IPCC agrees to "major" reforms

From the “I’ll believe it when I see it” department comes this story in Nature News:

I thought this was interesting:

A new conflict-of-interest policy will require all IPCC officials and authors to disclose financial and other interests relevant to their work (Pachauri had been harshly criticized in 2009 for alleged conflicts of interest.) The meeting also adopted a detailed protocol for addressing errors in existing and future IPCC reports, along with guidelines to ensure that descriptions of scientific uncertainties remain consistent across reports. “This is a heartening and encouraging outcome of the review we started one year ago,” Pachauri told Nature. “It will strengthen the IPCC and help restore public trust in the climate sciences.”

Which is a far cry from “voodoo science”:

Told ya so…IPCC to retract claim on Himalayan Glacier Melt – Pachauri’s “arrogance” claim backfires

Next on the forefront of “voodoo” science we have this:

The first major test of these changes will be towards the end of this year, with the release of a report assessing whether climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events. Despite much speculation, there is scant scientific evidence for such a link — particularly between climate warming, storm frequency and economic losses — and the report is expected to spark renewed controversy. “It’ll be interesting to see how the IPCC will handle this hot potato where stakes are high but solid peer-reviewed results are few,” says Silke Beck, a policy expert at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany.

I predict they will botch this too.

Full article here h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

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DirkH

Will they disclose that two of the authors of the next IPCC report are employees of Munich Re? Does this count as a conflict of interest? (I mean, of course it is, but will the warped judgment of the bizarro-world visionaries at the IPCC count it as one? I don’t expect it.)
http://www.munichre.ru/en/media_relations/company_news/2010/2010-06-24_company_news.aspx

Chris D.

Well it seems they’ve failed on another count:
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/05/17/ipcc-screw-the-rules/
btw, I don’t see a link to the Laframboise blog on WUWT. She does cracking good work and deserves a link on the blogroll, imho.
REPLY: Oversight corrected

Roy Jones

Interesting that Nature refers to the UEA e-mails as having been “leaked” rather than the usual warmist claim that they were “hacked”.

Bob Diaz

I get this funny feeling that this is more of a marketing thing to push the same old junk. “See, we’ve changed, you can trust us…”
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

Latimer Alder

Nature says that the claim about the glaciers ‘slipped into the last IPCC report’
No it didn’t. An actual person wrote it and wanted it to be there. Many levels of review (supposedly 🙁 ) failed to spot it and after five years of (supposed) very careful work it was formally published. When this ‘mistake’ was pointed out, the head of IPCC castigated those doing the pointing as ‘voodoo scientists’.
It is possible that several mispronts have ‘slipped’ into my remarks here. I however have written it off the top of my head in less than ten minutes, and do not claim that my work is the gold standard with which future economic policies for the nations of the world should be crafted. If it was I’d proofread it at least once more and think about the conclusions a bit more too.
Shame that Pachauri and his gang of second raters didn’t take such elementary precautions. But they only had 1500+ days to work on it, poor dears…………..

Laurie Bowen

Something that came across today . . .
Contributions Wanted for Study on Openness in Science
For those who care to participate . . .
http://blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencecareers/2011/05/contributions-w.html
you know they (Science) charge per article . . .

Frank K.

“The first major test of these changes will be towards the end of this year, with the release of a report assessing whether climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.”
Here’s my prediction – they will wait until the hurricane season is over. If it is an active one, with lots of land-falling hurricanes and significant coastal damage, I’ll give you three guesses as to what their report will say (and the first two don’t count…).

Ray

And now you can add this story from Nature…
“Species loss far less severe than feared: study”
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iljGwwMN6HAUBo6w8uSfyEGvAX_Q?docId=CNG.e1e3011dfa5c9e06530678b2c4c69dcc.161
que sera sera

Wondering Aloud

The IPCC was established to prove global warming and promote ways of dealing with it. Any answer that doesn’t fall into it’s pre determined bias cannot possibly be considered. So don’t look for any significant change.
The realistic answer, which is that warming is not a problem, is not an answer they are allowed to consider much less conclude.

Chris D. says:
May 18, 2011 at 11:29 am
Well it seems they’ve failed on another count:
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/05/17/ipcc-screw-the-rules/
btw, I don’t see a link to the Laframboise blog on WUWT. She does cracking good work and deserves a link on the blogroll, imho.

I second that position. Ms. Laframboise has been wearing away at the political agenda aspect of voodoo with some very revealing stories. Her blog is how I ended up here among other places.

Neo

Let’s get serious. It’s time for the IPCC to show proof of the “signature” warming at 10km in the tropics or fold their tent forever. Without this proof, AGW is moot.

Martin Brumby

“Intergovernmental panel aims to become more responsive.”
Yeah.
And in another news item, Cosa Nostra are proposing to adopt a strengthened Elf & Safety Policy.

