A modest proposal in lieu of disbanding the IPCC

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 23JAN08 - IPCC's Rajendra K. Pacha...

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 23JAN08 - Rajendra K. Pachauri Image via Wikipedia

Guest post by Ron Cram

Since Climategate, PachauriGate, GlacierGate and AmazonGate, a number of mainstream and skeptical climate scientists have been very critical of the IPCC. Some are suggesting the IPCC should be disbanded and future assessment reports should come from international science organizations. I would like to make a more modest proposal, a proposal which may have a chance to become reality.

Before you write this off as a hare-brained scheme, hear me out. The proposal is starting to get some traction. It was mentioned by Tallbloke (who liked the idea) and DeepClimate (who didn’t like the idea). It is a workable plan, but first let’s review the current situation.

Criticisms of the IPCC Process

After Climategate, many people have put forward criticisms and ideas to improve the IPCC process. Ryan Maue wrote a fine piece for ClimateAudit titled “What to do with the IPCC?” which describes some of the thoughts by different climate researchers. There are a number of criticisms we should consider more closely.

Roger Pielke is an ISI highly cited climatologist. He has criticized IPCC for a number of biases, including ignoring articles on problems with the surface temperature record (UHI and poorly sited stations) and ignoring or downplaying papers showing the climate change effect of land use/land cover changes (which he calls a first order climate forcing). Pielke has also criticized the IPCC for cherry-picking papers to “promote a particular conclusion on climate change.”

Judith Curry has criticized the IPCC for a number of reasons also. She claim the IPCC broke its own rules to accept papers prior to peer-review and assigned high-status positions to untested researchers who happen to make claims which support the IPCC narrative of impending doom. Curry is still worried about global warming but says she no longer feels the need to substitute the IPCC for her own personal judgment.

Eduardo Zorita is also very concerned about future warming, but he is concerned that uncertainty is being hidden from policymakers. He has criticized Climategate researchers and called on the IPCC to ban them from any participation in future IPCC assessment reports, a worthy proposal but one the IPCC is almost certain to ignore. Zorita has also written about the pressure put on climate scientists to toe the line. He thinks policy makers should be made aware of “the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture.”

Patrick Michaels claims the IPCC ignores the conclusions of peer-reviewed papers they find disagreeable. As evidence for this criticism, he points to Climategate emails.

Steve McIntyre’s experience as an IPCC reviewer has not convinced him the process is fair or unbiased. As a reviewer, McIntyre advised the IPCC not to truncate data but to show and fully discuss the Divergence Problem, but McIntyre’s recommendations were rejected out of hand. McIntyre seems to feel reviewer’s comments are routinely ignored by Coordinating Lead Authors.

Richard Lindzen, professor at MIT and member of the National Academy of Sciences, has served as a lead author for IPCC. He says the “most egregious” problem is the IPCC represents its reports as the consensus findings of thousands of scientists when none were asked if they approved of the final version of the report.

John Christy has also served as a Lead Author and has been critical of the IPCC’s selection process of Lead Authors because of the reliance on nominations by national governments. Christy says, “Indeed, the selections for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report represented a disturbing homogeneity of thought regarding humans and climate.” Christy has proposed a living ‘Wikipedia-IPCC.’ While this is an interesting idea, anyone who has ever been involved in an edit war on Wikipedia knows how frustrating it can be.

Ross McKitrick has written about his frustrations in getting simple IPCC errors corrected. He is convinced IPCC data is contaminated with industrialization effects and he has called for the IPCC to be disbanded.

What does IPCC Chairman Pachauri say to all of this criticism? He says:

IPCC relies entirely on peer-reviewed literature in carrying out its assessment and follows a process that renders it unlikely that any peer reviewed piece of literature, however contrary to the views of any individual author, would be left out.

As the links above show, this statement is clearly untrue. A great many of the world’s finest climate researchers have expressed significant criticisms of the IPCC process and the final assessment reports. But it appears nothing will change unless an idea is put forward which is so compelling and so obvious a solution that it cannot be ignored. The alarmists have seized the apparatus of editorship and will not relinquish it.

A Modest Proposal

If policymakers want a less biased picture, there is only one way to achieve it. It is necessary for the IPCC AR5 to consist of a Majority Report and a Minority Report. Going into the process, no one will know which of the competing reports will be named the Majority Report and which the Minority Report. That decision will come after both reports are completed and voted on by the climate scientists involved.

