This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
It’s the year 2000. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is working on an important document. Called the Technical Summary, this is an overview of the conclusions of Working Group 1 – the most scientifically demanding section of what will become the IPCC’s 2001 assessment report.
Those writing this summary are therefore a select group of people. In an organization allegedly composed of hundreds of the world’s top scientists these 30 individuals have been especially entrusted. It is they who will decide. It is their judgment that will prevail.
These people will supply the answer to that crucial question: What does the latest scientific research into climate change actually tell us?
Narasimhan Sundararaman is the Secretary of the IPCC – a role that includes responsibility for a staff of at least three.
David Griggs is the head of Working Group 1’s Technical Support Unit (TSU). And Paul van der Linden is that TSU’s Project Administrator (see page i of this 94-page PDF for confirmation of these roles).
None of those in attendance would appear to be kids. Most have decades of experience, having been employed by large government bureaucracies in the UK, the US, and Australia.
Given the gravity of the questions under consideration, the importance of the task, and the senior nature of the participants one would expect this group to demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and circumspection.
So where does their important meeting take place? At a university? A government office building? Somewhere where the optics are neutral – the sort of staid, conservative facility that would be consistent with the IPCC’s claim that it is a scientific body conducting a wholly objective and rigorously neutral assessment of the evidence?
Nope. These geniuses conduct their three-day meeting in the New York city offices of a green lobby group. Really.
To get a sense of the wealth and influence of this US-based NGO take a look at its list of staff experts. There are 130 names on that list…They have seven attorneys, eight economists…and a vice-president of corporate sponsorships.
But wait, it gets worse. At that time, Roberta Desmond and Georgia Pease were two EDF employees. Prior to this high-level IPCC meeting, attendees were advised that these two women “can provide you with a formal letter of invitation for visa application purposes.”
Go that? According to official US immigration records, these senior scientists were guests of the Environmental Defense Fund when they were making these all-important IPCC decisions.
The EDF appears to have booked these scientists’ hotel rooms – and subsidized their meals (lunch, dinner and an afternoon snack cost attendees a mere $21 per day in downtown NYC).
How do we know all of this? Because blogger Tom Nelson, who has been methodically working his way through the 5,000 Climategate2 e-mails, has discovered one that spells it all out. Sent in September 2000, the e-mail – cc’d to the two EDF staffers – explains these matters to those who took part in the IPCC meeting a month later (backup link here).
Now tell me, if some nice people offered you meeting space in glorious downtown Manhattan, helped you procure travel documents, fed you – and offered you goodness knows what other charming assistance, entertainment, and company over a three-day period – would you not be somewhat tempted to identify with their worldview?
The EDF isn’t a collection of newborn lambs and fluffy bunny rabbits. These are professional bloody lobbyists. You know – people who get paid to advance a particular agenda.
Lobbyists have no incentive to be fair-minded or even-handed. It is their job to pursue narrow, self-interested goals. A lobby group wealthy enough to afford office space not just in Manhattan, but in 10 other cities – including Washington, Beijing, and San Francisco – is playing in the big leagues. For keeps.
And it apparently occurred to none of these leading intellects at the IPCC that such lobbyists might have an ulterior motive. It occurred to none of them that the outside world couldn’t possibly take their findings seriously were it ever discovered that their deliberations were hosted (influenced / monitored / tainted / overheard?) by lobbyists.
Read the e-mail here. It is addressed to these individuals: