It is now eight months since my blog on Climategate (and its follow-ups Climategate and XML and Climate wars: Global Warming, ClimateGate, Web 2.0 and Grey Power —The Revenge of the Codgers?) and this week there have been a couple of stories that are a good coda.
Three of the various enquiries set up to look into the scientists behaviour and method (not their scientific results) have just (July 2010) made their reports.
- In the UK, the Russell independent review (instigated by the University involved) found (according to the link) that the rigour and honesty of the scientists at the centre ... is not at doubt and The scientists did not misuse the process by which the key international body on climate change prepares its reports on the impacts of global warming for governments. However, The CRU was unhelpful and defensive in response to reasonable requests for information about the weather stations it used to gather the temperature records: however the raw data frequently requested by sceptics from which global land temperatures were calculated was directly available from other sources and the "code" to make the calculations could be worked out independently.
[UPDATE: They make an interesting distinction on the 'trick' in the cover art they supplied:
The figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure, and in not being clear on the fact that proxy and instrumental data were spliced together. We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data.]
- In the US, in a University review into Prof Michael Mann (according to the link) has been cleared of manipulating his research findings. A related review found he had not falsified, suppressed or destroyed data, or deviated from accepted research practices.
- In the UK, the Information Commissioner's findingsthey find that the University did not respond to requests within the 20 day deadline for three requests (two had no reply at all.) However, the breach is of the Environmental Information Regulations (which the University did not believe applied in this case) not the Freedom Of Information Act (the Commissioner does not find that the University was wrong in its belief that there were valid exemptions under the FOI Act, such as for copyright reasons.) However the Commissioner has considerable concern that some requests for information were considered an imposition, that attempts to circumvent the legislation were considered and that the ethos of openness and transparency the legislation seeks to promote were not universally accepted.
So: unhelpful and defensive. Nothing remotely close to fraudulent or incompetent, or the other lurid allegations. Yet people with no training in the area felt outraged enough to drive poor Prof Jones to the point where he contemplated suicide, relying on half-baked FUD. Shame on them.
One of the interesting reports on this comes from the Washington Post. In the interest of balance, it gives space to an organization called the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Who are they? The page at sourcewatch.org says they published a book claiming that dioxin is good for you—I have not read it. (I grew up in a rural valley polluted by dioxins: farmers could not sell cattle for beef from it.) You can get an idea of the position CEI takes, and the industries which would like those positions, from this position paper that is part of the UCSF Legacy Tobacco Library.