Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reform the IPCC

ABC provide a brief report titled Review calls for UN climate shake-up on the findings of the Inter Academy Council (IAC) report on IPCC structure and process. The complete IAC report is available HERE, and HERE
 Yesterday we highlighted missing opinions on the IPCC process by Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, who stated "The IPCC “peer review” process is not like the one academic journals use, in which reviewers actually have the authority to recommend rejection and require changes; instead it is more like a limited, voluntary public comment process. Since the IPCC gives Lead Authors the sole right to determine content and accept or dismiss comments, it is more like a weblog than an academic report."
Based on the IAC report findings it seems like McKitrick's comments had some merit.

Readers may be interested in an overview of the reports' findings by climate researcher Roger Pielke Jnr titled 
"Report of the IAC Review of the IPCC". This highlights the following statement from the report "If adopted in their entirety, the measures recommended in this report would fundamentally reform IPCC’s management structure while enhancing its ability to conduct an authoritative assessment."

Interesting considering ABC yesterday featured a report with the rather "optimistic" headline: 
UN hopes science review eases climate scepticism that quoted head of the Nairobi-based UN Environment Program (UNEP) Achim Steiner as saying "I'd be surprised, though I don't know, if there are fundamental changes" to the way the IPCC works, he said. 
Seems like someone is in for a rude shock. 

Here are a few headlines from other sources:
Telegraph (UK):  Flawed Science
New York Times: Flaws Found in U.N. Climate Structure
The Hindu:  Sharp criticism for IPCC leadership
Times of India: Pachauri-led IPCC needs fundamental reforms: UN panel
AFP: UN climate panel ordered to make fundamental reforms

Update: Dr Roy Spencer add his thoughts...Dump the IPCC Process, It Cannot Be Fixed

1 comment:

  1. The IAC's report on IPCC identifies in nice words all the problems.

    Nontransparent processes of scoping and selection of authors.
    Early finalization of document outlines which prevent incorporation of emerging scientific knowledge.
    Procedures for critically assessing unpublished and non-peer reviewed sources not followed.
    Alternative scientific views not cited if lead authors disagreed with them.
    Lack of scientific independence - working group co-chairs select review editors.
    Differences in content between the Summary for Policymakers and underlying report.
    Synthesis Report redundant and too political.
    Inconsistent use of uncertainty guidance and inappropriate characterization of scientific uncertainty - assigning probabilities to imprecise statements.
    Lack of transparency in formation of subjective judgements not based on evidence.
    IPCC Chair term too long for a dynamic and contested field as climate change.
    Lack of conflict of interest or disclosure policy for: IPCC senior leadership (i.e.,
    IPCC Chair and Vice Chairs), Working Group Co-chairs and authors, and the staff of the
    Technical Support Units.
    Poor communication on errors and perception of policy advocacy by IPCC leaders.

    Recommendations aim to fix the problems.

    The nature of the problems with the IPCC reports are self evident to anybody reading them in detail.


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