Mar 162010

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned two of Ed Milliband’s Department of Energy and Climate Change advertisements after they received over 900 complaints about the £6m press and TV campaign aimed at global warming sceptics.

A DECC press release announcing the campaign said that:

…. the Government is today confronting the public with the reality and the consequences [of global warming]. The Government wants to educate people on the dangers of climate change and today launches its first ever direct public information announcement confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin.
http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn114/pn114.aspx

But the ASA say that, ‘the claims [that] “Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heatwaves will become more frequent and intense”‘ and ‘”… extreme weather conditions such as flooding heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense” should have been phrased more tentatively.’ They found that there had been a breach of three sections of the Committee of Advertising Practice Code dealing with substantiation, truthfulness and environmental claims. The report says that the advertisements ‘should not appear again in their current form’.

The campaign was launched in October 2009 and, as well as four press adverts, included a TV and cinema ad showing a father reading his young daughter a bedtime story. This depicts distressed farm animals and weeping rabbits in a drought-stricken landscape, and then a flooded town with people clinging to the rooftops and a dog drowning. The voice-over explaines, “There was once a land where the weather was very very strange. There were awful heat waves in some parts and in others terrible storms and floods. Scientists said it was being caused by too much C02, which went up into the sky when the grown-ups used energy. They said the C02 was getting dangerous, its effects were happening faster than they had thought. Some places could even disappear under the sea and it was the children of the land who would have to live with the horrible consequences.’

The DECC made very extensive representations to the ASA in defense of their advertisements. They also rely on opinions from the Royal Society, including a claim that ‘some individuals and organizations that disagreed with IPCC findings … appeared to be funded by fossil fuel interests’, although no evidence in support of this assertion appears in the report. As the Royal Society receives about £40m a year in funding from the government so it seems strange that the DECC should on their evidence as being impartial while condemning sceptical criticisms of the ads as being funded by lobbyists.

The ASA did not uphold complaints that the ‘Bedtime Story’ advertisement, which is still being screened in cinemas, suggested a degree of scientific certainty about the causes and consequences of climate change that is not reflected in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report. Complainants will be astonished by this as the IPCC report is by no means unequivocal about the cause of global warming, and the Royal Society’s statement on their website is cautious about the consequences of climate change.

The IPCC report says that,  “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” According to the Royal Society:

Possible consequences of climate change include rising temperatures, changing sea levels, and impacts on global weather. These changes could have serious impacts on the world’s organisms and on the lives of millions of people, especially those living in areas vulnerable to extreme natural conditions such as flooding and drought. http://royalsociety.org/landing.asp?id=1278

Complainants are likely to be very surprised that claims made in the TV advert, which are very similar to those in the press adverts that have been banned, have escaped censure.

The precise number of complainants is not known, but the report says, ‘The ASA received 939 complaints … The number of individuals objecting to the ads is likely to have been higher; we advised subsequent enquirers whose points of complaint were already being investigated that they need not register a new complaint unless they wanted to.’ This compares with the most complained about adverts listed in the ASA’s most recent annual report (2008), which was 840 concerning a powerful Bernardo’s TV ad.

The chairman of the ASA is Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, a one time labour cabinet minister who is also the chairman of the Environment Agency. An interview with The Times in November last year under the headline  ‘Chris Smith – the respectable radical who is plotting a green revolution’, says that:

Lord Smith’s favourite political heir apparent is Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, with whom he has worked closely since being appointed to the Environment Agency last year. “He’s been up for making big decisions. Far too often government ministers lose sight of the wood for the trees, Ed still sees the big story. He doesn’t dither.”‘ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6906852.ece?print=yes&randnum=1151003209000

Ofcom, the statutory broadcasting regulator, is still investigating complaints that the DECC campaign, launched during the run-up to the Copenhagen summit and when it was rumoured that the Government were considering calling an election in the New Year, breached a ban on political advertising. Apparently they will report later, although I seem to remember a letter from the ASA saying that both regulators would report together. I wonder what happened?

