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Second CRU inquiry reports

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 April 2010

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.

Carry on…


1,421 Responses to “Second CRU inquiry reports”

  1. 101
    Hank Roberts says:

    > they do not include any details of what they did with the
    > documents, what their questions were

    In other words, you won’t be happy until you get complete access to all the information yourself, personally.

    Hope that works for you when someone makes up accusations about you.
    You have nothing to hide, right? So you needn’t worry about having everything about you made public just to reassure others that you’re not doing anything wrong.

  2. 102
    Ike Solem says:

    A far bigger issue than ClimateGate is the issue of Coal Carbon Capture Science – the blatant fraud that no British or American science agency will address, out of fear of political reprisals from the politicians who control the purse strings.

    Why no mention of this?

    No similar call for addressing the many claims about carbon capture? Tar sands in Alberta, let’s say – the U.S. refused to block imports of tar sand syncrude because “it was better addressed with carbon capture”, according to our Council on Foreign Relations…

    One small problem – it takes more energy to capture and store the emissions from the fuel than you can generate by burning the fuel. Most of the “demonstration projects” (as well as enhanced oil recovery systems for oil well CO2 injection) only capture about 1% of the emissions from the fossil fuel plant, at an energy cost of greater than 1% of the power output.

    Nevertheless, there is zero transparency – because private interests control the patents to the technology. The chief DOE contractor on this, as well as the overall manager of the bogus DOE FutureGen project, is the private “non-profit” outfit, Battelle Memorial Institute, which has promoted the following claims:

    FutureGen will demonstrate advanced coal-based technologies to generate electricity for families and businesses, and also produce hydrogen to power fuel cells for transportation and other energy needs. The technology also will integrate the capture of carbon emissions with carbon sequestration, helping to address the issue of climate change as energy demand continues to grow worldwide.

    The 275 megawatt plant will be developed through a public-private partnership led by the seven founding FutureGen Industrial Alliance members that include:

    American Electric Power
    BHP Billiton
    CONSOL Energy Inc.
    Foundation Coal Corporation
    Kennecott Energy Company, a member of the Rio Tinto group
    Peabody Energy
    Southern Company

    Formation of FutureGen Alliance was coordinated by Battelle, a non-profit research and development institution. The Alliance is working with DOE to secure a final agreement for FutureGen. Once an agreement is reached, the process would proceed to site selection and plant design.

    In reality, this is just a coal gasification project that the putative owner, the DOE, intends to sell off in parts to coal-to-gasoline interests once it’s completed – it’s right there in the DOE proposal.

    Nevertheless, the press maintains a blackout, the private interests who suck up billions in DOE contracts hide their bogus “technology” behind private intellectual property law. This is one of the biggest frauds being perpetrated by the U.S. and British governments on their public – a massive greenwashing scam – and yet the press won’t talk about it.

    Why is that, again?

  3. 103
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Fairly comprehensive article in the Independent:

    The needed-more-statisticians squib seems to be pretty much damp:

    Professor David Hand, an expert in statistics at Imperial College, said that the CRU relied heavily on the statistical interpretation of “tough data” and that it could have used better techniques had the climate scientists kept themselves abreast of developments in statistics. “In reading the [scientific] papers, the CRU have to be commended because of the many cautionary comments and qualifications they make in those papers,” Professor Hand said.

    “There is no evidence at all of anything underhand, the opposite if anything, in that they have brought out in the open the uncertainties associated with what they are doing. That doesn’t mean that better statistical methods could not have been used, and I suspect they could have been used,” he said.

    “We’re not talking about radically different tools and entirely different approaches, we’re talking about slight differences in methods,” he added. In any case, this probably did not affect the overall conclusions of the research, Professor Hand said.

  4. 104
    Frank Giger says:

    It just dawned on me that twenty years ago (1990) was ancient history in terms of record keeping.

    DOS 5.0, top of the line was a 486 with a 20 MB hard drive…which means researchers probably were lucky to have a 286, a ten MB hard drive, and a lot of five and quarter disk drives.

    And some time share on some old university machine with a huge tape library, complete with robot arm.

