Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
In an official statement, the IPCC says it’s improper for any of its personnel to describe themselves as Nobel laureates. But the statement is all but invisible on the IPCC’s website.
Yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a media advisory headlined The IPCC at COP 18 at Doha (backed up here). It says the IPCC will be taking part in the upcoming United Nations climate change conference in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Yes, the UN really is holding a conference aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the nation that produces the world’s highest level of those emissions per capita.
The media advisory tells us that:
The Chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, is due to address the conference on Wednesday, 28 November…
Apparently, that’s news to Pachauri. Two days prior to the IPCC’s advisory the Gulf Times reported him declaring that the IPCC had been snubbed by the conference. The newspaper quoted him as follows:
For the first time in the 18 years of COP, the IPCC will not be attending, because we have not been invited…I don’t know what it is. The executive secretary of the climate change secretariat has to decide. I have attended every COP and the chairman of the IPCC addresses the COP in the opening session. [backup link]
Something odd is going on here. It’s difficult to believe that Bonnie James, the newspaper’s deputy news editor, fabricated these Pachauri remarks out of whole cloth.
It’s also difficult to believe that the man who jokes that he “lives at 30,000 feet” due to his myriad commitments sincerely thought his schedule was wide open and that it was OK for him to be on the other side of the world when the Doha conference commences six days from now (backup link).
If this was genuine miscommunication between these two UN bodies, surely Pachauri’s office could have resolved things with a phone call or two. That he instead chose to whine to the media makes him look foolish and his organization amateurish.
But the other IPCC announcement is even more interesting. The only mention I’ve seen of it is in an entertaining article by Tony Thomas, published in Australia’s Quadrant magazine a week ago. Curiously, the IPCC’s website doesn’t list this item among the 12 documents from 2012 it considers a “press release, media advisory or a press statement” (see here; backed up here).
Issued as a PDF, this document is titled Statement about the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Strangely, the IPCC chose not to date it.
But if one right-clicks and examines the document properties, one sees that it was created by a person named Laura Biagioni (identified on the IPCC’s website as an office assistant) on the 29th of October. I’ve backed up the document here. It’s web address is: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/nobel/Nobel_statement_final.pdf
So what did the IPCC say when it issued this new statement about the Nobel Peace Prize three weeks ago? In short, it put scientist Michael Mann and all those other IPCC authors who claim to be Nobel laureates firmly in their place.
Here, therefore, is the official line on this matter:
The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner. It would be correct to describe a scientist who was involved with AR4 or earlier IPCC reports in this way: “X contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.” [bold added]
So there we have it. Five years after receiving the award, the IPCC finally decides to get circumspect.
But just as there’s no mention in the IPCC’s Doha advisory that its contents contradict remarks made to the press by its chairman two days earlier, this statement makes no mention of the fact that it was Pachauri who encouraged IPCC personnel to think of themselves as Nobel laureates in the first place.
In a letter to lead and convening lead authors, the Chair of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, wrote: “I have been stunned in a pleasant way with the news of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC.
“This makes each of you Nobel Laureates and it is my privilege to acknowledge this honour on your behalf. The fact that the IPCC has earned the recognition that this award embodies, is really a tribute to your knowledge, hard work and application,” Dr Pachauri said. [bold added; press release backed up here]
It is, of course, in line with everything we know about the IPCC that while this organization has gone to the trouble of issuing a no-nonsense statement (I guess now its backside is covered) it has decided to classify this document as something other than a “press release, media advisory or a press statement.” Which means it is utterly invisible to anyone examining the front page of the IPCC’s website, its online Media Centre, its Outreach page, or its online Announcements.
If the IPCC had set out to disappear a statement that is less than one month old, it could not be doing a better job of it.
Gee, might this be connected to the embarrassing fact that Pachauri has himself frequently been described as a “Nobel laureate”? All those glorious headlines have now been declared 100% bogus. See, for example: