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Response to Statement from the UK Government re: CRU Epetition. (pdf version)

By Jonathan Drake

 

Towards the end of last year, 2009, an Epetition was created and submitted by Mike Haseler to the UK Government regarding the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).  Nearly 3300 signatures were attached to it and the Government responded on 24th March 2010.  The petition request was:  http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/UEACRU/

 

Quote:  We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to suspend the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia from preparation of any Government Climate Statistics until the various allegations have been fully investigated by an independent body.

 

See link for full details.

 

To most casual observers, that would appear to be a reasonable request, particularly given the apparent nature of the revelations.  How did the Government react to this?

 

On 24th March 2010, the Government responded with the following statement:  http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page22924

 

Quote:  The Government believes that all these allegations should be investigated transparently.

An independent review is currently examining the scientific conduct of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and is due to report its findings later in the spring.  More information on the review can be found at: http://www.cce-review.org/.  The University of East Anglia also recently announced that there will be a separate review to examine the CRU’s key scientific publications.  The findings of both these reviews will be made public.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology is also investigating the matter.  On 1 March the Select Committee heard evidence from a wide range of contributors, including Professor Jones, who has temporarily stepped down from his post as Director of CRU.

CRU’s analysis of temperature records is not funded by, prepared for, or published by the Government. The resulting outputs are not Government statistics.

Our confidence that the Earth is warming is taken from multiple sources of evidence and not only the HadCRUT temperature record, which CRU scientists contribute to.  The same warming trend is seen in two independent analyses carried out in the United States, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  These analyses draw on the same pool of temperature data as HadCRUT, but use different methodologies to produce analyses of temperature change through time.  Further evidence of this warming is found in data from instruments on satellites, and in trends of declining arctic sea ice and rising sea levels.

Science is giving us an increasingly clear picture of the risks we face from climate change.  With more research, we can better understand those risks, and how to manage them.  That is why the Government funds a number of institutions, including the University of East Anglia, to carry out research into climate change science.

 

On first reading, ones immediate reaction is that the response is another whitewash and the usual politically biased mantra.  However, a closer inspection reveals a badly written and ill-conceived text.  Rather than delving into the science, in this case, I will concentrate on the statement mostly from a more journalistic perspective and put it into context with some of the leaked email content and other references.

 

Starting with the obvious, there is this statement:

 

Quote:  CRU’s analysis of temperature records is not funded by, prepared for, or published by the Government. The resulting outputs are not Government statistics.

 

The Government is happy enough to use, cite, and propagate these historic temperature statistics to push the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) agenda and it’s spin off policies, yet appears to want to have nothing to do with CRU.  This is very evident on the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/.  However, the above statement is inconsistent with this:

 

Quote:  That is why the Government funds a number of institutions, including the University of East Anglia, to carry out research into climate change science.

 

So, to paraphrase;  CRU’s analysis of temperature records is not funded by the  Government but the Government funds a number of institutions, including the University of East Anglia (UEA), of which CRU is part.  None of the Government funding finds its way to the analysis of temperature records at CRU.  

To coin a phrase from the Science Museum, London, Prove it!

 

Are these Government statistics?

 

Quote:  CRU’s analysis of temperature records is not funded by, prepared for, or published by the Government. The resulting outputs are not Government statistics.

 

So, the CRU’s output is not published by the Government and not Government statistics?  Prove it!

Let’s see what the Met Office has to say about that:  http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20081216.html

 

Quote:  The Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia maintain the global temperature record – HadCRUT3 – on behalf of WMO. 

The Met Office Hadley Centre is the UK’s foremost centre for climate change research. Partly funded by Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the newly-established Dept of Energy and Climate Change and the Ministry of Defence it provides information to and advice to the UK Government on climate change issues.

 

From this it is clear that CRU and the Met Office work closely together on this dataset.  The Met Office provides information and advice to the Government and is funded by government departments.  It advices and supplies the Government with information on climate change issues, one part of which is the temperature record HadCRUT3 which is maintained in conjunction with CRU.  Now take a look at where this information was obtained.  Surely it is coincidence that this is published on the official government Internet domain, *.gov.uk?

 

So the HadCRUT3 statistics are nothing to do with the Government?  Prove it!

 

Okay, so let’s see what CRU has to say about their funding.  From the CRU website: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/about/history/

 

Quote:  This list is not fully exhaustive, but we would like to acknowledge the support of the following funders (in alphabetical order):

 British Council, British Petroleum, Broom's Barn Sugar Beet Research Centre, Central Electricity Generating Board, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Commercial Union, Commission of European Communities (CEC, often referred to now as EU), Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Department of Energy, Department of the Environment (DETR, now DEFRA), Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Eastern Electricity, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenpeace International, International Institute of Environmental Development (IIED), Irish Electricity Supply Board, KFA Germany, Leverhulme Trust, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), National Power, National Rivers Authority, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), Norwich Union, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, Overseas Development Administration (ODA), Reinsurance Underwriters and Syndicates, Royal Society, Scientific Consultants, Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Shell, Stockholm Environment Agency, Sultanate of Oman, Tate and Lyle, UK Met. Office, UK Nirex Ltd., United Nations Environment Plan (UNEP), United States Department of Energy, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wolfson Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).  

