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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February 13, 2011 12:26 am

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

February 13, 2011 12:36 am

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

David, UK
February 13, 2011 12:38 am

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.

February 13, 2011 12:40 am

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
February 13, 2011 12:58 am

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
February 13, 2011 1:02 am

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!

February 13, 2011 1:11 am

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.

oebele bruinsma
February 13, 2011 1:23 am

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
February 13, 2011 1:35 am

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

Peter Miller
February 13, 2011 1:39 am

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.

February 13, 2011 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?
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 …
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.

John A
February 13, 2011 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, 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.
These events continue to occur

February 13, 2011 2:03 am

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
February 13, 2011 2:11 am

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
February 13, 2011 2:11 am

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.

February 13, 2011 2:14 am

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.

February 13, 2011 2:16 am

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
February 13, 2011 2:20 am

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.

February 13, 2011 2:22 am

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.

February 13, 2011 2:27 am

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

February 13, 2011 2:28 am

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?

February 13, 2011 2:34 am

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)

February 13, 2011 2:35 am

Two reports means no consensus ergo this will never happen.

February 13, 2011 2:37 am

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.

February 13, 2011 2:40 am

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
February 13, 2011 2:50 am

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.

February 13, 2011 3:01 am

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

Golf Charley
February 13, 2011 3:09 am

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
February 13, 2011 3:10 am

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.

February 13, 2011 3:17 am

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

February 13, 2011 3:21 am

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
February 13, 2011 3:25 am

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.

February 13, 2011 3:35 am

Lew Skannen says: February 13, 2011 at 2:20 am
‘….settle for disbandment and permanent exile.’
As this group with their modest proposal from NZ/Australia:
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/
as does the Aus/NZ group

February 13, 2011 3:38 am

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

February 13, 2011 3:40 am

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
February 13, 2011 3:41 am

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.

February 13, 2011 3:53 am

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.

February 13, 2011 4:03 am

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
February 13, 2011 4:09 am

“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.

February 13, 2011 4:12 am

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.]

February 13, 2011 4:20 am

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.

February 13, 2011 4:28 am

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
February 13, 2011 4:36 am

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.

February 13, 2011 4:38 am

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.

February 13, 2011 4:40 am

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

Sam Hall
February 13, 2011 4:53 am

Lew Skannen has the right idea.

richard verney
February 13, 2011 4:58 am

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….”
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
February 13, 2011 5:15 am

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
February 13, 2011 5:24 am

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.

February 13, 2011 5:30 am

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.

February 13, 2011 5:31 am

Sorry if I am being thick, but why do we need any sort of IPCC process at all?
It was set up ostensibly to determine whether global warming would continue and evaluate what the effects would be.
23 years later it is clearly apparent that, for now at least, the warming has effectively stopped for some 15 years.
Would it not be sensible for them all to put their toys away and go home?
I am sure we can soon call them up again if the planet decides to warm again in a few years time.

Roy Spencer
February 13, 2011 5:44 am

While in the past I had advocated disbanding (or simply ignoring) the IPCC as hopelessly corrupt, I believe this suggestion is a good one.
In fact, I believe that John Christy actually proposed it at an IPCC meeting in Hawaii.
But there would need to be high-level political pressure put on the IPCC for this to happen. Also, the minority report MUST be based on peer-reviewed science. It does not matter if our side has only 1% of the publications. The vast majority of the publications do not deal with the central question of causation anyway.
You don’t need a peer reviewed publication to point out something like, “Virtually no research has been performed into natural, internal climate cycles as the source of most warming.”

Dodgy Geezer
February 13, 2011 5:58 am

“..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..”
I second that. This is politics, not science. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake….

Paul in Sweden
February 13, 2011 6:01 am

The modest proposal of having an IPCC Majority & Minority report(“The Almond Joy approach” – sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t) has merit but even the IPCC’s own reform recommendations will not be put in place until after AR5 is released.
What might be a better approach is:
US defunds IPCC
“U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) today reintroduced legislation that would save taxpayers millions of dollars by prohibiting the United States from contributing to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization fraught with waste and engaged in dubious science.”

The congress should continue the legislative process of defunding NASA GISS and all the many other redundant climate programs, sticking with one United States Global Change Research Program[USGCRP] annual assessment report as the umbrella. The USGCRP is already subject to Congressional Budget Office(CBO) audit which can be supplemented by outside science audit & congressional hearings. Science assessments & programs can be reviewed annually to determine their next year’s budget. Activist science will not be rewarded.

February 13, 2011 6:11 am

John A, superbly well said.
The IPCC must be disbanded, its parent organizations defunded, and its reports burned and their ashes scattered to the four CO2-laced winds.
And given the cupidity of politicians, the ideological blindness of the imbecile mass media, and the vested interests of rent-seeking financiers, this will only be a small first step.

February 13, 2011 6:23 am

I have given up caring what the US thinks about climate change. The rest of us get on with the science and leave our infant moron nation to choke on its own crap!

Steve in SC
February 13, 2011 6:25 am

Craig Goodrich says:
February 13, 2011 at 6:11 am
John A, superbly well said.
The IPCC must be disbanded, its parent organizations defunded, and its reports burned and their ashes scattered to the four CO2-laced winds.
And given the cupidity of politicians, the ideological blindness of the imbecile mass media, and the vested interests of rent-seeking financiers, this will only be a small first step.

I am in full agreement with you guys.
I would go much further in that not only would I disband the organization but I would exile all the participants to the northern tip of Greenland.

Don B
February 13, 2011 6:25 am

Donna has detailed the many problems with the IPCC by quoting IPCC insiders, who have been granted anonymity.

February 13, 2011 6:25 am

The IPCC has contributed nothing of scientific (or political) value since its inception. You are only going to spend more money on a bad idea that is strictly political in the nature of its charter and organization and products. You’re trying to but a band-aid on a gushing leg amputation? Why? Not only do you need to STOP playing this game, you need to get to work doing science by the book –aka ‘The Rules of Science’. You add nothing by this! You waste much!

February 13, 2011 6:31 am

Sorry, Ron Cram. You are attempting to say that the value of the needle is worth keeping the entire hay stack. To the contrary, the U.S. must defund — withdraw from and refuse to pay anything to — the United Nations and any and all of its subsidiaries. There is no benefit to us or to the world from any of its activities. By housing and funding it, we simply give permission to “global” bureaucrats to attempt to rule the world without checks and balances. Let them find their own constituencies who wish to pay for their mischiefs and crimes.
Move it off shore to any country who believes it offers them any benefit.
One final question: why should the United States borrow from China to keep the United Nations-IPCC in business? Keep that question front and center for everything we fund that puts/keeps us in debt.

Steve from rockwood
February 13, 2011 6:34 am

If you want more honest science from the ipcc, just start reducing their funding. They will come around. Works every time.

February 13, 2011 6:41 am

to improve the IPCC process.
Why in this world would you want give credence to a bunch of crooks and liars……….

R. de Haan
February 13, 2011 6:47 am

Craig Goodrich says:
February 13, 2011 at 6:11 am
John A, superbly well said.
The IPCC must be disbanded, its parent organizations defunded, and its reports burned and their ashes scattered to the four CO2-laced winds.
And given the cupidity of politicians, the ideological blindness of the imbecile mass media, and the vested interests of rent-seeking financiers, this will only be a small first step.
I second that entirely.
These guys have cost us enough.

the nobles
February 13, 2011 6:48 am

So many problems with this proposal:
1. it smells of science by consensus – I thought science was by hypothesis and experiment,
2. it legitimizes the previous “consensus”,
3. it will create 2 camps when there may be many more than 2 views,
4. the 2 camps are likely to become internally focused on defending their views and eventually even the new camp will become closed to the scientific method (I know the “deniers” camp is objective, but the new guys coming in might not be (sarc)),
5. it falls into the trap of dueling with the weapons chosen by the other guy, based on their strength – the ability to mobilize the MSM,

Chris F
February 13, 2011 6:54 am

Golf Charley says:
February 13, 2011 at 3:09 am
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
I come to a similar conclusion Golf Charley. Take away all of the money and media fame and they’ll drop it like a hot potato. All of a sudden it will fade from prominence to obscurity.

