This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
A lead author of the IPCC’s ‘hard science’ section is a Green Party candidate and deputy leader.
Let’s time travel back to August 2010 when the InterAcademy Council issued its damning report about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s the report which declared that there were “significant shortcomings in each major step of IPCC’s assessment process” (see the first paragraph on page 31 of this 123-page PDF).
Among it’s specific recommendations was the following:
The IPCC should develop and adopt a rigorous conflict-of-interest policy that applies to all individuals directly involved in the preparation of IPCC reports, including…Lead Authors… [p. 71 of this 123-page PDF]
The IPCC claims to be conducting a scientific assessment of climate research. That assessment surely needs to be done by people who are dispassionate – rather than by those who already have strong opinions. If a potato chip manufacturer is on trial, it isn’t appropriate for anti-junk-food activists to be members of the jury. We all understand that their preconceptions will taint the result, that any guilty verdict will appear unfair.
If you want the public to trust you, appearances matter. Most of us understand this. But despite the fact that the IPCC will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, it’s among the slowest learners on the planet.
First, its conflict-of-interest policy is utterly toothless. Second, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has made it clear that it was adopted so recently it doesn’t apply to the assessment currently underway.
Which explains why climate modeler Andrew Weaver thinks it’s perfectly OK to be a candidate for the Green Party of British Columbia (one of Canada’s provinces) at the same time that he’s serving as a lead author for the IPCC. Indeed, as Hilary Ostrov reports, Weaver has gone a step further – he has now become the party’s Deputy Leader.
On its website this party’s platform is outlined in the Green Book 2013 (backed up here). It advises that a “key goal” is to “Get the province off oil and gas” (p. 12 of the PDF). In the section titled Climate Change and Mental Health, the party promises to:
implement a full range of direct and supportive programs for people to help mitigate the impact of climate change on mental health and psychosocial well-being… [p. 18]
The document talks about “environmental debt” (p. 27) and promises to declare the province a “Plastic-Shopping-Bag-Free Zone” (p. 29). It describes the utopian concept of “zero waste” as being a “major part” of the Green Party’s”economic strategy” (p. 28). Among its other claims (all direct quotes from p. 29):
But nothing beats the following for sheer hubris and self-delusion:
[British Columbia] can become a beacon of leadership in an otherwise irresponsible world. We can shame other governments into action.
What more needs to be said? One of the lead authors of the ‘hard science’ section of the upcoming IPCC report is deputy leader of a political party that fancies itself a beacon of leadership in an otherwise irresponsible world. This man sees himself as a messiah.
Moreover, in a world in which 14-year-old girls are shot in the head for the crime of attending school, governments massacre their own citizens, and jurisdictions in the wealthiest of countries “are locked in an accelerating economic, demographic and social decline,” Weaver actually imagines that his party’s actions will have the power to shame other governments. Wow.
One final note. For a fee, Weaver (who already earns a decent living as a civil servant) will speak to your group about climate change. Above his photograph on the website of the Lavin Agency speaker’s bureau, we’re advised that he is a “Co-winner of [the] Nobel Peace Prize.” Michael Mann, an IPCC colleague of Weaver’s, is currently the object of much derision after claiming in a court document that he, too, is similarly a Nobel laureate.
Here is the official Nobel Prize website. Please go there for yourself and type ‘Andrew Weaver’ into the search box. His name will not appear. He did not win a Nobel Prize.
Precise. Meticulous. Detail-oriented. That is what we expect of scientists. Weaver’s behaviour is closer to, well, that of a politician.
The facts are as follows: Weaver is merely one among thousands of scientists who contributed their time to the preparation of IPCC reports over the past two decades. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Al Gore and to the IPCC. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. Its membership consists of nations – not individuals.
Weaver’s Nobel claim is spin. Self-aggrandizing, inaccurate, misleading spin.
UPDATE: Thomas Richard says the director of the Nobel Institute has, in an e-mail, stated explicitly that “Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” By extension, the same is true of Andrew Weaver.