Press coverage of the ASA’s decision started on Saturday afternoon with an attempt to play down the story, on The Guardian website, using the headline ‘Climate change adverts draw mild rebuke from advertising watchdog’. The next day a clear and factually correct report by  Jonathan Leake appeared in the Sunday Times under the banner, ‘Ed Miliband’s adverts banned for overstating climate change’. This was picked up by The Telegraph and The Mail who had a quote from Ed Milliband claiming that his department has been  ‘comprehensively vindicated’. I wonder what which part of ‘comprehensively vindicated’ he doesn’t understand, but I am sure that we can believe anything his department tells us about global warming.  The Mirror’s coverage has a rather good parody of Dr Foster Went to Gloucester, and Express gave the ban a mention in an article about Amazongate. All these versions of the ASA’s decision seem to go with the line taken in the Sunday Telegraph, emphasising the ban on the press adverts rather than the more anodyne treatment of the TV commercial.

The story has crossed the herring pond too with the National Post heading its article, ‘Think of the children: British energy minister in hot water over climate change posters aimed at the junior set’, and Examiner goes into a bit more  detailThe AP news agency has a brief summary of the story too, but none of them seem to think the Ed has been ‘completely vindicated’. I wonder why?

The blogosphere is having its say too. Deltoid, as one might expect, dismisses the whole thing out of hand without examining the issues by attacking the messenger, in his case Jonathan Leake, and suggesting that he is a lousy journalist.   Marketing Week just reports the facts and obtained a ‘no comment’ from the ASA. The Huffington Post takes a wry look at the idea of using nursery rhymes in this rather bizarre way. Lots of other blogs are now joining in too.

BNet UK seems to think that any criticism of the ads is unreasonable because, well, they are in favour of AGW, so what can the problem be.  Advertising Age, where someone doesn’t seem to have done their homework, refers to ‘those denialists over at the Advertising Standards Authority’, which at least was amusing although it obviously wasn’t intended to be.

All of which is quite encouraging, considering that the ASA won’t even publish their decision until tomorrow. It looks as though this story may run for a while longer so it really was worth making all those complaints and yes, the ASA seems to have done something about them too. On the other hand I don’t think that should prevent anyone from asking for a review of the decision. Arguably the TV commercial was every bit as misleading as the press ads that were banned, and in the same way. So why have the same standards not been applied?

____________________________________________________

 Update 17/03/2010

This morning, Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, and Ed Milliband secretary of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change were interviewed by Justin Webb on the BBC’s Today programme about the Act On Co2 advertising campaign. It’s well worth listening to.

 

Parker explained that the ASA arrived at it’s decision solely on the basis of evidence from the IPCC and other bodies submitted to them by the DECC, which they had then evaluated. What qualifies the ASA to assess such material is not clear, although Lord Smith, their chairman, has very decided views on the matter. See his recent contribution to the BBC website here. No neutral opinion seems to have been sought.

 

The head of the ASA, having explained that the adverts had exaggerated the confidence of predictions about extreme weather said:

 

“the main thrust of the message was proven and I guess the DECC are happy about that”

 

 which makes one wonder what the ASA’s priorities in dealing with this matter were.

 

Here are a couple of gems from Ed Milliband at the end of the interview:

 

“Part of the job of people like me is to be honest and up front when a mistake has been made …”

 

Perhaps he’d forgotten that he told The Mail that his department had been ‘completely vindicated’. (see above)

 

Summing up, there was this lovely slip of the tong:

 

“What was the message of the campaign? That if we don’t act on climate change, that we will face - err! are very likely to face - severe impacts on our way of life.”

 

Much of Mr Milliband’s defence of the ads relied on the attributions summarised in Table SPM.2 in the last IPCC report,  which has been extensively discussed here.

 

There is also a report on the ASA’s decision at the BBC News website.

