Critically-ill great-grandmother ‘left in urine-soaked bed for 12 hours while nurses chatted nearby’
A great-grandmother was left helpless in soiled bed sheets for 12 hours as nurses chatted outside her room in a multi-million pound NHS hospital. Ruby Hamilton, 75, had been admitted to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham, with heart failure five weeks ago but was forced to sleep in urine and vomit-covered sheets despite repeatedly buzzing the nurses for help.
The mother-of-four, who has 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren was only cleaned and helped from the squalid bed after her family arrived and complained.
Ruby’s horrified daughter Christine, 48, said: ‘I was so shocked a patient could be left in such an appalling state. ‘My mother had been lying in her own filth overnight. It was so bad her sheets were drenched with urine. ‘She was very distressed and humiliated but the nurses didn’t seem to care. They just stood outside her room gossiping while my mother suffered.’
The family claim to have recorded a three-minute video of Ruby’s sheets covered in urine and vomit while the distressed woman is helped into a chair.
Doctors told Ruby’s family she was probably going to die within hours of being admitted to the new £545 million Queen Elizabeth Hospital but incredibly she rallied and is expected to make a full recovery.
But last Saturday when her family visited her they were shocked to discover she had been moved to a cramped side room. Charity worker Christine, from Birmingham, said: ‘My mum had been on a normal ward but on Saturday we were told she’d been moved. ‘We think my mother must have been left in her hospital bed like that for at least 12 hours.’
‘My mum told us she hadn’t been seen by anyone all night despite buzzing the nurses over and over again,’ Ms Hamilton added. ‘Her sheets were so wet there was a puddle or urine on the floor under her bed. That would not have happened if she had just been left for a short time.’
Ruby’s family are now so concerned about her being left in squalor again they are taking it in turns to sleep in a chair next to her. She is expected to be discharged later this week when she will return home to Birmingham where she lives with her husband Hurbert, 85.
‘It’s heart-breaking to think of her suffering like that and it shouldn’t have happened,’ Christine Hamilton added. ‘It goes to show that despite millions of pounds being spent to build the hospital it means nothing without the staff to care for the patients.’
The new 1,213-bed Queen Elizabeth Hospital opened in June and was hailed as one of the most modern facilities in the world.
Hospital bosses yesterday apologised to Ruby and her family. Kay Fawcett, chief nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: ‘The hospital is concerned about the question of care delivered to patients at all stages of their illness.
‘I am satisfied that the patient was not left for a long period of time in a wet bed and, as soon as the nurses were alerted, they took immediate steps to address the situation and to unreservedly apologise to the patient and the relatives.’
Poor NHS heart failure treatment services kill 5,000 a year
Thousands of patients are dying early because of a postcode lottery in the treatment of heart failure, a report warns. At least 5,000 sufferers die needlessly each year because they are treated on the wrong hospital wards, while others are prescribed too little medication to be effective, according to the National Heart Failure Audit.
Sufferers are twice as likely to die if put on a non-cardiac ward, the report found, with varying NHS trust admissions policies affecting survival rates.
More than 700,000 Britons live with heart failure, which occurs when damage to the heart leaves it too weak to pump blood efficiently round the body, leading to increased heart rate, fatigue, breathlessness, swollen ankles and sometimes premature death.
Around one in three sufferers dies within a year of being admitted to hospital, but this falls to one in four for those who are cared for by a hospital cardiologist or specialist heart failure services. This means almost 5,000 lives could be saved every year if all heart failure patients had access to this care, according to the audit.
The analysis of 21,000 patient records from England and Wales found the chance of dying in hospital doubled for patients put on non-cardiology wards, from 6 to 12 per cent. It also showed patients are being prescribed less than half the target dose for drugs such as ace inhibitors and beta blockers, which reduce the chances of death.
The audit, and a study from the European Heart Journal, found sufferers from poorer areas have to be admitted to hospital about five years earlier than those living in the most affluent areas.
Previous research shows death rates from heart failure in British hospitals are twice the European average, partly because of late diagnosis and treatment that fails to adequately control symptoms.
Dr Theresa McDonagh, who headed the audit, said: ‘It shows that patients who are admitted to hospital with heart failure have an unacceptably high death rate. ‘Outcomes for these patients can be significantly improved by having specialist cardiology input to their care, administration of appropriate evidence- based doses of key drugs and follow-up by specialist services.’