    I wonder how many boxes of printouts and notebooks are squirreled away in some warehouse, shoved under a shelf with the label facing the wall (and therefore hidden).

    We are completely spoiled by unlimited digital space and access today, and it is really easy to forget how quickly we lept from the analog workspace.

  5. 105
    Theo Hopkins says:

    It is pleasing to see that the Daily Mail, a right-leaning UK popular newspaper, rightly criticised here at RC in the past, and that rubbished Jones personally in the past, and is editorially “sceptic”, covered the story fairly accurately:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1265921/No-evidence-malpractice-scientists-accused-fabricating-global-warming-results-inquiry-finds.html

    However this has not changed the loopy idiot denialists who are commenting on the article. Sometimes you just can’t win…..

  6. 106
    Edward Greisch says:

    66 Anand: Yes. The task ahead is huge and difficult.

    67 Richard Ordway: paradymn shift: Americans are disrespectful. Yes, there is a problem. It is partly that others are trying to change our paradigm to protect profits and partly that we have to change the political, cultural and corporate paradigms to protect the planet and our species. Politics as usual isn’t getting the job done. The third train in this train wreck is that science is so far from what can be thought and perceived by average non-scientists. That is why I keep coming up with the idea of a colony on Mars as insurance against extinction. Evolution is often forced by climate changes. Most people may realize that there is no future for them, so they are forced into denial. We are trying to save everybody; perhaps a hopeless task. This is a dangerous thing to say. We ARE trying to save everybody. We may fail, at least partially. Don’t expect most people to believe us.

  7. 107
    freespeech says:

    Hank Roberts wrote:
    “In other words, you won’t be happy until you get complete access to all the information yourself, personally.”

    Nope. Nothing personal about the disclosure requirements, they should be public. It surprises me that the panel thought their report was sufficient in its current form, i.e. trust us.

    “Hope that works for you when someone makes up accusations about you.
    You have nothing to hide, right? So you needn’t worry about having everything about you made public just to reassure others that you’re not doing anything wrong.”

    Well, while I really do have nothing to hide, I’d be rather upset if the people supposedly charged with the responsibility for investigating issued this type of report. I doubt if anything here is of sufficient privacy not to warrant public exposure. Do you really think the questions asked and the answers given are that embarrassing? If it were me I’d rather have the details in the public sphere so that the debate ends with the report.
    This “we asked lots of really smart questions and got splendid answers” approach doesn’t cut it for me. But I guess I must have a higher expectation for what represents investigation and proof. Mea culpa. It is climate science after all.

  8. 108
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Hank, #101, that technique worked well for SCO in their fight against IBM.

    That too showed NO EVIDENCE in what SCO accused IBM of, though this cost IBM millions.

    Since scientists FOI work is for government, these millions (for each center FOIADDoS’d) would have to come from taxpayers.

    Which I would suppose then be proof that AGW is a hoax to get more tax money to climate scientists…

  9. 109
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS This is wrong:

    “In other words, you won’t be happy until you get complete access to all the information yourself, personally.”

    Since they’ll only be happy if they get all the information that can be shown to prove AGW a fraud. If the information doesn’t show that, then that is proof that there’s still more data missing, since AGW ***IS*** a fraud, and if all the evidence doesn’t show it, there must be more that does.

  10. 110
    Jimbo says:

    OT

    BBC – 14 April 2010
    Low solar activity link to cold UK winters
    “The UK and continental Europe could be gripped by more frequent cold winters in the future as a result of low solar activity, say researchers.
    ……..
    …said lead author Mike Lockwood, professor of space environment physics at the University of Reading, UK.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8615789.stm

    Independent – 20 March 2000
    Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
    “According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

    “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

  11. 111
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “As far as I am aware in all disciplines it is incumbent on authors to supply sufficient information so that others can, should they so wish, repeat the experiments.”

    This is true.

    Isn’t always followed (cf Soon and Balunias and G&T’s paper), but that risks getting your paper removed from the running.

    “This does not seem to be the case in climate science and I am unsure why the rules are different.”

    What makes you say that?

    The paper produced many other works based on the same principles. If there was not enough information to do so, how were they made?

