Breaking news: the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits assessments nonsense.
That’s not quite true. The IPCC made the admission but it wasn’t breaking news. In fact, it wasn’t news at all.
A kind reader alerted me to the admission.
It goes like this. Schoolboy errors in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment were widely publicised in 2010. The UN Secretary General and the IPCC chair responded asking the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to undertake an independent review of IPCC “processes and procedures.”
Last month, the IPCC announced that it had implemented “a set of recommendations issued in August 2010 by the InterAcademy Council”. That is, the IPCC accepted the IAC’s findings.
That’s the admission.
Here is what the IAC found. “The IPCC has no formal process or criteria for selecting authors” and no “transparent author-selection process or well-defined criteria for author selection” (P15).
It’s mates choosing mates. And the most important thing is for authors to believe the human-induced global warming nonsense before they start.
The information used in “IPCC assessments often appears in the so-called “grey literature,” which includes model output produced by government agencies, international organisations, universities, research centres, nongovernmental organisations, corporations, professional societies and other groups.
The extent to which such information has been peer-reviewed varies a great deal, as does its quality” (P16).
So much for the constant refrain from IPCC whooper-uppers that it’s all peered-reviewed and top notch science. It’s nothing of the sort.
Indeed, “Many of the conclusions in the ‘Current Knowledge About Future Impacts’ section of the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers are based on unpublished or non-peer-reviewed literature” (P34).
Worse, the IPCC Assessments have been using information from “blogs, newspaper articles, press releases, advocacy group reports” which then have not been properly cited (P17).
The infamously wrong Fourth Assessment prediction in 2007 that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 or sooner was based on a World Wildlife Fund report that was based on a 1999 article in New Scientist that, in turn, was based on unfounded speculation in an email from an Indian professor.
I kid you not.
The IAC found the IPCC’s Assessments to be one-eyed: “Alternative views are not always cited in a chapter if the Lead Authors do not agree with them” (P18). That’s how the IPCC gets consensus! Dissent is simply ignored.
The IPCC’s Assessments also provide mock certitude about guesswork.
“In the Committee’s view, assigning probabilities to imprecise statements is not an appropriate way to characterize uncertainty” (P35).
Oh and here’s the all-important Summary for Policymakers: “Many [respondents] were concerned that reinterpretations of the assessment’s findings, suggested in the final Plenary, might be politically motivated” (P23).
“Another concern…was the difference in content between the Summary for Policymakers and the underlying report…
"Some respondents thought that the Summary for Policymakers places more emphasis on what is known, sensational, or popular among Lead Authors than one would find in the body of the report” (P24).
The digestible summary is not backed by the big report – and the summary is hyped-up for political and media purpose.
Ultimately, it’s not science: “The Working Group II Summary for Policymakers in the Fourth Assessment Report contains many vague statements of ‘high confidence’ that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or are difficult to refute” (P40).
That leaves the IPCC Assessments up there with political and religious blather.
That’s what the UN-sponsored review of their own work found. The IPCC has accepted the stinging rebuke and implemented the recommendations.
That’s damning stuff. But it’s not news.
We now know the IPCC’s Assessments by its own lights can be tossed as fake science. No one would base any serious policy decisions on them.
Oh, wait a minute…
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
Most listened to
- Peter Beck on Rocket Lab's plans for the next two years
- Fonterra Ventures general manager Komal Mistry on commercialising employee ideas and new investments
- Jenny Ruth on the outlook for Port of Tauranga's earnings
- Craigs' Mark Lister on 2018 so far and what to expect from the CPI
- NBR Radio: A year in review, with Grant Walker