The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Susan Ewens (CRU 13)

  1.  I was on-line on the night of Thursday 19 November when the "Climategate" story broke on the internet and I immediately downloaded the CRU emails and files. Contrary to the immediate excuse given by apologists that the CRU emails were "taken out of context", it was immediately clear to those who had been following the dispute with the CRU over climate data disclosure and interpretation that long held suspicions were being confirmed in a fascinating way.

  2.  Within days I had written to my MP, Hilary Benn, the MP for Norwich South, Chas Clarke and the Vice Chancellor of UEA, Sir Edward Acton, to protest about the moral and scientific ethics displayed by the CRU staff in their communications and their political advocacy of debatable "findings". Now I am writing to you. There is little else an ordinary but concerned and informed citizen can do to influence events except stand up and be counted.

  3.  I feel strongly about this matter. I am a woman of 62 with a BSc in Sociology from the LSE. I am capable of understanding and interpreting data from of statistical tables and graphs, etc. Until I saw the Channel4 film "The Great Global Warming Swindle" in March 2007 I went along, largely in ignorance, let it be said, with the climate "orthodoxy". This was mainly because I trusted the BBC to present information in a balanced way. I now know it is the BBC's firmly policed policy that the "science is settled" and they do not need to cover the findings of contrarian scientists!

  4.  But when, in 2007, I saw those sane and sensible men putting forward an alternative viewpoint on Channel4 I was provoked into educating myself about so-called "anthropogenic global warming" and it has been my main interest and subject of study ever since. I know what the "warmers" argue and I know what the sceptic rebuttals are. The response to those counter-arguments invariably disintegrates into ad hominem attacks, aspersions of intellectual inadequacy and the imputation of low motives. I have experienced this abuse myself from AGW believers. So be it. It that puts me in the company of people like Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Tim Ball, Steve McIntyre et al I am proud of the fact.

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

  5.  I know this committee accepted the reality of global warming and the role of CO2 back in 1999-2001 and that virtually the whole parliament voted for the November 2008 Climate Change Act, but you really must stand back a little from this now "conventional wisdom" and renew your perspective in the light of the CRU "Climategate" revelations and the groundswell of scientific opposition that led up to and provoked them.

  6.  The Hadley Centre and the CRU are far too closely entwined with the IPCC, with advocacy organisations like the Tyndall Centre and with UK government policy-makers to be truly independent bases of expertise. Scores of scientists round the world, some of them struggling WITHIN the biased IPCC process are now challenging what has become effectively state-promoted and established climate orthodoxy. We are in danger of Lysenkoism.

  7.  The CRU lies embedded at the heart of an internationally connected web of government departments, the IPCC, NGOs, environmental charities, funding/research councils, universities, science foundations, the mainstream media, the BBC and, increasingly, energy corporations, big business, financial exchanges and Carbon Traders. Here the central ideology that I have dubbed "Climatechangeism" is the dominant and unquestioned meme.

  8.  In fact, "Climatechangeism" has become so entrenched in the value system of certain western intelligenzias that it has become THE dominant politically correct challenge of the epoch. Extirpating this dubious ideology from its entrenched position is strongly resisted by all the vested interests listed above as well as by the scientists themselves who have become politicised. This process is evident from the increasingly confrontational tone of the CRU emails over time.

  9.  The CRU's IPCC-oriented research was not funded to pursue Blue Sky thinking about the climate, it was funded to expose the anthropogenic "signal" in what was taken as given—unprecedented global mean temperature rise.

  10.  I have to admit that I have my doubts about EVEN that now—given the messing about with "adjustment and homogenisation" that has been done with the raw temperature data and major issues over the siting and selection of surface stations. Scientists round the world are complaining that CRU has cherry-picked national surface station data and distorted it. Re Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, Australia, Antarctica and New Zealand there are protests that raw temperature trends have been adjusted and/or selected to demonstrate warming from datasets that show no trend other than normal oscillation.

  11.  Even raw data is already contaminated by the Urban Heat Island Effect, in rural areas as well as cities, because it does not take much of a change in the environment round a measuring station to bias the thermometer readings upwards. However Dr Phil Jones says its effect is negligible. How can the growth of population from 1.8 billion in 1900 to 6.8 billion today, with associated urbanisation, be deemed negligible? Most thermometers are sited in these areas of population growth. If we cannot actually measure the global temperature with accuracy how can anyone say the temperature rise (IF there is one) is "unprecedented"?

  12.  Can claimed global temperature changes of less than one degree Celsius over the whole of the 20th century REALLY be taken as a serious basis for major upheavals in policy and taxation in view of the margins of error involved which are far in excess of the purported trend? Remember, please, it is only the climate's purported "sensitivity" via postulated positive (never negative) feedbacks that would lead to "runaway" change. Surely a little more research money and scientific effort can be put into investigating these currently unknown climate feedback mechanisms, before big policy changes are pursued?

  13.  We are increasingly seeing evidence that historical temperature data has been adjusted downwards to create a spurious and/or enhanced upward trend over the 20th century. Transparency of data and computer code for all taxpayer funded research is the very least we are entitled to demand. No-one should have to file FOIA requests to view data. Dr Jones has shown himself politically compromised in attempting to corrupt the FOI process. He is not fit to be in charge either of archiving or the adjustment of CRU's temperature series.

