back to article Oxburgh blesses Climategate boffins

All's well at CRU. The University of East Anglia's scientific enquiry into the Climategate affair, led by Lord Oxburgh, has exonerated the staff involved. After just 15 days on the job, Oxburgh has dismissed the charges in a brisk five-page report. The academics under fire were the IPCC's leading authorities on temperature …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    On the wall ... on the wall...

    ...Oh, wash me in the water that you wash your dirty daughter in,

    And I shall be whiter than the whitewash on the wall...

  2. Dazed and Confused



    The report says they didn't mess up.

    And we are supposed to be surprised that this is what the report says

    Now, where did I leave that big pot of white...

  3. Craigness

    Just 15 days

    It took a lot less than 15 days for the denial industry to spread their propaganda about a "trick" being used to hide the "decline in temperature". The BBC repeated this falsehood this morning during 5 Live's coverage of this story.

    1. Craigness


      Looks like I got downvoted for telling the truth.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Along with...

        ...almost everyone else cynical about this Report, you'll notice.

  4. Professor Tinklepants

    Absolutely disgusting...

    ....but, sadly, not at all surprising.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1

      Not not surprising


      And what will be unsurprising is that the government in its mediocrity will once again have to apologise for making a mistake again.

      Only of course Nick Griffin will be the next Prime Minister by then.

      After all if you are going to vote for someone who knows all about silly....

  5. Sir Sham Cad

    A few things missed out of the article

    I'm sure Mr Orlowski is a busy man and didn't have the time to put more of the findings into the article. That's OK, that's why we have comments.

    Oxburgh's main conclusion was: "We found absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever. That doesn't mean that we agreed with all of their conclusions, but these people were doing their jobs honestly."

    Take that together with the "why the hell didn't you use actual statisticians?" comment, it's clear he's attributed any dodginess to cockup rather than conspiracy.

    Also, according to Prof Hand (who was on the panel), he reckoned that in the CRU research papers, they were open about the uncertainties in the figures. Apparently, though, as we know, scientific publications for the masses don't like to mess about with things like that and the panel noted that these and other qualifications over the data were left out in these publications. In fact the IPCC comes in for some stick as, apparently, the IPCC had "oversimplified" the CRU data it used.

    So the removal of caveats and qualifications of the data and filing off the corners of the numbers to make them fit was, apparently, not down to the climate science bods at CRU.

    That's the bottom line of this, admittedly rather brusque, report.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Cockup vs conspiracy

      It's a pity that so much is riding on this work. We're being asked to change the direction of the whole global economy, and apparently it is "regrettable" that the underlying science lacked adequate statistical support and was *then* over-simplified by the IPCC.

      The questions that matter on the topic of global warming were always (i) is it happening?, (ii) is it going to cost us dearly? (iii) is there a course of action we can take that would cost us less than the benefit it would bring? To judge from this report, there's still doubt on (i), we're certainly struggling to answer (ii) and no-one has a clue about (iii).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "So the removal of caveats and qualifications of the data and filing off the corners of the numbers to make them fit was, apparently, not down to the climate science bods at CRU."

      How dare the IPCC ignore the uncertainties - who wrote the bloody reports?


      "[Phil Jones, CRU] was a contributing author to Chapter 12, Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes, of the Third Assessment Report and a Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 3, Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change, of the AR4."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Springing to mind

    are the words "wash" and "white". What a waste of our money.

    1. Craigness


      If they didn't do much wrong, then the report can only say they didn't do much wrong. It's not a misuse of funds merely on the grounds that you don't like the reality it uncovered. It's only a waste of money because many people prefer conspiracies to the truth.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1
        Paris Hilton

        What is the point of the unit then?

        What's the point of having a climate research unit if it is a secret society with its own unfathomable rules and no way to get hold of the data they hold?

        It might as well just be a library in a backwoods university that is designed to house all the bumph that students produce to get their doctorates.

        Ah... wait...

  7. Alan Esworthy

    Too much money, too few brains

    There is simply far too much money at stake for the Climate Alarmists to stop trying. That there is no longer any rational basis for enormously disruptive, wasteful, and impoverishing laws and regulations does not matter. Yes, it may turn out that we're heading for climatic trouble, but that is only a conjecture now that even the temperature data bases are known to be corrupted.

