the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Parliament to Investigate UEA

Posted by Jeff Id on January 22, 2010

Ok, this is a big deal.  Climategate has caused the UK government to begin investigations into the UEA. UEA was looking into the illegal blocking of FOI’s the hiding of data from the IPCC and current and future dissemination of data policy, peer review and other issues.  Now UK parliament is asking for comments from interested parties on 3 points below to do their own investigation.   Anthony Watts is also carrying this story at WUWT. It looks like the standard horsecrap “it’s out of context” answers the advocaticians are spouting aren’t holding water with non-advocates after all.

The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three questions:

—What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

—Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?

—How independent are the other two international data sets?

The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.


On 1 December 2009 Phil Willis, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of UEA following the considerable press coverage of the data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The coverage alleged that data may have been manipulated or deleted in order to produce evidence on global warming. On 3 December the UEA announced an Independent Review into the allegations to be headed by Sir Muir Russell.

The Independent Review will:

1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds .


The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

Each submission should:

a)be no more than 3,000 words in length
b)be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c)have numbered paragraphs
d)include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked “Climatic Research Unit”. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

—Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

—Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

—Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

—Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

14 Responses to “Parliament to Investigate UEA”

  1. PhilJourdan said

    Just looking for an opinion – do you think it will be of any value? Or is this just a way to occupy the crowd while the real action goes on behind the scenes?

  2. Peter B said

    I live in the UK, and although I hope I’m wrong, I can’t see much coming out of this. The vote for reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 was nearly unanimous – there is nearly no dissent on that in the Commons. The House of Lords has at least two good members in that area, Lord Lawson and Lord Trevane (as a hereditary peer, I don’t think that Lord Monckton has much of a role in the House of Lords these days). But it looks like this commission is Commons-only.

    I’mn afraid they will end up calling several “reputed climate scientists” to testify, who will say that “yes some of the mails don’t look good but they don’t change the science” etc. That doesn’t even require an intentional whitewash.

  3. HotRod said

    Oh that’s very good. And good questions.

  4. Adam Gallon said

    Anyone else find this a little amusing?
    Large brush
    Pail of whitewash
    PS MS word, no later than 2003! Good heavens, are they using Windows ME too?

  5. Adam Gallon said

    Right, I’ll forego further attempts with this here aitch-tee-em-el stuff, I did put..
    ” You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000″
    in first, but it vanished.

  6. Arthur Dent said

    This may indeed be a whitewash, but UK House of Commons Select Committees have a reputation for being independent and frquently come up with reports that the government finds embarassing.

  7. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I would not expect US politicians to do nothing more than go through the motions while upholding whatever was their preconceived notions going into a process like the one outlined in this thread. I suspect that the British are better at articulating this pretense than their US counterparts are, but I would guess that the outcomes will be pretty much the same.

  8. Geoff Sherrington said

    Recommend to treat it seriously as possible, but read and re-read the Terms of Reference and the special requirements. It is not an open invitation to provide a cure for the ills of the world.

  9. Joe said

    Possibly whitewash but I suspect probably not.

    HOC committees do tend to guard their independence jealously – including what (within their remit) they do or do not investigate. If they were only interested in accepting the Party line, the obvious answer would have been to not investigate. There is, after all, a comprehensive independent investigation already under way.

    The only reasons for doing this at all are to try and reinforce an anticipated “not guilty” finding, to genuinely investigate, or to simply get a piece of the action.

    The first is unneccessary and risky – if something goes wrong then they stand to harm their own reputations (UK MPs aren’t exactly flavour of the month anyway right now). Much safer to keep their hands clean and wait for the UEA investigation.

    The second is a possibility – remember that a lot of that 80% vote for emission cuts will have been in good faith on the basis of the “settled science”. Some of those votes may be feeling a little upset that the facts might not have been quite as factual as they were led to believe (again – Iraq enquiry anyone?)

    The third possibility really makes most sense in an election year – in which case it might be interesting to see what the AGW mood is in the committee members’ constituencies before trying to predict the findings.

  10. Chris S said

    I’ve no doubt this will be a whitewash. We have many Parliamentary inquiries here in the U.K. They all end up worth jack shit.
    What with this being fundamentally a political issue, it’ll probably be conducted by the friends of UEA, result in a few minor criticisms, data still robust, job done. Our Government is after all, about 90% warm.

    If it features at all on the news here, it’ll be after a story like,…….you know,… the one about the squirrel…….who rescues a kitten from a tree……

  11. David Harrington said

    Select committees tend to be pretty independent minded and there will be one or two backbenchers who will see this as an opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight. If it is a whitewash then it will have to be done in public and that is not as easy as you think as several of the bigger newspapers will be allover it, Telegraph, Mail , Express etc.

  12. dave leary said

    They’re asking the right questions tho – a higher level, and are seeking views and information on the UEA investigation.

    I can imagine answers leading to:
    1) CRU has damaged UK reputation in science,
    2) the UEA can’t possibly conduct an independent investigation, and
    3) the data aren’t all that independent anyway.
    Shut them down.

  13. […] Parliament to Investigate UEA […]

  14. Alexander said

    My worries about the enquiry are that enquiries in the UK don’t usually achieve much apart from protecting the status quo. The Chair for the enquiry talks about ‘Deniers’ etc., although he prides himself on being a logical thinker who progressed from classroom teacher to well-regarded head teacher to MP (if that’s progress!).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: