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Live Microblogging Of McIntyre and Holland At Climategate GWPF London Event

I just came out of tonight’s GWPF event in London, chaired by Benny Peiser and with Lord Lawson in the audience.  Guest speakers about Climategate were David Holland and Steve McIntyre.

(links added – most of them… I will put all the links tonight)

As usual, here my notes as published live on @mmorabito67 (my “main” Twitter account remains @omnologos):

(for clarity, my own remarks are in italic)

  1. Around 35 in the audience so far. Holland already seated
  2. Lord Lawson and McIntyre in the room
  3. There we go. Attendance around 50
  4. Peiser quotes damning article by Harrabin in December (and here’s the quote unless the UEA inquiry is demonstrably impartial it will fail, and a new fully independent enquiry will almost certainly have to be formed“)
  5. Holland first, about his data requests
  6. Holland details how nobody could have checked the data before Kyoto’s
  7. Holland “no poor soldiers, only poor generals”
  8. Holland’s tells a tale of obfuscation by MetOffice reminding me of opening chapter of HHGTTG
  9. Holland: Russell report full of factual errors, no investigation of effort to delete emails
  10. Room almost full now
  11. McIntyre’s title slide “The ‘Inquiries'”
  12. McIntyre: 98% emails about Hockey Stick
  13. McIntyre: independent temp reconstructions not so – same names keep appearing
  14. McIntyre: Jones, Mann, Briffa prodigious writers of HS-related articles also reviewing each other
  15. McIntyre: CRU secretive to protect funding without investing on quality control
  16. FOI at stake on this but many don’t get how important it is
  17. McIntyre: first upload of emails was to RealClimate, as if a prank
  18. McIntyre makes fun of counterterrorism involvement
  19. McIntyre: UEA not investigating in the open – parliamentary reporters too clever compared to environmental ones?
  20. McIntyre: parliamentary committee left science to Oxburgh
  21. McIntyre: “trick” needed to “preserve the message” by IPCC
  22. It all sounds like propaganda reports before the Vietnam war opened eyes of journalists to the now-obvious lies
  23. McIntyre: independent science Oxburgh commission sent email from UEA
  24. McIntyre: Oxburgh left no notes or any documentation – no science examined – articles chosen by UEA
  25. Why would Lord Oxburgh want to associate his name to such a disaster?
  26. McIntyre: mention “sleight of hand” quote by UK MP
  27. McIntyre: Russell’s findings not based on anybody else but UEA, (slightly nutty) reference to “natural justice”
  28. McIntyre: mentions Harrabin referring to him as the most knowledgeable about CRU science outside UEA
  29. McIntyre: Muir Russell did not go to Jones’ interviews – no rigour, no due diligence
  30. McIntyre: odd that interviews conducted by climate activist with years of UEA work
  31. McIntyre: Jones’ request to delete emails a day later FOI request
  32. McIntyre is steadily destroying Sir Muir Russell’s credibility
  33. McIntyre: no accountability in the system
  34. McIntyre: climate science is being depreciated among public by hiding of adverse data
  35. McIntyre: climate sensitivity an issue. We can’t wait for absolute certainty
  36. First q: did MWP happen?
  37. I asked about consequences on democracy and why bother at all. Upbeat answers by Peiser and Holland
  38. Peiser speculates scientists’ jobs at stake, grandees took credibility hits as no gross misconduct apparent
  39. IPCC is not following most/any of the recommendations
  40. McIntyre: grudging consensus against preventing the release of data – would be idiotic strategy in civil lawsuit
  41. McIntyre: EPA has hockey stick among evidence – very unwise (I can’t find where and when that happened)
  42. Climategate has put the EPA in “uncomfortable position”
  43. Peiser: GWPF’s push for effective policies is gaining ground
  44. Peiser: GWPF report by Andrew Montford out end of Aug 2010
  45. Sunday Times enviro journalist: have scientists tried to present a clean narrative where knowledge still fuzzy?
  46. Holland hopeful science community understands things have to change
  47. McIntyre sees no change, grand statements, critics being blamed
  48. McIntyre: if hockey stick won’t matter, get rid of it. Plenty of PhD’s in readership, IPCC should focus more
  49. Peiser concludes hoping Climategate has changed Science and made it more open and transparent
  1. 2010/10/19 at 23:39

    All – it seems that Benny Peiser and the GWPF have heard your criticisms, on a purely operational level…we’ve got last night for Pres. Klaus a videocamera or two, microphones, a gently-sloping hall, a lectern, the works!! 😎

  2. Latimer Alder
    2010/07/14 at 22:02

    Just back from the Climategate debate run by the Guardian tonight. We’re assured that the Guardian website will have a full video of the whole proceeding ssoemtime tomorrow. So just some very sketchy impressions.