Climate scientists will be asked to vote for the report they believe best represents a careful presentation of current science. The requirement the final report must gain the approval of contributing climate scientists will be new for the IPCC. It will require the Coordinating Lead Authors to be more responsive to reasonable reviewer comments and will tend to make the assessment report less alarmist. If it fails to make the report less alarmist, the “consensus report” may find their report named the Minority Report.

Here’s how the idea would work: Both reports would have its own set of Editors. One report would have traditional IPCC editors, the other will have editors who have been critical of the IPCC process. All climate researchers are free to contribute to either report in any invited capacity. Researchers do not have to choose a “team.” In fact, the safest career choice for climate scientists will be to contribute to both reports and be a reviewer of both reports.

This represents the best chance for the IPCC to fulfill its mission of providing policymakers with a balanced assessment of climate science.

Scope of the Effort

Working Group I of AR4 was dominated by relatively few scientists. The report lists two co-chairs, Susan Solomon and Dahe Qin. Another six people are listed on the editing team for a total of eight. Here is the breakdown of authors by chapter:

Chapters Coordinating Lead Authors Lead Authors Contributing Authors Review Editors
Ch 1 2 6 26 2
Ch 2 2 13 37 2
Ch 3 2 66 0 3
Ch 4 2 9 44 2
Ch 5 2 11 53 2
Ch 6 2 14 33 2
Ch 7 2 13 60 3
Ch 8 2 11 76 0
Ch 9 2 7 44 3
Ch 10 2 12 78 2
Ch 11 2 15 40 2
Totals 22 177 491 23

If counted correctly and all of these were different people, there would be 721 total editors and authors. We know some people served in more than one capacity. For example, Kevin Trenberth served as Coordinating Lead Author of Chapter 3 and Contributing Author of Chapter 7.

The number of Lead Authors is high because Chapter 3 credited every involved scientist as a Lead Author with zero Contributing Authors. Normally, each chapter has 2 Coordinating Lead Authors, 2 or 3 Review Editors and 10 or 11 Lead Authors. So then AR 4 Working Group I was dominated by about 150 scientists and another 500 served as Contributing Authors.

In reality, AR4 Working Group I was dominated by about 150 climate scientists, but the most important were the eight editors and the 22 Coordinating Lead Authors. It would be very easy to duplicate this effort by climate scientists who have been critical of the IPCC.

The alternate report could be edited by the team of Roger A. Pielke, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Eduardo Zorita, Judith Curry, Hans von Storch, John Christy, Garth Paltridge and Richard Lindzen. These names are only a suggestion but, a team like this could not be easily dismissed. It includes strong proponents of global warming theory, strong skeptics and luke-warmers. It has representatives from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It has experts on the Arctic, Antarctica and the tropics and specialists on oceans, atmosphere, radiative transfer and more.

An editing team of this strength would find it easy to attract top quality coordinating lead authors for each chapter. Roger Pielke alone has probably written papers with 150 (just a guess) different climate scientists as co-authors, all of whom respect him and would stand in line to join him in an assessment report. Richard Lindzen is a member of National Academy of Sciences and also commands tremendous respect. He also could attract many top climate researchers to write an unbiased assessment report. The same is true of Christy, Curry, Akasofu and the rest.

What if the IPCC refuses?

It is possible the IPCC will not bow to pressure to publish two reports. In that case, climate scientists simply come together to publish an alternative assessment report without the IPCC. Since IPCC authors and reviewers are not paid, funding is not a problem. Since the book-sized assessment report can be published on the internet, there are no real publication costs.

Yes, I am familiar with the Nature, Not Human Activity Rules the Climate. While it was written by an international panel of scientists, there were only 24 authors. It suffers by not getting the buy-in of a larger segment of the climate science community. I am proposing a full and fair assessment of climate science. It should be timed to be published at about the same time as, or shortly after, AR5.

It is hard to imagine that Pielke, Christy, Akasofu and others would not like to see an alternative assessment report to the IPCC – an effort dedicated to correcting the poor methods of the IPCC – a report which actually considers comments from reviewers. It is difficult to imagine they would not like to be a part of such an effort. And it is just as difficult to imagine that would not like to see their report put to the vote against AR5. This will be a time-consuming and unpaid effort. But it will be a grand effort and one that future generations will be very grateful for.

The question now is: Is this a project Pielke, Curry, Lindzen and others are willing to take on?

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Adam

Not bad. Especially when you consider that anything is better than nothing.

Steeptown

The answer to the question is: I would sincerely hope so. The people of the world need this project.

David, UK

It is a foregone conclusion that the IPCC won’t go for this; why would a turkey vote for Christmas? But let’s bring it on.

