House of Commons Report on Climategate
Posted by Jeff Id on March 30, 2010
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
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
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.
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.