    It is just about time for pitchforks and torches, tar and feathers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My take

    Not seeking to deceive, which is how some of the critics protrayed their work.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As predicted...

    a total whitewash.

    It had to be because of vested interests and the carbon trading scam.

  10. Mr Nobody 1

    Nothing to see here......

    Whitewash deployed, feet up and a cup of tea.

  11. John Savard Silver badge

    Not Extensively Reviewed

    The external criticism of the climate scientists was hardly worthy of being reviewed extensively, any more than the junk put out by flying saucer enthusiasts. The question is: were the scientists whose E-mails were stolen actually up to something dishonest? That is answered by looking at what they were doing, not what real vested interests like oil companies are trying to make out of stolen E-mails manipulated out of context.

  12. Mark 65

    Lift carpet, sweep under

    That is all

  13. Anonymous Coward

    too big to fail

    It's quite clear that the credibility of the science has little impact on political and commercial activity.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      Don't call them deniers, it just not nice

      Whilst I agree that the Mr. Orlowski's reporting of climate changes issues is less balanced than 2 legged donkey. Calling everyone who doesn't agree that climate change is real a denier is just plain dumb, it ranks up the along side G.W. Bush calling all citizens that didn't agree with his invasion of Iraq un-patriotic and un-American. Just because they have a different view is no reason to call them names.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gordon is clearly a moron

        "Calling everyone who doesn't agree that climate change is real a denier is just plain dumb"

        Climate change is real and no-one is denying that - the climate of this planet has been changing well before man appeared, and will continue changing no matter what man does.

        What people are sceptical about is the unproven THEORY of Man-Made-Global-Warming, which was tactically renamed to Anthropocentric-Global-Warming, then tactically renamed to Anthropocentric-Climate-Change.

        You just appear to be a bit early in making the jump to renaming the same unproven THEORY to Climate-Change. It's at THAT point you're supposed to imply that sceptics are Climate-Change deniers!

        People are sceptical of this unproven THEORY because it is dependent upon statistical modelling, and the people involved at UEA CRU have proven to be CRAP at that - hence why they discussed the criminal and anti-scientific act of destroying data rather than reveal it.

        CRU have, however, been very helpful to the IPCC by writing reports saying that as the climate is changing (as it always has) governments need to 'take action', i.e. government should:

        a) - get lots of money from taxes,

        b) - impose many laws to make dramatic changes to our societies,

        c) - help some of their friends get very rich through carbon trading.

        Scepticism is a necessary part of science. People who want to supress scepticism, rather than respond with the data and methodology used for their THEORY, are the ones who are anti-science.

        1. Gordon is not a Moron

          Dear A\C

          just a few things:

          a) - calm down and get a grip

          b) - invest in an eye test

          c) - the term 'climate change' that got your panties in a bunch, was used in the orginal deleted post, it's polite when disagreeing with someone to use the same terms they did so as to avoid confusion and it prevents you looking like a pedent who's only argument is about the correct use of an apostrophe and doesn't have a real point.

          d) - because the orginal post was removed, you are drawing conclusions based on incomplete data but are choosing to ignore that fact in order to validate a preconcieved position. Which strangely enough is what you are accusing the CRU of doing.

          e) - only Jilted John gets to call Gordon a moron

    2. James Smith 3

      The "trick"

      Agreed. The word "trick" is meant as a "nice technique for solving a problem". However:

      Problem: The tree ring data went down instead of up.

      Nice technique: Bin the bit that goes down as it's obviously wrong and graft on the themometer record instead.

      The real issue being discussed is whether that technique was valid. Some say combining data in this way and not explaining it clearly was a bit dodgy. Not a nail in the climate change coffin I grant you. Not smelling of roses either.

      I also agree that the report doesn't look like a whitewash. There seems to be some valid points there. The one about statisticians was something that the Wegman report also highlighted. The problem is these scientists don't like people asking awkward questions. Their "nice technique" for dealing with that problem: finger in ears... la la la.

