15 April 2010

Squeaky Clean

Three weeks after empaneling a distinguished committee to look into issues related to the release of the CRU emails at the request of the University of East Anglia, Lord Oxburgh has issued a final statement reporting their conclusions. According to the LA Times, on the BBC he summarized what they found as follows:
The fact is we found them [CRU] absolutely squeaky clean.
Of the criticisms of CRU raised by climate skeptics?
just plain nasty and ill-informed


Raven said...

Could someone please explain who Oxburgh determined what the 'criticisms of CRU raised by climate skeptics' were? He certainly did not ask the skeptics who raised them.

The Internet has permanently changed many institutions. The CRU emails would have been ignored if it was not for the Internet and it is the Internet that exposed these committees for the shams the are. The net result is these committees only serve to widen the divide between sceptics and alarmist.

I know my own position has hardened dramically as a result of these shameless whitewashes. There was a time when I would have supported modest, economically rational action on CO2 but no more. At this point in time I am so disgusted at the liars and scumbags that dominate the 'alarmist' cause that I will act with the only power I have: a complete rejection any and all policies related to CO2 reduction.

I am not interested in compromise or finding middle grounds as long as the dishonest scientists are allowed to go unchallenged by the wider community. I doubt I am alone.

Fred said...

Someone is about to find out that the old whitewash days have been made obsolete by that interweb thingy.

Sean said...

The inquiries to investigate the CRU affair are just like the research teams they evaluate. Start with the conclusion you want, find like minded people who you know want to reach that same conclusion to study the issues and then select only the data that supports the conclusion.

Sylvain said...

"Of the criticisms of CRU raised by climate skeptics?
just plain nasty and ill-informed"

It would be interesting to know how they could come to that conclusion without interviewing anyone who suffered of what was discussed in the email.

Stan said...


The whitewash is so blatant that the only explanation can be corruption. Look at it as confirmation that the skeptics are right. The science establishment simply does not think they can survive the truth getting out.

Very similar to Clinton's reaction when his pollster told him he couldn't survive if he told the public the truth that he'd lied under oath about Lewinsky. Clinton responded, "Well, we just have to win, don't we?" And so he didn't tell the public the truth.

They whitewash because their credibility wouldn't survive if they tell the truth. It's not about the science, it's about having to win.

jae said...

Absolutely brilliant cartoon!!!

jae said...

As seriously as I can be at the moment: CRU/East Anglia/whatever made a really, really stupid mistake allowing this kind of whitewash/climategate/watergate type of sick commedy to occur. It is SO IRONIC that those who deem themselves "aristocracy" (i.e., the stupid elitists) are SO DUMB and out of touch with reality that they think they have the power and wherewithall to fool the general populace in this day. LOL. Would work, if it were not for the Internet, but the Internet is alive and they are dead! LOL.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

So a guy who makes money off of AGW inspired investments finds, without analyzing anything skeptics say or listening to any critique of the CRU, that skeptics are ill informed and nasty, and that the CRU is great.

papertiger said...


I noticed that you sought to defend yourself at real climate regarding the Ramsdorf Sealevelgate slur Eric Stieg tossed your way.

You mention posting as number 78,
but when I look for your post at RC it's nowhere to be found.

Could this be a mistake on my part (looking in the wrong location), or did they delete you?

Lumo said...

Haha, the whitewash reminded me of the advertisement for laundry detergents from the 1990s, too. E.g. Vizir, shiningly clean... buttocks. :-)

I've never paid any attention to these folks. What they find just shows the pre-existing personal attitudes of those Lords Oxburgh or whatever is the name of the ox.

Email Your said...

Like manufacturing, it now looks like research and development is being lost in the UK. With his vested interests and being a CRU sympathiser Lord Oxburgh has driven another nail in the perceived notion of "British excellence".

"Good enough science" maybe ok for Great Britain but for the rest of the world looking in, the very low scientific standards practiced in the UK is just plain awful. One gets the feeling this is just the beginning of the end of the famed British education establishments.

JohnofEnfield said...

