back to article Oops: Chief Climategate investigator failed to declare eco directorship

The peer leading the second Climategate enquiry at the University of East Anglia serves as a director of one of the most powerful environmental networks in the world, according to Companies House documents - and has failed to declare it. Lord Oxburgh, a geologist by training and the former scientific advisor to the Ministry of …


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  1. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What a surprise?

    Is anyone else becoming increasingly desensitized to the shear level of corruption within UK parliament (on all sides of the political divide)? Perhaps thats there plan - when people no longer care they can just go about being corrupt in a much more open manner).

    There is only one way i can see to restore peoples faith in politics - ban politicians from all other roles whilst acting as politicians. Being a poli should be a full time job, so how can you possibly have time to be an executive board member, director, chairman or advisor to various company's whilst performing your primary role as a politician representing the people of britain?

    Additionally, ban polticians from working for any company which they or their department (if they were a minister) had dealings with for at least 10 years.

    Until these things come in, the politicians will continue to be corrupt and we will continue to read about it on an almost daily basis for many years to come...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    How can we deal with these people

    There must be a third way to deal with these crass stupid or dishonest actions. Whether it's cash for questions, a holiday in the Maldives, expenses or this: you're going to get caught. When it's this obvious the consequences should be dire. There should be a treatment along the lines of the way we use to test to see if someone was a witch, something so ridiculous it fits the crime.

    1. Gary F

      Agreed - ban politicians from other jobs

      Politicians must be banned from having other jobs while they are serving in office. £65K a year salary is more than generous for an MP, most people would love to earn that much, although perhaps only a quarter would put in the hours the job requires.

      If politicians could only have 1 job then it would get rid of all the filthy rich MPs and the MPs who are only in it to ride on the gravy train. Then maybe we would see more honest, ordinary people become MPs who have at least had a decade's worth of experience in the real world and are in touch with the common people.

      1. alphaxion

        how could you title this?

        There are other obsticles to the average person getting into politics. In an age where the workforce is expected to be mobile and willing to move around the country, you're still required to live in a certain area for about 3 or 4 years before you can try to become an MP.

        This leaves a chunk of the population seething with anger at how corrupt and abusive our current set of legislators are and no way of affecting any direct change beyond voting for yet another party yes man/woman.

        I don't think any of the 3 major parties are worthy/capable of running the country and I don't like the majority of the nutjobs who make up the rest of the choices. I'd like to run myself and try to make a direct change as an independent... yet I'm locked out because I recently moved cities.

        Our system of government needs an overhaul and bringing back to the general population, if we were involved more than just the occasional worthless vote then more people might take an interest instead of the current climate of "don't talk politics here.." due to how angry/depressed/helpless it makes people feel.

        Our current lot of politico's have forgotten the reason why they exist - *To serve us, not their pockets!*

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          re: Our system of government needs an overhaul and bringing back to the general population

          Its called REVOLUTION!

          It's time the peasants either revolted or voted with their feet by migration. Last taxpayer out switch off the lights please!

          1. Bill Neal
            Thumb Up

            Monty Python & Holy grail

            "O, there you go bringing class into it again."

            "but that's wot its all about!"


        2. elderlybloke

          You want to get into Politics.


          It was your choice to move,

          If you are interested in politics then stay put for a while.

          I doubt the voters want a person who is likely to move out of the electorate.

          The way the rules seem to be, a politician can actually live outside the electorate but list his primary residence as the one in it.

          1. alphaxion

            titular connotations

            Actually, it wasn't my choice to move. My GF got a job after leaving Uni and I'm still unemployed after being made redundent last year. I wanted to stay put, she didn't want to commute on the train every day. So we moved to reduce costs and make daily life better for her.

            And what about those of us who can't afford to buy a single house never mind live elsewhere and keep a residency in another place. Tho, how is that any different to a person who moves out of an area after being voted in anyway?

