UK Parliament to investigate Climategate and CRU data issues

From the Science and Technology committee of the UK Paliament press release here.

The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia


Terms of Reference

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.

Background

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 .

Submissions

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 scitechcom@parliament.uk 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: www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

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.


Oral evidence

An evidence session will be announced in due course.


Press notices

22/01/10 Inquiry announced

h/t to Bishop Hill

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Sean O'Hare

One whitewash coming up.

Dodgy Geezer

I presume that there will be independent submissions from both Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre…?

singularian

Whitewash?
Government and politicial back-down enabler?
Truthful, neutral look at the issues with honest hard hitting recommendations/sanctions for miscreants?
We shall see.
I do like the Science and Technology committee only accepting only Word document format no later than 2003.

PLEASE someone send them Mosher’s book, and print this out and send it as well:
http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

Phillip Bratby

AFAIK, anyone can submit written evidence. There is nothing that I have found that says you have to be a citizen of the UK or be British. The following words are used: “Interested parties may then submit written evidence”.

Mark_K

According to 1, it sounds like UEA has to give up everything to the committee not just what’s already been disseminated. It could get interesting.

Calvin Ball

The Independent Review will:
1. […]
2. […]
3. […]
4. […]
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

They’re off to a great start.

SJones

Just hope this doesn’t get abused.:
“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.”

JB

YES!

Andrew P

singularian (11:14:23) :
…I do like the Science and Technology committee only accepting only Word document format no later than 2003.

I noticed that too – and as someone who still uses Word 7 (it does everything I need, and I refuse to re-write macros just because Bill Gates wants more of my money), I think its an excellent position to take. Though what’s wrong with an rtf document?

RichardJ

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/science_technology_members.cfm
I’ve included a link to the membership of the committee. Unfortunately I think any meaningful investigation will get lost in the heat and debate of the General Election. (This must be held by early June at the latest).
If anyone wants to contact the MPs, I would make the following plea – be brief, be reasonable and to the point. Many MPs are proud of their independent mindset (of whatever party).
If anyone is wondering, I’m British, a “lukewarmer” and on the left of the political spectrum – sometimes it’s quite lonely there!

leftiesrunningscared

But will the BBC run this story?

Dr.T G Watkins(Wales)

A welcome development which the MSM will find hard to ignore. I wish I had more confidence that this will not be a whitewash, as most inquiries in recent times have been, eg numerous Iraq inquiries.

Andrew P

For those that don’t know much about UK politics, the Parliamentary Committees are probably the best thing about the Westminster system – they are usually free from party political bias and spin, and can ask tough questions of anyone called before them. The only problem is that the committees’ findings are usually completely ignored by the government/politicians in power. It will be interesting to seen how the BBC’s political correspondents cover this, as opposed to their environmental.

Herman L

Sean O’Hare (11:08:14) :
One whitewash coming up.

Declared guilty before the trial even starts. And you guys accuse us of bias!

DirkH

“singularian (11:14:23) :
[…]
I do like the Science and Technology committee only accepting only Word document format no later than 2003.”
Yeah that’s a good one. They stopped upgrading after Office 2003 and don’t know they can download a free viewer for later formats. After all, they’re the Science And Technology committee.

hotrod ( Larry L )

The wheels of justice grind slowly but as each of these processes move forward they will open more and more doors into what actually happened/is happening in the climate science community. I suspect the major players will get very little climate scince work done over then next year or two, they will have a full plate of tasks related to these inquiries and trying to protect their tattered reputations.
Lets hope that the weight of the evidence is sufficient to force a fair accounting of events rather than an attempt to “soften the blow” and any sort of white wash.
Larry

Congratulations to all those who exposed the great global climate scandal!
This investigation is a big step forward, even if the Science and Technology Committee tries to cover up the fraud and data manipulation.
As Richard Nixon belatedly learned, each cover-up moves us closer to a final moment of truth.
Again, congratulations to all!
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Emeritus Professor of
Nuclear & Space Studies

PaulH

I wish they didn’t call the CRU emails “hacked” but I guess that’s the popular term now. :-/

Eddie

“Calvin Ball (11:23:50) :
The Independent Review will:
1. […]
2. […]
3. […]
4. […]
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:
They’re off to a great start.”
=======================
That’s what they intend to accomplish. The questions are at the beginning of the memo.
—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?

anna v

Calvin Ball (11:23:50) : | Reply w/ Link

” The Independent Review will:
1. […]
2. […]
3. […]
4. […]
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:”
They’re off to a great start.

Be fair. They would not ask you to read for them [1], that is their job exclusively. They would like a contribution to the other 3.

—How independent are the other two international data sets?
Select Committees are indeed the jewel in the Crown of the UK Parliament.
At last something is stirring in the heart of the British Establishment. I am quietly hopeful. The fact that they are even AWARE of the other datasets is encouraging!

Henry chance

This is the start. Internal investigations serve self interests. The first and massive issue is breaking the law and admitting to it in writing regarding FOIA requests. The second is destroying data. The third may be manipulation of data.

AdderW

Calvin Ball (11:23:50) :
The Independent Review will:
1. […]
2. […]
3. […]
4. […]
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:
They’re off to a great start.

actually it says:

Terms of Reference
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.

and then it says:

The Independent Review will:
1. […]
2. […]
3. […]
4. […]

in order to answer the three questions.

Mike Atkins

I don’t really see a whitewash. This committee did not really have to institute the review process (although it would be interesting to find out what procedural route was followed to reach the decision, and who drove it.
If enough of the right people do the right stuff in making submissions, then it could get quite interesting,a nd leave the Committee with little room for manouvre. Requested inputs (1) and (3) hold quite a bit of promise to reveal the sorry state of the AGW edifice.
It would be a good thing if different contributors could address the implications for the validity of the science in ways that also touched the IPCC’s AR3 and AR4. A concise review (from the emails and computer code) of the hockey-stick saga would be good.
It would also be good for some teamwork that ensured that all of the emails were adequately analysed and important issues from all areas covered in submissions.

JohnH

Andrew P (11:43:36) :
For those that don’t know much about UK politics, the Parliamentary Committees are probably the best thing about the Westminster system – they are usually free from party political bias and spin, and can ask tough questions of anyone called before them.
Completely agree, you just have to read the report they did on the Damien Green MP mis-arrest for using leaked info embarassing to the Govt that was reported as being a National Security issue.

An interesting development indeed – at the very least we will have:
a) this reported in the MSM – for them not to report parliamentary process will be a very clear marker of bias;
b) an eventually public record of what the key people have to say on this matter.
Also given its an election year; it might not be the whitewash that people think it will be.
BTW see my weblink for my thoughts on this matter

Bill Parsons

All this time I thought that was Lord Monckton’s portcullis! Hm!
Whose coat of arms is the billious balloon girl I always see in the heading?

AdderW

Pachauri now admits that there might be other mistakes in the report, but he refuses to resign
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6999051.ece

Galen Haugh

[snip – even though I disagree with Dr. Hansen actions and conclusions, I will NOT have you smear him with the label you applied, even in jest. Don’t post that again – Anthony]

Phil Jourdan

“Herman L (11:44:41) : And you guys accuse us of bias!”
Who is us?

JB

Believe me this is the first serious inquisition into this whole sordid affair on this side of the pond. At last we are waking from our slumber. There will be some very worried people over here – and so they should be.
The tide is turning – there is a barely suppressed anger in this country. Quite frankly a lot of people have had enough of being lied to and feeling cheated all the time. It is time to redress the balance.
Next the EU.

“…to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice…”
Is there any manipulation or suppression of data that is not at odds with acceptable scientific practice?