30 Responses to “ASA Bans Government Climate Change Ads”

  1. 1
    geoffchambers Says:

    The latest thread on this topic at Guardian Environment is hotting up nicely
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/17/climate-change-advertising-standards-authority#start-of-comments

  2. 2
    James P Says:

    I’m pretty sure I heard Miliband say that there “wasn’t uncertainty” about the science, which means that he still thinks it’s settled. No change there, then.

  3. 3
    Alex Cull Says:

    Ed Miliband states: “What is the job of the government? It is to lead.”

    Is it not also to represent the people who elect that government? This is part of Ed’s problem – he does not represent the growing majority of people who are becoming sceptical of the whole climate change narrative.

  4. 4
    tempterrain Says:

    “Is it not also to represent the people who elect that government?”

    Yes of course. But, he wasn’t elected by climate change deniers!

    But, even if he had been, any politician should take his scientific advice from the country’s universities and research institutes. Not the pages of disinformation published in the Daily Mail.

  5. 5
    James P Says:

    But, even if he had been, any politician should take his scientific advice from the country’s universities and research institutes. Not the pages of disinformation published in the Daily Mail.

    At the moment, I think the Daily Mail is at least as trustworthy as the UEA and IPCC! (and that’s not meant to be a compliment to the DM).

  6. 6
    Alex Cull Says:

    Peter, re your #4 that’s actually a fair point – after all, back when the current UK government was elected, the IPCC was still riding high. In 2005 public support for CO2 reduction measures would probably have been significant (and would have been even more so in 2006, the year of An Inconvenient Truth.) In this election year, of course, half a decade on, such support appears to be plummeting.

    By the way, I think this is also how DECC could argue re the Bedtime Stories ads, which were devised pre-ClimateGate and before AR4 came under real scrutiny – they could plausibly say that for all they knew, the science as revealed by IPCC was absolutely sound (the next government will not have that luxury, IMO.)

    This is a real problem that faces Ed Miliband (at least until after the election.) He finds himself committed to his course, appearing ever more certain of CAGW even as fewer and fewer people share his certainties.

  7. 7
    Barelysane Says:

    Peter,James

    But, even if he had been, any politician should take his scientific advice from the country’s universities and research institutes. Not the pages of disinformation published in the Daily Mail.

    Should yes, but unfortunately we have government that routinely ignores scientific advice preferring to follow which ever section of the media is currently shouting loudest.

  8. 8
    geoffchambers Says:

    On the Guardian thread I mentioned at #1, onthefence, an ardent warmist, started accusing Harmless Sky of having been caught out organising a “report abuse” campaign at CommentisFree. A couple of us asked for references, but he hasn’t come back. Just thought you should know.

  9. 9
    Alex Cull Says:

    Geoff, that thread on CiF has become distinctly more surreal since I last looked at it. Shadowy climate sceptic PR agencies orchestrating a campaign of complaints against the Act on CO2 ads… As for the “report abuse” thing, how can onthefence or any other commentator on CiF claim to know who clicks on the button? The only people in a position to know would be those few with admin privileges on the Guardian website. All just a little bizarre.

  10. 10
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex, BobFJ, DESTROY ALL E-MAILS! (No, really, I just thought I’d add a little excitement to somebody’s Saturday night) Thanks for the interventions on the Guardian thread. Is this what the Nature editorial means by “being in a street fight” do you think?

  11. 11
    Alex Cull Says:

    Well, the CiF thread’s been fun; not so much a street fight, in my opinion, more like an invigorating game of ping pong, but enjoyable in its own way.

    I’m sure that onthefence will have the last word, as I’m off to bed shortly, and Monday is the start of another heavy working week (not meant to be commenting on CiF in the office anyway, and the pages load very slowly, depending on the number of comments on them, so I won’t probably get much of a look in.)

    Re the Ofcom investigation, I’m also curious as to why it is taking as long as it is – also why the news (that it was carrying out an investigation) was announced as late as 24th February (as per Mark Sweney’s article in the Guardian.)