LearDog

Omg – laughable ! “After months of soul-searching”! What a joke! Perhaps should read “…determined hand-to-hand battle against critics” ?
And THIS gem – “Some e-mails SEEMED to show that leading climate scientists, who had contributed key findings to previous IPCC reports, had TRIED (?!?) to stifle critics”? OMG – what a gross and brazen misrepresentation! It was – and IS (still) – a massive enterprise undertaken because these zealots know that they have been caught out by the likes of Holland, McKittrick, McIntyre and Watts et al.
If these guys hadn’t dug into this – what do you think the IPCC would be doing? Searching their soul? Gimme a break!
Kept after them folks …. Trust but Verify.

Frank

Like all other UN based scams, the IPCC doesn’t actually have to release any reports at all to receive money for salaries or research or lunches. They merely have to exist.

Pat Frank

Thanks for the cynical laugh, Anthony. I needed to read the rest of the sentence where the opening quote ends: “Some e-mails seemed to show that leading …
Here’s how it continues… “climate scientists, who had contributed key findings to previous IPCC reports, had tried to stifle critics.
This is a wonderful double weasel from Nature (London): “… seemed to show…” and “… tried to stifle…”
In fact, the emails did show that leading climate scientists did in fact stifle critics. And it wasn’t just critics they stifled. They stifled honest scientists whose results threatened to falsify their work.
Still, given Nature (London)’s shabby record in the matter of climate science, that they’d even begin to allow a hint of the possibility of maybe more than mere skeptical distortion, in the criticisms of the trans-Atlantic suppressionist cabal, is an advance of sorts.

Paul

On the subject of species loss, I often wonder why environmentalists are such glass half-empty types. Well, OK, that’s not so hard to explain.
Nevertheless, if one looks at the theory of evolution (which I’ll assume climate scientists can accept as ‘robust’), species adapt, evolve or become extinct. Why do we always hear about species going extinct as opposed to the new ones being found? Given that the factors which lead to evolution and new species coming about seem to pretty much require the extinction of other species, is this constant harping on extinction really in effect an assault on evolution, in order to try and stop it from occurring?
Or do these folks believe that there is a perfect species level, just like they appear to believe that the planet has one optimum otimum temperature that they’re trying to set using their CO2 thermostat?

Pat Frank

I see that LearDog just beat me to it. 🙂

Pull My Finger

I didn’t think weather was climate? Or is that climate isn’t weather? Can’t remember.

assessing whether climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.

R. Shearer

IMF’s Strauss-Kahn could be put in charge of their professional behavior program.

Mike Jowsey

Ray @ 11:44am:
I like this quote from the article you linked:

“It is kind of shocking” that no one spotted the error earlier, said Hubbell. “What this shows is that many scientists can be led away from the right answer by thinking about the problem in the wrong way.”

Quote of the week?

oldseadog

“…….worked with thousands of scientists……..”
How many?
I thought that the final number who actually agreed to the wording of the reports was about 50.
OK, I suppose you can work with thousands but only agree with 50 or so.
But I’ll believe the change of heart when I see it and I ain’t holding my breath.

Interesting, especially in the light of No Frakking Consensus’s post about the IPCC decising not to identify stuff which is not peer-reviewed! Guess we can believe them.
Yeah, right! (In case it is not obvious, that phrase is the NZ colloquial equivalent of /sarc).
Thanks for the new link!

Gerry

Does this mean they are going to lie less and stop falsifying the data because it doesn’t prove their models? Won’t hold my breath.

Theo Goodwin

Ray @ 11:44am:
I like this quote from the article you linked:
“It is kind of shocking” that no one spotted the error earlier, said Hubbell. “What this shows is that many scientists can be led away from the right answer by thinking about the problem in the wrong way.”
Does everyone see the hardcore communism in this? It is the assumption that one’s ideas cause one’s perceptions, one’s analytical approach, and one’s conclusions. As all good communists will tell you, you have to get right thinking scientists.

Theo Goodwin

Latimer Alder says:
May 18, 2011 at 11:36 am
“Shame that Pachauri and his gang of second raters didn’t take such elementary precautions. But they only had 1500+ days to work on it, poor dears…………..”
Pachauri was distracted by his research on the pornographic novel that he was writing. You know, the one about the sixtyish climate scientist and his many conquests around the world. It has been number one on the UN best-seller list since publication. My guess is that the research took about 1400 days. /do I really have to put sarc here?
Pachauri proves how reckless the seekers of world domination are. No sane person or committee would choose Pachauri as front man for a scam, no matter how innocuous the scam.

We have a consensus … AR4 is rubbish. Thanks Rajendra et al for agreeing with the rest of the world at least about that!