Victory for common sense: British parents should be free to take pictures of their children’s nativity play
Schools that ban parents from taking pictures of their children acting in Nativity plays do not have the law on their side, the Government’s privacy watchdog declared yesterday.
Parents should stand up to headmasters hiding behind the ‘myth’ that there are privacy laws against relatives taking photos or film footage of school events, the Information Commissioner said.
A string of schools have prevented parents from taking pictures of their children in plays, on sports day or at other events, often citing the Data Protection Act as justification. But the Commissioner, Christopher Graham, who is responsible for implementing the Act, said parents should ‘stand ready to challenge any schools or councils that say “Bah, Humbug” to a bit of festive fun’.
‘Armed with our guidance, parents should feel free to snap away this Christmas,’ he said. ‘Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera.
‘It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools. ‘A common sense approach is needed – clearly, photographs simply taken for a family album are exempt from data protection laws.’
Last month the Daily Mail revealed one headmistress who banned parents from taking pictures in school and even blacks out pupils’ faces in the school yearbook.
Vicky Parsey, headmistress of Applecroft primary school in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, has imposed the rules for fear that children’s faces will be superimposed on obscene internet images.
Critics said the ‘absurd’ rules branded all parents potential paedophiles, creating a ‘climate of fear’. But the commissioner’s guidance – sent to education authorities nationwide – says: ‘The Data Protection Act is unlikely to apply in most situations where photographs are taken by parents in schools.
‘The Act does apply when photographs of children are taken for official use by a school or college such as for issuing identification passes.
‘In the other small number of instances where the Data Protection Act does apply, if the photographer obtains permission from the parent or individual to take a photograph, then this will usually be enough to ensure compliance.’
Treating people like lab rats
When it comes to UK health policy, dodgy Nudge-style psychology is just as oppressive and poorly-founded as New Labour nannying
Last week, the health secretary for England, Andrew Lansley, published a White Paper that reflects the triumph of hope over experience. That’s because its theoretical foundation is ‘nudging’, the in-vogue American social policy tool that has long infatuated prime minister David Cameron and has now captured Lansley’s policy heart, too.
In Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein candidly describe how nudging works. As most of us act irrationally (and predictably so) much of the time, it takes an elite group of rational thinkers to design choices that encourage the rest of us to choose the ‘right’ option. Hence Cameron and Lansley are determined to shepherd us towards ‘good’ decisions through nudges.
What they ignore, however, is that the behavioural economics research that nudging relies upon is closer to science fiction than first-class science. The vast majority of its conclusions come from laboratory experiments that are completely artificial in their construction, as Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker, among many others, has cautioned.
Still, the White Paper assures us that government intervention will be based ‘on a rigorous assessment of the evidence’. Yet the same document then proposes plain packaging for cigarettes – for which there is absolutely no compelling evidence – and procrastinates over whether to implement a tobacco retail display ban, despite a plethora of sound studies finding that there are no public-health benefits.
The White Paper is also full of contradictions. So while warning that lifestyle-driven health problems such as obesity are at alarming levels, it confirms that ‘people in England are healthier and are living longer than ever’, and that ‘life expectancy is expected to continue to rise for both men and women’. Furthermore, ‘although we are living longer, there is no strong evidence that the burden of health conditions has increased’. In addition, the reader is correctly informed that childhood obesity rates are leveling off, and that the majority of the population either doesn’t drink or drinks in sensible moderation.
A flimsy theoretical foundation, compounded by a series of contradictory statements, is further tarnished by a litany of nonsensical assertions that reveal either the Department of Health’s stunning ignorance of the research evidence or a political decision to present a particular side of the argument to further a preordained policy agenda. The faulty policies and misinformation contained in the White Paper include the following:
An expansion of the ludicrous Change4Life programme
This policy assumes that government-directed, population-wide behavioural change with respect to diet, weight and physical activity levels is possible. Interventions based on creating such behavioural change almost always rely on theories, such as cognitive learning and the theory of planned behaviour, that have rarely been subjected to rigorous evaluation; where they have, they have generally been found to be spectacular failures. There is considerable evidence that community-level interventions designed to modify physical activity and food consumption patterns have been unsuccessful.