  12. 112
    Paul Gosling says:

    I think a lot of you are failing to read what I am actually writing. I have not criticised CRU for not having full records for papers that were written 20 years ago. I doubt many scientists in any field would. I am criticising the panel for saying that they were able to make a full assessment of these papers in the absence of full records, they could not. The fact that they passed the peer review process does not mean there was no problem with them either, it means if there was then reviewers at the time did not pick them up. There is plenty of rubbish which passes peer review, as this blog regularly demonstrates. The strongest argument for the integrity of these older papers is that subsequent work supports them. That is a fair and strong argument, saying they were fully assessed by the panel, when they weren’t, is not.

  13. 113
    Chris S says:

    freespeech says “By the way, any idea who the groups this esteemed report believes used “inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results” are? Or are we just ignoring that bit in the interests of maintaining the concensus?”

    I think I can guess…maybe the same groups who show “a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under
    which university research is sometimes conducted” perhaps?

  14. 114
    Completely Fed Up says:

    ““Science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems and either confirming or refuting published results, not by ‘auditing’ old calculations. ”

    That’s not true. The ability to validate a theory or experimental finding is in repeatability.”

    Yes.

    Repeat the experiment.

    NOT calculate the results of the same numbers.

    It doesn’t matter how many times different people say “1+1=2″, this is not proof that the equation is right.

    So you need enough information to repeat the aim of the experiment. This is summarised in the Abstract usually where they say something along the lines of:

    “We have tested the idea that Rats use visual cues to remember the right path to negotiate through a maze to reach the reward in the minimum amount of time”

    NOT

    “Rat A took 178% of the time to travel from A to B, a distance that was 1.60m long where the total duration was …. The second time it negotiated the route… The third time negotiating through the route…”

  15. 115
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Off the cuff, without reading the report, I see no reason why FoI should NOT apply to academic research.”

    So GSK’s drug trials are open season.

    It’s as academic as weather and climate prediction, which as companies like Open Road will tell you is a business selling weather and climate (ask Piers Corbyn too: he sells long term climate forecasts).

  16. 116
    GlenFergus says:

    Not quite OT, this that I made recently might interest some: Global_monthly_temperature_record.png

    It’s the standard five global temperature record estimates plotted as monthly anomalies instead of the usual annuals (see Stefan last week). I’ve not seen a combined monthly plot before.

    Apart from (yet again…) confirming that the Hadley/CRU estimate is just fine, I think the monthly plot shows something else. Something new to me at least (Hadley notwithstanding). The month to month variation seems to give a sense of the increasing uncertainty in the temperature estimates due to increasing data scarcity further back in the record.

    Looked at that way, the early 20th century rise is nearly lost in the noise, and the rapid rise since the 1970s becomes even more striking.

  17. 117
    Completely Fed Up says:

    RickA.

    This:
    “There is still a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen to sea level and temperatures in the future”

    Has nothing to do with this:

    “but are skeptical as to the degree of human contribution to the warming of the last 150 years, or how sensitive the climate really is to a doubling of CO2 levels (to 560 ppm).”

    Which is known as a non-sequitor.

    Uncertainties in what rate sea level rises happen doesn’t make the sensitivity of temperature rises in response to CO2 similarly unknown.

  18. 118
    NS says:

    #71 Comment by Steven Sullivan — 14 April 2010 @ 3:40 PM

    Steve, it’s a while since you posted this, hopefully you’ll see this and respond…

    “Nonscientists might be shocked at how often professional statisticians are NOT consulted in biomedical/clinical research…which can lead, e.g., to the wrong stats tests being done or data being overinterpreted.”

    Just out of interest, when drugs are being submitted for approval does the FDA (or other equivalent national bodies) demand a certain standard of
    statistical due dilligance on the submitted data?

    Nial.

  19. 119

    RickA (77): this is not the first time the average global temperature has risen above the level of 1850.

    BPL: It’s the first time it’s done so in 20 million years, though.

  20. 120

    zeroworker (79): he should have simply complied with the FoI request up front

    BPL: No, he should not have. There are 3 people in CRU. It takes 18 hours to comply with all the paperwork surrounding a typical UK FOI request. McIntyre et al. spammed CRU with 40 FOI requests, made out more or less at random, over one weekend. And it was clear they lied about needing the data for research.

