Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

Woodrow Clark: Thin Nobel Gruel

A fake Nobel keynote speaker played an embarrassingly minor role in the IPCC.

How scant can a person’s contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) be before they start imagining they’re a full-blown Nobel laureate? The case of Woodrow (Woody) W. Clark II is instructive.

Clark is the keynote speaker at an upcoming Toronto trade show called All-Energy 2014. Last week, organizers issued a press release describing him as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. This is called false advertising. Anyone who has purchased a ticket on this understanding deserves a refund.

I’ve previously explained why Clark is unequivocally, absolutely, and conclusively not a Nobel recipient (see here). What I didn’t mention was the embarrassingly paltry nature of Clark’s actual IPCC contribution.

In an interview, he explains that he wasn’t chosen by the IPCC in the normal course of events as that organization attempted to recruit leading experts (see here and here). Instead, Clark self-selected. He volunteered.

W_Clark_IPCC

click for source

Did the IPCC then assign him a meaty and prominent role in their signature climate assessments – those massive editions of the climate Bible released every six years? Nope.

Clark claims he was “a participant in the [IPCC’s] panels throughout the ’90’s.” Additionally, a footnote on page 40 of a book he co-authored declares:

Co-author Woodrow Clark was a co-editor and co-author for the UN IPCC Third Assessment Report in 2001… [italics in original, bolding by me]

But Clark’s name is nowhere to be found in connection with the IPCC’s third assessment. It doesn’t appear

The IPCC website acknowledges Clark’s participation in one instance only – in connection to an obscure, minor document titled Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer that the IPCC released in 2000. Approximately 225 individuals were responsible for writing and editing the various sections and 16 chapters of that document.

It’s important to understand that there is a hierarchy at the IPCC. Coordinating Lead Authors – who serve as chapter heads – top the pyramid. Then there are lead authors. Then there are contributing authors.

Was Clark in charge of an IPCC chapter? No. Did he serve as an IPCC lead author? I’m afraid not. Instead, he was a lowly contributing author for Chapter 2, titled Trends in Technology Transfer: Financial Resource Flows.

His sole additional role appears to have been an essentially administrative one. He was one of two Review Editors for Chapter 3, International Agreements and Legal Structures.

Clark further says he was

asked to be the first research director for one of the areas of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; I was to look at environmentally sound technologies like solar, wind, and others and see how they could be transferred from developed countries to developing countries. I had 6 co-authors covering things like wind from Denmark and solar from Japan. It was a landmark study.

The UNFCCC is an international treaty. It and the IPCC are two separate entities. So far, I’ve been unable to discover any online info about that landmark study from a source not linked to Clark himself. His firm’s website says it’s titled Six Country Reports on Environmentally Sound Technologies from Developed to Developing Countries, but I’ve been unable to trace it.

To recap:

  • there is no evidence that Clark participated in the IPCC’s signature climate assessments
  • he was a contributing author – the most junior position in the IPCC hierarchy – in one chapter of a minor IPCC report
  • he served as a review editor in a second chapter of the same minor report

On that basis, Woodrow Clark has spent years claiming to be a Nobel laureate.

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I alerted the All-Energy 2014 organizers that Clark is not a Nobel laureate on Wednesday, February 26. I drew their attention to the IPCC’s official statement which makes this matter clear.

Nearly 72 hours later, Reed Exhibitions – which bills itself “The World’s Leading Events Organizer” – has yet to retract (or amend) its press release. It continues to falsely advertise Clark’s credentials and its own event.

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See also this biographical sketch, which appears at the bottom of a book review Clark authored six weeks ago:

W_Clark_IPCC_account2

click to enlarge

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