Two scathing reviews by scholars working with the IPCC show why the organization is hopelessly corrupted by politics

ipcc[1]Two scathing letters critical of the IPCC process were published on Friday April 25th; one from Dr. Robert Stavins, an IPCC chapter Co-Coordinating Lead Author, and a five year veteran of the process, plus another by Dr. Richard Tol, who asked his name to be removed from work he was contributing to because it was “too alarmist”. Tol said in his letter:

First, from Dr. Robert Stavins:  

Is the IPCC Government Approval Process Broken?

Over the past 5 years, I have dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to serving as the Co-Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of Chapter 13, “International Cooperation:  Agreements and Instruments,” of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  It has been an intense and exceptionally time-consuming process, which recently culminated in a grueling week spent in Berlin, Germany, April 5-13, 2014, at the government approval sessions, in which some 195 country delegations discussed, revised, and ultimately approved (line-by-line) the “Summary for Policymakers” (SPM), which condenses more than 2,000 pages of text from 15 chapters into an SPM document of 33 pages.  Several of the CLAs present with me in Berlin commented that given the nature and outcome of the week, the resulting document should probably be called the Summary by Policymakers, rather than the Summary for Policymakers.

Before returning to the topic of today’s blog entry — the SPM process and outcome — I want to emphasize that the IPCC’s Working Group III “Technical Summary” and the underlying Working Group III report of 15 chapters were completely untouched by the government approval process of the Summary for Policymakers.   So, the crucial IPCC products – the Technical Summary and the 15 chapters of WG 3 – retain their full scientific integrity, and they merit serious public attention.  Now, back to the SPM process and outcome …

The process of the government approval sessions was exceptionally frustrating, and the outcome of that process – the final SPM – was in some regards disappointing.  Two weeks ago, immediately after returning from Berlin, I sent a letter to the Co-Chairs of Working Group III — Ottmar Edenhofer, Ramon Pichs-Madruga, and Youba Sokona — expressing my disappointment with the government approval process and its outcome in regard to the part of the assessment for which I had primary responsibility, SPM.5.2, International Cooperation.  At the time, I did not release my letter publically, because I did not want to get in the way of the important messages that remained in the SPM and were receiving public attention through the Working Group III release.

With two weeks having passed, it is now unlikely that the broader release of my letter will obscure the news surrounding the Working Group III release, and – importantly — it could be constructive to the process going forward, as the IPCC leadership and others think about the path ahead for future climate assessments.  Rather than summarizing or annotating my letter, I believe it makes most sense simply to reproduce it, and let it stand – or fall – as originally written.  It follows below.

Click to see the letter: http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/2014/04/25/is-the-ipcc-government-approval-process-broken-2/

Of interest is this paragraph:

Over the course of the two hours of the contact group deliberations, it became clear that the only way the assembled government representatives would approve text for SPM.5.2 was essentially to remove all “controversial” text (that is, text that was uncomfortable for any one individual government), which meant deleting almost 75% of the text, including nearly all explications and examples under the bolded headings. In more than one instance, specific examples or sentences were removed at the will of only one or two countries, because under IPCC rules, the dissent of one country is sufficient to grind the entire approval process to a halt unless and until that country can be appeased.

There is also a Daily Mail article by David Rose: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614097/Top-climate-experts-sensational-claim-government-meddling-crucial-UN-report.html

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Now Dr. Richard Tol’s essay:

In September 2013, I stepped down from the team that prepared the draft of the Summary for Policy Makers to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This attracted worldwide media attention in April 2014. Regrettably, the story of AR5 became the story of a man.

I have been involved with the IPCC since 1994, fulfilling a variety of roles in all three working groups. After the debacle of AR4 – where the Himalayan glacier melt really was the least of the errors – I had criticized the IPCC for faulty quality control. Noblesse oblige – I am the 20th most-cited climate scholar in the world – so I volunteered for AR5.

The Irish government put my name forward only to withdraw its financial commitment when I was indeed elected. The necessary funding could have easily been freed up if the Irish delegation to the international climate negotiations and the IPCC would trim its luxurious travel arrangements.

As a Convening Lead Author of one of the chapters, I was automatically on the team to draft the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM). AR5 is a literature review of 2,600 pages long. It assesses a large body of scholarly publication. In some places, the chapters are so condensed that there are a few words per article in the learned literature. The SPM then distills the key messages into 44 pages – but everyone knows that policy and media will only pick up a few sentences. This leads to a contest between chapters – my impact is worst, so I will get the headlines.

In the earlier drafts of the SPM, there was a key message that was new, snappy and relevant: Many of the more worrying impacts of climate change really are symptoms of mismanagement and underdevelopment.

This message does not support the political agenda for greenhouse gas emission reduction. Later drafts put more and more emphasis on the reasons for concern about climate change, a concept I had helped to develop for AR3. Raising the alarm about climate change has been tried before, many times in fact, but it has not had an appreciable effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

I reckoned that putting my name on such a document would not be credible – my opinions are well-known – and I withdrew.

The SPM, drafted by the scholars of the IPCC, is rewritten by delegates of the governments of the world, in this case in a week-long session in Yokohama. Some of these delegates are scholars, others are not. The Irish delegate, for instance, thinks that unmitigated climate change would put us on a highway to hell, referring, I believe, to an AC/DC song rather than a learned paper.

Other delegations have a political agenda too. The international climate negotiations of 2013 in Warsaw concluded that poor countries might be entitled to compensation for the impacts of climate change. It stands to reason that the IPCC would be asked to assess the size of those impacts and hence the compensation package. This led to an undignified bidding war among delegations – my country is more vulnerable than yours – that descended into farce when landlocked countries vigorously protested that they too would suffer from sea level rise.

Many countries send a single person delegation. Some countries can afford to send many delegates. They work in shifts, exhausting the other delegations with endless discussions about trivia, so that all important decisions are made in the final night with only a few delegations left standing. The IPCC authors, who technically have the right to veto text that contradicts their chapter, suffer from tiredness too.

