Thursday, 08 July 2010

Russell Report Whitewashes Climategate Scandal

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Muir RussellThose of us who have watched the British comedy series Yes, Minister, and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister, understand the insidious relationship between the British Civil Service and the ministerial officials who theoretically govern the nation on behalf of the people. The “official investigation,” conducted by civil servants when uncomfortable facts come to light, is a device intended solely to find no proof of official wrongdoing.

The real-life Sir Muir Russell, a senior civil servant, seems a virtual clone of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the career civil servant in the Yes, Minister comedy, whose internal reviews always produce just what political expediency requires. Russell was tasked with heading the review of the Climategate scandal involving the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at Great Britain's University of East Anglia, and not surprisingly, he exonerated the global-warming alarmists who, in leaked emails, discussed their skewing of information and coverup in support of their alarmism.

Russell’s long tenure in the civil service was checkered with dubious ethical behavior. When the Scottish Parliament Building was costing much more than anyone anticipated, Russell failed to notify the government, and Lord Fraser criticized Russell for keeping quiet about extreme cost overruns. Sir Russell also received pay raises far in excess of inflation. Russell has received honors (e.g., the Order of the Bath) that are granted by the British establishment to those who “play ball.” His wife, Eileen Mackay, is also a lifelong civil servant. How trusted is Russell to “find the right conclusion”?  In October 2008, Russell was selected to head the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. He is “one of the boys” and the only surprise would have been if he had found corruption at the Climate Research Institute.

The corruption should not have been hard to find at East Anglia. When Warrick Hughes in 2005 asked Dr. Phil Jones at the Climate Research Institute for his data, Jones shot back:  “I will not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” How did Russell respond to such outrageous behavior? “Ultimately this has to be about what they did not what they said. The honesty and rigor of CRU as scientists are not in doubt.” (Emphasis added.) When that is the initial assumption, then is it really that surprising that the report exonerated those scientists?

After the Muir Russell report was released, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) issued a statement charging: “[The report] gives every appearance of addressing all the allegations that have been made.... However, the committee relied almost entirely on the testimony of those implicated in the scandal or those who have a vested interest in defending the establishment view of global warming. The critics of the CRU with the most expertise were not interviewed.  It is easy to find for the accused if no prosecution witnesses are allowed to take the stand.”

Russell’s review was limited to the British scientific bureaucracy, but the scandal involving global warming alarmism transcends political boundaries. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, days earlier noted glaring errors in reporting about basic climate change data in the Netherlands. For example, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when the actual percentage, according to the Dutch agency, is only 26 percent.

Such misinformation is not limited to the Netherlands. The Himalayan glaciers, predicted by the IPCC to melt in 2035 should have been predicted to melt 315 years later, in 2350.

Bureaucracies produce notoriously bad science. When money and power are awarded based upon finding “facts” that fit a political agenda, then scientific objectivity gives way to that political agenda. That is why only a lifelong bureaucrat like Russell could be trusted to conduct the investigation of the Climate Research Institute. As the CEI put it, the Russell report is “a classic example of the establishment circling its wagons to defend itself.”

Photo of Sir Muir Russell: AP Images

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