Andrew30

“…and any other information held at CRU…”
This enables a full fledged fishing expedition. Managerial, Financial, Security, Collaboration, Compliance, Parking, you name it; if they want they can look in the fridge for the expiry date on the meatloaf.
And since this: “Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings…”, covers 100% of their purpose as an organization, anything goes

Patrik

PaulH>> I believe “hacked” can be used even if someone on the inside leaked them. From my knowledge, most “hacks” are made possible, intentionally or unintentionally, by employees (or the likes) inside the organisations being hacked.
It’s usually much easier to bribe, trick, threaten or whatever an employee to give you access than to actually break in through a network.
Anyway, great news that things are finally moving! 🙂

Patrik

Tom in Texas>> “Is there any manipulation or suppression of data that is not at odds with acceptable scientific practice?”
Good question! 🙂

Tenuc

This is very good news for the anti-CAGW camp and shows that the Climategate issue has gone way beyond the ‘sweep it under the carpet’ stage – which many of the MSM tried to do.
It is also significant that the key question about the claimed ‘independence’ of other temperature data-sets is going to be aired, which will be where things really fall apart.
This puts the finishing touch to what has already been a good week for sceptics 🙂

Richard S Courtney

Friends:
I am the author of an email among those hacked or leaked from CRU. It concerns my complaint that ‘the Team’ blocked publication of a paper I authored and that had 18 other co-signatories.
That paper showed the HADCRUT, GISS and GHCN data sets of global temperature time series contain spurious trends of unknown magnitude (where spurious means different from reality) and, therefore, those data sets do not indicate the rate of change to mean global temperature over the twentieth cntury.
The matter is discussed on another thread of this web site where I copy the pertinent email at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/11/giss-raw-station-data-before-and-after/
My first comment on the matter in that thread is at (14:07:21) on 11.12.2009.
And my later comments on that same thread respond to questions of the matter.
I intend to make a submission to the Select Committee and to copy that submission to my MP.
Richard

Jimbo

Climategate. The story that keeps giving and giving.
Who would have thought we sceptics would be here 6 months ago?
It ain’t over yet though.

Ashby

My biggest worry in all of this is that the original raw unadjusted climate data has been compromised. In another thread (here or Climate Audit) I read rumors that the original log books have been mouldering or improperly archived while this cabal is busily adjusting the “unadjusted” stored data, baking cooling into the earlier warm data series without properly noting when the data has been adjusted, etc..
It is troubling enough if they have been tampering with the source data to advance their policy agendas, but science will ultimately out when the machinations are discovered. But, if they’re actively allowing original data to be lost to cover their tracks (either in the UK or in the US), then it’s a crime against science.

J.Wilson

Please forward SPPI analysis.

Dave B

Select Committees (SCs) are where much of the serious work of the UK’s parliament gets done. It might not be saying much but, arguably, they represent the institution at its best. Their conduct contrasts sharply with the often childish behaviour one sees in in the main chamber.
The “Party Whip” system (which exerts pressure on MPs, at times quite brutally, to vote for their own party on key issues) does not apply. The rules as to who sits on SCs are strict: no front-bench MPs (i.e. in government or leading opposition roles) or with a vested interest can sit on them. Although not immune to pressure, SCs tend to attract at least some experienced and ornery MPS with no (or at least no more) ministerial ambition.
Naughty boys and girls in government and public life do not welcome a summons to an SC. Poor old Prof Jones and his friends are probably having one or two sphincter-flexing moments as you read this. Or they could be in for a shock.
The Conservative Party is certain to win the imminent election. What makes things interesting is that the SC’s inquiry will take place in the context of the beginnings (the green shoots, even) of unease in the party over “climate change” and over-greening of the party line (beyond the limits of good taste to the point where they may have to do something really, really green).
The election (after which new SCs are formed) might cause the inquiry to fall before it reports. However, an SC inquiry’s work is usually open to public scrutiny and the taking of oral evidence is scheduled to precede any likely election date so it may not matter if it doesn’t get round to reporting.
As I’m sure everyone now knows, the University of East Anglia’s “independent” but behind-closed-doors review into, well, misconduct at the University of East Anglia that might affect its future funding is being chaired by one Sir Russell Muir.
Many observers argue that the independence of the “review” is open to question on account of Russell’s poor record in recent years and because he acts as an advisor to a large energy utility, ScottishPower, that has an explicit interest in the “climate change” agenda. (It funded the distribution of Al Gore’s dreadful film to Scottish schools though, to be fair, before Russell’s appointment to its Advisory Panel.)
They therefore fear a whitewash. However, if evidence presented to the SC is already in, or is likely soon to be in, the public domain, that becomes a little bit harder to carry off no matter tightly they lock doors on the UEA campus or however much Norfolk’s finest give the old One-Two to its IT staff.
Phil and crew could be, as they say, living in interesting times.

