Some catching up: House of Commons Climategate report
April 12, 2010, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Published stuff

Another recent greenview article in The Economist was on the House of Commons Climategate report.

The MPs’ most striking prescription is that climate science should hold itself, and be held to, a higher standard than heretofore when it comes to openness and transparency. When giving evidence to the committee, Phil Jones, the head of the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), from which the e-mails came, said that freely disclosing data and the computer codes used to work with them “has not been standard practice” in the field. “If it is not standard practice how can the science progress?” asked Graham Stringer, a member of the committee. “Maybe it should be standard practice,” replied Dr Jones, “but it is not standard practice across the subject.” The MPs concluded that in a field as significant and important to policy as climate change this was not good enough. They are calling for data and methodological workings to be made openly available. On occasions when data are provided to scientists on the basis that they will not be further promulgated (as with some of the data Dr Jones used from meteorological agencies in other countries) that should be made clear, with all requests redirected to the relevant data-holders.

Many climate scientists will claim that the field is already highly transparent in these regards, and it is true that much data is freely available. But Dr Jones’s position on what has, in the past, constituted standard practice suggests that such claims to transparency have to be judged case by case.


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