RealClimate logo

A mistaken message from IoP?

Filed under: — rasmus @ 6 March 2010

The Institute of Physics (IoP) recently made a splash in the media through a statement about the implications of the e-mails stolen in the CRU hack. A couple of articles in the Guardian report how this statement was submitted to an inquiry into the CRU hack and provide some background.

The statement calls for increased transparency, and expresses concerns about the public confidence in science if the transparency is absent. The IoP statement, however, fails to note that the issue of transparency is far more general applicable than just to mainstream climate science. It should also involve the critics of climate change, as noted by New Scientist.

The statement also fails to clarify what level of transparency they expect the climate scientists to reach. Which scientific discipline should we use as a role model? I know of none that is more transparent than climate science, and in large part that s due to the IPCC. Ironically, without this transparency, the climate-change deniers would not get as much ammunition. For instance, note how the attacks on the NASA GISTEMP product have become more vehement in recent months even though the code base and data have been available for years and clearly demonstrate that the criticisms are bogus.

Another question arises is whether the IoP follows its own recommendations in its own publications?

The statement of the IoP was made on the behalf of its 36000 members, but as a member of IoP myself, this came as a surprise. According to the Guardian, there was only a small group of people behind this, and other IoP members was obviously not very impressed. The IoP did, however, make a second statement after their initial one was misrepresented by the climate-change deniers (there is some confusion about versions).

The irony of this affair is that the IoP will not disclose who were responsible for the original statement, thus not living up to the standards they set for others.

Furthermore, it’s a paradox that the IoP based the statement on stolen private e-mail exchanges, while putting disclaimers about confidentiality, especially as it asks people to delete any e-mail before they go astray:

This email (and attachments) are confidential and intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the intended recipient please notify the sender, delete any copies and do not take action in reliance on it

Transparency is essential for trust and confidence in science – as in all matters – but claims about lack of transparency are easy to make. It’s another question whether the alleged lack of transparency in climate science has had any impact on anyone’s ability to verify the science.

Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission‘ in Physics World

March, 19: Further Comment on

345 Responses to “A mistaken message from IoP?”

  1. 101
    Eli Rabett says:

    This should be contrasted with the statement of the Royal Society of Chemistry, which Eli contrasted (need the hits folks)and, among other things (which you really should read by following the link) points out that

    Encouraging scientists to openly engage with the public can only be achieved if researchers are given the necessary backing in the face of any unfounded arguments against their work. This support must come from the highest levels,

  2. 102
    JiminMpls says:

    #94 climate scientists have produced such a defensive siege mentality

    What mentality do you suggest for those under siege? Live and let die?

  3. 103
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 92 John E. Pearson says: 7 March 2010 at 9:00 AM
    > re posts 84 and 85:
    > I have no objection with anyone attacking David’s opinion.

    John, do you know David well enough to get his attention? Please draw his attention away from the nitwittery (whether sincere or trollish shitstirring).

    Most of us posting aren’t addressing David’s _opinion_. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.

    We’re addressing his _mistaken_factual_claims_. And he’s not got that yet.

    It seems he’s fallen for the “two sides of a debate” frame, a real error.
    You focus on the same thing (“You want David on your side.” that he does:

    > … climate scientists …. some of them can no
    > longer see what’s good for their cause …

    —> A plea to you and to him. Back away slowly from the netwittery.
    —> Science doesn’t have a side. It has an effort to determine facts.
    —> You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.
    —> We are asking David to correct factual errors underlying his opinions.
    —> After that it’s his choice what his opinions are.
    —> He can look up the facts.

    May I recommend this as a _great_ opportunity to invite someone like John Mashey, who’s been looking hard at this, and who has a long public track record of getting things right, to consult with you and David and write a new story here — the story documenting how the “facts” are being spun, and how easy it has been to get taken for a spin?

    This is really one worth documenting, methodically, and getting right.

    If you have any leverage with David, please ask him to back off, and look.

  4. 104

    Mopvielib states:

    “””””I’m sorry, Ross Gelbspan did not win a Pulitzer Prize. He put together the team and was an editor on the project that won but it was the writers who were awarded the prize.””””

    Thank you, I stand corrected!

    “As special projects editor of the Globe, Gelbspan conceived, directed and edited a series of articles that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984.”

  5. 105
    MapleLeaf says:

    At least one deniers also infiltrated the Canadian Met. and Oceanographic society (CMOS). This person then forwarded private email correspondence to “Friends’ of Science (a denier group) and Tom Harris, who then took it upon themselves to make veiled threats to the CMOS board. The denier mole has recently left CMOS. This is serious and probably not limited to CMOS and IOP.

    It seems something similar has happened at IOP, but on a much larger scale.

    Dr. Colquhoun fails to see the hypocrisy, subverted IOP demanding openness and transparency from CRU and others, while at the same time hiding behind a cloak of secrecy. That is, IMO, the biggest issue people have with the original IOP statement, that and some fallacious allegations that were made.

    She should not be surprised as to why some here have been so testy with him. Colquhoun keeps repeating the same old tired comments about openness, and keeps making unsubstantiated allegations.

    There is immense openness on the AGW file, but there will never been enough for the likes of McIntyre. Dr. Colquhoun also ignored the limitations place don CRU and others by data sharing agreements. that said look here:

    Dr. Colquhoun’s comments are in a very similar vein as to those of Dr. Curry’s. Both disappoint me immensely. They both know, or should know better, but their gross generalizations and cavalier statements of late are not consistent with the reality of what is happening and has happened on the ground in the sustained assault on science and scientists. I do not understand the reason for Colquhoun keep repeating nonsense like “despite the best efforts of some of you to defend secrecy and abuse anyone who tries to point out the harm done by the UEA affair”.

    The scientists at CRU and elsewhere are being found guilty based on fallacious statements placed on internet blogs. I, for one, will respect Sir Russell’s ruling on the CRU affair, as well of those of PSU, and UK Parliament.

    I would also suggest that Dr. Colquhoun should stop applying what seems to be one-directional skepticism. He should be skeptical of the motives, behaviour and antics of McIntyre, Watts, Morano, Lindzen, Singer, Spencer, Christy. They are the ones who should be held to account for bad behaviour. Yet, Colquhoun turns a blind eye to their transgressions and makes unsubstantiated allegations against real AGW scientists. Why is he and the media not holding them to account? For example, see requests for Watts to apologize for making libelous statements against NOAA and others? Why does he not blast their monumental errors all over the net? So far Watts has refused.

  6. 106
    dhogaza says:

    It seems that the constant and vicious attacks on climate scientists have produced such a defensive siege mentality that some of them can no longer see what’s good for their cause. It isn’t people like me that you have to persuade, but moderate politicians (such people still exist, at least in Europe).

    It would help if folks writing for the press, like yourself, told the *truth*. You still aren’t addressing why people have been annoyed with your writing. Calling for the resignation of people due to their having properly and legally rejected FOI requests – tch, tch.

    Blame the victim much? Apparently …

  7. 107
    Ray Ladbury says:

    David Colquhoun claims I said that calls for openness are merely “one tool in the “inaction” campaign”.”

    David, would you care to point to where I actually said this? I will save you the trouble. It wasn’t me that said it but rather another poster. I know that posts are coming your way, but I would contend, David, that it is precisely this type of sloppiness that causes people to buy into the meme–that climate scientists are hiding data and methods–rather than the reality–that the level of openness in climate science is in fact unprecedented in science.

    What other branch of science has been so closely scrutinized–by independent panels (National Academy, Royal Society, Professional Societies…) or has made so much of its raw data and even code available?

    And has this unprecedented openness been greeted with praise and choruses of Kumbaya by denialists? No. We still hear the same unsubstantiated allegations that scientists are hiding something. We’ve seen not a single published analysis by climate denialists using the data and methods.

    So, David, while I am glad that you finally responded to me, I just wish you’d responded to something I actually said. Likewise, I wish you had written about the reality of the position of climate scientists rather than buying into denialist memes.

  8. 108
    bill says:

    Is this assurance of openess or compliance with FOI ???

    “It has come to our attention, that last Monday (March 1), Dr. Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU), in a hearing with the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee made a statement in regards to the alleged non-availability for disclosure of Swedish climate data.

    Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released, to explain his reluctance to comply with Freedom of Information requests.

    This statement is false and misleading in regards to the Swedish data.

    All Swedish climate data are available in the public domain. As is demonstrated in the attached correspondence between SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), the UK Met Office and Dr. Jones (the last correspondence dated yesterday March 4), this has been clearly explained to Dr. Jones. What is also clear is that SMHI is reluctant to be connected to data that has undergone “processing” by the East Anglia research unit.”

    Göran Ahlgren, secretary general
    Kungsgatan 82
    12 27 Stockholm, Sweden

  9. 109
    caerbannog says:

    I’ve seen Canadian, Swedish, and Spanish met office “license agreements” that impose limits on the redistribution of temperature data. It would be nice to have a complete collection of such agreements in one location that journalists etc. could be referred to. I’ll be doing a bit of Googling myself to see what I can turn up — maybe others could do the same…

  10. 110
    Wheels says:

    David Colquhoun:

    I don’t think I’ve been rude here, but maybe my comment just got lost to you among all the others on the page. Could you please go back and give some kind of response to #69? Specifically, how has anyone here defended secrecy?
    While you’re at it, I would also be interested in an answer to #33, the actual meat of #43 about the UK FOI law, #64, #95, #98, and probably a few others I missed while skimming, where people point out what they perceive as factual errors in your framing of the issue and why they think it’s important to get those corrected. From what I can see you aren’t addressing anything factual, but griping about the fact that people are disagreeing with you, skipping over their issues entirely. That’s no good.

    We already get that you think a “call for openness” is innocuous, so there’s no need to retread that ground, just please talk about some of the points they raise rather than their apparent attitude. Instead of bemoaning a “siege mentality,” how about some substantial discussion of the problems people here are bringing up? Less talk -about- the debate and more debating.

  11. 111
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Weather data and weather forecasts are worth money. And, these days the good ol’ Met Office in the UK is expected to earn an income.

    Now when I look up the Met Office website to check wind direction for my work, there are adverts for cheaper deals on domestic heating gas (winter here) and road rescue services (may get stuck in the snow). Used not to be like that.

  12. 112
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 108, bill
    > SMHI

    You’ve been had, Bill. You’re not alone, but you’re late to catch on. You’re posting the lies, while others have been documenting them as lies.

    Catch up, eh? What source are you relying on for this misinformation you post?

  13. 113
    flxible says:

    caerbannog – One place to start for European data

  14. 114
    movielib says:

    #97 caerbannog –

    I don’t dispute that Ross Gelbspan doesn’t himself claim he won a Pulitzer Prize but there are some strange things going on. My understanding is that the first edition of his first global warming book, The Heat Is On (1997,) calls him a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (or some such language) on the dustjacket or back cover. One thinks he would have been asked to approve that comment about himself. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt there and say they slipped it by him.

    But look at the back cover of his second book, Boiling Point (2005), eight years later: (click on “Back Cover”)

    It says: “Ross Gelbspan was a longtime reporter and editor at The Washington Post and The Boston Globe where he won a Pulitzer Prize…”

    Apparently this is still the edition in print and for sale at Amazon.

    Apparently he doesn’t do much to dissuade people from thinking he won the Pulitzer.

  15. 115
    Brian Dodge says:

    “All Swedish climate data are available in the public domain. ”
    “The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF, the Centre) is an independent international organisation supported by 31 States. Its Member States are:
    Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom .

    We have concluded co-operation agreements with:
    Czech Republic, Montenegro, Estonia, Croatia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia.”
    ” The datasets available on this server are provided solely for research purposes. Before retrieving data please read the conditions below and acknowledge that you accept them.

    1. Data from the projects available on this server is provided without charge and may be used for research and education only. Commercial use of the data is not permitted.
    2. Research is understood as any project organised by a university, scientific institute or similar (private or institutional), for non-commercial research purposes only. A necessary condition for the recognition of non-commercial purposes is that all the results obtained are openly available at delivery costs only, without any delay linked to commercial objectives, and that the research itself is submitted for open publication.
    3. Although every care has been taken in preparing and testing the data, ECMWF cannot guarantee that the data are correct in all circumstances; neither does ECMWF accept any liability whatsoever for any error or omission in the data, or for any loss or damage arising from its use.
    4. Any person extracting data from this server will accept responsibility for informing all data users of these conditions.
    5. Data must not be supplied as a whole or in part to any third party without the authorisation of ECMWF.
    6. Articles, papers, or written scientific works of any form, based in whole or in part on data supplied by ECMWF, will contain an acknowledgment concerning the supplied data.”

  16. 116
    Mark A. York says:

    RE: 115

    Character assassination in play. You must be proud, but sadly, wrong. I would say take your lies and stuff them.

    Mother Jones Interview with Ross Gelbspan 2005:

    “ What kind of response has your reporting received from the deniers?

    RG: The first response that I had was a web-based campaign to impugn my professional integrity. They basically came out and said that I was a résumé fraud. I had said that I was a co-recipient of a Pulitzer prize and they said, “No, Gelbspan never had a role in a Pulitzer prize.” That was pretty hurtful; I was proud of that prize. I was an editor at the Boston Globe and we did a big series looking at racial discrimination in greater Boston. When the Globe won the Pulitzer for this project, the publisher said to me, “This is your series. You conceived it, you directed it; so we are designating you as recipient on behalf of the Boston Globe.” I didn’t feel like I was distorting it by saying I was a co-recipient. When I stepped back and reflected on it, I felt pretty good about it because I realized there was nothing wrong about the book that they could critique, so as a result they resorted to character assassination instead.”

    Indeed. Still.

  17. 117

    re 79 Garrett says:

    “””The political battle is lost….
    The right wing used a brilliant strategy. They attacked the integrity of the people that research the work. They invaded private space, to steal
    Confidential information to exploit, regardless of context. This is how these people operate…
    It is a sad state of affairs, but I will have to concede that they have won.””””

    Well, I think you are eloquent and sum the problem up nicely. However, remember, that humanity *did* win the ozone hole solution in time by listening to science in time and luckily the anti-science people did not win that.

    Every little bit we can do on human-caused climate change helps- however little it may be. It will still help save some people, some parts of civilization and build a base for action for when the inevitable realization hits by 30-100 years from now for our future kids in spite of the, in my opinion, current political attempts at nationcide,
    Our success on the ozone hole:

    By comparison however, many in the climate science community note that a rough parallel to the human-caused climate change situation was successfully solved by listening and acting on the published peer reviewed science: the human-caused ozone depletion (“ozone hole”). It was solved through international cooperation, policy makers and industry acting on the published, peer reviewed science and ending up in the International Montreal Protocols.