This shows. The SPM omits that better cultivars and improved irrigation increase crop yields. It shows the impact of sea level rise on the most vulnerable country, but does not mention the average. It emphasize the impacts of increased heat stress but downplays reduced cold stress. It warns about poverty traps, violent conflict and mass migration without much support in the literature. The media, of course, exaggerated further.

Alarmism feeds polarization. Climate zealots want to burn heretics of global warming on a stick. Others only see incompetence and conspiracy in climate research, and nepotism in climate policy. A polarized debate is not conducive to enlightened policy in an area as complex as climate change – although we only need a carbon tax, and a carbon tax only, that applies to all emissions and gradually and predictably rises over time. The IPCC missed an opportunity to restore itself as a sober authority, accepted (perhaps only grudgingly) by most.

The IPCC does not guard itself against selection bias and group think. Academics who worry about climate change are more likely to publish about it, and more likely to get into the IPCC. Groups of like-minded people reinforce their beliefs. The environment agencies that comment on the draft IPCC report will not argue that their department is obsolete. The IPCC should therefore be taken out of the hands of the climate bureaucracy and transferred to the academic authorities.

Source: http://richardtol.blogspot.nl/2014/04/ipcc-again.html

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This statement by Tol pretty well sums up the IPCC:

Many of the more worrying impacts of climate change really are symptoms of mismanagement and underdevelopment.

That’s systemic culture in the U.N. so it is no surprise to me.

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65 thoughts on “Two scathing reviews by scholars working with the IPCC show why the organization is hopelessly corrupted by politics

  1. This statement by Tol pretty well sums up Tol…
    ‘– although we only need a carbon tax, and a carbon tax only, that applies to all emissions and gradually and predictably rises over time’

  2. Time is long past due to get the US out of the UN & the UN out of the US. It quit being of use to us & the world decades ago.

  3. “Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2mail/mail408.html#Iron

    Applies quite well to the IPCC specifically and the UN in general.

  4. First, I think we can thank these two, and others not yet named, for the work they have done and their public statements such as reported here.

    The final line of the post is “That’s systemic culture in the U.N. so it is no surprise to me.” seems to reference the UN and I agree it is a massive waste – for the most part. However, the 2 lines attributable to Richard Tol seem to be a comment on the manner in which many countries operate. Since Prince Henry the Navigator and the Age of Discoveries not much has changed for many “countries” from A to Z as they remain underdeveloped and mismanaged.

  5. Can’t say much about Dr. Robert Stavins’ benign letter of protest … half of it at the least is butt covering and brown-nosing. The process competence of the managers amounts to nought if the meaning of the body of research is transformed into political claptrap.

  6. The international climate negotiations of 2013 in Warsaw concluded that poor countries might be entitled to compensation for the impacts of climate change. It stands to reason that the IPCC would be asked to assess the size of those impacts and hence the compensation package.

    at least he openly admits this.

  7. Neil.
    Great quotation by J. Pournelle. Thanks.
    We all should know that the first type is always squeezed out by the second. Mature bureaucracies exist for self-perpetuation and the serve the power and perquisites of the bureaucrat.

  8. Latitude at 6:23 says –-
    Richard Tol is a Professor of Economics and not a physical scientist. If we assume he missed the memos about Bristlecone Pines, a lack of climate sensitivity to CO2, YAD06, Harry_Read_Me, no Hot Spot, sea level not doing much, ocean not acidic, and many others, we can attribute that to the parochial and shallow nature of departments of economics. He needs enlightenment, not ridicule.
    (Econ types … don’t bother.)

  9. Richard Tol’s reference to a “carbon tax” is incomprehensible to me. what is it he is saying? that we should have one, & that it should keep increasing?

    otherwise, good to have these two speak up.

    meanwhile,

    26 April: France24: Video: World’s first electric plane takes off in France
    Making barely more noise than a domestic hairdryer, the world’s first ever airplane completely powered by electricity took to the skies for its maiden flight at an airport near Bordeaux in southwestern France Friday.
    Called the E-Fan, the small experimental aircraft designed by Toulouse-based Airbus measures little more than 6 metres from nose to tail, but could prove to be a key step towards greener, quieter and cheaper air travel…
    With a top speed of only 220kmh and space for just a pilot and one passenger, the E-Fan is unlikely to be replacing traditional commercial aircraft just yet, however…
    The E-Fan is “the first step” in the production of “successive generations of electric planes of increasing sizes, with the goal of building electric-powered jumbo jets within the next 20 years,” said Montebourg…

    http://www.france24.com/en/20140426-video-world-first-electric-plane-takes-off-france/#./?&_suid=139856495104209625824668038161

  10. According to Dr. Tol, “we only need a carbon tax,” one that “rises over time.” Yeah, that’s all we need, a carbon tax hockey stick. I can guarantee that once a carbon tax takes hold, there will be no 17-year hiatus in tax increases. Even if there is no future warming, governments will find other “needs” for the carbon tax. That’s because there are always more good causes than there is money to pay for them.

    The poor and middle class will suffer the most from a carbon tax. The rich can afford the tax and will also be in a position to gain wealth by taking advantage of green-energy subsidies and other credits offered. If a carbon tax succeeds in reducing the use of fossil fuels, it will only be because the non-elites in society will be unable to afford them. If subsidies are given to the poor to help them survive, then the use of fossil fuels will not be reduced appreciably. So the only real effect will be to make the masses dependent on government for their survival, which is what big-government elites want most anyway. They just want their useful-idiot supporters to believe their main goal is to prevent climate change. But that’s just the means to another end. It always has been.

  11. Regarding the carbon tax, I don’t really support that either. But I don’t care. Richard Tol’s got stones and looks like an man of integrity to me, and I applaud him.

  12. John F. Hultquist says:
    April 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm
    Latitude at 6:23 says –-
    Richard Tol is a Professor of Economics and not a physical scientist…we can attribute [his misunderstanding several material factors] to the parochial and shallow nature of departments of economics. He needs enlightenment, not ridicule.
    (Econ types … don’t bother.)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Accurate, appropriate and OUCH!

  13. You’re so generous in spirit, Mr. Hultquist.
    Was that “He needs enlightenment, not ridicule.” a quote from Dan Pearl, by the way?
    It sounds like something he would have said.
    Of course we know how that worked out.
    Dan was the one who got enlightened.