  14.  Then there is the palaeo data—Keith Briffa's speciality (and Michael Mann's) most notably the tree ring proxies for historical temperature reconstructions. How was dendrochronology ever permitted to escape from university Archaeology Departments? By some ambitious dendrochronologist seeking to expand his sources of funding, in all likelihood! Wooden thermometers! What sane person would give the concept the time of day? But it got funded at the CRU, didn't it, and in a big way, too?

  15.  And when the tree ring proxy data diverged from the instrumental record post-1960 it was deleted from the graphs used in IPCC AR4 and elsewhere to "hide the decline" and seemlessly melded on to the instrumental record. This "divergence" was effectively concealed in the graphs and never adequately explained in the accompanying text. What scientists worth their salt ignore such a paradox revealed in supposedly crucial data? Those who believe no-one will ever audit their "findings", is the answer, I'm afraid. Another reason for more transparency.

  16.  In the IPCC process, where both Jones and Briffa were Lead Authors, they were in a position to be judge and jury of their OWN research and did their best to exclude any criticism of their viewpoint while bending the rules to include the work of their supporters and, let it be said, co-authors and collaborators. Thus the whole uncertain pile of "evidence" for warming was corruptly and artificially beefed up to demonstrate a degree of certainty that was, in fact, absent.

  17.  There was too much funding at the CRU chasing far too few realistic and genuinely independent avenues of enquiry. Everyone was reworking the same old data bases and reviewing each others' "research" within a tight network of co-authorship exposed by Prof Wegman for the US Congress in 2001. Everyone was trying VERY hard to work backwards from the answer they had been given a priori—that the climate WAS changing and would continue to change "catastrophically" and that mankind was to blame. Just find the smoking gun, boys! So they did what they were funded to do and have essentially ended up in a fist-fight with scientists who displayed more allegiance to the rigours of the scientific method.

  18.  The CRU team went along with the flow of the funding—at least they never publicly denounced the catastrophism of James Hansen, Michael Mann, Al Gore and our very own "climatologist in chief" Sir John Houghton, did they? They might have expressed doubts privately (at least Keith Briffa did) but on the whole as time went on they increasingly chose to decry critics as "deniers", cranks, morons or self-serving interest groups, whilst probably thanking God for the long-term funding that came on back of the climate scare stories that would take them nicely up to retirement.

  19.  THIS was unforgiveable and has set back the real science by decades. The result is a whole generation of young scientists who now think they have to pretend to believe and promote the STILL unproven hypothesis of AGW. Otherwise they can expect to be subject to the dirty tricks and partisan culture revealed in the climate-gate emails to discredit and silence critics and manipulate peer—review as a process of gatekeeping in defense of orthodoxy.

  20.  CRU was politicised from the start of its involvement with the IPCC. A large and lucrative part of the UEA is a cottage industry of folk on the make from "climatechangeism", swapping jobs, swapping hats, moving to and from the USA like Tom Wigley, Prof Robert Watson, and Mike Hulme. I cannot help but think that if the CRU had been in a centre of REAL academic excellence like Oxford or Cambridge that CO2-induced "climatechangeism" would have been flattened at birth before some bright media-savvy whizz-kid had the chance to get it out of the seminar room.

  21.  Had the giants of science like Einstein, Rutherford, Feynman or Bronowski still been around do you think this threadbare, slipshod hypothesis that "CO2 will cause runaway global warming" would have been permitted to infect the world the way it has? It would have been laughed out of court. Intellectual mediocrity is the hallmark of modern mainstream "climatology", I'm afraid. Yet the CRU "scientists" are represented as the equals of the luminaries of the Manhattan Project or Bletchley Park struggling against time to save the world from ecological disaster in necessary secrecy from an invented "enemy".

  22.  What overblown self-aggrandizement of data collection clerks and number crunchers! Most of what CRU does is just arithmetic, after all, They don't even collect the data themselves they merely process it. It's not exactly an abstruse methodology. But their methods are still publicly undocumented and have been shown to be unreliable and misleading. Look at the Harry Read Me file, for example, where the struggles of a CRU programmer are exposed.

  23.  We have to get rid of politicised climate science driven by ideologues and cheered on by well-meaning "environmentalists" probably as ignorant as I used to be. The controllers of the climate agenda at the Met Office, the Tyndall Centre and the CRU have been permitted to let inadequate models plus large helpings of ideology to govern their interpretation of reality.

  24.  The increasing remoteness of the Met Office weather forecasts from reality is neither surprising or unexpected! Many suspect they believe the warming bias they have fed into their models courtesy of CO2, a gas whose role at the planetary level has not been quantified despite to repeated assertion to the contrary.

  25.  There is so much to learn about how the climate system works in all its complexity but it has to be via value-free methods of investigation. The CRU has been funded with the public's own money, dispensed by ideologues both public and private to back UK climate research into a blind alley courtesy of the Greenhouse Gas Mafia. Please censure those who have permitted this phoney science culture to thrive and expand.

Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

  26.  No. Sir Muir Russell is not sufficiently independent of the Government/Business/Climatology Establishment. He is also compromised by his association with Scottish Power.

  27.  Investigation of the Climategate emails and data files is too much work for one person largely ignorant of the field since the devil is in the detail and the nuances of the emails and files.

  28.  A team of specialists should be appointed to work on the case, including statisticians and computer scientists who are independent of the IPCC clique and its fellow-travellers in government and funding councils and who are untainted with "AGW" partisanship. An enquiry of such world-wide importance merits nothing less.

January 2010

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