    (WMO, Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, 2006; Andersen et al. UNEP, 2002; Hammitt, J.K. 1997)

  18. 118
    flxible says:

    Brian Dodge@115 – Most enlightening WRT McK and others “auditing” the science: “A necessary condition for the recognition of non-commercial purposes is that all the results obtained are openly available at delivery costs only, without any delay linked to commercial objectives, and that the research itself is submitted for open publication.

  19. 119
    Dave G says:

    bill says:
    7 March 2010 at 12:54 PM

    “Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released, to explain his reluctance to comply with Freedom of Information requests.”

    Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released by CRU! That statement is true and doesn’t say anything at all about whether the data is available from the owners of the data, or not.

  20. 120
  21. 121
    CM says:

    Denialosphere: Global warming’s a hoax. Climate scientists beat their wives and torment kittens. Prestigious physics body calls for inquiry.

    IOP: The reputation of science is in danger. A wider inquiry is needed to see if climate scientists have stopped beating their wives yet.

    RealClimate: We never did! That’s tendentious rehashing of bogus allegations. (And why’s your wife wearing dark glasses?)

    Professor Colquhoun: I’m disappointed that RealClimate attacks those pleading against domestic violence.

    Did I miss anything?

  22. 122
    bill says:

    Re#108 and 115
    Neither a denialist nor a warmist be: look for the data !!/m%C3%A5nadstabell_temp.pdf

  23. 123
    Toby says:

    You could very usefully spend an hour watching Naomi Oreskes’ one-hour talk called “Merchants of Doubt”. Oreskes (and her co-worker, Eric Conway) will see their book on denialism in climate science published this year.

  24. 124
    dhogaza says:

    You’ve been had, Bill. You’re not alone, but you’re late to catch on. You’re posting the lies, while others have been documenting them as lies.

    Actually, Hank, bill has been told this already, but that didn’t stop him from repeating the lie here.

    The claim that swedish climate data is in the public domain is a lie, in case people don’t care to chase the link Hank provided.

    From the SMHI website:

    3.2 The Licensee owns no right to use the data or products provided under this agreement for commercial purposes and not for development or production of meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic value added-value services. The licensee does not own nor authorized to redistribute, sell, assign or otherwise transfer data products or documentation without further processing to third parties unless the parties have received written permission from SMHI.

    Bill and others “interpret” this to mean that Jones was lying when he said he didn’t have permission to release raw data owned by SMHI.

  25. 125

    Moviebib says: “It says: “Ross Gelbspan was a longtime reporter and editor at The Washington Post and The Boston Globe where he won a Pulitzer Prize…”

    Apparently he doesn’t do much to dissuade people from thinking he won the Pulitzer.”
    I feel like we are getting off topic and heading toward deliberate character assassination again here.

    Because of the RealClimate spam filters, it won’t let me link to Gelbspan’s letters which state that he *did* get the Pulitzer prize.

    The Boston Globe acknowledged Gelbspan’s role in the project by printing his photograph and a brief biography under a headline reading: Profiles of Globe Staffers Who Won Pulitzers.

    The Mayor of Boston sent Gelbspan an official letter congratulating him on the Pulitzer Prize.

    When the industry campaign surfaced, the lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series (who had since moved to the Wall Street Journal) wrote a letter to The Washington Times denouncing the campaign and confirming Gelbspan’s role.

    So apparently, it is an *extremely* fine line on whether he can say it or not…and it is not totally incorrect to say that he got the Pulitzer Prize.

    The letter from Jonathan Kaufman, the lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series states: To the Washington Times:

    “You erred and did a grave injustice to Ross Gelbspan, author of “the Heat is On” by printing the spurious charge (August 14)that “he is claiming a Pulitzer Prize he never won”…no one can challenge his claim.”

    So let’s *not* character assassinate him too, please along with Tom Wigley, Ben Saunter, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, and lots of other people. I can’t stand McCarthyism.

  26. 126
    gustav derkits says:

    The IOP’s initial submission will continue to be used by climate change deniers no matter how many clarifications are issued. In the light of this, I think the IOP must disclose the authors of the report and the methods used to prepare it. It is vitally important that an organization which is now described on the website “Climategate” as “the voice of tens of thousands of honorable scientists unhappy with climatologists”* purge itself of the possibility that it may have been used as a tool by carbon-based industry groups to sow doubt. Lest anyone think this is not possible, please refer to the Union of Concerned Scientists report at:

    Members of the IOP who do not agree with the present situation of a report representing them having been created in secret by an unknown committee of authors should write to Prof. Main at the address:
    and express their opinion. Without direct action, the members become part of the “silent majority” evoked so often by former President Reagan. Further, they risk the IOP itself joining the ranks of the “front organizations” of dupes used by the energy industry to sow disinformation. Resigning from the IOP will leave it to the dupes. Demanding clarity and transparency in a process by which the Institute represents it full membership in a politically and globally important issue may produce results.


