One down, two to go: First “investigation” into data fixing scandal clears scientists, says warming is real
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
A Parliamentary investigation into the climategate scandal has cleared the scientists involved of any data fixing and subversion of the peer review process, and notes that the scandal provides no evidence to challenge the notion that human activity is causing catastrophic global warming.
The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee Report (PDF), the first of three investigations into climategate, produced its report after only a single day of oral testimony.
The report concludes that UN IPCC affiliated scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, led by director Phil Jones (pictured at the hearing), did not tamper with data in an effort to exaggerate the threat of global warming.
The Report states that “The scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact”.
The committee added that it found nothing sinister in Jones’ use of the words “hide the decline” and “trick” with regards to data on temperature changes.
The committee contends that when Jones stated “hide the decline” in an email to his colleagues, he was referring to discarding erroneous data, rather than deliberately concealing it.
The report also states that Jones’ use of the word ‘trick’ “appears to be a colloquialism for a ‘neat’ method of handling data.”
The Committee pulled this explanation from testimony by the CRU itself, which stated:
…as for the (now notorious) word ‘trick’, so deeply appealing to the media, this has been richly misinterpreted and quoted out of context. It was used in an informal email, discussing the difficulties of statistical presentation. It does not mean a ‘ruse’ or method of deception. In context it is obvious that it is used in the informal sense of ‘the best way of doing something’. In this case it was ‘the trick or knack’ of constructing a statistical illustration which would combine the most reliable proxy and instrumental evidence of temperature trends.
Scientist Steve McIntyre, who is mentioned over 100 times in the hacked emails has consistently explained how this explanation is insufficient and falls flat on its face.
On his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre rebuts the Parliamentary Committee’s conclusion, noting:
“Contrary to [the University of East Anglia’s] claims, there is no valid statistical procedure supporting the substitution of tree ring proxy,”
“This is absurd.” McIntyre added, “The trick was not a “neat” way of handling data, nor a recognized form of statistical analysis. The trick was a clever way of tricking the readers of the IPCC 2001 graphic into receiving a false rhetorical impression of the coherency of proxies – a point understood at the beginning by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, but now misunderstood due to continued disinformation.”
McIntyre points out that at no time did even the CRU itself contend that any of its data was “erroneous”, so to conclude that it had to dispose of such data is ludicrous:
In addition, their suggestion that Jones and others were doing nothing more than “discarding data known to be erroneous” is simply absurd. There was no testimony to the Committee (nor has it ever been suggested) that the tree ring data was measured incorrectly or that the data was “erroneous” – the data is what it is. The tree ring data goes down instead of up – but that doesn’t make it “erroneous”. It only means that the data is a bad proxy – something that was concealed from IPCC readers.
McIntyre submitted notes to the Science and Technology Committee on this very detail of the matter, however, it seems his detailed description has been completely disregarded.
The idea that the “trick” was not to conceal data that was out of step with the scientists warming thesis also falls down when you consider that the code within the CRU’s climate models prove that temperature numbers were “artificially adjusted” to hide the decline in global warming since the 1960’s.
This information was leaked along with the inflammatory emails referring to it and provides the real smoking gun. However, predictably, there is no mention of the coding in the STC report.
With reference to charges of subverting the peer review process by Jones and the CRU, the report states “the evidence we have seen does not suggest that Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process”, adding that academics should not be criticised for “informal comments” on papers.
So when Phil Jones wrote the following to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University: We “will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” that was not a declaration of intent, according to the STC investigation.
The committee essentially believes it is A-OK for the CRU scientists to routinely refer to any research offering alternate viewpoints as “disinformation“,”misinformation” or “crap” that needs to be kept out of the public domain. The committee sees no problem with the fact that those same scientists have the power to do just that.
It is backwards and upside down to constantly refer to a “scientific consensus” in order to back up claims of human induced warming and then to essentially state that it doesn’t matter whether or not the scientists at the head of that same consensus have operated within a culture of stonewalling dissenting evidence, theories, data and viewpoints.
After one afternoon of interviews, the STC report concludes “We have found no reason in this unfortunate episode to challenge the scientific consensus.”
“There was no evidence to challenge the ’scientific consensus’ that global warming is induced by human activities.” the report states elsewhere.
Of course, the committee did not spend any time looking at the science, and it was never the intention of the investigation to vindicate the scientific theory behind anthropogenic global warming, however, those two juicy quotes will serve to do so in the eyes of the media and the public at large.
The STC investigation into climategate is farcical on its face. The Committee itself admits that it’s report is insufficient and does not cover all the issues. Phil Willis, the committee’s chairman, noted that it had to produce something quickly before the British general election, and a possible change of government, in May.
“Clearly we would have liked to spend more time on this,” Willis said, adding “We had to get something out before we were sent packing.”
Though the Committee condemned the CRU for withholding information requested by outsiders under Britain’s freedom of information laws, it failed to determine whether Professor Jones had actively deleted information to prevent requests to publish it, as indicated by requests made by Jones in emails to his colleagues.
“The culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted to avoid disclosure, particularly to climate change sceptics, we felt was reprehensible,” Willis told a news conference.
However, the report does not indict Jones on these charges, perhaps because, as revealed by one of the MP on the committee in comments to The Times of London, all members had agreed not to question Professor Jones too closely because of his “fragile condition” – now that’s what I call getting to the bottom of the matter.
Phil Willis also said that the further two pending inquiries into the e-mail scandal would provide a more in depth review. However, as we have previously reported, we can hardly expect the so called “independent” investigation led by Sir Muir Russell to be in any form impartial, given that Russell himself vehemently supports the notion of anthropogenic global warming and has constructed a panel of “experts” that share the same views.
Those views clearly contradict the founding principle of the inquiry – to appoint experts who do not have a “predetermined view on climate change and climate science”.
Thus, any notion that this investigation might shake the foundations of the perceived “consensus” on climate science, by being anything other than favourable to Phil Jones and the CRU, is highly unlikely.
Once again it will be left to the alternative media and the blogs to expose these whitewash reports for what they are, given that the vast majority of the corporate mainstream media will undoubtedly run with headlines such as “Investigation Clears Climate Scientists” and “Warming Science Vindicated”, headlines that will be repeated ad infinitum by warmists, carbon trading scam artists and eco-fascists everywhere.
Update: Yep, the media is running with those afore mentioned headlines.
“I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.” – Author, Michael Crichton.