Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
1 MARCH 2010
Q40 Ian Stewart: I understand that.
Dr Peiser: Unless you have that,
even if you publish the raw data, unless you actually provide
independent researchers with the methodologies that were used
to adjust the data, it will be very difficult to test and to check.
Q41 Ian Stewart: Can I take you on
to the final part of my question, if you do not mind?
Dr Peiser: Yes.
Q42 Ian Stewart: In its submission
the Global Warming Policy Foundation appears to be casting doubt
on the reliability of the data sets, as we have heard you say
today, held by NASA and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration. Are you saying that that data is faulty or that
the world's leading climate scientists are misleading us? Why
should they do this and what evidence do you have?
Dr Peiser: This is not a question
of what I believe or not, it is a question of whether that data
should be available and whether the methods should be available
for independent inquiries and testing. You have to ask yourself:
do you want this information to be out in the open? If it were
in the open, we would not be sitting here discussing that, and
so really I need to ask you the question: do you want the public
to believe that the science is absolutely transparent and open
and everyone can check the conclusions?
Q43 Chairman: We are asking you a
question at the moment.
Dr Peiser: Yes; okay.
Chairman: We try and answer things later,
unless you would like to swap places. I think Ian Stewart's question
has not been answered.
Q44 Ian Stewart: I will only ask
you it again. I am waiting for an answer.
Lord Lawson of Blaby: Ask it again.
What is the question? I do not quite see it.
Q45 Ian Stewart: In the Global Warming
Policy Foundation's submission it appears to be casting doubt
on the reliability of the data sets held by NASA and the US National
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lord Lawson of Blaby: Where do
you find that?
Q46 Dr Harris: Paragraph five of
Lord Lawson of Blaby: What we
are saying here, which is quite important
Q47 Chairman: That is why we are
asking the question!
Lord Lawson of Blaby: ---is that
you have these surface sets which all draw from the same basic
source. You also have two satellite sets, the UAH (University
of Alabama at Huntsville) set and the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)
set, and it is actually clear from the evidence that the Met Office
put in that the temperature trends picturethe pages are
not numbered, but in their evidenceshows considerably smaller
warming in the satellite tropospherical temperature records than
the surface data, and there is obviously a question, therefore,
which is touched on, which is one of these, as to whether the
surface data are in any way corrupted. I do not mean deliberately
corrupted, but corrupted by the urban heat island effect and so
Q48 Ian Stewart: So is the answer
to my question, Lord Lawson, as to whether these two American
bodies are misleading us, no?
Lord Lawson of Blaby: The answer
is that we need to have further investigation into these data
Q49 Chairman: We have to move on.
We could clearly go on on this for some time. The fundamental
issue is that the NOAA data sets and the NASA data sets are freely
available to scientists?
Dr Peiser: Yes, but they are based
Q50 Chairman: No, are they freely
available, the data sets? How you model them and how you use them
is entirely an issue for individual scientists, is it not?
Dr Peiser: Yes. What is not available,
again, are some of the methodologies they arrive their conclusions
Q51 Ian Stewart: Dr Peiser, the question
you were asked was: was that information available? We now hear
from you that it is.
Dr Peiser: Yes.
Q52 Ian Stewart: Are you prepared
to do your own modelling? Do you intend to use that data?
Dr Peiser: No, I am not in the
climate modelling business. My concern is about availability of
all the information that is important to replicate the conclusions,
and that is the basis of this inquiry.
Q53 Dr Naysmith: Both of you are
making a great big thing of the necessity for information to be
available almost immediately. It is this insistence that you have
got that it should be available immediately which is not true
of much of science. I have been a scientist all my life. When
I had a proper job, I was a scientist! I know of two really world-shattering
discoveries that resulted in Nobel Prizes where there were two
or three groups researching in the same area and both of them
kept data back until they were ready to publish and get it out.
One of those was DNA, the original Crick and Watson stuff on DNA
and the Wilkins stuff, and the second one was thymus and the role
of the thymus in the generation of lymphocytes. There was an Australian
group and two American groups who were competing, and both of
them had data available for quite a long time until each group
was ready to publish and put it out, and there were Nobel Prizes
awarded in both cases. The idea that data must be immediately
available is not necessarily true. In the area that we are talking
about today, the complexity from all the different sources that
this data comes from, is it reasonable to say that it should be
produced immediately and the conclusions drawn?
Lord Lawson of Blaby: Let me say
three quick things. The first is that it is not a question of
immediately. It took 10 years, I think, before the Yamal data
was made public: so this is not a question of whether it is immediately,
this is a question of whether this was held up as long as they
possibly could. That is how it seems.
Q54 Dr Naysmith: Was it done deliberately?
Lord Lawson of Blaby: It seems
that it was done, for whatever reason, but it was a decision to
do it. I cannot recall anything else in science like this, and
I have had dealings with scientists. I am not a scientist myself,
of course, unlike you, but when I was Secretary of State for Energy,
I used to have a lot of dealings with scientists. I cannot recall
anything remotely like this. There is also the fact that these
issues are particularly important because they feed into the IPCC
process on which huge policy decisions, both nationally and internationally,
are based and, therefore, it is more important in this area than
in most areas that we do have full openness and transparency.
Q55 Chairman: On that note, I am
going to have to finish this session. May I thank you very much
indeed, Dr Peiser, for coming, and thank you very much indeed,
Dr Peiser: Thank you.