    -Gustav Derkits, Ph.D. (Physics)

  27. 127
    Septic Matthew says:

    83, Doug Bostrom

    It’s incidental to this thread, but substantial varieties of plastics can now be made from cellulose, and cellulose itself is used in tires and other stuff. We could leave the oil in the ground, and I think it would be valuable in the long run if we left a lot of it in the ground.

    China is now a larger presence in the international oil market than the US is, so it probably does not matter what we think, globally anyway.

  28. 128
    Toby says:

    Doug S (#50), you should listen to this talk:

    Oreskes makes the point that trust is essential in all walks of life. We don’t demand verification on a daily basis .. if we hire an architect to build a house, we do not demand the test data on the strength and safety of the materials he is going to use.

    She points out that generally people (encouraged by a dumbed-down mass media) expect “proof” from science, whereas all it can provide is a high standard of truth, not absolute certainly. And that is fine for people when they deal with their gynaecologist, or their oncologist. This, it is easy to keep picking away at science, because when a person sees a “disputed” fact (even though the dispute is fictitious) they assume immediately that the science isn’t settled, whereas we know it is.

    Oreskes shows how these tactics have been used to support denialism in a number of fields, but the major one was Tobacco, where the companies for years fought a rear-guard action mostly along the lines of “the science is not settled”. She makes the killer point that the Montreal Protocol on CFCs was agreed only AFTER Dupont felt it had perfectly adequate substitutes for CFCs and withdrew its opposition to the Protocol. It is a terrible example of how corporate wealth can cloud a public policy decision based on good science.

    It has been amazing to me that with all the schools turning out science journalism and science communication majors, the basic fact of what science is, and how it works, has not been communicated to the public.

    Basically, science should not have to “sell” anything. The science should feed into numerate and rational policy-makers, who can explain it to the public, assisted by people who can effectively communicate complex issues. Opponents should (naturally) debate the science, but have no right to do so “ad infinitum”, or oppose the science on ideological grounds. Once the science is agreed to be sound, the Precaution Principle demands that reasonable steps be taken to protect against future catastrophe. Again, political debate is allowable, but no faux-scientific “disputes”. Naturally, the science is refined and deepened in parallel.

  29. 129

    Leighton: I would suggest that you just acknowledge freely that the CRU failed miserably in its disclosure obligations and avoid further defensiveness.

    Paraphrase: Confess, Gavin! Confess! Confess! Or… Cardinal Fang! Bring out the comfy chair!

    [Response: Not the comfy chair! – gavin]

  30. 130
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Pulitzer

    Richard Ordway has this correct — it’s the _work_ (book, newspaper series, music) that is nominated for, and awarded, the Pulitzer. The newspapers, consistently, list everyone — not only the named writers who put the series together — in reporting that their publication received the award.

    Looking at the flurry of repostings of this ancient attack on Gelbspan, it would appear someone’s added it to some talking/posting points list recently.

  31. 131

    Doug S: How can the taxpayer discriminate between honest alarmism by truly concerned climate scientists and outright propaganda by profiteers?

    BPL: You have to trust the experts unless you’re willing to study the science yourself. Without becoming a professional climatologist, there’s plenty you can pick up quickly if you apply yourself.

    Emphasis on the last four words.

  32. 132

    David Colquhoun (51),

    Listen up: NOBODY HERE IS ADVOCATING SECRECY. Quit with the straw-man arguments. The whole point about CRU is that 95% of the data they use is public domain and the other 5% doesn’t belong to them. They didn’t do anything wrong. So stop with the accusations, especially the false accusation that people here want to preserve a mysterious “secrecy.” It’s denier propaganda.

  33. 133
    Comeplely Fed Up says:

    John E. Pearson says:
    7 March 2010 at 9:00 AM

    re posts 84 and 85:

    I have no objection with anyone attacking David’s opinion. I object when people attack him personally.”

    For the cheap seats here, JEP, can you point out what and where there was a personal attack?

    (bonus points: point out where David has done the same).

  34. 134
    simon abingdon says:

    I had an unremarkable UK grammar school education. There I learnt the fundamentals of science, mathematics, history, geography, languages and music. My subsequent degree was in applied mathematics and physics.

    Happily, as a result, I can usually complete The Times crossword every morning in less than an hour. To be able to do so is an index of what I believe it means to be “educated”. (Do by all means disagree).

    But for me, no educated person could possibly be unaware that the possessive “its” includes no apostrophe. (Nor indeed do the other possessive pronouns: theirs, yours, hers and even, surprise surprise, his).

    Gavin commits this egregious error repeatedly, which for me is a shame, because otherwise I might be able to respect him as a scientist who pays punctilious and pedantic attention to detail. Sadly this evidence says not.

    What’s more, The writings of those who cannot spell eg “lose” or use inanities like “en addendum” to suggest they have a (manifestly spurious) claim to classical scholarship should for me be dismissed out of hand without further ado.

