Feeds

back to article Climategate hits Westminster: MPs spring a surprise

Parliament isn’t the place where climate sceptics go to make friends. Just over a year ago, just three MPs voted against the Climate Act, with 463 supporting it. But events took a surprising turn at Parliament’s first Climategate hearing yesterday. MPs who began by roasting sceptics in a bath of warm sarcasm for half an hour …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

Par For The Course

".....Graham Stringer BSc, an analytical chemist and the only scientist on the MPs' committee."

This does not surprise me at all.

4
0
FAIL

Ian Stewart MP....

....'aint a Wigan MP as he's my local MP!

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ian_stewart/eccles

But I am not surprised he failed to ask 'proper' questions, he was something of a Government lackey during the Congestion Charge debate back in 2008. I for one am not unhappy his seat is soon to disappear due to boundary changes.

0
0
Thumb Up

Edit.

You've corrected that now, lovely....if only we could ship Stewart off to Wigan so easily. Ah well, only a few more weeks left for him whatever the GE result!

0
0

A few facts, m'lud

The world hasn't warmed in the last 15 years, the Medival Warm Period was warmer than now, sea ice extent in both poles has not depleted and the glaciers in the Hymalayas ain't going to melt any time soon. The climate is changing, yes. The climate has ALWAYS changed and if cnuts like Brown call me a flat-earther to my face because I might not agree the science is settled just quite yet then they will get their lights punched out.

17
7
Gav

Facts?

Facts? Sound like a number of very confident statements unsupported by evidence, but backed up with a threat of violence. Is this what you call science?

Why are you cutting your analysis off at "the last 15 years". That's a pitifully short period. What happened before that that you'd rather not discuss?

9
9

This post has been deleted by a moderator

@Dangermouse

The earth may not have warmed over the last 15 years, it has warmed over the last 16 and the last 14 though, hadn't it?

Ben Goldacre (Iseem to recall) linked to a good analysis of warming trends and cooling trends, it turns out that it's fairly rare to find a cooling trend over X year periods, in the last 20 or so years, but it's very common to find warming.

As stated ad infinitum - Weather is not climate.

3
0

Facts...

These are not "very confident statements unsupported by evidence", but rather are statements that various scientists, Universities and other scientific bodies have made in peer-reviewed papers who are not tainted or corrupted by the IPCC, and even noticed but not mentioned by CRU. Remember the "hide the decline" email. Not, I fancy, a badly worded email by the good Professor as he now states, but rather an admission that in fact the world has not increased in temperature in the last 15 years and he would rather not have the fact in the public view.

Also, if you read on I am not cutting my analysis off at the last 15 years. The MWP was a little longer than 15 years ago, I think. Hint - check "Medieval" in the dictionary. As for sea ice extent, it has been shown that there has been no decline by satellite analysis and other studies from Universities and the like. None of my statements are by my own judgement as I readily admit I am not a climate scientist, but as already mentioned are views made by people with the relavent letters after their names who ARE in a better position to make such statements.

And since such people who are making these statements are finally being heard without being shouted down as heretics or deniers, one would have to argue that, in fact, the science is not settled. And, as such, I would prefer that my Government would take an objective view to these issues and establish whether or not climate change is in fact caused by man, and not, say, affected by sunspots and solar flares. It's quite powerful, that big yellow thing in the sky. Notice there again I did not say Climate Change is not happening. Climate Change has been happening way, way before Mankind was a shit-smear upon this planets surface.

I am all for recyling and generally living better with the environment. Can't argue with that. I would just like not to have Gordon Brown spunk away yet more billions that we as a country can ill afford, taken from us by force and threat of incarceration, based on inconclusive evidence from corrupt institutions. So, yes, when people point blank say "the science is settled" without even acknowleding any other point of view, and call people "flat-earthers" for even daring to entertain other such points of view, it makes me angry.

You remember Brown shrieking "Fifty days to save the world!!!"? Well, the sun is still rising in my little corner of the planet.

20
3

Huh?

Why do you choose 15 years as the point to start of your 'no more warming'? It's wrong anyway - NASA have 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 (in that order) as the warmest years on record,

The MWP was not warmer than the current period, it was drier and it was a localised effect.

Sea ice in the Arctic is thinning and diminishing, it is growing in the Antarctic. That doesn't mean Antarctica is cooling, in fact its warming faster than pretty much anywhere on Earth. It does mean the circulation in the Antarctic Ocean is changing and less heat is being convected to the surface because meltwater is diluting the salinity of the surface layers of the ocean, reducing its density.

