Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

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

This Is Called Cheating (Part 2)

Months before authors were even selected to write an upcoming IPCC report, its chairman was telling a live audience what conclusion that report would reach.

read Part 1 here

Recently, I discussed a strange document distributed to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors. It alerted them to scientific papers that haven’t been written yet but that are slated to appear in a particular issue of a particular scientific journal.

The only explanation that makes sense is that these papers are expected to reach conclusions the IPCC considers helpful. Which means that the IPCC is not surveying the existing scientific literature in an impartial manner and then writing an objective report.

Instead, the integrity of its own processes is being undermined by its own officials. Why? So that its upcoming report will arrive at the right conclusion.

I know, this sounds cynical and uncharitable of me. But how’s this for a timeline?

The names of those selected to write the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report were only announced in June 2010. But nine full months before that, in September 2009, the IPCC’s chairman already knew what this report was going to say.

Here’s what he told a live audience in New York:

When the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken. People are going to say, ‘My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned.’

[bold added; backup link here, hat-tip to Tom Nelson]

Long before the authors were selected, years before they’d slaved away at thousands of pages of text, well before they’d taken time from their normal work lives to board flights to meetings in San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Japan, South Africa, and New Zealand, the chairman not only knew what they were going to say, he knew that their conclusions would be so dramatic the public response would be OMG.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fix is in. The game is rigged.

The chairman of the IPCC thinks the purpose of this organization is to frighten us – to frighten us so badly that we panic and do things we otherwise wouldn’t consider necessary.

This seems like a good time to remind ourselves that, in recent years, the London Sunday Times, the UK Telegraph, the Financial Times, and the New Scientist have all called for Pachauri to resign.

So long as he remains at the helm no reasonable person can possibly have faith in anything the IPCC says.


There has been a discussion over at the Bishop Hill blog regarding Part 1. Among the comments are a few by economist Richard Tol, who’s currently in charge of a chapter in the IPCC’s Working Group 2 section.

Here’s an edited version of what he says about the yet-to-be written papers due to be published in the upcoming special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS):

The PNAS special issue is devious for the following reason. It reports on a model comparison exercise…The lowest common denominator – the comparitor – in these models is the impact climate change would have, without adaptation, on today’s world.

We know from the literature that adaptation greatly reduces the impact of climate change. We know that future vulnerability to climate change will be very different from today, and probably much lower – for instance, concerns about the impact of climate change on malaria vanish if and when a vaccine will be developed.

The PNAS special issue will therefore not compare our best estimates of the impacts of climate change, but rather our worst-case estimates. It is alarmist by default (some would say by construction).

…We discussed the PNAS Special Issue in [my chapter] and decided that we’re not going to fall for it. Will other chapters follow suit? Because the PNAS Special Issue will appear just before the cut-off date, [IPCC external reviewers] will have little to no chance to comment on inappropriate use of this material.

[read his full remarks here]



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