The IPCC Shoots Itself in the Foot … Again

You’ll recall the International Panel on Climate Change was created to be an independent body to assess the effects of ‘climate change.’

Note: Climate change is assumed in their charter. They never question that global warming is real and a problem.

The job of the IPCC is to cull the scientific literature to explain global warming and its effects.  Except when its not. You may recall reading on this blog (Jan. 23, 2010) the story of how the IPCC cut and pasted a ridiculous claim that the ice would melt in the Himalayas by 2035 from a fundraising document from the World Wildlife Federation.  One would think they would have been more careful in the future.

Except they have done it again. The IPCC’s recent claim that, by 2050, 80% of the world’s energy could be provided by renewables (not including nuclear) came straight from Greenpeace. As usual, the mainstream media printed the IPCC’s claim without question (an excellent essay on that topic here). It took the amazing Steve McIntyre to uncover the truth. In a posting about the IPCC singing Greenpeace karaoke Steve laid out his case.

Unlike the past, however, IPCC defenders are pealing off. Please read this outstanding essay from Mark Lynas. And, from Judith Curry. And, Richard Tol. But, far too many global warming advocates respond with versions of, “move along, nothing to see here.”

Mark Lynas offers this thought exercise regarding the IPCC and the news media:

Here’s the scenario. An Exxon-Mobil employee – admittedly an energy specialist with an engineering background – serves as a lead author on an important IPCC report looking into the future of fossil fuels. The Exxon guy and his fellow lead authors assess a whole variety of literature, but select for special treatment four particular papers – one produced by Exxon-Mobil. This paper heralds great things for the future of fossil fuels, suggesting they can supply 80% of the world’s energy in 2050, and this headline is the first sentence of the ensuing IPCC press release, which is picked up and repeated uncritically the world’s media. Pleased, the Exxon employee issues a self-congratulatory press release boasting that his paper had been central to the IPCC effort, and urging the world’s governments to get on with opening up new areas to oil drilling for the benefit of us all…

How is the Exxon scenario different from what has just happened with the IPCC’s renewables report? And why – when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence – has the response of the world’s green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves? That this was spotted at all is a tribute to the eagle eyes of Steve McIntyre. Yet I am told that he is a ‘denier’, that all his deeds are evil, and that I have been naively led astray by him. Well, if the ‘deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a ‘denier’.
[emphasis mine]

Well said, Mark. 


Without strict adherence to the scientific method and to scientific ethics, scientists and scientific organizations quickly lose their way. Sadly, that is the case with the IPCC.

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