“After all, most people spend their lives making decisions under uncertainty, and that’s what dealing effectively with climate change demands – the same kind of decisions you make when you decide to buckle your seatbelt…”
-Chris Field, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair, speaking to reporters at Busan
Evidently, such advice does not apply to the IPCC itself.
IPCC - Going off the Rails
Richard Black, BBC, thinks that ” Rajendra Pachauri will be here to usher” the AR5 in,” barring some major mishap”. In the rough-and-tumble world of climate change polity, the events of the last one year are not major mishaps then.
By now, this is about the third time science journalist Fred Pearce has tried his hand at spinning Amazongate. Why may we wonder, is this hobby horse being flogged back to life?
(Cross-posted at Bishop Hill)
Last November things began to go seriously wrong for the IPCC version of science. In all this, it is easy to forget how recently it was that green science, and the IPCC in particular, had a good reputation with the public for honesty and integrity. It started after a leading Indian glaciologist called VK Raina public pointed out that he disagreed with the IPCC conclusion that the Himalayan glaciers would melt away within 30 years. Raina said studies showed that at the present rate of melting, the glaciers would take hundreds of years to do so. The Indian public had previously been told that the waters from the Himalayas would dry up within their lifetimes, so this good news was published on the front pages of the newspapers.
“Amazongate is only an error of improper referencing, the actual science behind the key claim is sound”. This is the message that has been hammered home repeatedly by experts involved in Amazon forest research. In their press releases, letters of complaint and blog posts, they have refused to concede something might be wrong with the report, and argued that journalists should have performed in-depth research before bringing any disrepute to the IPCC.
Even as we search high and low only to conclude that the exact claim does not appear to supported by the literature available to date, another argument has been advanced simultaneously in defence of the IPCC. It says that the scientific evidence, the crucial pieces that go to make up this claim, bizarre though it might be, lie in many different papers. The IPCC report just brings them together – it paints an integrated picture of the trouble the Amazon region is in. So the defense of the IPCC is bi-layered. The science behind the imminent catastrophic destruction of the Amazon forests is true, and the IPCC makes a synthetic judgement to this effect. The only flaw is therefore one of citations.
The IPCC makes available its first order and second order drafts and reviewer comments. The question is: do these drafts and comments carry any indications or clues to the scientific summation and thinking process that is alleged to have taken place?