The ever-vigilant BigCityLib has spotted some revisionism by the Institute of Physics: they have silently updated their “clarification”: the link http://www.iop.org/News/news_40679.html now points to a statement dated 5th March, instead of the original, which was 2nd march. What a bunch of slimy little toads: they pretend to believe in openness, they won’t tell us who wrote their statements, then they silently airbrush out embarassing words afterwards.

Refers: Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes and The IOP fiasco.

This post doesn’t analyse the changes; as far as I can see they have retreated a little but not much; and importantly they still stand behind their submission to parliament, which is the bit that counts.

No, what I’m complaining about here is their absolutely appalling standards in silently changing their post. Bastards. Note even a hint in the new version that it is an update. what should they have done? The obvious: leave the old one up. Put a note on it saying that a revised version is available.

Lets have a quick poke to see if we can tell they really have done this, and its not some freak of googles cache: the link is news_40679.html (this is a teensy bit confusing: the equivalent press release, which appears to be the same text with a different image, is press_40680.html; one digit different). And if we look at some other stuff, with publication dates:

* 4th: press_40762.html
* 2nd: press_40662.html
* 1st: press_40659.html
* 25th feb: press_39101.html

So as you’d expect, their web software gives files an id number, sequentially. The one now claiming to be march 5th is out of sequence: you can tell it was originally published somewhen between the 2nd and 4th.

Also, the IOP has a blog, and http://www.iopblog.org/iop-inquiry-disclosure-climate-data/ is the text of the 2nd. I’d better go copy that too before they realise.

See-also:

* http://sciblogs.co.nz/open-parachute/2010/03/05/institute-of-physics-in-hot-seat/
* http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7050737.ece
* Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission – even bits of the IOP admit the problems.

The new (March 5th) version

IOP and the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the disclosure of climate data

5 March 2010
Institute of Physics News

The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which has become the focus of media hype.

We regret that our submission has been seized upon by some individuals to imply that IOP does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

IOP’s position on global warming is clear: the basic science is well established and there is no doubt that climate change is happening and that we should be taking action to address it now.

More information about IOP’s views

The evidence to the Committee was focused however on the need to maintain the integrity, openness and unbiased nature of the scientific process. The key points it makes are ones to which we are deeply committed – ie that science should be communicated openly and reviewed in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong.

Our submission (PDF, 47 KB)

The preparation of the evidence followed the process we always use for agreeing documents of this kind. We asked the Energy Sub-Group of our Science Board to prepare the evidence, based on their analysis of the material which is already in the public domain. The evidence was then circulated around Science Board, which is a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work, and approved.

The original (March 2nd) version

Note: BCL managed to find a google cahce of this; when I checked, it had gone. Fortunately some other folk kept a copy: this is from http://www.politicalforum.com/current-events/117159-science-community-stands-behind-evidence-climate-change-top-aaas-scientists-say-13.html. Motto: never trust a PR flack. Always take your own copy!

2 March 2010
Institute of Physics News

The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.

More information about IOP’s views

The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work.

It reflected our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk in the present case, and that this has undermined the trust that is placed in the scientific process.

These comments, focused on the scientific process, should not be interpreted to mean that the Institute believes that the science itself is flawed.

http://www.iopblog.org/iop-inquiry-disclosure-climate-data/ version

By Joe W | Published: March 2, 2010

The Institute of Physics recently submitted a response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee call for evidence in relation to its inquiry into the disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that it does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

That is not the case. The Institute’s position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change. More information about IOP’s views can be found on its website here.

The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work.

It reflected our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk in the present case, and that this has undermined the trust that is placed in the scientific process.

These comments, focused on the scientific process, should not be interpreted to mean that the Institute believes that the science itself is flawed.

Comments

  1. #1 deconvoluter
    2010/03/05

    I wonder if the authors of the original submission knew how many of those at the CRU are members of the IOP ? * Originally we had the Physical Society which was the learned society publishing journals and organising some of the conferences and a different entity,the IOP, which was set up to promote the profession in general and looking after members in trouble.

    What now? The Institute appears to have taken to impugning the integrity of its own members without supporting evidence? The mutation described above reveals an attempted cover-up of some anti-professional behaviour within the IOP. Another irony. They should have left that to Nigel Lawson ; after all he is not a professional anyway.

    Can you imagine what would happen if the General Medical Council were to carry out a trial by megaphone of a group of doctors?

    This is similar to the hockey stick fuss whose main purpose was to discredit researchers. It is not good enough to create suspicion in advance of a fair hearing and then retreat to bland statements about the science being unaffected.
    This will be a gift to propagandists who will only remember the suspicion.
    —————————-
    *. It would hardly matter if the final answer turns out to be zero.

  2. #2 rocco
    2010/03/05

    This is one of the most annoying aspects of the whole “debate”.