  12. 12
    geoffchambers Says:

    TonyN
    Thanks for your intervention on the Guardian ASA thread. Sorry to get HS into that stupid spat. The blogger had recalled something I’d said on a CiF thread a year ago, and brought it up to get out of a discussion we were having about climate sensitivity (curiously enough, the same subject as he was discussing with Max, and I think Robin Guenier and BarelySane and others on the original CiF thread which caused the problem).
    I often use the CiF threads to put in a plug for HS, Climate-Resistance, or OmniClimate if there is a relevant discussion at the time. Do you have any problems with that?

  13. 13
    TonyN Says:

    No problem Geoff. It actually gave HS quite a busy day and dealing with onthefence was a revelation; rather like trying to put rubber gloves on a jellyfish.

  14. 14
    tonyb Says:

    If ever a guy is misnamed it is ‘onthefence’

    Tonyb

  15. 15
    manacker Says:

    TonyB

    Yeah. He’s really “off the wall” (as in Humpty Dumpty).

    Max

  16. 16
    Bob_FJ Says:

    TonyB, Reur 14,
    Yes it’s a funny one that. Onthefence espouses that AGW will be catastrophic, and labels anyone sceptical of catastrophe as being a denier or worse. However, his comments are usually so obviously daft and devoid of science, that I think he does a truly magnificent job of swaying any agnostic readers, that it is better to go with what we and other rationalists are saying.

    Onthefence; he claims to be; but on which side in effectiveness? Uh?

    Maybe for example, he has not read Kevin Trenberth (an IPCC oracle) in recent times?

  17. 17
    Bob_FJ Says:

    Robin & Max especially:
    Concerning onthefence and his amazing interpretations of things, I’ve just had the following post deleted at “Climate change adverts…Guardian”, just above this comment slighting Maxcomment slighting Max:

    On the fence, I’ve taken the time to check your oft repeated 3 quotes which are numbered 2 through 4 below. Is there any reason why you forgot to consider or mention the context of these three, as given in number 1, (5493)?

    ~~~~~~~~~~1~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~my bold added~~~~~~
    Robin Guenier says 5493, April 7th, 2009 at 7:54 am
    Max: I see that one of your posts on the Guardian thread has been “removed by the moderator”. Here are some extracts from the Guardian’s “Community standards and participation guidelines” relating to online discussion:

    Personal attacks on other users have no place in an intelligent discussion. … we will distinguish between constructive, focused argument and smear tactics. …. respect other people’s views … do help by maintaining a reasonable tone … act with maturity and consideration for other users … Don’t be unpleasant.

    So you must have said something pretty bad – considering the rude and juvenile comments that are allowed through.
    Incidentally I clicked on “report abuse” re Hoggle’s most recent comment about me – commenting that he is obviously entitled to disagree with me but not to call me a liar. We’ll see what happens.
    ~~~~~~~~~~2~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Robin Guenier says 5501 April 7th, 2009 at 9:16 am
    Max: re my 5493, the Hoggle comment has been removed. Emboldened by this, I’ve complained about this morning’s onthefence outburst.
    ~~~~~~~~~~3~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Robin Guenier says 5506, April 7th, 2009 at 10:18 am
    Max: further to my 5501, onthefence’s post has also been removed. But now he’s moaning to the moderator.
    ~~~~~~~~~~4~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Robin Guenier says 5508, April 7th, 2009 at 11:01 am
    Max: another onthefence post removed. It might almost be worth getting involved again at this rate. Interesting. (He’s still moaning about it.)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It seems that the administrator agreed that Hoggle should not call Guenier a liar, and that you had some kind of an outburst that was also deleted by the moderator. It also seems that Guinier felt it might be worthwhile getting involved again in the debate if such rudeness was to be filtered out by the moderator.

    This can be found on page 37 of 67 on HarmlessSky, that is now approaching almost 10,000 comments. Hardly a conspiracy!

    I can’t see anything off-topic or offensive in this, so I wonder why it was deleted.

  18. 18
    manacker Says:

    Bob_FJ

    I gave up on “onthefence” long ago.

