March 30, 2010

HMM: UK ‘Climategate’ inquiry largely clears scientists. “Phil Willis, the committee’s chairman, said of the e-mails that ‘there’s no denying that some of them were pretty appalling.’ But the committee found no evidence of anything beyond ‘a blunt refusal to share data,’ adding that the idea that Jones was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that weakened the case for global warming was clearly wrong.” So, is this right, or is it a whitewash? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Reader Robert Lederman writes:

From the body of the article to which you linked (emphasis mine):

“Lawmakers stressed that their report—which was written after only a single day of oral testimony—did not cover all the issues.”

“Report” is not the word that springs immediately to (my) mind to describe an effort such as this.

Well, stay tuned.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark emails:

Bear in mind that this committee does not speak for two pending investigations. It is not clear from the story what this committee’s relationship is to those two investigations that remain ongoing. Moreover, the issue isn’t whether “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity” versus the implied “global warming isn’t happening or isn’t caused by human activity”. The question has been primarily the extent to which it is, and it is, with respect to the former proposition, and most importantly the following: Was the data treated properly? Was the data analyzed properly? Is the existing data significant in supporting any of the existing mathematical models, and to what extent?

More important than any judgment of Jones and his collaborators in this matter is whether all of the data and associated documentation is made public and available for independent analysis, and that this should be so for all similar work going forward. If policy prescriptions involving potentially trillions of dollars over many years are to rest on matters of science then there should be absolutely no secret with regard to the science or the scientists involved: absolute transparency should be the standard.

Well, stay tuned.