So the ice in the Himalayas isn't going as fast as one report says. But the evidence is clear, the vast majority of Himalayan glaciers are retreating.

Yes the climate has always changed, but its rarely been changing as fast as it is now in human history, and we're particularly vulnerable because we already use so much of the available resources whether that's water, agricultural land or areas built close to the sea.

6
7

MWP Localised effect

I'm curious, really, the MWP affectied "North America, Europe and parts of Asia". While that is not global, it does appear to be most of the northern hemisphere. A rather large area to be described as "local"

6
0
Anonymous Coward

@ Fraser

The earth may not have warmed over the last 15 years

But it has over the last 20000 got quite cool a bit before that as well I believe.

2
0
FAIL

Huh! Doh!

***It's wrong anyway - NASA have 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 (in that order) as the warmest years on record,***

NASA of course have records that go all the way back to the Roman Warm Period? Um, no, just for a few of the most recent years. Even the CET record only goes back 260 years, right into the depths of the Little Ice Age. By quoting NASA you are cherry picking as much as the original comment, but you are also arguing from authority which is a common fallacy.

***The MWP was not warmer than the current period, it was drier and it was a localised effect.***

If you can deign to read a "sceptical" site, may I suggest you check out http://www.co2science.org/data/timemap/mwpmap.html to see the studies regarding the MWP. Links are included to at least abstracts of the papers. It looks pretty global to me.

***Sea ice in the Arctic is thinning and diminishing,***

http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice-tony-b/ gives a nice overview of historic records. It again may be best to follow the links to the original documents whenever possible. It appears as though the recent ice loss in the Arctic is not unusual or unprecedented.

***So the ice in the Himalayas isn't going as fast as one report says. But the evidence is clear, the vast majority of Himalayan glaciers are retreating.***

A quick search on Himalayan Glacier Retreat and ignoring the IPCC reports but only taking independent specialist reports suggests that although the glaciers may have been retreating since 1850 (about the end of the Little Ice Age) there generally is consensus that there is insufficient evidence to make a statement one way or the other.

***Yes the climate has always changed, but its rarely been changing as fast as it is now in human history***

Implicit in this statement is that climate has previously changed as fast as it is now (assuming that the observed change is not due to some artifact). The question becomes "what caused these obviously non-human climate changes in the past, and why is the present change necessarily human-caused? Without valid answers all we can state is that present climate change is not distinguishable from other natural climate change.

Science is not about taking an hypothesis and assuming it to be true, but formulating the hypothesis and the trying to disprove it. Failure to disprove the hypothesis strengthens the supposition that it is "correct", but it is still susceptible to being disproved at any time. An hypothesis cannot be "proved" but can be disproved with one contrary observation.

1
0
Thumb Up

@ moderator

you shot a troll !

well done :)

2
1
FAIL

Well done??

Hardly, if anything the moderation proved the original "troll" correct in his belief that being critcal of climate change sceptics is forbidden in there here parts.

2
9
Stop

The Climate Change Industry

ah Mr Gordon INAM,

well it is because we are all TOTALLY sick of being referred to "climate change denyers" . . we just want science not spin, so yes we are highly sceptical that we are having the wool pulled <again> but what is _wrong_ with that?

If you think I'm wrong, ask anyone seeking research funding . . . and ask them how they have to add a climate change angle to any research to get funding . . . and if they go for the contrary view they'll get b*gger all

it is about time someone applied the brakes to the massive Climate Change Industry

10
6
Boffin

Sceptics

Would that be because the analytical minds that tend to be found around here parts are, in general, fairly sceptical by nature ?

Being sceptical is a fundamental requirement for the evolution of science, engineering and IT; assumptions and theories should always be challenged, or else past mistakes would prevent further advances from being made correctly.

Critising people for being sceptical is neither big nor clever.

11
3

@Maverick

You might want to actually read what's infront of you before going off on one.

As far as I can see, the major problem with the whole Climate gate, is that a group of people got together and collectively decided on a view and then wouldn't allow any discussion or disention from that view. The original troll's opinion was that this the moderator and El Reg are acting in exactly the same way, just with a different view. And it's kind of hard to take the moral high ground when you're rolling around in the mud with everyone else.

Is man-made global warming real? Well for me the jury is out on that one. Personally I think the real problem facing the West is peak oil \ dwinling fossil fuels. And whilst the current solutions to both man-made global warming (real or not) and peak oil, look roughly the same climate change is far easier to sell to the public. So what we end up with is mixture of "bad" science and "good" politics, with the ends justifying the means.