    So no, Phil Jones did exactly the right thing.

  21. 121
    chris says:

    Frank Giger says: 14 April 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Frank, you’ve rather misrepresented Myles Allen’s straightforward (and true) statement about the nature of scientific advance, since Allen’s statement implicitly incorporates the nature of “repeatability” in relation to science as it is actually done (as opposed to a “Philosophy of Science 101” notion!).

    Your examples relate to a very small subgroup of scientific observations where a publication is subject to efforts at direct reproduction. A real life example would be the Cold Fusion farrago where a rather outlandish claim was immediately subjected to efforts at direct reproduction, and ultimately shown to be non-reproducible and without merit.

    In the general flow of scientific advance, repeatability is assessed in a far less direct manner as Myles Allen indicates. Some examples from (a) the field I work in and (b) from climate science:

    (a) A protein crystal structure is reported and the coordinates deposited in the data base. Unless another group has independently determined the crystal structure, no one will bother to replicate this study (generally there wouldn’t be much point). However other groups might be interested in determining the structures of the protein complexed with potential drug molecules; or might be stimulated to determine the structure of the same protein from a different organism. In doing these subsequent experiments the first study is essentially replicated. If there is a problem with the first study (they got the phases wrong and messed up the structure, or they fabricated the whole thing!), then that’s likely to become apparent in subsequent studies of the sort I describe.

    (b) Climate science has lots of repeatability of the Myles Allen sort. The fact that the analysis of historical temperature is independently compiled by three groups using different approaches lends a great deal of confidence to its essential reliability; that NASA GISS uses rational extrapolation to “fill in” the Arctic temperature anomalies provides us with an insight that would be lacking if their (and NOAA’s) roles were to do a slavish “repeat” of the Hadcrut analysis in the manner you imply.

    Similarly, what we know of paleotemperatures and paleogreenhouse gas levels from ice cores comes from a large number of different cores from multiple locations. If there are specific questions, then there may be replication under different conditions to address these; so the Law Dome high resolution CO2 record was obtained from three different cores, each drilled using different methods (thermal, electrochemical and fluid-immersed electrochemical) to assess the possibility of artefacts resulting from different drilling methods. This is far more informative than a slavish repeat (“audit”!!) of a core drill would be.

    In general science advances as a weave in which published analyses are generally tested “in passing” as new problems are investigated that overlap with earlier work. If there are problems with the earlier work then this may be uncovered through major inconsistencies with subsequent studies. The notion that we can only have confidence in a piece of work if this is slavishly “replicated” is not how science works, and if we were to adopt that approach, we’d really slow up the process of finding stuff out (even if it might be an “auditors” dream!).

  22. 122
    Geoff Wexler says:

    #77

    In case you thought it was, your comment is not a reply to my #64 which was about the quality of contrarian statistics. Please read the whole review of Grant Foster’s book (See link in #64) and preferably go and buy it. Even when the climatologists stats. have been criticised , it has been because they may not have used the most sophisticated tools available , but this ‘lapse’ has had little effect on the answers. That is not the case with anti-climate stats. which are frequently absent altogether or misused.

    For contrarians to complain about the quality of climatologist’s stats. is a case of a black pot calling a silvery kettle black.

    Propagandists like Nigel Lawson et al (a very big et al!) who repeatedly assert that the climate has not warmed this century, are anti-climate because they are trying to deprive their readers of the very concept of climate based on a consistent average over decades.

  23. 123

    I presume it’s fortuitous that Hank’s #99 immediately precedes freespeech’s comment at #100?

    As John Cage loved to point out, sometimes random processes lead to illuminating results.

  24. 124
    David N says:

    ==========
    #19
    Completely Fed Up says:
    14 April 2010 at 10:44 AM

    where was I…?
    ==========

    Australia…..

