March 2, 2010
The appearance of Phil Jones, sometime head honcho of the CRU at the “University” of East Anglia, hero of the Climategate e-mails scandal, before the Commons Science and Technology Committee yesterday was an interesting occasion. It was historic, since it afforded the whole world the spectacle of a new reality: AGW propagandists on the defensive.
That said, the Committee of Public Safety this was not, but there was still some dogged probing from committee members which Jones nervously tried to deflect until brought up against the brick wall of undeniable facts: his instructions for e-mails to be deleted, his refusal to pass on data to sceptics and the fact that he had consistently refused access to his computer codes and methodology. What particularly startled the committee members was the revelation by Jones that, in climate science – apparently as distinct from other scientific disciplines – refusing to share data was “standard practice”. One wonders why (well, actually, one does not wonder at all).
Yet the most significant part of this exchange, largely buried by subsequent discussion of the issues already mentioned, occurred very early in Jones’s evidence. Referring to the CRU’s collaboration with two other climate units in America and another two in Russia and Japan respectively, Jones said: “We may be using a lot of common data, but the ways of going from the raw data to a derived product of gridded temperatures and then the average for the hemisphere and the globe is totally independent between the different groups.”
There you have the crisis in a nutshell. That is why the Climategate stakes are so high – $45 trillion, to be precise. If the CRU/East Anglia’s research is compromised (and who now seriously believes it is not?), then the dominoes all fall by cross-contamination. Jones tried to emphasise the apparent difference between these groups on whose work the whole IPCC edifice stands or falls. But this is cosmetic verbiage. It is the raw data that matters. If that is wrong, nuances of interpretation based on it are irrelevant – and how much significant difference is there in the claims of the IPCC contributing groups in any case?
This article was posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 5:38 am