            As it stands, many of the people who run as a local MP spend more of their time outside their constituancy than in it anyway.

            I can understand the thinking behind the limit - it stops people targetting weak seats, it just means circumstance can lock many people out from trying to depose their current, worthless options. Maybe a requirement to live in the area for the next 12 to 18 months after being elected with no option for the residency loophole as an alternative to having to spend 3 or 4 years before you can run?

        3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          What else have you been reading?

          "There are other *obsticles* to the average person"

          I'd say your mind must have been, umm, elsewhere to come up with that "obsticle" type. Lower down, so to speak :-)

          Class - that's my word of the day..

          Boot note: my other favourite work of the day is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. Very ironic :-)

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: How can we deal with these people

      "There must be a third way..."

      Your are Nick Clegg and ICMFP!

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: There must be a better way...

      Sure there is. But for some odd reason most governments seem to have laws against their citizens hauling their crooked arses out on the street and putting a cap in them of stringing them up from a tree with a bit of fiber nicked from the local phone company.

    4. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1

      Bring back the eunuchs

      In the good old days in order to prevent the system going to pot like this, no civil servant was allowed to profit anything that might pass on to his friends and family. These servants were referred to as eunuchs.

      History teaches that they were suppose to be bollock-broken but that isn't the truth. They were just ultra trustworthy.

      I can't see the people who are in command insisting on that sort of thing for the people they select to be our democratically elected leaders. It would make controlling the gravy train too difficult.

      But it would be nice if the lions den wasn't a silly programme for idiots and became a correctional programme for fools.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Nope - you simply need transparency

      They manage that in Switzerland quite well (own company + political work), but the setup there is much more cellular, so it's hard to co-opt enough people to keep abuse a secret. That's exactly the thing needed in the UK as well: transparency.

      As long as there is as much as a single aspect of government workings that is not open to public oversight (even if retrospective) you will have festering sores. The whole organisation is rife with little clubby setups where friends help each other to great dollops of tax money, whereas the people and organisations that would actually be able to do a decent job don't get as much as a look in.

      I also like what happens in Germany and the US with respect to software: if they use government funds to develop something it if often made available to industry and public. That is clever, because it (a) damn well enforces quality if everyone can take a look and (b) encourages further innovation. In an opaque setting (i.e. now), some club develops software and will then continue to bilk the taxpayers for years to come, even when the funds for such development actually came out of government (the reality of quite some public-private partnerships is that the government pays, and the private partner takes the profit - and gives some jobs).

      Lastly, if you really want to look at something I'd call criminal you should have a look at which organisations are making good money out of the economic collapse and who is "adviser" to them. Why hello, it's reformed reverend T Blair - who was in charge of that mess.. He's making good dosh out of the misery his government has caused for the UK taxpayer (and the rest of the world, let's not forget the axis of evil Blair-Bush).

      But hey, that's just my opinion. I probably have it all wrong, given that there are still newspapers out there that somehow have found an argument to support New Labour. Keep that in mind next time you buy a paper - and vote.

      /rant :-)

  3. Douglas Lowe


    So the Peer forgot to list one environmental group he's associated with, and you make out that he's hiding his allegiances; even while pointing out that he's listed his affiliations with so many other environmental groups that his interests are quite clear to everyone. Sure, it's interesting to see what the Peer's connections are, but this story isn't even a storm in a teacup.

    1. seanj


      I bet you'd be shouting your little bollocks off about "conflict of interest" if he was currently (I say currently, as he clearly spent some time in the past at Shell) in bed with an oil company though, wouldn't you?

      Regardless, "forgot" to declare interests isn't an excuse, much the same way as "forgetting" to pay your taxes would get you off the hook with HMRC (unless you're a politician called Hazel Blears and you've scammed the taxpayer of several thousand pounds!)...

    2. Paul 4


      There is not forgot. Forgot is not an excuse. The other groups are not ones based on recruting poiticos to lobby.