  14. “The necessary funding could have easily been freed up if the Irish delegation to the international climate negotiations and the IPCC would trim its luxurious travel arrangements.”

    The Irish delegation must be one of the lesser malefactors. These warmists live well.

  15. 26 April: Japan Times: Stephen Hesse: A journalist who gets climate change right
    (Stephen Hesse is a professor in the Law Faculty of Chuo University and associate director of Chuo International Center.)
    (Dr. Heather) Goldstone is science editor at WGBH/WCAI, a public radio station in Boston. She also holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution…
    HESSE: Do you have any lingering doubts that human activity is the primary cause of climate change?
    GOLDSTONE: No. The United Nations’ most recent review of climate science concludes that there is unequivocal evidence that climate change is happening and that, based on all available science, it is extremely likely that human activities are the dominant cause. There is overwhelming consensus on these points. That said, our scientific understanding of the world is constantly evolving. It’s possible — although extremely unlikely — that we could be wrong about this, and I remain open to considering all evidence. That’s part of a scientific worldview…
    HESSE: At the WGBH climate talk you mentioned that 89 percent of scientists as a whole and 99 percent of climatologists accept that human-driven climate change is occurring; what are the main points still in contention?
    GOLDSTONE: Those statistics refer to the strong consensus about the fundamental points that climate change is happening, is largely caused by humans, and poses a real and present danger. Even among the 99 percent of climatologists who agree with that consensus, there is uncertainty and debate about specifics of how rapid and severe the impacts of climate change will be, and how they will play out in different locations. Two areas of active debate are the nature of future winter weather in North America and Europe, and the interaction between clouds and climate change…
    HESSE: What are your primary concerns regarding the public debate over climate change?
    GOLDSTONE: I find the widespread rejection of scientific knowledge disturbing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions about whether and how we should respond to climate change, but we should be able to agree on a factual basis for that conversation. Scientific consensus doesn’t guarantee the right answer, but it is the best we have to go on…
    There have been a number of explanations for public misperceptions about climate science. Journalists have blamed scientists for being inaccessible or incomprehensible, ***while scientists have accused journalists of perpetuating the perception of debate. There have also been — and continue to be — deliberate attempts to mislead people about climate change. But research increasingly indicates that there may be fundamental aspects of human psychology that make it difficult for many people to comprehend and accept the reality of climate change…
    HESSE: In Boston you mentioned two of these aspects, the concepts of motivated reasoning and cultural cognition. What role you think they play?
    GOLDSTONE: Cultural cognition is essentially the idea that we subconsciously filter factual information through our deeply held beliefs, rejecting those items that conflict with or threaten our worldview. Motivated reasoning is a related phenomenon in which we actively — but, again, subconsciously — seek out information that substantiates or conforms to our worldview. We also tend to dismiss dire information if it is not presented with some message of hope or action. Climate change is an overwhelming challenge that could threaten beliefs in equality, justice, independence or fundamental human goodness, to name a few. The end result is it can be very hard for some people to accept.
    HESSE: You mentioned that some scientists accuse journalists of perpetuating the climate debate. Do you think media insistence on “balanced” reporting is responsible for some of the climate change skepticism?
    GOLDSTONE: I’m not aware of research that quantifies the impact, but I’m sure media coverage has affected the public perception of climate science. For a number of years, even well after there was a strong scientific consensus about human-caused climate change, much of the media continued to give equal weight to dissenters in an effort to provide a balanced account of a controversial subject. However, the end result was a distorted depiction of the state of the science.
    ***That has changed a lot in the past decade. One study found that by 2006, 97 percent of articles in four leading newspapers portrayed climate change as largely caused by humans, while only 3 percent covered it as a debate. The question is how long the hangover from earlier coverage will last…

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2014/04/26/environment/journalist-gets-climate-change-right/

    ***if the MSM has been 97% CONSENSUS & only 3% DEBATE for the most part of a decade, why was Goldstone even bringing up the absurd accusations of so-called “climate scientists” that journalists were “perpetuating the perception of debate”? methinks Goldstone has been reading too much Lewandowsky!

  16. At some point the IPCC is going to have to face up to the reality of contemporary lukewarmness. Once that occurs the impact on the enabling international bureaucracy will be really interesting to watch.

  17. This is just another example of the corrosion in climate science.

    There are many lessons to learn here.

  18. blame the Teabaggers!!! that’s ugly, Frank.

    nice to see some egg on Chris Hayes’ face too. Showtime, it’s past time to cancel this junk:

    25 April: Examiner: Teabagger favorite and Showtime climate change convert facing federal indictment
    by Frank Maccioli, Bakersfield Envronmental News Examiner
    The people behind a new, much lauded climate change documentary may find themselves in a quandary following breaking news about a Republican Congressman. In a press release today for Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, the producers of the series announced that Michael Grimm, a controversial Republican Congressman from New York and long time global warming denier, will state that he now believes in anthropogenic climate change in the next episode.
    ???The series is a must see for Bakersfield and San Joaquin Valley residents who are concerned about climate change and its effects upon the area…
    Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is a favorite of the Tea Party and has been involved in controversial actions before…
    In the upcoming episode he will explain his change of heart in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. His decision was reportedly influenced by the effects of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated much of the area he represents…
    The problem now, however, is that several news agencies also reported today that federal authorities are about to indict the Congressman for violating campaign finance laws. A spokesperson for the series did not respond to this reporter’s request for comment on the development…
    In light of this latest revelation, some have speculated as to whether Grimm’s “conversion” regarding climate change was a legitimate change or rather one done to gain the sympathy of the political left. By being one of the few Republicans to embrace what the majority of climate change scientists accept, one could argue that former opponents may be less likely to go into full attack mode…

    http://www.examiner.com/article/teabagger-favorite-and-showtime-climate-change-convert-facing-federal-indictment