I agree with Raven. The way all this has been handled has significantly hardened my own position. I will not allow anyone anywhere in any circumstances to get away with any "Greenwash" or tell me that the IPCC is the bedrock on which all decisions should be made.

Malcolm said...

Lord Oxburgh's report has already been written off as a poor attempt at a whitewash.

The issue now is who at the Royal Society selected those 11 papers for Oxburgh & co to review, because none of these papers are controversial.

It appears that the Royal Society delibrately kept the review panel away from the contentious CRU papers that have been subject to most criticism.

eric144 said...

As I predicted, the British government can whitewash in its sleep. You don't get to be a Lord unless you can be trusted to do what you are told.

The whole world knows that the world's greatest empire never hurt a soul who didn't deserve it, and that the BBC always tells the truth.

Wee Willie Winkie said...

Like others here, I have reached a point of no return over the blatant lies and distortion being disseminated by the various scientific, academic, political and NGO representatives involved in this debacle.
I hope many more previously neutral observers will be similarly aggrieved and that some way of making a stand can be found.
With the police going way over the top in their treatment of those making FOI requests at UEA, is it not time for reason to enter this arena, or has truth and transparency disappeared from our world forever?

eric144 said...

Email Your

It's not that Britain has low science standards. It is the centre of global finance and the source of global warming politics since Margaret Thatcher as I have said before. Carbon trading is a banking operation.

John Houghton and Phil Jones were appointed by Thatcher who built the Hadley Centre for Climate Fraud.This is the eminent and perfectly sane, Sir John Houghton former co- chair at the IPCC (thanks no doubt to Thatcher).

"In an interview Sir John Houghton gave to The Sunday Telegraph in its "Me and My God" slot on September 10, 1995. As a fervent evangelical Christian, Sir John claimed that global warming might well be one of those disasters sent by God to warn man to mend his ways ("God tries to coax and woo but he also uses disasters"). He went on: "If we are to have a good environmental policy in the future, we will have to have a disaster".


see also

Sir John was a fervent believer in the theory that the cause of global warming is man-made CO2, and the HadCrut computer models, run by his CRU ally Professor Phil Jones, were programmed accordingly. Sir John (and the Hadley Centre) continued to play a central part in the running of the IPCC, selecting many of the contributors to its reports that were the main driver of global warming alarm.

He and Prof Jones were also prominent champions of the IPCC's notorious "hockey stick" graph, which rewrote climate history by suggesting that global temperatures had suddenly shot up in the late 20th century to easily their highest level in history.


bernie said...

This is kind of cryptic. I assume the cartoon is sarcasm, but it does not really communicate your view of the specifics of the report. Can you elaborate?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


I written a few dozen posts here about the email saga. For me it never has been about breaking laws or scientific misconduct, as I've said on numerous occasions.

The issues run a bit deeper, as has been discussed by Hulme and Curry, among others.

Search "cru" on this blog and you'll easily find where my views are presented on the emails.

PaulM said...

Roger, I think Bernie's point is that many of us would like to hear more of what you think about this report and the way it was handled, rather than having to infer your opinion from the picture.
Do you think the chair has a conflict of interest?
Do you think they should have spoken to skeptics?
Do you think the five pages are adequate? etc

caveat emptor said...

but but.. they used a "trick"

......they hid "the decline"

.... they called M&M poopiebums


chuckhigley said...

As I tell my students, the AGWers do not care that the science is a lie and the conclusions and claims bogus.


Oxburgh knew the results to the investigation before it started. That's why the committee did so little work, it was all for show, what little they did.

He should be stripped of his credentials and charged with conspiracy to defraud (at the capital level).

This is not about science. The "science" of AGW is the wrapper to hide the political agenda to literally control the world by controlling the world and countries' economies by regulating (and setting the price for) emissions of a gas that the world cannot escape using.

The AGW people love the antinuclear movement as that obviates nuclear power. They also love the fact that solar and wind power essentially suck because, they are ridiculously expensive, temperamental, part-time, and erratic.

AGWers does not want realistic, harmless solutions. They want their solution - and harm is part of the formula.