JPeden

The ipcc won’t have shown any “responsiveness” until it changes its name to something new and more deceptive, just like even the less dysfunctional agencies often have to do in order to continue being dysfunctional. But, sadly, “Children’s Services” and “Intergovernmental Ministry of Social Justice” have already been relieved of all positive connotations.

Paul says:
May 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm
On the subject of species loss, I often wonder why environmentalists are such glass half-empty types.

As Maria, my wife, said recently:
Weird: half of the people refuse to accept evolution, the other half would like to stop it.

DesertYote

Liars are always concerned about “image”. Don’t these jokers understand that once a liar is caught, his trust can not be restored? The only solution is to disband the IPCC and demote the entire team to dishwasher, and even then I will be looking closely at my glass before taking a drink!

Jeff Carlson

I would think that a financial conflict of interest should completely disqualify one for an IPCC position of any kind …

Ian H

John Johnston says: …
Yeah, right! (In case it is not obvious, that phrase is the NZ colloquial equivalent of /sarc).

If a double negative is a positive, then a double positive should surely be a negative. Seems only fair.

JPeden

R. Shearer says:
May 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm
IMF’s Strauss-Kahn could be put in charge of their professional behavior program.
A perfect fit! But once Strauss-Kahn flees back to France, he’s bound to easily win its next Presidential election. So the ipcc’s bidding will probably have to start immediately, and at about 1000 Chamber Maids more than it would have otherwise!

Jimbo

Despite much speculation, there is scant scientific evidence for such a link — particularly between climate warming, storm frequency and economic losses — and the report is expected to spark renewed controversy.

What is going on at Nature? How could this have got through? I always thought the science was settled.

JPeden

IMF’s Strauss-Kahn could be put in charge of their professional behavior program.
n.b. to the above subject – It’s doubtful that DKS’s services can be bought by the ipcc’s own Warming Models alone.

Jeremy

@Chris D. says:
May 18, 2011 at 11:29 am
I’ve been to nofrakkingconsensus, and I agree that’s a good blog there.
I followed her link to the story: http://hro001.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/when-task-group-says-lets-disappear-a-rule-ipcc-agrees/
..and my jaw fell. It’s very clear that the bureaucrats at the IPCC never had any intention of cleaning up their act. Their entire purpose seems to be to appear sorry and repentant in public, and then continue doing whatever they want while claiming to be “peer reviewed”.
IPCC = The authority of scientific method twisted to serve political ends.

Tom in Florida

This sounds a lot like Pappa John’s Pizza commercials. Originally he claimed “better ingredients, better pizza” then went on to a new formula but still says “better ingredients, better pizza”. We all ask the same question: If your original ingredients and pizza were better why did you have to make a change? And why should we believe you now when you were apparently wrong about your first claim?

Jimbo

Activists have effectively infiltrated the IPCC and my gut feeling is that they skew their reports. Below is some excellent detective work with a few examples of why the IPCC was veering towards activism.
“Greenpeace and the Nobel-Winning Climate Report”
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2010/01/28/greenpeace-and-the-nobel-winning-climate-report/
“WWF’s Chief Spokesperson Joins IPCC”
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/04/25/wwfs-chief-spokesperson-joins-ipcc/
“Peer into the Heart of the IPCC, Find Greenpeace”
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/03/14/peer-into-the-heart-of-the-ipcc-find-greenpeace/
“The IPCC’s Activist Chairman”
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/04/05/the-ipccs-activist-chairman/

Jimbo

Chris D. says:
May 18, 2011 at 11:29 am
…………………..
btw, I don’t see a link to the Laframboise blog on WUWT. She does cracking good work and deserves a link on the blogroll, imho.

Anthony, here website is THE place to visit for a sceptical insight into the IPCC. I am truly impressed by her dogged style.

Jimbo

Ahhhhhh!
“Anthony, here website…………”

Theo Goodwin

Ian H says:
May 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm
John Johnston says: …
Yeah, right! (In case it is not obvious, that phrase is the NZ colloquial equivalent of /sarc).
“If a double negative is a positive, then a double positive should surely be a negative. Seems only fair.”
Yeah, yeah.

Julian in Wales

“A new conflict-of-interest policy will require all IPCC officials and authors to disclose financial and other interests relevant to their work (Pachauri had been harshly criticized in 2009 for alleged conflicts of interest.) The meeting also adopted a detailed protocol for addressing errors in existing and future IPCC reports, along with guidelines to ensure that descriptions of scientific uncertainties remain consistent across reports. ”
Pachauri set up, and still manages, TERI, a multimillion dollar charity, which applied for funds from the EU to study the melting Himalayan glaciers. TERI even employed the scientist who set in train the error of confusing the dates 2350 and 2035 which led to the incorrect assertion in the IPCC AR4 report the Himalayan Glaciers would be completely melted by 2035.
There has never, to my knowledge, been any acknowledgment that this conflict of interest at the heart of the IPCC was wrong. In fact the likes of Monbiot have gone out on a limb to castigate anyone that suggested this was a corrupting situation, and accused sceptics of smearing the good name of an honourable man.
Without an acknowledgement of the truth it will be impossible to begin to trust anything they say, however fine their words may look on paper.