    He brings silly accusations of “denialist blogosphere conspiracies” and tosses out occasional insults or put-downs, but I have yet to see him make any real rational contribution to the debate.

    For this reason I stayed away from the last “Guardian” thread – it’s a waste of time.

    Max

  19. 19
    geoffchambers Says:

    BobFJ#17
    Your comment is still there, at 10.57PM. Once comments are closed, they don’t come up automatically when you click on the article. You have to click on the “240 Comments” below the article title
    max #18
    I agree that arguing with onthefence is a waste of time. I kept it up on the Guardian ASA thread knowing full well that any normal reader would be put off and utter a plague on both our houses for 2 reasons:
    1) He was telling lies about harmless sky and Mauroizio of Omniclimate, and I couldn’t let them stand.
    2) He started on his fantastic diatribe because he was losing an argument with me about climate sensitivity, (a subject I know nothing about); but I read the reference to the article he referred to (Knutti and Hegerl, and found it simply didn’t support his argument. The red herring he dug up about a HS plot came from a thread last April (!) where he’d got in a similar argument with you, Guenier and BarelySane. Clearly, something rankled.
    Bob FJ has just emerged with honours from a similarly tedious argument on a CiF thread about Lord Oxburgh, where onthefence starts an irrelevant argument accusing McIntyre of lying. If no-one challenges him, reasonable sceptics and “undecideds” are put off and stop contributing to CiF (which is probably his intention).
    (PS Onthefence scans these threads looking for stuff he can use. I fully expect him to quote my remark above about knowing nothing about climate sensitivity. Oh well..)

  20. 20
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Bob_FJ (your 17):

    Your experience illustrates why I no longer bother with CIF climate discussions. It’s a pity really. Their Guidelines are quite sensible: applied properly, they could form a good basis for intelligent discussion. The trouble is that intelligent discussion with onthefence is impossible. (But it is amusing to learn how last April’s incident annoyed him.)

  21. 21
    Bob_FJ Says:

    Robin & Geoff especially:
    Gotta go now, but I thought I’d quickly post a comment that I prepared for the Lord Oxburgh thread, only to find the thread was closed after less than four days! Watch this space!

    Onthefence, Re: correspondence between the Swedes, (SMHI) and Phil Jones:

    21 December 2009: The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute informs Jones that “SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site”.

    However, your emphasis on “SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site”. is misleading because you fail to consider/ mention the fuller text as follows:

    “…regarding the release of data from the HadCRUT dataset. Given the information that the version of the data from the SMHI stations that you hold are likely to differ from the data we hold, SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site…”

    This letter then goes on to say that the SMHI raw data IS available for non-commercial use, giving details here.

    4 March 2010: SMHI send a second letter, saying “our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity … We see no problem with publication of the data set”.

    Again your quote is misleading and the important difference between SMHI raw data and Jones, homogenised data is brought out in the following extract: See full details here

    “…Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.”

    Your observation that it was Acton who made the statement on 1 March, overlooks the fact that SMHI wrote in their letter of 31 December that their raw data is indeed available, giving details, but they were concerned about the Jones processed data.

    If you are applying a technicality that it was not Jones that actually spoke these words, note that Jones was sitting next to Acton, and that Jones was the addressee of the 31 December letter from SMHI, and should be more aware than Acton that the SMHI raw data was available. If he chose to allow Acton to give the wrong impression, then that is Jones choice

    If you are going to throw fine points like that around; the sequence of events appears to be:
    1) Press release by Stockholm Initiative (Be it error free or not, irrelevant )
    2) WUWT blogs it. (Be that error free or not)
    3) McIntyre makes a mirror post, attributing it to Anthony Watts.
    4) You accuse McIntyre of libellous lying, and many other variations on the word lie.

    Uh? Let us see what rational readers here may think of your accusations and word-cherry-picking!

