Monday merry – Nursery Rimes

Josh writes:

On the eve of the opening of the COP 21 in Paris, a new study published Oct. 12 in the journal Nature Climate Change by an international team of researchers based at KEDGE Business School, University of Leeds, University of Bonn and University of Rome demonstrates that Summaries for Policymakers produced since 1990 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are too difficult to read.

Read about it in Nature here.


Cartoons by Josh

61 thoughts on “Monday merry – Nursery Rimes

    • One of the little reported scandals from the previous IPCC report, was that the summaries for lawmakers were written before the individual reports were written. And that the individual reports were then edited to conform to the summaries.

      • That sadly is not limited to climate “science.” Studies submitted to many regulatory agencies covering many different realms often contain a “Management Summary” that was written before data analysis was completed. I have personally had screamers yelling at me because my analysis contradicted the management summary.

        • Would you be shocked to know that most people expect industry to lobby for their position and for activists group to do the same ?
          Not shocked, right ?
          Polarization has been going on for long enough, that most people just figure the above is par for the course.
          The appeal of someone like Trump is that he breaks that mold. Speaks off the cuff, makes mistakes, acknowledges that he’s a deal maker and has lasted this long because he is appealing to a common, popular goal. Who knows whether he’s full of _____ or not, but he’s got attention.
          Good science could learn from that approach.
          What is the common, popular goal (value) that good science is appealing to ?

      • Knute, it’s the same on any controversial subject, the authors usually take an extreme position one side or the other; rarely any rational viewpoints outlining the pluses and minuses. Tough trying to read both sides and then picking through the BS to determine the average. An example might be presidents, as depending on who you ask they are either Satan incarnate or a Holy Savior, have to search hard to find an accurate rundown of reality. Educating the public is obviously not the intent. Wonder if schools are drifting this way also.

        • yes, yes yes !!
          The technique of launching extremes to justify a position is meant to exhaust and excite all at the same time.
          It works because people either don’t see it (sucked in by the endorphin rush) or are exhausted by the effort to corral the extremes. The most success I have with corralling the technique is to actually express that I am exhausted by the swings of the pendulum. That I need help to keep up. That I may be stupid in not having gotten to the same place in the discussion they have and need them to slow down.
          Because I am old, my instinct is from another time, a different culture. In the old days, I could say “look dumb ass, stop exaggerating for the sake of drama because your wasting our time”. Current social graces consider that bullying while the launcher of extremes is not. The bully is quickly hauled off in today’s world and people have been trained to accept that as okay.

      • MarkW:
        You say

        One of the little reported scandals from the previous IPCC report, was that the summaries for lawmakers were written before the individual reports were written. And that the individual reports were then edited to conform to the summaries.

        There is no “scandal” to have been reported because it has been and is official IPCC Policy to amend each IPCC Report except the very first (published in 1990) to agree with its Summary for Policymakers (SPM), and each SPM is approved line-by-line by politicians and/or representatives of politicians.
        The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only exists to produce documents intended to provide information selected, adapted and presented to justify political actions. For those who don’t know, I again state the facts of this.
        It is the custom and practice of the IPCC for all of its Reports to be amended to agree with its political summaries. And this is proper because all IPCC Reports are political documents although some are presented as so-called ‘Scientific Reports’.
        Prior to publication of the IPCC‘s Second Report the then IPCC Chairman, John Houghton, decreed

        We can rely on the Authors to ensure the Report agrees with the Summary.

        This was done and has been the normal IPCC procedure since then. So, each IPCC Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is agreed “line by line” by politicians and/or representatives of politicians, and it is then published. After that the so-called ‘scientific’ Reports are amended to agree with the SPM prior to their publication.
        This custom and practice enabled the infamous Second Assessment Report (SAR) ‘Chapter 8 scandal’ so perhaps it should – at long last – be changed. However, it has been adopted as official IPCC procedure for all subsequent IPCC Reports.
        Appendix A of the most recent IPCC Report (the AR5) states this where it says.

        4.6 Reports Approved and Adopted by the Panel
        Reports approved and adopted by the Panel will be the Synthesis Report of the Assessment Reports and other Reports as decided by the Panel whereby Section 4.4 applies mutatis mutandis .

