Sunday, December 15, 2013

Anthony Watts @wattsupwiththat throws caution to the wind...

Sou | 3:47 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

I spoke too soon.

In a fit of recklessness Anthony Watts has posted an article with the title:
EXPOSED: David Rose rips UK climate change committee for being on the take
I've archived the WUWT article here and the David Rose article in Mail Online here.

Caution to the wind
UK Climate Change Committee "on the take"? Anthony Watts is accusing highly respected and prominent UK citizens of criminal activity.  He is probably leaving himself open to being sued by members of the UK Climate Change Committee if not the UK Government itself.  And maybe even by The Daily Mail and David Rose. Would any of them bother?  I don't know.

The Rose article stops short of alleging that the members of the UK Committee on Climate Change are "on the take" but he does skate very close to that, implying that there is potential for them to benefit, writing:
The Mail on Sunday’s investigation has established that four of its nine members have recently had or still have financial interests in firms that benefit from its rulings.
So which of the nine members does Rose allege "had or still have financial interests in firms that benefit from its rulings"?  David Rose draws a very long bow and is walking a thin line, and arguably is on the wrong side of that line.  Anthony Watts crossed right over the line.

About the UK Committee on Climate Change

First of all, the Committee on Climate Change.  The purpose of the Committee is described as follows:
The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Our purpose is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.
It recommends emissions targets and reports on progress in meeting the targets.  A fuller description of its statutory duties are provided in its framework document.  It's not the sort of committee from which its members could directly benefit.  The members are listed here with brief bios.

Just what is the benefit from all the work they do on the committee? The members get a sitting fee and it's not much. Only £800 a day for members and £1,000 a day for the chair, which is a pittance for the job particularly for people of such high status as this, but probably standard for government sitting fees.  They meet once a month.  They aren't in it for the money, that's for sure.  (The fake sceptics at WUWT probably paid more than that on a per day basis, to send Anthony Watts to AGU13!)

Fake smear attempt by David Rose

And what is David Rose alleging?  Nothing at all when you boil it down.  His article is smear and innuendo for his ignorant readers, full of language designed to stoke the rage of the denialiti .

As for his "three months investigation" - he's slow.  You could investigate a lot of it in a few minutes on the internet.  For example, his main "allegation" about the members of the Committee on Climate Change is nothing more than a regurgitation of their bios as listed on the Committee on Climate Change website.

Here is a rundown of David Rose's "allegations".  Top secret stuff publicly available to all!

One member of the Committee, Professor Dame Julia King DBE FREng, is also a non-Executive Director of the Green Investment Bank.  "So what?" you might ask.  Exactly.  There is no conflict of interest there.  The Green Investment Bank provides finance to UK companies that are "green and commercial".   David Rose is really stretching to argue that " The more the CCC’s rulings favour renewable subsidies, the better the bank is likely to do."  I doubt that her stipend as a Director would be affected by how well the bank performs.

In case any of David's readers clued into the fact that there's no conflict of interest there, he pointed out a damning piece of evidence - Dame Julia also owns a house! She's owned it since 2002.  She bought it six years before the Committee on Climate Change was created. David even ferreted out what it's worth, which is utterly irrelevant.

He then tackles Professor Lord May of Oxford, OM AC FRS, another one of the most respected figures in the UK, on the grounds that in addition to being on the Climate Change Committee, he is also a member of the Sustainability Board of the global banking giant HSBC and has various other interests.  What does he want him to do with all his days between the monthly meetings? Twiddle his thumbs or use his expertise?  None of the interests David Rose lists could be seen in any way as conflicting with his role on the Committee on Climate Change.

After that he tries to smear by innuendo The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change.  He tackles him on the grounds that until a recent restructure, he was Chair of Veolia Water UK PLC.  Veolia Water is mainly in the business of water, waste water and organic waste.  It also has a an infrastructure division which "provides multi-utility services including large electrical grid connections for renewable energy producers of waste, wind, and anaerobic digestion".  David Rose is stretching about as far as Dame Julia's house when he tries to claim that there is any conflict of interest in that regard.

He then tries to smear Professor Sam Fankhauser, who is Co-Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics and a Director of an economics consulting firm, Vivid Economics.  The smear this time is because Vivid Economics has as one of its practice areas "Energy and Climate Change".