  22. 22
    Bob_FJ Says:

    All:
    A quickie: I’ll shortly make some enquiries at the Guardian, and if you are so interested, here are some relevant Email addresses:

    Individual staff: Firstname.lastname@guardian.co.uk
    Environmental editor: environment.editor@guardianunlimited.co.uk
    Science desk: life@guardian.co.uk
    Problems using the site: userhelp@guardian.co.uk
    Guardian, letters to the editor: letters@guardian.co.uk

    I don’t know if Simon Singh et al are staff, but I’ll attempt a CC anyway.

  23. 23
    geoffchambers Says:

    Max#18, Robin#20
    A pity you’ve given up on CiF. It’s practically the only arena where sceptics and warmists meet face to face on an equal footing. I know Onthefence is a pain – he’s the Japanese knotweed among warmists, stifling all comments, even from his own side.
    A well-placed comment can get hundreds of “recommends”, indicating maybe thousands of readers. There’s a huge leverage effect; two or three sensible sceptics who don’t lose their temper can throw the warmists into a fury. The early closure of a thread, like the one Bob notes at #21, surely indicates that the propagandists at Guardian Environment are having a hard time.
    The reaction of the article authors can be interesting too. Monbiot was provoked into making his famous criticism of Jones in a comment on his own thread. Result: Monbiot can no longer appear in public without beeing exposed to questioning about the rift between himself and the rest of the warmist movement. Small victories, I know, but that’s the way of democratic argument.

  24. 24
    Bob_FJ Says:

    Geoff chambers, Reur 19 & my 17:
    Whoops, yes it is still there, and I see that after showing onthefence that he ignores context etc, he has the gall to respond thus:

    That’s right Bob.
    Harmless Sky’s deletion campaign against CIF only came to light because Guenier was providing a running commentary on a public discussion forum.
    Genius.

    Astonishing!

  25. 25
    Bob_FJ Says:

    I’ve posted this comment over at Steve McIntyres CA, concerning certain comments by ‘onthefence’, and will modify it slightly for WUWT, and a few other sites:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Between 23 Mar 2010, 12:36PM, (Starting here, at the Guardian Environment blog) and 25 Mar 2010, 11:35AM, “Onthefence” made thirteen separate comments that included accusations of lying or libel against Steven McIntyre

    1) This claim [by McIntyre] is a straightforward libellous lie.
    2) Instead of inviting McIntyre onto the inquiry, they should be suing him for libel.
    3) Here it is again: Instead of inviting McIntyre onto the inquiry, they should be suing him for libel.
    4) He [McIntyre] wasn’t “too busy” to publish a libellous lie about Jones on his blog though.
    5) …do you think UEA should regard McIntyre as an inquiry witness or as a libel defendant?
    6) This is a flat lie, as can be seen simply by reading the documents attached to the post… …Excellent, another McIntyre fan turns up to defend McIntyre.
    7) The McIntyre blog post is a flat, libellous lie.
    8) UEA doesn’t even have much discretion here. It very probably has a duty of care to sue McIntyre for libel.
    9) McIntyre published the claim. It is his claim, as a point of law.
    It is obviously false, and very seriously defamatory.
    10) McIntyre’s claim is a straightforward, libellous lie.
    11) Because that statement is a flat lie Bob.
    12) You are simply posting the proof that McIntyre is lying.
    13) McIntyre’s claim is demonstrably false.

    I prepared the following comment in response to the above accusations, but surprisingly the thread was closed without explanation after less than four days!

    Onthefence, (OTF) Re: correspondence between the Swedes, (SMHI) and Phil Jones:

    OTF: 21 December 2009: The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute informs Jones that “SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site”.

    However, your emphasis on “SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site” is misleading because you fail to consider/ mention the fuller text as follows:

    “…regarding the release of data from the HadCRUT dataset. Given the information that the version of the data from the SMHI stations that you hold are likely to differ from the data we hold, SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site…”

    That letter then goes on to say that the SMHI raw data IS available for non-commercial use, giving details here.

    OTF: 4 March 2010: SMHI send a second letter, saying “our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity … We see no problem with publication of the data set”.