As long as Michael Mann is involved then he will find a way to corrupt the process. If the IPCC really represents “thousands of scientists” then it can just bar the Real Climate team and those in the Climategate emails from participating without affecting the outcome of the report, but greatly increasing its credibility.
Perhaps in future reports academics who’ve been in climate science for decades will take prominent roles rather than sociopathic PhD neophytes trying to earn a name for themselves with a lot of flash and a lack of facts.

Doug in Seattle

The question now is: Is this a project Pielke, Curry, Lindzen and others are willing to take on?
I certainly hope so! I also would prefer that the IPCC grow a pair and accept the challenge, but do expect the current leadership of the UN or IPCC to be so bold, or so confident in their position.

Cold Englishman

Majority? Minority? How about “let’s save taxpayers a fortune in transport to exotic places of second rate scientists and railway engineers” by scrapping the thing altogether.
When something is on no value at all – scrap it!

Jordan

My first question is what determines a “climate scientist” and therefore who is entitled to a vote? Equally who doesn’t get a vote?
Does Gavin Schmidt get a vote? Or Ross McKitrick? Where do we draw the line?
And it then follows – how much of the electorate have a conflict of interest because of the funding gravy train? Shouldn’t people with such a conflict of interest be excluded from the vote?
I read on an earlier post that NASA spent $1bn on global warming last year, and the US $8.7bn over an unspecified period. That’s a helluva lotta jobs, career opportunities and status-building publications. All good reasons to say there is a conflict of interest and that the vote would be like turkeys having a vote on the Christmas menu.
But if you were to exclude them and widen the criteria for deciding who gets to vote, the next complaint is that the vote lacks credibility.

I like the Cold Englishman comment. In addition I have a problem with voting. In science positions nothing has so far been “settled” by voting. Let me give the following example: Around 1904 the science Physics was “settled”, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Lorentz all had done their work, a majority standpoint. In 1905 a gentlemen from a patent office wrote a new standpoint, say a minority standpoint. It took the scientific field by storm without voting but based on the article its scientific merits which for a greater part still holds to day, until something new comes by.

Gary Hladik

“If the wine is sour, throw it out.” — The innkeeper in the film “The Agony and the Ecstasy”.

Peter Miller

A good idea, but the problem is you are dealing with an organisation,which has actively promoted the corruption of the scientific process.
Most leaders of weird religious cults and autocratic regimes genuinely believe they are doing a good job and do not tolerate criticism in any form.
The IPCC is no different, you just cannot get the main beneficiaries of a corrupt regime to cleanse themselves of their corruption; an outside force always has to do this.
I wish I could think of ‘an outside force’ capable and willing to do this, but I can’t.

Peter

The idea (if it’s one) leads to an endless war between two antagonistic camps dominated by politically biased members. Whom to believe at the end?
This is clearly a non-scientific but a political approach to save what’s left of a quite damaged institution. Too much debris laying around to start anew.
Figuratively speaking: how do you order your meal in a restaurant telling you that they would have two cooks and two kitchens, a conservative and a liberal one?
John Christy’s ‘Wikipedia-IPCC’ idea is much more convincing: an open peer review process like the one you find here …
http://www.livingreviews.org
The most important thing is to keep politicians and bureaucrats as far away from the scientific process as possible.
A scientific board for each topic, limited access to the discussion and review forum for recognized scientists working in the field, annual reports (majority and minority report) – and a moderated layman’s blog.
Peter

John A

The recent history of climate science has shown that such a proposal would never work.
The ClimateGate narrative showed conclusively that a small cabal of scientists were prepared to pervert the scientific method, block and threaten to block opposing papers from being published, use RealClimate and other places to provide false and misleading commentary against opponents, hide methods and data for spurious reasons, truncate and disappear contrary evidence and use every dirty trick to defund and isolate their opponents.
As Ryan O’Donnell et al has found out, the cabal still in business. As Penn State has so eloquently explained, the academic institutions are not prepared to consider even prima facae evidence of serious misconduct while those star researchers are bringing in millions of dollars in grants.
I recall that Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick made such a proposal for a “Minority Report” in their book “Taken by Storm”. But the political and financial asymmetry would pose an insuperable barrier to researchers’ future funding and careers if they were seen to be even sympathetic to climate non-alarmism.
Even scientific institutions like the NAS, AAAS and the Royal Society have been traduced to bend to breaking point the fundamental principles of the scientific method.
There are no historical parallels for such a corruption of science as has happened in the last 15 years in Western science, and there are no easy solutions.
Sorry.
These events continue to occur

lapogus

Sounds like a very sensible suggestion to be. If the high heid yins in the IPCC are not agreeable then Pielke et al should make it clear that they will go ahead anyway and produce a Minority Report. But haven’t the NIPCC already done this?

