Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

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

How Much Did Greenpeace Pay van Ypersele?

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele became an IPCC official in 2002. Two years later he got into bed with Greenpeace.

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Jean-Pascal van Ypersele’s 2004 Greenpeace gig; click to enlarge

In April 2002, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele became an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official. His LinkedIn page tells us he served as vice-chair of Working Group 2 until he became vice-chair of the entire organization in late 2008.

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from van Ypersele’s LinkedIn page (click)

Van Ypersele is now vying for the IPCC’s top job. That he is unfit for this important post is demonstrated by the fact that he has displayed impaired judgment on a par with former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri himself. Despite his leadership role at the IPCC – which is supposed to be an objective scientific entity – van Ypersele thought getting into bed with Greenpeace was a swell idea.

Greenpeace commissioned a report about how climate change might affect van Ypersele’s home country of Belgium. Together with Phillippe Marbaix (who is described here as his assistant), van Ypersele coordinated the entire effort – which involved seeking input from 20 other academics.

The 44-page report, written in French, was released in July 2004. A seven-page, English language summary was also distributed. The summary begins with a letter from Steve Sawyer, who is identified as the “political director” of Greenpeace International.

Sawyer declares that:

Without urgent measures to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the possibility of limiting the temperature rise below a dangerous level will have disappeared within a decade. [bold added]

That decade expired last July, and emissions have risen rather than fallen. Yesterday, in a statement published in the Guardian, van Ypersele said nothing about it being too late, past tense, to prevent catastrophe. Which must mean Greenpeace’s political operative hack was spouting unmitigated nonsense ten years ago.

Van Ypersele’s opening remarks in this seven-page summary invoke that most clichéd of environmental literary devices – gazing into an eco-apocalypse crystal ball and scaring the kiddies with horror stories.

In van Ypersele’s vision of 2044, Belgium is in a state of emergency. It suffers from unbearable heat, drought, and over-flowing morgues. The high-speed train between Paris and Berlin has derailed because the rails have been deformed by extreme heat. The Mediterranean Sea has flooded the Nile Delta, making Egypt a land of refugees. And the UK’s King William has died of West Nile virus.

The man who wants to be the IPCC’s new chairman tells us that “every one of the facts described [above] is possible unless serious measures are taken to protect the climate.” He says he has “long dreamed of drafting an inventory on the potential impacts of climate change in Belgium” and that “Greenpeace’s request has given me the chance.”

Van Ypersele goes on to thank Greenpeace “for not having interfered at all in the content of our paper” but doesn’t address two important questions:

  1. How much did Greenpeace pay him?
  2. How can the public have confidence in the scientific objectivity of IPCC reports when senior IPCC officials are taking money from Greenpeace?

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hat tip to Hilary Ostrov and Russell Cook for unearthing this Greenpeace report

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see also:

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