Archive for the ‘FOI’ Category

homeworkReproducibility is a cornerstone of the scientific method. It must be possible to replicate experiments or datasets which scientific claims rest on. Especially when billions of pounds of public money financing public policy decisions stemming from those scientific claims are at stake. Here’s just one reminder of certain climate scientist’s approach to this fundamental aspect of scientific method and ethics.

We’ve lost the numbers: CRU responds to FOIA requests

The world’s source for global temperature record admits it’s lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data.

The CRU has refused to release the raw weather station data and its processing methods for inspection – except to hand-picked academics – for several years. Instead, it releases a processed version, in gridded form. NASA maintains its own (GISSTEMP), but the CRU Global Climate Dataset, is the most cited surface temperature record by the UN IPCC. So any errors in CRU cascade around the world, and become part of “the science”.

Professor Phil Jones, the activist-scientist who maintains the data set, has cited various reasons for refusing to release the raw data. Most famously, Jones told an Australian climate scientist in 2004:

Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.


‘Auntie’ knows best – or likes to pretend it does.

The BBC has been plunged into a transparency row after data revealed it refuses to answer more than a third of the Freedom of Information requests it receives by relying on a specialised excuse, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The public service broadcaster, which charges households a £145.50 licence fee every year, has been criticised after data showed it failed to fully respond to 3,110 requests out of a possible 9,076 between September 2011 and March this year.




The biter bit – H/T GWPF
Date: 14/05/16 Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal)Washington, D.C.

– Today the public came one big step closer to learning the truth behind how university professors launched “a national campaign” to have state attorneys general investigate and prosecute political opponents under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) — investigations which have now swept up think tanks and climate scientists who have dared challenge the climate agenda and claims made to force it into place.

Representing Christopher Horner and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, attorneys from the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic successfully argued that the public records of Professor Edward Maibach should now be disclosed to all, having previously been submitted to the court under a protective order.



Academic economist Richard Tol has been on the receiving end of some nasty misrepresentation published by notoriously alarmist UK small circulation newspaper ‘The Guardian’. One of it’s ‘columnists’, Dana Nuccitelli, an employee of a big oil and gas outfit called Tetra-Tech, has been writing inaccurate and scurrilous pieces on Tol since he decided to check the quality and accuracy of a paper Dana co-authored with cartoonist John Cook.

Cook runs a parody website called ‘Skeptical science’ which sends up the climate debate with a collection of joke impressions of climate-sceptical talking points and ‘mainstream climate science responses’ to them. Somehow, the Guardian, a self important and supposedly highbrow newspaper, mistook Dana for a real commentator on science and gave him a job as a blogger. Richard writes:

The Guardian has published six hatchet jobs impugning me and my work. The first four are under investigation by the Press Complaints Commission.

For hatchet job #5 and #6, the Guardian granted me the right to reply by return email. They were published together, without a clear structure and in the wrong order, with the first piece heavily edited. Here are the originals.


H/T to Barry Woods. The Frontiers in Psychology journal editors have issued this statement regarding the retraction of Stephan Lewandowsky’s deeply unpleasant attack on climate sceptics. They confirm that contrary to the claims of the usual suspects, no ‘threats’ were involved in the retraction decision. Why did Bristol University give Lewandowsky a tenured professorship. Why did the royal Society give him an award? Something stinks.

(Lausanne, Switzerland) – There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

Get it while it’s hot. Link below the break. Thank you, secret Santa. 🙂


This needs etching on a large steel sheet and nailgunning to the door of Parliament:

December 2, 2013


As news organizations, editors, and journalists who often report on government actions
that officials seek to keep secret, we write to the Committee on the eve of the forthcoming
appearance of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to express our grave concern over pointed calls
by those in authority for censorship of The Guardian and criminal prosecution of its journalists in
the name of national security. Such sanctions, and the chilling impact created by even the threat
to impose them, undermine the independence and integrity of the press that are essential for
democracy to function.


Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

Around four months ago a wind turbine collapsed at Loughderry windfarm in Donegal, Ireland. The owners and the designers, Vestas have been silent about the cause, despite repeated calls from the local community for re-assurances and explanation. The local council told the owners their planning permission did not entitle them to erect a new turbine. Then someone decided that they should ignore the law and erect a replacement turbine anyway. The general competence of the outfit was underlined when a wagon carrying part of the new support tower got itself stuck in a ditch near the site. The upshot of that is that the council has served an enforcement notice, prohibiting further work and demanding the removal of the partially built replacement turbine. The windfarm’s owners claim it’s a repair not a rebuild. The photo on the right says otherwise. There’s more bad news for windfarms everywhere too. a new study has revealed that the numbers of birds and bats killed by these useless eyesores has been deliberately undercounted by a large factor. Are you paying attention RSPB ? Read on for more.


Well done Electronic Frontier Foundation. Cyber-bullies like the NSA need to be told to EFF off.


In response to EFF’s FOIA lawsuit, the government has released the 2011 FISA court opinion ruling some NSA surveillance unconstitutional.

For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court’s opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated “the spirit of” federal law.

Today, EFF can declare victory: a federal court ordered the government to release records in our litigation, the government has indicated it intends to release the opinion today, and ODNI has called a 3:00 ET press conference to discuss “issues” with FISA Amendments Act surveillance, which we assume will include a discussion of the opinion.


It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new policy has on submission volumes;

freethedataThe EGU open access journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) has implemented some radical new policies that apply to papers published in the journal. The changes are highlighted in an editorial recently published in GMD.

The new policies include the requirement that, from now on, authors must provide the actual computer code of their models to the reviewers or editor as part of the review process. Furthermore, authors are required to include a section in the paper itself discussing the availability of their code to the wider community. If the authors choose not to make their code available to the community, then they must describe the reasons for this.

The GMD executive editors hope these changes will improve the transparency and rigour of model development in the geosciences.


obama-nsa-surveillance-001From BoingBoing. Not much needs to be said here, apart from; Fuck You, Obama.

Lavabit, email service Snowden reportedly used, abruptly shuts down
Xeni Jardin at 12:05 pm Thu, Aug 8, 2013

Remember when word circulated that Edward Snowden was using Lavabit, an email service that purports to provide better privacy and security for users than popular web-based free services like Gmail? Lavabit’s owner has shut down service, with a mysterious message posted on the home page today. Below, the full message:


Bit of a turnaround for the Guardian this. It looks like the ‘Making Science Public’ blog posts Warren Pearce has been running at Nottingham University’s website looking at Dana Nuccitelli’s ‘97% consensus paper have had the opposite effect to that which Dana hoped for. Along with many other well known critics, plus Prof. Mike Hulme, I assisted in giving the 97% consensus paper ‘a bit of a kicking’.


Click to visit Josh’s site – and buy a mug or something.

Are climate sceptics the real champions of the scientific method?
Warren Pearce 30-7-13

Since climate change came to prominence in 1988, the role of scientific knowledge – especially an idea of scientific consensus – has played a starring role in the ensuing academic enquiry/political debate/trench warfare (delete as preferred).

Beyond a depressingly binary characterisation of simply pro or anti-science, I’d argue sceptics cannot simply be written off as anti-science orconspiracy theorists

Many climate sceptics worry climate science cannot be dubbed scientific as it is not falsifiable (as in Popper’s demarcation criterion). They claim that while elements of climate science may be testable in the lab, the complexity of interactions and feedback loops, as well as the levels of uncertainty in climate models, are too high to be a useful basis for public policy. The relationship of observations to these models are also a worry for climate sceptics. In particular, the role of climate sensitivity.

As well as their use of models, the quality of observations themselves have been open to criticism; some of which have been attempts to clean up issues deriving from the messiness of data collection in the real world (eg the positioning of weather stations), while others have focused on perceived weaknesses in the proxy methods required to calculate historic temperature data such as cross-sections of polar ice sheets and fossilised tree rings


‘What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified’ - Sergei Nikitin

‘What he has disclosed is patently in the public interest and as a whistleblower his actions were justified’ – Sergei Nikitin

The U.S. administration has gone off the rails and as well as imposing a ‘climate solution’ based on false science, uses secret courts to justify breaking the U.S. constitution and international law:


Speaking after taking part in a meeting with the US whistleblower Edward Snowden at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport earlier this afternoon, Sergei Nikitin, Head of Amnesty International’s Moscow office, said:

“Amnesty International was pleased to reiterate our support for Edward Snowden in person.