But to get rid of the bad science, the whole way science is funded needs to be overhauled. I think Micheal Crichton in "State of Fear", (don't read the story it's awful, but the notes at the back are worth a read), all science funding should be done through blind trusts so that the researches don't pander to thier paymasters

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Well

even if the report is a whitewash at the end of the day at least someone is asking the questions we all want asked.

5
0
Bronze badge

Policy based science

is not science at all.

The problem is, with no data or methodology to retrospectively peer review, everything these guys have done simply has to be thrown out and the work repeated with proper scientific rigour.

Sure, have an enquiry, discover the flaws and publically flog them. In the meantime the science needs to be shored up and conclusions drawn again, even if there's no "smoking gun" found one way or the other. Science rarely works like that. We need good data, with sensible conclusions arrived at by correct and rigorous analysis. This is what actual, proper climate scientists all over the world are continuing to do.

In the meantime the politicians have to be seen to act on the "what if they're right/worst case scenario" because, at worst, we're spending money to improve the environmental impact of our civilisation (a good thing to do anyway, if we get our money's worth. Another subject entirely) and at best we'll be reducing the severity and impact of the upcoming globogeddon and we'll save millions of people, wildlife and fixit-money. And these guys have obviously been working to provide "science" to support the necessary politics. The problem is that they've been taken at their word by the actual science community and we've now set back the science by a significant way.

Yep. Flog 'em.

3
0
Thumb Down

Peer Shmeer

So we admittedly have a peer review where no one has bothered to validate the raw data? If the raw data is incorrect then every assumption based on that data is also incorrect. That being the case, there has been no valid peer review, just some proof reading by a bunch of like minded yes men. It's time to stop this eco-fascism and stop it turning our younger generation into a green version of the Hitler Youth.

10
2
Anonymous Coward

That is what peer review is supposed to be

You have not been reprimanded for a negative peer review of bad science I guess. Oh, well... we leave to learn. You will learn. Sooner rather than later.

Anonymous - as one who have learned it... The hard way...

0
0
Boffin

Peer Review is a peer review

Peer review screens papers for obvious errors, it is very rare for a reviewer to ask for raw data or computer code unless the paper itself seems flawed, then it is likely to be rejected. If the data supplied in the paper is not enough to convince the referees then again the paper is rejected or amended.

In essence a scientist could make up the data and claim wondrous results, see Jan Hendrik Schön for example. Trust is assumed. But if the claims are too outlandish or cannot be replicated then in time incorrect results will be found out.

So peer review is not perfect, it's good enough. It is not a guarantee of correctness but more a filter to take out the weakest papers.

7
0

This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

I agree with Drunken.

I agree with Drunken. It's unrealistic to expect climate change scientists to assess the data, methodology and conclusions during peer review. There are much more important things to focus on. For example, is the paper well presented with an attractive font, good use of graphics and the inclusion of juicy quotes for press headlines. These are the things that drive the allocation of government grants, the creation of national and international panels and allocation of places on those panels.

Data and methodology is for nerds. It's dull. It's dreary. And no-one of consequence is interested in it. Classical science may have been about advancing the sphere of human comprehension but that vision of science is just hopelessly out of date. Modern climate science is a business. The main purpose of a paper is to sell a position. After all, what is the point of spending government money on science when the science produced doesn't have a political application?

/sarcasm

0
2
Thumb Up

Good report

The best summary I've read on any blog or newspaper website, well done El Reg.

It's only a matter of time before this gets turned into a West End musical. So who will play the lead role in: Graham Stringer: The Opera?

1
0

Graham Stringer: The Opera?

Sounds like a prime role for Jerry Springer, or Jeremy Kyle

0
0
Pirate

Me too neither

Yesterday's article was spot on too. Is the BBC a quango BTW? Not sure.

Upon this blasted heath you stop our way

With such prophetic greeting?—Speak, I charge you

What do you say?—CRU jimmie:

"I'm afraid he's at a meeting."

More.

0
1
Thumb Up

Nice reporting, but....

I think writing it as "science", rather than science would be more appropriate in this case.