February 13, 2011 6:59 am

Ron –
Look at this picture, please. It’s what I think the IPCC is today. (I think it’s also possible to see where it’s been the past few decades too.)
Now, tell us again, what is it that this suggestion is going to do for the good of “science”? For the IPCC? Who’s going to improve what? Who gains? Who doesn’t?

February 13, 2011 7:10 am

I have an idea… Why dosent the skeptic crowd just put together an intelligent paper filled with facts and clear evidence to disprove AGW… If you do that, people will inherently listen… And im sure everyone here will say that you slready have… But its my opinion that those papers fail fir a few reasons.. I believe people dont listen to “it’s nature not humans” and “climate change reconsidered” because there is no factual or scientific substance to them… For instance, recent warming trends don’t correlate with solar cycles so why publish a paper blaming that?. In addition, keep to the science and agree (not deny) with facts ( ie plant is warming). There is a really good Skeptical crowd but i think the fact denying (deniers) crowd is destroying their credability.. Anyway my point is that if you produce the best data, your theories will eventually rule. The world isn’t really corrupt… The best science does eventually win..

matt v.
February 13, 2011 7:13 am

Is there another field of science that requires a political body such as IPCC to run it? Do they have as much controversy and as much questionable science so frequently? I do not know of one. IPCC is all about world energy control, money collection and political agendas. Science seems secondary. The science is top down agenda with predetermined findings [man is the cause of all our climate change problems]. Regional concerns and differences and unique situations get lost in the political priorities of the bigger players. Minority points of view are totally ignored. Vital temperature data is withheld and manipulated at will to support the official point of view.[ temperatures are only going up and man is to blame ] This is not science at all. It would be a lot better for each nation to do its own climate research to properly reflect what is happening in their unique part of the world and then meet to share findings first regionally , then continentally and finally world wide. The politics and policy decisions should not be part of the science process.

February 13, 2011 7:15 am

Richard Verney is correct. Let me put it another way. The culmination of the IPCC process is not the scientific report, but the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). This is where the politicians meet, and decide on the wording of the SPM. There cannot be two such meetings; there can only be one.
So, sorry, this idea is a non-starter.

February 13, 2011 7:21 am

This approach reminds me of the feeble attempts by the various Communist elites in the former Soiet block to hang on to power and privilege by offering cosmetics and table scraps once they saw the proverbial writing in the wall. Allowing a little bit of “constructive critique” for the intelligentsia and blue jeans and boot-legged Western music for the young’uns didn’t save them. The IPPC is a UN creation, which makes it by definition a fundamentally corrupt venture beyond repair by polite tinkering.

February 13, 2011 7:25 am

It is gratifying to see people discussing my proposal. I hope it challenges your thinking.
Jordan asks:
“My first question is what determines a “climate scientist” and therefore who is entitled to a vote? Equally who doesn’t get a vote?”
Good questions. I would say anyone who has contributed as author or reviewer to either this alternative report or any IPCC reports can vote. As it currently stands, the IPCC invites many scientists to participate and uses their credibility but does not ask them if they approve of the final report. The vote is the way to determine which report they approve of.
lapogus asks:
“But haven’t the NIPCC already done this?”
As I mentioned in main post, “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate” (which was published by NIPCC) is similar but only had 24 authors. I am proposing an effort that will include hundreds of authors and reviewers, an effort of similar size to the IPCC AR5.
dbleader61 says:
“Jonathan Swifts famous book of the same name [A Modest Proposal] 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.”
Actually, the title was used in a slightly ironic sense. I am proposing a very large effort by hundreds of people, but it is more modest than disbanding the IPCC – a goal which I think springs more from frustration than anything else. I am willing to admit that increased atmospheric CO2 should lead to more warming, but how much? I favor continued study of the climate and a reasonable assessment of the current science. The IPCC has failed. Setting up a competition will tend to make the IPCC less alarmist.
AussieDan writes:
“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.”
Dan, the point is the Team cannot undermine something they do not control. That’s why none of the editors are Team members. There are believers in AGW, but these are scientists who have proven themselves to be honest and have stood up to Team members in the past. Regarding your Problem #2, you are forgetting that a large number of scientists are lukewarmers. The proponents of CAGW will vote for the traditional IPCC report no matter what it says, but there is a large and growing number of lukewarmers among climate scientists. Based on the quality of the scientists involved, yes, I do believe it is possible for the alternative report could win and be named the Majority Report.
Gary Pearce and richard verney wonder “….And oh yeah, what would the summary for policy makers look like…”
Each report would have its own Summary for Policy Makers. In a perfect world, these would come out very similar. In a world of post-normal science, it is possible they look quite different. But if the idea works properly, the AR5 will be much less alarmist than it would have because it has to compete for the votes of the lukewarmers.
Dr. Spencer:
It is nice to hear you approve and that Dr. Christy had proposed this idea. I didn’t know that. I would like to see this idea discussed at the National Academy of Sciences and the Interacademy Council, on the floor of the US Senate and House of Representatives, at meetings of the AGU and APS. I firmly believe in an open marketplace of ideas. We have not had an open marketplace in climate science for some time, but the marketplace is opening. And I think the time if right to push forward on this.

February 13, 2011 7:27 am

“The alarmists have seized the apparatus of editorship and will not relinquish it.”
Nicely nutshelled.
I like the majority/minority idea, but it will never fly because there is too much at stake, too much hubris and CYA at the political level. I firmly believe (although I have no proof) that many, if not most, scientists would welcome something like this because most appreciate and respect the uncertainties inherent in science. However, politics requires certainty whenever big change is proposed, and imposing supranational wealth redistribution on the world is the biggest change ever. The IPCC reports are ultimately political justification, not scientific proof.

February 13, 2011 7:28 am

So the IPCC has been known to be corrupt and keeps claiming that they’re looking at papers to be fair, when in reality they’re just dismissing ones they don’t like. Also the fact that they say they let people review the IPCC report, when they really do not is outrageous.
If the IPCC writers/scientists/editors don’t get paid, then why are they refusing to look at some papers and figure out what’s really happening?? The IPCC should have been an organization with people from all over the world trying to find what is truly happening, and then report on it so we know the science behind it. Now it seems that they are politically driven and corrupt. If that is the case there is no point in keeping them around anymore.
I do like your idea of the 2 reports, but i feel that the ‘majority’ one will get abused and that they’ll claimi it to be much better than the minority one. These same people have already been known to be corrupt, and i don’t see that changing anytime soon unfortunatly

David Ball
February 13, 2011 7:37 am

Why negotiate a surrender when we have them on the scientific ropes? Their proposed mechanism has been shown to be wanting. Climatology was originally developed to understand how our atmosphere works (which no one does fully, yet), and the IPCC clearly has a different agenda than understanding how the atmosphere works. It is the wrong horse to be backing. Especially if they are unwilling to make people aware of the uncertainties. Speaks volumes of the intent of the IPCC.

David Ball
February 13, 2011 7:38 am

Time is the enemy of the IPCC and they know it.

