Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

Pachauri’s Rhetoric vs Reality

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2008:

we carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry [the] credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don’t settle for anything less than that. [source – see bottom of p. 2]

Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman, 2009:

IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin. [source – see end of article]

IPCC insiders answering a 2010 InterAcademy Council questionnaire:

…there are vast amounts of information and data that are not published in scientific papers…and without which the assessments of the IPCC would not be possible. [p. 241]

For a number of areas of IPCC work non-peer reviewed literature is absolutely essential, because the peer reviewed literature does not cover enough relevant information. [p. 257]

Some chapters rely heavily on gray literature while ignoring peer-reviewed literature on the same matter (e.g., Ch 7 WG2). [p. 543]

The pressure from [developing countries] to use publications in [developing countries] and/or grey literature is high and effective. [p.555]

My [2007 Working Group 3] chapter depended heavily on non-peer reviewed literature and I have yet to hear a complaint about its quality. [p. 52]

It’s time for an explanation. How can the IPCC’s chairman be so profoundly misinformed? And are there really no consequences when the head of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning body goes around the world misleading the rest of us on so basic and fundamental a matter?

Do we really consider this acceptable behaviour? Have our standards sunk so low?

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The 678-page PDF of collected, anonymized answers to the InterAcademy Council questionnaire is here.

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