 

So none of these and in particular those in bold typeface are or were UK government bodies and none of them are linked to UK government in any way?  Prove it!

 

Of course, we could always see what the director of CRU, Phil Jones, has to say.  From the leaked emails, 1228922050.txt:  (http://www.eastangliaemails.com/)

 

Quote: 

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: santer1@llnl.gov
Subject: Re: A quick question
Date: Wed Dec 10 10:14:10 2008

... Finally, I know that DEFRA receive Parliamentary Questions from MPs to
answer. One of these 2 months ago was from a Tory MP asking how much
money DEFRA has given to CRU over the last 5 years. DEFRA replied that they
don't give money - they award grants based on open competition. DEFRA's system
also told them there were no awards to CRU, as when we do get something it is
down as UEA!
I've occasionally checked DEFRA responses to FOI requests - all from Holland.
Cheers
Phil

 

It seems pretty clear that CRU has had funds, directly or indirectly from UK government (UK taxpayers) and that one of the money laundering routes has been through DEFRA, under the guise of an award to UEA.  

Moving along, it is interesting that the response mentions the phrase ‘climate change’ on more than one occasion but never makes any linkage to human activities or increasing atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.  That in itself is unusual.  The agitprop normally necessitates that asserted causation is included.  Maybe the Government has realised that everyone with an ounce of sense knows, climate is always changing; it always has, and always will?  Indeed the only constant in climate is change.

 

Bearing this in mind, we find there is an apparent change in emphasis to highlight risk instead, as can be seen here:

 

Quote:  Science is giving us an increasingly clear picture of the risks we face from climate change.  With more research, we can better understand those risks, and how to manage them.

 

But those perceived risks are not detailed and certainly not differentiated from natural climate risk which has been happening since the beginning of time and certainly not influenced by humans.  Of course the risks associated with a constantly changing climate have never been considered by scientists, thinkers, politicians or farmers at any other time in history, have they?  The implication is that these risks are somehow different now, but there is no elaboration within the text.

Anyway, the response then attempts to quell dissent and bolster its authority by citing short term records from high-tech instrumentation.

 

Quote:  Further evidence of this warming is found in data from instruments on satellites, and in trends of declining arctic sea ice and rising sea levels.

 

The satellite temperature data is only available covering about 31 years.  It shows no significant increase over the last 12 years, more than a third of the record. 

They cite declining average - it is annually cyclic - Arctic sea ice as evidence of the temperature trend.  The apparent decline is only seen in the old type satellites.  It is consistent with instrument drift, and inadequate validation processes.  Just for the record, global sea ice shows no significant trend despite the satellite measurement problems.  Also Arctic sea ice extent has recently been at a record high, for this time of year, according to the nine year AMSR-E data from IRAC-JAXA, http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm.

 

Next we have this:

 

Quote:   The same warming trend is seen in two independent analyses carried out in the United States, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

 

Does that confirm the warming trend or merely demonstrate that the data has not been corrected adequately, or is, worse still, biased?  The basic methodologies are quite similar and therefore similar results should be seen with essentially the same data.  That does not necessarily mean that they are correct.  It is also interesting that the Met Office is reappraising its data.

 

However, putting that aside, let’s remind ourselves of what Phil Jones, director of CRU has to say about the GISS reconstruction:  1254850534.txt

 

Quote:  

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: Tom Wigley <wigley@ucar.edu>, Ben Santer <santer1@llnl.gov>
Subject: Re: help please
Date: Tue Oct 6 13:35:34 2009

Tom,
Agreed that NCDC must have some data gaps - but this isn't very clear from the website.
GISS is inferior - not just because it doesn't use back data. They also impose some
urbanization adjustment which is based on population/night lights which I don't think is
very good. Their gridding also smooths things out. Plotting all three together for land
only though they look similar at decadal timescales. GISS does have less year-to-year
variability - when I last looked.


I assume NCDC should add the back data in - although there isn't the need if infilling
is going on OK.


I've never looked to see if NCDC changes from year to year.


I think you can say that GISS is inferior to CRUTEM3. In Ch 3 of AR4 I put the station
number counts in.   ...


[Emphasis applied]

 

So here we have the revelation that GISS is inferior to CRU, some of the data is not used and adjustments are included, although the three sets agree on decadal scales over land.  We need to remind ourselves that the

Earth is two thirds covered by water, so what about the rest?  But the CRU version is now in question and being investigated and an expert considers GISS to be inferior.  Apparently these inconvenient facts are immaterial to the Government.

 

Next, let us finish with the final line of the petition request:

Quote:  We call on the PM to suspend all further use of the climate research unit until all pertinent allegations have been investigated and any action (if any) has been taken.

 

This has been completely disregarded and thus goes unmentioned and obviously, without action.  Business continues as usual at CRU.

 

 

 

Jonathan Drake                       5/5/2010

Questioning Climate

 

 

 

 

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