jorgekafkazar

Wondering Aloud says: “The IPCC was established to prove global warming and promote ways of dealing with it. Any answer that doesn’t fall into [its] pre determined bias cannot possibly be considered. So don’t look for any significant change. The realistic answer, which is that warming is not a problem, is not an answer they are allowed to consider[,] much less conclude.”
This summarizes it nicely. In other news, the putative extinction of the species Lupus inovisvestitus is greatly in error.

Jimbo

I was ‘wrongly’ led to believe that science was about curiosity and asking questions. Today, I am told to shut up and and get with the program. I won’t shut up.

Neo says:
May 18, 2011 at 11:51 am
Let’s get serious. It’s time for the IPCC to show proof of the “signature” warming at 10km in the tropics or fold their tent forever. Without this proof, AGW is moot.

This is indeed a problem as we are still waiting for the signature.

Theo Goodwin

Alexander Feht says:
May 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm
“Weird: half of the people refuse to accept evolution, the other half would like to stop it.”
Now, that is clever! The Enlightened will never understand it, of course. Along the same lines, I would the other half are deluded that they have the power to stop it.

Daublin

It’s good that they are contemplating an update to their processes. It’s a hallmark of science that the way it is done is itself improved over time.
However, the things listed in the summary don’t address the biggest problems. They mention conflict of interest, but conflict of interest is largely unavoidable. They also mention continuity about uncertainty between one year and the next; I’m unclear why this is a direct goal at all. Surely the real goal is to find the truth, not to be consistent with last year’s speculations?
The one good part listed is the revived interest in a process on following up on error. That indeed has been a weak point. There’s not much point in a public review period if the problems that are found are going to be summarily dismissed. There’s a real failure of process when the kinds of things Steve McIntyre found make it all the way out to the final publication.
Not mentioned, though, are several other important issues. One is the drafting of the executive summary, by far the most read part of an IPCC report. It should be written after, not before, the individual chapters. Furthermore, the authors of each chapter should have substantial opportunity to weigh in on whether the executive summary is accurate.
Additionally, the standards for citation and evidence deserve some attention. There have been some allegations of IPCC reports citing papers that aren’t yet published, but are merely in the pipeline. Additionally, there have been many instances found where the only citation for information included is highly disreputable, e.g. advocacy pamphlets.
Finally, as with the executive summary, it would be good for the authors of each individual chapter to have some sort of process where they can object to what’s in there and then a moderator can update the wording to satisfy everyone. It should be achievable that the contributing scientists all feel like their points of view are at least represented in the summary. If Wikipedia authors can do it, then surely our esteemed climate scientists can do it as well.
In short, it’s good that they are making a gesture, but it looks like they aren’t really addressing the biggest problems.

KnR

The IPCC stop being about the science some time ago , its now a political organization involved in advocacy and should be treated with the sort of ‘respect’ that implies .

Jimbo

For those new to WUWT please see what Pachauri gets up to in his spare time.

Dr. R.K. Pachauri
Founder and Science Advisor [to Glorioil]
http://www.glorioil.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=10

Glori Oil is servicing the upstream oil industry as a global center of excellence for biotechnology Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) and Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) solutions. Conventional secondary waterflood technology will typically extract only one-third of all discovered oil, leaving significant crude underground.
http://www.glorioil.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=4

The hypocracy alone should make many wince with horror. Anyway, let’s eat less meat and drive green cars for the sake of the planet. Even Pachauri sometimes drives a ‘green’ car. ;O)

John M

Agree with the general gist of some of the comments that this is unusually balanced for Nature.
But they make up for it with this cheerleading piece in the same issue about the US’s “top climate cop”.
Since I know she’s one near and dear to your heart Anthony, I hope this doesn’t spoil your dinner.
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110518/full/473268a.html

Didn’t Hansen say that AGW would increase crime rates? Perhaps he could be called in as expert witness for the defense in DSK’s trial.

lapogus

Theo Goodwin says:
May 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm Pachauri proves how reckless the seekers of world domination are. No sane person or committee would choose Pachauri as front man for a scam, no matter how innocuous the scam.

IIRC it was George Bush Junior who ensured the appointment of Pachauri to the IPCC. That said I think I agree with both your statements. I am not sure of what the Bush administration’s motives were – could have been a clever neo-con master-stroke (in which case unlikely to have been the President’s idea) i.e. appoint a slightly weird and dodgy railroad engineer who can be easily discredited in the future. Sounds more like Cheney’s work to me.