    So guys, shape up and get your act together if you want the world’s intelligentsia to be on your side, never mind the merely “educated” like myself.

  35. 135
    trrll says:

    In his own field of receptor biophysics, Dr. Colquhoun is fairly renowned, and he has long been generous in making his own software and other research materials freely available. He is a careful and serious scientist, not a global warming ideologue. If things are looking bad to him, you should really think carefully about what can be done to improve the situation. I think that he may have a point regarding the danger of developing a “siege mentality.” It is tempting to push back against a demand when the people making the demand are obviously doing so for political rather than scientific reasons. Nevertheless, the value of greater transparency needs to be considered on its own merits, divorced from the motivation of those who are currently exploiting real or perceived lapses in transparency in an effort to create doubt about the science.

  36. 136
    Hank Roberts says:

    Published in September 2009, for WG1:

    IPCC Expert Meeting on Detection and Attribution Related to Anthropogenic Climate Change
    The World Meteorological Organization
    Geneva, Switzerland
    14-16 September 2009

    Good Practice Guidance Paper on Detection and Attribution Related to Anthropogenic Climate Change

    “Executive Summary
    The reliable detection and attribution of changes in climate, and their effects, is fundamental to our understanding of the scientific basis of climate change and in enabling decision makers to manage climate-related risk. This paper summarises the discussions and conclusions of the joint Expert Meeting of Working Group I and Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC WGI/WGII) on ”Detection and Attribution related to Anthropogenic Climate Change”, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland on 14-16 September 2009. It seeks to clarify methods, definitions and terminology across the two working groups and is intended as a guide for future IPCC Lead Authors. This paper also outlines guidelines for how to assess the relative quality of studies and provides recommendations for good practice in detection and attribution studies. In this respect, it discusses criteria for assessing confidence, outlines data requirements and addresses methods for handling confounding factors….”

  37. 137
    J Bowers says:

    79: Garrett: “The political battle is lost. There is now no way to convince Joe Sixpack that something needs to be done to stop this problem.
    All we can do now is record the data for future generations. It is our duty.

    The right wing used a brilliant strategy. They attacked the integrity of the people that research the work. They invaded private space, to steal
    confidential information to exploit, regardless of context. This is how theese people operate.”

    No, mate. Every time I see a new lie, distortion, misdirection, accusation, quote-mine, smear, and then another lie, I get a fire in my belly, and my belly ain’t that small. More and more honest people are stepping up to the plate, and more pro-science blogs are sprouting up.

    Here’s the thing: Facts are facts. All of the above can always be countered by facts, and every email taken out of context can be put back into context. In the long run, facts talk. The purveyors of the above are starting to falter and grasping at straws, even resorting to bigger lies which are even easier to pull apart as time goes by.

    They thought they were impervious to retort and could get away with their methods because they had loud voices, but it’s all beginning to backfire on them, and they look even more ridiculous as each week passes by. Four months ago, when a seeming scandal from the pages of the AR4 sprang up it would take a while before the reality of the actual facts filtered through. Now, it takes about an hour before the rebuttals are out and the accusers are having to defend their claims. Even after all of this time they still have nothing, only rhetoric and biased opinion, and a few paragraphs of honest mistake.

    The denialsphere’s a series of jokes, it can just take a while for everyone to get the punchlines, and they’re not always that funny.

  38. 138
    movielib says:

    #116,125 –

    Wow, how am I engaging in character assassination when everything I said is strictly the truth?

    This is only the second time I have ever posted on this site and I can see why I stopped after the first time.

  39. 139

    berkeley_statistician #6:

    I think that statistics, geophysics, and computational biology are currently considerably more reproducible than climate science.

    I’m still a relative novice at bioinformatics but in getting out my first paper involving 2 data sets I ran into the following:

    a result reported in a paper with a different version of the software than that available for download as part of the supplementary materials and hence different in its outputs
    a data file submitted to a repository that had the wrong content
    an unanswered request for data that I could have used to compare my results with other known results
    an author who had moved and hence his data files were no longer on his previous home server
    unclear data formats that required explanation from the originator

    Yes, it’s true that there are massive genomics databases out there that are expertly curated, but that’s not the whole picture. To paint computational biology as a paragon while claiming climate science is dominated by a small secretive clique is rubbish – as you would know if you simply clicked on the data sources at the top of this page.

  40. 140

    Dave G #49:
    You have to wonder what Richard Bloodworth is smoking to say

    Those predicting anthropogenic climate change should be prepared to make specific predictions which can be tested by observations. If they cannot do this, then the theory is not scientific and should not be used by politicians to increase fuel taxes on energy we all need in our daily lives.

    As far as I know, no-one has made such a prediction, for example global average temperatures …

    What does he think climate scientists are actually doing, as summarised by the IPCC, and frequently discussed on this site? Secondly, on the question of consensus (not a word he used but he’s referring to that obviously), all science except possibly pure mathematics is decided by consensus. Newton’s Laws are not mathematically proven; they have been shown to be a great approximation to nature until you get down to the quantum scale or hit relativistic effects by many, many repeated experiments. Arriving at that consensus is of course a result of agreement that the evidence lines up. That is where science differs from political debate: consensus is a product of evidence, not opinion.