    (sorry ’bout that…)

  25. 125
    Paul from VA says:

    This is off topic for this thread, but I was wondering if the recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland was large enough to have a noticeable (cooling, yes?) effect on climate a la Pinatubo. It’s large enough to have shut down airports across Northern Europe:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041500560.html?hpid=topnews

  26. 126
    freespeech says:

    While it seems I am banned from posting within this pseudo-science blog for the serious crime of questioning the new religion, I must comment that the lack of reasoning from your posters must be a comforting result for you and your corrupt cohorts.
    [Edit]

    [Response: Cry me a river--don't have time for it. Every post you have made, deleted or not, has shown that you are primarily interested in antagonism and mis-representation of positions, like Eli Rabett's, to fit your own story line. Your mind is apparently made up on the matter.--Jim]

  27. 127
    Lloyd Flack says:

    #87 freespeech,

    Who did they think had used inapropriate statistical tools with the potenential for producing misleading results?

    I think Michael Mann is one of those referred to. David Hand, the statistician on the panel did mention Mann’s early multi-proxy work as having statistical flaws. I do not know who else he was referring to.

    But remember, this was the first try at multi-proxy temperature reconstructions. It is superceeded work.

  28. 128
    Completely Fed Up says:

    David:
    “Australia…..

    (sorry ’bout that…)”

    No, I ***was*** in Australia.

    Where I learned all about poison science papers…

  29. 129
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “BPL: It’s the first time it’s done so in 20 million years, though.”

    And oddly enough, it’s the first time humans have burned fossil fuels.

    Maybe there’s a link between them…

  30. 130
    Sy says:

    the BBC threaten to present the report fairly accurately, but then decide they need to balance out the scientific viewpoints with a sports sociologist

    http://mediaecologies.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/climatgate-the-oxburgh-enquiry-and-the-bbcs-usual-bullshit/

  31. 131
    Deech56 says:

    RE NS

    Just out of interest, when drugs are being submitted for approval does the FDA (or other equivalent national bodies) demand a certain standard of statistical due dilligance on the submitted data?

    Yes, of course. Pivotal studies are accompanied by a Statistical Analysis Plan, but many supporting studies – non-GLP animal efficacy experiments, investigator-initiated clinical trials – will have less input from statisticians, especially in the planning phases.

    I participate in a lot of proposal reviews and a large proportion of proposed animal studies do not include a justification of animal numbers. Things are improving, but the consulting of statisticians early in the process is not done often enough.

  32. 132
    Bob says:

    108 (Jimbo),

    Jimbo please take the time to actually read the articles you link to, and to understand what they actually say (as opposed to the misrepresentative spin that you got on them from WUWT).

  33. 133
    ROI says:

    I find it highly odd, not to mention unhelpful, that a body convened to investigate CRU has seen fit to include highly generalized and abstract criticisms of the CRU critics in its report. They may very well be right in what they say, but such comments should have been entirely outside the purview of this report. At best, the decision to include them will provide CRU’s critics with ammunition to bolster their contention that the report is a whitewash. At worst, it suggests the possibility that the report really was, in fact, a whitewash.

    [Response: Oh please. The amount of misinformation, disinformation, baseless accusations and straightforward smears levelled at CRU was huge and the inquiry only existed in order to see whether there was anything to the criticisms of the science. Finding nothing, it is not too surprising that they concluded that many critics were behaving dishonorably and disingenuously - which they were. Given the open season on scientists that we have had for the last few months, apparent concern for the feelings of the hard-put upon critics could rightly be described as chutzpah. - gavin]

  34. 134
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re :#124

    David Hand, the statistician on the panel did mention Mann’s early multi-proxy work as having statistical flaws.

    Yes but there is a debate about it. He is just one person and how long did he spend on it?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/comment-page-5/#comment-152813

    Just because he comes from IC doesn’t make him right.

  35. 135
    ROI says:

    QUOTE: “[Response: Watch those goalposts move! Let me be sure that I have your position correct: all of the noise, insults, threats, libel and cries of fraud, fabrication and misconduct are because you feel that more statisticians should have been coauthors on the CRU papers? Got it. - gavin]”

    I’m sorry, Gavin, but you’re lumping all of CRU’s critics into one pile, which – though it perhaps makes some sense to you on an emotional level – is a logical fallacy. (E.g. “Islamic fanatics crashed planes into the WTC, ergo all Muslims are terrorists!”)

