Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

This Is Called Cheating (Part 1)

IPCC officials are telling Working Group 2 authors about scientific papers that haven’t been written yet. These papers will appear in a special edition of a journal guest-edited by an activist scientist.



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says it conducts no research of its own. It says it merely surveys the already-available scientific literature on climate change and figures out what it all means. But that’s not what actually happens.

In 2010 an IPCC insider told InterAcademy Council investigators that scientists who wish to include certain information in IPCC reports sometimes manufacture made-to-order journal articles. Here’s the quote:

Governments want the chapter to cover questions of current relevance for which there [is] often “grey literature” but little peer reviewed literature…An approach that has been used in such cases is that lead authors try to have the material published in peer reviewed journals while they are drafting the IPCC chapter so that the published or in press article can be cited in the final draft of the IPCC chapter. [bold added; see page 68 of this 678-page PDF]

In my book about the IPCC I say:

This is called cheating. And apparently it’s an open secret that such things go on.

I point out that even though a particular issue of the journal Climatic Change had yet to be published, 16 of its 21 articles were cited in the IPCC’s last major report. Indeed, that issue of Climatic Change appears to have been assembled by IPCC personnel expressly so that they could say a range of things that hadn’t been established in the scientific literature (see IPCC Cites an Unpublished Journal 39 Times).

Something suspiciously similar is happening once again. And IPCC officials appear to be condoning it.

When lead authors for the IPCC’s Working Group 2 met in Buenos Aires in late October of this year, each of them received an information package that included a document titled Special Issue on ISI-MIP results. It alerts them to an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

According to the IPCC document, some of the papers that will appear there will discuss results generated by the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project. But the document also suggests that papers on topics such as extreme events, water supply, and CO2 fertilization will be included.

IPCC officials know that the papers to be published in that issue of the PNAS have not been written yet. Their own document says the submission deadline isn’t until January 31, 2013.

So why is the IPCC giving its authors this kind of heads-up? Is it clairvoyant? Does it already know that these papers will be so ground-breaking the IPCC won’t be able to ignore them?

Perhaps. Or perhaps IPCC officials are telling authors where to look for material that fills inconvenient gaps in their narrative.

The IPCC document notes that the guest editor of this special PNAS issue will be Hans Joachim (John) Schellnhuber. If one were to make a list of highly politicized, activist scientists this gent would be near the top.

to be continued    Read Part 2 here




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