David Rose rounds off his pseudo-attack by observing that other members of the Climate Change Committee have expertise in climate change.  Well, duh!  You'll like the way he describes it though:
Other CCC members have  spent their careers as  academics in fields that help fuel green campaigns.
Sir Brian Hoskins, a fierce critic of climate sceptics, is a climatologist at Imperial College, London, where he is director of another institute funded by Grantham.
Jim Skea is also at Imperial, where he is Professor of Sustainable Energy, and was launch director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Project.

At the very bottom of the article, after all the smears and garbage, David Rose writes:
A CCC spokeswoman said it  had ‘rigorous checks and balances to ensure that there are no conflicts of interests for committee members’.

And if you doubt it, you can read all the minutes of every committee meeting.  They are all available on the Committee on Climate Change website.

I'm hanging out for David Rose to do an expose of the UK Competition Commission, there are bound to be some members on that who compete.  Or the Financial Conduct Authority, whose Chair used to head up KPMG Europe - an accounting and audit company, and whose members include people with a lot of expertise relevant to financial conduct in the public and private sectors! Who'd have thought.

Better yet, I expect still on David Rose's "to do" list is an investigative report into the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The future is renewable but UK taxpayers still subsidise dirty coal

By the way, half of David Rose's article has nothing to do with the UK Committee on Climate Change. In the top half of the Rose article he describes how there is money to be made in renewables.  The slant he takes is that the money being made at present hinges on subsidies.  That may be so now but it won't always be the case.

What David Rose doesn't let on is that the fossil fuel sector in the UK is getting greater subsidies than wind power in the UK.

Nor does he let on to his readers that UK taxpayers will be subsidising dirty coal in the UK for years and years.

From the WUWT comments

The article is long enough, so I'll just show a small number of comments from the fake sceptics.  Silly stuff. There's nothing you haven't read umpteen times already. I've updated the WUWT archived version here.

Eric Simpson, a chattering monkey from the WUWT chorus, says:
December 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm
Put the bozos in jail.

A.D. Everard has no insight into what was written but he she "believes" Anthony's arguably libellous headline and says:
December 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Well, this will raise the blood pressure of those on the committee and many others in the Green ranks.
Of course this news is no surprise to us, but how wonderful to see it in the news and not just in the opinion column, out where everybody can see it. Facts and figures and photographs. This will get the general public fuming, and I hope it does! The general view some years ago seemed to be “Why would they lie?” Well, now their finding out!
Dare I say, maybe some ministers will wake up to how they are being used?
Hopefully, too, this will trigger other countries to look into their own climate change committees. More of this exposure is essential.
(And here I was thinking Sundays were slow-news days.)

Reed Coray says:
December 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm
Smells a lot like legalized larceny.

noaaprogrammer is still convinced climate science is a hoax and says:
December 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm
Assuming that eventually the AGW scam and its perpetrators are effectively dealt with, is there any legal way that the tax payers around the world can be reimbursed even a small percentage of what the warmists have stolen?
For the U.S. I suggest that presidential wanabees for 2016 include promises of such reimbursements through lower tax rates for the number of years equivalent to a complete restitution of the theft.

John@EF makes a wry (cynical?) comment - my guess is he's a 1 per center:
December 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm
David Rose is reporting this? My, this is serious …


  1. Basically Rose is being Anti-British, because that's how things work here, in both corrupt and non-corrupt areas of government. For instance, there's definite links between which company people who are seconded into areas of the government then happen to get government contracts, and companies who taken on retired government people win contracts related to these retired people's areas of expertise, on a regular basis. That's part of the standard model of british corruption, with extra bits being appointments as various non-executive directors and the like.
    So it is entirely unsurprising that they've ended up with lots of people with green connections on such a committee, powerless though it clearly is given the conservatives approach to climate change, but as you point out, as long as it is all out in the open what they say and do, you've got the chance to spot any corruption that takes place.
    Rose is well known for hating truth and science, he's got form, he had to apologise for making up quotes from someone ages ago, IIRC.

    1. That may be so, but in this case these people I wrote about aren't same people who are the movers and shakers of renewable energy corporations, which is what he started his story with. They are mainly academics and ex-government employees and people who've pretty well retired from business.

      David Rose conflated his story about the energy company people with his made up story on the Committee on Climate Change people. They are not the same people, but because he put them all in the same article, he probably wanted people to think there was a connection. It's his style - smear and innuendo.