3
3
FAIL

Boundless Growth

How dare anyone deny me of god-given right to drive my SUV 40 miles down the motorrway to work every morning, holiday abroad three times a year and purchase groceries trucked in from thousands of miles away. Our high-consumption lifestyle is non-negotiable. Only eco-fascist losers would suggest otherwise. Human beings have no effect on the environment whatsoever. Don't believe all this green propaganda about peak (cheap) oil, expanding deserts, overfishing, contaminated water supplies. I don't know why the US bothered to occupy Iraq as it could easily get all the energy it needs from algae and cold fusion. Indeed I saw a YouTube video by an Americna guy invented a water-powered engine and followed a link from "www dot rense dot com" about an Irish guy who invented a free zeropoint energy machine.

Anyway back to the grind... I just wish they would widen M25 to 15 lanes and quadruple the capacity of the London underground.

6
12
Stop

Idiot.

What the hell are twittering about? No one is suggesting that what you have written above is a good idea.

The problem comes from a bunch of scientists who have allowed their beliefs get in the way of proper science and have acted in a manner that has now brought disrepute upon their work. Their actions have strengthened the case of the very people that they despise.

5
2
FAIL

Bloody hippies

"Our high-consumption lifestyle is non-negotiable. Only eco-fascist losers would suggest otherwise."

I'm sure you think your're being sarcastic (and terribly witty to boot, how terrible to be wrong on both counts), but what you say is half correct

Our lifestyle IS non negotiable. We have clean water, heating, electricity, transport, hospitals. We live in comfort. We aren't going to give that up, and those countries who are not yet fortunate enough to enjoy such conditions are not going to give up aspiring to them.

Those facts are non negotiable, and any framework for discussion of climate change which fails to recognise that is plain stupid. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to drive my SUV down the motorway on the school run if I can engineer a solution that means doing so has a minimal impact on AGW or one of many more immediately serious and well understood environmental issues.

But you don't just hate the impact, you hate the SUV. Just like the fox hunting ban had nothing to do with the fox and everything to do with the hunters, so the Eco facists and hippies have adopted AGW as a stick with which to beat those they feel are making unnaceptable lifestyle choices.

In the process they are drowning out the discourse of scientifically informed debate (as neatly illustrated by this story) and making the chap on the clapham omnibussuspect that anyone who feels strongly about AGW is probably a bit of a twat.

But do carry on.

11
1
Thumb Up

Well said

Well said that man - Personally, I probably fall pretty heavily into the "sceptic" camp but I appreciate someone who's willing to separate the cause and effect

I wholeheartedly agree that we should be trying to build SUVs with zero environmental impact (or as close as possible). I'm less convinced about the seriousness of global warming but certainly accept that more debate is needed - But whatever the truth, Why NOT try to make more eco-friendly products? Just don't twist that to mean we should all live in mud huts...

3
0
Joke

@ Boundless Growth

Sounds like my diary entry for yesterday.......

0
0
Thumb Down

I hear

In the new report they will be putting in the new Gorrilla's album as proof of AGW. Well they've written songs about it so it must be true.

After that its the age old 'Well its on a t-shirt so it must be true' science, they've just got to print the t-shirts once they get there grant money for the year, see AGW does exsist now give me hundreds of millions of pounds.

2
0
Silver badge

Only one way to go

they're going to have to wheel Joanna Lumley out.

MPs are in no position to comprehend or question anything more technical or complex than the Daily Wail's latest rant. Given that the process behind climate change research - if not the science itself has now had doubt cast on it, we'll just have to abandon the principles of research (that's assuming there were any in the first place - which seems to be what this row is all about) and fall back on emotional pleading from a "national treasure" to set our national policy. It worked for the Gurkhas!!

Let's just abandon the mechanism of reproducible experimentation and independent verification of results and ask a bunch of famous people what they think, and then throw it open to a vote - or better yet: a phone in (might as well make a few bob on the premium rate calls - they might even pay for the inquiry). It might not give us a workable solution, but at least everyone will have had their say.

Next up, we could sack all the doctors and just ask passers-by what they think our symptoms mean, or ask a bunch of unqualified strangers how to fix the brakes on my car.

5
0

Shame

It is such a shame that science has become so politicised, bureaucratised and religionised.

The question 'Do you believe in science' sums it up for me: a most oxymoronic question.

3
0
Silver badge

Reality

“that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” Philip K. Dick

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

This man is no scientist.

> "Why should I make the data available when your aim is to find something wrong with it"

Because that's exactly how science works. You publish your conclusions along with everything that led you to reach them, and you are scupulously honest about any weaknesses in your data or your argument. If someone doubts your judgement, he can publish his different conclusions, citing your data. Dispassionate onlookers can judge between the opposing viewpoints and the data on which they are based. Other researchers will contribute new data and analyses. And so on. Eventually, the data will be good enough that the argument subsides. The chance of an erroneous conclusion becoming accepted as scientific "fact" is minimized by this process.