Martin Brumby

Whilst this is a very worthy and intelligent suggestion, perhaps for that reason it has zero chance of being taken up by the IPCC.
Don’t forget that they are there to serve their political masters and ‘science’ and ‘truth’ are irrelevant to their mission.
It would be more likely to be accepted that they add a steering committee at the top to ‘assist’ Pachauri in his endeavours. I would suggest Monbiot, Ward, Romm, Strong and Oxburgh and have Prince Chuckles as Chair.
The warmists couldn’t object, the committee members would be well rewarded and I think the arrangement would give just emphasis to what the project is all about.
You need to bring boils to a head before lancing them.

Gary Pearse

Fixing a train wreck is impossible. You don’t have to be a railway engineer to know that. And oh yeah, what would the summary for policy makers look like. The entire UN is an anti-American, anti-free enterprise construct that provides a habitat for just the types like Pachauri. The whole UN is broken and the IPCC is a symptom.

Scott

Being somewhat skeptical of AGW, there is an advantage in maintaining the IPCC. Given the governance structure alone, the IPCC serves as a stone weight for those in support of the AGW theory.
It is noteworthy that some alarmists are trying to cut Al Gore loose. If the theory was correct, they’d advance their case further if they cut the IPCC lose instead.

Jordan

Further to my earlier comment (which was probably too negative towards the main post).
I’m torn between wishing to see the IPCC ended, and seeing what AR5 comes up with to try to recover the IPCC’s composure.
Assuming there will be an AR5, my suggestion would be to extend to process to include an open on-line “Replies” section.
Replies would be part of the report. They would address specific points in the main body of the AR5, but not limited to procedural/technical/scientific points.
It would be important to ensure that the IPCC is not in control of Replies.
The IPCC would not be entitled to respond to Replies – the IPCC’s responsibility would be to ensure AR5 (and the process) is squeaky clean and balanced in the first place. If not, Replies would be posted as a permanent record of any failings. This would bring discipline.
Replies would come from subscribers but there would be no criteria such as academic background or carreer choice. Replies would not be permited to quote the replier’s qualifications (no appeal to authority).
Replies could only address AR5. A Reply could not respond to other Replies (not another internet sandpit) .
There would need to be some form of moderation, but not something that could be controlled by special interest groups. Perhaps Replies initially go into some form of quarantine (which would be publicly visible) and some procedure to raise them out of quarantine (such as a “seconder”).
Final point – all subscribers would have a single vote on each Reply. This would be a positive vote or abstention (no voting-down to cancil other positive votes).
The Replies with the most votes would thererfore rise to the top of the pile. And readers of AR5 would then have a ready measure of the most significant concerns being raised about the report and its implications. This would therefore inform the various interesed parties about quality, even-handedness and other important matters concerning AR5.

Lew Skannen

It is all in the negotiating tactics employed.
As an opening gambit we shoud suggest disbandment and summary execution.
After a bit of haggling to and fro we can settle for disbandment and permanent exile.

lapogus

The point I would make following climategate and the more recent O’Donnel trashing of the Steig paper – which has been completely ignored by the MSM and even environmental journalists – is that we cannot rely on the media to expose the culture of politicised and junk science within the IPCC; the press and TV are in it up to their necks as much as the politicians.
It is scientists (ok, mainly play station modellers) who got us into to this mess, and it is good scientists who are going to have to get us out of it (with help from the blogosphere of course). And not forgetting Mother Nature in respect of the three cold winters the northern hemisphere has just experienced – another one of those and voters and taxpayers will surely have had enough.

joe

A Modest Proposal
If policymakers want a less biased picture….
haha. it was a good proposal up to that point.

Orkneygal

What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born blogger? Will no one rid me of this troublesome guest poster?

Jimbo

Pachauri
IPCC relies entirely on peer-reviewed literature in carrying out its assessment and follows a process that renders it unlikely that any peer reviewed piece of literature, however contrary to the views of any individual author, would be left out.”

Is this really true? According to statements given to the Inter Academy Council by IPCC insiders the IPCC could not produce its reports without reliance on gray literature

“There cannot be any assessment of impacts and possible response strategies to climate change on peer-reviewed literature only.” (p. 48)
—-
“My WG III chapter depended heavily on non-peer reviewed literature and I have yet to hear a complaint about its quality.” (p. 52)
http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/grey-literature-ipcc-insiders-speak-candidly/
http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/Comments.pdf

PanP

Two reports means no consensus ergo this will never happen.