Matt

I just thought I’d say, that it won’t help us out at all for the UK Parliament to be bombarded by 100s or 1000s of papers that contain lots of factual error, state unverifiable opinions, are worded poorly or use improper grammar/spelling.
I would suggest that unless your thoughts are 100% bulletproof and you are able to word them in such a way that an uninformed person could understand, that you refrain from submitting as you will only water down what the truly knowledgable people have to say. I would think that a few submissions from the most knowledgable skeptics would be able to voice all of our concerns.

FUSAG in East Anglia

Veronica

RichardJ
Ah… another left wing climate sceptic! Thought I was the only one. I’m still trying to understand the political polarity of climate change and why I find myself consorting with Big Oil loving UKIP apologists, while the rest of the lefty veggie pinko commie hippies all seem to enjoy the “we’re going to drown” horror stories of the warmists. Can you explain how it got this way?

Vincent

Richard S Courtney,
“I intend to make a submission to the Select Committee and to copy that submission to my MP.”
Very good and well done. Things are beginning to move forward. Some other possible participants come to mind: Steve M, Hans Von Storch, Pat Michaels, Dave Douglass. They have all been wronged by this cabal and all have revealing stories to tell. Between them they can shine a big spotlight into the dark pit at CRU.

Richard S Courtney

keith (12:16:42) :
You suggest:
“An interesting development indeed – at the very least we will have:
a) this reported in the MSM – for them not to report parliamentary process will be a very clear marker of bias”
I am sorry to disappoint you, but that is not true.
If you doubt my claim that your suggestion is not true then consider what happened to the Report concerning global warming from the Lord’s Select Committee on economic Affairs.
That All-Party UK House of Lords Select Committee report that said the science of anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW) is flawed, that the IPCC so-called scientific reports are biased, and that cost/benefit did not seem to warrant constraints of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That report can be seen at
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/12i.pdf
So, what was the reaction of the MSM to that Select Committee Report?
They ignored it.
But the UK Government could not ignore it and had to be seen to respond to it. So, what did UK Government do in response that Select Committee Report? They commissioned Sir Nicholas Stern to assess costs if all worst case scenarios for AGW were to come to pass. He did as he was commissioned, and his report has been used by the the UK Government as a smokescreen to hide from attention the House of Lords Select Committee Report.
The Stern Report can be seen at
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sternreview_index.htm
So, what was the reaction of the MSM to the Stern Report?
They trumpeted it.
But the Stern Report has had much criticism, for example see
http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20061104_stern.pdf
and
http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/stern_050307.pdf
Indeed, the Stern Report reaches its conclusions by adopting the unreasonable (some would say ridiculous) use of near zero discount rate.
So, what was the reaction of the MSM to criticism of the Stern Report?
They ignored it.
Richard

Phil Jourdan

Veronica – You have hippies in England?

Steve Goddard

Ongoing bitter cold in Europe stokes the anger.
http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp4.html

Right.
Ignore the fact that an FOIA request was being/had been refused and what appears to be the bulk of the file collection bearing the most incriminating of material was spirted out the back door …
Right.
.
.