    Everybody thinks they can just waltz in, do their schtick, and get out clean. And when some of the mud sticks on them, they are like: “Oh noes, we don’t want to get involved in the controversy!”

    The MSM can be partially excused, because they usually don’t know what they’re doing, but professional societies should know better.

  3. #3 Nick Barnes
    2010/03/05

    David Jones and I submitted a memo to the science and technology committee today. I wish I’d thought of it before. The list of memos includes a disturbing number of usual suspects.

  4. #4 John Mashey
    2010/03/05

    One more tidbit, before I forget:

    1) SPPI is one of those (~1 person+website+cast of the usual advisors + murky funding, but calling itself an Institute) that infest the blogosphere. (GWPF in UK is rather similar.)

    2) It is run by Robert Ferguson, and the reader can assess the nature of the website. I first ran into this in studying the 2007 attack on Oreskes by Monckton, et al, but he has been busy ever since. It’s current lead article is “Lysenkoism and James Hansen” and interesting juxtaposition.

    3) PDFs:

    The 5-page IOP PDF, according the PDF-internal metadata, created 02/10/2010 by Tajinder Panesor. It has no copyright.
    and
    The 7-page SPPI PDF, which basically adds a wrapper around the IOP PDF.
    Its PDF-internal metadata says it was created 3/2/1010 by Sheridan Stewart, who is also busy. In fact, there is an interesting collection of “Reprint Series” articles to be found, including:

    Klotzbach, et al, which is labeled Copyright, AGU. Now, at least one of those authors seems a “friend” to SPPI, but AGU does hold the copyright…

    Maybe someone might like IOP to say:

    a) Yes, we approve of this use of our PDF by SPPI.
    b) No, we explicitly disavow its usage.

  5. #5 Jerry
    2010/03/05

    Where was your outrage when NASA silently changed their website to remove their totally made-up 2030 melting of glaciers entry? I say totally made-up because they didn’t even copy the IPCC 2035 date properly. The present page is at http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/. You can use google cache to see the original quote

    “Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both
    hemispheres, and may disappear altogether in certain regions of our
    planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030″

    [I looked at google's cache. It doesn't say 2030. You may be right, but I'm afraid I can't tell, so I'll have to skip the outrage I'm afraid. Full histories for pages like that would be good, though. I tried the internat archive but it doesn't have that page -W]

    You said

    No, what I’m complaining about here is their absolutely appalling standards in silently changing their post. Bastards. Note even a hint in the new version that it is an update. what should they have done? The obvious: leave the old one up. Put a note on it saying that a revised version is available.

    Perhaps you could drop a note to Gavin of NASA and suggest the proper procedure?

    [NASA is a large organisation. Why do you think Gavin is responsible for that page, just because he works for something related? The page says "Site Manager: Randal Jackson / Webmaster: Cecelia Lawshe " - they would be more obvious contacts -W]

  6. #6 dhogaza
    2010/03/05

    A public information website is hardly an official NASA statement in the sense that the IOP submission to parliament was.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    2010/03/05

    Jerry, it’s not Gavin’s page; there’s a Feedback link at the bottom of it.

    Yes, it’d be good if everything was timestamped with revision dates and notes. That goes for, as they say, “both sides of teh climate debate” — so I trust you can show us your evidence for your attempts to get “your side” to be as good.

    Right?

  8. #8 bill
    2010/03/06

    < >

    Right. You tell him dhogaza. Wait, they didn’t actually change their submission to parliament. Just changed the informational website that talked about it. Huh. Irony really is ironic, isn’t it?

  9. #9 Paul Kelly
    2010/03/06

    Plotzing over minor IOP website revisions is a good way to ignore the several other scientific associations that made very similar submissions or the statement of the Swedish Meteorology agency.

  10. #10 bi -- IJI
    2010/03/06

    Paul Kelly:

    Um, yeah, you’re very right. Let’s not fret over minor IOP web site revisions. Instead we should focus on the core issue: that IOP is demanding for scientific openness, even as it puts up opaque walls when people ask about how its ‘statement’ became official in the first place.

  11. #11 capsiplex
    2010/03/06

    This is similar to the hockey stick fuss whose main purpose was to discredit researchers.

  12. #12 Jerry
    2010/03/06

    Re NASA.

    I actually did try the comments link on the NASA page and got zero response – that was back when it suddenly changed latish January.

    Here is a link to screenshots before and after – taken 20 January – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/20/glacier_latest/

    [Ah, El Rego, not the most reliable source, but I think I'll trust them not to fake up a screenshot -W]

    And as to the relevance of a public information site. The NASA site is a premier reference for millions of people, especially school-kids. The reach and impact far exceed any dull and boring and British submission to an obscure Parliamentary Enquiry (sorry to zealots on both sides – it’s basically non-news as far as most of the world is concerned)

    [Well, feel free to be not interested if you aren't. As to info, that site doesn't seem to be a very good one - the info is rather shallow. I'd use wikipedia if I were you -W]

    I suggested Gavin as he is a self-appointed communicator on climate science, and since the NASA systems have failed perhaps he can share your concern for ‘vanishing’ inconvenient web pages and do the right thing?

