Friday, February 12, 2010

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

(Who watches the watchers?)

The University of East Anglia, home to the now famous and controversial Climate Research Unit (CRU) and "Climategate" emails, has appointed Sir Muir Russell to head up a panel to investigate allegations of data manipulation.

Russell is reported to have "no previous links with the climate science community," but already two out of the five panel members have come under criticism for possible conflict of interest and pre-existing bias in favor of the CRU scientists and their catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theories.

Today, Dr. Philip Campbell resigned from the panel after the discovery of statements he made on Chinese radio in support of the CRU scientists.

"The scientists have not hidden the data. If you look at the emails there is one or two bits of language that are jargon used between professionals that suggest something to outsiders that is wrong. In fact the only problem there has been is on some official restrictions on their ability to disseminate data otherwise they have behaved as researchers should."

In addition, Campbell is Editor-in-chief of Nature, one of the journals which has been heavily criticized for failure to publish papers critical of AGW.

A second panel member, Professor Geoffrey Boulton,was employed by East Anglia University in the School of Environmental Sciences, which just happens to be the same department which contains the CRU. Boulton, too, has made public statements in support of a scientific consensus on catastrophic climate change.

The problem of finding unbiased panel members who still have enough expertice to adequaltely evaluate the allegations, is no small task. The entire field of climate science has been politicized.

But that should come as no surprise since the vast bulk of research is funded by government. And, as so aptly put in the title of a recent article on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website:

Government is Political.

So, who does watch the watchers? It's a job we all need to do. In this particular case, we ar all indebted to Channel 4 News in the UK, and to Benny Peiser, a long time global warming critic, founder and editor (since 1997) of CCNet, the world's leading climate policy network, and director of his most recent project, The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

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