      Anthony Watts doesn't care what the story was. He just makes up stuff to keep his lynch mob fired up. Anything for a snazzy headline even if its libellous. He probably reckons he's got immunity from being sued because he's in the USA. One of these days he'll cross the wrong person at the wrong time. He cries poor now. What will happen when he does go too far for someone to tolerate?

  2. Watts just does not care - During the first Catlin Arctic expedition death wishes were made:

    despite complaining to wordpress nothing happened!

  3. Watts clearly does not understand UK libel laws, which are heavily weighted in favour of the person who is making the claim, The fact that Watts is based in the US would not preclude action being taken against him in London. If so, he would need to shake his collecting tin pretty hard.

    He is skating in thin ice, but I suspect that the key thing that might protect him is that his website is so very insignificant.

    1. Insignificant indeed, but also gets so much wrong that you'd almost be pleased if the main source of information about something you might have done wrong came from AW's site :-)

    2. Don't forget about Obama's speech act which makes it very difficult for American Journalists to be held liable for libel from a UK court. Judgments in UK are unenforceable in US Courts unless they comply with the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  4. Sou, A.D. Everard is Australian , Allyson Everard, link used in various blogs. In the SalbyStorm, she was the breadth champion of all commenters, commenting on 2 NOVA, 2 BISHOP HILL, and 3 WUWT posts, like:

    'July 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm · +3 -0
    One of the right places, anyway. The university itself ought to cop the backlash
    as well. Let them know they have performed very poorly and very

    'Thanks for running this, Jo. People should know about this and complain long
    and loud. Yes, I accept it should be confirmed, however going by what some
    have said, this sort of thing has happened before.
    It’s about time people started complaining and/or pulling out funding AND
    students AND professors. Seriously, at some point, people from all levels will
    have to stand up and be counted. Silence is killing our nation, just as it is
    nations overseas.'

    'July 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm · +7 -0
    I’m not interested in how you want to scatter the votes. I don’t think people
    should tiptoe around outside the university itself. Certainly, complains should
    go to the science minister and anywhere that might actually do something
    about it, but it ought to land on the doorstep as well'

    'July 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm
    What has happened to Professor Salby is shocking! Absolutely he should sue,
    AND get it into the public eye. I hope the Professor not only contacts a good
    lawyer, but also newspapers, blogs, whatever and whoever will run with it.
    What an appalling way for a university to act! I never thought I’d be ashamed
    to be Australian.'

    Indigo says:
    July 8, 2013 at 11:47 pm
    I couldn’t resist having a vent at Macquarie University – pity I didn’t have the
    Chancellors address…
    I think your letter was brilliant, Indigo. Well done!'

    'Macquarie University won't like the publicity this generates. It's one thing to
    fire someone, but the dirty tricks displayed in this instance are something else
    again.997 Someone acted shamefully. I hope they get named.'

    'Sounds to me like they realize the cat is out of the bag and anyone there with
    any clout is keeping as far from this as they possibly can. No one wants to take
    responsibility. Has the press got hold of this? This could turn out to be a
    very important case with regard to CAGW=shenanigans exposure'

    'This is a wonderful cartoon. Actually, I should think this would fit quite a few
    universities, given the political mindset of most if not all of them nowadays.
    One of your best, Josh! :)
    (That was for http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/7/10/climate-of-smear-josh-229.html as was:

    'Brilliant Josh! LOL. 1755
    Okay, who’s going to be the first to send a copy of this to Macquarie
    University? I wonder how many they’ll get in a day? This should not only
    be sent to them, this should go into poster size and be plastered up all over
    town. I love it.'

    Oddly, after the NSF/Colorado court case factual hammers came down on Salby, she lost interest in the topic and commented no more, a quite common pattern.

    1. Thanks, John. We seem to have more than our share of "utter nutters", but maybe it's just that they make a lot of noise.

  5. In this tornado story Anthony Watts closes with:

    Statistical artifacts from short period data shouldn’t be used to draw conclusions.

    Now, color me confused here momentarily if you will please, but hasn't the last several years one of the main memes been the 'hiatus' in surface temperatures which may well prove with hindsight in twenty years time to be a statistical artifact from short period data. Of course, it also may not. But still, the above is a rare moment of insight which should be applauded. I doubt the irony or implications have been anything but lost on both the post author and the commenters / readers, but still ... encouraging, no?

    1. Like I've often said, one thing you can't accuse climate science deniers of is consistency :)


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