Sean

IPCC should really stand for International Panel for CO2 Condemnation. It’s intention was not to learn about the climate but to hang any adverse weather consequences on CO2. It’s time to disband this organization and when that’s done, do the same with the rest of the chain of command.

Hybridweb

Why keep it at all. It is a political construct rather than a scientific research body. We do have some competent climate researchers. Why not appropriately fund them rather than dump precious resources into a corrupt organization with questionable goals.

Peter Plail

This approach implies that there are only two positions. In reality I suspect there is a continuum of views from one extreme to the other. On this blog, for example, Anthony categorises commenters into AGW, sceptical and lukewarm.
I would prefer to see a Rumsfeld analysis:
“….. there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
Such an analysis would then reveal just how little of the catastrophic AGW argument falls into the category of known knowns, even without attempting to quantify unknown unknowns (just an admission of the possibility would remind people that no scientists are omniscient).
It would also help the public’s understanding if the report was explain how little actual science is used in arriving at conclusions, and how statistical analysis and programming are the primary tools. Brilliance in climate science thinking does not automatically result in brilliance in using practical tools, as evidenced by many of the Harry comments in the climategate e-mails regarding the abilities of scientists in writing and documenting their code, and from professional statisticians like McIntyre in regards to scientists’ misuse of statistics.
The spat between O’Donnell and Steig that has featured heavily on these pages is a case in point. The argument is over statistical methods (as I understand it as a layman) and in my view both miss the point that the data is so sparse and fragmented that no reliable conclusions should be drawn for such a geographically wide area (or was that really what O’Donnell was getting at).
A little bit of honesty about just what scientists can and, more importantly, can’t do, whilst it might bruise egos, would help the public in realising that we have a long way to go in understanding, let alone predicting, global climate.

tango

the only answere is lock them all up ,somebody has to do it for the sake of man kind

Golf Charley

Scrap all funding for the IPCC, and then see which of the climatologists are sufficiently concerned about man made global warming to work for free.
No “free time off” from academic duties, no free trips to exotc locations. Zilch
No funding of NASA, Met ofice, NGO’s, Greenpeace, WWF etc for climate research.
The perceived problem will simply go away

A C Osborn

I agree completely with
Cold Englishman says:
February 13, 2011 at 1:02 am
Why do we possibly need an IPCC, there is no Catastrophic anything, although an Ice Age would be. We have managed to survive thousands of years without an IPCC (and UN). With instantanious communications and the internet all data can be made available to everybody for anyalysis and action.

I have come across the following web site “Admitting Failure” that seems appropriate in the context of what should be done with the IPCC…
http://www.admittingfailure.com/
“Learning from what’s not working. Creating space for what is.”

dbleader61

Am not sure why the term “a modest proposal” is assigned to potentially serious endeavors such as you have put forth here.
Jonathan Swifts famous book of the same name is brought to mind of course and he used it in an ironic sense – his proposal was anything but “modest”. It was not meant to be taken seriously at all.
I think sir, your proposal is serious but perhaps not feasible. It is done a death blow, however, by the literary connotations of the title it’s given on this post – something I would think the AGW crowd will take note of and use to put it down.
A “humble proposal” or an “alternative proposal” perhaps – but not a Swiftian “modest proposal”.
A humble proposal

Julian in Wales

And Pachauri should be removed from having anything to do with the organisation of any of the reports, he is tarnished and his name needs to be disassociated from the process.

Jessie

Lew Skannen says: February 13, 2011 at 2:20 am
‘….settle for disbandment and permanent exile.’
Agreed.
As this group with their modest proposal from NZ/Australia:
http://www.conscious.com.au/
Naming it for what it is – scientific fraud.
And in WUWT tips and notes as the new currency is developed:
pat says: February 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm in regard to Rothschild and 70% ownership of Weather Central http://www.wxc.com/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/tips-notes-to-wuwt/#comment-594309
as does the Aus/NZ group

enough

As long as the UN’s real agenda is redistributing and restructuring the world economy with the UN in charge and taking their cut……
Dump them and hard

LazyTeenager

As the links above show, this statement is clearly untrue.
————
Your confused. All you have shown is that there was disagreement. You have not shown Pachauri’s statement was untrue.
————
A great many of the world’s finest climate researchers have expressed significant criticisms of the IPCC process and the final assessment reports.
————
This is very self congratulatory. Evidentally only climate scientists who tell you what you want to hear are to be assessed as “fine”.
I also find the coalition of skeptic scientists you propose to produce a minority report somewhat implausible. Since they have defined themselves to be contrarian the chances that they can agree with each other to produce a report is slim. The chances they can produce a report that presents a coherent view of the science is even slimmer.