    25 April: Politico: Darren Goode: Grimm’s woes cast doubt on climate turnabout
    ***Climate activists just can’t seem to catch a break on Capitol Hill.
    Activists were spreading the good news Friday that New York Rep. Michael Grimm has become the first sitting House Republican to stop denying the science that humans cause climate change. But now the second-term lawmaker from Staten Island might be facing his own dangerous climate — inside a jail cell…
    Shortly before that story broke, the pro-Obama group Organizing for Action had been celebrating Grimm’s about-face on climate change. Grimm made his change of heart known during the third episode of Showtime’s docu-series “Years of Living Dangerously,” which will be broadcast Sunday…
    In a partial transcript of his interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Grimm said he changed his mind thanks to former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who is leading an effort to impose a tax on carbon emissions.
    “After speaking with Bob Inglis, it made me do some of my own research, you know, I looked at some of the stuff that he sent over, my staff looked at,” Grimm said. “But the mass majority of respected scientists say that it’s conclusive, the evidence is clear. So I don’t think the jury is out.”…

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/michael-grimm-indictment-climate-change-106040.html?hp=l1_b1

  19. “But research increasingly indicates that there may be fundamental aspects of human psychology that make it difficult for many people to comprehend and accept the reality of climate change…”

    No one, except the delusional, has ever doubted the reality of climate change. These people have so bastardized their own terminology that they can no longer put together a sentence that is coherent.

  20. His advocacy of a carbon tax finishes off Richard Tol for me. He betrays his true colors, which are red and green stripes. His credibility is zero, as far as I’m concerned, and his comments are most unhelpful to those of us trying to stop the damage being done by AGW advocacy. He is no better than the other dissemblers at the IPCC. His dissent, I think, can only be explained by his sense that the AGW meme is about to collapse (hope he’s right about that).

    Is he aware of the deaths and misery and economic devastation carbon taxes have caused where they have been instituted? The most regressive form of tax ever devised, hitting low-income people first and worst, and probably even more conducive to government and bureaucrat greed and larceny than the income tax. One hell of a device for upward redistribution of wealth, from poorer to richer. If we as skeptics need to fight any one aspect of the AGW meme the hardest, it is carbon taxes.

  21. Let’s hope a few more insiders are emboldened to protest–or at least to back up the protesters. And let’s hope Judy Curry gets more open allies from alarmist apostates.

    This peek behind the curtain is potentially as important as Climategate. It OUGHT to be an eye-opener to the way the greenies in environmental agencies around the globe have their thumb on the scale–not just now, but in previous ARs as well. (It should be stressed that the scientists compiling these ARs have always accentuated the negative and toned down the positive in order to be acceptable to the greenie govt. reps who have veto power over them.) It OUGHT to make journalists see that we contrarians have cause for our “conspiratorial ideation.”

    The first action of AW’s newly born “official” Contrarian Climate Coalition should be to call for another review of the IPCC process by the InterAcademy Council (IAC). I presume none of the No voters would object. In order to add heft to its call, it should be endorsed by at least:

    The top 24 Contrarian and Lukewarm Climate Bloggers
    Eight leading Contrarian scientists (include RGB!)
    Twelve leading contrarian climate journalists

    They can be polled by email. Within three days enough Yes votes, and a high enough %age of Yes votes, should have been received.

    Anthony’s press release calling for an IAC review could simultaneously announce the formation of the CCC, which will issue similar statements in the future, based on a similar polling and vote-evaluation procedure. There’s no need to go through a lot of formalities in forming the CCC. Forming it on-the-fly in this fashion will be much better. It can work in a similar ad hoc fashion in the future, with AW polling leading contrarian players and getting their green light before taking action.

  22. PS: Anthony: Maybe dub the organization the Contrarian Climate Consensus. That makes clearer the informal, ad hoc nature of the organization’s stance on each of its position statements. And it’s also a nice little dig at the Conventional Climate Consensus.

  23. Streetcred says:
    April 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    “Can’t say much about Dr. Robert Stavins’ benign letter of protest … half of it at the least is butt covering and brown-nosing. The process competence of the managers amounts to nought if the meaning of the body of research is transformed into political claptrap.”

    You are absolutely right. So much BS about 1.5 page document edited to 0.5 page document. I read both versions. Both are BS. What is Dr. Stavins complaining about?

  24. There is no mention of this in the BBC. I wonder why? The BBC’s review of the papers does not mention the Mail item, it prefers an item on the mango QUANGO!

  25. Donna Laframboise has made it quite clear for years that the IPCC is first and foremost a political entity, charged with providing a pseudo-scientifically – biased smokescreen to promote a “progressive” political agenda. Why all the shock/horror that Ms Laframboise has been proved correct yet again?

  26. I feel I should point out Richard Tol’s comments ring hollow if one believes what I’ve discovered about his role in the IPCC report is correct. I’ve been discussing this a bit at Judith Curry’s blog on her post about the same topic, but people there largely avoided any reasonable discussion. A better starting point would be these two posts I wrote. I’ll provide a brief overview.

    It appears after the IPCC AR5 WGII Second-Order Draft finished being reviewed (in the very last round of expert review), a section from Chapter 19 was moved to Chapter 10. In addition to being moved, the section was completely rewritten. Numerous pieces of information and references were removed. Two graphs were deleted, being replaced by a new graph and table. At least one new and significant conclusion was added. This conclusion was dependent entirely upon results from over a decade ago, with no discussion of more recent results being provided.

    All of this was done after reviewers were finished examining the report. All of the changes brought the section more into line with Richard Tol’s view. A new, central conclusion of the section (that moderate warming may cause net benefits) nearly exactly mirrors many statements Tol has made. The new table and graph were both taken from Tol’s published work. And “coincidentally,” Richard Tol was a Coordinating Lead Author of the chapter.

    Supposing I’m correct on the facts, it appears Richard Tol subverted the IPCC process to alter a section to make it favor his views/work. In doing so, he removed a lot of material, including discussion of results published since the last IPCC report, results far more recent than the decade old results a central conclusion of the new section depended upon..

  27. That’s the trouble when you apply natural selection to social organisation, the more extreme you are, the more you and your views tend to get promoted, however in reality and science the more extreme you are the more wrong you tend to be. So there is a difference between how social organisations and dynamics work, and how nature and science actually is. Never been any different, the moderates tend to get filtered out.

