the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Steppin in it

Posted by Jeff Id on July 1, 2010

There is a post at CA which deserves a bit more attention than it has been getting.  It has come to light that Phil (climategate) Jones made a statement during the Oxburgh ‘investigation’ to the effect of:

It is probably impossible to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy

Well, I have to admit he has nailed this one right on the head.  Apparently this information came from a reliable source to SteveMcI.  So he took the time to appoach the head man of the alleged ‘investigators’.

I accordingly sent the following letter last week to Oxburgh (both to his House of Lords email and the UEA email address used for the “inquiry”), copying the letter to two members of the Parliamentary Committee and two journalists and forwarded it to the Muir Russell inquiry.

Dear Dr Oxburgh,
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Science Appraisal Panel, which reported on April 14, 2010 on the independent external reappraisal of CRU’s science that had been announced by the University of East Anglia in February 2010.

It has come to my attention from a reliable source that, during one of his interviews with the Science Appraisal Panel, Phil Jones (of CRU) admitted that it was probably impossible to do these [1000-year temperature] reconstructions with any accuracy.

Given that this has been one of the most contentious, if not the most contentious issue, in the disputes about CRU’s science, the failure of the Science Appraisal Panel to record this important information appears to me to be a material omission that, in this case, distorts the research record.

Under the circumstances, I request that you forthwith issue an addendum that clearly reports Jones’ evidence on the probable impossibility of doing the 1000-year reconstructions with any accuracy.

Yours truly,
Stephen McIntyre

This morning, I received the following remarkable response:

Dear Dr Mcintyre,
Thank you for your message. What you report may or may not be the case. But as I have pointed out to you previously the science was not the subject of our study.
Yours sincerly,
Ron Oxburgh

Now Steve did a fine job pointing out that the study was alleged to be about the science at his post here but my favorite bit is that the Ox sob acknowledged (politician style) that Jones made the statement.

I’ve writtenmany times here that the hockey stick stuff is bad science and he scientists know it.  They know damned well that these plots have as much to do with temp as the ant population in Burma.  Jonesy stepped in it again.

28 Responses to “Steppin in it”

  1. Yes, indeed, “science was not the subject” of the investigation by the Science Appraisal Panel because the study was political, not scientific.

    Read George Orwell’s book “1984” and you will see how the Truth Ministry actually operates.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. Saxon said

    Not sure if this ties in directly, but every day I google CLIMATEGATE and then check the news to see what’s going on with this scandal. In the last few days, there have been a major uptick in stories from the usual leftwing suspects (MSNBC, TIME, NEWSWEEK, WAPO, etc.) headlining how Climategate was false and that no one has been found guilty of anything, so the deniers are liars, etc. Meanwhile, the articles are pushing the global warming/climate change/man sucks/down with Capitalism aggressively again.

    In summary, I believe Obama is getting ready to move on Cap and Trade in the next two weeks and the media have been prepped to lay the groundwork for him.

    Thoughts? Comments?

  3. hunter said

    Of course the science was not the point of the investigation. Whitewashing and covering up were the points of the investigation.
    Like superstitious religionists, all the CAGW true believers needed was to be told by someone in authority that indeed the relic was really a bone. Since it is really a bone, it must be magically powerful.
    How cynical transparent and disgusting.

  4. […] Steppin in it   […]

  5. tonyb said


    In investigations of this nature the panel are given very precise terms of reference which they are not permitted to stray outside. Sonmetimes this is done in order to focus in on a small but crucial element that is not very well understood, sometimes done so the subject can be ‘kicked into the long grass.’

    AS examples there were several very detailed enquiries on the Iraq war but they were designed to obfuscate not clarify, so did not get terms of reference that would end up in throwing light on to the subject as to why the Iraq war hapenned but more designed to ensure we DIDN’t find out and thereby embarass those who were involved and are still around in politics

    I think the three investigations we have seen so far on ‘the science’ have been pefect examples of the terms of reference-and the participants-being chosen deliberately so we would learn nothing, whilst giving the appearance of a thorough investigation.

    Its an old establishment trick which doesn’t work so well in these days of better education, less subservience and access to information the ordinary citizen can glean from the internet.


  6. pesadilla said

    Believe it or not, the terms of reference covering this enquiry were given verbally.
    It just proves that even in this day and age, the establishment can and do, stick twoo fingers in the air to those of us who naively hold onto the concept of honesty. Honesty is just a relative term and like justice, it is a marketable commodity. If you can afford it, you can get it.