    Again your quote is misleading and the important difference between SMHI raw data and Jones’ homogenised data is brought out in the following extract: See full details here

    “…Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.”

    Your observation that it was Acton who made the statement on 1 March, overlooks the fact that SMHI wrote in their letter of 31 December that their raw data is indeed available, giving details, but they were concerned about the Jones processed data.

    If you are applying a technicality that it was not Jones that actually spoke these words, note that Jones was sitting next to Acton, and that Jones was the addressee of the 31 December letter from SMHI, and should be more aware than Acton that the SMHI raw data was indeed available. If he chose to allow Acton to give the wrong impression, then that is Jones’ choice

    If you are going to throw fine points like that around; the sequence of events appears to be:
    1] Press release by Stockholm Initiative (Be it error free or not, irrelevant to 3] & 4])
    2] WUWT blogs it. (Be that error free or not, irrelevant to 3] & 4])
    3] McIntyre makes a mirror post, attributing it to Anthony Watts.
    4] You accuse McIntyre of libellous lying, and many other variations on the word lie and lible.

    Uh? Let us see what rational readers here may think of your accusations and word-cherry-picking!

  26. 26
    Bob_FJ Says:

    Geoff, Robin, & Max,
    The reason I’ve been having intercourse with onthefence is similar to as explained by Geoff at 19 & 23. That onthefence denies clear facts, or ignores “inconvenient questions”, like a cracked record, exposes him to ridicule by any rational reader. Yep, some readers of all colours may be put-off and go elsewhere, but I reckon the Guardian probably has high traffic, including new readers willing to think rationally.

  27. 27
    Bob_FJ Says:

    ALL: Over at the Guardian, Re onthefence:
    Rajendra Pachauri: Climate scientists face ‘new form of persecution’

    Onthefence was still banging on and on on and on on and on on and on on and on about UEA’s duty of care to protect its staff from libellous lies by suing, and also making rather rude allegations against Steve McIntyre for mirroring the Anthony Watts article. However, the Guardian thread was pulled after about 3 days. I guess they felt he was doing too much damage to their cause, and it was getting a tad boring.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Incidentally, I posted something similar to my #25 above over at CA, and it sat in moderation for about 5 days before being deleted. (yes; CA)
    I hope that Steve did not impatiently think that I was supporting onthefence’s 13 insults that I listed.
    I was waiting for it to clear before taking it to other sites. I might modify it and try again.
    Any thoughts?

  28. 28
    manacker Says:

    Bob_FJ

    The person that calls himself/herself “onthefence” is a well-documented and certified pro-AGW troll, who has absolutely nothing constructive to add to the ongoing scientific and political/economic debate surrounding AGW.

    Exposing this dimwit for what he/she really is might be a noble endeavor, but is likely a waste of time. Admittedly, it does expose OTF as a fraud to other bloggers.

    But, other than that, OTF only gains from any attention a serious blogger would give him/her.

    Max

  29. 29
    geoffchambers Says:

    BobFJ #25 & 27
    This is off-topic, and perhaps should be continued on the NS thread, but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one thinking about the strategy of commenting on blogs.
    I don’t think there’s any point in bringing up Onthefence’s libellous comments on McIntyre at ClimateAudit. If he dealt with all such comments, there’d be no room left on his blog for the science.
    I’ve no clear answers about what to do about Onthefence. I indulged in a long pointless argument with him, conscious of the fact that the two of us were effectively killing the thread, simply because he was lying about HS and Omnclimate, and since I had linked to these two sites on CiF in the past, I felt I owed it to TonyN and Maurizio to put the record straight.
    He’s recently been very active at
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change
    criticising a number of American skeptics who have been calling Lovelock a rat and a fascist. It so happens I approve his stand on that, and the next time I find myself agreeing with him, I shall say so in effusive terms. But not on the 1st of April.

  30. 30
    James P Says:

    I was reminded of this thread by a recent news item:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11223723

    Good to know that the ASA will step in where it matters, even when there is only one complaint!

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