Eating ‘five a day’ will keep the doctor away
According to the White Paper, only three out of every 10 adults eat the recommended ‘five a day’ servings of fruits and vegetables. The White Paper assumes that ‘eating better’ can reduce the risk of disease and death. But there is little evidence from randomised clinical trials that supports any of the claims that reductions in fat and calories and increases in fibre, fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of certain diseases, delay death, or prevent weight gain. Indeed, some of the largest of these trials, such as the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, found no statistically significant differences in the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, or cardiovascular disease (CVD) between the intervention and control groups.
If we ‘move more’ we will lose weight and live longer
There is no compelling evidence that such exhortations have any efficacy in terms of weight loss or longevity in either adults or children. For example, Yale University professor of epidimeology, Dr Loretta DiPietro, notes that, based on the long-term evidence, ‘It is not clear that increased physical activity prevents or reverses age-related weight gain at the population level’. The evidence is even less compelling with children. Numerous studies have failed to find a link in children between physical activity levels, food intake, and obesity. In fact, there is considerable evidence that neither better sports and physical education facilities, nor improved programmes or increased hours of physical education in schools, will reduce childhood overweight and obesity.
Most serious illness is lifestyle-related
Two out of three British adults are either overweight or obese and the government assumes that the overweight and obese are at risk of premature death. The government also assumes that most serious illness is lifestyle-driven: ‘a substantial proportion of cancers and… deaths from circulatory disease could be avoided.’
Neither of these assumptions is true. A rigorous academic study by Dr Katherine Flegal and her colleagues found the weight group with the lowest death rate was overweight, while Dr Jerome Gronniger’s analysis found negligible differences in risk of death among people with body mass index (BMI) values from 20 to 35 (that is, from ‘normal’ right through to ‘mildly obese’). Flegal et al’s seminal study reported no relationship between overweight and excess mortality for cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary heart disease. For cancer there was no relationship between excess mortality and overweight and obesity. In the Million Women Study, for all the cancers studied overweight was not associated with a statistically significant mortality risk, while with obesity the association was a barely significant 1.1 (in other words, a 10 per cent increase in risk).
In fact, being overweight actually increased one’s chance of living longer. And for all other diseases other than CVD and cancer, obesity up to a BMI of 35 was modestly protective – that is, being plump seems likely to result in a longer life. The US data was confirmed last year by a rigorous Statistics Canada study of the Canadian population.
Huge savings would accrue to the NHS from less obesity and fewer smokers
The stubborn fact is that preventing obesity and smoking doesn’t save taxpayers’ money. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to an economic study led by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. The researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers.
Tougher anti-drinking measures are necessary
This is despite the fact the UK recently recorded the biggest fall in alcohol consumption in 60 years, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). The BBPA’s new Statistical Handbook reveals that there was a six per cent decline in alcohol consumption in 2009 – the sharpest decrease since 1948. It was also the fourth annual decline in five years; British drinkers are now consuming 13 per cent less alcohol than in 2004. Alcohol consumption in the UK remains below the EU average.
There’s also one assumption that is missing, but well supported by the research evidence…
Those who don’t drink tend to die sooner than those who do
A new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that abstaining from alcohol tends to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. In fact, abstainers’ mortality rates are also higher than those of heavy drinkers. Moderate drinking is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies.
The overall implications of the White Paper’s glaring deficiencies are significant. They suggest that a good deal of the government’s public-health message lacks a credible scientific basis. Consequently, Cameron and Lansley’s kinder, gentler Nudge State will not succeed where the coercive Nanny State has demonstrably failed.
Britain backs off becoming even softer on crime
David Cameron ruled out a change in minimum jail terms for murderers yesterday, reversing Government policy on sentencing in just 24 hours. On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke had indicated that he wanted to scrap fixed sentences for knife killers and other murderers, leaving judges to decide how long they should serve.
But after a backlash by victims of crime, Tory MPs and grassroots supporters, Downing Street intervened to head off claims that the Government is ‘soft on crime’.
Aides said Mr Cameron will not sanction any reductions in minimum sentences and pledged that the 25-year minimum for knife killers would stay. ‘The Prime Minister feels very strongly about this,’ his press secretary said.