        This is completely in accord with the official purpose of the IPCC.
        The IPCC does NOT exist to summarise climate science and it does not.
        The IPCC is only permitted to say AGW is a significant problem because the IPCC is tasked to accept that there is a “risk of human-induced climate change” which requires “options for adaptation and mitigation” that can be selected as political polices, and the IPCC is tasked to provide those “options”.
        This is clearly stated in the “Principles” which govern the work of the IPCC.

        These are stated here
        Near its beginning that document says

        2. The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they may need to deal objectively with scientific, technical and socio-economic factors relevant to the application of particular policies.

        This says the IPCC exists to provide
        (a) “information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change”
        (b) “options for adaptation and mitigation” which pertain to “the application of particular policies”.
        Hence, its “Role” demands that the IPCC accepts as a given that there is a “risk of human-induced climate change” which requires “options for adaptation and mitigation” which pertain to “the application of particular policies”. Any ‘science’ which fails to support that political purpose is ‘amended’ in furtherance of the IPCC’s Role.
        In summation, the IPCC achieves its “Role” by
        amendment of its so-called ‘scientific’ Reports to fulfil the IPCC’s political purpose
        by politicians approving the SPM
        then the IPCC lead Authors amending the so-called ‘Scientific’ Reports to agree with the SPM.
        All IPCC Reports are pure pseudoscience intended to provide information to justify political actions; i.e. Lysenkoism.


  1. Notice just how much the so-called ‘common good’ gets hyped in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
    Do we know any local politicians and policymakers who actually believe that except as a talking point?
    Policymakers simply mutter “it’s for the common good,.” “this will make us internationally competitive,” or “this will reduce inequality and provide good jobs at a living wage.”

  2. The IPCC should include the staff from Marvel Comics in drafting any next SPM (with any luck, there won’t be an AR6 if 2017 shows a 2016 cooling trend.)
    The SPM will just be colored cartoons with Biff!!Bang!!!Pow!!! balloons as the IR photons duke it out with the evil GHGs.

  3. @WUWT
    “Nursery Rimes
    I was expecting some wordplay on “rime”(=”frost”), but merely a typo. Should be “rhyme”!

    • I was expecting “rime” to be an obsolete spelling of rhyme, as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. A quick search on line showed first use of “rime” in 1755, and that it means an encrustation of frost (as you stated) or salt. I think we will need to wait for the WUWT grammar police to weigh in.

      • rhyme (n.) Look up rhyme at
        “agreement in terminal sounds,” 1560s, partially restored spelling, from Middle English ryme, rime (c. 1200) “measure, meter, rhythm,” later “rhymed verse” (mid-13c.), from Old French rime (fem.), related to Old Provençal rim (masc.), earlier *ritme, from Latin rithmus, from Greek rhythmos “measured motion, time, proportion” (see rhythm).
        Either way.

      • I’m happy to accept rime. I got credit on a 8th grade spelling test in English class for “rime” though the teacher really wanted rhyme. We need a limerick that uses rime and rhyme. I don’t know what we’d do with it, but we need it.

      • “rime” is an archaic spelling of “rhyme”, dating back to Middle English, when the word was borrowed from the French word “rime” having the same meaning. “rhyme” is the correct spelling. I found no authority listing it as an acceptable alternate spelling, unless you’re trying to sound archaic or poetic. (The links above classify “rime” as an archaic spelling)
        In fact, it is in the the list of the 100 most frequently misspelled words in English:
        Mathematically “rhyme” denotes an equivalence relation. So, “same”, “name” and “game” are “equivalent” in the sense that they rhyme with each other.
        Etymologically it derives a mathematical ‘flavor’ from the old English word “rim” meaning “number”, which was further derived from the Indo-European root *re(i)- “to reason, count” [asterisk denotes “prototype”]. Same origin as English word “read”. So somehow (waving my hands) related to the Greek word “rhythmos” which gives us “rhythm”. And the modern spelling of “rime” => “rhythm”!
        Some relics of old English have persisted though. You’re still allowed to spell “old” as “olden” in the phrase “in olden times”. It is a very, very rare vestige of the dative case (still used in German and other Germanic languages) which has persisted to modern times.
        So I highly recommend that you fix this misspelling in the title of this post. Else others will accuse you of living “in olden times” and “denying” the proper spelling of words.

  4. They should boil all their reports down so that politicians can understand them thusly: “Please send money.”

      • Well Crispin since you mentioned money and we we have a bunch of AGW folks going to be “vacationing” in Paris, ..