      1. Geoff 25

        forgot or didn't have to register?

        I'm biased because I've generally only heard good things about Lord Oxburgh but reading this 'story' I did have to wonder about a couple of things. GLOBE has in it's listing 'Nature of Business (SIC(03)): 9132 - Political organisations' - I wonder if peers have to declare in the register of interests every political affiliation they have? I don't know the rules... I'm just asking.

        Also the thing about him being one of 23 key legislators just means he's (a) a legislator and (b) people find him worth listening to.

        Anyway, like I say, I'm biased but this doesn't strike me as a huge deal.

        (for the record, while I hate the term, I'd fall on the 'climate sceptic' side of the debate and I rarely hug trees).

  4. SuperTim

    Vampire reference.....

    If we are going there...why not mention "Lord" Mandelson? seems he has altogether too many fingers in too many pies for it to be "for the good of the people".

  5. Ministry of Truth

    It went like this...

    Scientist in need of funding - Can I have some money please? It's for science!

    Politician - No, piss off little man

    Scientist in need of funding - Ahhh, how about if I say that if you fund my research, I'll fiddle the figures so you can justify TAXING AIR!

    Politician - Ahhh, now you put it like that! Have some cash! I'll just claim it back on expenses anyway... More port? It is rather excellent, and it's not like I'll have to pay for it...

    Until the data is verified by a genuinely independent body, this is a farce.

    And a total waste of money. Who will have to pay for the corrupt investigation we've been insulted with to date? Sadly it won't be the one who is milking the system and has his snout in the trough.

    Stop the spin, stop the bickering in the media, stop the accusations of denialism or cultist, and look at the data. If it can't speak for itself then it's a pile of shit. Climate models can't explain observed behaviour and should never be included in this.

    But fabrication of a story to justify another round of tax on an already overburdened population, whilst making a mockery of our country's institutions in the eyes of the rest of the world; clubbing our industry back into the stone age with draconian legislation and taxation; pretending that all is rosy as our currency tanks against all the rest - stop fooling yourselves.

    The science isn't settled. It's about time it was laid out in a genuinely open manner so it can be.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Plagiarising Sensation .... the Bold Sniffer Lord

      "If we are going there...why not mention "Lord" Mandelson? " .... SuperTim Posted Wednesday 24th March 2010 10:00 GMT

      Err, would that be Lord Mandelson, SuperTim, the newly self appointed “Secretary of State for Outer Space” ......

      1. TeeCee Gold badge


        "Secretary of State for Outer Space"?

        So the reason he's a Lord is that even Space Aliens won't vote for him? Can't say I'm surprised.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          amfM Knock Knocking on the Secretary of State for Outer Space Doors ?!. ..... or Lord Drayson's

          ""Secretary of State for Outer Space"?

          So the reason he's a Lord is that even Space Aliens won't vote for him? Can't say I'm surprised." .... TeeCee Posted Wednesday 24th March 2010 12:23 GMT

          Space Aliens are Much Bigger Picture Players, TeeCee, and would expect any Lord worth a Title to be similarly attuned to Fabulous Growth in Innovative Fields.

          And I wonder what GCHQ and British Intelligence Services make of the communication here ..... [Posted by: amanfromMars | 03/24/10 | 8:09 am | ....] ..... which is as much a Test of their Fitness for Future Purpose as anyone elses.

          And you would be absolutely amazed at what can be learnt from whatever response is given, wheteher positive, negative, indifferent or non existent.

    2. iRadiate

      Vampire reference ..... 2

      >> If we are going there...why not mention "Lord" Mandelson? seems he has altogether too many fingers in too many pies for it to be "for the good of the people".

      Lord Mandelson prefers not to put his fingers in 'pies' .......

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1

      He's been outed 3 times so far

      You can't bugger him he's immune.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    All this on the same day as...

    The United Nations is going to reinvestigate its claim that meat production accounts for more harmful emmisions that road transport.