February 13, 2011 7:43 am

@Roy Spencer:
Yourself and John Christy are members of the group of researchers who are actually doing real research into climate, as opposed to politically influenced advocacy.
I would ask you, how has the IPCC influenced you? Negatively or positively? You and Christy have progresses in spite of the IPCC, rather than because of it.
Presumably there are genuine researchers acting under the IPCC, and they have produced valuable results, but that is less than obvious from the IPCC reports that the public sees.
Presumably also, at least some of this research would have occurred without the IPCC.
What the world needs is more of this research, completely removed from any political interference.
I vote that a small percentage of what is proposes to be spent on carbon reduction should be set aside for genuine climate research. It should be stipulated that the results as well as the peer reviews should be pooled and made available to any person or group who wants access.
Poof! No IPCC required, just appropriate application of existing, established protocols, kinda like other branches of academic research already work.

February 13, 2011 7:44 am

Click on organization in the IPCC web site. They claim honesty in review, rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. They also as their title shows are dedicated to proving climate change.
Why is their title International Panel on Climate Change and not International Panel on Climate, it they were looking for the truth?

February 13, 2011 7:45 am

Problem is, it is not two opposing views. It is rather dozens of views, just look at the different interpretations that are made in different disciplines: those who study oceans tend to say they rule the roast, climate modellers tend to be on the side of the IPCC, Svensmark et al point to cosmic activity, others believe that land issues is a dominating factor, some point to ultra violett light etc. Climate science is far to immature as a discipline to boil global warming down to just two opposing views. Heck, some say it is hardly warming at all.
Personally, I think there is no way to have governments and the UN in effect perform research without political bias. These are POLITICAL organisations after all. Disband the IPCC and get back to real research, where all sides of the argument recieves funding.

February 13, 2011 7:46 am

I think this is a very dangerous proposal as opposed to a modest one. I think a proposal like this is akin to the skeptics agreeing to put our collective heads in the noose. The IPCC is corrupt to its very core and any process that on the surface may appear to add legitimacy of this group will be gamed and twisted to support their goals. To think this wouldn’t happen would be foolish.
The goal behind the push for AGW was never to be right but to grab as much cash and power as possible before the roof caved in. It was never about the science, it was greedy sociopaths collectively saying “We have a real opportunity here”. We are at the point now where the walls are caving in, people are openly mocking the IPCC and the AGW cabal. Why attempt to sanitize the turds in the punch bowl when we are so close to to having the tainted batch thrown out and we can start fresh?

February 13, 2011 7:48 am

I propose funding of both camps rather than just one camp, then lets see if some turncoats turn up in the new camp.

February 13, 2011 7:53 am

The IPCC is a creation of the UN, a place where the Saudi’s end up being chair for the human rights commission.
Let’s just put the Saudi’s in charge of the IPCC. Problem solved.

Eric Dailey
February 13, 2011 7:57 am

Dear Mr. Cram,
Please review your grade school literature for the term “A Modest Proposal”. I think you will find that you have missed the common usage for that idea in your application of it here.

February 13, 2011 8:05 am

Never forget that the IPCC was set up to publish sciencein support of the AGW ‘consensus’. It is just not in its remit to publish anything which contradicts that. So the first step has to be to get the IPCC’s terms of reference changed.
That’ll be really easy…….

February 13, 2011 8:05 am

Hello Anthony,
Just read your post on disbanding the IPCC/minority report etc. Very interesting and you should do the report regardless of whether the IPCC cooperates or not.
There was also the idea to have the report written as a wikipedia style project. As you also point out I can imagine the difficulties that could be associated with that and the danger it would degenerate into a wiki edit war.
What I am still left wondering about is whether it would not be useful to have a climate realist wiki project? Well maybe it already exists and I have not noticed. But as is the bits and pieces about climate are all over the internet and published literature. For the public this can perhaps be confusing. The wiki project could distill from all available sources a structured text that would methodologically address each and every aspect of the discussion. The main focus would be to set out what we know and what we do not know climate change based only on the scientific method. Every climate myth, straw man, and political spin could be debunked there centrally and the climate realist wiki serve as a reference point for all those involved in the discussion.
Listening to the debate between warmists/alarmists and realists/sceptics/deniers or whatever names each side wants to give the other it seems to be too much of mud-wrestling and mud-raking and debating the same issues over and over again. Maybe such a wiki project could help “settling” the points of debate one at a time so the debate could be more structured and it would be more difficult to constantly derail the debate by resurrecting old ghosts that have already been put down?
Obviously, in order to avoid a wiki edit war, such a wiki would have to be under the supervision of one or more supervising editors that would have to approve the contributions before they would take effect. Sort of a peer review process if you like. This would probably not make it invulnerable to climate deniers sort of criticism but would hopefully provide a better platform from which to carry on with the scientific process of finding out the truth. Could maybe make it part of the WUWT website?
Well anyway just a thought on how to move this forward. All comments welcome.

February 13, 2011 8:10 am

You assume that there is a solution, or that there should be. David Ball nailed it:
Time is the enemy of the IPCC and they know it.
Public support for climate science is plummeting, as they get the feeling that something’s fishy. We can all talk about the details, but when Jon Stewart talks about “Hide the decline” and “Mike’s Nature trick”, then the public is well and truly on to the real game.
And it’s not just the public – this post opened with an excellent overview of scientists who smell something fishy as well.
As far as political impact, AR5 is already dead on arrival. I would recommend that the proper response to anything further from the IPCC is to ask if it also includes “Mike’s Nature trick”. The public gets this. That’s where the battle is.
Once enough scientists see the way that wind is blowing, you’ll see more of them thinking that job security lies in transparency and public trust. Until then, there simply isn’t a solution.
Mockery. That’s the solution.

February 13, 2011 8:14 am

In the climate of a corrupt organization, a minority report is no different than a minority party established in Egypt to appease protestors. Those with vested interests in the preferred message still hold all the keys and passes to the process. What’s more, they’ve demonstrably acted in a biased way before and they have no reason to stop now when their chosen narrative is on the line.
I’m sorry to sound so negative about the proposal, but trying to convince the organization that gave us Climategate to create a “minority report” is like asking the Harlem Globetrotters to pick an opponent. Their intent isn’t to present reality, so they’re just going to create the Washington Generals.
What’s more, I honestly don’t care what happens to the IPCC at this point in terms of their scientific workings. Like all useless Bureaucracies I want their funding reduced to a donut, but one more floating around that I can ignore isn’t going to kill me. Their message is spent, and it’s about to look entirely wrong and downright dangerous.

February 13, 2011 8:29 am

The problem is that real respectable individuals who will not be ideologues do not gravitate towards these positions of power. The problem with your proposal is that the final two products will be chicken little and chicken big. Maybe you can keep them honest, but the only way you can keep them honest by taking on a very draconian oversight role, which in the end will degrade the end product considerably.
What really should be produced is a majority report and minority report and a we do not support either report report for each and every single aspect of the current report. Then individual scientist credibility will be on the line and they will be less likely to support significantly flawed reports that will end up making them look like morons.

February 13, 2011 8:31 am

The IPCC is the child of the UNFCCC or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change the mission of which is, from their web site, “…to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.” They start with the premise that AGW exists and that their purpose and that of their child is to tame the CO2 beast and thereby save the world. Hyperbole? Perhaps but inaccurate. No, just go to their web sites and read their mission statements. When both a working group and the group that spawned it claim that their purpose is to do task X, doing so then becomes their raison d’etre and all of the discussions and recommendations about how to improve the process are of no value. There are no incentives for those who are involved to do otherwise. It violates the rationale for their existence.

