Phil Jones Exonerated by British House of Commons

Wed, 2010-03-31 14:32Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Phil Jones Exonerated by British House of Commons

The British House of Commons today issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.  Dr. Jones was embroiled in controversy following the theft of internal emails and documents from the University’s servers in November of last year. 

The report states that “the focus on CRU and Professor Phil Jones, Director of CRU, in particular, has largely been misplaced,” and that Dr. Jones’s actions were “in line with common practice in the climate science community,” and the CRU’s “analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.”

The review by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee began in January in the wake of the ‘Climategate’ media frenzy.  While the committee’s report recommends that climate scientists should seek to improve transparency in their work, release raw data when possible, and provide more detail on their methodologies, the committee firmly concludes that there was no dishonesty on the part of Dr. Jones and the CRU.  The committee compared the results of other independent analyses of climate data to that of the CRU, and found that they are consistent and independently verifiable.

From a statement released by the committee to the press today:

“The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—“trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead. Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.”

Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.


The committee’s report [PDF] provides detailed responses on each of the issues raised in its investigation.

On the matter of Dr. Jones’ use of the phrase “trick” in an email referring to Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick graph, the Committee concludes:
“Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the word “trick” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominately caused by human activity. The balance of evidence patently fails to support this view. It appears to be a colloquialism for a “neat” method of handling data.

On the matter of Dr. Jones’ email including the phrase “hide the decline”, the Committee concludes:
“Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the words “hide the decline” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominantly caused by human activity. That he has published papers—including a paper in Nature—dealing with this aspect of the science clearly refutes this allegation. In our view, it was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous.”

On the matter of whether Dr. Jones suppressed or perverted the peer review process, the Committee concluded:
“The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers.”

The report goes into further detail on Freedom of Information requests and other issues, culminating in a set of recommendations for improving data access and transparency at CRU and increased transparency in the scientific community at large to ensure that the science remains “irreproachable.” 

Download the full report: “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.”

AttachmentSize
phil jones house of commons report.pdf494.99 KB

Previous Comments

“Climategate” was treated by the media as a huge story, warranting full-page opinion pieces and tons of front-page coverage. But all I’ve been able to find about this is a news “brief” in the B section of the Vancouver Sun and a few other mentions elsewhere. Although, most bizarre of all was the one source that did give it front-page coverage. The UK’s Daily Mail picked one tiny and minor bit of criticism from the investigation and headlined its story: “Climategate university condemned for ‘unacceptable culture of secrecy’ ”. I wasn’t expecting apologies from the media or the deniers, but I did (naively perhaps) expect at least a bit of journalism.

He may have been exonerated but the damage has already been done as the phrase goes s..t sticks and most people will never have seen this news (of the exoneration) and will only remember the tabloid headlines- i love the fair and non-judgemental british media!

Readers may be interested in this:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387/387ii.pdf

Thanks to The Rabett for pointing to that one.

Climategate investigations, round 1: CRU exonerated

http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/31/climategate-investigations-round-1-cru-exonerated/

The findings are crystal clear on the most crucial points: The committee found absolutely no evidence to support accusations of scientific dishonesty, even going so far as to state that there “was no case to answer”. And it also rejected accusations that Phil Jones and other CRU scientists had attempted to pervert the peer review system.

Contrarians took comfort in maverick Labour MP Graham Stringer’s objections to some of the findings. But even here, there is little for the contrarians to cheer about, as Stringer appeared at pains to avoid any appearance of endorsing the plausibility of any of the specific accusations of dishonesty. That’s just as well, because it turns out that Stringer appears to be relying for his understanding of the issues, not on the submitted evidence, but rather – wait for it – the “quickie” book on Climategate written by Thomas Fuller and Steven Mosher.

http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/31/climategate-investigations-round-1-cru-exonerated/

The findings are crystal clear on the most crucial points: The committee found absolutely no evidence to support accusations of scientific dishonesty, even going so far as to state that there “was no case to answer”. And it also rejected accusations that Phil Jones and other CRU scientists had attempted to pervert the peer review system.

