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Independent Panel Led by Former Non-Executive Chairman of Shell Clears UEA Climatic Research Unit of Any Scientific Impropriety and Dishonesty

An Independent Panel in the UK led by Lord Oxburgh, who among his other prior duties was the non-executive chairman of Shell, has cleared the University of East Anglia of any scientific impropriety and dishonesty. The Panel’s report made suggestions for improvement in some other areas.

The Oxburgh Panel was set up by the University in consultation with the Royal Society to address the criticism that climatic data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data.

The Oxburgh findings are the second of three efforts scrutinizing CRU’s research, triggered by the hacking of personal email from there, revealed in November 2009. Three independent reviews into the affair were initiated in the UK, two of which have now concluded.

The first to conclude was a review conducted by the House of Commons’s Science and Technology Select Committee, which published its report on 31 March. While the Committee called for the climate science community to become more transparent by publishing raw data and detailed methodologies, the report found the focus on Professor Jones and the CRU “largely misplaced”.

On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’ refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considered that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change. Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considered that there is no case to answer.

An independent review of the email exchanges and the CRU’s policies and working practices is also being carried out by Sir Muir Russell at the request of the University of East Anglia.

After its review, the Oxburgh panel came to four main conclusions:

  1. We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.

  2. We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.

  3. It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.

  4. A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.

Comments

ToppaTom

The Oxburgh Panel was set up by the University ...

The Goracle

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LOL!!! They cleared themselves of any wrongdoing. Oh, this is too good!!! Now lets all get back to blaming Earth's natural climate cycles on human activity, and increase the intensity of the name calling directed at the scientists who disagree, shall we?

In the mean time, James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has recently said that "scientists" have moved from investigating nature as a vocation, to being caught in a career path where it makes sense to "fudge the data".

Praise be to Algore!

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Sanity Chk

Hey mouthpieces for the oil and coal companies, what part of "Independent Panel" are you having trouble understanding? This is the second of three independent reviews to have cleared the CRU of scientific impropriety.

But those unencumbered by ethics themselves are only able to see conspiracies, deceit, and fraud in others. While a little dose of facts could resolve any misunderstanding (factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/), it would be antithetical to the interests of the fossil companies bent on sewing doubt and misinformation through prevarication. Mouthpieces for the fossils, as vile as the companies paying them, are POTP (part of the problem) and hinder progress in implementing solutions necessary to avert global calamity.

While Al Gore can be rightly accused of exaggerating the speed with which the polar icecaps are melting, he can be forgiven because of the urgent need to act and the slow pace of political movement toward a solution. Climate models we have are certainly not perfect but even accounting for their margins of error we are moving inexorably toward tipping points where massive amounts of GHGs will be released through methane ices and other naturally sequestered means. Worst case scenarios put tipping points decades away.

Yes there are natural climate cycles but their dynamic has been altered by the balance of CO2 and other GHGs produced by human activity. Solar activity accounts at most for about 10 pct of the measured climate change effects.

Do your families, friends, and descendants a favor and be part of the solution, not the problem. Don't give in to the dark side.

Engineer-Poet

Shorter Goracle: "Any results that don't agree with fossil lobby positions is corrupt! And I keep mentioning a politician's name just because he's a right-wing bogeyman!"

ToppaTom

Just because they skewed their data to support AGW does not mean AGW does not exist.

It is just irrefutable evidence that INDICATES it does not exist.

Ignore the man behind the curtain.

Engineer-Poet

Except the "skew" only exists in fossil-lobby propaganda.

Aaron Turpen

Note that the panel didn't check any of the following:
*methods used to "homogenize" data
*methods used to statistically (though they do mention it) manipulate data

Oh and read the extremely narrow prerogatives the panel operated under. It's right there in the report, which none of you press release lovers will bother reading.

Oh and just because he worked for "Shell" doesn't mean he's an "oil guy." He has pretty obvious conflicts of interest which the UEA ignored:
he is honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association,[8]chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind energy firm,[9] an advisor to Climate Change Capital, and a director of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment.[10]

That's from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Oxburgh,_Baron_Oxburgh

Sanity Chk

POTPs Toppa & Aaron: You gotta stop drinking the Kool-aid! Pull your heads out of the sand and just say NO to the greedy, self-serving fossil interests. Everyone who has looked critically at the CRU emails has concluded that there is nothing of substance to allegations of impropriety.

Your comments exemplify what I consider to be one of the most serious failures of our education system, the lack of critical thinking skills. It may well be that you and the other fossil mouthpieces are paid by the word for bashing any and all climate change research discoveries and related announcements. If so, get a grip, start thinking critically about what it is that you are doing, go find a real job and stick it to the Man!

If you have something to say then back it up with credible, peer-reviewed research. Otherwise it appears that your meniscus is touching the bottom of the graduated cylinder.

Sanity Chk

For those interested, here is a YouTube video that casts light on the actual content of the hacked emails.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg&feature=player_embedded#

POTPs, are you interested in the truth? It's well past time to end the slanderous and diversionary rhetoric.

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