        It just might become their theme song.

      • Re; Warren Zevon ==> Zevon brought us “Werewolves of London” composed by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon and performed by Zevon — one of the true cult classics of the 2oth century.

  5. I doubt that it makes any difference, politicians don’t know how to read, (see AHCA). Most of them just have a staffer skim the text for sound-bites that fit their preconceived notions.

  6. CO2 and CAGW / GW / AGW were supposed to lead to unprecedented levels of RIME ICE, making air navigation nearly impossible.
    Definitely a “Negative Feedback”.

  7. Politicians are not intended to understand those reports. They are intended to be scared by them and to want to hand smart people (scientists) lots of money for research.

  8. The Summary For Policymakers is incomprehensible to policy makers.
    This is understandable, actually.
    Here is an example of a US policy maker at work, taking testimony during a congressional hearing.
    The congressman is concerned about the stability of a tropical island.

    You just have to know what you are dealing with, and Josh has got nothing on this guy.

      • Look at it a different way. You can judge his intellectual acumen or you can see the exchange as a chance to understand the debate beyond science or math.
        The appeal to fear is obvious. As is the appeal to ignorance.
        When you come right down to plain English, many people just think it’s a good idea to be less wasteful. If you tell them, hey we consume too much stuff while others have far less and suffer much more, it registers in a manner NO element of science can reach.
        Fraudsters took that valid feeling and warped it to their scheme of CAGW. Science counters with bashing of people’s intellect and increasing levels of technical minutia.
        What science is missing is an alternative that appeals to the emotions which the current fraudsters are controlling.
        Find a way to appeal to not wanting to be wasteful and helping their fellow man and you’ll be more effective than beating them up about their ignorance.

      • I am told that he was a very successful real estate attorney before going to congress. His staff claims that he has an extremely deadpan humor…I don’t buy it for a moment. Though I thought the Admiral did a very good job of answering without calling him an idiot. I don’t know if I could have. (Maybe it was a good thing I was never a flag officer testifying before congress!)

        • When you testify to Congress, smart handlers have you watch tapes of other testimony. They do this to convince you that it is theatre and not a place for resolution. Congress has gaggle of information feeders that create talking points for them. The talking points are lobbied so as to get into their script. I guess some folks think it’s worth the theatre.

      • 535 stooopid people elected from a population of 100s of millions ruling the wealthiest country in the world.
        Perhaps they have a different type of intelligence ?

      • “Perhaps they have a different type of intelligence ?”
        It’s called telling the voters what they want to hear then actually doing what the money mongers want. Odd that most voters have that short a memory but it seems to work that way.

        • BFL
          Its not odd. They are intelligently giving the people what they want. They are intelligent at seeking and getting approval long enough to do what they want. Disgusting … perhaps. Stupid, definitely not. It’s a survival mechanism used for 1000s of years in both man and primates. The best research I’ve read is concerning rhesus monkey groups.
          What perhaps is stooopid, is that people KNOW (approval rating at all time lows) they are being lied to, yet continue to vote for the same lies and often the same liars. I suppose people are okay with being lied to much in the same way a spouse puts up with a cheating mate. It’s not so bad. The trappings aren’t shabby and the offspring are provided for.
          Politicians know we have a threshold. They float balloons to see what it is, then go after the ones we don’t object to. Pretty schmart I’d say. CAGW is an advanced form of the dance. They’ll spin whatever con they want on the issue until it hurts in a way that people rebel at the voting booth.
          Personally, I’d avoid calling them stooopid.
          Perhaps we should learn to appreciate the colossal lies they can get away with and not emulate their behavior but become smarter ourselves.

  9. I can see the “Grim” climate tales now; “Carbonella”, “Little Green Walking Hood”, and “Snow Gone”, and many more.

  10. Received 14 September 2014 Accepted 10 September 2015 Published online 12 October 2015
    It took over a year for this crap to be published?

  11. I guess Mann is holding the fairy tales (sorry, SPM) in front of him so as to hide his mistakes – what we call his Mann Boobs.

  12. The basic message of the reports is not that difficult to understand. It is all the hundreds of pages of ramblings behind it that are obscure. That basic message is that unless the world cuts its GHG gas emissions, temperatures will rise catastrophically. The forecast is contained in the Figure SPM 11(a) of the AR5 Synthesis Report.
    If we ensure that global emissions follow the blue pathway the world may avoid two degrees of warming. Follow the orange pathway to avoid three degrees of warming. Do nothing and the world will follow the grey pathway of doom. To achieve the nice blue outcome most countries have submitted their emissions plans through to 2030 for COP21. I looked at the major economies with the greatest proposed changes to their emissions. In total these countries are planning to increase emissions. My major finding is as follows.

