Free Markets, Free People
IPCC: stay out of politics and concentrate on science
Essentially, that’s the unvarnished version of what an independent commission recommended the UN’s IPCC do from now on – stay out of politics and concentrate on getting the science right.
UN climate change experts have been accused of making ‘imprecise and vague’ statements and over-egging the evidence.
A scathing report into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for it to avoid politics and stick instead to predictions based on solid science.
The probe, by representatives of the Royal Society and foreign scientific academies, took a thinly-veiled swipe at Rajendra Pachauri, the panel’s chairman for the past eight years.
As anyone who has been keeping up with the scandal among the IPCC and warmist “science” crowd in general, the report last issued by the UN’s climate commission has been under heavy and increasing fire from many directions. This is the latest in the saga. The investigative panel also make it clear that they’re of the opinion that Pachauri is not the guy they believe should be in charge of the IPCC.
Harold Shapiro, a Princeton University professor and chair of the committee that conducted the review, said that a report by an IPCC working group "contains many statements that were assigned high confidence but for which there is little evidence."
Professor Shapiro said the IPCC’s response to errors when they were subsequently revealed was "slow and inadequate."
Asked about the Himalayan glaciers error, Professor Shapiro said, "At least in our judgment, it came from just not paying close enough attention to what [peer] reviewers said about that example."
He added that there was concern about the U.N. climate panel’s lack of a conflict of interest policy, as is standard in most Government departments and international bodies.
The report called for development of a "rigorous conflict of interest policy" and made detailed suggestions on what should be disclosed.
Among those disclosures recommended are any financial and other ties to groups with an interest in the outcome of such a report (Pachauri has previously acted as an adviser to green energy companies).
The main finding, as noted above, was that despite all the claims to the contrary, many of the findings published with a “high confidence” were not peer reviewed or, if they were, the process was badly flawed. Consequently, many of the findings were found to be erroneous.
That’s not to say that the panel found the overall IPCC report to be fraudulent – on the contrary – it claims to support the basic findings. And I’d be interested to know the panel’s leanings before their investigation. Nevertheless it does find the present report’s errors to have badly “dented the credibility of the process”.
The panel also made a recommendation that the head of the IPCC be professionally qualified to do the necessary job:
‘Because the IPCC chair is both the leader and the face of the organisation, he or she must have strong credentials (including high professional standing in an area covered by IPCC assessments), international stature, a broad vision, strong leadership skills, considerable management experience at a senior level, and experience relevant to the assessment task.’
Pachauri’s background is mechanical engineering and he served with the Indian railway system before entering academia. Few objective observers would his credentials as adequate for the job. However Pachauri has no plans to step down. This is another example of what putting an unqualified individual in high office will get you.
We’ll see how this plays out, but remember that the IPCC report is something by which countries set their environmental policies. If Pachauri stays on, with his credibility tarnished, a very good case exists for questioning the validity of the report (given this episode). My guess is pressure is going to mount to oust him and replace him with a scientist at least associated with the field under investigation.
Frankly I hope he stays on. In my estimation, he perfectly represents why the warmist movement – and that’s what it is – continues to lose its audience and fewer and fewer people believe what they’re trying to sell. And, afterall, he’s at least as qualified as Al Gore.