  28. pat says:
    April 26, 2014 at 8:17 pm
    blame the Teabaggers!!! that’s ugly, Frank.

    nice to see some egg on Chris Hayes’ face too. Showtime, it’s past time to cancel this junk:

    25 April: Examiner: Teabagger favorite and Showtime climate change convert facing federal indictment
    by Frank Maccioli, Bakersfield Envronmental News Examiner
    The people behind a new, much lauded climate change documentary may find themselves in a quandary following breaking news about a Republican Congressman. In a press release today for Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, the producers of the series announced that Michael Grimm, a controversial Republican Congressman from New York and long time global warming denier, will state that he now believes in anthropogenic climate change in the next episode.
    ————————————————–
    The whole thing sounds like Chicago politics at work in Washington and the rats got themselves a little mouse to play with. This should get the charges dropped in 3, 2, 1…it should just fade away never meant to be pursued.
    They may even let him get reelected. It’s better for the liberals if they have bi-partisan support rather than just another tree hugging liberal.

    cn

  29. 12000 peer reviewed papers and they can’t predict anything? lol.

    None of their predictions are been proved and co2 goes up while temp doesn’t well it did at first but now there is divergence but it isn’t really a divergence its a missing mechanism which will be found with more research sometime not sure when but hopefully soon cause its making me look stupid ……etc

    if i had done a lot of work for free [ok maybe in the hope of a medal which would look good on the cv] then civil servants came along and rewrote it i would need some detox with plenty of chanting “i am not a useful idiot i am not a useful idiot”

  30. A polarized debate is not conducive to enlightened policy in an area as complex as climate change – although we only need a carbon tax, and a carbon tax only, that applies to all emissions and gradually and predictably rises over time.

    That is based on the assumption that continued co2 added to the atmosphere will be net bad. Why would 600ppm be net bad?

    No carbon taxes are necessary. If you are really concerned about co2 then tackle deforestation and plant more trees. The biosphere is already greening due to the toxin called co2.

  31. I really don’t understand people like Chad Wozniak (above, at 8:24 pm) who write off Richard Tol because of what he says about a carbon tax. Sure, I don’t think there should be such a tax either, but given Tol’s eminence and his inside knowledge of the IPCC and its processes, he is one of the anti-IPCC movement’s brightest hopes. It is people like Tol, AND ONLY people like Tol, who can act as the media-acceptable figureheads we need.

    Carry on firing broadsides at everybody who disagrees with you on anything, Chad, and you’ll end up in a movement with exactly one member.

  32. Dr. Tol’s comments, accurate as they may be from an institutional and politico-scientific complex perspective in terms of the operation of the IPCC, still don’t provide any convincing argument as why the IPCC and any of its derivatives should be regarded at all. This would include the “body of research” used in the various chapters of the process. He seems to suffer from the same “group think” he decries in his comments.

    From what I’ve been able to fathom over the last few years is that “anthropogenic climate change” is solely due to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from otherwise sequestered sources. The euphemistic term “greenhouse gases’ is a nod to the reality that water is the biggy, but the only mechanism for global warming seems to be ascribed to lie at the feet of CO2.
    But we presently know (and acknowledge that the science is far from settled) from straightforward physics, the geologic record, and the global planetary response in real terms, that the contribution of CO2, from all sources is insignificant to climate change in human terms. So why do want or need a carbon tax/.

    There is only one answer: income/asset redistribution without compensation. Elitist theft. A carbon tax won’t mitigate land subsidence, won’t mitigate earthquake or vulcanism damage, won’t mitigate typhoon, hurricane or tornado damage on greatly expanding human infrastructure, won’t keep the lights and heaters on in energy starved urban environments, won’t keep unsustainable wind and solar farms going, and won’t pay for new energy developments no associated with fossil fuels. In short, its another revenue stream to keep the political class insulated from their own follies on behalf of the proles while they continue to fritter away the existing tax bases to feed their insecurities. Has Dr. Tol even taken the time to evaluate the economic cost of the IPCC itself in real dollars? How many poor small nations could have had a waster supply, primary education or health care just on the expenses of the IPCC alone over the years?

    The most significant contribution of the IPCC, in my mind, is the utter destruction of the credibility of academia, and in particular, of the integrity of science. For many years, I used to grant acknowledgement of varying degrees of truth in academic works, rather than have to spend the time myself evaluating the research. These days, to me, nobody with a PhD who opens his yap has any cred without exhaustive review. That’s the real cost of the IPCC: the replacement of knowledge with sycophantic opinion.

  33. Anthony, I’m not sure providing better science and information will matter.
    People don’t seem to want the science. They don’t understand it and you can’t make them listen. Just ask the alarmists because they’ve spent millions, lied using a models all the way down approach and fudged our data they collected for us trying to pretend the we were killing earth. What they keep finding is the people know it’s another money/power grab from the 1% and will only take so much blame. Looks like we’re the ones that need to occupy Wall Street.

    The msm and ngos will continue to ignore skeptics and the past is proof enough of that. Where’s the Audubon Society. Do we have to organize ourselves to protect endangered raptures?
    Between the models, Mann, Jones and the Team, Climategate 1 & 2 plus Gleick and Al Gore’s stupid movie they’ve had plenty of chances to question climate alarmist’s motives and demand they work above board but the msm rarely surprises one.

    I rather like the idea of channeling our efforts to identify and remove bad laws and regulations.
    Take them to court and make them follow the rules. Use the courts to repeal unjustified laws and regulations one at a time. Just keep chipping away. We need to find sympathetic judges, use the progressive rules, follow the law and piss them off. What’s not to like?

    Second, I want transparency. My representative in Washington should represent me by ensuring all research paid for with US taxpayer money be given to us free of charge. We should demand access to all approved grant proposals, data, code, published papers, journals and diaries that explain all choices and decisions with everything on-line at their website at no charge. I’m pretty sure we pay enough already. I should not have to use Twitter or Facebook etc to track the research as it should be available through their website, real time, all the time.

