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Climate scientist Phil Jones speaks -- again

By Juliet Eilperin

As the controversy over the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change continues, the British scientist at the center of the e-mail scandal at the University of East Anglia is doing the press rounds.

Nature has an interview with Phil Jones, who used to direct the university's Climatic Research Unit until hackers published e-mails in which he and other prominent scientists discussed how to keep climate skeptics' work out of major journals.

In the interview, Jones worries that the blogosphere is undermining the traditional way scientific researcher is vetted. "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process," Jones tells Nature.

But he also admits some mistakes, like the fact that he relied on Chinese temperature data that had been taken from different stations over time.

"I thought it was the right way to get the data. I was specifically trying to get more rural station data that wasn't routinely available in real time from [meteorological] services," says Jones, who asserts that standards for data collection have changed considerably in the past 20 years. He now acknowledges that "the stations probably did move", and that the subsequent loss of the data was sloppy. "It's not acceptable," says Jones. "[It's] not best practice."

Meanwhile, the UK's Daily Mail is claiming Jones declared in a BBC interview this week that there's been no global warming since 1995.

But Jones's answer was more nuanced than that. When asked, "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?" Jones responded, "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95 percent significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

Still confused? Look at this backgrounder from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the issue of global temperature trends.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 15, 2010; 4:33 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Climate skeptics heart the IPCC (mistakes) | Next: Sierra Club attacks Sen. Lincoln


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Wow, this is a disgrace - this is the best the once great Washington Post can do on this story? You bury this important admission on a blog when it should have been on the front page, above the fold. This is so very sad. Thank heavens one can get the real story from the British press, online, because you sure won't get it here.

Posted by: lostein | February 18, 2010 5:07 PM
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Juliet Eilperin is an environmental advocate. She is probably a Progressive Democrat too.

Obviously, she wouldn’t have a job with the "Post Carbon Planet Panel" if she objectively reported on the Scam of Global Warming. Journalism is dead in America. The only thing we get now are advocates like Julie here. It is quite sad actually.

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 16, 2010 10:17 PM
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Rather than defending Jones with a reference to "nuance", isn't it time that you acted like a journalist and reported that there has been a complete breakdown in the THEORY, as it does not have the facts behind it. This list of counter findings is beyond the limit question theory. It disproves it.

Temperatures have dropped for the past 12 years.

The US was slammed by winter this year with among the coldest on record.

The Vostok ice studies completely disprove the theory of global warming dating back 400,000 years.

The IPCC has admitted bogus findings per the Himalayan glaciers.

Research was doctored as discovered and professors were suspended.

CO2 is a trace gas where man produces 11 one hundreths of 1 percent of all CO2.

The party where the the co-opting of science by ideology has got to now be preempted by real peer reviewed science.

Let's see you write that article. Do your job!

Hoyt Connell
Kensington, MD

Posted by: hoytc55 | February 16, 2010 12:53 AM
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Well, we all know Juliet Eilperin has no journalistic standards, but is this carbon note an example how low WAPO as a whole has descended?

The Daily Mail "claims" Jones said there's been no warming since 1995? No, that's exactly what JOnes said. In fact, he even went on to say that, though statistically insignifant (his "nuance"), temps have actually DECLINED since 2002.

Don't expect to see that in any Eilperin "reporting."

It is astonishing that the Post, once one of the leading investigative American papers, can let this shill continue to demean that paper by her continued advocacy for a discredited political movement.

How sad.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 16, 2010 12:37 AM
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