Finally we get a report from the UN IAC (Inter Academy Council) regarding their investigation of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Here’s my take on it.
While this seems a possible case of the proverbial fox guarding the hen-house, in my opinion the IAC appears to be VERY AWARE of the shenanigans surrounding the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4) that was published in 2007, and moreover, what’s been going on since. There have been many questions about this report and the data surrounding it (Climategate for example), with little or no response other than obfuscation, stonewalling or just plain old-fashioned BS. It seems this is a good report that addresses the problems.
By their own response the IAC appears to me to exonerate the “skeptics” who have questioned how they came to their conclusions by citing errors the IPCC made regarding things such as the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035, use of non-peer reviewed items, use of things such as magazine articles, the peer-review process, estimates of probability and many other items. This is tantamount to an admission that the IPCC AR4 is riddled with errors, omissions, possibly even fraud, and that the people who have been questioning what has been going on at the IPCC have been correct in their assessments of “unprecedented” problems with the report and the people responsible for it.
I am glad to see that they have made what appear to be some solid recommendations about how future IPCC reports will be handled, which hopefully won’t only provide a more realistic report, but will have ways for non-participants to be able to review the old who-what-where-when-and why based upon what’s contained in the report without having to ask a lot of questions with no answers received. In other words the next report should contain just about everything anyone would want to know about the data, the process, the scientist involved, how decisions were made, etc.
It also appears based upon their recommendation to elect an Executive Director and limit his or her term that they’re less than happy with Rajendra Pachauri who throughout this process seems to have, to be polite, done an lees than stellar job. They also want people in charge in between reports so there can be valid responses to valid questions after the next report is issued.
If this document isn’t ignored it will be a good thing. But, there’s always the possibility that we’ll end up with it only producing new ways for some of the participants to provide another faux report with faux information, provided by faux science in an effort to keep the pressure on that anthropogenic global warming is real. That remains to be seen.
Per their Executive Summary found here (PDF), we get the following recommendations.
- Recommendation: The IPCC should establish an Executive Committee to act on its behalf between Plenary sessions. The membership of the Committee should include the IPCC Chair, the Working Group Co-chairs, the senior member of the Secretariat, and 3 independent members, including some from outside of the climate community. Members would be elected by the Plenary and serve until their successors are in place.
- Recommendation: The IPCC should elect an Executive Director to lead the Secretariat and handle day-to-day operations of the organization. The term of this senior scientist should be limited to the timeframe of one assessment.
- Recommendation: The IPCC should adopt a more targeted and effective process for responding to reviewer comments. In such a process, Review Editors would prepare a written summary of the most significant issues raised by reviewers shortly after review comments have been received. Authors would be required to provide detailed written responses to the most significant review issues identified by the Review Editors, abbreviated responses to all non-editorial comments, and no written responses to editorial comments.
- Recommendation: All Working Groups should use the qualitative level-of-understanding scale in their Summary for Policy Makers and Technical Summary, as suggested in IPCC’s uncertainty guidance for the Fourth Assessment Report. This scale may be supplemented by a quantitative probability scale, if appropriate.
- Recommendation: Quantitative probabilities (as in the likelihood scale) should be used to describe the probability of well-defined outcomes only when there is sufficient evidence. Authors should indicate the basis for assigning a probability to an outcome or event (e.g., based on measurement, expert judgment, and/or model runs).
- Recommendation: The IPCC should complete and implement a communications strategy that emphasizes transparency, rapid and thoughtful responses, and relevance to stakeholders, and which includes guidelines about who can speak on behalf of IPCC and how to represent the organization appropriately.
From Fox News we get quotes from Harold Shapiro, Chair of the IAC investigation:
It appears that editors “didn’t follow through carefully enough on what review editors commented,” said Shapiro.
“We found in the summary for policymakers that there were two kinds of errors that came up — one is the kind where they place high confidence in something where there is very little evidence. The other is the kind where you make a statement … with no substantive value, in our judgment.”
And quotes from Don Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University:
“The IPCC report is filled with statements of ‘90% certainty’ without even saying 90% of what or providing any basis for such statements. Yet those pronouncements of certainty were used over and over as though that had been scientifically proven somehow,” he told FoxNews.com.
It seems Pachauri doesn’t get the message:
“The IPCC has yet to review the IAC’s findings, so I am not able to comment on its findings,” said longstanding chair Rajendra Pachauri in a press conference following the presentation. But he did note that none of the seven reviews of the IPCC to date had found flaws in the U.N. group.
Hopefully he will get it, in the end (pun intended).
The main report found here (PDF), will provide you with more details about the IPCC’s failures and what direction the IAC wants them to go in, which seems to be in the direction of real science, and that’s a good thing.
Perhaps the CO2 Insanity is beginning to subside.
Source: Fox News