Science & Technology Committee open lid on last CRU investigation

The minutes from the last Science and Technology Committee looking at the UEA/CRU have finally been posted online.

The meeting on Wednesday 8 September (2010) proved to be something on an eye opener for those who happen to care about science.

The members present were

  • Andrew Miller (Chair)
  • Stephen Metcalfe
  • Stephen Mosley
  • Pamela Nash
  • Alok Sharma
  • Graham Stringer
  • Roger Williams

And they interviewed Lord Oxburgh who Chaired the Science Assessment Panel into the CRU unit.

What becomes very clear from the Science and Technology Committee (STC) is that very little time was afforded the report and what details were gained from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) was passed VIA the UEA to the Royal Society. In other words, documents to be looked into had been cherry picked.

Given the Science Assessment Panel members spent an averaged of just 2 days each on the report; and the report itself is just 5 pages long. Just how would you judge the quality?

One very important inclusion is that the basic science, proposed by the CRU, was NOT called into question and that the opinions of proponents to that science were not taken into account. Even though it was generally understood by the members of the public that the purpose of this investigation was to do just that.

For example;

Q5 Graham Stringer: When Professor Acton was before the previous Committee on 1 March this year, he said that your panel was “to re-assess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong.” That is a direct quote. Now, what you are saying is very different.

Lord Oxburgh: I think that was inaccurate, and I think that the scope of our panel was made quite clear in the University’s press release at the time that we were appointed and, indeed, in the first paragraphs of our panel report. I think you have to bear in mind that the vice-chancellor had been in post a month or something like that at the time. I think this all came as a rather unwelcome deluge in his first months as vice-chancellor.

Sadly, on many an occasion during the who interview Lord Oxburgh doesn’t come over very well. It is true that he was suffering from a cold at the time. But the basic premise that neither their notes taken during the process nor any meeting transcripts had been kept just left you wondering if they had not just come to the correct conclusion and got paid for it.

The certain fact that a mere 3 members of the team were unconnected with the ongoing research of the CRU does lead you to speculated as to the true independence of the team put together. As for it’s chairman, Lord Oxburgh. Well, Lord Oxburgh is the honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind energy firm and an advisor to Climate Change Capital. He was chairman of D1 Oils, plc, a biodiesel producer up until 2007 and is now director of GLOBE, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment. I guess I would have preferred somebody who didn’t make a personal living from the work of the CRU.

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