    [I still can't see why you're trying to drag Gavin into this. It looks like needless personalisation to me -W]

  13. #13 Nick Barnes
    2010/03/06

    Any guesses as to who put up two Tory MEPs to make identical submissions? They mention Watts, but I doubt it was him.

  14. #14 John Mashey
    2010/03/06

    Just out of curiosity, how do submissions to Parliament work after they’ve been submitted?

    1) Can they be withdrawn or amended?

    2) If so, does the original stay around, but marked “Withdrawn” or “see “Amended version”?

    3) Or do they just disappear or get silently changed?

    4) And, I wonder if anyone studies this: to what extent to such submissions get highly referenced elsewhere.

  15. #15 guthrie
    2010/03/06

    I have no real idea, but suspect they hang around for years and years, waiting to be unearthed by conspiracy theorists. There has to be a paper trail after all, except when there shouldn’t be, eg when discussing invading other countries without a legal mandate to do so. So what usually happens is that the submission may be highlighted in the report as being pants, or will otherwise be ignored.

  16. #16 dhogaza
    2010/03/06

    the statement of the Swedish Meteorology agency.

    Yes, Paul Kelly, that statement telling CRU they can’t release the data makes clear that Jones was telling the truth when he said that CRU didn’t have the right to release the data, doesn’t it.

    And the fact that they *later* changed their mind on Friday, March 4 doesn’t change the fact that the FOI request was properly rejected on the grounds that countries like Sweden wouldn’t allow it AT THE TIME, or that Jones was telling the truth when he testified on March 1.

    I’m glad we agree.

  17. #17 bill
    2010/03/06

    || Yes, Paul Kelly, that statement telling CRU they can’t release the data makes clear that Jones was telling the truth when he said that CRU didn’t have the right to release the data, doesn’t it.

    Wow, talk about obfuscation. The statement from SMHI

    [What statement? Is it too much for you to link to it? -W]

    clearly states that the reason that Jones can’t release their data is because he has changed it and it no longer matches their data. They also clearly state that they are in the process of putting up a website to make their data public and that some of it is already available as of Dec. 2009. Your defending Jones on this matter is dishonesty at its worst. Please tell me what part of the original letter from December makes you think that if Jones had their data in the original form, he would be unable to release it!

    And William Connolley, your attacking this behavior in one case and ignoring it in the other is pretty transparent. If making changes without letting anyone know you are making changes is bad, then it is bad, regardless of how much you disagree or agree with someone.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    2010/03/06

    Please tell me what part of the original letter from December makes you think that if Jones had their data in the original form, he would be unable to release it!

    Which part of the letter gives them explicit permission to do so? Rights aren’t transferred by default.

  19. #19 bill
    2010/03/06

    You answer my question, I’ll answer yours. Jones is a [PA's redacted. Be nice - W]

  20. #20 bill
    2010/03/06

    Ok, I’ll rephrase… [redacted. all this has got very confused. But, you'll be happy to know, I've straightened it all out: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/03/weird_stuff_from_the_swedes.php -W]

  21. #21 Hank Roberts
    2010/03/06

    Wow:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/05/climate-emails-institute-of-physics-submission

    “Evidence from Institute of Physics drawn from energy industry consultant who argues global warming is a religion”

  22. #22 melty
    2010/03/07

    I saw a the IOP memo via a tweet from Marc Morano showing momentarily on the NYT Dot Earth page. I was very surprised, so I wrote to them asking what the memo was about. Here is part of what I wrote:

    The web page title is “Uncorrected Evidence 39″. I wondered if it was bona fide. It seems to be from the IOP Energy Management Group. When I search for the IOP Energy Group on the IOP site I can find only the Energy Group Newsletter. The July 2008 edition I landed on has an article “Reliability of CO2 Ice Core Studies” by Zbigniew Jaworowski that denigrates much of what climatologists and glaciologists know of climate and CO2. In support of his arguments he cites articles by well known climate contrarians, whose science is highly suspect.

    My questions are:

    * is this a bona fide memo of the IOP?

    * does this represent typical policy action of the IOP as a whole, or does
    it emanate solely from the Energy Management group?

    * if the former, where can I find the relevant IOP policy statement?

    They told me they would get back to me. It seems from Hank’s post #21 that something is rotten in the IOP Energy Management Group.

  23. #23 J Bowers
    2010/03/12

    Well, there’s a big opportunity for everyone to correct some misinformation.