February 13, 2011 8:33 am

1) As the top levels, who edit/alter the final draft of the reports, have shown that they have no integrity and use their power to alter and promulgate their agenda, these people need to be expelled from the IPCC.
2) The IPCC should not be part of a political organization (the UN). As long as the IPCC is affiliated with a political organization, it cannot be a scientific body or produce scientific results. It is simply beyond the abilities of politicians not to alter and misrepresent to get what they want.
3) All implicated Climategate researchers need to be banned. They, too, have shown that they lack integrity and are not honest scientists.
4) No one person or Committee should be in charge of the two reports being proposed. Somehow, they should be separate and competing. Any selections for participants or invitees need to be independent of the central body.
5) The voting for Major or Minor status could become corrupted and given more weight than it should.
6) The temperature data needs to be removed from all bodies who have been shown to alter the data in irrational, agenda-biased ways. The raw data from a subset of properly maintained sites from around the world should be established and protected from alteration. If the sites are all rural, judiciously chosen, and well sited and maintained, the results will show real changes.
There is no reason to have every little part of the world represented, as most people use the assumption that the planetary temperature goes up and down all over. On the other hand, if the temperature is not a unitary value, then the sites should be again evenly distributed and plotted; changes in regions should be detectable. Again, there is no reason to have hordes of sites unevenly distributed that change in number and location over time and there is also no reason to fill in temperatures in unmeasured areas simply to have a filled in map.
The concept that the Arctic or Antarctic need to be filled in, in order to have temperatures from the whole globe for an average, is not needed. Take the average of the selected sites and use it as an indicator of planetary changes. As long as the average is from a consistent set of sites, changes will be meaningful. To take a person’s body temperature, we accept a reading from only the mouth, ear, or anus. We do not do the whole body, even though we know that the limbs and extremities are at lower temperatures.
7) Beyond the global temperature monitoring and real scientific study of the real factors that create our climate, why would we need to have two reports or even one? Is not the scientific method and the open and properly peer-reviewed publication method good enough? Let the decision makers read the real science and get rid of the middle men.
To continue thinking that we need to have summary reports is to continue to labor under the assumption that we have two groups: one trying to blame climate on humans and the other trying to show that nature is in charge. We should cancel the whole report idea; we do not have any other body of scientific data that requires such reports, except for climate which has become a political football for various dishonest reasons.
Keep the temperature data sacrosanct and unaltered. Let the science develop as it will. Let the scientists hash out which science is valid and has integrity
We should recognize that the IPCC report was only created as a propaganda instrument, nothing more, to create a case for Draconian national and global control of energy usage.

matt v.
February 13, 2011 8:37 am

I agree with you. Also why is the mandate of IPCC to only study “man-induced “climate change and not to study all causes of climate change in equal depth . Again we see predetermined and preselected cause of climate change and the science seems then to be cherry picked to support the predetermined cause.This is not an honest attempt at science at all. If the seed of the apple is bad , the apple will be flawed also.

Ian W
February 13, 2011 8:38 am

Firstly, I think that we should recognize overtly, that the plot of ‘Jaws’ and ‘Volcano’ and other disaster/catastrophe stories, appears to be innate aspect of human nature. The ignored call of alarm from the ‘hero’ followed by disaster only saved at the last minute by the hero. It appears that everyone in research wants to be in the role of the hero warning of the shark.
There has to be a forecast catastrophe, a hero, and people who start to listen to avoid or be rescued from the forecast catastrophe. Then the hero gets a reward like a Nobel Peace Prize. Telling the people trying to play the role of hero that they are actually in the group ignoring the real call, is not popular and these putative ‘saviors of the world’ will do their best to remain cast as the ‘hero’.
Secondly, the politicians, financiers and some in industry, saw in the ‘AGW’ hypothesis an ideal way of raising money from taxes, virtual commodity markets, and ‘green industry’. These people are even more difficult to shake from their positions especially politicians for whom being shown to have been wrong is an anathema; even more so as they have been applauded if not lauded for imposing myriad ‘green taxes’ and support ‘green industry’ with lavish subsidies from the raised taxes.
Thirdly, for any research to be funded in the last decades, it has been almost de rigeur to claim that the research supports AGW/Climate Catastrophe/Climate disruption. The conclusions in the report of the research whatever it is on, are also expected to have a ritual hat-tip to global warming or climate change; even if the content of the paper is stating the opposite. Although recently cracks are starting to show in this approach.
Therefore, not only will there be huge opposition to any idea that undercuts the heroics of AGW proponents or their money making schemes, but also the vast majority of ‘peer reviewed research’ since 1990 will appear to support AGW.
Nevertheless, rather than try to close the IPCC – which won’t be done, or just do nothing, this suggestion has some merit.
Probably the best course would be to set up a “Parallel Group” to the IPCC made up of the people proposed. They would in turn set up a similar parallel set of lead authors. However, ALL papers submitted to the IPCC would be considered also by the “Parallel Group” and all papers submitted to the “Parallel Group” would be passed to the IPCC. A commentary should be created by the “parallel Group” for each paper on why it was, or was not considered and the points taken from it. Rather than any voting this approach would just generate two reports based on the same input information. Ideally, both reports would have the same level of quality assurance but it may be that the IPCC would have to improve the methodology or risk looking amateurish against a quality product with documented procedures and traceability and visibility of all papers and comments on them. That aspect alone should change the output from the IPCC.
If both reports:
* are identical in warning of impending climate catastrophe then we are in the status quo.
* State that previous forecasts of impending climate catastrophe were over blown then the AGW hypothesis will follow phlogiston theory.
However, the most likely assumption is that the “Parallel Group” report does not support AGW while the IPCC Report does support it. Given two separate Reports with differing conclusions, politicians may blame the workings of the IPCC and gracefully abandon AGW as they ‘had been mislead’. As soon as cracks in the edifice appear the hedge funds and financial scams will move to another area and industry seeing its supporting subsidies wane will also change tack.
I think your idea has some merit Anthony but may need a little massaging 😉
REPLY: I think your comment has merit Ian but needs a recognition of who the author actually is 😉 – Anthony

February 13, 2011 8:38 am

There are many, many, more, given the rumbunctious bunch that’s congregated at WUWT, but here are a few:
“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.” (John B, February 13, 2011 at 4:36 am)
“Why attempt to sanitize the turds in the punch bowl when we are so close to having the tainted batch thrown out and we can start fresh?” (bobbyj0708, February 13, 2011 at 7:46 am)
“The IPCC is a creation of the UN, a place where the Saudis end up being chair for the human rights commission …. Let’s just put the Saudi’s in charge of the IPCC. Problem solved.” (harrywr2, February 13, 2011 at 7:53 am)
“Any objective review of this matter over the last 18 months would conclude that The IPCC needs to be disbanded. Simple. 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.” (“richard verney, February 13, 2011 at 4:58 am)

G. Karst
February 13, 2011 8:46 am

What we have, with the IPCC, is a very ugly, fat pig. Putting lipstick and rough on this pig will make it less ugly, but without trimming out Mann, Gavin, and the rest of the lipid team’s subversion… the IPCC remains a fat pig. GK

February 13, 2011 9:07 am


Theo Goodwin
February 13, 2011 9:13 am

The IPCC is a grand illusion. If it is permitted to exist at all, it will further its goals of using the good name of science in pursuit of advantage for particular political interests. If the good name of science is not to be dragged through the sewers indefinitely, the IPCC must be disbanded with the greatest fanfare. But the IPCC is only one of the problems. What people of good will must do is explain to the world that science cannot serve a process whose rewards and punishments are entirely political. For the short run, this means explaining to the world that the United Nations cannot create scientific bodies that support or make policy determinations because those scientific bodies cannot avoid corruption by the political processes who control all rewards and punishments.
The United Nations can and should draw upon the results of science that was created within the context of traditional science and under a system of rewards and punishments that serve science. The moment the United Nations becomes a funding agency for scientists or a promotional agency for science, the rewards and punishments are determined by political infighting and not by the traditional ends of science.
When government funds scientists, it is necessarily funding something like a Manhattan Project. The goal of that project was not scientific understanding but a nuclear weapon. Government must fund not scientists but the institution of science. At this time in history, the best way to do that is to provide block grants to universities and similar institutions and permit them to distribute the money as they see fit. If the universities serve science as they should, they will produce no Manhattan Projects.
Yes, it is sad. But we must all learn that there is no romance in science.