    The bunch who are treating science as a “debate” in the political sense are the denialists, who, in the style of tobacco wars, are trying to turn science into a matter of opinion. Why? Because they have no contrary theory, or basis for arguing on the evidence that the existing theory is seriously flawed.

  41. 141
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Haven’t we learned the lesson from other bubbles?

    This is the latest from the New Scientist.

    However, written evidence submitted by the Institute of Physics in London claimed the hacked emails had revealed “evidence of determined and coordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions” through “manipulation of the publication and peer-review system” and “intolerance to challenge”.

    My bold. It appears that some people claim to have privileged access to ‘evidence’ denied to the rest of us. Instead of the money-bubble which eventually burst, we now have an evidence-bubble being blown up by manipulators and the media. It needs to be punctured or the damage done to all the sciences will be incalculable.

    Some people feel uncomfortable about modern science, especially when they read about the measurement problem (“Schrodinger’s cat”) or “dark energy”. It is also surprising that the Daily Mangle has not yet launched an attack on imaginary numbers. The only way to be sure about these matters is by means of more inquiries. The chairmen will of course have to be neutral between the ‘sides’. How about experts in medieval Latin?

  42. 142
    JMurphy says:

    It’s interesting the way that sea-ice extent/area/anomaly/whatever is brought up by those who deny, whenever such information briefly gives them an opportunity to shout : ‘Look, it’s higher today than the last couple/few/several years ! Global Warming isn’t happening !!’
    For the majority of the time, when the figures are not what they need to believe, they don’t mention sea-ice extent/area/anomaly/whatever.
    Strange that, eh ?
    No, I suppose not, but you’ve got to laugh or else you’ll cry.

  43. 143
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #5, & “…many scientists outside of climate science seem to have an issue (or agenda) with the religious fervour of AGW that some media outlets, bodies, professions seem to be pedaling.”

    If at all religious fervor were needed for something, AGW is it (and the world’s religions seem on the whole to be quite dull indeed about AGW — shame on them). Anyone not in a religious fervor over reducing their GHGs and getting others to do so, is a cold-hearted so&so, probably headed for a much hotter place than a globally warmed world, unless they repent, reform, and start preaching mitigation.

    I understand scientists have to be objective and detached when doing science, but I’d hope between times they’d have plenty of religious fervor for mitigating AGW.

    The real problem for me is despair, not religious fervor. I’m tempted to despair more and more over what we’re doing to life on planet earth, and over all those lost denialist souls.

    I felt like crying when I read this post about those physicists hiding behind the facade of science and a respectable organization, and writing that statement. They need our prayers, man.

    Here’s a little ditty I came up with years ago when I was more in my religious fervor over AGW than the sadness and despair that seems to overwhelm me today:

    Do not cause global warming, for fear of shame,
    for harming life on earth you will take the blame.
    And when you get to heaven the Lord will say,
    What about all those greenhouse gases you emitted every day.
    And when you say you do not know,
    the Lord will say please step below.

  44. 144
    Mike M says:

    RE: #50: What I said on a comment on another article is that (to my knowledge) there really isn’t a single ONE-PAGE document anywhere that really PROVES the case. Most of the good summaries pretty much start with the assumption that the reader already believes. That doesn’t work, b/c the skeptics stop reading… Someone qualified (not me) needs to step by step prove that a) MAN has caused most of the c02 increase, b) co2 is the main gas that retains warmth (earth would be x degrees cooler w/o any co2) and c) it has been getting commensurately warmer, in line with the increase in co2. Lastly, the arctic ocean in summer will soon be ice-free. That is the most visible and completely irrefutable piece of evidence (that I am aware of). Lots of other ice is melting, that is true, and lots of other stuff is happening, but all of that gets complicated quickly. Put that and only that on ONE PAGE. Most people and the media (particularly broadcast) are too “ADHD” to handle more that one single CRISP page. Crisp, clear, self-contained (don’t rely on hyper-links the reader needs to click on; ok to ‘footnote’ and put links on a separate page).

    The lead paragraph should acknowledge that people are genuinely skeptical (a good human trait, actually) and many are just unsure, (understandable given all the noise published; doesn’t make anybody ‘stupid’.) What needs to happen is to get more people to get that ‘Oh Shucks Moment’, where they realize a) we’ve caused some major changes to happen to the earth and b) we only get one earth. That’s all you want on page 1. At the end of page 1, it’s OK to say “we don’t yet know all about all of the consequences”. However, 10 years ago, ‘we’ thought it would take a lot longer for the arctic to melt and now it’s almost upon us. It’s happening way faster than ever expected.

