Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

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

WWF Influence at the Highest Levels of the IPCC

The 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is 3,000 pages long. Since most people will never wade through a document of that length, the IPCC has prepared a handy summary-of-summaries called the Synthesis Report.

The final, specific wording of that document was hammered out via a political negotiation involving bureaucrats, politicians, and diplomats. But the draft document from which those people based their discussions was authored by a select group of 40 IPCC personnel known as the “core writing team.”

The IPCC says there were 450 lead authors, plus 800 contributing authors for its 2007 report (which is often referred to as AR4 – for Assessment Report #4). This makes a grand total of 1,250 participants. Of those a mere 40 individuals were elevated to core writing team status.

In other words, for every person who landed a spot on that team an additional 30 IPCC participants were not selected.

One would therefore expect that these chosen few would be of the highest calibre: Top-notch, reputable scientists. Highly experienced professionals. Individuals known for their impeccable judgment. Those whose objectivity is beyond dispute.

Alas, that would be in some parallel universe in which the IPCC thinks that public perception matters. In our world, the 40 crème de la crème individuals break down as follows:

  • 6 of them were IPCC employees at the time – Peter Bosch, Renate Christ, Jian Liu, Martin Manning, Jean Palutikof and Andy Reisinger
  • 1 was an American lawyer (Lenny Bernstein) and another was a medical doctor with a thin publication record who is employed by the World Health Organization (Bettina Menne)

That leaves us with 32 people who might be considered world-class scientists. But among those are:

  • IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri – who is thoroughly tainted by the fact that he writes forewords for Greenpeace publications
  • Bill Hare – a longtime Greenpeace employee who is considered a legend in that organization
  • and – who’d have guessed it? – 9 other people with documented links to the World Wildlife Fund. These nine individuals belong to the Climate Witness Scientific Advisory Panel about which I have been reporting recently. Their names are Osvaldo Canziani, Saleemul Huq, David Karoly, Zbigniew Kundzewicz, Monirul Mirza, Leonard Nurse, Nijavalli Ravindranath, the late Stephen Schneider, and Gary Yohe.

So of the 32 members of the IPCC’s core writing team that we might have expected to be world-class scientists, 11 of them (34%) are publicly affiliated with environmental NGOs.

And we’re really supposed to believe that the IPCC is a scientific organization writing purely scientific reports.



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