even unrestricted data, with others. We acknowledge that Professor Jones must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew—or perceived—were motivated by a desire simply to seek to undermine his work. But Professor Jones’s failure to handle helpfully requests for data in a field as important and controversial as climate science was bound to be viewed with suspicion. He was obviously frustrated by other workers in the field trying to “undermine” his work, but his actions were inevitably counterproductive. Professor Jones told us that the published e-mails represented only “one tenth of 1%” of his output, which amounts to one million e-mails, and that we were only seeing the end of a protracted series of e-mail exchanges. We consider that further suspicion could have been allayed by releasing all the e-mails. In addition, we consider that had the available raw data been available online from an early stage, these kinds of unfortunate e-mail exchanges would not have occurred. In our view, CRU should have been more open with its raw data and followed the more open approach of NASA to making data available. . . [emphasis added]

    . . . a culture of withholding information—from those perceived by CRU to be hostile to global warming—appears to have pervaded CRU’s approach to FOIA requests from the outset. We consider this to be unacceptable.

    Or as Mosher would say: “Free the data, free the code!”

  19. co2fan said

    #11 Adam

    ” The review found these were all paid to Mr Pachauri’s non-profit organisation TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), which commissioned KPMG.”

    So Pachauri was cleared by the KMPG outfit, which was paid by his “own” non-profit company TERI.

    Sounds like a totally independent investigation.

  20. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Just what the hell makes you think it’s ok to chop off a data series and replace it partially with another – without saying anything to anyone that you had done it????

    People have to be idiots or advocates to have the opinions you expressed.

    Jeff, I think what you observe in your comment above is called intellectual bankruptcy. Hiding the decline and the wordsmithing on the use of the term” trick” demonstrates as much about the state of mind of those commenting/reviewing/investigating as is does about the perpetrator’s . These episodes and comments keep us in touch with the reality of the world we live in.

    I think if I were asked to present a question from which the answer could define the intellectual state within which we exist vis a vis climate science and policy, it would concern the hiding of the decline – because, as you so emphatically note, it is rather obvious what is being done and why and none of it remotely proper in any scientific environment.

  21. Jeff Id said

    #19, Eloquent.

  22. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I should have added to my post above that I disagree with the (small) importance that Roger P Jr puts on “hide the decline” and the “trick” as referenced from the link that Dewitt P provided. Those instances say much about the general state of climate science and are rather glaring examples of the silence of scientists who should be condemning it in no uncertain terms.

  23. Jeff Id said

    P Jr tries to play the middle ground too much IMO. It’s nice and reasonable appearing except that one position on hide the decline is complete nonsense and it only adds to the credibility of nonsense. See #11 for an example of the effect that such positions cause.

  24. Adam R. said

    “Jeff, I think what you observe in your comment above is called intellectual bankruptcy. Hiding the decline and the wordsmithing on the use of the term” trick” demonstrates as much about the state of mind of those commenting/reviewing/investigating as is does about the perpetrator’s “

    “intellectual bankruptcy” Tee-hee, that’s rich coming from a member of this choir.

    You have all been yodeling for months now about Hide the Decline and The Trick, but when the so-called scandal evaporates in front of your eyes, all you can manage is more denial. Sad.

    It must be stressful to have so much raw crow on your plates, poor babies. Maybe it’s time one of you cited the Oregon Petition again–deniers seem to find that soothing. Or how about the linoleum argument? Great comfort food for tiny minds:

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/musings_on_carbon_dioxide/

    Ta-ta, for now, my dears. Remember to assume the position and chant “It’s a Hoax!” a hundred times before you go sleepy-bye tonight. Tomorrow you’ll have forgotten any of this happened.

  25. Jeff Id said

    Adam,

    We’ve been discussing “hide the decline” here for almost two years.

  26. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Adam R. (Mar 31 16:33),

    when the so-called scandal evaporates in front of your eyes, all you can manage is more denial.