February 13, 2011 9:15 am

This is the funniest post I have read. Thanks for the laughs!
As Joe said “If policymakers want a less biased picture…. haha. it was a good proposal up to that point.”
Re: the minority report + democratic voting “Fair and balanced” proposal, my knowledge of the FCIC report is too fresh in my mind right now to do anything else but be greatly amused by the proposal.

Theo Goodwin
February 13, 2011 9:26 am

Robb876 says:
February 13, 2011 at 7:10 am
“I have an idea… Why dosent the skeptic crowd just put together an intelligent paper filled with facts and clear evidence to disprove AGW… If you do that, people will inherently listen…”
This has been done many times. Roy Spencer published a scientific classic titled “The Great Global Warming Blunder” which explains in clear, concise language that the Warmista have failed to create physical hypotheses which could be used to explain and predict the “forcings” that are necessary to produce the dangerous warming that Warmista prophesy on their bible belt circuit. Without such physical hypotheses, there is no science that supports Warmista alarm. Do you have those hypotheses? If so, please state them here in your own words. I have asked this question so many times that I cannot believe I do not have boilerplate for it.

February 13, 2011 9:50 am

Please get in touch with me, click my name for website email. I’ve been working with the wiki idea for a while now. I believe passionately that we need one. In fact I already have the domain with a MediaWiki platform installed.

Daryl M
February 13, 2011 10:26 am

I hate to pour cold water on you, but if you seriously think this has a chance of working, well, the word “delusional” comes to mind. The IPCC is extremely well funded, extremely well backed politically and comprises scientists that are extremely well funded and are vigorous advocates of their point of view. In other words, the IPCC in specific and the alarmist community of scientists have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, irrespective of what anyone says. They will never surrender to an external authority and they will never cooperate with anyone or any outside organization that threatens their ongoing existance.

February 13, 2011 10:39 am

Rethink this. All of it. It is full of the misguided notion that climate is somehow involved. If the possibility exists that the gold mine that is CO2 may not be found guilty as charged, this proposal is still born. If the outcome of the activity is that CO2 and all the transfer of wealth and power it represents is found not to be at fault this outcome will be rejected.
Any proposal put forth has to guarantee it will result in the same opportunity of power and wealth transfer proffered by CO2 or it’s going nowhere. In fact without that redistribution of largess there likely would be no interest at all outside the few uncorrupted halls of science.
Once that power and wealth is transferred there does exist the possibility if not the likelihood the IPCC will focus on the science and not the remedy process, and in that, I suppose, there is hope for humanity. Not before.

Ken Harvey
February 13, 2011 10:44 am

An international panel to sit in judgement of science, however constructed, is inappropriate. The very idea is unscientific. Such a panel however adroitly planned, is unworkable. The idea is broken and we should ditch it without remorse.

February 13, 2011 11:16 am

Ron Cram
“It was mentioned by Tallbloke (who liked the idea)”
I’m generally in favour of stuff which heads in the right direction. My own proposal at Lisbon was for the positive choice to funding multiple line of investigation to foster the cross fertilisation of ideas concerning the causes of climatic change, and the possibility of cross checking and validation/elimination of ideas and hypotheses.
This isn’t a new idea. I just discovered it’s neatly encapsulated by a paper written in 1890:

Bob Koss
February 13, 2011 11:22 am

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Mixing some ice cream into a pile of dung won’t make it any more palatable to the consumers.
Those already heavily entrenched in the IPCC will remain heavily entrenched and will still exert an undo amount amount of influence.

Peter Melia
February 13, 2011 11:47 am

For most of humankind’s thousand of years on the planet, it has managed very nicely thank you, with bothering it’s silly head about protecting itself against climate change.
Now it seems, having got the IPCC, we really need a successor of some kind to protect us against climate change.
This successor, however devised, will surely have nicely paid staff, respected, in nice offices, with good working conditions and pensions etc.
Why not just disband the damn thing without any replacement.
It is not even worth s “good riddance”.

D. J. Hawkins
February 13, 2011 12:01 pm

I hope I’ve got the blockquote process correct:

LazyTeenager says:
February 13, 2011 at 3:40 am
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.

Do you even bother to read before you post? The following is 13 or so posts ABOVE yours and contains direct quotes to support the proposition.

Jimbo says:
February 13, 2011 at 2:34 am
“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)

Laurence M. Sheehan, PE
February 13, 2011 12:09 pm

Given that natural forces will do as natural forces will do, and that CO2 is a benign trace gas, necessary to life’s very existence, and that humans can have no effect on either weather or climates, this “climate research” is no more than a horribly expensive hobby horse, wasting huge amounts of real money that could be spent on engineering projects which would be of great value to those who pay taxes.
The plain fact is that there is no shortage of petroleum, natural gas or coal. There are far more extractable reserves than the “known reserves”, and known reserves are enough for at least 1,000 years.
Congress, with great stupidity, has passed legislation which eliminated any need for oil companies to compete with each other.
Above all else, energy must be transported, and there is a dire need for appropriate transportation infrastructure, such as pipe lines for oil, natural gas and coal slurries. Railroads transport coal at low cost. Crude oil needs to be refined, so allow more refineries to be constructed where new refineries are needed. This does not need government funding, only government permits.
The answer to our energy woes is to toss out the “climate scientists” entirely from government funding and put engineers and technicians back to work, solving real and not “cut-out-of-whole-cloth” nonexistent “problems”.
The entire UN is as useless as it has always been, and corrupt almost beyond belief.

Dave Springer
February 13, 2011 12:11 pm

Not disbanding the IPCC would be throwing good money after bad. Name anything the IPCC has produced that was worth more than the paper upon which it was printed.

Anthony Hanwell
February 13, 2011 12:16 pm

Rather boring to hear so many who think the solution is to disband the whole thing. Such wishful thinking is a waste of space on this blog. Don’t they realise how many vested interests are going to do anything and everything to keep the it alive?

February 13, 2011 12:21 pm

Yes, I remember your proposal and it is a worthy goal. Calling for more funding to study natural climate variation and other possible explanations for changing climate is quite reasonable. But like the call to disband the IPCC, the readers of WUWT cannot actually control the decision process. Any influence we might exert on the future existence of the IPCC or the climate science funding process would be very indirect. I called this a “modest proposal” because WUWT is read by many leading climatologists, including several of those I named. They do have it in their power to organize and write an alternative assessment to AR5 even if the IPCC does not agree to publish their findings.
Runar, Lucy Skywalker and others:
I am working on a new article for Wikipedia and invite you to help me. I plan to call it “Climate Science Debate.” It will focus on the debate in the peer-reviewed literature. Wikipedia requires articles to be written in “Neutral Point of View.” I am trying to do that, but I am a skeptic and have to edit myself at times. If you are interested in helping develop this article, please create an account for yourself and be sure to read the Talk page first. You can find it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RonCram/ClimateScienceDebateSandbox

Steve Koch
February 13, 2011 12:22 pm

R. de Haan is correct, stop funding the IPCC, force the EPA to ignore the IPCC reports through control of the EPA funding.
I disagree completely with the original modest proposal because the IPCC is the core of this problem. There is no UN based solution to this problem.