Harold Pierce Jr

RE: The White-Coated Wiseguys.
A front for the UN, the IPPC is a corrupt organization of white-coated wiseguys who are runnng an enviromental and climate protection racket and are shaking down gullible politicians and the public for megabillions.
The oil embargo in the early 1970’s was the world-wide wake up call on all aspects of energy production and utilization. By the 1990’s, the engineers in the advanced countries had eliminated inefficient use of energy in most of industry and commerce. Notable accomplishments are the increase of fuel economy in transportation and the implementation of energy management systems due advances in computing technologies.
When the IPPC in 1997 set the emission reduction target for GHG’s at 5% below that for 1990, they knew with absolute certainty that no country could never meet that target. Enter Al Gore, Ken Lay et al with their various carbon credit scams and other scheme such as cap-and-trade and carbon offsets.

peter2108

If AGW is false, as most people here believe it is, then the facts will increasingly make this obvious, and the institutional superstructure (to adapt Marx) will then wither and die. No action will be needed, the process is presently underway.

DirkH

The IPCC has nothing to do with science; it is a sub-organization of the UN, serving the UN’s needs, so the problem is in the political domain, not in the scientific domain; and this proposal would only make sense if it found endorsement by the UN, or, alternatively, a bloc of nations, say Russia, China and India who would want to set a counterpoint.

Vince Causey

“It is possible the IPCC will not bow to pressure to publish two reports. In that case, climate scientists simply come together to publish an alternative assessment report without the IPCC.”
They already have, and it was called the NIPCC report.

eo

The core problem of IPCC is its link to the UN and the political process. The selection of experts in the panel including the chairman is based on the UN process of balancing the representation from the various regions. Some governments are very strong in pushing one of their nationals to specific post in the IPCC. If we look at purely from the climate science perspective what would be the chance of a railway engineer heading this body. Once international politics have set in, anything could follow. Funding, media coverage, distortion and all things common and normal in politics comes into the picture.]

ImranCan

You are starting from the assumption that all the key parties would want soem form of balance in this. You are being naive. In the same way that AGW alarmists won’t debate any scientific issues because they would have the fundamental weaknesses exposed, so will they not allow an official alternative report. What would be the point ? The truth is irrelevant.

AusieDan

There are two problems with this proposal, the first very difficult to surmount.
The second, an impossibility.
Problem one – this has already been canvassed.
It is very difficult to imagine that the team would not undermine this process.
Problem two – ask yourself, how would you vote?
Believers will vote for the AGW version, regardless of the merits of the arguements that the two reports contain.
Critics, at least a large majority, will vote for the sceptical version.
Let’s be realistic – I would vote according to how I see the scientific evidence.
I would be amazed if the AGW crowd can come up with sufficient new evidence to change many people’s analysis.
A much more straight forward approach, without the need for all that sweat and toil needed to produce two reports – would just be to take the names of all those entitled to vote and to compile two lists – pro and anti AGW.
Total them up and vola – you have the result.
No need even to call a poll.
Seriously, the IPCC must go and UN control of the process must go.
A new committee is needed, made up of scientists of renown, drawn from insiders in the debate and others from diciplines far away and with a good mix from both supporters sides of the arguement.
From that, a new, far more modest report can be compiled, setting out exactly what is known about the climate and what is not.
The emphasis of future research must then be to reduce the (currently much larger pile of unknowns) to a more manageable size.
That task will take decades – this discipline is very new.

John B

I have a much simpler proposal.
Stop doing assessment reports altogether. Stop counting things and searching for things to count and assess.
The warming/climate panjandrum then grinds to a halt, we can then instead of wasting trillions on fortune-telling, spend them on practical solutions to immediate problems, and we can all get on with the rest of our lives.
Puny Mankind cannot so influence or control the climate and environment because these extend to the edge of the expanding Universe.