    Steve obviously read the remarks from last night’s meeting and inisted on speaking from a lectern. This was a good move as it gave him more ‘authority’. And he was (mostly) crisper…making his points more directly. The others spoke while seated.

    George Monbiot chaired the meeting and I think he did a fair job of it. He tried hard to be unbiased, and only once or twice strayed into partisan territory. And he managed to keep the speeches and questions mostly to time and to the point

    Fred Pearce took a longer perspective than the others. He spoke well and described Climategate as a tragedy rather than a conspiracy…the tragedy being that the CRU guys had adopted siege mentality. Climategate has certainly widened his perspective.

    Trevor Davies representing UEA/CRU was appallingly bad. He mouthed platitudes by the shedload, but was unfamiliar with the details of any of the subjects likely to be raised. And was several times embarrassed by doing so. Apart from the fact that he had a sharp suit. I can find nothing positive to say about him. Struck me as a devious smooth cove.

    Bob Watson opening remark was that he hadn’t read the e-mails in question. This was a bad mistake – many in the audience were very familiar with them, and not happy to be lectured by somebody who wasn’t. IPCC was imperfect but the best that could be devised 95% of scientists agree…it is now just a risk management exercise. Errors corrected quickly…As good as having Ravendra, but no need for the extra slot at Heathrow for him to land his jet. Very much the Scientific Establishment figure.

    Keenan ws interested in research fraud and the lack of accountability in science as a whole. He accused Jones of committing fraud, even afetr being given a chance to withdraw the remark. Davies tried to defend Jones but had no details. Keenan showed a more street-savvy business approach than any of the other participants. I’d like to have heard him at greater length.

    Overall conclusion: there was no conclusion. Everybody agreed that openness and transparency were good, that debate should be with all parties and that uncertainties should be made more clear.

    But my own view is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This one still has legs and will run and run.

    Great to have a quick pint afterwards with Peter B, Dung, Atomic Hairdryer. And to meet Josh who didn’t join us as he was Steve’s minder tonight.

  3. John A
    2010/07/14 at 19:50

    I’d have to agree with Sterling English. If skeptics were really funded by fossil fuel interests then we’d look a lot less amateurish. David Holland should stop rambling and prepare what he has to say better. Steve should stop shadowboxing and throw some punches.

    The GWPF should invest in a bloody lectern and book the room for a lot longer.

    Steve did bring out the fact that the Climategate letters were mainly about the Hockey Stick and not much about the CRUTEM record (although the juicy bits were about Jones hiding the fact that he’d lost the originals of his data and lying through his teeth about it).

    Muir Russell was a whitewash along with all of the rest. I wish the GWPF would start throwing some of its weight around.

    If I’d have been a neutral and unaware of what went on in ClimateGate then I would have been unimpressed by the presentation and none the wiser.

  4. John Blake
    2010/07/14 at 12:59

    Wish we could’ve been there… was media in any form present at this gathering? Given some 50 – 100 participants, including speakers of preeminence, each one could nick Ban Ki-moon’s stupid $10-trillion demand of last September (“Earth will become a baking desert by January 2010”) for $100-billion in Green Gang “carbon credits” (sic). As ever, small things add up to truth, but Truth is no small thing.

    • Stirling English
      2010/07/14 at 14:45

      Environment Editor of the Sunday Times, Die Zeit, WSJ all asked questions. Chris Booker from the Sunday Telegraph was present but silent. There may have been others from the media. But with no clear message or talking points, I don’t think this will attract much attention.

  5. 2010/07/14 at 09:09

    Thanks, Maurizio (and Stirling, too) … just goes to show that blogging is the next best thing to being there 😉

  6. PJB
    2010/07/14 at 09:08

    I gather that the “oil barons” forgot to fund this presentation. Seeing as this ad hoc and mostly grass roots groundswell is severely under-funded, it might explain the dirth of advert “punch” in the presentation.

    Facts are facts and the selling of the message will take time under the (financial) circumstances. Looks like the 3 other staged inquiries had the needed funding to present a prettier picture, as unfactual as it may be.

