Wonderful News on Climate Change!

posted at 9:30 am on July 8, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh

Remember the University of East Anglia (UEA), whose Climate Research Unit (UEA-CRU) was the subject of “intense media scrutiny,” after e-mails filched from its server disclosed numerous violations of basic science and simple honesty in the debate over global warming? The e-mails appeared to show such obviously fraudulent or extortive practices as secretly switching measuring methods in the middle of an experiment, burying data that conflicted with their hypothesis, and behind-the-scenes pressuring of scientific journals to prevent publication by globaloney skeptics, no matter how well conducted the science.

In order to investigate the scandal, the UEA set up and paid for a blue-ribbon panel, the Independent Climate Change E-Mail Inquiry; the university investigated itself, and discovered itself and the UEA-CRU to be blameless, or at least innocent of any serious breach:

A British panel on Wednesday exonerated the scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate of charges that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.

But the panel also rebuked the scientists for several aspects of their behavior, especially their reluctance to release computer files backing up their scientific work. And it declared that a that graph they produced in 1999 about climate in the past was “misleading” and should have contained caveats….

The university solicited and paid for the new report….

“On the specific allegations made against the behavior of CRU scientists, we find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt,” said the new review, led by Muir Russell, a retired British civil servant and educator.

You can find the final report here.

Independent Inquiry head Sir Alastair Muir Russell is a Scottish career civil servant; the Scottish government is, if anything, even more enthusiastic about global warming than the British government. But I’m sure a politician would never allow political considerations to cloud his scientific judgment.

His team comprised the following:

  • Geoffrey Boulton is a Scottish climatologist whose field of study actually appears to be the science of chairing committees — he chairs or is a member of thirteen committees, councils, or royal societies. Oh, and “[h]e leads the Global Change Research Group in the University of Edinburgh, the largest major research group in the University’s School of Geosciences.” But surely he wouldn’t allow his deep professional commitment to global climate change research to bias his findings.
  • Professor Peter Clarke is a physics professor whose CV includes nothing to do with climate change; but I’m sure he has considered himself a quiet expert in the field, ever since he first read the original report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • David Eyton is an engineer with British Petroleum, the Group Head of Research and Technology (R&T). He, too, appears to have no background in climate change research. BP, of course, like every other oil company, is very heavily invested in climate change and expects that some form of carbon-trading commodities market will prove to be a glory hole for the entire industry. Though certainly, Mr. Eyton would never allow himself to be influenced by such crass commercial concerns.
  • Finally, we have the Jack of All Trades, Professor Jim Norton. He is — well, I suppose I’d better just let Professor Norton tell his own tale (I presume he wrote his own CV):

    Aged fifty-seven, Jim Norton is an independent director and policy adviser. He is an external member of the Board of the UK Parliament’s Office of Science & Technology (POST) and council member of the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM). Jim is a Non-Executive Director of F&C Capital & Income Investment Trust plc, where he chairs the Audit & Management Engagement Committee. He is a Board Member and Trustee of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), as well as a member of the ‘Electronic Communications Expert Advisory Panel’ for the Irish Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Jim chairs the Steering Group for the Secure Software Development Partnership (SSDP) of the Technology Strategy Board.

    He was a founder member of the Cabinet Office Performance & Innovation Unit in 1999, a former Chief Executive of the DTI Radiocommunications Agency (the UK’s radio spectrum manager 1993-1998) and has held senior positions in Cable & Wireless (Marketing Director C&W Europe 1990-1993), Butler-Cox (Director Vendor Consulting Practice 1987-1990), and British Telecom (Senior Manager International Business Development).

    Jim is a Visiting Professor of Electronic Engineering at Sheffield University and an Honorary Doctor of Engineering of that University. He is an External Examiner for the IoD Certificate in Company Direction’. Jim is a Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), where he is chair of the ‘Professionalism Board’ and is a Vice President and Trustee. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and is Chairman of the IET IT Sector Panel. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Commerce and Manufactures and of the Institute of Directors. Jim holds the Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Director.

    I can’t imagine how Professor Norton forgot to add “devilishly handsome, dashing, and terminally narcissistic.” In any event, his expertise in climate change should be clear: He is obviously an expert in everything, like the professor in Giligan’s Island.

In any event, one can see that global-warming skeptics were well represented on the Independent Inquiry; so that final report should settle the matter once and for all and be the final word.

Except… the Independent Climate Change E-Mail Inquiry affair gives me the opportunity to repeat, for the eleventy-first time, my favorite quotation from one of my favorite writers, the late, great Robert Anton Wilson (channeling Lemuel Gulliver):

And so… these Learned Men, having Inquir’d into the Case for the Opposition, discover’d that the Opposition had no Case and were Devoid of Merit, which was what they Suspected all along, and they arriv’d at this Happy Conclusion by the most Economical and Nice of all Methods of Enquiry, which was that they did not Invite the Opposition to confuse Matters by Participating in the Discussion.

I look forward to several more such definitive investigations, wherein the accused examines himself deeply in the mirror — and really, really likes what he sees.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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