Contrarians took comfort in maverick Labour MP Graham Stringer’s objections to some of the findings. But even here, there is little for the contrarians to cheer about, as Stringer appeared at pains to avoid any appearance of endorsing the plausibility of any of the specific accusations of dishonesty. That’s just as well, because it turns out that Stringer appears to be relying for his understanding of the issues, not on the submitted evidence, but rather – wait for it – the “quickie” book on Climategate written by Steven Mosher and Thomas Fuller.

Britain’s Daily Mail, who probably more than most beat this story up in the first place, carried basically the same story yesterday, but spun it somewhat to: Climategate university condemned for ‘unacceptable culture of secrecy’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262403/Climategate-university-condemned-unacceptable-culture-secrecy.html

Thanks for this essential information on the conclusion by the House of Commons.

Out of curiosity I visited Fox News to see how they were presenting this. Sure enough, they put the focus on the report being based on a “one-day probe,” and after mentioning the basic new of the exoneration spent the bulk of the article stirring up doubts about its legitimacy.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/31/climate-gate-inquiry-largely-clears-scientists/

But what really got my goat was their prominent link from that article to an article from the day before, with the sensationally bad-sounding headline, “NASA Data Worse Than Climate-Gate Data, Space Agency Admits.” (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/30/nasa-data-worse-than-climategate-data/) Reading THAT article you get the sense that NASA scientists have indeed “admitted” that their data are not as accurate as the Hadley Centre’s. But if you bother to read the source emails for that claim (linked to from the article) you find out that NASA indeed said that: *because the are doing different work and don’t NEED the kind data of as high a resolution as Hadley Centre needs*! In other words, it’s a completely manufactured “scandal.” No matter, the mental seeds were planted, damage done.

Is there anyone who didn’t expect Phil Jones to be cleared? Lord Monckton, in a recent radio interview, explains why the decision was very predictable regardless of the evidence against Jones. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/markgillar/2010/04/03/lord-christopher-monckton-discusses-global-warming

TruthisMig­hty: “When you take the comments from those emails and put them together with the context of the time they were written and what they were written about they mean what they say and they said what they meant.”

Hey look - we agree on something.

TruthisMig­hty: “”you can go right back on with your wasting tax payers dollars and insulting good honest scientists­”

I love denier irony.

“A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities­, and poses significan­t risks for a broad range of human and natural ( mcts )systems.”

Related to that, and of course, reporters have varying levels of competence and scientific expertise as well as varying biases with respect to this very complex and politicall­y-charged issue, even within individual media organizati­ons. As such articles need to be read with those caveats in mind – even the most reputable newspapers and lay-magazi­nes aren’t a gold standard, far from it, and articles need to be assessed individual­ly for their reliabilit­y and balance.

And I don’t know about you, “Justtellt­hetruth”, but in my view characteri­zing Roger Pielke Jr. as a “hurricane expert” when Peike doesn’t even hold a science degree while moreover also not mentioning the fact that Pielke is a prominent global warming “skeptic” does not constitute reliable and balanced reporting.
—— http://astore.amazon.com/healthyhairhi-20

The review by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee began in January in the wake of the Climate gate media frenzy.

While the committee report recommends that climate scientists should seek to improve transparency in their work, release raw data when possible, and provide more detail on their methodologies ..

Estra
http://www.thetextileicon.com
http://www.thetextileicon.com/blog
World Wide specially USA

[x]
Solar farm

Pressure continues to grow for European politicians to agree to further reductions of greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030.

The European Union’s 2020 climate and energy package, which is binding legislation, calls for emissions to be cut by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, the plan calls for energy efficiency savings of 20 per cent and a 20 per cent increase in renewable energy technologies.

While the European Union seems largely on track to meet those targets, later this month...

read more