Excerpts from the Financial Post essay by Ross McKitrick
There is too much conflict of interest built into the report-writing process
After the Climategate emails scandal of last winter, and discoveries of some embarrassing errors in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, asked the Inter-Academy Council (IAC) to review IPCC procedures. The IAC is a little-known branch of the Inter-Academy Panel, itself a little-known committee that connects national academic societies. It was a safe choice for Pachauri. The last IAC report was a glowing tribute to alternative energy schemes, coauthored by Pachauri himself, along with current Obama administration appointee Stephen Chu and a group of others. So I do not expect much independence of mind or hard-headed objectivity from the IAC. But with the report due out on Aug. 30, I guess we shall soon see.
I was one of hundreds of people asked to respond to a set of inquiry questions. The questions, and my replies, are available on my Web page (rossmckitrick.weebly.com).
Here is a summary of some of my input.
IPCC policies, such as the requirement for an “objective, open and transparent” review process, sound impressive, but my experience is that the written policies are not always followed, and there do not appear to be any consequences when they are breached.
For example, one rule states: “Review Editors will need to ensure that where significant differences of opinion on scientific issues remain, such differences are described in an annex to the Report.” Yet no such annexes have been produced. I was involved in numerous areas where there were significant differences of opinion on scientific issues, such as flaws in surface temperature data, improper estimation of trend uncertainties and methodological flaws in paleoclimate research. None of these differences were resolved during the review process, yet no annexes were ever published, creating a false impression of consensus.
After the publication of the AR4 I found that important text had been altered or deleted after the close of the review process, and the Lead Authors of Chapter 3 had fabricated evidence (on Page 244 of the Working Group I Report), by claiming that statistical evidence in two published, peer-reviewed articles on surface data contamination was statistically insignificant, when the articles show no such thing.
The paragraph was inserted after the close of peer review and was never subject to external scrutiny. That Lead Authors are able to insert evidence and rewrite the text after the close of review makes a mockery of the idea that the IPCC reports are peer reviewed, and undermines the claim that they contain the consensus of experts.