The Reviews into the Climatic Research Unit’s E-mails at the University of East Anglia

UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE    To be published as HC 444-ii

house of commonS

oral evidence

taken before the

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

THE REVIEWS INTO THE CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT'S E-MAILS AT THE University of East Anglia  

Wednesday 27 October 2010

SIR MUIR RUSSELL, PROFESSOR EDWARD ACTON and PROFESSOR TREVOR DAVIES

Evidence heard in  Public Questions  51 - 126

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the  Science and Technology Committee

on  Wednesday 27 October 2010

Members present:

 

Andrew Miller (Chair)

Stephen Metcalfe

Stephen Mosley

Pamela Nash

Graham Stringer

Roger Williams

 

________________

 Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses:  Sir Muir Russell, Head of the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review, Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia, and Professor Trevor Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, University of East Anglia, gave evidence.

Q51 Chair: Welcome, gentlemen. Thank you for agreeing to come. As you know, we are trying, in a sense, to tidy up loose ends from the work of our predecessor Committee. We are trying to bottom out some of the apparent contradictions in evidence that we have gathered. So we thought it appropriate to discuss this with you. If I may start with you, Professor Acton, you told our predecessor Committee in March that Lord Oxburgh’s Panel was to reassess the science. In September of this year, Lord Oxburgh told us that that was inaccurate and the scope of his inquiry was clear in the university’s press release issued on 22 March. Can we be absolutely clear from your point of view? Was the purpose of Lord Oxburgh’s inquiry changed during March?

Professor Edward Acton: From my point of view, no, it wasn’t. What I think I said to your predecessor Committee was that the purpose was to reassess the science and see if there was anything wrong. Having observed that this question might be raised, I wanted to check how your predecessor Committee had understood me. I was pleased to see that in the note, paragraph 131, your predecessor Committee says that what this panel should do is determine whether the work of CRU has been soundly built. That is exactly what I meant. Was it scientifically justified? In Lord Oxburgh’s report he explicitly addresses that and says yes, it was scientifically justified. My sense is that that expression "Look at the science and see if there is anything wrong" is open to a different interpretation. It may be that that is what some people had assumed contrary to the note in your predecessor’s memorandum. I think they may have been thinking that what might have been at issue was a reassessment of the full body of scientific literature on climate change. Fortunately, that precise exercise has been carried out in parallel to the two independent committees I set up by the National Academy of Sciences. If Members have not read it, I would be very happy to send a copy. It is a very comprehensive overview.

Secondly, and somewhat later than that appearing in July, there is a very exhaustive analysis of various challenges to the current human understanding of climate science considered by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which goes into forensic detail on the e-mails. There the meaning is to look and see if there is anything arising from those e-mails that might make one look in a different way at the science. The conclusion is a resounding no. So it could be that those who read my statement-"I would like this Committee to reassess the science and check if there is anything wrong"-stopped at the end of the word "science" and then thought, "Oh, it’s what these two American bodies are going to do", which would have been a very, very major exercise.

Q52 Chair: So was there a lack of clarity there?

Professor Edward Acton: It seems to me that the word "science" is rather protean and we have in the current higher education discussion all sorts of anxieties about the different ways in which it is read. I think almost whenever you use it-and I wouldn’t be surprised even in the course of this conversation-it is open to different interpretations.

Q53 Chair: Is the university satisfied with the way Lord Oxburgh conducted his inquiry?

Professor Edward Acton: Yes. I am very grateful to him and his eminent scientific colleagues for doing what we wanted them to do. I was interested in all their comments on public policy, on our own procedures and on that issue about some additional expertise in statistics. That is just the sort of thing that you might think a panel explicitly made up exclusively of scientists, unlike Sir Muir’s Panel, might well comment on and did.

Q54 Chair: With hindsight would you have approached the external reappraisal of science differently?

Professor Edward Acton: I don’t think so. For the avoidance of doubt and perhaps with guidance from people who understand the way in which science is read, there could have been some way of expressing this wish to see if there is anything wrong with the science in a manner that left no doubt in anybody’s mind that I wasn’t trying to shadow the EPA or shadow the National Academy of Sciences.

Q55 Chair: Finally, before I open it up to my colleagues, does the university consider that there is a need to commission an inquiry into the science published by the CRU?

Professor Edward Acton: In a way, I think that the science published by the CRU is constantly being considered by colleagues across the world. That is the nature of science-that people have a great interest to test, examine and see if they can advance and refine work currently commanding the field. I hope that will go on. I think it’s in all of our interests that it be constantly pummelled-some separate thing, separate from what has been done in our two reviews and these two American reviews. I don’t quite know what it would be.

Q56 Stephen Metcalfe: Good morning. Professor Acton and Professor Davies, Lord Oxburgh told us that the 11 publications that were the basis of his report were chosen by him but came via the university. Do you know who chose those 11 publications?

Professor Edward Acton: The core of them-I think possibly all of them-appear amongst those papers listed in the evidence that we gave to your predecessor Committee in our 3,000 words. It would seem very odd to draw Lord Oxburgh’s eyes away from that list when they seemed to be bang on the issues at stake. I think there can be a premise that might slip into this kind of question area that imagines that UEA had a funny plan, which was to set up an independent review and then, immensely carefully, steer what it does. That is impossible. I have been looking into the history of eight European countries and I haven’t discovered any university anywhere that has set up one, let alone two, independent inquiries to consider the allegations made against its scientists. The notion that one would do that and then somehow try to control the process is misguided. What I wanted was, is there anything wrong? I want to know.

Q57 Stephen Metcalfe: So that is a categoric no, the university was not involved in putting together that literature?

Professor Edward Acton: No, it is not at all a categorical. On the contrary, Lord Oxburgh’s Panel was keen to have a way into the subject, and consultation, including my Pro Vice Chancellor, led to the list, which of course was a starting point, as Lord Oxburgh said. It was not at all a case of, "Don’t look at anything else", because there’s rather a lot to look at. But Trevor?

Professor Trevor Davies: I took responsibility on behalf of the university for consulting with the Royal Society and with Lord Oxburgh over the starting point list for the Oxburgh inquiry and, as the Vice Chancellor says, the list was based on the references which were in the submission to your predecessor Committee. They were chosen to address what was then the huge unfounded criticism of a number of areas: the CRU global land temperature records, so there were two publications from that area; homogeneity adjustments-two publications from that area; urbanisation effects-two publications from that area; tree ring density records-three publications from that area; and then accusations of cherry-picking long records of tree growth, and there were two articles from that area.

