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Oxburgh blesses Climategate boffins

Keep on keeping calm, and carry on

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All's well at CRU. The University of East Anglia's scientific enquiry into the Climategate affair, led by Lord Oxburgh, has exonerated the staff involved.

After just 15 days on the job, Oxburgh has dismissed the charges in a brisk five-page report. The academics under fire were the IPCC's leading authorities on temperature reconstructions, and their work was central to the claim that recent temperatures are anomalous.

Oxburgh finds space, however, to blame the Climatic Research Unit's external critics for taking a "selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU". These critics failed to account for the "difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted".

However Oxburgh admits the enquiry team looked at the issue with one eye shut. No critics of CRU's work, Stephen McIntyre or Doug Keenan, were interviewed, and the enquiry admits "We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work".

The only criticism is mild. The enquiry notes:

"It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work because it is fundamentally statistical. Under such circumstances there must be an obligation on researchers to document the judgemental decisions they have made so that the work can in principle be replicated by others."

Oxburgh concludes: "We found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention."

McIntyre calls the report "flimsy and embarrassing" and "a feeble sleight-of-hand" in his initial commentary on Oxburgh's conclusion. McIntyre says the conclusion that the team "regrettably" "neglected" to indicate the divergence problem - when tree data disagrees with the instrumental temperature record - is incorrect

"The Climategate emails show that they did so intentionally," counters McIntyre.

Lord who?

The choice of Lord Oxburgh was questioned by critics, one of whom compared it to "putting Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank".

Oxburgh has paid directorships of two renewable energy companies, and is a paid advisor to Climate Change Capital, the Low Carbon Initiative, Evo-Electric, Fujitsu, and an environmental advisor to Deutsche Bank. Last month we revealed that Oxburgh had failed to declare his directorship of GLOBE, an international network of legislators with ties to the Club of Rome.

Oxburgh's is the second of two 'independent' enquiries commissioned by the University. The other, led by Sir Muir Russell, continues.

You can download the Oxburgh report here. It won't take you long to read. ®

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