by Jonathan Petre
February 14, 2010

from DailyMail Website

  • Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing

  • There has been no global warming since 1995

  • Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes

Data: Professor Phil Jones admitted his record keeping is 'not as good as it should be'
 

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organizational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by skeptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that skeptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.

The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analyzed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying.

Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.

That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said,

‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realized that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’.

Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organization in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted.

But he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said:

‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.

 

‘There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.’

He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

Skeptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries. But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

 

Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said:

‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.

 

‘For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few paleoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

‘Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

Skeptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

Professor Jones criticized those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today program that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the skeptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’.

He said that until all the data was released, skeptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates.

He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.

 

 


 

 

 



MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT

The Professor’s Amazing Climate Change Retreat
February 13, 2010

from DailyMail Website

Untold billions of pounds have been spent on turning the world green and also on financing the dubious trade in carbon credits.

Countless gallons of aviation fuel have been consumed carrying experts, lobbyists and politicians to apocalyptic conferences on global warming.

Every government on Earth has changed its policy, hundreds of academic institutions, entire school curricula and the priorities of broadcasters and newspapers all over the world have been altered – all to serve the new doctrine that man is overheating the planet and must undertake heroic and costly changes to save the world from drowning as the icecaps melt.

You might have thought that all this was based upon well-founded, highly competent research and that those involved had good reason for their blazing, hot-eyed certainty and their fierce intolerance of dissent.

But, thanks to the row over leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit, we now learn that this body’s director, Phil Jones, works in a disorganized fashion amid chaos and mess.

Interviewed by the highly sympathetic BBC, which still insists on describing the leaked emails as ‘stolen’, Professor Jones has conceded that he ‘did not do a thorough job’ of keeping track of his own records.

His colleagues recall that his office was ‘often surrounded by jumbled piles of papers’.

Even more strikingly, he also sounds much less ebullient about the basic theory, admitting that there is little difference between global warming rates in the Nineties and in two previous periods since 1860 and accepting that from 1995 to now there has been no statistically significant warming.

He also leaves open the possibility, long resisted by climate change activists, that the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ from 800 to 1300 AD, and thought by many experts to be warmer than the present period, could have encompassed the entire globe.

This is an amazing retreat, since if it was both global and warmer, the green movement’s argument that our current position is ‘unprecedented’ would collapse. It is quite reasonable to suggest that human activity may have had some effect on climate. There is no doubt that careless and greedy exploitation has done much damage to the planet.

But in the light of the ‘Climategate’ revelations, it is time for governments, academics and their media cheerleaders to be more modest in their claims and to treat skeptics with far more courtesy.

The question is not settled.


'Super-taxes' always fail
The Treasury appears to have waved goodbye to large sums of money it could have collected in tax from the super-rich, thanks to a poorly designed attempt to help the film industry.

Compare and contrast this laxity with the inescapable tax burden on ordinary people whose income is taxed at source and who are pursued with severity for every penny.

This sort of inequality is the direct result of ever more ‘creative’ attempts to use the tax system for social engineering.

As HM Revenue and Customs will find when the new 50 pence tax rate is imposed in April, higher rates stimulate the rich into ever more ingenious efforts to avoid paying up.

Taxes should be simple, low and fair.

 

Then everyone will pay them.