    Glad to hear the honest assessment and perhaps this will help scare up “non oil/tobacco/other” funding for Steve et al to carry on the good fight.

    • Stirling English
      2010/07/14 at 09:42

      Sorry PJB, the problems were not those of underfunding.

      They were a lack of attention to the logistics and the detail of putting on such a meeting. It would not have cost more money to think a little harder about the simple things that weren’t done very well. It would not have cost much to have checked that the mikes were working beforehand. It would not have cost much for David Holland to have done a rehearsal of his pitch and had it sympathetically edited for relevance, length and content. It would not have cost much to have arranged for the speaker’s desk to be on a dais, or to provide a lectern making it easier for people to see.

      Simple things, but they all added up to an impression of poor organisation. I most certainly would not advocate a glitzy ‘adman’ style which would have been totally inappropriate for the audience and content.

      But it should be possible to get the basics of running any such event right. Simples!

      • PJB
        2010/07/14 at 12:27

        Understood, and I heartily agree that a “professional” presentation would have been preferable but, are any of the participants undertaking the endeavor while being paid by their current employer? Might they not have other considerations that limited their time and effort?

        Kudos to them. The information will make its way out, one way or the other.

  7. Toby Joyce
    2010/07/14 at 07:28

    Another long whinge about the faux-scandal.

    Tedium, boredom, blather, … then more tedium, boredom & blather.

    • 2010/07/14 at 07:39

      Evidently, less tedious than whatever else you could have done instead of posting your comment…

    • hunter
      2010/07/14 at 12:28

      Toby you seem to be a cheap date if you believe that the ‘reviews’ have supported your belief in AGW in anything other than a faith-based fashion.

  8. Stirling English
    2010/07/14 at 07:24

    I was there too and didn’t see any formal video setup, so unless somebody was using their mobile phone to record it for 2 hours I fear there will be no record.

    Here are my impressions. I’ve never attended a GWPF meeting before so maybe I was expecting too much But I am a veteran of setting up, running and producing similar meetings in the commercial world. By comparison this was amateurly put on and I don’t think will have made much of a favourable impression on the journalists (Sunday Times, Die Zeit, WSJ) present. Nor sadly, on me.

    1. There was an almost complete lack of passion or urgency. We could have been discussing the arrangements for the next vicar’s tea party, rather than ‘the most serious problem facing mankind’. Peisner attempted to inject a little more vim into the proceedings as did one or two of the questionners but it was flat overall. I left almost thinking that the whole affair was really just a matter of academic interest. And whether the various inquiries had fudged the issue or not wasn’t very important…just the way things are done in the Establishment. so it actually managed to cool my ardour rather than increase it. Which was not at all what was intended.

    I was also very suprised that no clear plan of action or strategy emerged. The meeting drew to a close at 21:00 mostly because the room hire ran out then..and we all just wandered off into the night without a clear understanding of why we’d spent 2 hours together

    2. Staging

    Very poorly done. The participants sat as a desk in the front on the same level as the participants..which made them difficult to see. It would have helped if they had been able to stand when speaking.

    Much messing about with radio microphones and setting up PCs during the session. Gave a very poor impression of lack of preparation and professionalism. Technical issues like these should be sorted beforehand, or if they have to be done ‘live’ handled with far greater aplomb

    3. Agenda

    Peisner gave a short introduction, then over to David Holland, who gave an overlong and rambling story (read from paper notes) that didn’t really come to any point…and Peisner eventually cut him short.

    David has done sterling and persistent work and I admire him greatly, but speaking in such a forum is clearly not his forte. His pitch needs rehearsal and severe editing to focus clearly on the main points. A ‘what I did on my holidays’ essay was not the right thing for this meeting. I noticed that I was not the only one nodding off.

    Steve McIntyre than spoke (with some assistance from a PowerPoint presentation).
    His style is also deliberately low key and very Canadian (my knowledge is limited to a personal friend from Montreal and addiction to Benton Fraser).

    His sense of humour is very dry (very much to my taste), but some of his barbs may have failed to hit the spot because of the deadpan delivery. And he had some good points to make about the lack of rigour of all three enquiries. But (as in his previous career :-)) the nuggets were hard to find. A summary chart at the end of his piece would have helped greatly for us to all understand what his major points were.

    In sales training I always stressed the need to have an ‘elevator pitch’ in one’s head. the idea being that if you meet somebody in an elevator you have just 30 seconds to make your points…..a punchy first sentence, three bullet points and a summary.
    I do not have a clear understanding of what Steve’s three points were.

    I was also surprised that Nigel Lawson (who attended throughout) did not choose to speak. Since much of the criticism was of the way in which the British Establishment works, his knowledge and experience of these things from the highest level would have helped a lot.

    Overall I am glad I attended. It was of course a privilege to meet Steve and some others from the audience. But next time, please please pay a lot more attention to getting the staging, the agenda, the order and the content well thought out and leaving the right impression.

    • John Rolfe
      2010/07/14 at 12:49

      Regrettably I must agree with Sterling English.

      With forty-plus in the audience, GWPF missed an opportunity to present a clear summary of the real science and how that might be presented to the interested public.

      Poor slides and inadequate preparation together with hesitant presentation combined to dull the senses, only briefly uplifted by Benny’s explanation of why scientific heads couldn’t be allowed to roll.

      Clearly everyone knew their stuff, but that didn’t come across unless one already understood the background. However there is little point in preaching to the converted, we need to inform the uninitiated.

      If GWPF is to continue as a force to be reckoned with and a source of reliable information and balanced opinion, it needs to move up a gear, or perhaps two.

      Sorry to all involved for the criticism of your undoubted efforts, but in this modern age presentation is just as important as the message.

      • Stirling English
        2010/07/14 at 14:31

        Bravo John. Exactly. A great opportunity wasted.

        Surely one of the major criticisms of ‘climate science’ that is advanced by gwpf is that the scientists act in an entirely unprofessional manner. And that this is not good enough. To emphasise the point the gwpf should act and be visibly seen to act in a very professional way.

        Last night fell short of this by a long way. Think Dad’s Army rather than the SAS. Sorry to be harsh …. but true.

    • P Standish
      2010/07/14 at 14:40

      I found the low key approach actually better than a more ‘managed’ event, though it would have benefited events to have a ‘techie’ sort out the gremlins. I have been at much glitzier events where the tech stuff went west, and it’s much worse than simply having to swap mikes!

      I must disagree with the comments on the presenters though . I thought David Hollands introduction to his work very enlightening, and he had an easy approach, even when using the notes. He was very good speaking off the cuff too, and I enjoyed listening to him.

      I’ve always thought Steve McIntyre is not served well by TV snippets, and I have to say hearing him in the flesh, and in an extended talk was a joy. He has a mischevious dry wit, and his exposition of his case was measured, precise, and frankly jawdropping. Even having followed the story for a long while, I learnt new things, and had a new perspective on old lines.

      The problem that Steve and David have is that there is so much material. Most people can take one or two titbits and take a whole hour to present them. Last night we were treated to a remarkable series of facts, any one of which would be enough to create a sensation.

      One that stood out for me is the implication, from the ease with which the inquiries reproduced CRU’s temperature series, that we have a heavily funded Universty department which appears to be fully funded for years to produce what seems to be two full days work for a reasonably capable mathematician.

      Throw in the obstruction of FOI by senior players, and the total lack of understanding (incompetence) by politicians in their decision making and the jaw really does drop.

      I was accompanied to the meeting by a young lad with no ‘previous’ in the issues of Climategate, and he was absolutely enthralled, and, in the common parlance, ‘gobsmacked’.

      I think DH and SM are right on the money. GWPF however, could do with a more presentation oriented approach, particularly since that seems to be all the politicians respond to.

      • 2010/07/14 at 14:52

        Shall we swap Nigel with Nigella then? 😎

  9. geoffchambers
    2010/07/14 at 06:54

    I like your references to the Vietnam War and HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We mad rightwing deniers are not supposed to think like that.

    • 2010/07/14 at 06:56

      Oops! That Exxon course, I should have studied more of it!!!

  10. Anthony Watts
    2010/07/14 at 02:03

    Thanks – Any video posted yet that your know of?

    • 2010/07/14 at 15:06

      Anthony and all – I have just been told that the audio recording will be available within a day or two, at the GWPF website.

  11. Orson
    2010/07/14 at 00:36

    THANKS for the early report, Maurizio!

  12. Peter Paulson
    2010/07/13 at 23:57

    Good summary – thanks

  1. 2010/07/15 at 15:41
  2. 2010/07/15 at 00:46
  3. 2010/07/15 at 00:12
  4. 2010/07/14 at 22:35
  5. 2010/07/14 at 04:34

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