    A page 2 could be a rebuttal to the more popular criticisms of the science. Here are a couple: 1) the number of weather stations used in the analysis has been greatly reduced, they are now lower altitude on average (therefore automatically warmer), and have been compromised by urban heat islands. 2) More glaciers are growing than shrinking and those that are shrinking are doing so b/c of snowfall changes, of course completely unrelated to man. 3) the little ice age and the MWP prove that natural variability on a global scale comparable to last few decades has occurred ‘recently’. 4) The oceans are getting colder (and the measuring methods showing otherwise are incomplete/distorted similar to land). 5) This winter FURTHER PROVES that warming has reversed itself (conveniently omitted is that the southern hemi had a scorching summer). Hit the Top 10, but be sure the most compelling arguments are included! (Don’t forget, data destroyed, fabricated, withheld, massaged by programmers, suppressed, etc.)

    NOW, if someone knows of ONE PAGE documents that cover pretty much what I am saying, please tell me; it needs to get massively recirculated. I HAVE searched. I find lots of really detailed stuff that is very technical/scientific and that is great, but that isn’t winning the battle of public opinion. If not, I’ll offer to either write it (if someone provides me with accurate data) or edit it to fine-tune it to the target audience.

    So let’s ask the question, WHY am I spending such a nice, WARM winter day writing this? I had 2 teenagers in my house recently say, quite emphatically and without any question, “… now that global warming has been PROVEN to be a hoax….” This kid’s dad is an engineer at Boeing; he’s a bright kid and goes to a fairly good school. I was in a state of COMPLETE shock. I can understand that there has been some additional cause to be skeptical, but like a lot of other right-wing garbage, the victory by the deniers has been COMPLETE in the minds of many people and that is very sad.

    Don’t think what I am asking is to dumb down anything, or to stoop to a lower level. Just realize you gotta greatly simplify/summarize and re-climb the hill you thought you’d already climbed. Frustrating, yes, but totally in line with the normal ebb and flow of getting a population to shift their collective beliefs about anything important. Needs to be media-ready and yes, sound-bitable, otherwise you lose too many ‘real americans’ who swallow the whole Fox belief system hook, line and sinker.

    Please don’t rebut anything I’ve said. If you have ONE-PAGE (or even 2 page) documents that you think fit the bill, please advise; don’t give me a laundry list of massive scientific studies. I’ve read them (and I read “Mom Rabbit”). I get it. I’ve read the IPCC summary stuff and that’s pretty good, but again, too conclusory and too expansive to convince a skeptic. If you think what I suggest is unnecessary, please do not reply with that either. Spend the time you would otherwise use writing a reply re-reading and thinking about what I’ve said. Thanks for reading. My great-grandchildren thank you in advance.

  45. 145
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #79, & “The political battle is lost. There is now no way to convince Joe Sixpack that something needs to be done to stop this problem…It is a sad state of affairs, but I will have to concede that they have won.”

    Yes (I’m more and more tempted to the same despair), but it is a pyric victory.

  46. 146
    Mike M says:

    RE: #121: CM, I think you get it.

    RE: #128: Toby, I disagree that science shouldn’t have to sell anything. The job is to reach conclusions and to continuously reach new conclusions and solidify previous ones. Concluding is persuading which is selling. When you want ‘the masses’ to believe what you say in the face of a really clever and entrenched attack machine, you gotta embrace the job of selling. Gravity/electricity: EASY. Tobacco/DDT/PCB’s: TOUGH. AGW: off the charts.

    As a side note, remember, unless we’re skiing, most of us hate winter. If I can have a shorter/warmer winter without consequences, bring it on. That’s part of what you’re fighting.

  47. 147
    naught101 says:

    “and other IoP members was obviously not very impressed”
    sentence does not make sense.

  48. 148
    Doug S says:

    #77 Slioch

    Here’s the danger the way I see it Slioch. Have you noticed how the savvy business organizations have adopted the rhetoric of “Global Warming” in their talking points? This is being done to advance their business interests. The media campaign that Al Gore and others created, complete with all the extreme exaggerations, was almost successful in creating a singular acceptable social position that people must adhere to.

    The campaign did a masterful job of creating a situation where criticism or skepticism of any kind typecast the doubter as having a selfish, eco-unfriendly attitude. This is a threat to all phases of science and a threat to the political and economic health of our nation. Our country’s scientific institutions have thrived on openness and skepticism. “Global Warming” has been promoted to the general public by this media campaign using a political and marketing strategy that shuts out debate, shuts out skepticism and creates a single acceptable position.

    In doing this we leave ourselves vulnerable to carpetbaggers of all kinds who will exploit this situation for their own gain. In the same way that the best intentions of “Everyone in America should own a home” was co-opted by carpetbaggers and thieves, the same possibilities for exploitation exist in the singular rhetoric of Global Warming. We must have a diversity of opinion and vigorous debate.

  49. 149
    dhogaza says:

    [edit – too far]

  50. 150
    Richard Steckis says:

    Lynn Vincentnathan says:
    7 March 2010 at 10:26 PM

    “but it is a pyric victory.”

    It is actually a pyrrhic victory. Named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus.