The Rubber Duck award in the climate category goes to Lord Oxburgh, who gave “peer review” a whole new meaning in rushing out the first whitewash of the Climategate scandal. He headed an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, from which the emails emerged, and concluded in record time that there was nothing to see here. Move along please.
Lord Oxburgh’s skimpy survey — which was carried out by a group distinctly free of skeptics — found in the CRU little more than a “small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers.” His Lordship found the CRU’s “loss” of data infinitely excusable, as also was its lack of statistical sophistication, even though its field was “fundamentally statistical.”
The report did eventually get tough, but only with unnamed critics of the CRU whose “tone” it “deplored” as “uncharitable.” Lord Oxburgh, pictured, wasn’t bothered by the vitriolic tone of the Climategate emails towards such critics because he apparently didn’t bother to read them.
The good Lord first came to our attention more than five years ago, when he was reported to have “defected to the green lobby” from his position as non-executive chairman of Shell, from which he was about soon to retire.
An academic geologist, university administrator, former government scientific advisor and chairman of the House of Lords’ committee on science and technology, Lord Oxburgh declared that if something wasn’t done about climate change, there would be “a disaster.” Lord Oxburgh’s convictions were such that he had apparently persuaded his family not to take flights when they went on holiday. He asserted that global salvation depended on wise government regulation, taxation and subsidies. “The government seems to think that market forces alone will prevent the lights going out,” he said. “We’re not so sure.”
Lord Oxburgh subsequently became chairman of a multinational wind-farm company, Falck Renewables, and also chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association. Both these organizations obviously have a vested interest in claims of catastrophic climate change. Thus his Lordship was the very last person who should have been overseeing any “objective” inquiry into the cooking of climate science.