    From the report:

    There is prima facie evidence that CRU has breached the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It would, however, be premature, without a thorough investigation affording each party the opportunity to make representations, to conclude that UEA was in breach of the Act. In our view, it is unsatisfactory to leave the matter unresolved simply because of the operation of the six-month time limit on the initiation of prosecutions. Much of the reputation of CRU hangs on the issue. We conclude that the matter needs to be resolved conclusively—either by the Independent Climate Change Email Review or by the Information Commissioner.

    I would hardly call a statement that there is prima facie evidence of a breach in the law and a call for a full investigation a scandal evaporating.

  27. DeWitt Payne said

    As predicted by many, because Jones wasn’t drawn and quartered, the warmers conclude that he was fully exonerated. How reminiscent of Mann and the Wegman and NAS reports.

  28. njm said

    Adam —

    Oh, I wouldn’t say that “. . . the scandal evaporates in front of your eyes . . .” I don’t believe there was all that much expectation that the committee would actually dig too hard to find fault. Parliament has been dumping load after load after load of taxpayer funding to support the AGW theory for years. There’s an election coming up, and a politicians’ first responsibility is to be re-elected. Beyond anything else, we are talking about people who literally cannot afford to be seen as being “too harsh” on the academic institution.

    The investment in the AGW theory being proven fact is way to great to be shredded by officialdom overnight. Then there’s the fact that some of the Very Worthies’ fellow members are in the AGW heap up to their eyeballs, and collegiality enters into the picture. Can’t do anything that will bring a senior member of your party to ground, you know!

    All that said, when you get to reading between the lines with an understanding of gov- and bureau-speak, there are some rather telling findings.

    Adam, one of the essential elements to be able to comprehend the full implications arising from the release of information from the CRU is an understanding of the ins and outs of the scientific method. If you don’t have that knowledge to work with, it might help you to read up on it. In order to understand the failings of the members of The Team, you have to be able to identify where they departed from the tenets of the scientific method. It’s also helpful to understand the role of independent, rigorous peer review in verifying the science. Having a handle on that, you will be able to more fully grasp the level of scientific malpractice that’s been taking place at the CRU and elsewhere.

    One of the disappointments in the “hide the decline” and “the trick” aspects of the findings is that the committee opted to accept that these were some kind of standard practice in the arcane world of climatology. (They did have contrasting information available in their memoranda documents . . . had they taken a bit longer to really perform their task, they might have availed themselves of that information.) However, to their credit, the committee did confine this acceptance to the climatology discipline, which allows the members of other disciplines to breath a small sigh of relief that they are not being damned by what passes for acceptability at CRU.

    So, what I think most of the people who follow tAV are going to do is simply take the committee report as just one more factoid and motor on. The wheels are off the AGW cart, and the folks on the bandwagon are noticing that the ride is getting a bit rough as the handbasket accelerates down the hill.

    Better hang on tight, Adam!

  29. Layman Lurker said

    It seems to me like the committee tried to look at everything but the obvious. Jones wanted the graphic to “hide the decline” so he played Mike’s “trick”. Can it get any more simple to interpret then that? If it was about “the best way of doing something” like the committee asserts, then Jones would have stated his “trick” was to “splice the proxy and insturmental data” or some such thing. He knew that what he was doing was pushing the ethics boundaries.

    The Jones email merely confirms that he sees this excercise as a slight of hand. To suggest, as the committee does, that it is OK to play “tricks” because the climate science community understands that the proxies diverge is not the point. Jones was playing a “trick” to spin a false message – figuring that policy makers would not dig past the surface.

  30. Dan L. said

    So, what I think most of the people who follow tAV are going to do is simply take the committee report as just one more factoid and motor on. The wheels are off the AGW cart, and the folks on the bandwagon are noticing that the ride is getting a bit rough as the handbasket accelerates down the hill.

    Better hang on tight, Adam!

    Heh. You guys are amusing. “The wheels are off the AGW cart.” How quaint.

    Whistling past the graveyard and wishful thinking change nothing in the real world of science. The physics is real; anthropogenic climate change is real; the Air Vent is woo-woo land.

    BTW, what are your views on Intelligent Design vs. evolution? How about HIV causing AIDS? 9/11 Truth?