    Mostly, this will take money to start and run so we need an umbrella organization to protect the taxpayer’s investment … in the process and our data.
    cn

  34. What makes Tol think academics would do a better job?
    The only scientists who really understand the intricacies of climate theory are those working in the labs – the ones making the measurements who understand the uncertainties, methodologies and statistics of the field. They are so compartmentalised that few from one field (say oceanography) understand what the others are doing or the limitations of others methods (e.g. solar terrestrial physics). And few of these real scientists want to leave the lab for the stage of international committee and policy work.
    Its a conundrum – how to proceed. I came across this same problem when the London Dumping Convention set out to regulate dumping of toxic wastes. The UN/IMO body – the bureaucrats, set up a Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP). This pulled some scientists out of the labwork for the required number of days – and guess what? It drew a lot of modellers! They constructed a self-cleansing ocean and a monitoring system just in case they got things wrong and had to turn off the taps (discharges and dumping). The first models looked fine but after a decade, toxic substances were appearing further up the food-chain than the models predicted. Plus oceanographic research made new discoveries. The models needed revising. BUT…guess what? Massive investments had been made in 1) worldwide system of monitoring and toxicology labs based on the ‘dilute and disperse’ principle, 2) licensed industrial processes that discharged toxic material. Hence an investment in NOT revising the early models. Sound familiar?

    Now you guys at WUWT may not like the rest of the story. A small group of scientist activists – led by German and Scandinavian fisheries labs – mainly government funded, began to criticise the models, the pathways and the toxicology assessments. Not enough to pull the supertanker around. Then they cooperated with environmental activists, trade unions and lawyers (that was my role) to bring political pressure and publicity to bear – chasing the dumpships, blacking the ports by the unions, writing press articles and even publishing scientific papers. It too ten years to turn around the ‘consensus’ of all the supporting science academies/colluding laboratories/recalcitrant governments – and it was done on the floor of the UN as well as by inflatables on the high seas.

    Here’s the first bit you won’t like: Greenpeace International led that political and media effort. I represented them on the floor of the UN when we won the vote. The second bit is that a group of scientists and lawyers then proceeded to rewrite the rulebook – encouraged and paid for by a newly enlightened IMO bureaucrat ( he has always a good guy – name of Manfred Nauke) – and the Precautionary Principle – the one you love to hate – was borne. Contrary to the hate-mail, it does not say what most people think it says. It reversed the ‘burden of proof’ that allowed dumpers and polluters to carry on until there was absolute proof of ‘harm’…..very hard to prove in the marine environment, at least before the harm is so pervasive it is too late to turn off the taps (e.g. PCBs affected immune systems of marine mammals). Now the bad guys had to prove no harm or not get a license to dump – also very hard to do! Upshot….industry woke up to Clean Production Strategies and started to find replacement processes that meant it did not have to use toxic material or produce toxic waste. I helped set up the shift that resulted in a UN office of clean production. It took 10 years to turn the consensus, and another ten years to phase in the legislation without imposing too big a penalty on essential industries.

    Actually, Greenpeace dropped off the pace in the second phase – it is not glamorous work and doesn’t play well to the supporters’ gallery. But their guys out there on the seas in the first decade were top notch – real warriors.

    I have tried to tell them that something similar is operating with the IPCC. They will not even meet, let alone listen. I wrote a ‘green’ book on the theme (Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory) – including the best policies to tackle resilience to natural climate change (and the small anthropogenic component), but the greens refused to review it. This despite endorsement by the drafting author of the Kyoto Protocol (who was with us on the ocean campaigns before helping set up the Framework Climate Convention) – who now agrees my position. I get pilloried not for my supposedly contrarian science – but for my religious ‘beliefs’ (shamanic), medical preferences (homeopathic), and cosmologies involving the evolution of consciousness (astrological) – whereas John Houghton (first IPCC chair) believes in the Virgin Birth and gets no flak at all. God knows what medicines he uses. Some green even criticised my enjoyment of suits (I only had the one) and business class flying during UN work – whilst completely ignoring the Gorite leader who has his own jumbo-jet (and God knows again, how many suits!).

    I digress. One thing I learned from the interplay of science and policy should have been a model for the UN (and I did write a paper to help them): there is nothing wrong with a properly constituted science group of advisors – but it has to be broadly drawn and inclusive of critics (sceptics in today’s lingo). The drafting authors need to then spell out the consequences for policy makers – including if the majority are wrong and the minority are right, and some honest assessment of the uncertainty such that the critics can agree it is honest. They then hand that to a SEPARATE group of policy-makers.

    Policy makers hate uncertainty because politicians tend to use it to promote inaction. And of course, policy makers like to make actual policy – i.e. something that involves action. But that is the nature of politics. In that environment, something quite useful evolves – as with the Clean Production Strategies…..it is called a no-regrets option. It involves spending money and taking action that would be beneficial whichever way the science cookie crumbles. The modern word would be RESILIENCE to climate change or ‘adaptation’. And guess what – it gets about 1% of the budget that ‘mitigation’ gets.

    And here is why. I recently received a tender for consultancy with the Global Environment Fund/World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (its okay – I live in the woods, am semi-retired and although the money would be tempting, they’d never employ me after writing Chill!) – who are looking for someone to help them spend $1 billion of the GEF (taxpayers money) on ….you have guessed it, carbon dioxide mitigation strategies (that’s jobs for the big boys at tech-giants Siemens, AMEC, GEC, China Photovoltaics and the like). What the world’s poor need is not green electricity, dams, turbines, biofuel plantations and solar panels…..two billion people need clean water, stable soil and good sanitation. Ecological agriculture, community forestry, and water – constitute less than 5% of the global development aid budget.

    The pain of all this is that there is NO single effective environmental lobby for resilience and sense on climate change. All we have is the sceptic-embrace of the neo-liberal freemarketeers and those who see reds under the beds of a new world government. It is not enough – yet!