  36. 136
    SecularAnimist says:

    Kevin McKinney wrote: “As John Cage loved to point out, sometimes random processes lead to illuminating results.”

    As quantum physicists love to point out, random processes lead to all results.

  37. 137
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “I’m sorry, Gavin, but you’re lumping all of CRU’s critics into one pile”

    When it’s a response to a single post, this would require that the post was made by a committee of CRU’s critics.

  38. 138
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Pivotal studies are accompanied by a Statistical Analysis Plan,”

    Including an analysis of whether the statistical tools were the very best ones available?

    I don’t think so.

    Definitely not in all cases.

    And all the intermediate workings?

    Even if 20 years old?

    Which, if it were as damaging to corporate welfare as climate change mitigation, would be shouted as proof it was all a lie.

    Which I believe was the OP’s original point.

  39. 139
    Kevin Stanley says:

    A couple of questions for commenters bill and NS, and any others expressing their grave concern about the potential costs of responding to the picture that has emerged from climate science as though it were true (i.e. taking action to reduce CO2 emissions, develop renewable energy sources, etc.):

    What do you see as the potential range of costs for *lack* of action?

    On what do you base that perspective?

    How do *you* assess the likelihood of future scenarios?

  40. 140
    Bob says:

    132 (ROI),

    You don’t seem to understand the actual words involved. Let me clarify it for you.

    There was exactly one recrimination in the report, and that was that it might have been helpful, even if it does not seem to be common practice even today in many fields of science, if 20 years ago the scientists had enlisted the aid of professional statisticians.

    This was interpreted by one commenter here as a hugely important point, and that the post here was somehow grossly flawed because it failed to mention that particular, relatively innocuous detail, because it is the one thing that reflects poorly on CRU.

    Gavin rightly pointed out that this was a prime example of moving the goal posts. Where the scientists were accused for fraud, fabrication and misconduct, no evidence was found, so now this commenter is acting like it’s some big deal that they didn’t enlist the aid of professional statisticians, as if this single negative finding was always the point of the process.

    Now you (ROI) rotate the direction of the field (rather than moving the goal posts) by complaining that Gavin’s description of the attacks on the scientists is somehow unfair to the people who made the attacks, because he’s not distinguishing the shrill, purposely misleading bloggers from the pedantic, myopic pseudo-scientists from the bizarre, absurdly misinformed media personalities from the unprofessional, libelous, misquoting journalists?

    Exactly where did he “lump” “all of CRU’s critics,” or even mention them, in the first place?

    Watching this unfold is like watching Elmer Fudd balance an oversized stack of tea cups topped with a lit stick of dynamite.

  41. 141
    barry says:

    This [needing more statisticians] was interpreted by one commenter here as a hugely important point, and that the post here was somehow grossly flawed because it failed to mention that particular, relatively innocuous detail, because it is the one thing that reflects poorly on CRU.

    As has already been pointed out, that IS mentioned in the post. Climate change ‘skeptics’ can’t read. It appears to be a requirement.

  42. 142
    Gerry Quinn says:

    A far bigger issue than ClimateGate is the issue of Coal Carbon Capture Science – the blatant fraud that no British or American science agency will address, out of fear of political reprisals from the politicians who control the purse strings.

    Why no mention of this?

    Because the Oxburgh enquiry was about something completely different, perhaps?

    Nevertheless, there is zero transparency – because private interests control the patents to the technology.

    Nevertheless, the press maintains a blackout, the private interests who suck up billions in DOE contracts hide their bogus “technology” behind private intellectual property law.

    I too have considerable doubts about coal carbon capture. But the claim you make here are ‘patently’ bogus, because all patents must be published. Anyone can freely conduct full text searches at the USPTO website for all US patents filed over the last several decades.

  43. 143
    Sou says:

    132 ROI:
    I suggest you go back and read the first point in the report, which summarises the purpose of the review and the reason for the review. If I were conducting such a review I would be negligent if I did not make some comment on the legitimacy of the allegations and their nature. Those who wrote the report obviously had the same opinion.

    Bear in mind, the people who conducted the review were leading international figures, appointed on the recommendation of the Royal Society. You couldn’t get better than that.