I would like to stress that the Oxburgh Panel was also sent other information. For example, it was sent our submission to this predecessor Committee. It was also sent the submission to the Muir Russell review, where Muir Russell asked the Climatic Research Unit to address a number of questions based on criticisms. That was a 78-page submission and much of that submission was couched in scientific terms. That was sent to the Oxburgh Panel, and that submission to the Muir Russell review included references to 70-odd Climatic Research Unit publications. The Oxburgh Panel was told that those publications were readily available for them to access.

Q58 Stephen Metcalfe: At what point was the Royal Society asked to approve the list? Was that before or after it had been sent to the Oxburgh Panel?

Professor Trevor Davies: I and Peter Lewis, the Acting Director of the Climatic Research Unit, had a verbal discussion with Lord Rees some time at the end of February, beginning of March. The list was sent to the Royal Society for approval or for further comment on 4 March. The Royal Society responded on 12 March saying that it was content with the list. I am aware of the fact that there are allegations in the blogosphere that the Royal Society responded within 20 minutes. That is not the case. It had the list for a week. Indeed, the anticipated list, as the discussion with the Royal Society was going on, was posted on our website. On our website we indicated that the starting point reading list for the Oxburgh Panel would likely be based on our submission to your predecessor Committee. That was posted on our website on 22 March, and there were no objections that we were aware of at that point. Objections, or claims about the fact that the publications were chosen selectively, were made after the event.

Q59 Stephen Metcalfe: Was Professor Jones involved in the selection of those documents at all?

Professor Trevor Davies: No, not for the Oxburgh Panel. The discussions were internally at UEA between me and Professor Liss. Professor Jones and his colleagues were told which publications would be sent in and would be recommended to the Oxburgh Panel, but they had no decision-making role at all.

Q60 Stephen Metcalfe: Do you consider that that process was open and transparent, or do you think it should have been open and transparent so that people could understand how you got to that particular selection?

Professor Trevor Davies: It was an open and transparent discussion with the Royal Society. Anybody was at liberty to make suggestions about which publications should be considered by the Oxburgh Panel, as indeed they were by the Muir Russell Review.

Q61 Roger Williams: Can I ask Sir Muir about the work programme that was undertaken? I understand from your review that you said it was not your intention to look at each individual e-mail and try to divine its meaning and intention but to look at the whole body, including the hacked e-mail exchanges and other e-mail exchanges, and just see whether it was not at odds with acceptable scientific practice. Did you actually read all the e-mails?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes. As we say in chapter 4, there are 3,300 pages of them when you print them out. When you run them over the screen, you get pretty cross-eyed by the end of it, but the answer is yes. When we started there was quite a body of comment and opinion out there over what all this meant, and we produced what we called an "Issues Paper", which is one of the appendices to the report, which attempted to begin to focus on what the key points seemed to be. We gave everybody the opportunity to make submissions about those but also to comment on whether there were other issues. It was pretty clear that we were on the main set of things in that original Issues Paper.

You are absolutely right to say that the way the teams worked developed. We didn’t find ourselves going after every detail of the wording of every e-mail. Instead, we tried to look at what we thought were the big issues. We looked at the question about the way in which data had been handled; had it been concealed; was there a reason to be suspicious about that? We looked at the way in which tree data had been handled and whether it had been selected in a way that would have given a particular pre-determined result. We looked at peer review where there had been a lot of comment. We looked at whether the two named individuals had exercised undue influence on the conclusions of a chapter of the IPCC in ways that then fed into the overview for policymakers. So at that level we were looking at what they were doing. We were looking at what we termed in our final report "their honesty and rigour as scientists". You know that our conclusion was that none of those things that we looked at challenged that. We looked at their operations in terms of FOI, in terms of environmental impact regulations, the way in which they handled the research management within the university and the way in which they handled data in the university. We found rather a lot to say about that. You will find that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Davies and their colleagues have been working quite hard on that.

Then the third thing that we distilled out of that original Issues Paper and the comments we got was a feeling that there was a set of really quite high-level issues that we wanted people to think about. One was the availability of data from researchers in the middle or near the end of their work, just how that should actually be handled and the relationship there with the Information Commissioner. There was a precedent case involving Queen’s in Belfast. There was American input about how they had tried this and how they had settled on a particular balanced position. So we said that that was one thing to look at for the future. There was the whole issue of peer review, and I think that our essay in the report added quite a bit to people’s general understanding of that peer review. There is the great joke about it’s worse than any of the other systems but it has a lot of pluses. It has some minuses.

We looked at the communication of science in this modern, unmoderated blog-driven world, and we said that scientists need to think rather more carefully about how they handle their responses in the world in which they operate. Learned societies and others need to think about all of that. So we were trying to set a general agenda. I think one of the things that we did seek to demonstrate-it comes back to your basic question about whether we looked at all the e-mails-I think one of the conclusions I would draw from what we said was that, really, the thing that needs to happen now is for people to challenge science in the conventional way of building on the work that people have done, replicating it, challenging it, coming forward with new hypotheses, and the data need to be available to make that happen. That is the way in which, I would submit, and I am not a climate scientist, climate science should develop. That, in a sense, is a move on from the very specific information that is in this particular set of e-mails and it moves you into the world that the Vice Chancellor has talked about with these worldwide reviews. There is a big picture there developing. I think that what we said about how you should do that is a contribution to developing that big picture.

I am sorry for the long answer, but you can see how we moved from quite specific to a fairly general set of propositions.

Q62 Roger Williams: But on the specific again, you say you read all the e-mails, and we obviously accept that, but was that the case for all the members of your review team as well?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes.

Q63 Roger Williams: Could then I ask, how many interviews were held with the Unit’s staff? Did you and the full team attend those interviews?

Sir Muir Russell: I think that the interview schedule is set out in one of the appendices of the report, so you probably know the answer before I give it. Certainly we did not all attend all the interviews. I know that has been one of the points of criticism, but I just invite you to consider how one could possibly have arranged a schedule which would have had all the members of the team, supporters and so on attending everything. It would not have worked, so we broke up the work. Some of us took particular areas and particular opportunities to see people. Of course you need to remember that it wasn’t just interviews. There was a huge amount of to-ing and fro-ing following up the points that people had made.