The U-turn throws into chaos Mr Clarke’s shake-up of the criminal justice system.
Judges are currently under strict instructions on which murders merit a ‘whole life’ sentence behind bars and which should be imprisoned for 15, 25 or 30 years. Those who kill police get a minimum of 30 years.
But policy experts in Downing Street and the Ministry of Justice spent months working on plans to rewrite the section of the law that spells out minimum sentences.
Asked to explain the consequences on Tuesday, Mr Clarke dismissed the current rules as ‘complete nonsense’. ‘At the moment, if you murder me you’ll be punished more if you use a knife than if you strangle me painfully. I don’t think you should be too prescriptive. ‘It is absurd to say the judge needs a statute to say what method of murder is more serious than another method. ‘If I’m getting stabbed, I don’t whether it’s a screwdriver or a knife really.
‘We do not need to tell judges that murder is a serious offence. They are perfectly capable of setting a minimum term.’
But police officers, bereaved families and knife campaigners, were outraged by his proposals and victims groups announced plans for a demonstration.
Before the U-turn was announced, Simon Reed, of the Police Federation, had said: ‘Rather than diluting this 30-year rule we should be making sure police killers actually spend life behind bars.
Tory MPs openly denounced the plans and the ConservativeHome website, an indicator of the views of the Tory grassroots, was inundated with complaints.
But as Mr Cameron returned from Afghanistan yesterday, his advisers sought to clarify the Government’s position, saying the minimum sentences ‘were never going to be scrapped’. Instead, a Green Paper will see Schedule 21 of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act, which spells out the minimum sentences, rewritten, they insisted.
‘We will look to simplify it, to make it clearer, easier to use, and more readily understood by victims’ families and the public,’ a Downing Street spokesman said. ‘This Government has absolutely no intention whatsoever of reducing sentences for murder. ‘We will never abolish the mandatory life sentence, or seek any general reduction in minimum terms imposed for murder.’
No 10 intervened amid concerns that the plans would undermine Mr Cameron’s election pledge to get tough on knife-wielding criminals, which included plans to jail anyone found guilty of crimes involving a knife.
Sources close to Mr Cameron said Ben’s Law, named after 16-year-old Ben Kinsella who died at knife point in 2008, which means knife killers must serve 25 years, ‘will definitely not be scrapped’. One said: ‘The idea that we were going to end mandatory sentences is for the birds. On murder, nothing will change.’
It is the second time this year that Mr Cameron has had to intervene to overrule the Ministry of Justice. No 10 officials disciplined Justice Minister Crispin Blunt after he announced that taxpayers would have to fund prison Halloween parties for killers and paedophiles.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: ‘They’re clearly in chaos over this and it’s a shambolic way to make policy.’
Britain’s freeze of the century: Army on standby in coldest December for 100 years
There is no realistic way this is compatible with global warming
The army was put on high alert last night as Britain headed towards its coldest December for 100 years. As temperatures plunged to -18c (0f) David Cameron said the military ‘stands ready to help’.
The Prime Minister also revealed Cobra-style emergency meetings of senior officials and Ministers had been held to discuss the Government’s response to the big freeze.
After a further 4in of snow fell yesterday the Met Office warned that – despite a brief respite this weekend – temperatures would stay ‘remarkably’ low for another fortnight. If that happens, this month could replace 1981 as the coldest December since records began in 1910. To do so, the average mean temperature for the month will have to be lower than 0.2c.
As forecasters warned of more snow, sub-zero temperatures and ice for the Christmas period:
* The Prime Minister urged homeowners to embrace the ‘we’re all in it together’ strategy of the Conservatives Big Society by being good neighbours.
* More than 100 motorists were rescued after being trapped as heavy snow fell on the A171 near Whitby, in North Yorkshire.
* The AA said it had responded to more than 230,000 incidents in just 14 days.
As soldiers were called in to help clear roads in Scotland the Prime Minister told the Commons: ‘We stand ready to give any assistance. We have ministerial meetings at effectively the Cobra level that are going through what action needs to be taken.
‘There is a bigger strategic supply of grit than there’s been in previous years. ‘The military stand ready to help and whatever needs to be done, I can guarantee you will be done.’