    Physicsworld.com (a website of the Institute of Physics) has an article on the IoP submission. Check out who’s first in the comment list banging on about deleting proxy data, etc.

    ‘Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission’ March 11.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/41965

    It takes a minute to sign up. I’m quite gobsmacked by some comments already made there.

    I repeat: It takes a minute to sign up.

  24. #24 MikeN
    2010/03/13

    As part of their backtracking, they have adopted some of the tactics they objected to.

  25. #25 J Bowers
    2010/03/15

    The Times Higher Education supplement, article ‘Institute denies censoring ‘global cooling’ article’.
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=407763

    Have a read of the comments section, where the IOP’s Terri Jackson, Peter Gill, and Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen have it out with another commenter.

    E.g.:
    “# Terri Jackson 31 August, 2009
    there is overwhelming evidence that the earth has been cooling since 2002 having been static since 1998. look at the proceedings of the World conference on climate change held in New York in March last and you will see that they all agree with me. these include Lindzen, Akasufu and other world names the very cream of climatology. several nobel laureates etc Look at the papers by Easterbrook, Corbyn etc. any warming effect there may be is NOT caused by humans.
    [...]
    # Peter Gill 22 November, 2009
    When you get back from your most recent walkabout Mark try googling CRU and Phil Jones. Poor old CRU have been seriously hacked. The e-mails and other files are all over the Internet and include how to hide atmospheric cooling, how to deal with freedom of information requests and other stuff that I feel sure you will find of interest. All the best as always.”

    It, quite frankly, runs like a typical checklist from the you-know-whos.

  26. #26 J Bowers
    2010/03/16

    This is the burning question I have.

    Did the IoP ask the Energy Group to draft the submission, or, did the Energy Group ask to be the ones to draft the submission?

    It makes a world of difference.

    [Ah, they aren't saying - must be part of the "trasnparency" they are so keen on. I think they are hoping it will all die down. Maybe it has -W]

  27. #27 dhogaza
    2010/03/16

    That’s some good stuff, J Bowers. But …

    Here’s some better stuff by Terri Jackson.

    A tease to make you chase it:

    CO2 concentrations have been much higher from 1885 to 1961 than they are today.

    I wonder what your average IoP member would think about that statement, and how they would feel about the fact that the person making it helped with the submission to Parliament?

  28. #28 dhogaza
    2010/03/16

    Oh, and another one.

    tease:

    There is now irrefutable scientific evidence that far from global warming the earth has now entered a period of global cooling which will last at least for the next two decades.

  29. #29 J Bowers
    2010/03/16

    27 dhogaza: A tease to make you chase it:

    “CO2 concentrations have been much higher from 1885 to 1961 than they are today.”

    Oh my giddy aunt.

    “There is now irrefutable scientific evidence that far from global warming the earth has now entered a period of global cooling which will last at least for the next two decades.”

    Is that with 95% statistical certainty?

  30. #30 Hank Roberts
    2010/03/16

    Oh, my.
    > The director of the St Petersburg Observatory has noted
    > that there is global warming on Mars, but there are no
    > greenhouse gases!

    Hmmm, vaguely written. Is it Terry Jackson, or the unnamed director, who thinks the atmosphere of Mars has no greenhouse gas in it? Ah, here we are:

    “… Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov’s theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in
    which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet’s surface. He claims that carbon dioxide has only a small influence on Earth’s climate and virtually no influence on Mars….”
    – National Geographic News, February 28, 2007

  31. #31 Deep Climate
    2010/03/18

    More on Terri Jackson:

    IOP Energy Group founder is featured speaker at upcoming Heartland conference

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/18/iop-energy-group-founder-featured-speaker-at-upcoming-heartland-conference/

    The controversy over the Institute of Physics biased submission to the U.K. Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee’s investigation of the stolen emails from East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit is about to get a whole lot hotter.

    Terri Jackson, IOP Energy Group “founder” and a key proponent of various IOP pro-skeptic initiatives, is using her past association with the group to advance her new career as a “climate realist”. Her IOP affiliation is hammered in every interview and profile, and was listed with her signature to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Challenge open letter to the U.N. Not only that, it’s the sole affiliation given for her upcoming stint as featured speaker at – wait for it – the upcoming Heartland Institute sponsored climate conference in Chicago, where Jackson will join U.K. contrarian heavyweights like Piers Corbyn and Lord Christopher Monckton.

    Meanwhile, disturbing indications have emerged that the IOP submission may have been leaked in advance to Monckton, raising new questions about the legitimacy of the submission and the process behind it. It’s high time the IOP stopped clinging to the pretense that all is well and started cleaning up this mess.

  32. #32 Hank Roberts
    2010/03/18

    > featured speaker at upcoming Heartland conference

    http://media.bigoo.ws/content/gif/cartoon/cartoon_754.gif

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