They hate skeptics as they will not bend over and take the AGW "solution" to the "crisis" like a . . . man? No, a sheep!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-19-Paul M

Thanks. I think that the focus of the inquiry missed what matters here.

So I haven't followed it closely.

Conflict of interest?

Don't know

Spoken to skeptics?

Why? If there is a case for research misconduct or whatnot, then make the case. The fact that such a case hasn't been made is pretty telling, no?

Five pages adequate?

If the point of the study was to create a sense of legitimacy in the process and establish credibility of the judgments, well, it clearly failed. Its cursory nature is probably a big part of that.

So the report process was probably inadequate, but I have no reason to dispute the findings. I haven't heard anyone else, on this thread or elsewhere explain something to the contrary! But have at it.

Raven said...


Come on. How could even say that without at least looking at what SteveMc has to say on the report?


The inquiry found nothing because they IGNORED all of the claims made by sceptics like SteveMc.

What they did is not different a police raid that enters a house, does not look in the basement and declares that there is nothing of interest. They did not find anything because they did deliberately avoided looking at where they knew they would find something.

If they had been force to directly address the complaints by sceptics they would have been forced to look at those places and they would not have been able to come to conclusions they did.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


The Oxburgh report says:

"The Panel was not concerned with the question of whether the conclusions of the published research were correct. Rather it was asked to come to a view on the integrity of the Unit’s research and whether as far as could be determined the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data."

McIntyre's complaints are about the methods employed and conclusions reached, no?

The Oxburgh criterion sets a pretty low bar to pass.

Raven said...

@24 Roger,

SteveMc's complaints cover the correctness of the papers _and_ deliberate misrepresentation of their results in the WMO and IPCC reports. So his complaints are within the scope.

The Oxburgh report seems to acknowledge some of SteveMc's complaints when it says "the presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue"

1) It was not neglect because SteveMc pointed this issue out in the reviewer comments and his comment was rejected. If one agrees that the omission was wrong then the only rational conclusion is that it was deliberate deception on the part of the IPCC editors.

2) The IPCC editors in question were Jones and Briffa - a point Oxburgh "neglects" to mention.

The report is almost devious in the way it avoids making any outright lies while ignoring the evidence that would require it to be much more critical of the integrity of Jones et. al.

That is why I think it is a whitewash and demonstrates how the scientific establishment has been corrupted by the "noble cause" of AGW.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


I may be mistaken but I though IPCC was not part of remit of Oxburgh?

The inquiry certainly was not very critical, but I think that to be fair you'd have to admit that there are no smoking guns either.

As I have said on numerous occasions, the issues revealed by the emails aren't about breaking laws or scientific fraud.

Raven said...

#26 - Roger

You are playing semantic games. The inquiry was investigating the people at CRU who also acted as editors for the IPCC. You cannot reasonably claim that their behavoir while acting for the IPCC is out of scope - especially since their IPCC efforts were funded by CRU.

The trouble with this debate is it really depends on what your ethical standards are. There are a lot of people who see nothing wrong with evading taxes if they can get away with it. Similarily there are lot of people that find nothing wrong with actions exposed in the CRU emails.

But that does not negate the fact that a lot of other people with higher ethical standards see the CRU emails as evidence that the scientists involved have no integrity and authorities that defend their action are equally guilty.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


If the UEA investigation had the IPCC activities under their charge, then just show me where that is stated.

Your comments suggest that the emails represent an inkblot. Even taking your words, if one has "no integrity" it not an offense, but a character flaw. By contrast "research integrity" has a more precise meaning. The focus of the inquiry was on the latter.

Raven said...

#27 - An ink blot is a good way to describe the emails. A lot also depends on context. Someone who is familiar with SteveMc's side of the story will see them as confirmation of the malfeasance that was long suspected. Someone who sees scientists as victims of the 'denial machine' are more willing to forgive indiscretions.

You see this in politics too. Was Clinton guilty of a crime or was he a victim of a witch hunt? Who would be on which side if it was Bush instead of Clinton?