  31. Dan L. said

    I would hardly call a statement that there is prima facie evidence of a breach in the law and a call for a full investigation a scandal evaporating.

    Ah, so you accept the conclusions of the House of Commons investigation.

    Hold that thought. We will return to it later.

  32. Adam R. said

    Better hang on tight, Adam!

    Always! I hold tight to science. To what do you hold tight?

  33. Jeff Id said

    #32, So Adam, I wonder if you could explain to those of us who are scientifically illiterate, just what did “hide the decline” refer to and just how was it reasonable scientific practice.

  34. njm said

    #30

    The physics is real, yes. Thing is, there are many more things happening that are described by physics involved in climate change than just those pieces used to support the AGW theory. You might wish to open yourself to listening to the full range of opinion in the atmospheric physics disciplines, and then onward to other disciplines in physics that are working on climate change hypotheses. Climatology as a separate discipline is a rather young professional area, and appears to be mired in adolescence at the moment . . . still “finding” itself, it would seem.

    I accept that there is an anthropogenic component to climate change. I seriously question the degree to which that anthropogenic component provides influence to the overall amount of climate change.

    AGW theory remains just that . . . theory. It is not proven to such an extent that we should accept the level of change demanded by those who believe that changes to our economic system is the one viable option available.

    My view on ID vs. evolution is to be open to listening to the debate. There is always new information coming forward that’s worthy of consideration.

    HIV is present in many cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. There are more than one form of acquired immunodeficiency syndromes, if you wish to dig into medical literature . . . you wouldn’t want to limit the full discussion, would you?

    I am not what you would apparently call a “9-11 Truther”.

    I suppose you have some kind of point with this line of inquisition?

    Care to actually engage on the issues pertinent to the thread?

  35. njm said

    #32

    Adam —

    I hold to science that an audit demonstrates adheres to the full rigor of the scientific method, and is verifiable through fully independent, rigorous peer review.

    Jones et. al., also referred to as “The Team”, have yet to meet that standard.

  36. Artifex said

    Hmmm, believe it or not, Dan L. has caused me to consider an new principle (though I must admit Bart while in the conversation with VS on his blog really got the ball rolling in my head)

    If a believer referes to “physics” or “real physics”, specific physics and equations characterizing the event will be nowhere in evidence and there is a very real danger of being hit by waving hands as they whip wildly around

    This also leads to an interesting corollary

    A believer believes solidly in physics exactly until the consequences come into a disagreement with a political point they wish to make

    It’s actually quite amusing to see both in play in the same individual. For a bit of fun examine how many common blog commenters can argue that VS’s statistical examination of temperatures is invalid due to “physics” (of course with nothing but handwaving and a noted lack of a real physics argument or set of equations) who have previously argued that Lucia’s application of specific set of equations concerning the second law of thermo to Tamino’s toy problem “really didn’t matter”. Sort of sad really.

  37. Derek said

    Over at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/30/results-of-the-climategate-paliamentary-inquiry-in-the-uk/
    Richard S Courtney posted at (07:00:49) : a comment that puts the report into a legal rather than scientific perspective.
    This small excerpt of the comment will hopefully wet your appetites to read the rest of his post.

    So, Law Courts assess the apparent credibilty of witnesses and decide which witness to believe.
    Governments have appointed AGW-advocates to positions of authority, and
    a Law Court will alway agree that such witnesses present the ’science’ that should be accepted.

    As an example Hansen could say to a court that the positive water vapour feedback mechanism was warming the earth, due to human CO2 emissions,
    you, I, or anyone else could say and show to the court that the blanket does not exist, and the mechanism is a negative one.
    The court would have to accept Hansen’s version of events as the Government had appointed him
    to a position that means he is more credable than you, I or anyone else,
    regardless of what he says, or the science, or scientific facts.

    I think Richard S Courtney neatly explains why AGW is a political problem rather than a scientific problem,
    and hence the solution to AGW and all it’s woes has to be poitical.
    Don’t vote for “them”.

  38. Peter B said

    I would just like to point out that this is the same Parliament that, in 2008, approved the Climate Change Act, which contains, as per the government’s website definition:

    A legally binding target of at least an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to be achieved through action in the UK and abroad. Also a reduction in emissions of at least 34 percent by 2020. Both these targets are against a 1990 baseline.

