RealClimate logo


Technical Note: Sorry for the recent unanticipated down-time, we had to perform some necessary updates. Please let us know if you have any problems.

IPCC report card

Filed under: — gavin @ 30 August 2010

Update: Nature has just published a thoughtful commentary on the report

The Inter-Academy Council report on the processes and governance of the IPCC is now available. It appears mostly sensible and has a lot of useful things to say about improving IPCC processes – from suggesting a new Executive to be able to speak for IPCC in-between reports, a new communications strategy, better consistency among working groups and ideas for how to reduce the burden on lead authors in responding to rapidly increasing review comments.

As the report itself notes, the process leading to each of the previous IPCC reports has been informed from issues that arose in previous assessments, and that will obviously also be true for the upcoming fifth Assessment report (AR5). The suggestions made here will mostly strengthen the credibility of the next IPCC, particularly working groups 2 and 3, though whether it will make the conclusions less contentious is unclear. Judging from the contrarian spin some are putting on this report, the answer is likely to be no.


403 Responses to “IPCC report card”

  1. 51
    Doug says:

    Rob @35

    You may be right about a world government being “definition it is a despotic, inefficient, bumbling, axiomatic pipe dream.” but I suspect that is not what concerns many U.S. citzens.

    It is not being the ones calling the shots that is of concern. If you think you are in charge you can often forgive despotism, inefficiency, and bumbling.

    I give Washington as an example ;-)

    Doug

  2. 52

    “. . . a despotic, inefficient, bumbling, axiomatic pipe dream.”

    Wow–now that’s rhetoric! Incoherent, but highly rhetorical.

    Personally, if I must have a despotic government, I find “inefficient” and “bumbling” to be desirable ancillary characteristics.

    Now if I could only figure out what “axiomatic” means in this context. . .

  3. 53
    Kevin Stanley says:

    JonP: In case Gavin’s inline was too cryptic, I’ll restate the point in paraphrase: if you want science to run the show, wherever it leads, you don’t put the show in the hands of people who have demonstrated a blatant contempt for scientific evidence. At this point, anyone who doesn’t “believe in” the greenhouse effect is demonstrating a blatant contempt for scientific evidence.

  4. 54
    J Bowers says:

    As we’re on the subject, just cropped up at the Guardian.

    Tea Party seeks candidates who say no to global warming and gay marriage

    The email…
    http://www.sanduskyregister.com/files/www2.sanduskyregister.com/file_attach/2010/August/TeaPartyQuestions.pdf

    From: Jon Morrow
    Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 11:14:38 -0400
    To:
    Subject: Tea Party Voter Guide and Questionaire…get your candidates on it
    [...]
    2. The regulation of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere should be left to God and not government and I oppose all measures of Cap and Trade as well as the teaching of global warming theory in our schools.

    Speechless.

  5. 55
    jason says:

    could someone explain the implications of this statement?

    “The committee also called for more consistency in how the Working Groups characterize uncertainty. In the last assessment, each Working Group used a different variation of IPCC’s uncertainty guidelines, and the committee found that the guidance is not always followed. The Working Group II report, for example, contains some statements that were assigned high confidence but for which there is little evidence.”

    [Response: To give an extreme (made up) example, I can say with high confidence that tomorrows temperature will not be more than 200 deg C and not less than -100 deg C, but it isn't very useful. Saying something will be affected by climate change (which can be trivially true) can be said in high confidence, but is not really worth making a point of. There were some of these kinds of statements in WG 2. - gavin]

  6. 56
    Stuart says:

    I guess the one positive that could come out of this would be a framework/way of working that other scientific groups that work in contentious areas might find useful to copy/adapt. My feeling though is that it probably won’t, or at best piecemeal, and most of the same mistakes and process improvements will be reinvented.

  7. 57
    Radge Havers says:

    One world government fascist gay communist climate science muslims want to take away your freedoms and make you eat broccoli.

    What, no space aliens?

    I’m beginning to think this problem may be deeper than just a need for fine tuning communications…

  8. 58
    Jon P says:

    Comment by J Bowers — 31 August 2010 @ 4:10 PM

    It is a questionaire and respondents may respond with agree/disagree/Undecided/A* (pro-life with exceptions/* added comments/NR/CR incumbents conservative rating.

    Yeah number 2 is outrageous for anyone to Agree with, but until someone purs their name on it and responds with an Agree, I fail to see the need to panic.

    I bet there are some items on that list that you may even agree with, perish the thought!

    Any group of people can call themselves a “Tea Party”.

  9. 59
    J Bowers says:

    Wait, my speech has come back. “Dark Ages”. “Medieval”. They’re the words I’m looking for.

  10. 60
    Phil Scadden says:

    And here I was thinking that the US Right was all for global government – so long as only US Right elected it.