In 1993, after ten years of legal and scientific work, a minority of ocean pollution specialists overturned the consensus UN position that we might call ‘dilute and disperse’. This policy was based upon box-compartment models of the ocean. Climate models are extensions of those techniques developed in the late 1970s and 1980s.
I wrote several papers at the time (in the peer-reviewed literature) aimed at the UN committee and panel structures (known as the Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution – GESAMP) and identified how those structures marginalised criticism and created false consensus – I reviewed that story in my book ‘Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory’ hoping to engage the world of climate science in a discussion on the nature of consensus, majority and minority views – but have had no response from that community.
There is a similar history on the UN’s committees on the effects of low level radiation (during the times when pregnant women were X-rayed). That structure was also eventually overturned.
The answer is very simple – the UN needs to look at the structure of the Panel and the nature of ‘authority’ and ‘consensus’. There is a minority view (that the warming we have seen – however adequately represented from the data, is largely natural – Christy is on record stating 75% – my own assessment in Chill, was 80%). There are several experts with a history of participating in the IPCC who would share that minority view and could put together a strong case based on the data and attribution of causes – and it would be a very simply matter for those experts to lobby for a minority report, if the main report did not reflect their view.
However – there are two obstacles:
1) experts are nominated by government and all governments are biased and also rely upon advice from either their national academies (all biased) or their lead institutions – such as CRU, Hadley, GISS, NCAR and their equivalens – also all biased!
2) even if governments could be persuaded to nominate leading critics – the current structure of the writing and release of the Working Group and Summary reports does not allow contributors to see the final draft in enough time to dissent and organise a minority report – so some change of structure would be necessary to anticipate a minority report.
Quite often it is very clear from the detailed Working Group chapters on the science that there is no real consensus – the different conclusions are represented and papers reviewed. However – the Summary for Policy Makers, over which those dissenting voices have no control at all, simply marginalises the disagreements or lack of consensus on the specific science, and then makes up some anodyne statement which few would disagree with. For example, the meaningless ‘very likely’ statements which have no real statistical foundation but are based on ‘expert judgement’ that ‘most’ of the observed warming is due to man-made greenhouse gases.
It is at this latter point that the dissenting voice needs to be strong and for the respective lack of consensus in the science to be highlighted.
The problem with the IPCC is that the secretariat chooses the lead authors and is in charge of the editorial process. This was a standard tactic of UK commissions of inquiry – get a bunch of very worthy professors together, but feed them information from a biased secretariat that chooses carfeully its main advisors. When I was elected to one such UK government commission (in 1984 on the dumping of radioactive waste)
on the basis of intense lobbying from the Seamens Union and Greenpeace, I inisted on an unbiased secretariat and had to go directly to the Secretary of State to arrange it – otherwise I refused to participate. The switch was made from the MAFF labs that ha dlicensed the dumping (and contained all the experts and modellers) to the independent Institute of Ocean Sciences. I also insisted upon my own secretarial support over the six month period of assessment.
In similar work modelling the consequences of major nuclear accidents (for public inquiries) we insisted on the other side giving us their computer models and codes – and we could then vary the key parameters. That would not be so far from possible for the dissenters to do – with a small amount of funding – and run the models with no water vapour feedback and recent lower estimates for the relation of the RF of CO2 at the tropopause to temperature at the surface….all of this exists within the ensembles, but does not get highlighted because then there is no scary climate story.
The science is already there – all in the peer-reviewed literature – and the UN is the only politically viable forum – and there is a general consensus that it needs some reform. There needs to be a concerted lobby for such reform – aimed at government, the national academies and the UN itself – not just in terms of dissenting experts being appointed, but in the deeper structure of the reporting such that a minority report is viable when there is serious dissent from the majority view. Had this been done in previous situations where the UN was seriosuly wrong much environmental and human detriment could have been avoided.

EternalOptimist

If I remember correctly, a minority report requires three zonked out people floating around in a pool in a stupour. They are able to fortell the future with 100% accuracy and save mankind from itself.
[snip – don’t put this sort of threatening rubbish on my blog in comments, even in jest, – ever – Anthony]
We can then listen to what these ‘threeCogs ‘ say with awe, and a little foreboding.
of course, the minority report I am referring to was science fiction, unlike CAGW, which is ,er, science fiction
joke/
sarc/

Sam Hall

Lew Skannen has the right idea.