But he urged people to do their bit as well. ‘There’s also something that we can all do to help neighbours and people that could suffer in this cold weather by being good neighbours.’
Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, went further and urged homeowners with access to grit and salt to tackle those roads and pavements not treated by councils. ‘People have always dug their way out of their own driveways…and I would encourage people who are able to do that kind of thing to continue doing it for themselves and for neighbours who are perhaps less able to,’ he said.
Last winter, more than 25,000 people died in England and Wales as a result of the cold temperatures. Most of them were aged over 75.
Nigel Stafford, from the British Red Cross, said: ‘We all need to look out for each other during the severe weather and make sure those less able than ourselves are not forgotten.’
The snow which crippled Scotland moved south yesterday leaving a further 4in across the Yorkshire Moors and parts of the east coast. More than 100 vehicles were trapped on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough when the snow fell on ice, making driving extremely hazardous.
Severe weather warnings remain in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands as temperatures dropped to -18c (0f) at Shap Fell in Cumbria, -15c (5f) in Edinburgh and -10c (14f) in Manchester.
Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: ‘December has got off to a remarkable start. It’s possible it could be the coldest on record. ‘We will have to wait and see but it’s going to stay cold for much of the rest of the month with widespread risk of ice, frost and snow showers.’
He said that the country would enjoy warmer temperatures – as high as 7c (45f) or 8c (46f) – over the weekend before the freeze returns. ‘There is scope for more snow showers to come in, particularly next week,’ he added. ‘Widespread ice and frost will return, particularly from the middle of the week onwards.’
Evidence of fraud by Phil Jones and his Warmist colleagues
Excerpts from Doug Keenan. There is a lot in it but Doug is to be congratulated for making it easy to read. A mathematician with a talent for writing!
The 1990 study
In 1990, the following study was published in the leading scientific journal Nature (note that Jones is the first author).
Jones P.D., Groisman P.Y., Coughlan M., Plummer N., Wang W.-C., Karl T.R., “Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land”, Nature, 347: 169–172 (1990).
This study concerns an issue with measurements of global temperature. As a simple example of the issue, consider a thermometer in the middle of a large field. Suppose that there was a city nearby, and over time, the city expanded to replace the field with asphalt and buildings. Then the temperatures recorded by the thermometer would tend to be higher, because asphalt, buildings, cars, etc. give off extra heat.
Many thermometers used by weather stations are in areas that have undergone urbanization. Thus, such thermometers might show temperatures going up, even if the global climate was unchanging. It is widely accepted that some of the increase in measured temperatures during the past century is due to many weather stations being located in areas where urbanization has occurred. A critical issue is this: how much of perceived global warming is due to such urbanization effects?
The latest (2007) assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change considers this issue The IPCC does not do original research itself; rather, it assesses research previously published in scientific journals. The IPCC assessment of the urbanization effects concluded that such effects are insignificant overall. One of the main studies cited by the IPCC to justify that conclusion is the 1990 study of Jones et al. The study of Jones et al. looked at urbanization effects in eastern China (as well as eastern Australia and western Russia). It found that urbanization effects there were insignificant. Eastern China has had much urbanization; so if the temperature measurements from there were essentially unaffected by urbanization, then that would suggest the temperatures records from other countries around the world were also little affected, in general. Hence urbanization effects are probably insignificant globally.
The study of Jones et al. is not the sole study relied upon by the IPCC report for its conclusion about the global insignificance of the urbanization effects. Hence even if the study were wholly invalidated, that would not imply that the conclusion was unsupported. On the other hand, arguments made in some of the other main studies have been strongly criticized (both in the peer-reviewed literature and on scholarly blogs). The Russell report rightly states that the study of Jones et al. “is important”.
A problem with analyzing temperature measurements from weather stations is that the stations sometimes move, and that can affect the measurements. For example, one of the stations used in the 1990 study was originally located upwind of a city and later moved, 25 km, to be downwind of the city; such a move would be expected to increase the measured temperatures, because a city generates heat. It is obvious that when a station moves, the temperature measurements from before the move are not, in general, directly comparable with the measurements from after the move.
The 1990 study of Jones et al. claims that the weather stations that were studied “were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times”. That claim is essential for the study.
