Friday, March 12, 2010

Latest IOP Retreat

It all began with a stem-winder of a statement from the U.K. Institute of Physics to the U.K. Science and Technology Committee in which they, among other things, suggested that the non-U.K. scientists who had been drawn into the CRUC Hack controversy should also be investigated by the Committee--in other words, that the committee should start an international witch hunt rather than just a national one. Well, this got the IOP into no end of trouble, especially after the role of climate changer denier Peter Gill in crafting the original statement came to light. On their main web-Page, the IOP issued not one but two "clarifications" of their first statement, in which they jettison some of the wilder charges in that statement while claiming to stand behind the basic principles contained within it. Until yesterday. Yesterday, moving the issue to the IOP blog, a third clarification was issued. This one doesn't add much to the other two, but does touch on process issues. In other words, how did the original piece of crap manage to sale through the process to see the light of day in the first place. Best bits:

In its statement, the Institute says that the evidence submitted to parliament followed “the process we always use for agreeing documents of this kind", noting that it submits 40 to 50 evidence statements to parliamentary inquiries per year. "We asked the energy sub-group of our Science Board to prepare the evidence, based on its analysis of material that is in the public domain following the hacking of the CRU e-mails last year," says the IOP. "The draft was circulated to the Science Board, which is a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work, and approved. However, we are already reviewing our consultation process for preparing policy submissions, and the comments we have received on this submission reinforce the need to make sure our procedures are as robust as possible."

The Institute also says it "strongly rebuts" accusations of “being overly influenced by one ‘climate-change sceptic’ on the energy sub-group, and then of a lack of openness about the authorship of our evidence". It adds that "The individual in question had no significant influence on the preparation of the evidence. Responsibility for the evidence rests with our Science Board, whose members’ names are openly available on our website."

Now the weird thing is: I can't find the new "statement" quoted here on the main website, although its early and I may just be missing something. But it seems as though the IOP is trying to shuffle the whole controversy off the main-stage.

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