  11. 61
    Hank Roberts says:

    See what I meant about Rod’s remark being a triple thread — a straw man, a red herring, _and_ a paranoid fantasy?

    Don’t go there.

  12. 62
    Antiquated Tory says:

    Eli Rabett, #20
    If you want to see the black helicopters fly, just wait until climate changes enough to make the situation dire. This is something the denialists have not figured out.
    Absolutely spot on. Eli’s a smart bunny. When food starts to seriously run out, when mass work conscription is needed to build sea defenses, when hordes of desperate, hungry people start moving, that’s when governments are going to start seriously clamping down on people. And I’m not talking about some conspiracy on the part of government–in a real and ongoing emergency, governments will have to use emergency powers, or there will be no government. Or governed. That’s what the denialist ding dongs don’t get. If the government really wanted to have an excuse to suspend all our civil liberties and didn’t care about the cost, they’d let business as usual go on until they had to suspend our civil liberties.
    Wait a minute…

  13. 63
    Tom Scharf says:

    This report is about the process, not the science. WG1 seemed to be well behaved as far as I can tell. It’s the climate impact people who went off the rails, and continue to do so. This is what is responsible for a large amount of the loss of trust by the public. How many weeks in a row can you hear “it’s worse than we thought” and a “cataclysm is certain and imminent” before you just stop listening?

    The standardization of statistical backed statements and the requirement for traceability on these claims are definitely a step forward.

    It was a good reaction to problems that were found.

    As for the news coverage, it is very curious how much stressing and hand ringing that goes on here because you cannot control the media. Since when was that an option? The MSM makes a living off of building things up, and then tearing them down. It’s a pattern, deal with it.

  14. 64
    CStack says:

    This report is about the process, not the science. WG1 seemed to be well behaved as far as I can tell. It’s the climate impact people who went off the rails, and continue to do so. This is what is responsible for a large amount of the loss of trust by the public. How many weeks in a row can you hear “it’s worse than we thought” and a “cataclysm is certain and imminent” before you just stop listening?

    The standardization of statistical backed statements and the requirement for traceability on these claims are definitely a step forward.

    It was a good reaction to problems that were found.

    As for the news coverage, it is very curious how much stressing and hand ringing that goes on here because you cannot control the media. Since when was that an option? The MSM makes a living off of building things up, and then tearing them down. It’s a pattern, deal with it.

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 31 August 2010 @ 7:04 PM
    —–
    Excellent comments, I agree entirely!!

  15. 65
    Tom Scharf says:

    Add a little data to the discussion here. They made very specific recommendations to deal with uncertainty that ought to be welcomed by all. Right?

    Recommendation: Chapter Lead Authors should provide a traceable account of how they arrived at their ratings for level of scientific understanding and likelihood that an outcome will occur.

    In addition, IPCC’s uncertainty guidance should be modified to strengthen the way in which uncertainty is addressed in upcoming assessment reports. In particular, quantitative probabilities (subjective or objective) should be assigned only to well-defined outcomes and only when there is adequate evidence in the literature and when authors have sufficient confidence in the results. Assigning probabilities to an outcome makes little sense unless researchers are confident in the underlying evidence (Risbey and Kandlikar, 2007), so use of the current likelihood scale should suffice.

    WG2 Example:
    In the Committee’s view, assigning probabilities to imprecise statements is not an appropriate way to characterize uncertainty. If the confidence scale is used in this way, conclusions will likely be stated so vaguely as to make them impossible to refute, and therefore statements of “very high confidence” will have little substantive value. More importantly, the use of probabilities to characterize uncertainty is most appropriate when applied to empirical quantities (Morgan et al., 2009). The following statement may be true but should not be assigned a probability of occurrence:

    Nearly all European regions are anticipated to be negatively affected by some future impacts of climate change, and these will pose challenges to many economic sectors. (Very high confidence; IPCC, 2007b, p. 14)

    WG1 Example:
    “There is high confidence that the rate of observed sea-level rise increased from the 19th to the 20th century” (IPCC, 2007a, pp. 5-7). This may be contrasted with the use of the likelihood scale to make a similar statement: “. . .losses from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have very likely contributed to sea level rise over 1993 to 2003” (IPCC, 2007a, p. 5).

    It should be emphasized that without complementary evidence such as confidence intervals and probability distributions, the use of the phrases in Table 3.4 would be an incomplete characterization of uncertainty. In other words, the quantitative scales used by Working Group I are appropriate only because they are supplemented by quantitative measures.”

  16. 66
    Edward Greisch says:

    44 Ike Solem: “the head of science programs at the DOE is also BP’s Chief Scientist”

    Could you say that to the senate please?