    Yes – by this act of Parliament, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions of 2020 must be at least 34% lower than in 1990 – and 80% lower in 2050.

    This was passed in Parliament by the near-unanimity of the three major parties, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat. Only some 3 MPs dissented.

    Nothing more needs to be said. All of the British MPs – with a handful of exceptions – are either totally ignorant of anything regarding science or energy, or at completely opportunistic and their only concern was not to be “out-greened” by other parties. Or they are all under the thumb of the party leaders. Or most likely, all of the above.

    There is no reason to take seriously anything they say or do, whether in Parliament or in committees. In the US at least you still have opposition to total idiocy – in the UK, that is the level of the individuals who decide on how our tax money is spent.

  39. Dudley Brooks said

    I can’t believe that people are still up in arms about the word “trick”. I have been tutoring mathematics for 30 years, and at least once a week I use the word “trick” in exactly the way the researchers were using it, namely, “a clever insight which allows you to do something quickly — BUT ABSOLUTELY CORRECTLY AND LEGITIMATELY! — which would otherwise be much slower or more complicated”. This *really is* standard jargon, not just in climatology but in any field which uses mathematics.

  40. Jeff Id said

    #39, I use the word trick all the time myself. But in this case, the trick is the method of chopping off valid data which demonstrates that trees are not thermometers and replacing the valid tree data with valid thermometer data to make it look better. Thus hide the decline.

    The trick in this case was actually a scientifically invalid and dishonest trick with the stated intent in other of the emails to make the data fit the conclusion. It’s really all spelled out.

    So when you are teaching your math students, I hope that you don’t teach them that when data doesn’t go your way, throw it out.

  41. curious said

    Dudley – I agree; I always think Pythagoras is a neat trick to find the length of a hypotenuse. The difference here is that it is valid mathematically whereas Mann’s was not.

    Two different datasets spliced together into one and smoothed for presentational purposes is more in keeping with the other widely recognised definition of a trick – “a deception”.

    Think of it a bit like a cut and shut job on a car to be sold on as “sound”…

  42. curious said

    38 – Peter B – don’t be too hard on the MP’s. The Climate Act was passed Nov 08 – well before the FOIA drop forced sceptic arguments into the mainstream. Up until that release pretty much everything outside of blog land was full steam ahead for doom and disaster on an unprecedented scale – have a look at the IPCC Summaries for Policymakers.

    Despite the recent shameful revelations on expenses and IMO corrupt lobbying there are some decent MPs who try to do the best for their constituents and country. Unless they actually had the scientific background and the time and energy to investigate the details, what reasons would they have had for not supporting a bill which was presented as leading the way in saving the planet?

    Let’s hope Graham Stringer is able to explain his doubts and reasoning to less scientifically inclined colleagues.

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpid=1704&dmp=1030

  43. Peter B said

    #42,

    The main point, to me, is the sheer idiocy, or dishonesty, of passing a law that says that the UK’s carbon emissions of 2020 must be reduced by “at least” 34% in relation to those of 1990. That is totally impossible, and any government that actually tried to do that would be voted out in the next elections due to (1) energy shortages and/or (2) huge tax increases and/or (3) huge energy cost increases and/or (4) high inflation or interest rates.

    MPs that are either too idiotic to realize the above, or too dishonest to point out the idiocy, deserve no respect – never mind the FOIA files. They are incidental to the points I just made.

  44. Adam R. said

    “32, So Adam, I wonder if you could explain to those of us who are scientifically illiterate, just what did “hide the decline” refer to and just how was it reasonable scientific practice.

    Is your Google broken? “Hide the decline” refers to removing the decline in congruence between the instrumental record and certain narrow, proxy records. Why don’t you investigate this sort of thing yourself instead of automatically assuming it implies a conspiracy to convert the world to Communism?

  45. curious said

    44 – nah, HTD doesn’t just remove the decline, ‘cos if it had they’d just cut the ‘bad’ bit off. It hid it ‘cos they stuck a ‘good’ bit on. A not subtle difference – bit like a car, remove the junk is the “cut” bit, sticking the good bit on is the “shut” bit. Proper job.

