Gate Du Jour: IPCC gets the boot (cleaned)

WUWT reader “ClimateQuoter” brings this latest IPCC AR 4 reference to our attention. It seems the issue is about preventing footwear borne biological contamination. It appears this has nothing to do with Antarctic climate at all and seems more than a bit of a stretch in the way IPCC cites it.  How does climate change link to the need for boot cleaning? I can understand it by itself, don’t contaminate the local bio environment with spores on your shoes, but linking it to climate change? Even the organization for a similar and very real shoe borne contamination problem, don’t try to link climate change in their shoe cleaning guide here (PDF) or website.

From ClimateQuotes

Evidence of climate change

IPCC cites boot cleaning guide for Antarctica tour operators

No that headline is not a joke. The IPCC cited a guide for Antarctica tour operators on decontaminating boots and clothing. Here it is.

The reference is in the Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group II, section 15.7.2 Economic activity and sustainability in the Antarctic. The claim is:

The multiple stresses of climate change and increasing human activity on the Antarctic Peninsula represent a clear vulnerability (see Section 15.6.3), and have necessitated the implementation of stringent clothing decontamination guidelines for tourist landings on the Antarctic Peninsula (IAATO, 2005).”

This is referenced as:

IAATO, 2005: Update on boot and clothing decontamination guidelines and the introduction and detection of diseases in Antarctic wildlife: IAATO’s perspective. Paper submitted by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) XXVIII. IAATO, 10 pp.

So the IPCC cites a boot and clothing cleaning guide as evidence that the “multiple stresses of climate change…have necessitated the implementation of stringent clothing decontamination guidelines”. That might be laughable in and of itself, but the problem is the article doesn’t even mention climate change. Once. Nothing at all about global warming, or temperature increase. Nothing!

I can’t think of a citation any more pathetic. Read the report , (link to MS Word DOC from IAATO, PDF is available here from WUWT) and tell me if you can find anything.


Maybe the IPCC should take a cue from Calvin and Hobbes


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peer-reviewed by ???????

Pamela Gray

Next I fear you will find an IPCC reference to a paper describing the affects of climate change on nose picking!

Leon Brozyna

and now … Bootgate
Which just goes to show – nobody ever really read the report. They read the SPM which was whipped together by bureaucrats with an agenda who were easily impressed by the number of references and citations without ever bothering to check them out. If IPCC survives to issue AR5 it’ll probably be a very slimmed down document without all the NGO fluff propaganda pieces.


to add to the levity:
EDITORIAL: Osama and Obama on global warming
Discredited climate theories make strange bedfellows
The hitch is that the man-caused catastrophic global warming theory is dead, and it needs to be buried…

Craig Moore

It seems a cast of sock puppets inhabit the boot.


The horse has bolted.


(with apologies to the incomparable Terry Pratchett)
A lie can travel round the world before the truth can get it’s boots on.


Somewhat OT, but I just read a faxed copy of an article from Nature written by their Germany based climate correspondent that offers explanations about denialist’s claims of the significance of climategate (or lack there of) and the scientifically correct procedure Mann and Briffa used to cleanse the tree data to create the hockey stick (which he still regards as real). There’s more and its rich. Perhaps someone who has an online subscription might post a link. Its worth a dozen or more posts to debunk the debunking.

Frederick Michael

The report specifically blames the rise in Antarctic tourism on the fall of the soviet union and the resulting availability of ice breakers and other specialty ships. The IPCC is stooping to creative writing on this one.


“JaneHM (17:43:46) :
The Grauniad puts the boot in!”
I wonder why UK newspapers, especially The Guardian, are so serious-minded. We have no counterparts over here……

James Allison

Love this sentence.
Dr. Chris Curry (Australia), not only played a major role in writing these guidelines but he also pioneered a three- year research study to investigate the “the feasibility and efficacy of chemical disinfection of the microbial contamination on visitors’ boots.”
And the result of the three year study is….. wait for it…
…. results of this study recommend that “consideration should be given to including a disinfectant such as Virkon when cleaning the boots of visitors.

