Saturday, January 23, 2010
The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia
Terms of Reference
The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three questions:
—What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
—Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
—How independent are the other two international data sets?
The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.
On 1 December 2009 Phil Willis, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of UEA following the considerable press coverage of the data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The coverage alleged that data may have been manipulated or deleted in order to produce evidence on global warming. On 3 December the UEA announced an Independent Review into the allegations to be headed by Sir Muir Russell...
The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February: more
Though our Parliament has heretofore been enthusiastic climate alarmists, passing, with only 3 dissenting votes, a bill to close down 60% of our electricity & thus 60% of our economy by 2050, I am cautiously optimistic about this. This appears to be what John Redwood called for recently. The terms of reference do not look deliberately skewed to make sure they just talk about leaking being dreadful but to actually look at the science. The line they should "determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data" is really open to only 1 answer. By mentioning the East Anglia U enquiry separately it is implicitly saying it is not enough. I have also been sceptical of it & of Muir-Russell, its chosen chair. Parliamentary committees can, when not nobbled by the government, genuinely work.
The House of Lords, arguably more experienced & certainly more independent, did a report on the subject last year which said
There is the issue of the science, which I had previously taken as given; but many people’s faith is being tested. We are often told that the science is settled. I suppose that is what the Inquisition said to Galileo. If so, why are we spending millions of pounds on research? The science is far from settled. – Lord Turnbull Dec 8th 2009So it will be interesting. It may well be that this is being seen as a chance for politicians who so loudly rode the catastrophic warming horse to reverse themselves with a modicum of dignity. Parts of such committees are available to broadcasters.
UPDATE - Bishjop Hill has listed the members of the Science & Technology Cttee & they look like as reasonable a mixture as one could hope for, even having some scientists. Interestingly he notes that those with the most sceptical records are mainly Labour.