Memorandum submitted by David Shaw (CRU
Firstly I would like to declare the reasons
behind my interest and my quite natural sceptical viewpoint of
something that I do not see as a done deal. I'm a consultant statistician
in pharmaceutical research and just about everything about the
climate change approach is just not scientific; the way it is
rightly applied in my discipline. I have no vested interest apart
from that truth be known.
It is of course incredibly difficult to prove
beyond reasonable doubt that man has any sort of role in climate
change. Correlations of temperature and CO2 are all there seems
to be and lately that is not supported by the data (irrespective
of their accuracy). Even if the correlation is positive and significant
(I do not say it is) it does not infer a causal relationship,
it could be the reverse causality (temperature increasing CO2),
simply coincidental or that both are causally related to another
unknown driving force. Whatever the relationships they are far
too complex for any one man or group to comprehend.
One has to agree given the consequences that
if the man-made GW hypothesis is correct that one might be forgiven
for relaxing the usual burden of proof. This is however not the
case as far as I can see, there is very little evidence indeed.
This is often referred to as the precautionary principle. I will
deal with my claims that the evidence even in such a relaxed environment
does not support the hypothesis to any relaxed degree in the next
It is their hypothesis therefore it is incumbent
upon them to reach a level of proof (possibly relaxed from the
normal levels) before we reject the null position of man not being
mostly responsible. This is how it works in all walks of science
apart from the widely frowned upon post-modern scientific approach.
So we assume man did not do it and set about gathering evidence
that he might be responsible. It is impossible to conduct randomised
experimentation so observational studies are all that are possible.
These types of study are strewn with confounding factors that
should be rigorously investigated before concluding.
We can study changes over time in temperatures
but we cannot definitively attribute those to any one source and
of course as already alluded to nobody actually knows what complex
system is creating those changes. Nevertheless they have occurred
since time began and often far more extreme without man's intervention,
in the presence of levels of CO2 that today would quickly lead
to a conclusion that contradicts the claimed CO2 effect.
It is worth mentioning publication bias in the
reporting of studies, journals are unlikely to print negative
findings whilst the reverse is true of positive studies. By positive
I mean that have a message rather than the null position. The
peer review process, if it is at all biased may introduce further
publication bias via pressure on the journals to publish what
is "more" acceptable.
2. THE DATA
The response variables (y's) are the temperature
measures themselves and the explanatory variables (x's) are factors
that might force a change in the y's. The relationship can be
simply put as F(y)=F(x's) + E; where F's are just functions of
the respective variables and E the residual error unexplained
by the model. These relationships may be simple (straight line)
or complex non-linear relationships. The x's may covary in a very
complex fashion so that over the range of say two variables the
effect of one increases or diminishes the others effect on F(y).
The predictive quality of any such model depends upon accurate
data as well as the specifying of a reasonable model that contains
important factors. This is difficult if those factors are either
unknown which many must be or deliberately ill specified or omitted.
As E increases relative to the overall variability in the system
the model gets increasingly unable to accurately predict. Without
data to estimate what must be thousands of parameters the coefficients
must be estimated from peoples beliefs and worth just that. Without
data and data integrity I'm afraid any fancy model is just that,
fancy but useless in describing the real world and predicting
Of course if the temperature measurements are
themselves not a true reflection of the real state, in some way
contaminated by outside influences, then one has to ask the question
what is it we are trying to predict at all. What use is there
in trying to model something known contaminated by something unknown
and potentially biasing? Possibly the contamination is changing
over time as the need for bias becomes more and more.
The problem is incredibly complex; any data
manipulation itself may bring in errors that will make the interpretation
even more difficult. Data manipulation is always very well documented
as it can be seen as a way of affecting results in the wrong hands
and reviewers are rightly sceptical. Inclusion/exclusion of data
is manipulation and the size of the exclusion seen with the UEA
CRU and NASA when they calculate global temperatures is vast.
Why do they do this and what is perhaps conveniently left? The
first question a reviewer at say the FDA would have is why, the
second would be if I did it the opposite way would I get the same
answer? It would not take the magnitude of the exclusions seen
with the CRU or NASA to completely switch the interpretation of
the data around. One naturally then might ask the question as
to whether the manipulation is designed to get the result, following
on what else is designed to get the result?
Scientists are incredibly ambitious, I have
worked in medical research for 25 years and have inevitably seen
some quite ruthless scientists wishing to get to the top of their
profession as soon as is humanly possible. That involves bending
the rules if necessary.
3. THE BURDEN
In science the null position is assumed and
studies indicating an alternative (man-made GW) must accrue until
sufficient evidence is available to conclude in favour of the
alternative. The level of evidence required is usually very high
so that erroneous claims are minimised and new potentially unsafe
or expensive practices are not adopted in error.
It must seem to the uneducated in such matters
that the roles of the null and alternative have been reversed
with climate science. It is not incumbent upon those claiming
mischief in the data and analysis process to prove their claims
it is for the accused to support their data and analysis. If they
cannot then as with the prosecution witness (the defendant being
man-made GW here) who is found not telling the whole truth that
his evidence is of questionable value, possibly all of it.
This is the crux of the argument, any manipulation
must be rigorously supported but we as yet see no evidence that
their manipulation was supportable. I see no explanation, as a
sceptical reviewer (as the FDA would be in drug research), apart
from convenience. A reason based on "the data do not fit
the hypothesis so must be wrong" is a circular one indeed,
one that will always support the hypothesis.
Peer review has also been questioned, it was
almost a closed shop where heretics were frowned upon and potentially
ostracised. This is not peer review as we scientists know it,
that for all its faults is an honest endeavour to get the balance
right. There has consequently been no balance in the debate or
the governmental support so that now we have Mr Ed Miliband labelling
we scientists as "dangerous" for questioning. A very
dangerous stance for our government to take.
Despite the FOI being intended to make research
more open the UEA CRU have released in full 10 out of 105 requests.
4. THE CASE
This is mostly based around a warming trend
recorded by several academic institutions. One being the UEA CRU
and another being NASA, both have been found involved in less
than supportable data processing in cherry picking sensors, a
process that might in all other spheres be considered a questionable
practice. It is incumbent upon any data processor to explain why
they have omitted even a single measurement yet NASA today only
use 1,000 of the 6,000 sensors they used in 1970with no
explanation. Year on year the sample gets smaller, why? The UEA
have been accused of similar practices in the former Soviet Union
and in China and by their own words have suggested that currently
there are no increased trends and that's a "travesty".
Certain countries like Bolivia have no sensors that are used in
the calculation, NASA choose to use those in neighbouring countries
as proxies, the neighbouring countries are of course warmer than
Bolivia. Hence a biased (upwards) estimate of that countries temperature
must ensue. There are numerous such examples where the manipulation
is likely to drive in the desired direction.
Measurements of surface temperatures are affected
by man, of that there is no doubt. One only has to watch the weather
at this time of the year to see that central London temperatures
are plus few degrees (or more) than the surrounds. Again this
is not adequately handled, the CRU have refused FOI requests on
their approach to this. Clearly a sensor next to a building that
was once in a field are not comparable over time. Any potential
trends in real temperature over time are confounded with urbanisation
effects. It is also well documented in the US that some of the
sensors in use live right next to building outlet vents. Satellite
measures over the last few decades have shown little if any warming,
they of course measure atmospheric values which are not open to
contamination by man.
So without being able to trust the data or data
processing and not knowing what we are modelling, what value have
any models no matter how complex? All of this does not implicate
man anyway, if the world is warming then there are far more sensible
candidates that correlate far better than the small contribution
man makes to the CO2 level.
Their models do not fit the observed situation.
A real scientist would wish to search for an explanation that
his understanding of the situation is furthered. Why his hypothesis
was floundering, he would plan further research and modify his
beliefs not religiously seek to support the unsupportable "travesty".
We have other sources of information that are
released to the media therefore usurping the usual scientific
peer review process. Endless reassessments of the likely scenario
some years down the line with only more catastrophic scenarios
possible it seems. No new data are proffered just a re-estimate
based on a possible rethinking of how bad things might be. These
are unhelpful to the scientific process and add to the publication
bias effect. Newspapers rely on extreme stories to sell and the
proponents of AGW seem only to willing to furnish them with them.
Mostly one will find that the new releases of reassessments of
doomsday coincide with inconvenient facts that question the man-made
Sea levels are rising slowly and show no signs
of acceleration. The worlds leading sea-level expert has been
a vocal opponent of such scare stories. His research in the Maldives
is very clear, he sees no effects and has written much about the
limitations of studies claiming otherwise. I'm afraid once again
this is all computer model guesswork. The main factor is the Antarctic
ice mass and to a much lesser extent the Arctic. The Antarctic
despite all the media hype is actually growing according to the
University of Colorado Ice Tracking unit. Anecdotal stories from
inhabitants of that part of the world would support the data that
previously accessible areas are now not possible due to increased
Other scare stories apparently supporting the
AGW theory that the CRU is a major player in, follow:
Involving claims about receding glaciers (Himalayas
in particular) made by the IPCC and until very recently they had
denied. Of course millions in research has resulted from this
blatant fakery, much of that going to the perpetrators institutions.