The IPCC really stepped in it this time.

D MacKenzie

Maybe “climate change” is in the documents outlining Australia and the IUCN’s concerns?
Why quote the source article when you can quote an intermediate one?
It’s all laughable. Shame the repercussions weren’t so serious.


This doesn’t leave much for April Fools Day.

Lazarus Long

And the fecal matter continues to hit the rotating air movement device:
“Strange case of moving weather posts and a scientist under siege”
“It is difficult to imagine a more bizarre academic dispute. Where exactly are 42 weather monitoring stations in remote parts of rural China?
But the argument over the weather stations, and how it affects an important set of data on global warming, has led to accusations of scientific fraud and may yet result in a significant revision of a scientific paper that is still cited by the UN’s top climate science body.”
(I hope I’m not behind the curve again….)

Douglas DC

What i’ve seen lately from the IPCC is indeed something I clean off my
Justin cowboy boots-and it’s green too…


Nothing at all about global warming, or temperature increase. Nothing!
Climate Scientists’ bootlicking AGW funders “warms” and “worsens” the Climate, while boot cleaning tries to erase the DNA evidence?
But as to the more exact importance of shoe and boot fetishes in the interplay between the Climate Scientists, the Warming Models, CO2, and temp., perhaps it is best left to Dr. Pachuri’s new Study of that specific Tribe’s practices to describe it to all the other Tribes.

Frank Kotler

Wouldn’t want any banana or orange seeds tracked in!


Open mouth insert foot.


The boot and clothing cleaning guide probably came into existence because of previous IPCC reports claiming death and destruction due to diseases spreading because of global warming.
So in other words IPCC claims disease spread due to global warming which causes IAATO to issue guidelines which is then cited by IPCC as one of the stresses of climate change.

James Sexton

But that doesn’t discredit all of the good work all the other scientists did on climate change!!!!
One has to wonder. Did anybody read the damned thing in its entirety? I couldn’t stomach it. But, the ones that supposedly believe that tripe, did they read it? If they didn’t, do/did they really believe it, or was it a means to an end? Boot cleaning tied to climate change? Sigh, would someone please take a penguin to the Arctic and let a polar bear eat it so at least some of this could be true!?

Hans Moleman

The third paragraph of Appendix B of the Decontamination Document states: “Resulting from the Diseases of Antarctic Wildlife workshop hosted by the Australian Antarctic Division (Hobart, October 1998), this document is intended to address the concern about the potential translocation of diseases by tourists in Antarctica,…”
You can find the Diseases of Antarctic Wildlife workshop report here: On page 13, Section 2.8.2 it reads: “Human activity in Antarctica could be the cause of disease outbreaks by a number of direct and indirect mechanisms. People could act as vectors for infectious agents, either by bringing non-indigenous pathogens into the region or by translocating indigenous pathogens. In addition stress caused by human activity could reduce immunity, increase pathogenicity and could cause the expression of a disease that might otherwise not have revealed itself. Stress may be the result of direct human disturbance, food shortage (perhaps caused by fisheries competing for the same food stocks), exposure to pollutants and possibly, in the longer term, as a result of climate change.”
So, while climate change is not the major reason for the implementation of the decontamination guidelines, it is mentioned as a potential problem. Personally, I wouldn’t have made the reference (or I would’ve at least written the sentence differently), but I hope you’ll at least include all the information in your original post so your visitors will have the whole story and see where the “climate change” part of the story originated.

Robert of Ottawa

Perhaps a mixed metaphor competition. My entry:
Time to clean house and give them the boot.


Well, I put my stinky shoes in the freezer for a couple of days (IN A PLASTIC BAG to prevent cross contamination) to kill the bacteria and get rid of odor. I did not need a 3 year study to prove that this really works. Therefore, my conclusion is that climate change causes stinky feet!

James Sexton

Policyguy, McIntyre(and others, Lucia?) already showed those two clowns(and the world) where they were wrong. If I’m attributing incorrectly, please forgive and correct, please. And so many other issues where they were totally incorrect, I believe we should be calling them the denialists. We just have to be louder.
Another OT and only pertinent to me at the moment, “Beer is proof God wishes us to be happy.”—–Thomas Jefferson Cheers!!