February 13, 2011 12:23 pm

Your proposal is better than the current operation but falls short of the optimal, disbanding the IPCC. Science is not a negotiable where people can vote for a result. Science is not something where nations can impact and change the document to water down or strengthen meaning. Science is not dependent on a consensus produced in either a singular report or two competing reports.
Properly done, science is repeatable and reproducible. You know better than most that many climate scientists are using flawed data from compromised weather stations and this is before the data is mangled through data homogenization. I even recall reading that some of the proxies that were used to approximate global temperature didn’t even agree with the local temperature in an area.
The UN is attempting to create a justification for an end goal. Why does the UN want to create the impression that there is a problem of such urgency, requiring immediate resources and response, in order to solve a problem that they can’t possibly solve? What policy would the UN want to implement to fight this crisis of their own creation?
It’s fairly clear to me that there is little middle ground between science done correctly, which I think you do, and the consensus and negotiation that is not science but more policy and politics.

February 13, 2011 12:25 pm

Lazy Teenager and D.J. Hawkins,
The links which best showed that Pachauri’s statements is untrue are the links to Roger Pielke’s blog. He lists a number of important peer-reviewed papers which were completely ignored or glossed over. While Working Group II and Working Group III relied on non-peer-reviewed papers, I’m not sure that was true of Working Group I. The main issue there was that important papers were ignored.

February 13, 2011 1:29 pm

(I tried to send from a mobile device earlier, but it doesn’t appear to have posted.)
I sympathise with those who call for the IPCC to be disbanded, but it is important to bear in mind that the IPCC is soley the product of political demand. So long as there is enough support in the political arena, the IPCC will stay in one form or another. We should therefore address pragmatic questions about how to make improvements – as Ron Cram is seeking to do.
The IPCC process can be significantly improved by anything that asserts disciplines of good procedure, accuracy, indifference, even-handedness and fair representation of the state of the art. The AR and SPM should be exposed to a process which actively seeks to expose failings. If contributors take this serously enough at the time of compiling the reports, the necessary disciplines should come into play.
Whatever happened at AR4, the discipline doesn’t appear to have been there. As well as damaging revelations of inaccuracies, there are also individuals who are now going through the experience of having to defend their reputations. But the truth of the matter is that it’s a good thing. Future IPCC reviewers and authors will have greater expectations that any inaccuracies will be exposed and treated harshly. And that failings exposed after publication will not serve their personal interests.
That’s why I said (in an earlier post) that it will be interesting to see what the IPCC does to improve its approach to AR5.
And coming back to political demand – if the next couple of AR’s and SPMS are more accurate, more even-handed and more fair in their assessment of uncertianty, they will also be much less alarmist. If that’s the case, I would see greater scope for the political demand to dry up.
In reply to my earlier post, Ron Cram suggested that a vote for competing reports by the contributors. Although grateful for the reply, it still overlooks questions of conflict of interest. Anybody who stands to directly benefit from the vote should be conflicted out. Otherwse such a vote will not stack-up well against tests of indifference and even-handedness. It would lack credibility.

JRR Canada
February 13, 2011 1:37 pm

Sorry but dumb idea, as many have commented the IPCC has run aground, torn the hull (made up of a tissue of lies) wide open and has started to throw the drive into reverse. And you want to stop them and stand by with a rescue craft?Why? These are pirates, rogues and con men, all that is necessary here is that good men do nothing to assist and all will be well. Let the UNV IPCC reverse out to sea and set course for deeper water at full speed, if you must act then cheer and wave as they sail into oblivion.
As for the UN what good do they serve?

February 13, 2011 1:41 pm

In the AR4 Summary for Policymakers final draft (SPM_SOR_TSU_FINAL), on page 11, lines 23 through 34 state:

Proxy climate data and paleoclimate models have been used to increase confidence in understanding past and present influences on climate. [6.6,9.3]
A large fraction of Northern Hemisphere interdacadal variability in temperature reconstructions for the seven centuries before the mid-20th century is very likely attributable to natural external forcing, particularly to known volcanic eruptions, causing episodic cooling, and long term variations in solar irradiance. [6.6,9.3]

In Government Comments on the Final Draft of the SPM, for WG1 of AR4, the Government of Germany stated the following (I believe) in reference to the above excerpt:

Clarify to what extent the stated upper bounds are simply lower because a smaller sigma uncertainty range is provided. TAR gave 2 sigma uncertainty ranges, whereas AR4 states only 1.65 sigma uncertainty ranges (5%-95%) (see Chapter 10, page 65, line 23). Without clarification, the reader is mislead in believing that only better scientific understanding caused smaller uncertainties, while in fact a large part is due to different terminology.
[Govt. of Germany (Reviewer’s comment ID #: 2011-35)] (emphasis added)

In other words, it appears that the level of significance was dropped from 95% (2 sigmas or standard deviations) in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) to 90% (1.65 sigmas) in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). When conclusions are stacked on top of one another, such as one paper’s conclusion depending significantly on a referenced paper’s conclusion, I would submit that these uncertainty ranges be calculated in the same manner as reliabilities: for 2 levels where one conclusion at 95% is dependent on another conclusion at 95%, the result would be .95 times .95 or 90%. When using 90% for 2 levels, the result drops to 81% which is very fast.
Since typically overall conclusions in a field depend on supporting conclusions that are many levels deep, using 90% (or perhaps lower in AR5?) would mean that the overall uncertainty would be very large. Thus, requiring the IPCC to use 3 sigma uncertainty ranges (99.7%) would be a start. Unfortunately, this may be quite unlikely to be accepted as a lot of the science would have to be redone and many of the accepted conclusions (i.e. accepted at lower standards) may no longer be statistically significant. In short, it looks like the IPCC has been underestimating the uncertainties in the science.

Billy Liar
February 13, 2011 2:05 pm

It’s very easy for a country to withdraw from the UNFCCC.
Article 25
1. At any time after three years from the date on which the Convention has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from the Convention by giving written notification to the Depositary.
2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal.
3. Any Party that withdraws from the Convention shall be considered as also having
withdrawn from any protocol to which it is a Party.

This is the way to defund the IPCC. Leave the parent organization.

Roy Clark
February 13, 2011 2:06 pm

The issue is not not about disbanding the IPCC. It is how long a jail sentence should these crooks should serving. The IPCC is nothing more than a massive environmental Ponzi sceme. Bernie Madoff got 150 years. These crooks should not get any less.
How much can we recover of the money that has been stolen?

February 13, 2011 2:11 pm

If the IPCC refuses, and an independent alternate report is published, the IPCC may find itself largely abandoned.
I think they will refuse, and that will be their undoing.

February 13, 2011 2:41 pm

I agree with the posters who have pointed out that:
a) The IPCC will never adopt any change that would weaken their political advocacy. The IPCC was created to support and justify a predetermined political outcome.
b) Any change that the IPCC proposes or accepts that seems like it is a step toward integrating other views or tempering extremism, will turn out to merely be a way to co-opt the reputation of a few skeptics or luke warmers to confer a thin veneer of legitimacy on the IPCC process.
The best strategy is to leave the IPCC exactly as it is and to not participate in any way. The IPCC has already undermined its own credibility. Think of it like a court trial. We are the defense and they are the prosecution. They must make their case but the prosecution’s lead witness is the IPCC which is already not credible and quite easy to refute. Why in the world would we want to help rehabilitate our opponent’s incredibly weak key witness?
Interestingly, I thought that after so many warmist papers had been soundly thrashed and the IPCC caught red-handed and then the embarrassment of ClimateGate, that our opponents would at least begin to reduce their most extreme claims and blatant manipulations for fear of being further exposed. I thought our opponent would get smarter with less outlandish claims and papers that would be easier for them to defend (although certainly less dramatic without the help of Mannian statistics). I thought it would get harder to fight their claims instead of easier.
I was just wrong. As their tricks get more exposed and fewer members of the public believe their claims, they are getting more extreme and their manipulations even more blatant. This is both surprising and wonderful! Let’s all hope they don’t change a thing!

February 13, 2011 3:11 pm

Mr Sheehan notes:

The answer to our energy woes is to toss out the “climate scientists” entirely from government funding and put engineers and technicians back to work, solving real and not “cut-out-of-whole-cloth” nonexistent “problems”.