Jones et al. asserted that they obtained the Chinese data from a report that was jointly published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The DOE/CAS report states that its purpose is to present “the most comprehensive, long-term instrumental Chinese climate data presently available”. The report also states, though, that for a majority of the stations studied by Jones et al., “station histories are not currently available” and “details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times … are not known”. For a minority of the stations, histories are available: over half of those had substantial moves. Thus, there is strong evidence that the claim of Jones et al. to have selected stations on the basis of their histories is fraudulent.
Potential problems with the claim of Jones et al. were first raised on the Climate Audit blog of Steve McIntyre. I subsequently investigated. It became clear that fraud had occurred, but that Phil Jones was innocent: the evidence strongly indicates that, for the Chinese data, Jones trusted and relied upon one of his co-authors, Wei-Chyung Wang.
Wang is a professor at the State University of New York at Albany. In 2007, I filed a formal allegation of research fraud with the University. Details are given in a peer-reviewed article that I published in the journal Energy & Environment (2007), entitled “The fraud allegation against some climatic research of Wei-Chyung Wang”. The University conducted an investigation, which concluded that Wang was not guilty. There were, however, serious procedural irregularities during the investigation. For example, I was not contacted during the investigation: a breach of the University’s own policies, U.S. federal regulations, and obvious natural justice.
Moreover, when asked to produce the station histories, Wang claimed, in effect, that he had plagiarized the work and that the person from whom he had plagiarized had since lost the information; yet the university ignored the admission of plagiarism. Details are on my web site here
The U.S. Congress’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has contacted me about the irregularities in the investigation. In November 2010, the Committee informed me that it is considering whether to investigate the matter. Final status of the allegation against Wang thus remains to be decided.
Although Jones was innocent in 1990, he was no longer so by 2001, when the following research paper was published (note that Jones is one of the authors).
Yan Z., Yang C., Jones P., “Influence of inhomogeneity on the estimation of mean and extreme temperature trends in Beijing and Shanghai”, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 18: 309–321 (2001).
The paper of Yan et al. studied two weather stations, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. The Beijing station had five locations spread over 41 km. The Shanghai station had only a single move, but that move caused a doubling of the long-term warming trend there (according to Yan et al.). The station movements imply that the temperature measurements from the stations cannot be directly used in analysis, as discussed above. Yet the measurements had been used in the analysis of Jones et al. (1990). And given that this problem arose for both the stations that were studied by Yan et al., then it must be suspected for at least some of the other stations used in 1990.
Thus, by 2001, Jones must have known that the 1990 study should not be relied upon. As the lead author of the 1990 study, Jones should have then tried to have had the study retracted: it is clear that that is the ethical thing to do. Indeed, the UK Research Integrity Office now has guidelines stating that a retraction may be necessary “when there is clear evidence that the reported findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct, such as fabrication of data, or honest error, for example, miscalculation or experimental error”. Jones, however, did not try to have the 1990 study retracted.
In 2007, the IPCC published its most-recent assessment report on climate change. The IPCC reports are widely considered to be the most authoritative assessment of the science of global warming. For the 2007 report, there were two scientists with final responsibility for the chapter in the report on “surface and atmospheric climate change” (here “surface” refers to the surface of the Earth, i.e. where people live). Those two were Phil Jones and an American colleague, Kevin Trenberth.
The chapter of Jones & Trenberth cites the 1990 study for its assessment of the issue of urbanization effects. Thus, in 2007, Jones was responsible for having the IPCC cite the 1990 study even though he knew that the study should not be relied upon. This constitutes fraud— fraud in the writing of the most important reference that there is on global-warming science.
On 19 June 2007, I e-mailed Jones about this, citing Yan et al. and saying “this proves that you knew there were serious problems with Wang’s claims back in 2001; yet some of your work since then has continued to rely on those claims, most notably in the latest report from the IPCC”. I politely requested an explanation. I did not receive a reply.
In August 2007, I submitted a draft of my article on these allegations to the journal Energy & Environment. The journal editor then sent the draft to Jones. Jones replied with many comments, but he did not attempt to rebut the allegation against him.