    When they made this bold statement in 2006, they took everything involved, including transport, but when it came to calculating transport's impact, they only took into one set of figures.

    How the hell can you trust these environmental, vegetarian, technology hating deniers of the truth, which is we are actually approaching another ice age which are always preceded by a rise in the earth's mean temperature.

    I for one cannot wait for their findings, which I'm sure will find just what the politicians wish to hear, enabling them to beat down on the common man once again while still feathering their own nests.

    1. dervheid

      Another Ice Age?

      And they'll STILL say " we told you so" and blame it on the 'tipping point'.

      Climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down, climate warms up, climate cools down. You see the pattern...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Look at the data

    "Stop the spin, stop the bickering in the media, stop the accusations of denialism or cultist, and look at the data. If it can't speak for itself then it's a pile of shit. Climate models can't explain observed behaviour and should never be included in this."

    As far as anyone can tell, that's what happened. It's the people that share your viewpoint that demanded there be an investigation in the first place.

    And to everyone else in this thread complaining of corruption - having a related interest doesn't mean you are corrupt, we just choose those who do not have related interests to try and ensure there cannot be any.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Partially true...

      I agree that it doesnt mean your corrupt if you have related interests. And its true that if the government then chooses the poli's without related interests then all is well and good and the system works. But the facts are that this parliament has proven itself, repeatedly, to be unable to be trusted to a) declare all of its related interests and b) to choose those politicians which dont have related interests to a particular position (even when they are fully declared).

      Thats why in my opinion the only way to return some trust to parliament is to remove the ability for a politician to have a vested interest. Ban all politicans from having second, third, fourth jobs; Ban them from being members of lobby groups; Ban them from accepting free trips, dinners, invites; and Ban them from being able to work for any company that they have had dealings with for 10 years. Any breach of the rules equals hard time.

      Only when politicians are reminded that they are in parliament ot serve the BRITISH PUBLIC and ONLY the BRITISH PUBLIC will you see then end of the current endemic corruption to be found in the Houses of Parliament.

    2. Ministry of Truth

      Sadly no it's not

      Sadly so far the data that has been released has been shown to be incomplete. Russia - the largest land mass in the world, and potentially a massive impact to any climate change model - have complained that the data that has been included from that which they submitted has been highly selective.

      What hasn't been explained, and needs desperately to be, is the corrective methodology that has been applied apparently arbitrarily to the raw data, seemingly to back up the arguments of the pro-AGW scientists.

      It's not just a question of raw data, but the methodology of the manipulations and the justifications behind these. And they are sadly lacking at the moment.

      I'm actually a climate agnostic - before you try to lump me in with "us" or "them" - I am angry at the apparent manipulation of the facts to fit a model, or a theory. I am scientist enough to know that "the science is settled" is hubristic - people said that about Newton, and they were wrong.

      The system that we are talking about is about as complex as it's possible to be. To assume that any existing model covers all the bases is foolish.

      But to assess the actual observed RAW data against the models we have will allow a sensible view of which ones are best suited to be developed further. It's almost a Darwinistic process, and would be used in any other branch of science, and openly, in properly peer reviewed journals.

      If this is done - and it has NOT been done - and the data shows that this is not some blip in solar output, or some extension of the Atlantic Oscillation, or the various Nino/Ninas, then I'll give it my full support. But right now, it's just looking like a old boys club in cohoots with a government obsessed with greed and self interest.

      When it comes down to "who has the best science" rather than "who has the best PR", we can all judge for ourselves as to which theory is right.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find somebody to chair this enquiry who wasn't biased in one way or another. So possibly the best solution would be to have the inquiry chaired jointly by two people from opposite sides of the debate. Sure it would cost more and take longer, but it would mean that neither side could complain of bias.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      that the split between the scientific camps isn't a convenient 50:50

      it's more like 70:25:5

      so on a commitee of 20, there should be 14 pros, 5 hmm not sures and 1 anti

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    Pope shits in the woods, bears are catholic, climate scientists have snouts in trough.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. jon 72

    Try This..