The 2500 top scientists in the world approved this to be in the report?

Robert of Ottawa

Pamela Gray (17:45:27) :

Robert of Ottawa

Pamela Gray (17:45:27) :
Digital Nasal Cavity Evacuation in a Dryer Climate, Thumb, Finger et al, 2035

I wish somehow Microsoft was involved so we could have Billgate.
(my joke crashed and burned!)


This reminds me of the old Cheech and Chong skit, “Cheborneck”.


I found another alarming citation:


C’mon guys, give them a break. You criticise the IPCC writers for not using ‘peer-reviewed’ sources, then chide one of them for using a legitimate reference to support a probably widely accepted assertion that human activity is likely affecting the Antarctic biosphere.
Other than references to boots, there are only four other references in the whole section. Compare this with references in the three-times larger preceding section concerning the Arctic for which there are many more likely sources of impact. I call that gross imbalance.
But as I read it, the whole section could be criticised because it is completely inadequate; the writer was able only to cite tourism and fishing as likely causes of impact. [The most obvious other source of current impact would be scientist investigators themselves]. The aim of the section is to debate implications for sustainable development. It is a statement of the status quo, not what climate change might have on that. There is no prediction of likely impacts on, say, the illegal fishing operations mentioned. What of whaling? What might be future demands to search for hydrocarbons?
The whole subject needs more effort.


Pamela Gray (17:45:27) :
Next I fear you will find an IPCC reference to a paper describing the affects of climate change on nose picking!
If you are nosepicking semi-hygienically, kleenex (paper tissues for the Brits) is involved. Obviously the manufacturing of said tissues, whether from recycled materials or not, will generate heat and GHGs. Much better for the environment to place a finger to one nostril and violently expel air (and contents) through the other nostril. The IPCC must have a position on this!

James Sexton

Dr. Bob, uhmm… was so sad that I actually laughed. Thanks!

Keith Minto

I think that it is a reasonable precautionary measure. a quote from the IAATO report ..
Antarctica is vast, isolated and inhospitable. Few studies of the microflora of indigenous species have been undertaken, and still fewer of disease. A small number of mass mortality events have been observed in penguins, both on the continent and on the sub-Antarctic islands.
The link to CC is obscure, but, let us treat the Antarctic and surrounding islands with care and reduce one factor in any future ‘mass mortality event’.

James Sexton

Bryn (19:17:29) :
…..But as I read it, the whole section could be criticised because it is completely inadequate;……….
Yes, but robustly so!!!

Craig Moore

I saw this elsewhere:
Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her students put on his carbon boots? He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn’t want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.
She almost cried when the student said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as, together, they worked to get the carbon boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, “These aren’t my boots.”
She bit her tongue, rather than get right in his face and scream, “Why didn’t you say so?”, like she wanted to. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his l feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, “They’re my brother Al’s carbon boots. My eco-parents made me wear ’em to reduce my footprint.”
Now she didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. But she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.
Helping him into his coat, she asked, “Now, where are your gloves?” He said, “I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots.”
She will be eligible for parole in three years.

D MacKenzie

After googling the reference in the above article for the “Australian concerns” found these paragraphs on page 20 of the following link (131 is most relevant):
“(129) Australia introduced ATCM XXVIII/WP28 Measures to address the unintentional introduction and spread of nonnative biota and disease to the Antarctic Treaty Area, recalling that the intent of Article 4 of the Protocol is that unintentional introductions of nonnative species to the Antarctic Treaty Area will be minimised.
(130) This issue had been raised in several papers previously submitted to the CEP, and is one of global concern, as also raised in ATCM XXVIII/IP063 Introduction of Nonnative Species, Parasites and Diseases (IUCN) and ATCM XXVIII/IP097 Update on Boot and Clothing Decontamination Guidelines and the Introduction and Detection of Diseases in Antarctic Wildlife: IAATO’s perspective (IAATO).
(131) Australia highlighted the difficulty and cost of eradicating introduced species and noted that no formal assessment has been undertaken of the risks in the Antarctic context. Increasing visitation to Antarctica, combined with a more benign climate due to global warming, is likely to increase the opportunity for nonnative species to arrive and become established. Australia also emphasised similar concerns regarding transfer of species between Antarctic sites.”
So that seems to be where the link to climate change comes in. So general link is there; but it’s sloppy referencing and it seems like they’re playing Chinese whispers again. Climate change and increased activity have necessitated the protocols, but increase activity has made it a much more sensible thing to do.