On 2 February 2010, in the wake of Climategate, The Guardian published a front-page story that reported on my allegations. The Guardian is a major advocate for global warming; yet the report was highly positive. The story was re-reported around the world. Later that day, the University of East Anglia issued a press release to clarify some issues. Yet the press release did not attempt to rebut the allegation.
Jones has never publicly attempted to deny the fraud allegation against him.
Note that the allegation against Jones is separate from the allegation against Wang. The allegation against Wang relies on the DOE/CAS report. The allegation against Jones is independent of that and relies on the paper of Yan et al.
The 2008 study
In 2008, Jones and two colleagues (neither of which was Wang) published a study that claimed to verify the conclusion of the 1990 study. Jones, and others, have since cited the 2008 study to argue that issues with the 1990 study are therefore immaterial.
The 2008 study, however, relies upon the same station histories as the 1990 study. The histories that are not extant. Indeed, Jones discussed my fraud allegation in an interview with Nature (published on 15 February 2010), and in the interview Jones acknowledged that the histories had been lost long ago. In the same interview, however, Jones reasserted that the 2008 study verified the conclusions of the 1990 study —which is obviously impossible.
Moreover, in 2008, Wang made a submission to the University at Albany during the university’s investigation of my allegation against him. His submission (which was leaked as part of Climategate) included a letter from a colleague in China who co-authored the DOE/CAS report. The letter stated that the relevant histories had been lost long ago. Indeed, it is manifest that if the histories were available in 2008, Wang would have produced them to defend himself.
Jones’ story about the 2008 study is plainly false. Jones changed that story in a second interview with Nature (published on 15 November 2010). In the second interview, Jones claimed that the histories had not been lost, but “the authorities [in China] have not released the full station-history data”. Jones’ change of story seems highly suspicious. Moreover, the changed story has a problem: what reason do the authorities have for not releasing the histories? The histories are not state secrets; their release, if they were extant, would benefit science; and CAS undertook a project with DOE to publish them.
Oxburgh and Russell panels
The Oxburgh panel had, as its remit, to assess the integrity of work done at CRU. The allegation that I made against Jones is the sole explicit allegation of fraud that has been made against anyone at CRU. Yet the report of the Oxburgh panel does not consider the allegation. Indeed, Lord Oxburgh stated, when giving oral evidence to the Committee on 8 September 2010, that he did not recall looking at the allegation.
The Russell panel did consider the allegation: Section 6.6 of their report is devoted to this. Neither that section nor any other section of their report, however, cites Yan et al. In other words, the Russell panel did not consider the evidence for the allegation.
The Russell panel claimed, though, that the 2008 study by Jones et al. “verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data”. As discussed above, this claim is extremely dubious. Additionally, my allegation is that Jones committed fraud. The allegation does not concern the validity, or otherwise, of the 1990 conclusions. If those conclusions were invalid, that might potentially have consequences for global-warming science, but it is of little consequence for the central issue: the integrity of Jones’ research.
The panel further claimed that Wang being found not guilty by the University at Albany implied that Jones was not guilty. As discussed above, the allegation against Wang is independent of the allegation against Jones.
It is also notable that the Russell panel had, in its remit, the investigation of e-mails that were released in Climategate and that three of those e-mails included copies of my e-mail to Jones on 19 June 2007, which cited Yan et al. and requested for an explanation for his actions (the e-mails were #1182342470, #1182346299, #1182361058). If every member of the Russell panel read all the Climategate e-mails, as Sir Muir asserted in his oral evidence to the Committee on 27 October 2010, then surely they would have seen the reference to Yan et al.
That is particularly so given the publicity that my e-mail to Jones received. For example, the Associated Press had a report on the Climategate e-mails in December 2009. That report highlighted my e-mail to Jones as one of the most significant (though regarding Wang rather than Jones). The report was apparently published in over 1000 newspapers around the world, often of the front page. A Climategate e-mail given that much publicity would be expected to have gotten the attention of a panel investigating the Climategate e-mails.
From this summary account, two main conclusions emerge. First, there is good evidence to support the allegation that Jones committed fraud in some of his research —including research which influenced a chapter of the principal report upon which governments rely for a scientific assessment of global warming. Second, the evidence for the allegation was not considered by either the Oxburgh panel or the Russell panel; indeed, it has not been properly investigated by any competent and authorized body.