This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
My book has a new title – and will be available in September.
I am now close to finishing my book. The Kindle edition will be released in early September, with a paperback version available a week or so later.
Since I began my research two years ago, this project has passed through three distinct phases. In its first incarnation, my book was going to enumerate 10 reasons to remain calm, cool, and collected about global warming. My intent was to highlight issues that troubled me – that, in my view, cast serious doubt on the idea that human activity is responsible for triggering dangerous climate change.
The process by which we arrive at a conclusion matters. In criminal trials we all understand that if the jury has been rigged, the judge has been bought, or the prosecutor has cheated the verdict must be thrown out. Another trial must be held.
That’s the reason my attention shifted to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Once I began noticing the irregularities associated with its reports my working title became: Decoding the Climate Bible: Almost Nothing You’ve Heard About the UN’s Uber Report is True.
I then re-drafted my outline. The plan was for each chapter to highlight a different set of concerns by telling the story of an individual climate dissident – geologist Robert Carter, malaria expert Paul Reiter, hockey-stick slayers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, and so forth.
Last year I did a great deal of work on that version of my manuscript. Some parts made the final cut, some did not.
This past February I experienced a crisis of confidence. I had tons of information with which to work – much of it the result of my own, original, investigative research. But I feared my manuscript had become ponderous, that it amounted to an avalanche of info that would be difficult for the average person to digest.
The climate skeptic community is a vibrant one, but it’s relatively small and writing only for it is like preaching to the choir. Connecting with a wider audience, writing a book that has a chance of being read by people who aren’t already familiar with this debate, has been my goal.
I felt I needed to make my book more accessible, that it needed to be broken down into more manageable pieces. And so the third and final version began to take shape. My new title is:
Our Spoiled Godchild:
How the World has Been Taking Climate Change Advice
from a Wayward Teenager
My spotlight is now trained firmly on the IPCC itself. It is difficult to think of another organization that is so influential and yet so unaccountable.
The IPCC has been admired, flattered, and praised throughout its entire existence. Rather than helping keep it honest, the world’s media has spent two decades parroting its marketing message – accepting its claims of rigour and transparency at face value. There have been no checks-and-balances from that direction.
To complicate matters further, no one is really in charge of the IPCC. Technically, it’s governed by representatives of all the UN nations that choose to send representatives to infrequent meetings. Any child with more than 100 godparents is bound to be messed up. Even when he torments small animals there will always be those who think he can do no wrong.
Collectively, therefore, we need to confront some unpleasant truths. What happens to a child who is constantly told he’s brilliant, who is never corrected, who breaks one rule after another with impunity?
Does he strive for excellence? Does he learn self-discipline? Does he develop sound judgment? Anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows the answer to these questions.
We’ve been told the IPCC is a paragon of virtue, without parallel on the planet. Yet nothing in its history makes that remotely likely.
The IPCC performs one of the most important jobs in the world. Its reports are the reason carbon taxes are being introduced, heating bills are rising, and costly new regulations are being enacted.
And yet for more than 20 years it was left entirely to its own devices – its excesses unchecked, its procedural violations disregarded, its considerable shortcomings ignored. Collectively, we allowed this wayward teenager to spend his days lounging in sloppy clothes, with uncombed hair, in a comfy chair atop a pedestal.
In the grown-up world, when important decisions and large amounts of money are involved conflict-of-interest mechanisms are firmly in place. Lawyers, accountants, and financial advisers are all subject to these sorts of rules. Organizations that expect to be trusted by the public adopted them long ago.
But it is only recently, after the IPCC had been in existence for 22 years, that the godparents of this wayward teenager began to have a discussion about conflict-of-interest. That, alone, speaks volumes.
I hope it will be impossible for anyone who reads even a portion of my book to ever again imagine that the IPCC is a reliable source of information. Too many of its claims about how its reports get written are simply untrue. This organization often fails to meet minimum standards of behaviour – never mind a gold standard.
If you believe human-caused climate change is a serious threat (and there are good, smart, sincere people who do), you must do everything in your power to have the IPCC disbanded. It has become a monstrous liability.
My book will soon be finished, and my work will be done. It has been a long haul – and I’m looking forward to having a life again (wink).