One of the things I want to stress-and it goes back, in a way, to something that Professor Davies said-is that what we were trying to do was to get people to write down and reference the evidence of the work that they had done, the scientific papers they had produced and what people had made of them, rather than sitting blandly and asserting something which we would solemnly write down and that would be evidence. No, the evidence was what they had done as scientists and how that was referenced. So you find the submissions are full of references, you find the follow-ups are full of them, you find the report is full of them, and I am quite comfortable with the notion that that was what we were trying to do. So there is a tremendous quarry here, in the report, on the website and in the references that it gives of things that people can go to and say, "This is what they were doing. Was it a secret? Had they made it clear in their paper? Had their paper been published? Had it been properly reviewed?" So that was the approach we took. That is why the interviews as such were not great set pieces, but we did record them-by "record", I mean write up, not record the way this is being recorded-so that people could check that they were being fairly represented and that the references and points that we were taking from it were the balance of the argument that they wanted to give.

Q64 Roger Williams: But you could understand from a public perception point of view that this was such an important inquiry because it went to the basis of some science that is really fundamental to the future of this planet in a way. These interviews, where you actually see somebody face-to-face and ask difficult questions, are a key to this process. Would you have liked to do it any differently if you had a chance to reflect upon it in hindsight?

Sir Muir Russell: I don’t think so. I and the team were pressed fairly hard on this point both in your predecessor Committee and by particular people in correspondence. We decided that we wanted to do what I have essentially explained. I don’t think we were short-changing the quality of the information, the argument or the analysis in doing that. It is all there for people to see. If people want to say, "That bit of science is wrong. That was the wrong reference", it is all there for them to take on board and do it. So I am quite comfortable that it has served that particular purpose.

Q65 Roger Williams: One of the things that the previous Committee recommended was that these interviews took place in public. Why didn’t you follow that recommendation?

Sir Muir Russell: For the reason that I have implied in what I have said-that what we wanted to do was to get the referenced scientific information down and findable rather than to rely on what people might say on the spur of the moment and have to go through the whole process of writing it up, checking it, modifying it and then going and finding the information. That is a perfectly valid technique for lots of other things, but we thought that this was so scientific, so objective, so much rooted in the references to what people had actually done as scientists, and whether the things that were complained of had influenced what they had done as scientists, that you really had to get after it by going to the record. This was the way we chose to do it. I am reminded that there were 26 interviews, which is what is in the list, plus there were some telephone interviews that were written up and the record was then shared with the person who had given the interview so that it was regarded as just as sound and as valid as one that had happened face-to-face where we sent back our notes.

Chair: I would now like to move on to the issues around e-mails and their deletion.

Q66 Graham Stringer: Can I just go back to Professor Acton’s first answer because I would like to follow up on one question? You said you were satisfied with the Oxburgh Report, Professor Acton. When Lord Oxburgh was here, he commented on Professor Kelly’s notes that he made during the interviews. Some of those notes that Professor Kelly made, while there was no smoking gun that anybody had fiddled the figures-that was absolutely clear-he did say that he didn’t think some of the things that the CRU was doing was science as he understood it, if I can paraphrase. Do you not think that the Oxburgh Report would have been better had it contained that, particularly as Oxburgh himself said that Briffa couldn’t even reproduce his own work, and if you can’t even reproduce your own work, it’s not challengeable by other scientists, is it?

Professor Edward Acton: I am sorry, but is the last bit the question?

Q67 Graham Stringer: What I am really asking is: was the Oxburgh Report not bowdlerised really? Wouldn’t it have been better with Professor Kelly’s comments about his criticism of the scientific method as used by that team?

Professor Edward Acton: I am a historian. I think there are differences between some scientific traditions. My understanding is that Professor Kelly’s comments, which I could not relate to in any detail, partly reflect that fact. I think, for my purpose, what I wanted to know was whether that panel of extremely strong-minded, independent scientists found anything scientifically unjustified here, and they found nothing, so I feel content.

Q68 Graham Stringer: Can I use Russell, then, against Oxburgh on this, because in paragraph 25 in your report you make a very good statement about science and that it should be challengeable. I don’t really agree with you, Professor Acton. You are a historian, not a scientist, but the nature of all science has to be-and I think Sir Muir put this into his report-recorded, reproducible and challengeable. I don’t believe that climate science is any different from that, is it?

Professor Edward Acton: I wouldn’t have thought so. My understanding-

Q69 Graham Stringer: Then can I go back to the original question. If it isn’t, wouldn’t it have been good to put Professor Kelly’s comments about what he thought were the scientific inadequacies of what was going on, not fiddling but just scientific inadequacies in the method, and also Lord Oxburgh’s comments that Briffa couldn’t produce his own work?

Professor Edward Acton: Would it have been good to do what with those?

Q70 Graham Stringer: To put it into the report, either as annexes or appendices?

Professor Edward Acton: Well, Lord Oxburgh was independent. I wasn’t going to say, "Now, I think you should add this or do anything". He was independent.

Q71 Graham Stringer: Yes, he was independent.

Professor Edward Acton: So it was entirely up to him.

Q72 Graham Stringer: I am asking you as the Vice Chancellor who responded to these reports.

Professor Edward Acton: Yes. Do I think he should have written more? I wouldn’t want to criticise him. I think he did a very good job of work.

Q73 Graham Stringer: Right. So you’re satisfied that not all the information was out from that inquiry?

Professor Edward Acton: It would astonish me if the report included all the notes made by all the individual members.

Q74 Graham Stringer: These were pretty fundamental criticisms of the methodology.

Professor Trevor Davies: May I add something, Mr. Stringer? I think you are possibly referring to Professor Kelly’s objection to the use of a word like "experiments" in climate science when his notion of an experiment is a closely controlled exercise. It is standard terminology in climate science that such computer simulations that others were referring to are called "experiments".

On the question about replication, it is perfectly true that during the time that the Oxburgh Panel were at the Climatic Research Unit it was not possible to replicate all of the work that had been undertaken. Some of this work was undertaken 20-plus years ago and the data were not immediately accessible. I have spoken to colleagues in CRU and they assure me, and I am confident, that given time, a number of weeks or days, understandably, given the fact that this work goes back 20 or 30 years, then they can replicate their work.

Q75 Graham Stringer: That was not what this Committee was told. Did you used to be part of CRU, Professor Davies?

Professor Trevor Davies: I’m sorry?

Q76 Graham Stringer: Were you part of CRU at any stage?

Professor Trevor Davies: Yes. I was a Director of CRU for a five-year period.

Q77 Graham Stringer: You were a Director of CRU; right. If we can go back, then, to the responses you made about the selection of the 11 papers, in the Climate Change Inquiry Montford paper, he quotes on page 31 an e-mail from you to the Royal Society. Is that an accurate reflection of the e-mail you sent to the Royal Society?

Professor Trevor Davies: Which was?

Q78 Graham Stringer: It says: "I would be very grateful if you would be prepared to allow us to use a form of words along the lines: ‘the publications were chosen in consultation with the Royal Society.’"

Professor Trevor Davies: Yes, that is right. That was after a conversation with Lord Oxburgh. That e-mail was sent on 12 March, I believe. That was a follow-up to an e-mail and the proposed list of publications which were based largely on the submission to the predecessor Committee, which I sent on 4 March.

Q79 Graham Stringer: So two days after the panel had got the papers you were writing to the Royal Society saying that you would be grateful if you could be allowed to use a form of words that the publications were chosen in consultation with the Royal Society, when they’d actually already been chosen?

Professor Trevor Davies: No, no. They were sent to the panel members on 10 March.

Q80 Graham Stringer: Yes, but this e-mail, we have agreed, is the 12 March. It is two days later, isn’t it?

Professor Trevor Davies: Yes. That is because in conversation with Lord Rees at an earlier point he agreed with the notion that the starting list-I would emphasise that this was a starting list so that the Oxburgh Panel could become familiar with those areas of CRU’s work which had been most subject to criticism. Lord Rees indicated that that would be a very good starting point. So I sent that list on 4 March anticipating that the Royal Society would approve it because Lord Oxburgh wanted to move very quickly with his assessment. That list went out to the panel members on 10 March anticipating that that would be the list which the Royal Society approved and, indeed, they did approve it on 12 March. A confirmation went out on 15 March, and it was a slightly modified list to my memory, but I don’t have a complete recollection of that. I can certainly let you have this in writing after today.

Q81 Graham Stringer: I have just one final question on that. The response was not fulsome, was it, to that request? It said: "I am not aware of all the papers that could be included in the list, but I do think that these papers do cover the issues of major concern." That’s hardly-

Professor Trevor Davies: The Climatic Research Unit has published in excess of 1,000 peer review publications.

Q82 Graham Stringer: And the criticism from Montford is that in actual fact a lot of the papers that the controversy is about-the multi-proxy papers-are not included in these 11 papers. What I am really saying is-

Professor Trevor Davies: Can I respond to that, please?

Graham Stringer: Yes.

Professor Trevor Davies: I would dispute that. Of course Mr Montford has publicly acknowledged that he was a non-partisan author. There certainly has been some blog comment about the most criticised papers not being in that list. In fact there has been very little comment about precisely which papers should have been included. One of the few comments has been in Mr Montford’s report and he mentioned three publications in particular: Jones et al of 1998; Mann and Jones, 2003, and Osborn and Briffa 2000. That list seems to have been taken from a longer list on Mr McIntyre’s blog site of 15 April after the Oxburgh Report came out. In fact, the majority of the publications listed by Mr McIntyre on 15 April were referenced in the CRU’s submission to Muir Russell, which the Oxburgh Panel received, or some were on the Oxburgh starting list.

Mr. McIntyre made a submission to the predecessor Committee, which he copied to Muir Russell and the CRU papers which he specifically referred to in that submission were: Briffa 2000-that was on the Oxburgh Panel starting point list; Briffa et al 2001-that was on the Oxburgh Panel starting list; Melvin and Briffa 2008. That in fact was a wrong reference. That should have been Briffa and Melvin. It is still not published but there was a pre-print available. The Oxburgh Panel saw that paper. Mr McIntyre also mentioned Briffa et al 1992. That was not on the starting list. This was a paper on the Torneträsk tree-ring series. This was covered in Briffa 2000, which was on the starting point list, and it was referred to in the Muir Russell submission. The only other paper which McIntyre mentioned was Briffa et al 1995. That also was not on the starting point list. This was a paper on Polar Urals tree rings. This was covered in Briffa 2000, which was on the starting list, and was also referred to in the Muir Russell submission.

Q83 Graham Stringer: That was a very complete answer, Professor Davies. You had obviously thought about it before. Do you still think that after all of these inquiries that you still agree with your original comment that the CRU had no case to answer?

Professor Trevor Davies: It had a case to answer but not in terms of the science. I think it had a case to answer in terms of being more proactive in the way that it responded to requests for various pieces of information. Not all data, of course. Many of those requests were for e-mails, but in terms of the science, then, I don’t believe that it does have a case to answer. It has a case to answer, as many other climate scientists do-indeed, as all scientists in other areas do-of doing rather more to make particularly previous versions of data series, previous to publication, available for scrutiny.

Q84 Graham Stringer: Thank you. Sir Muir, on page 92 of your report you say, and I paraphrase, that there is no attempt to delete e-mails after there had been a request made, whereas in actual fact the e-mail of 27 May from Jones actually asked for deletion of e-mails, didn’t it?

Sir Muir Russell: It requested them. I think we said that there was incitement to delete. You have quoted half the sentence. The first bit says: "There seemed clear incitement to delete but we had seen no evidence of any attempt to delete in respect of a request already made."

That is quite a tricky area because they do still exist, apart from anything else, but the question that I think you’re getting at is whether we sought to chase that particular question about deletion of requested e-mails through our review.

Q85 Graham Stringer: I suppose we are haggling about the word "attempt", aren’t we?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes.

Graham Stringer: That’s the real issue.

Sir Muir Russell: I don’t want to play with semantics because the real challenge that is in behind here is that the Russell Review-we will call it that-didn’t come to a conclusion on deliberate deletion of e-mails that had been requested. The reason we didn’t do that was something that I think I made clear to Mr Boswell when this came up in question 171 in March. I said I wasn’t going to put the review into the position of making the sort of quasi-judicial prosecutorial, investigative judgments that Mr Thomas-you will remember he spoke at the beginning of that session-had spoken about. That was an ICO’s job. That was the position that we took. So, had we been going to get into this, we would have had to start asking questions under caution. We would have been doing the sort of investigative stuff, because you’re getting to the point where you’re alleging that there might have been an offence, and that really wasn’t the thing that my inquiry was set up to do, especially when there is a parallel entity called ICO that has the investigative skills, the training and the background with its personnel.

So that, in short order, was why we didn’t go down the road of saying, "And did you delete things that had been requested?", because we felt that that would take us into an area where we would have had to do all kinds of cautionary things and so on, and it wasn’t actually relevant to where we had got to on the issue that all this is about, which is what was the end product of the influence that this process had on what was said in the IPCC report. We can talk about that at some length. But what I said to Mr Williams about going after the big issues is really referable to the fact that we moved in that direction rather than chasing the words in the individual e-mails.