  46. Jeff Id said

    #44, In my class you get a D

  47. Jeff Id said

    Ya know Adam, I’m very familiar with the proxy data in this case. I was familiar with it over a year before ‘hide the decline’ came out. Telling me to google it is nearly the same as telling Mann to google the hockey stick. I know you don’t understand but a little effort on your part to understand which blog you are on wouldn’t hurt.

    Jeez

  48. Tim said

    My climate IQ test:

    1) Do you feel that Mann’s hockey stick paper should have been withdrawn because its conclusions are not supported by the analysis provided in the paper?

    2) Do you feel that its is deceptive to truncate a proxy series and then blend in another series in order to create the impression of a continuous rise in temperatures?

    Anyone with an answer other than yes to both questions fails.

  49. Peter B said

    #48

    I would add,

    “Do you even understand why it is poor scientific practice to extrapolate into centuries in the past a correlation that has’t even been maintained for the full timeline during which you do have all the data, even more so when you have no clue as to why that happened?”

    I can’t think of any scientific field besides dendrochronology where the above would have passed even the “peer review” of an undergraduate lecturer.

  50. curious said

    43 – Peter – I think you are overestimating the level of understanding of science and engineering issues in the population at large, of which MP’s are a subset. I agree better qualified MPs are essential but they cannot be expected to bottom out every issue – they rely on “Guidance for Policy Maker” type documents or the party line on issues where they do not have direct personal skills and experience. It is only in the past month that the Royal Academy of Engineering has published a report on what the infrastructure implications of the Climate Act are – this IMO is something that policy makers should have been requesting 5 years ago but many of them are not strategic critical thinkers. In this context I’d highlight the lack of a critical media as being an essential factor in the unchallenged AGW mantra – like MPs, it would be good if we had more technically competent and diligent journalists. Even in areas where MPs have life experience such as finances (ahem!), ie balancing their own household books, how many of them (and prospective parliamentary candidates) have the rudimentary figures on the UK economy available off the top of their head? There is an obsession with issues such as a couple of pence on the price of a litre of petrol whilst the big picture of £billions is not looked at.

    IMO the old saying that an electorate gets the politicians it deserves has a lot of truth – technically competent and informed citizens need to write to their elected representatives critiquing the science and policy with referenced information. From the UK point of view renewables make a lot of sense as we have a balance of payments issue and are now net energy importers, however the energy issue has been linked to AGW missing the fact we need to have secure, reliable and viable energy supply in its own right. IMO we could also do with an upturn in the productive sector of our economy. In my opinion the renewables program is presented as a working green energy solution when, like AGW, there is still a heck of a lot of basic work missing. Maybe I’m reflecting personal experience but it was only when I started trying to get to the fundamentals of AGW through CA, tAV etc that I realised how much of the settled science is not there.

    I only follow this at a distance so I could be wrong but I have tried to find referenced studies showing how renewables will integrate with conventional generation on a UK national, seasonal and annual scale going forward over the next ten, twenty etc years – if anyone has any links please flag them up; maybe the answers are out there.

    RAE report here: http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Generating_the_future_report.pdf

  51. Adam R. said

    Tim said: “My climate IQ test:

    1) Do you feel that Mann’s hockey stick paper should have been withdrawn because its conclusions are not supported by the analysis provided in the paper?

    2) Do you feel that its is deceptive to truncate a proxy series and then blend in another series in order to create the impression of a continuous rise in temperatures?

    Anyone with an answer other than yes to both questions fails.”

    Tee-hee! Do you give out lapel pins to people who get them ‘right’? “I Have Tim’s Approval!”
    Ooh, ooh: how about this? The pin could have that spelled out on the shaft of a LITTLE INVERTED HOCKEY STICK! AWESOME!!!!

    What’s funniest about denier clubhouses like this is the fevered obsession with Mann. It’s like Creationists’ obsession with Darwin, as if he were a god, and if he were found to have a fault, the whole, awful evolution thing would go away.

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