    Lower the pay and perks for an MP to around say, 20K a year. Force them to use only public transport and services, their office staff can assigned by some faceless civil service dept who will oversee all activity and expenditure. (if there is a god let it be the DSS)

    Stop the nonsense of having a second home in the constituency, if they serve the area then they should live in said area to start with. Mandatory attedence at the Hof P should be required for all debates, death being the only excuse for abscence and then a note from the GP will be required in advance.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      On a side note...

      ... i do love the rule that it is illegal to die in the houses of parliament... and should you die you will be whisked out a side entrance under the pretence that your ill but not dead ("what do you mean he's dead?" "His heads come off!" "happens all the time, doesnt your head come off too?") until you get to a hospital outside of the houses of parliament where you will be declared to have died on the way to the hospital...

      Brilliantly barmy rule that one! =P

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  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So of the GLOBE figures listed

    3 played the HoC Expenses system.

    2 of which did so to the point that criminal charges have been bought.

    And the His Lordship has several other directorships (Remember Non Executive does *not* mean unpaid. Think £3-5k a day).

    Honest perhaps. Impartial, *highly* unlikely.

    And why a geologist? Is it Impossible to find *anyone* with a background in statistics (let's face it a *lot* of the issues in this hinge around likely hood, chance etc), atmospheric or ocean physics.

    Not encouraging.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Yes, he should have declared it, I don't think there's any question of that.

    I'm surprised the climate change skeptics are making so much fuss about it though. I very much doubt most skeptical scientists want their links to organisations looked at in the same way (cough. oil. cough)

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Well good ole Ron also worked for Shell... so he's biased both ways?

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Um...

        Beginners error.

        You seem to think that an association with Shell would make Oxburgh inclined to be a sceptic. Energy companies are now amongst the biggest promoters of the manmade global warming theory, and have a huge investment in ensuring that it's "true".

        Follow the money.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Um

      When you've cleared your throat, have a look at the oil companies' exposure to carbon trading. Large oil companies have a considerable stake in global warming being manmade. As does your employer, funnily enough.

  17. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Second jobs

    Actually, I'm in favour of second jobs for MPs. I want my MP to have made something of a sucess of himself in the real world, rather than being one of these troughing career politicians with no clue how things work outside the Westminster bubble. Conflicts of interest can be dealt with through greater transparency.

    1. dervheid

      Successful People as MP's?

      Yes, definitely. However, once they become an MP, that should be their one and only 'job'. No pay from other quarters, and absolutely NO PAY from lobbying / 'consultation'. The 'gravy-train' needs to be permanently derailed.

  18. Flame Boar

    This is supposed to be an investigation

    In politics, it is the appearance of impropriety that counts. When the head investigator has connections to groups which are pushing the same agenda as the CRU at UEA, then the appearance is not one of impartiality. It would appear that this is a pre-arranged exoneration of UEA rather than an investigation.

  19. Michael M
    Thumb Down

    Did you check?

    Is it required that this has to be listed in the Members Interests? Stephen Byers MP is the President & Chairman of the board of GLOBE International and he does not see fit to list that, only that 2 trips abroad were paid for by GLOBE. Maybe his Lordship didn't fly anywhere.

    Non story.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Did you check?

      Welcome Michael, it's always nice to see new readers signing up to Comment.

      Are you suggesting he has no interest in Climate Change? Merely directorship of a large international environmental lobbying network, chairmanship of a windmill company and chairmanship of a renewable energy company, and is an advisor to a green lobby group, and two green companies.

      To me, it sounds like he's very interested indeed.

      1. Flame Boar

        Oops: Chief Climategate investigator failed to declare eco directorship


        That seems to have the appearance of impropriety to me.


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