Also an interesting distinction between personal and research integrity. One that I had not considered.

I generally treat them the same in climate science because the number of judgement calls that need to be made when dealing with the data available. A person with no personal integrity cannot be trusted to make reasonable judgment calls. At the end of the day everything is about trust.

Stan said...


The inquiry was in response to claims that something was very rotten in Denmark. In this case, 'Denmark' is CRU. The general public knows that there has been a scandal of some sort, but they don't know the details.

When the head of the inquiry is quoted as saying that CRU is squeaky clean, impugns critics, and praises the quality of the science, everyone knows that the goal of such statements is to convince a public which is ignorant of the details that the scientists of CRU have done nothing wrong (anywhere, anytime, in any context, anyway). He doesn't intend the statements to be understood in a very limited, tightly constrained context (and even then they are BS). He understands and intends that journalists and others will seize on his report and his statements to declare that Jones and company have been absolved of any and all wrongdoing. And we have already seen this to be the case.

We all know this, including you (I'm not going to let you try to claim naivete). This is a blatant effort to mislead the public. Basic hardball politics where lying is standard in the game.

Unfortunately, it was headed, staffed and endorsed by prominent scientists. The credibility of the whole profession has been impugned further by these prostitutes. I imagine your dad is livid (unless he's been appalled so long he's just resigned to the inevitability of it all.)

papertiger said...


Re: #9

I'll take that as meaning RC deleted your comment.

The back story of the question - I bumped into an RC fan who invoked your name as evidence that RC is polite and impartial toward qualified viewpoints.

judith said...

The primary frustration with these investigations is that they are dancing around the principal issue that people care about: the IPCC and its implications for policy. Focusing only on CRU activities (which was the charge of the Oxbourgh panel) is of interest mainly to UEA and possibly the politics of UK research funding (it will be interesting to see if the U.S. DOE sends any more $$ to CRU). Given their selection of CRU research publications to investigate (see Bishop Hill), the Oxbourgh investigation has little credibility in my opinion. However, I still think it unlikely that actual scientific malfeasance is present in any of these papers: there is no malfeasance associated with sloppy record keeping, making shaky assumptions, and using inappropriate statistical methods in a published scientific journal article.

The corruptions of the IPCC process, and the question of corruption (or at least inappropriate torquing) of the actual science by the IPCC process, is the key issue. The assessment process should filter out erroneous papers and provide a broader assessment of uncertainty; instead, we have seen evidence of IPCC lead authors pushing their own research results and writing papers to support an established narrative. I don't see much hope for improving the IPCC process under its current leadership.

The historical temperature record and the paleoclimate record over the last millennium are important in many many aspects of climate research and in the communication of climate change to the public; both of these data sets are at the heart of the CRU email controversy. In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science. Once "best" methods have been developed and assessed for assembling such a dataset including uncertainty estimates, a paleoclimate reconstruction should be attempted (regional, hemispheric, and possibly global) with the appropriate uncertainty estimates. The public has lost confidence in the data sets produced by CRU, NASA, Penn State, etc. While such an independent effort may confirm the previous analysies, it is very likely that improvements will be made and more credible uncertainty estimates can be determined. And the possibility remains that there are significant problems with these datasets; this simply needs to be sorted out. Unfortunately, the who and how of actually sorting all this out is not obvious. Some efforts are underway in the blogosphere to examine the historical land surface data (e.g. such as GHCN), but even the GHCN data base has numerous inadequacies. Addressing the issues associated with the historical and paleo temperature records should be paramount.

judith said...

My previous post wasnt signed properly: Judith Curry

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


Thanks ... my views are quite similar.

Malcolm said...

It would appear that Lord Oxburgh's report is not what it first appears.


Trust in the corrective power of the scientific method is being eroded, and no seems to really care.

Would you trust a scientist?

That is a question that is becoming harder by the day to answer.

EliRabett said...

Well maybe the committee understands how nasty and ill informed the spit spewed at Jones and Briffa has been, because some of them have been on the receiving end.

Post a Comment