    For every tonne of emissions reductions in 32 leading developed countries there will be at least three tonnes of emissions increases in 7 major developing countries. The net effect of these targets being achieved from these countries (which combined make up both 60% of global emissions and 60% of global population) will be to make global emissions 20% higher in 2030 than 2010.

  13. Hi Josh, many thanks for this nice and amusing picture about the common climate fairy tales of our mad age of anti-enlightenment, but you should write the name of the Brothers Grimm correctly with two “m”. Sorry for being somewhat schoolmasterly but I couldn’t help myself… 😉
    For more information about those famous story-collectors and linguists see here:
    To be sure, the original folklore fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are in their psychological meaningful way much more real than all these uninspired and superficial scare stories of todays climate doomsayers.

      • OK – I realize now the error of my ways. Forgive me, I will repent and change my sinful interpretation of this – otherwise excellent – carton… 😉
        BTW: Ric’s statement “Brothers Grimm were not climate scientists” is of course true, but that is exactly the reason why they were much better storytellers than the majority of todays climate “scientists” who follow strictly a truly boring and stupid recipe in their climate fairy tales: “The most evil witch CO2 must be bad, bad, bad and can only have bad, bad, bad results for all things in the whole universe…”
        Alas! Murky superstition is alive and kicking in the 21st Century! How will later generations judge about our new dark age of naive belief in magical witchcraft ???

  14. RTCC now Climate Change News writes:
    12 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Megan Darby: ‘Unreadable’ UN science reports hampering climate action – study
    You need a relevant PhD to understand IPCC summaries, find researchers, arguing for clearer writing
    That is the uncompromising verdict of a study from Kedge Business School published in Nature Climate Change on Monday…
    “Global action on climate change might be seriously hampered,” said study lead author Ralf Barkemeyer.
    “If governments are not able to understand the scientific facts presented to them, how can they hope to reach consensus or joint decision?”
    Given the complexity of IPCC output, the public relies on media interpretations, which researchers found tended to take a more pessimistic tone than the source material.
    Tabloids newspapers in particular were more likely to use negative terms like “disaster”, “storm” and “crisis”, in contrast to the neutral phrasing of IPCC content…
    Some observers have suggested the IPCC employ science writers and graphic designers to make the reports more accessible…

    • No human is so noble that they are immune to some level of using the above.
      The bigger the dazzle the greater the desire for appreciation.
      The greater the desire for perfection the larger the fear of being blamed/associated with a mistake.
      Jury trial lawyers look for these traits in people and select jurors based on what type of jury they want.
      Again, we are all human.

  15. The climate has been changing for 4 billion years !!!!!! Liberals are the REAL climate change deniers.

  16. Once upon a time, there was an island where the Unga-Bunga tribe lived.
    One day the Unga-Bunga lit a big ceremonial fire and just as they started to dance around the fire, the volcano which inevitably formed a back-drop to this scene began to rumble.
    The chief of the island asked the witch-doctor what this all meant, if anything.
    The witch doctor explained that the lighting of the big fire must have caused the volcano to become angrified and that in the future all fire lighting should be avoided, or at least severely restricted.
    “But, we no light fire, how we cook fish?” asked the various islanders.
    “This no problem”, explained the witch doctor, “we no ban fire completely, but for every fire you must give boss chief one cowry shell”.
    “Yes, this very very good idea”, said the chief.
    “But what if we have no cowry shell” complained the islanders.
    “Then you no light fire”, explained the Witch Doctor, “otherwise, volcano angry”!!
    “But, you have not so far shown us anything which proves a causal relationship between fire-lighting and volcanic activity”, explained one wise elder who was known for his tendency to think stuff through.
    Everyone was about to join in agreement with this, when the Chief and the Witch-Doctor announced that anyone who said anything else along these lines would be hit with a big stick.
    And so it came to pass that the Chief ended up with all the cowry shells and for ten more years the islanders lived not-so-happily on their diet of mostly raw fish, until the volcano blew and buried them all in ten foot of pyroclastic pumice.
    The end.

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