If you say "this is what I think" without providing your evidence, you are showing yourself to be an opinionated bigot rather than a scientist!

For the record, my take on the global warming argument. I remain unconvinced by the observational data. On the other hand I am a physicist. The physical mechanism for greenhouse warming is proved beyond all reasonable doubt, so an atmosphere with more CO2 in it will trap more solar energy. This cannot but have some effect on climate. The argument and the skepticism is about precisely what effect and on what timescale.

Also we only have one Earth on which to experiment, and we have to live with the consequences of the atmospheric CO2 enhancement experiment. It's therefore safest to do as much as possible to avoid raising CO2 levels any further.

15
0
Thumb Up

Hear hear

I agree with everything you just said.

I nominate Nigel 11 for the post of chief science advisor.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Hear, Hear!

GazElm writes:

I agree with everything you just said.

I nominate Nigel 11 for the post of chief science advisor.

Seconded.

0
0
Flame

It is "Not Another Old University in Cambridge"

As their recruitment slogan says: "It is "Not Another Old University in Cambridge". Clearly spot on I would say. Scientific methods - we have heard of them.

It is the university which has produced 4 graduates with degrees that were so incompetent that they could not build an incendiary device even when using instructions from the Internet.

I have read the Russian report on the Russian part of their data and it makes a truly damning reading about "how to lie with statistics" and "how to fit the dataset to match your agenda". These two by itself are enough for me to question the entire thing and the emails are just an icing on the cake.

2
0

Show all your workings...

"I have read the Russian report on the Russian part of their data"

So, did you read the Russian report critically - checking whether their claims were correct and what impact the supposed errors would have on the data? Or did you accept their claims without question simply because they fitted with your worldview and were written with a little rhetorical flourish?

2
1
Alien

OOPS!

Sounds like we could use a few more of this kind:

"It is the university which has produced 4 graduates with degrees that were so incompetent that they could not build an incendiary device even when using instructions from the Internet."

There is some information I'd rather not have shared. Maybe they chose the professors at that University "with a certain mental inclination" for a reason?

0
0

Crossing the great divide

Phil Jones and his collaborators have crossed the line between Science and Marketing. They have abdicated their position of impartiality and objectivity and instead have been evangelising a meme.

They might be right, but as with anyone selling something very costly, they must expect to be asked a lot of tough questions.

6
0
Thumb Up

Excellent

A concise, well phrased, impartial and, in my opinion, correct statement that is in all likely-hood wasted on El Reg, and Mr Orlowski in particular, these days.

1
3
Stop

Wait a minute

Are you saying that it is surprising that the inquiry started off by grilling the sceptics, and then grilling the mainstream?

Surely that is the job of an inquiry - grill everyone who comes in front of them. I feel that if it had been the other way around (mainstream first, deniers second) that both sides would still have got an equal grilling. This article suggests that it was unexpected that pertinent questions were asked during an inquiry....

Then again, with Politics as it is at the moment, maybe that is something.

3
0
Unhappy

@ Sir Sham Cad

"we're spending money to improve the environmental impact of our civilisation (a good thing to do anyway, if we get our money's worth. "

But we aren't. You can use the IPCCs figures to see temperature rise as a function of CO2 increase (supposing they are correct in their AGW hypothesis). If you work out what temperature rise might be prevented by the full implementation of all of what would have been the Copenhagen commitments, you'll see that it's down in the noise.

Yet, to stave off a minute amount of (hypothesised) warming we get carbon trading whereby Tata can claim $$$ carbon credits for closing Corus steel and more $$$ for opening a new plant in India. And we get increasing starvation as food crops are diverted to bio-fuels. And you and I get to pay a lot of hard earned cash to do nothing useful.

I write as someone who used to believe in Al Gore's inconvenient truths and Mann's hockey stick - but when you start to dig you find too many holes and bad science to maintain that belief.

7
0

Graham Stringer

The guy calls for scientists to be more open yet on every occasion he voted against opening up Parliament to external scrutiny.

1
0
FAIL

Garbage in - Garbage Out

Because the climate "scientists" have not done their science or validated the raw data properly, climate change could be better or worse than predicted. How can we know if the science/raw data is bo**ocks. The By brown nosing policticians, they've done world as a whole a disservice.

5
2

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.