  7. tonyb said


    I don’t want to hijack this thread but feel it’s relevant to point out that Dr Mann has also been cleared. I haven’t been following that impartial investigation as closely as I have the equally thorough ones in the UK (British irony) but it would be interesting if the actual terms of reference for each of these major ‘enquiries’ could be printed side by side so we can all see how deeply the investigators were ever intended to delve.

    Amusingly, the quote highlighted from Phil Jones in your header should have been enough to have seriously embarrased Dr Mann at his own hearings.


  8. Don B said

    Phil Jones in an interview with the BBC’s Harrabin said the same thing in a different way, that the debate was not over about whether the current period or the MWP was warmer.

  9. GregO said

    Comment #2 Saxon,

    Yes, I have an email newspaper and one of my search topics is “Climategate” and there have been a rash of recent articles drawing attention to the so-called investigations and that, surprise surprise…all is well; the science is settled, no wrong-doing here; boys will be boys; anyone doubting man-made global warming is a right-wing conspiracy theorist denialist nut job. Go back to your coffee and toast. How ’bout that world-cup?

    Right after Climategate (and reading “CRU Tape Letters”) I went ballistic and wrote a longish essay to all of my family and friends…before that I just looked at all the AGW stuff as an Al Gore publicity stunt.

    The thrust of my essay was:

    1) Good news about the exaggeration of man-made CO2 warming. We have enough real problems in the world today.

    2) Climate Science has been to the public for at least a decade, the face of Science itself. Criticism of climate science is criticism of the institution of science itself.

    3) UN credibility will suffer.

    4) Current US executive branch credibility will suffer.

    5) Celebrity AGW supporters like Al Gore/Paul McCartney et al credibility will suffer.

    6) MSM credibility will suffer.

    In short, a lot of Establishment types are going to feel pain and there will be a backlash, and that backlash will be viewed in the future and from a historic perspective as further confirmation that CAGW was a kind of madness of crowds.

    Now, what if we actually are heading into a 20-30 year cyclical cooling trend?

    We live in interesting times.

  10. kim said

    Or a century of the Cheshire Sun and the Eddy Minimum.

  11. JAE said

    “In short, a lot of Establishment types are going to feel pain and there will be a backlash, and that backlash will be viewed in the future and from a historic perspective as further confirmation that CAGW was a kind of madness of crowds.

    I agree. I think many of the climate scientists are suffering from (and offering a perfect example of) cognitive dissonance (in fact, it’s an epidemic in the West–look at US politics). They know very well that much of their science stinks (you have to be AWFUL stupid to truly excuse the “hide the decline” game or believe it makes sense to use an “upside down” proxy to support your temperature reconstruction), but they are attempting to hide obfuscate these problems using all sorts of mechanisms: denial, strawmen, anger at “denialists,” claiming consensus, etc. Mostly denial. It’s actually quite funny in a weird sort of way.

  12. kim said

    It was an extraordinary popular delusion and madness of the crowd, which has paused at the brink, causing cognitive dissonance and grief reaction among those stampeding the herd.

  13. Tony Hansen said

    GregO and Jae,
    I disagree.
    The investigations so far prove that no climate scientist will be held accountable.
    For anything. 😦

  14. JAE said


    Maybe I’m way off-base (again), but I don’t think it really matters that these folks are not being “officially” held accountable. EVERYONE WHO CARES NOW KNOWS the hockeystick papers (and thus a big chunk of the “demonstration” of AGW) are critically flawed, and it is very unlikely that any of them will ever be cited again in a serious vein, even by the most ardent AGW supporter. It is also now very well established, via Climagegate, that some of the climate scientists who were involved in those papers engaged in very “unprofessional” activities, to say the least. And many, if not all, of those folks will probably never be in the limelight again.

    And yet, the “establishment” is going WAY out of its way to excuse the scientists and gloss over/hide/obfuscate/deny the flaws in this work. Why? It is simple; they have no alternative: the dynamo driving all this whitewashing is fueled by the palpable raw fear that this colossal scandal (which it truly is, no matter who is in denial) will affect the reputations of hundreds of institutions, will decrease the amount of money on the table, and will kill the opportunity for the socialists to create an actual man-caused economic disaster in order to avert the latest mythical “sky-is-falling” man-caused disaster called AGW. When you consider just how many environmental groups, governments, govt. agencies, businesses, universities, international agencies, “scientific” journals and societies, etc. are heavily invested in AGW and could be impacted by this scandal, it is very easy to see why there is so much pressure to “hide” or “excuse” this junk science (perfect example of cognitive dissonance). Indeed, a case can be made that the majority of society, itself, is involved. There is tremendous resistance against admitting openly that this key work is junk science. They can’t even admit to much smaller errors.