Luckily for them the story did not unfold before Copenhagen although
allegedly they were well aware of it breaking imminently. What
you have to do for a peace prize these days no doubt. The 4th
assessment report (AR4) was published in 2007 but it took until
a few weeks ago for the IPCC to withdraw its erroneous claim and
apologise. Is this another slant on peer review perhaps?
Coral reef degradation
The Nobel winning report linked this to climate
change but on closer scrutiny it appears the evidence is taken
from an unsupported Greenpeace report "Pacific in Peril".
Hurricanes and Floods
The IPCC AR4 claim is that global warming was
leading to extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods.
This was again based on an unpublished report without any scientific
scrutiny through peer review. It would seem the IPCC ignored advice
not to rely on its claims.
The IPCC claimed that 40% of the Amazon forests
could be replaced by tropical savannah'stheir source a
non peer reviewed piece of work by the WWF.
One has to ask the question as to why the CRU,
NASA, WWF, Greenpeace, IPCC and now our government are relentlessly
pushing AGW and cutting corners that simply should not be cut?
One can only conclude it is not in the interests of science which
has taken a painful wrap for this pseudo-science that is being
used in its name.
6. THE WIDER
It is clear that current temperatures are not
at all alarming, many anecdotal events are media over egged and
cannot be compared over time as our exposure to news is not comparable
with even just 30 years ago. Trends in data can easily be seen,
you don't need a fancy model, and in statistical research you're
best not to rely on them. Complex models have more assumptions
and often when deviations from those assumptions are present they
can completely nullify the usefulness of the modelling method.
If you cannot see it with your own eyes it probably doesn't exist.
The temperatures in the scheme of things (thousands of years of
history) are not at all remarkable, yet we hear all the time they
are. The apparent rise in temperatures between 1970 and 2000 was
not remarkable one only has to go back to a similar period pre
WW2 to see a very similar trend. Before that another similar period
in the late 19th century, the weather is indeed cyclical as is
the suns influence. The periodicity of those cycles is easy to
pick up with passing ones eye over simple plots.
Actual measurements of surface temperature began
150 or so years ago. Estimates before this period are proxies
and cannot be compared directly. A proxy measurement is a guess
based on a theoretical relationship and supported by present data
supporting that relationship. Mann's hockey stick uses proxy data
but when the relationship does not fit what is desired or expected
real data are substituted resulting in the much acclaimed Hockey
Stick. Of course the methodology is rather suspect, mixing real
and proxy data as if they were as one is not usual. Other scientists
looking into Mann's methodology have concluded they would get
a hockey stick by sampling random numbers.
7. THE FUTURE
We must stop funding this worthless research,
no matter if there is any grain of truth in any of the CO2 arguments.
We are creating a CO2 dependent economy where people will make
huge amounts of money whilst CO2 emissions continue inexorably
upwards. That research money should be targeted on real issues
facing our world. We need to ask some important questions, how
the world will fair when there's 9 billion of us, half living
in squalor and willing to fight hard for ever decreasing natural
resources. Their land basically dust because of years of intensive
farming that have reduced their future capacity to very little.
We have wasted 25 years on this fiasco and we
need to catch up with what could have been funded but for this
semi-parasitic industry. Most real scientists are scratching their
heads and thinking how on earth have these people got away with
it for so long? How is there so very little evidence yet `All
scientists agree' is all we hear. Let us move onto more productive
projects such as alternative fuel programmes, alternative food
schemes, addressing overpopulation hopefully without the claims
of eugenic type monster stories.
The University of East Anglia CRU is part of
a tight knit community aimed at perpetuating their futures, pontificating
what will happen if we do not fund them.
There is little evidence for their alternative
position and as seen by the efforts of the various protagonists
any evidence is being seriously overstated.
We need to tell our Government, and particularly
the energy and climate change minister, that this is not a done
deal and furtherance via scientific endeavour relies completely
on scepticism. To be told that is a danger is incredibly naïve
of Mr Miliband.
Science has suffered, details that contradict
the CRUs hypothesis were covered up, they systematically hushed
up the counter opinion of `heretics' and usurped the peer review
process, they did not let other scientists validate their work
possibly breaking FOI laws. The CRU, NASA and the IPCC have all
not followed the normal scientific process and so anything they
produce is almost worthless.
This is truly the Emperor's new clothes of the
21st century, a story of self interest and hubris unrivalled in
modern times. I have not given the wealth of references in support
of the above, they are there on the internet for all to see.