Andy Scrase

From Page 3:
3.1 As far as possible, avoid walking in concentrations of organic material such as guano, seal placenta, seal faeces, in order to avoid moving this material around the landing site
The IPCC should have read that a bit more carefully. They are rolling in seal faeces.


Wait!!!1!one Does this mean if I clean my boots (I wear DMs to work) regularly I can prevent climate change???
Phew… for a minute there I thought we were all headed to Hell in a handcart…
BTW in un-boot-related news, the opposition leader in Australia announces his climate strategy of direct action:


I love Calvin and Hobbes;>

Andy Scrase

This is all getting too silly. If we make it to AR5 I’ll be submitting ‘The effects of climate change on binge drinking and alcoholism on middle aged men”
I should have plenty of material for a paper by then.

Jeff C.

Hans Moleman
Your argument is not persuasive. AR4 references the IAATO document in this case; it does not reference the “Diseases of Antarctic Wildlife” document. If they meant that document to be the reference, they should have listed it, they didn’t.
Even if one does follow the trail to the “Diseases” document, it is hardly a solid reference. In this 114 page document, “climate change” is mentioned only three times. In all cases, it is clear it is speculation, not an assertion.
Page 13 – Note the use of the word “may”
“Stress may be the result of direct human disturbance, food shortage (perhaps caused by fisheries competing for the same food stocks), exposure to pollutants and possibly, in the longer term, as a result of climate change.”
Page 33 – the word “may” used twice
“These may include large-scale processes such as global climate change that may threaten entire ecosystems or local phenomena such as sewage effluent and contaminants associated with waste disposal.”
Page 46 – “May” yet again
“Indigenous organisms may become pathogenic when animals are subjected to additional environmental stress such as food shortage and human disturbances and perhaps, in the longer time, as a result of climate change.
This is the problem with AR4; it is filled with idle speculation from unqualified sources. The shock is that it took over 2 years for someone to actually check things out. Now that the word is out, a feeding frenzy is taking place in the UK and Indian media. There is much more to come.


I suppose the IPCC will sell it’s brand of shoe goo cleaner, and TERI will have the product ready to roll.
Never mind the rest of your clothing.
Big Al will have you covered.

Jeff C.

Following up on my previous comment to Hans Moleman, the paragraph posted in Han’s comment from page 13 of “Diseases of Antarctic Wildlife” contains the word “could” four times in addition to the word “may”. Not once are any of the contentions stated as anything other than WAGs.

Andy Scrase

George Monbiot’s Climate Denier cards:
“Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards ”
Stocking fillers for all Guardian readers’ kids next Christmas?
Too creepy for words.


Ironic that the ad placed on this page is advertising Antarctic travel:
Hey “don’t be evil” Google… didn’t ya read the article? Your ads are killing the planet.

James Sexton

And of course, as usual, no one states the obvious. It’s cold there. Real cold. If it never gets above freezing, 99% of the bacteria, virus’ ect, can’t, don’t and won’t thrive there. It freezes! Yes, I’m aware of a few that do survive, but the odds of people moving a contagion to the region are minimal. (My appeal to authority) I was a U.S. Army medic in Alaska. I can attest that very little thrives in the arctic region except the organisms that seems to have a purpose there. Seeing that it is much colder in most of the Antarctic, I would suspect that the same is true there, also. No peered reviewed studies to offer, just experience. Of course, if it all thaws, all bets are off!!