  44. 144
    zeroworker says:

    #84 and #120

    I disagree. While I don’t have first hand knowledge of the situation and could be persuaded that my current thinking is wrong by new evidence, or by facts I’m currently unaware of, what I’ve seen so far does not support the notion that UEA received a “blizzard” of FoI requests, or that they were vexatious to the point that he should not have responded (which, anyway, I’m not sure he was legally at liberty to deny).

    Monbiot now has an exchange with Steve Easterbrook up on his website regarding the FoI requests:

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/04/08/debate-with-steve-easterbrook/

    Until I see some more evidence to the contrary, I’m with Monbiot on this one.

  45. 145
    Kevin Stanley says:

    ROI @ 131
    Of course it is true that not all people who have criticized CRU have exactly the same motivations. Obviously.

    Please see Damian’s comment at 69, though. Some of the less strident essentially use the more strident as a tool to spread FUD and distort public perceptions, while being able to claim their hands are clean.

  46. 146
    zeroworker says:

    #120, BPL

    After thinking about it a bit, I want to specifically address your argument that responding to an FoI request takes time, and therefore can be disregarded.

    It took me 10 hours to gather, fill out and file my federal tax forms. Another few hours to do my state taxes. I have to do this every year, and sometimes spend even more time on them if I (or the government) makes a mistake. Does this mean I should not have to file them?

    There are all kinds of annoying obligations in life. Just because something is annoying or takes time does not somehow remove the obligatory nature of the exercise.

    Additionally, the vexatious FoI requests you mention occurred after a number of earlier, and definitely non-vexatious, requests were turned down. See Monbiot’s blog for a good treatment:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/apr/08/hacked-emails-freedom-of-information

    I view FoI as a very important tool in keeping government action transparent, and therefore accountable. It is _NOT_ acceptable to deny such a request just because it’s a pain in the a**. The whole _POINT_ of FoI is that the information is to be made available upon request. If a FoI request can be denied for as meager a reason that it takes time out of your busy day, then the FoI law(s) would be rendered essentially useless.

  47. 147

    Gerry Quinn (#144), isn’t this precisely why some companies choose not to patent, or not to patent right away? Can we assume that there are patents for some portion of CCS technology?

    Secular (#135), that was actually one of Cage’s concerns in performance of his work (as I know from first-hand experience): he wanted to be sure that performers didn’t unintentionally suppress “outlying” possibilities, playing always “in the middle.” But I fear this subthread may becoming a bit of an “outlier” as far as the topic goes. . .
    ;-)

  48. 148
    dhogaza says:

    zeroworker says …

    It took me 10 hours to gather, fill out and file my federal tax forms. Another few hours to do my state taxes. I have to do this every year, and sometimes spend even more time on them if I (or the government) makes a mistake. Does this mean I should not have to file them?

    There are all kinds of annoying obligations in life. Just because something is annoying or takes time does not somehow remove the obligatory nature of the exercise.

    Zeroworker seems unaware that though the law requires most citizens to file tax returns, FOI law does not *require* the recipient to respond to a FOI request by releasing what’s asked for. Under many circumstances, FOI law makes clear that the proper response is to say “no”.

    Also, being asked to file taxes once a year is a bit different than being bombarded with about 50 FOI requests in a single *weekend*. It’s as though you’re being asked to file returns in every state of the union rather than just those you earned income in. I suspect if you were required to file returns for 49 states which you’ve never worked in that you might find this burdensome and vexatious.

  49. 149
    barry says:

    zeroworker – here is some evidence.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/25032/response/66822/attach/2/Response%20letter%20199%20100121.pdf

    The majority of these FOI requests were received in a matter of days. These ones follow the same format – obviously a cut and paste job. Prior to 2009, CRU received less than a dozen FOIs a year. Usually much less. The last 3 years:

    2007. 4 requests
    2008. 2 requests
    2009. 99 requests

    2009 saw an FOI blizzard at CRU, wouldn’t you say?

  50. 150

    #145–Fine, but legal responses to FOI can include refusal for cause–including not having “ownership” of the data, which we know to be the case for some at least of the earlier requests. And we know that CRU worked with the relevant compliance personnel.


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