Q86 Graham Stringer: I find it a bit surprising, that you didn’t ask directly when a lot of the controversy had been about the request to delete e-mails. You didn’t personally ask Professor Jones-it was the 29th, not the 27th; I apologise for that-directly whether he had deleted those emails?

Sir Muir Russell: That would have been saying, "Did you commit a crime?", and we would have had to go into a completely different area of the relationship and formal role for the inquiry. Remember, what this chain of logic is all about is a process that is leading up to what did or didn’t get admitted as evidence in an IPCC chapter. That’s the issue that matters.

Q87 Graham Stringer: Well, I think it does matter.

Sir Muir Russell: It is not that it is immaterial. We had lots to say about FOI and Professor Acton can say quite a bit about what the university has done about that.

Q88 Graham Stringer: I am going to ask Professor Acton.

Sir Muir Russell: Yes. I’m sure you will because that was one of the points I was distinguishing very clearly between the honesty and rigour as regards the science and the way in which people handle the FOI and other procedural things. On this one, given what I have just said about what I said to Mr Tim Boswell and about the relationship with ICO, we felt that the most sensible thing to do was to move through this issue to look at the question of what was actually being said in the IPCC report and whether the Wahl and Amman material should be in or not, and what the overall judgment about that was. So if we ducked or avoided, I plead guilty to that, but I think we had quite good reasons in terms of our inquiry for not asking that particular question.

Q89 Graham Stringer: When you came to this Committee in March, were you aware that you weren’t going to ask Professor Jones or anybody else whether they deleted e-mails?

Sir Muir Russell: In the terms in which it related to the thing that might have been alleged to be a criminal offence, I have referred you. It is question 171 of the proceedings, which I have brought with me, because I knew from reading the Mr Holland material that this is one of the chains of the logic that he brings out.

Q90 Graham Stringer: That’s right. He put a Freedom of Information request in on the 27th.

Sir Muir Russell: Yes.

Q91 Graham Stringer: So there is the e-mail from Jones on the 29th requesting deletion. So it’s quite a fundamental part.

Sir Muir Russell: Yes, but it is covered in the 7 July statement by ICO, and it was covered in your exchanges with the Vice Chancellor. It does take you into the area of interviewing under caution and so on, but that is the judgment we made. It’s a fact. We didn’t ask these questions.

Q92 Graham Stringer: No. You have been very clear, honest and straightforward about that. You didn’t ask the questions. So what I am asking you now is, were you aware of that when you came before the Committee in March?

Sir Muir Russell: That’s what I said to Mr. Boswell. Yes.

Q93 Graham Stringer: Yes. I don’t recall you telling us that.

Sir Muir Russell: We can play with words, but that is what 171 was about, in my understanding.

Q94 Graham Stringer: Right. I shall look at that.

Professor Acton, are you satisfied that these questions weren’t asked, that peo ple in your university were sending out e-mails suggesting that e-mails should be deleted and that hasn’t been investigated?

Professor Edward Acton: It has been investigated. I have asked them and they have assured me that they have never knowingly deleted e-mails subject to a request.

Q95 Graham Stringer: Did you ask them under caution?

Professor Edward Acton: The relationship that I have with them is rather different. It is absolutely part of my duty to address that kind of spirit and make sure I drive it out of the university and establish the facts. Can those e-mails be produced? Yes, they can. Did those who might have deleted them say they deleted them? No. They say they did not. I wanted to be absolutely sure of those two, and I have established that to my satisfaction.

Q96 Graham Stringer: And you recorded those meetings with Professor Jones and his team?

Professor Edward Acton: If you examine our website you will find that these statements have been there for some time.

Q97 Graham Stringer: Did you ask Professor Briffa why he thought it necessary to take e-mails home?

Professor Edward Acton: I didn’t. I can, if it is appropriate, tell you an element that I think may bear upon it, which was that at the time he was gravely ill and rather frequently not in the university. So to take a copy home does not seem to me very extraordinary, but I haven’t asked him.

Q98 Graham Stringer: You haven’t. Did you, Sir Muir?

Sir Muir Russell: No.

Q99 Graham Stringer: So you don’t think there was any question about security of the e-mails? It was entirely about the health of Professor Briffa?

Professor Edward Acton: I’ve told you that it seems to me, in speculating on why he might have done that, that does seem an extraordinarily plausible explanation. My concern is to be sure that they are produced and producible, that they are there and that both colleagues firmly assert that they did not do what is in question.

Q100 Graham Stringer: Are all those e-mails now available and can they be read?

Professor Edward Acton: Yes.

Q101 Graham Stringer: And you agree with that, Sir Muir?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes. As I understand it, they are part of the 3,000 pages.

Q102 Chair: The Information Commissioner wrote to us very recently and said in his letter: "We were generally impressed by the processes in place and actions taken to improve the culture related to FOI and EIR." So you are accepting, Professor Acton, that there were weaknesses in your systems?

Professor Edward Acton: Yes, I am-I think in our systems and in clearly pockets of our culture. I am very keen to ensure that UEA is an exemplar in this. I take the matter very seriously. I’ve written to all members of staff. I went with the registrar and visited the ICO, which was a remarkable experience in Wilmslow.

Q103 Chair: But, in essence, you are saying that that weakness with freedom of information practices had no bearing on the quality of the science?

Professor Edward Acton: Yes, I am. But of course, I still mind very much even though the two are now severed, because there are other areas, in medicine and in a lot of social science, where again issues of freedom of information can be highly sensitive and controversial and I want my university to be whiter than white on it.

Q104 Pamela Nash: This question is to Sir Muir. In your review you found no evidence to support that there was any subversion of the peer review process and you examined three specific instances. Could you tell us why those three instances were chosen?

Sir Muir Russell: They were the three that had been at the top of the head, as it were, in the comments that were made when the whole story broke. I keep going back to what I said to Mr Williams. They were the things which we thought, as we were looking at the issues, were solid and good examples to pick and to test the accusations that had been made. I know there are comments that say, "You could have found more. There could have been others." They weren’t in the forefront at the time. If you look at the footnote in Montford, I think it is, about one of them, it says that it wasn’t actually clear what the allegation was, so one has to be balanced. We couldn’t do everything but we looked at three very solid accusations. The Soon and Baliunas was one that came up all the time and we looked at that fairly thoroughly. The editor of Energy and Environment had sent a lot of emails to me about what we would do. So it was important to check out that position. Then there was the Cook stuff and there is quite an extensive explanation of what was actually going on there. I think you will find three quite detailed explanations based on information that we got about what was actually happening.