richard verney

This may be a modest but it is a flawed proposal. The fundamental problem with this proposal is summed up in two posts:
Peter says: February 13, 2011 at 1:39 am “The idea (if it’s one) leads to an endless war between two antagonistic camps dominated by politically biased members. Whom to believe at the end?…..Figuratively speaking: how do you order your meal in a restaurant telling you that they would have two cooks and two kitchens….”
AND
Gary Pearse says:February 13, 2011 at 2:11 am “….And oh yeah, what would the summary for policy makers look like…”
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Quite simply, it is impossible to have the IPCC issue two reports (the so called ‘consensus’ view and the dissenters veiew) and expect those two reports to carry weight. The executive summary would inevitably side with one or the other, and politicians and policy makers will only look at the executive summary so alll the foregoing is rendered largely redundant.
In making this proposal Ron Cram has overlooked or not taken account of two fundamental issues running through the veins of the IPCC. First as Martin Brumby says: February 13, 2011 at 2:11 am “….Don’t forget that they are there to serve their political masters and ‘science’ and ‘truth’ are irrelevant to their mission….” AND second, as John A says: February 13, 2011 at 1:59 am “The recent history of climate science has shown that such a proposal would never work. The ClimateGate narrative showed conclusively that a small cabal of scientists were prepared to pervert the scientific method….”
Any objective review of this matter over the last 18 months would conclude that The IPCC needs to be disbanded. Simples. The question ought to be, should it be replaced, and if so with what?
Of course, given the sums and stakes invested, this is never going to happen, at least not in the short term. Only a wake up call from a prolonged period of cooling (with crop failures as came to pass in Mexico) will enable ‘our’ political ‘masters’ to come to their senses and see the dangers that they (and not CO2) are causing.

R. de Haan

I don’t agree.
They key to a quick solution is to stop the funding.
Stop it’s funding and ignore it’s reports.
All we need is a Bill to end it, just like the Bill that will make an end to EPA regulating CO2 emissions. I thought a read a story about such an initiative.
The entire climate scam is on the brink of collapse (David Archibald says it will be over within the next two years), the Green industry is on the brink of collapse with investors running for the escape exits and even the World Bank has made clear they no longer believe the Lord Stern Rapport and the IPCC prognoses. Besides that, we can do very well without any body writing alarmist reports about natural events that are beyond our control anyway.
De-funding is the only smart and quick process to end this disaster.
The IPCC is a dead man walking and the best way is to put it asleep ASAP.

richard verney

Perhaps I should have added to my earlier post a brief outline of the dangers that ‘our’ political ‘masters’ are inflicting upon us, namely,
1. They are seeking to bankrupt the western world and drive back the standard of living to pre-industrial levels.
2. They are seeking to prohibit and prevent the developing world from developing, not simply preventing the citizens of those countries enjoying the luxurias of life, but also the very basics that we take for granted namely electriticy and the wealth that would help them deliver clean water and decent living standards.
3. The failure to invest in cheap and reliable energy. Not only are so called green energies unreliable and cannot possibly (with present technologies) deliver the energy the west requires, it will force countless millions into fuel poverty and with old people this costs lives.
4. Rather than wasting billions and billions of dollars on inefficient green erergy, we should be investing this money in real cost effective alternativitives whether this be nuclear (possibly thorium) or otherwise (such as fussion). Just imaginge the advances that could have been made in these techologies if they, these past 5 to 10 years, had been given the budget instead of the so called ‘green’ energy.
5. We should be investing in coal to liquid plants. I understand that the breakeven price for this technology is about $60 per barrel of oil. If these plants became widespread this would effectively place a market cap on the value of oil at about $60 per barrel which would be of huge benefit to all, not least in the price stability that would bring.
6. Increase in CO2 levels would help crop yields.
7. Turning crops to biofuels is a waste of good agricultural land and is putting up the price of basic food stuff and will lead to an inability to feed the world. All of this will cost lifes.
Unfortunately, the list goes on and on.
The sooner ‘our’ political ‘masters’ come to their senses the better for all.

artwest

How about a combination of the two ideas?
Two wikis, the contents of one overseen by pro-CAGW, one by anti-CAGW scientists. Only contributions authorised by the respective wiki overseers would be allowed. There would then be rolling contrasting assessments rather than a single one once every so many years and there shouldn’t be a Wikipedia type editing debacle. There should be much more transparency as readers will be able to see the edits which go into the wikis, as with Wikipedia. Rejected contributions would also be viewable.
That, I think, might work quite effectively. Each “side” would be able to present its case as it wished. Each wiki would be able to comment, in their own wiki, on claims made in the other but would have no control over the other wiki. Obviously there would have to be many details worked out such as terms of office for the overseers so that they don’t become personal fiefdoms. Also a scientist could, if they wished, and were authorised, contibute to both wikis.
The following is more debatable so I don’t want to make a big deal about it and detract from the idea above, but perhaps there could be annexes to each wiki where sensible questions could be asked by anyone, but answered by scientists approved by the controllers of each wiki. I appreciate that the scope for the questions annexes to become unmanageable is great but repetitive questions could be pointed towards previous answers or the relevant section of the wiki.