Half a century ago, I was growing up in a society run primarily by engineers and businessmen in a pragmatic, free-market system — the lugubrious legacy of the New Deal notwithstanding. Things by and large worked.
I now find miself in a world run primarily by lawyers and marketing consultants, and while the magic electronics get more and more magic, the washing machine seems to blow up as soon as the warranty expires. And I have to discard half a ream of warnings and disclaimers with every $1.98 trivial gadget I buy, not to mention the warning that my toddler’s Halloween Superman costume will not actually allow him to fly.
Not all change is progress.

The entire UN is as useless as it has always been, and corrupt almost beyond belief.

Time for it to join the League of Nations in the Valley of Nice-Sounding Delusions. As to the corruption being almost beyond belief, recall the immortal words of the feminist social philosopher Tomlin: “I’m always trying to be cynical, but I just can’t keep up.” (The widely-quoted version on the internet is inaccurate.) Some of us, however, have a limitless capacity for cynicism. We are rarely disappointed by any political institution.
Tomlin is also quoted as saying, “Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.” There is, of course, hardly any doubt about this.

February 13, 2011 3:18 pm

The posters who are surprised at the AGW cabal’s reality-denial response should keep in mind that mass-inertia thing, where the bigger a moving object is, the harder it will be to stop…and the more china it’ll bust along the way. Things are indeed falling apart for our earnest friends, but the battle is far from over and with trillions at stake, assume that they’ll be getting quite creative, not to mention dangerous.

Theo Goodwin
February 13, 2011 3:32 pm

Anthony Hanwell says:
February 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm
“Rather boring to hear so many who think the solution is to disband the whole thing. Such wishful thinking is a waste of space on this blog. Don’t they realise how many vested interests are going to do anything and everything to keep the it alive?”
Why is it wishful thinking? Republicans in the US Congress have engaged the process of removing funding from the EPA? Why not do the same to the IPCC? Why not the UN?

Tim Clark
February 13, 2011 3:38 pm

The UN is a corrupt, fruitless, self-serving waste of money. Forget the IPCC, eliminate the UN.

Dr. Dave
February 13, 2011 4:56 pm

I don’t like the idea of American Idol style voting. Consensus is a political manifestation and has nothing to do with science. Would you want John Christy and Dick Lindzen “voted off the island” because Jones, Briffa, Mann and Santer were more popular?
I may have a better alternative. The USA completely defunds all monetary support of the IPCC and we let this cabal of international socialists do whatever they want and reach whatever conclusions they want (which is what they’ll do anyway). No point in paying for junk science assembled by agenda driven government entities.

February 13, 2011 5:50 pm

Some seven or eight hundred years ago people in Europe were silly enough to pay and to build churches for all different orders in every town. There must have been plenty of money around – or maybe a lot of guilty feeling souls. After the protestant reformation there remained at least two “God’s Houses” everywhere.
Traveling Italy, you will find two restaurants in all villages: the one visited by the “communists” and the other one frequented by the “democrats”.
Looks like people need two simple options and a choice.
A scientific approach or rather a matter of belief?
Sorry, Mr. Cram, but we dont’t need a new church, not even a small one.
What we really need is something like WUWT/Wikipedia, reviewing new publications in the field, open access, transparency and rules of commitment.
No religion but curiosity and open minds for what ever is published and thought.
The IPCC is far away from getting there. Too many politicians and bureaucrats not supporting science but their own matters of interest.
200 hundred years after the era of enlightenment, we should definitely forget about building new churches.

Steve from rockwood
February 13, 2011 6:21 pm

The problem rests with the IPCC mandate. In theory to provide accurate information on climate change to policy makers. In reality the news has to be bad, otherwise why do we need them?
We’ve looked at the data and folks – we’re going to be just fine! – who would pay big bucks for that?

February 13, 2011 6:29 pm

I think that there are some fundamental flaws in this proposal, although the motivation is obviously good.
1. Never interrupt the enemy while they are making a mistake.
2. Never engage the enemy in their own territory if it can be avoided. In this case, producing majority and minority reports validates the IPCC as an institution, when its premise is AGW.
3. As PPs have mentioned, the notion of scientists voting and producing consensus documents on this scale is the opposite of what science is about. In practical terms, while the AGW crowd all manage to sing off the same hymn sheet, proper scientists who have reservations are in furious disagreement on many issues. This is as it should be. The only ‘consensus’ document that would cover the spectrum of views on WUWT, for example, would be so anodyne as to be meaningless.
4. Majority and minority reports are the stuff of politics, not science. This would probably sit quite well with the IPCC, which is primarily a political organisation. Most real scientists are, IMHO, pretty naive about politics, which is a field of endeavour that some people (such as your humble correspondent) have spent a lifetime studying. Said real scientists would get thrashed by the other lot, as has already happened many times before, just as I would get thrashed in a serious scientific debate. If I was running the IPCC, I would welcome this proposal, and proceed to ensure that the minority left with less credibility than they arrived with. Trust me, it could be done much more easily than you might think.
5. I don’t think the UN has disbanded even one of its satellite organisations in living memory, and it isn’t going to start with the IPCC. I am not aware that any of them has ever been successfully reformed from within, either. As a political strategist, I would advise setting up alternative centres of power and building up their resources and credibility – something which is already happening (including this blog) and is working well. Things like a Wiki-type project, setting up some proper climate research centres in universities and other organisations, keeping the pressure on elected representatives etc are much more powerful than spending time and effort on the IPCC, which is rotten at the core.

February 13, 2011 6:35 pm

Most of the comments above are worthy of consideration. What I haven’t seen answered though (I haven’t read all the responses) is; how does one get raw temperature data that has not been diddled first to fit an agenda.
I’ve read some excellent reports in Science (before I told the AAAS to stick it) that make a strong case for AGW, or whatever they call it today. The problems with all that work is the temperature data has been diddled, oops “homogenized” so, garbage in/garbage out. Most researchers and editors ignore that possibility, out of ignorance, agenda, or both.
We should press our representatives in congress to defund our portion of any IPCC work and to use that money to fund a truly neutral group of real scientists, as proposed here.

Steve from rockwood
February 13, 2011 6:51 pm

1. Stop looking to the IPCC as a source of scientific information on climate change.
2. Cap the IPCC. Thanks, we’ve learned a lot, you’ve been great, and we’re moving on.
3. Stop the funding to groups that just reprocess temperature data. Accept one source and stop funding the rest.
4. Give a well respected group, perhaps NASA, a mandate for accurate climate research. Do some brain storming as to what areas need to be addressed.
5. Establish a method for validating data being collected – temperature, sea level, etc and separate the data collector groups from the interpretive groups in order to keep the measurements honorable.
6. Make all data public. Make all software public. Any researcher funded by government must turn his/her programs over to the data gatherers – where the data is already in the public domain. They can test them.
7. Separate the scientists from the advocacy and political groups.

Pete H
February 13, 2011 8:43 pm

IPCC? What useful purpose does it really serve?
“It was fathered in 1988 by Rothschild-Maurice Strong, who was head of the Rio Summit and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which declares to wanting environment to vie with religion for people’s hearts, in order to shape them and countries.”
Anything that had Strong and his “World Government” involved should be torn up and thrown away.
The IPCC seems to me to be nothing to do with climate! I still want to know how they propose to fix a chaotic system! Pure insanity!