  35. Those posting at sites such as wuwt from Willis and Dr. Roy to the good lord himself provide data, code and their complete support and explanations to help you prove them wrong, if you think you can. I know those such as Lord Monckton, Willis and Bob Tisdale spend hours going over their posts with some of us slower learners.(pc term for sure)
    cn

  36. Paul Coppin says:
    April 27, 2014 at 5:51 am
    Dr. Tol’s comments, accurate as they may be from an institutional and politico-scientific complex perspective in terms of the operation of the IPCC, still don’t provide any convincing argument as why the IPCC and any of its derivatives should be regarded at all.
    —————————————————-
    Paul, you and I (and maybe even Dr Tol) may agree the science doesn’t support extreme action by citizens or their governments but, Dr Tol is an economist and if he said anything to debunk the science side of the argument the msm would be authorized to keep firing shots at him until he shut up. He spoke in the area where he is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and his voice has been heard.

  37. hopelessly corrupted by politics or in other words a normal UN body , and organisation that has never been knowingly be found to be competent.

  38. The problem with both of these (welcome as they are, at some level) is that they still omit the key, fundamental problem with the SPM. It at various places asserts “confidence” in predictions of doom, or “confidence” that e.g. over half of the warming observed across a single stretch of 15-20 years of the 20th century (there has been none in the 21st century so far) was due to increased CO_2 rather than natural variation. Yet if one reads chapter 9, devoted to the statistical analysis of the results of the climate models that are the sole basis for any sort of assertion of future climate, they explicitly state (in a single paragraph, carefully buried within the chapter) that there is no way to make assertions of confidence of any sort that can be defended or computed using the laws of statistics. Furthermore, it states that the methodology used to present “average” predictions of the climate models is obviously flawed in many known ways, and that they are going to use it anyway.

    If one eliminates the assertions of confidence in the SPM, based as they are on nothing but the unfounded and scientifically indefensible opinions of the “experts” who wrote the SPM itself (who, as Tol points out, are like as not politicians, not even scientists and certainly not statisticians) there is literally almost nothing left. Imagine if they stated the truth — “We have no scientifically or statistically defensible way of separating natural variation from the variation produced by CO_2 in the general circulation models of CMIP5″. “The bulk of the models in CMIP5 are in remarkably poor correspondence with observational data from the last 15 years (see Box 9.2). If we eliminate the worst performers in this group, the predicted climate sensitivity from the best performers is in the range from 1 to 1.5C at 600 ppm of CO_2, 0.5 C has already been realized.” “Assertions of future SLR are highly contingent upon the accuracy of the general circulation models in CMIP5. As that is currently in doubt, it is difficult to make any sort of projection of probable SLR over the rest of the 21st century. However, we can note that even after 60+ years of increasing CO_2, the current rate of SLR is unlikely to be catastrophic (and indeed, is less likely to have local impact than localized subsidence or uplift of coastal regions due to evolving geology) and hence should be accommodated or ameliorated on a localized basis at least until some empirical sign of global catastrophe emerges.”

    Of course, writing any such document would bring out the pitchforks and the torches worldwide. It will be interesting to see if Nature writes it for them over the next five years regardless of their beliefs or (at this point) wishes. It is actually a bit sad to see an entire bureaucratic organization that is so invested in a predicted disaster that its members would actually be shocked and miserable if those predictions proved false.

    rgb

  39. Peter Taylor

    Really appreciated your frank discussion. The WB is a large organisation and holds a number of opinions on the subject of climate. A staffer told me today that they have learned not to question decisions too much – just deal with what is the current flavour, tomorrow things may be different. Don’t be surprised when ‘differing opinions’ emerge. To a greater extent than most of the individual governments that make up the body, the WB requires due diligence and a measure of accountability for everything spent. Each examination offers an opportunity to put facts instead of theories before management. This is no trivial thing. It has proven much harder, for example, to put facts before the readers of the Guardian or the NY Times, both of which claim to be informing the intelligent reader, a species they insult daily with their selection bias.

    Any process, as described in the article above, that requires 100% agreement will necessarily be manipulated by small cohorts for narrow purposes. Democracy was developed to deal with exactly that. “Consensus” is admirable, but when it is not an option, the majority opinion receives ascent to prevent paralysis. Paralysis is no better than deleting 75% of the distilled wisdom of a group of expert scientists to hide facts. A concomitant right of the ‘ruled’ is to be able to “vote the bums out”. Wherever there is taxation without representation, expect trouble. That being the case, a national CO2 tax is going to be difficult to implement. The public is informed enough to deal indirectly with those they cannot remove by dealing directly with those they can.

  40. But, they are libcult. What else would you expect from fanatical cultists but lies, deceit and narcissistic self-congratulation? Is it reasonable to expect rational, coherrent discourse and adherence to the scientific method from fanatics?

    I simply don’t understand why non-cultists continue to allow the libcult Lucys to keep pulling the football awa, time after time after time…

  41. Read the whole letter. What a ^%$# waste of money, just to put on these meetings. All this wasted activity and wealth is only possible because we burn fossil fuels. Stopping this stupid behavior is the only argument that would move me to ban fossil fuels.

  42. phillipbratby says:
    There is no mention of this in the BBC. I wonder why?
    ———–
    The BBC will be waiting for Bob ward to provide suitable guidance on this matter.

    Bob however will be desperately searching around for ways to attack Prof Stavins – spelling mistakes in his papers, how he once failed a business exam at school and his opinion is therefore worthless, etc etc

  43. Dr. Robert Stavins says in his letter, ‘Is the IPCC Government Approval Process Broken?’,

    ” [ . . .] I want to emphasize that the IPCC’s Working Group III “Technical Summary” and the underlying Working Group III report of 15 chapters were completely untouched by the government approval process of the Summary for Policymakers. So, the crucial IPCC products – the Technical Summary and the 15 chapters of WG 3 – retain their full scientific integrity, and they merit serious public attention. Now, back to the SPM process and outcome [. . .]”

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Robert Stavins blames the non-scientists. He essentially says that it’s those politicians not any scientists.

    To restore trust in ‘full scientific integrity’ he should have just strongly stated that all of the AR5 WG’s technical portions (written only by scientists) should be independently audited by a private multi-profession body outside of the UN / IPCC / governments with complete access to all the AR5 assessment process’ records and communications. That is a trust invoking position.