  15. neil 15

    common sense deployed

    To anyone who actually glanced at the emails, has some scientific training,has a basic understanding of statistics and the science of atmospheric chemistry, has used email as informal private communication, common sense has prevailed. To those that do not have a clue, they say whitewash. Come on, do more than 5 pages saying why it is a whitewash, as in do it yourself, not some vested interest website.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      How about...

      the bit in the report which says that they really didn't consider any external criticism, and the fact that they took NO verbal evidence from any of the specialist critics like McIntyre who had raised the initial technical queries?

      This reporty says that CRU have been given a clean bill of health so long as you don't consider or accept any external criticism. So it is valid to say that the report does not find CRU blameworthy, but only if you ignore any real misdeeds.

      That counts as a whitewash in my book....

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So what were they reporting on again?

    Only a cursory read of the Harryreadme file shows a development process which is undocumented and shambolic.

    This is *not* 1 badly written bit of software to support a PhD candidates conclusions.

    It is a government (and IIRC mult-government) funded research institute. Its research products (reports, data sets, conclusions) *matter* and how they are arrived at also matters.

    They say no deliberate malice but I'd say plenty of incompetent development work.

    I believe AWG does exist. But I wouldn't trust their results to prove it one way or the other.

  17. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  18. Shakje

    Something else missing from this article

    which was mentioned on the BBC News last night, and is entirely relevant, is that there's a more in-depth report due in a month, this is just a summing up of the investigation, so the size of it is less important.

  19. danleywolfe

    East Anglia's narrow look at climategate

    East Anglia's scientific enquiry asked themselves only if the Objective Science done by CRU was OK. The major problem is the subjective "opinion science" committed by the IPCC esp. the lead scientists including Schneider, Jones et al. The recent "Open Letter" by IPCC on the internet defends the FAR and large body of objective climate research IPCC has done. IPCC would be delighted to have this become a debate on the myriad bits of scientific work/data that is covered in the IPCC 4th assessment.

    The issue is the "opinion science" esp. based on models that are akin to economic policy models taken out 100 years "out of sample" (... not supportable and basically meaningless). IPCC FAR states that the knowledge of such things as water vapor, clouds, particulates and natural solar cycles is inadequate; however, they are very important.

    IPCC Open Letter says: "none of the handful of misstatements (out of hundreds and hundreds of unchallenged statements)remotely undermines the conclusion that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

    If the models are based on the past 50 years and inadequately represent these non manmade forcings, this last bit must be untrue and intentionally misleading. AGHGs are important forcings - however they are a fraction of the total forcings that contribute to warming. IPCC claims the long term models (outputs by 20 modeling groups over 24 SRES storyline scenarios) predict a range of warming by 2010 of 1.5 deg C to 6 deg C, mean 3 deg C. These models are heavily calibrated on GHG emissions - for the purpose of furthering the policy agenda. IPCC (Stephen Schneider) has talked about running the projections out 200 years to increase the "awareness" (i.e., alarm) of the public, mainstream media and politicians on the urgent need for policy action, how about 500 years – the models are conditioned to produce rising temperature out in time.

    The IPCC further characterizes the results as 90% likely, 95% highly likely to dress up the model long term projection as quantified science, "it's real, it's done science"; these are subjective (again "opinion science") likelihoods assigned (perhaps a Delphi polling) by the lead authors who are predisposed to push policy. This is not quantified deductive science, but forced by opinions. Schneider claims that opinion science is perfectly justified but not if you are trying to dress it up as objective science to further ones beliefs... it is not science at all.

    This would fall under Norman Davies "rules of propaganda" (in Europe: a History, Oxford Press, London, 1995). This is more serious than misinterpreting ice berg retreat, tree rings or sea level rise. Much of the critical urgency is due to the long term projection that has been hyped, rehyped and triple hyped to the public, mainstream media and politicians to push IPCC agenda. My background includes research in thermodyamics, heterogeneous catalysis, statistics (and more), and I have done large scale systems modeling. The focus on opinion science is the most egregious offense -- not the detailed bits of tree ring and tit mouse counting. This needs to be acknowledged and dealt with rather than covered up. East Anglia simply took a pass on a real investigation instead giving a pat on the back to Jones et al. when the real sins weren't even tabled.

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