Then, of course, we did the important thing of getting Richard Horton to work on peer review for us. You will see from the record of the predecessor Committee that one of the things that had happened that was, let’s say, uncomfortable, because I was quite uncomfortable sitting here when being asked about it, was that Dr Campbell of Nature had to leave the group because he had been interviewed and had said there was nothing wrong with what CRU had done. That was a prejudicial thing about the inquiry. It had nothing to do with his views about climate science. It was prejudicial about the inquiry, and he very properly said, "I have to leave."

So we brought in Richard Horton, not as a full member in the sense of being on the team and looking at all the work that we had done, because it would have been very difficult to catch up on that, but we brought him in to give us advice on peer review. We peer reviewed that because we got Liz Wager of COPE to have a look at that as well. You will see all that in the report.

So I think that setting that set of judgments against the facts of the cases as we found them was really quite a good and balanced way of getting a serious big picture about what these people had been doing in relation to peer review and also peer review more generally so there are specific answers and there are some general points to go forward with on peer review. I put my hand up and say, yes, there could well have been other cases that we might have looked at, but these were the ones that everybody seemed to think were at the top of their heads at the time.

Q105 Pamela Nash: Do you feel that there was a general culture within CRU of pre-judging publications for peer review just because they supported certain views on climate change?

Sir Muir Russell: I am not and have never been a practising scientist, but I do take the Horton wise words quite seriously that people get committed to their views and they get committed to the work that they have done and sometimes the judgments that they have made. It doesn’t surprise me in the least if people should say, "I don’t agree with that." It doesn’t surprise me in the least that in a context in which there is a lot of challenge-and the one thing you would be bound to say, looking at all the papers you have in front of you and the various reports and representations that there have been, is that there is a lot of challenge-I think it is entirely natural that people should take a robust view about their own work. The one thing that Horton really told us was that it’s entirely natural. So that, in a sense, set a kind of calibration for us of how we would judge what, on any analysis, are robust and, I will use the word, sometimes quite aggressive bits of phraseology about why they didn’t agree with particular things. But these were genuine areas of debate, and the whole Horton message is, "Let the debate go and see where we get to."

Q106 Stephen Mosley: Can we move on to the confidentiality of the peer review process now? I know that in your reports you do assess whether or not there is a breach of confidentiality with regard to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, but that does specifically relate to the IPCC processes. There are the wider issues of confidentiality in the peer review process in general. Did your review team investigate the possibilities that the Climatic Research Unit’s staff may have breached the confidentiality of the peer review process in general?

Sir Muir Russell: Is this the Briffa-Cook-Stahle piece in chapter 8 that you are referring to, Mr Mosley?

Q107 Stephen Mosley: No, I am moving on more to e-mails like the 26 February 2004 e-mail when Phil Jones e-mailed Michael Mann about a paper that it appears he had been shown by his CRU colleague, Tim Osborn. If you read the e-mail it gives the impression that Professor Jones does feel that the request he is making might be contrary to some of the rules. If you read it, it does say things like, "Can I ask you something in confidence?", "Don’t e-mail this around", "He wants to be squeaky clean", "Forget this e-mail when you reply". It does imply that when the e-mail was sent there was a belief that this might not be completely in line with accepted practice.

Sir Muir Russell: If that’s the one that was introduced by Mr Montford in the middle of his report, it wasn’t one that was really given much attention at the time, to be honest with you. With regard to the tentative comments from Mr Montford, "It appears to be a breach", "It appears likely", you could equally read that e-mail and say that there was a question put to Jones rather than showing him the paper. We didn’t dig into that one at the time. I acknowledge that we didn’t. I challenge the proposition that we were recommended to do it by anything that was said in the Horton paper. There is a statement from Mr Montford that we ignored the advice of our expert and didn’t follow up on this, but I don’t think that is actually right. So I will readily admit that that was not one that we chased down. I don’t think it bears quite the interpretation that has been placed on it and the comments on it. If it was one that we didn’t look at then I’m sorry about that, but I don’t think it’s a high point of the problems that were alleged to be around in this case at the time when we were working through it.

Q108 Stephen Mosley: Moving to the other two members of the panel here, do you think that the behaviour of the CRU scientists when discussing papers for peer review with other colleagues is common practice within scientific research?

Professor Trevor Davies: I am sorry. Would you mind repeating that?

Q109 Stephen Mosley: Would that sort of thing, where CRU scientists were discussing papers for peer review with other colleagues, be common practice within scientific review?

Professor Trevor Davies: It is. I think all reviewers are well aware of the important issues of confidentiality, as Sir Muir has indicated. There will be a number of occasions, and I think this is accepted within the peer review community, where an individual reviewer is not expert in all areas which are covered by a particular publication. Certainly conversations will go on with colleagues in confidence, without revealing any details of data or results, about advice, about whether this, for example, is an appropriate methodology. I think that is within the spirit of peer review and doesn’t break the conventions of peer review and confidentiality.

Q110 Chair: I note, Professor Acton, that you said you are a historian; you’re not a scientist. I am sure if Phil Jones were here he would argue that he is a scientist, and not a lawyer. Did you ever ask him what he meant by, "So forget this e-mail when you reply"?

Professor Edward Acton: No, I haven’t asked him that.

Q111 Chair: It is a bit of a sloppy phrase that leads one to imply that he was trying to hide something?

Professor Edward Acton: I suppose the historian bit of me says that I would like to know the full correspondence around it before leaping to conclusions which don’t, even in this room, seem to be the same, but I don’t think I’m awfully well qualified to take it very far.

Q112 Stephen Metcalfe: Can we move on to the allegation of scientific fraud that was made against Professor Jones, specifically in relation to the 1990 paper? Sir Muir, did you fully investigate the issues surrounding the allegation of fraud?

Sir Muir Russell: I think that is covered in chapter 6, if I remember correctly, on the use of local temperature data from china.

Q113 Stephen Metcalfe: So it was fully looked at; okay. Given that Professor Jones acknowledged in his interview with Nature that the stations probably did move, did you question him directly about that?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes. As far as I recall, we did. I am not just sure whether we picked that one up in one of the interviews or not, but we had plenty of information about it. We had Mr Peizer’s evidence, we had Mr Keenan’s assertions, and we had the full record of the story which we set out here, which is that this, if I remember rightly, arose 17 years after the initial paper was written and was really rooted in an allegation about Wang, the New York, Albany, scientist. The position is that Jones said, "Let’s wait and see what happens about that." In the meantime there was a Jones paper being written which was trying to ask the same question and check whether that was valid or not. So our conclusions, really, as we set it out, were that it didn’t look as though this was a problem about the science. Actually, we did just a little bit of work on the code to run it without China in it, and it doesn’t make any difference to those graphs.

So, for a variety of reasons, what in another world they used to call "triangulation", we came to the view that this was not a problem about CRUTEM, about the scientific record and about the conclusions that might be drawn from it. That is without prejudice to Professor Jones’ comment that he, maybe, could have handled it better and he wishes it had been different. The guy was under the most immense pressure, as you can imagine, then. These are the things he said, and it is probably quite valid.

As far as asking the question, what difference does this make to the big picture that people are going to be taking and using, I think our feeling was that it didn’t.

Q114 Stephen Metcalfe: So it didn’t affect the big picture but there was an acceptance that, perhaps, it could have been done differently? In fact it was a sloppy use of information.

Sir Muir Russell: And not being able to turn up the records, which may have been a New York problem. The fact of the matter is that they couldn’t be turned up at the time, and one understands that.

Q115 Stephen Metcalfe: Obviously it is a serious allegation that there was a scientific fraud. Just taking that slightly wider, who do you believe should be responsible for looking at scientific frauds and investigating allegations of that sort?

Sir Muir Russell: It is difficult. I’m not sure it was fraud. Fraud implies that it was all deliberately set out to be done to conceal or to fabricate. I don’t think that’s the evidence of what people thought they were doing in 1990. Whether it should have taken 17 years for someone to spot it and whether, at the end of the day, the records weren’t right so that you could set it right is another question. But, remember, Jones did another paper-I can’t remember just who it was with but it is referenced here, "Jones, Lister and Li, Q"-to check the thing through.

Who should investigate fraud? Well, we’ve talked a bit about the peer review process. That doesn’t, as Horton says, tell you that something is right or wrong. It gives you some signals about it but not totally. We’ve talked about how data should be made available so that people can check, can replicate and can actually do what in most scientific fields is done. You have a look at what somebody did, and you say, "Can I do that? Is it right? Is it really possible that they could have done this?" Then when you do it, you discover that, actually, there is something else that maybe was a better explanation or a different mechanism or whatever and so a new piece of science emerges. So, in a sense, to make sure that there is enough out there for people to be able to go through that process, that seems to me to be the best way that I would think that we, the citizenry, should guard against fraud. That’s why there is quite a bit in this report about data and about space in which people can feel safe and comfortable in sharing that data. That’s why there are bits about how it’s handled, recorded and made available so you are sure that we don’t lose it.

So there is a whole bundle of issues. I don’t think there is a single audit body that you would say is always going to be looking at fraud and taking a random sample of people’s papers and re-doing their science in the way that you do with public finances or whatever. I don’t think it would work that way.

Q116 Stephen Metcalfe: But when that sort of issue crops up and it is discovered that perhaps there is a different way of interpreting the data or a different way of looking at it and that perhaps it is not as robust as it was first presented, how do you ensure that then a correction or an amendment to the original document is published or produced so that you can then read it in the new context? Slightly widening that, how does the UEA ensure that that happens across just your university? What processes do you have in place?

Professor Trevor Davies: With particular reference to the Keenan allegation, Mr Keenan didn’t make a submission to the Muir Russell Review and he didn’t contact Lord Oxburgh either. However, he did contact the State University of New York and made a fraud allegation against Professor Wang. This was before he published a paper in a journal which is edited by the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. This was the title: "The Fraud Allegation Against Some Climatic Research Of Wei-Chyung Wang." The State University of New York, where Professor Wang was a member of staff, investigated these allegations thoroughly and Professor Wang was entirely exonerated. So the allegation has been investigated. Mr Keenan seems to have shifted the same allegation over to Phil Jones. They are the same allegations which the State University of New York at Albany determined were groundless.

The two publications in question were subject to assessment by Lord Oxburgh and they saw nothing wrong at all. It is perfectly true, although Mr Keenan did not do any data analysis whatsoever in this article in the journal, that he did make some claims about the stations having moved location. Phil Jones acknowledged that the 1990 paper could be improved as a result of this further knowledge. He had no access to the knowledge at the time and, as Sir Muir has indicated, did in fact confirm the results of the 1990 paper in a later paper in 2008. This was, I believe, at the same time that Mr Keenan published his allegations in the journal edited by the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, but I would need to check that.

The results were confirmed. This is in the nature of science. As new and better data come along, as more knowledge is developed, new techniques, the conclusions are refined. If a clarification were issued to every single scientific publication which ever came out, as methods improve, as more knowledge becomes available, as more data become available, then the publishing of science would grind to a halt.

Q117 Stephen Metcalfe: So it is not possible is what you are saying?

Professor Trevor Davies: What I am saying is that the allegations of fraud were investigated thoroughly.

Q118 Stephen Metcalfe: Put that aside. If then it is discovered that the basis upon which a report was originally written has changed and there is new information, new methods and new techniques, can you still have faith in that document or do you have to say, "That no longer can stand"? How do we know? How does one know that things have changed enough that that is no longer a valid conclusion?

Professor Trevor Davies: Because in the later publication, Jones et al 2008, there were clear references to the 1990 paper. There was a clear account of which data were common to the 1990 paper and the 2008 paper. There was confirmation of the main thrust of the results in the 1990 paper, and this was almost 20 years ago. So the way in which that further information was introduced into the scientific literature was by this later paper in 2008.

Q119 Stephen Metcalfe: I have just one final point, Chair. I accept that, but that is where an additional paper had been written on this particular subject, and that was able to build upon the work of the previous report. What I am saying is, when that hasn’t taken place, when a report exists but new information has come to light, how do you then put that into the public domain to put it in context?

Professor Trevor Davies: I am sorry. I misunderstood the thrust of your question. In those particular circumstances then, yes, a correction can be made to the original paper.

Q120 Stephen Metcalfe: My question was, how do you ensure that happens?

Professor Trevor Davies: Professor Jones said he would give that some thought; it’s worthy of consideration. He did give it some thought. He considered it. He talked with others and the consensus view was that the publication in the 2008 paper addressed any possible questions around the 1990 paper.

Sir Muir Russell: Can I come back on that one? I think you are probably making quite an important general point-that there is a paper sitting there in the literature and somebody thinks it’s not quite right. Do you put a footnote on that old paper that says, "Take note, folks"?

Stephen Metcalfe: That’s exactly what I am saying.

Sir Muir Russell: When you go to the library and take this down from the shelf, or the electronic shelf, it’s not the last word on the subject.

I don’t know the answer to that. As I said before, I’m not a practising scientist, but I see people going to conferences, writing conference papers and other things in journals, and anybody who knows the subject keeps up with the literature and, basically, says, "At that conference, Professor X challenged what Professor Y said", and will not let it rest. Professor X has got his or her reputation to make and will want that to be heard. It will be in the literature in the broadest sense. Anybody who is searching it to get the up-to-date picture-this is one of the powers of this internet world that we all sometimes worry about-cannot actually miss it. It is not a physical library where if you didn’t have that journal in that series you wouldn’t know that the thing was there. It is actually much better now. So what I would rely on is indexing, checking and the work of the electronic media. Is that right?

Professor Trevor Davies: Yes.

Q121 Stephen Mosley: Sir Muir, in your report you looked at the particular allegation that during the preparation of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report Professor Briffa inappropriately used an unpublished paper by Wahl and Amman in an attempt to rebut a critique by McIntyre and McKitrick of the hockey stick graph . In your report, you state that your team did not find " any direct evidence to support the allegation that members of the Climatic Research Unit misused their position on IP C C to seek to prevent th e publication of opposing ideas". I note that you qualify the word "evidence" with "direct". Does this mean that there was some indirect or circumstantial evidence?

Sir Muir Russell: I think the discussion that we had with Mr Stringer attempts to demonstrate a chain of consequence that if things were happening that were, arguably, not quite right here then you need to infer that there was something being concealed there which was leading to something there, and so on. That really is the essence of at least that stream of argument. What we were trying to do was to say, so what was the end product? The end product was that there was a piece of science that everybody knew about which was current but may or may not have met what were original deadlines, and there is a whole process about whether those deadlines changed. But the essence of what we did was to go to the review editor and say, "What’s your take on whether it was or wasn’t reasonable to bring this in?" You can see that Mitchell comes back and says, "It would be silly not to take in something and leave your report two years out of date." So it’s at that point that we say this looks like the right thing to do and it looks like something that Briffa would not, on his own, have influenced any more than in relation to the urbanisation effect. Jones was in that position. It’s the Hoskins Review evidence. So we are trying to get to the big issue end point.

In the midst of all of this, there is a long and consequential chain of argument about dates and times, rules and processes. Some of it is in our report. Quite a bit of it is in Mr Holland’s evidence that he has submitted. You have seen some of it and you’ve accessed some of the websites and so on. We are really just saying, be all that as it may, that the end point seems to us to be a sensible place, and the end point is not a point that Briffa, as was alleged, could have done on his own privately and for any particular personal or malign reasons.

Q122 Stephen Mosley: You mentioned Mr Holland there. There has been criticism, and I know we have received complaints as well, of your decision not to publish David Holland’s submission detailing the alleged breaches of the IPCC’s rules. Did you take Mr Holland’s evidence into account before you made the judgment on the allegation of the breaches of the IPCC’s rules?

Sir Muir Russell: Yes, and you will see that Mr Holland’s recent comments do acknowledge that in fact Briffa and colleagues saw his submission and commented on it. So we have quite extensive paperwork, and I think it is reproduced in the evidence on the website, that shows Mr Holland’s submission being taken very carefully into account in responses and, I can assure you, being very fully discussed by us before we produced the material that is in the second half of chapter 9. The only issue, I think, turns on whether the full submission was appropriate to publish, given some elements of the terms in which it was written. But I think the substance of the issues has all been dealt with. The team went into that pretty carefully.

Q123 Stephen Mosley: The IPCC asked the InterAcademy Council to give an independent review of the IPCC processes. Did UEA have any involvement with that review? When the results were announced on 30 August, have you subsequently looked at those recommendations and have you taken any action because of them?

Professor Trevor Davies: We were certainly not consulted as a university. It is possible that some of our colleagues were consulted individually. I can’t give you the answer to that today but we can certainly send in those details. Yes, of course, we’ve noted the recommendations. These are recommendations for the IPCC, for the United Nations. I don’t really think that it’s our position to comment on them here.

Q124 Stephen Mosley: Moving slightly wider, what changes have you actually introduced then at CRU to restore confidence in its scientists, their publications and the way in which they interact with the wider academic community?

Professor Edward Acton: In terms of restoring confidence, the critical thing is to have review after review after review to establish that they have found no shred of evidence that should shake confidence in their science. In terms of their integration, we have drawn them rather closer into the rest of the School of Environmental Sciences to ensure that all processes are run as they should be, notably FOI ones, that, were there any kind of repeat of that, they are dealt with absolutely as they should be and that there are none of the errors either of commission or omission that may have happened in the past.

On the front of statistics, we are encouraging that they draw more closely on some of our professional statisticians and we may well also be investing in further posts in that area. Trevor, I don’t know what you would add?

Professor Trevor Davies: We are also investing in posts to help CRU ensure that it’s data archive is efficient-that all of the previous versions of data series are in a readily accessible form so that when requests do come through for data series or for meta data as supporting data they will be more readily accessible and available than they have been hitherto.

Q125 Chair: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Just before we formally close, can I give you the opportunity to conclude your remarks with anything you think we need to know about that we haven’t yet covered, either this morning or during our previous inquiry?

Professor Edward Acton: I would like to thank the work of the Committee. I would like to endorse the Government’s response to you where it welcomes the Committee’s support for CRU and the scientific reputation of Professor Phil Jones, where it notes in the conclusion of the scientific appraisal that CRU has done a "public service of great value" in its work. I share the Government’s pleasure to note the exceptionally strong contribution that UK scientists, including those at CRU, have played in assessing climate changes, understanding current and future impacts and proposing solutions to mitigate and adapt those changes.

As our representatives looking after this field of human knowledge, I’m delighted at the time and trouble you have taken in March and again here to underscore the conclusions the Government sets out there.

Q126 Chair: Sir Muir?

Sir Muir Russell: I got my chance at the beginning when I was responding to Mr Williams to talk a bit about the big issues that went beyond CRU’s big issues. I think, looking at the whole context of peer review, looking at how data are handled, there is quite a bit of discussion now involving the UK and ICO about that and that American experience, and looking at the way in which science does communicate. We said some rather grandiloquent things about safe spaces and all of that, but these are the sorts of things, looking forward, that I would hope the Committee might find would cross its path at some time in the future, either directly or indirectly, to encourage science to keep thinking about where it is going and how it operates in the modern, unmoderated but policy-aware world that we all live in. So this was a chance for us, as a team, to get a few things off our chests. Thank you for giving us the chance to do that.

Chair: Thank you for your attendance.