    For him to say in his letter that we can trust any WG’s technical summary (because it is produced only by scientists) naively begs the very question at issue. The issue is the how to trust when there appears to be reasonable evidence of significant activism influencing the entire IPCC which includes influencing both the team of scientists working on the technical WGs as well as political member working on SPMs. The lack of trust in the IPCC is held by the broader community interested in science integrity free from activism.

    Again, it is an issue about trust of scientists involved in the technical WG portion of the assessment process as well as for the politicians involved. I think we should verify by the above suggested audit then trust.

    John

  44. …the resulting document should probably be called the Summary by Policymakers, rather than the Summary for Policymakers.

    Yes. It took me quite a long time to realise the same thing.

    The thrusting climatologists may have thought they’d hit the jackpot in terms of kudos, respect and funding for their out-gushings. This is despite being part of a discipline that, by definition, takes many decades or even centuries to be falsified. Many, but not all, probably also deceived themselves that the politicians really gave a toss. (Geologists, of course, know they are useful to the extractive industries).

    I’m probably even more politically naïve. Not enough conspiracy training, I guess.
    “Summary from Policymakers” will probably have seemed like a better choice when it becomes necessary to blame errors on predictive-texting.

  45. So 75% of the wording was taken out because of objections from various governments.
    We got to see the 25% that was left. Would be interesting to see the other 3/4’s and find out who objected and their reason.

    This explains a lot.

  46. Here was my reply to Robert which is still awaiting moderation on his site.
    Robert All of the efforts of the WG3 group are based on the temperature forecasts made by the WG1 climate modelers. It is now abundantly clear that these models are inherently useless for climate forecasting and that the work of the WG3 group as a whole has no empirical scientific basis in addition to the particular problems with the SPM which you have outlined .
    Similar discrepancies exist between the WG1 science and WG1 SPM sections. For example in the AR5 Summary for Policymakers the IPCC glossed over the developing pause and indeed cooling trend in global temperatures suggesting several ad hoc epicycle like reasons for the lack of warming over the last 16 years.
    In spite of this , while forecasting about the same amount of future warming as the 2007 AR4 report , the AR5 SPM report irresponsibly raised the certainty of the IPCC forecasts and attributions from 90 – 95% in order to give the impression of more certainty after another 6 years of new data and work.
    Again – the key factor in making CO2 emission control policy and the basis for the WG2 and 3 sections of AR5 is the climate sensitivity to CO2 . By AR5 – WG1 the IPCC itself is saying: (Section 9.7.3.3)
    “The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations ”
    In plain English this means that the IPCC contributors have no idea what the climate sensitivity is and that therefore that there is no credible basis for the WG 2 and 3 reports and that the Government policy makers have no empirical scientific basis for the UNFCCC process and for the politicians economically destructive climate and energy policies.
    The entire UNFCCC – IPCC circus is a political exercise with no connection to the real climate.
    Other forecasting methods are required in order to provide a basis for policy discussion. For forecasts of the probable coming cooling based on the natural 60 year and 1000 year quasi-periodicities in the temperature data and the use of the neutron count and 10Be record as the best proxy for solar “activity” see several posts over the last couple 0f years at

    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

    It is really amazing that the WG2 and WG3 authors have been all working earnestly away on the basis of a future warming when it is more likely that the world will cool for the next 20 years and perhaps for hundreds of years beyond that. If we want to worry about extreme events the record of the Dansgaard – Oeschger events in the last glacial period and the 8200 year cooling event and the LIA in the Holocene should provide enough concern to keep the doom-lovers busy.

  47. Gunga Din says:
    April 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm
    Thanks for that, Gunga Din. I always read your posts, but missed that one. Smiles and tears, stories and laughter help us to honour those who have shuffled off this mortal coil. At some point, we are all faced with the realization that we can no longer play the children’s game. I don’t believe that your post is off topic. It is very relevant in the sense that we have to make decisions that affect the future. Adult decisions based on thorough understanding of all factors and consequences.

  48. “In my view, with the current structure and norms, it will be exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to produce a scientifically sound and complete version of text for the SPM on international cooperation that can survive the country approval process.”

    Indeed, since the SPM is supposed to be the raw material for policymakers to use to form their opinions and policies, allowing delegates to force conformity with their pre-existing positions utterly defeats the purpose.

  49. “The IPCC should therefore be taken out of the hands of the climate bureaucracy and transferred to the academic authorities (Richard Tol).”

    Amazingly an experienced fellow like Tol doesn’t see that the ‘academic authorities’ are probably 100% in the extremist CAGW camp, not 97% so. Their funding depends on being in the vanguard of those who see the planet imperiled by addition of a few ppm CO2 a year. Over twenty years of projections more than double the slope of observations and going strong. And the economics, which Richard has been in charge of calculates the damage from a highly unlikely expectation of delta T, giving insufficient attention to the benefits side of the equation. Yeah, I know he is one of the good guys and it could have been worse, but this still is a relative appraisal.

  50. “The IPCC does not guard itself against selection bias and group think”

    Which makes the IPCC useless as a ‘consensus authority’. In an argument from expert opinion, experts are supposed to be /unbiased/.

  51. Interesting.

    But I think the bigger story is the one below this about Drax, on that same Mail on Sunday article that was linked above.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614097/Top-climate-experts-sensational-claim-government-meddling-crucial-UN-report.html

    Drax is the UK’s largest power station (4 gw), and it was going to go Green by burning every forest in the USA (with UK government blessings and subsidies). But now the UK government appears to had a change of heart about destroying every ecosystem in the US, and appears to be withdrawing subsidies.

    In one sense, this is a victory for common sense. However, what does this do for UK energy policy? Four coal mines have already started closing down in the UK, because of a lack of demand from Drax. But if Drax is left powerless, then the UK loses 5-7% of its power generation. And this at a time when the government is increasing electrical demand by subsidizing electric vehicles.

    So when do the lights go out?

    Ralph

  52. There’s a little nest of alarmists over at HotWhopper who don’t like what Tol is saying, so they declare him to be an “idiot”, “intellectually dishonest” and that he has (shock, horror) “personality traits that are not conducive to blogs, and definitely incompatible with Twitter.” It appears the level of debate over there has sunk to new lows.

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