    But, alas, like Watergate, all these attempts at cover-up just advertise the corruption in big neon lights and make more and more people interested and cynical. The genie is out of the bottle, and I think the AGW scare is over (I sure hope). That almost makes me want to cry.

    Just my thoughts for today…

  15. TGSG said

    “It is probably impossible to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy”

    But we knew that 😉

    I’m not so sure he stepped in it as much as he’s been trying for the past year to get out of what he had willingly rolled around in with the “team”. Remember his “not statistically significant” remark last year/earlier this year. He’s trying oh so hard to distance. YMMV

  16. dkkraft said

    kim – the madness of crowds indeed. Read a Jungian analysis of a similar madness below.

    In the face of so much objective uncertainty in the science, the certainty of the CAGW crowd is surely driven by reviewer bias. This bias has all of the hallmarks of being unconscious and therefore even more powerful.

    Reason alone will not win this battle…

  17. HealthWatch said

    There has been a considerable cry of ‘nothing proved’ in the ‘Climategate’ debate from those who seek to defend science. Partly this has been due to the fact that the emails do not provide a definitive example of what happens when scientists play ‘tricks’ with data to justify an argument. However, a recent paper in the Indian Journal of Emergency Pediatrics has shown how scientists manipulate data in the field of snakebite. The paper includes statements from scientists in this field which directly link misrepresenting the numbers in an attmpt to justify funding.

    It is a useful guide to how widespead the issue of ‘data’ is when produced by scientists to drive policy.

    The paper “The Absence of Progress for both Children and Adults in Global Snakebite Management; Scrabbling for Funding and Business as Usual Ignores Available Solutions” can be accessed from and makes very interetsing reading.

  18. Tom Fuller said

    So nobody looked at the science. At the end of the day, nobody looked at the science.

  19. JAE said

    Fuller: WTF??? Is this an effort to be clever? Wrong thread? Drunk? Trying to be cool? What is your point, man?

  20. kim said

    It’s global discontent. Our Tom’s Globetrotting with an everlasting lantern, looking for an honest Mann.

  21. Tom Fuller said

    Kim is more poetic than I, but that’s essentially it. The Parliamentary one-day wonder didn’t look at the science. Penn State didn’t look at the science. Oxburgh didn’t look at the science. Who did?

  22. Kan said


    Their peers did.

  23. j ferguson said

    Somehow I see all this “looking the other way” as respectful of the juggernaut the whole climate warming business has become.

    The lower schools seem committed to it, much of the media, enough of the politicians, and on and on.

    It would be really interesting to learn on a nation by nation basis what the present annual value of this stuff is to each of their economies. Salaries of climate specialists, value of studies funded, value of advertising, teaching specialists, wind farms, solar panels, pr, etc.

    And this without getting into the cost threat of the really expensive ideas, yet to be inflicted on us.

    I would bet that in the US and UK it’s already a lot. No-one wants to kill the goose.

    Why would anyone have expected Penn State to shroud their likely most effective rain-maker. Did you really think they would be that crazy.

    Or the good Lord Oxburgh? Would he want to be the author of the death of a local industry?

    It doesn’t matter that it’s largely exaggerated nonsense. It’s feeding families.

  24. JAE said

    Tom Fuller: forgive my hasty comment, please. I pictured something hostile when I read your comment. My bad. Unfortunately poetry is not one of my strong (or even medium) suits.

  25. TGSG said

    j ferguson said
    July 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm
    It doesn’t matter that it’s largely exaggerated nonsense. It’s feeding families.
    And the amount has to be potentially HUGE. Just look at the money pits behind it all. Goldman Sachs was into it early, and they really really need another/next bubble to keep the ponzi financial system steaming (pile of?) along.

    When you can influence the taxing of the very air we breathe nothing rational will keep their fingers out of the multitudes of pies. Common sense should in the end prevail.

  26. Greg Cavanagh said

    Kan said

    “Their peers did.”

    Did they? Peer review only guarantees that the peers have agreed with the document, or made comment regarding it (which may or may not have been acted upon). It doesn’t guarantee that they have read it, understood it, or checked the validity of it. All of these attributes are assumed.

  27. hunter said

    this is the Church condemning Luther, inspired by his critique of the indulgence market place. Skeptics have pointed out that the marketplace for CO2 is based on a deeply flawed premise and have found the evidence of this in their own writing.
    So the point of the exercise was to suppress examination of the evidence and to avoid following the evidence anywhere but out.

  28. j ferguson said

    what you write looks pretty good, but it’s hard to recognize the players. Do you suppose you could expand it a bit?

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