“We will continue to pressure governments to ensure his rights are respected – this includes the unassailable right to claim asylum wherever he may choose.


Rodin: The Thinker

Rodin: The Thinker

From Politico

By Dylan Dybers

The Washington Post has published a remarkable report showing that the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring the central servers of major Internet companies — Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple — and “extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.”


Always worth a reblog. The climate establishment’s response to this submission was to get the IOP sub-committee which produced the report abolished, and to smear its members.

josh-institute_of_physics_scrMemorandum submitted by the Institute of Physics (CRU 39)

The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

The Institute is pleased to submit its views to inform the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry, ‘The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia’.

The submission details our response to the questions listed in the call for evidence, which was prepared with input from the Institute’s Science Board, and its Energy Sub-group.

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

This is an important post:

lordsQuestions relating to the work of the Met Office on global warming are being put in the UK parliament, and the Met Office is refusing to answer them. Parliamentary Questions have a history going back centuries. Giving answers, or giving a valid reason for not answering, is required. The stand-off is yet to be resolved.


Dark days for british justice
Tuesday 05 March 2013by Jeremy Corbyn MP

The House of Commons has many strange procedures, and one of them is the selection of amendments for voting on Bills.Monday saw a classic case concerning a major piece of government legislation, the Justice and Security Bill, which introduces the concept of secret courts through “closed material proceedings” (CMPs).We only voted on an opposition amendment requiring an annual review of the process, rather than on a much stronger amendment put forward by Green MP Caroline Lucas and supported by a number of us which would have removed the whole process of secret courts from the Bill.At the heart of this issue is the control of the security services.There has always been a legal process, known as public interest immunity, by which court proceedings can be held in camera or particular evidence withheld – but the general direction now embarked on is eminently much more dangerous than that.

Britain has been drifting away from open justice for a long time.Many of us opposed the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) introduced in 1974 after the Birmingham pub bombings, by which suspects could be held incommunicado and eventually brought to court.This was also accompanied by the use of confessional evidence (where a witness states that the accused has told them of his or her guilt) and huge miscarriages of justice resulted.


I’ve received an unsolicited email purporting to be from a legal firm claiming to represent the University of East Anglia. I’d be grateful if a lawyer with DPA experience, sympathetic to the public interest nature of the case, would get in touch here, with a view to forming a professional legal response to this communication – Thanks, TB.


Dear Sir
We act for the University of East Anglia and attach a response to your recent blog posts about a password supplied by ‘Mr FOIA’.
<<Data Protection Act.pdf>>
for Mills & Reeve LLP


The content of the attachment is reproduced below the break. Unusually, It has no header, no signature, no indication of provenance at all. My good lady and I have already been put through the wringer once, and we don’t scare so easily anymore.



Forbes Publishes – Then Pulls Climategate Story

Posted: March 15, 2013 by tallbloke in Blog, FOI, media, Politics

Over on James Delingpoles blog article on FOIA, Daily Telegraph commenter ColdfingerUK notes:

This story appears to have been pulled, I wonder why?”Who Released The Climategate Emails And Why Forbes – ‎1 hour ago‎ No, it wasn’t a conspiracy plotted by Big Oil or Republican operatives using mercenary hackers after all. And unless you happen to get all your news from the mainstream media, you will undoubtedly recognize that by “Climategate”, I’m referring here to the …”


all.7z 1061565012

cc: ‘The Team’
date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 11:21:57 -0400
from: Gabi Hegerl
to: “Michael E. Mann” <>, Tom Crowley

I have seen Balliunas give a talk quite a long while ago, unfortunately, I

cannot recall what the meeting was, it was some kind of global change meeting,

more than 5 years ago.

I do recall that I was thoroughly unimpressed though. There was not much real

exchange between her and the audience. I remember that Jerry North was there

also, because we exchanged amazement in differences in style of approach between the
detection side of work he and I presented, and her – well lets say

more-qualitative style…


At 11:07 AM -0400 8/12/03, Michael E. Mann wrote:

Thanks Tom,
The impact ratings you provided seem to be on a different scale from the ones I’ve seen,
but the relative magnitudes and ordering appear about right (in the ratings I’ve seen,
CR comes in at 0.4!).