Dr. Dave
February 13, 2011 8:55 pm

It’s very difficult to simply issue a blanket statement that the IPCC it utterly corrupt. Over the years many good and decent (if not brilliant) climatologists have served in one capacity or another on the IPCC (e.g. Christy, Lindzen). The problem is that since its inception it has been a political organization with a defined agenda. From the beginning its charter has been “mankind’s emissions of CO2 are causing global warming, it will be catastrophic and broad transfers of wealth and national sovereignty are necessary to combat this menace…now, go out and prove it.”
To several generations of “scientists” this was red meat. Wealth, grants, recognition, prestige…all for the taking. Just support the concept. On other fronts the marketing machine went into overdrive. No ‘conspiracy’ was ever necessary. Just set up the appropriate conditions and let human nature work its magic. Nobody gets grants or recognition (tenure or promotion) for exploring natural variability. The real money is in AGW. Sure enough, today the vast majority of ‘climate scientists’ (even if they’re parasitic biologists) are believers in the ‘problem’ of AGW. No kidding! They actually know which side of the bread their butter is on.
This phenomenon is certainly not unique to climate science. It is rampant in medical research (although generally slightly less blatant). Los Alamos National Labs was having a hell of time attracting new talent. Smart kids in college figured out they could earn more money by pursuing careers in computer science rather than nuclear physics. They could make a better living designing computer games than warheads or nuclear energy. I’m convinced the AGW boondoggle has robbed society of a lot of bright minds who might better be applying themselves to solving real problems rather than serving a political agenda.
It’s time to slowly walk away from AGW and the IPCC agenda.

Martin Lewitt
February 13, 2011 9:04 pm

Minority and majority reports will just free the both sides of any obligation to curb their bias, they will be able to spin at will. At any “win” will not be based upon science but upon who packs the electorate. One side already has a head start on that.
What is needed is to subject the process to peer review, and for something this important the most skeptical should be established as the peer reviewers, and all a parties interested in the truth should be willing to accept that.
If the IPCC is to be organized into two parties, then perhaps the process can be improved, if the each party is required to be iteratively responsive to questions and demands for evidence from the other.
There was enough evidence from various diagnostic subprojects that the models had errors and correlated errors too large to be credible in attributing or projecting a phenomena as small as the hypothesized energy imbalance from CO2 forcing. If the authors had been forced to respond and produce error range estimates based upon the diagnostic issues they could not have gotten away with reporting model projections with ranges derived only from different models and forcing scenerios with no acknowledgment of the documented errors at all.

February 14, 2011 1:43 am

There is an alternative to the IPCC . That is right here and now on this site. Anthony you have only to ask real scientists, who in the past were part of this UN nonsense to set up a real assessment of our climate in direct opposition of the new report. I think that if you put forward this idea, hundreds of scientists would gladly participate, many who have fallen foul to the bias in the peer review would welcome the chance.
Thus I would like Anthony to be not involved ,therefore not stressed, but to offer the site for real scientists to have an alternative to the IPCC and develope an alternative to the new IPCC report.

David A. Evans
February 14, 2011 1:50 am

Why do you want to change the IPCC? It’s fulfilling its rôle admirably.
Admittedly they came up with the wrong answer the first couple of goes and Overpeck realised they couldn’t come up with the right answer as long as there was an MWP. Then came the breakthrough; MBH98! At last they could come up with the answer they were formed to establish. The rest is history.
As I think Peter Taylor said.
The IPCC was never about science. He also explained how these things are created to achieve the desired answers.

February 14, 2011 2:32 am

Ron, I think the intent of your proposal is admirable; but there are a number of factors (even setting aside the UNFCCC->IPCC “mandate” problem – and it is a big one!) which suggest to me that the IPCC lacks even the administrative/organizational ability to produce a single report that can be relied on for consistency in presentation (let alone facts!) – and you want them to handle two?!
Here’s one very small example of their administrative inadequacy. In your proposal you had noted:

“The number of Lead Authors is high because Chapter 3 credited every involved scientist as a Lead Author with zero Contributing Authors.”

Not something I had noticed before, but I checked and you’re quite correct (sort of, but it’s not your fault!) If you take a look at:
Scroll down to the part that reads:

This chapter should be cited as:
Trenberth, K.E., P.D. Jones, P. Ambenje, R. Bojariu, D. Easterling, A. Klein Tank, D. Parker, F. Rahimzadeh, J.A. Renwick, M. Rusticucci, B. Soden and P. Zhai, […]

Except for Trenberth and Jones, not one of the other 10 has been shown as having an authorship role! I suspect that these 10 should have been listed as “Lead Authors” and the larger multitude as “Contributing Authors” (not Lead Authors). So you see, they couldn’t even perform this simple “attribution” exercise correctly!
I know that’s very nit-picky on my part! But here’s another “telling” point in this particular chapter (although it’s fairly common in all 44)
Of the 1270 “Reviewer Comments” on the Second Order Draft of this Chapter only 248 – 19%) could be readily – and unambiguously – characterized as “Accepted”. This would suggest that either they have done a lousy job in selecting “Reviewers” or (more likely, IMHO) they’re just not paying much (if any) attention to the Reviewer Comments (and/or Reviewers) they don’t like.
The IAC Review Committee recommended that Review Editors be given a stronger role to ensure that Reviewer Comments are given more appropriate consideration (my phrasing, not theirs). I don’t know about you, but my level of confidence in the IPCC’s selection of Review Editors is very much on the very low side: This Chapter contains 8 citations of work by two of the three Review Editors.
From their preliminary responses to the IAC’s report, I doubt that we shall see much change anytime soon. So I think we’re stuck with the IPCC for the foreseeable future – unless the UNEP smartens up and throws it under the bus in favour of their latest “offspring”, the IPBES which will deal with the “biodiversity crisis [which] may be an even bigger threat to us than the climate”.
IMHO, our best hope would be to push for:
1. No paper is cited unless data and methodology are made available to reviewers.
2. Reviewer Comments are responded to and compiled in a more responsive and readily quantifiable manner.
3. Review Editors should be selected/designated/nominated from an external group. This is perhaps the Role that your suggested list – Curry, Spencer, Lindzen, Pielke, Christy, Michaels, McIntyre, McKittrick et al – could best fill (should they choose to accept such a mission!)

February 14, 2011 9:15 am

We need a new body that doesn’t simply assume the theory is correct. This body must be made up of scientists on both sides of the argument. The goal should be to monitor the climate accurately to detect if AGW is happening and if it is, to what degree. If there is a rush to do something about AGW now, the climate monitoring stations will tell us early on. I think this approach is the right and proper way to proceed. It was the IPCCs set-up as being based on what to do about global warming that fatally undermined its authority in the first place.

D. Patterson
February 14, 2011 12:53 pm

What I have long wanted to know is why any of the Contributing Authors ever had any reason to think the way in which the IPCC, UNFCCC, UNEP, and WMO terms of agreement and definition of Climate Change as anthropogenic in origin allowed contradictory works to meet the required definitions of “acceptance”, “adoption”, or “approval” instead of inadmissible as evidence in the Technical Reports?
How can the IPCC and related UN organizations sponsor a valid scientific review when any scientific evidence and scientific paper contradicting the conjecture of anthropogenic climate change is defined as inadmissible evidence?

Layne Blanchard
February 14, 2011 11:23 pm

There is only one way to rid society of this cesspit. Force. It is necessary to own the purse strings that fund the UN, and the authority to specify how funds will be used. I’ve been advocating Federal law to ban many vehicles of the climate con, including a ban on carbon trading. Take away the Billions being used to perpetuate it, but also forbid state and local governments from funding the scam at those levels. Outlaw all “Climate” related regulation. Every board, every committee, any and every pile of propagandist slop from academia and public education. Truly drive a stake thru its heart.

February 24, 2011 7:11 am

I have created a forum for this to be discussed on Nature’s Forum.
See http://network.nature.com/groups/reassessing_climate_change/forum/topics/9025

Lady Life Grows
March 9, 2011 8:35 am

And let there be a biological impact section, Idsos to be co-ordinating lead authors.

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