  17. 67
    sidd says:

    I am sorry if this is off topic, but this is nice work by the British Antarctic Survey.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11138207

    Now coupled with the ANDRILL work, can we better say how fast ? or is the time resolution on spread of bryozoans not fine enuf ?

    sidd

    PS: the captchas are really hard… for example i have no sign for the english pound currency unit, on this US keyboard, and i dont feel like remapping keys. but more important, i can barely see some of the letters. i hope i have typed this one correctly

  18. 68
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Edward Greisch: the appointment process involves the Senate.
    http://pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/CaltechNews/articles/v43/koonin.html

  19. 69
    flxible says:

    @44 & 64 re the DOE second Undersecretary for Science Dr Steven Koonin, who WAS chief scientist for BP when nominated to the DOE position – as well as a distinguished and publishing physicist. Not sure changing jobs constitutes a “conflict of interest”, especially when it may also involve “changing sides”, or at least recognizing the error of a previous choice. . . . Just sayin’ ;)

  20. 70
    sod says:

    Roy Spencer wants to “dump” the IPCC.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/dump-the-ipcc-process-it-cannot-be-fixed/

    he makes a rather extreme claim:

    While you might believe otherwise, climate scientists back in the 1980s did not get together and decide “let’s create the IPCC and investigate the evidence for and against manmade climate change”. Instead, politicians and politically savvy opportunists saw global warming as the perfect excuse for instituting policies that would never have been achieved on their own merits.

    but offers absolutely no evidence to support it.

    also take a look at the disgusting picture he added to his article. the IPCC is a panel made out of humans. i think the grave rhetorics are a little bit out of line!

  21. 71

    TS, 62: How many weeks in a row can you hear “it’s worse than we thought” and a “cataclysm is certain and imminent” before you just stop listening?

    BPL: What if it’s true?

  22. 72

    While the report makes excellent suggestions designed strengthen the IPCC reports and methods, the newspapers, journalists and other media continue to mine every comment for negative, sensationalist content. It becomes fodder to the denialists and continues to cloud the issue in the public perception of AGW. The media continues to assign science the lowest of priorities and continues to skew science and science related stories through its journalistic parsing. Again, very few journalists have any idea of science nor are interested in science. An interesting development is the education of science undergraduates in journalism, a major change from ‘give a journalist a science course and they become experts’ approach. Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax Canada has undertaken a science communication undergrad degree programme designed for BSc students called Science Communications. It is only one of two offered in Canada. As these new grads come out and enter the science comm world, perhaps they will better be able to relate science to the public and provide an interface between scientists and the media.

  23. 73
    J Bowers says:

    Re. 57 Jon P

    True, but one used for vetting candidates. If you answer no, you don’t get the Tea Party vote there. How many more of these are out there? I think it’s a pretty fine indication of what goes in the heads of the Tea Party organisation.

    “These answers will be put into our voter guide and allow us to rate, recommend, and endorse candidates. Without these questions being answered we cannot give a full endorsement of your candidate.”

    I’ll put it this way; until the Tea Party comes out with a statement correcting the Erie County list, stating CO2 regulation should not be left up to God, etc, then it stands as what they truly think as far as I’m concerned.

  24. 74
    HotRod says:

    Gavin I don’t understand your example/answer to Jason above, comment 54

    His partial quote: “…. The Working Group II report, for example, contains some statements that were assigned high confidence but for which there is little evidence.”

    Your Response: To give an extreme (made up) example, I can say with high confidence that tomorrows temperature will not be more than 200 deg C and not less than -100 deg C, but it isn’t very useful. Saying something will be affected by climate change (which can be trivially true) can be said in high confidence, but is not really worth making a point of. There were some of these kinds of statements in WG 2. – gavin

    There is plenty of evidence that tomorrow’s temperature will be so bounded – but the committee were, in that segment, being specific about high confidence statements for which there is little evidence.

    [Response: Fair point. They quote two specific statements in WG2 on this, specifically: "Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of GDP. (High confidence)" and the quote about African agriculture. In the SL statement, I would agree that there is indeed high confidence that projected SLR will affect low-lying coastal areas (how could it not?), but the costs of that are not easy to quantify (it will vary greatly depending on location, scenario, preparedness, etc.). But the use of 'could' in the costs statement makes the confidence placed in the last part of the statement valid in all sorts of contexts, and so is less informative than it might at first appear. This is on a par with the useless temperature forecast I gave above. The IAC are correct in pointing out that the costs part would have been better flagged with a 'low level of understanding', even while the potential for sea level rise to be a major problem can in fact be acknowledged with high confidence. I think the problems here are those of disaggregating different kinds of statements and different kinds of confidence clearly so that people don't overinterpret. - gavin]

  25. 75
    J Bowers says:

    @ Jon P, the Freedom Institute of Erie County’s website:
    http://www.americaslastbesthope.org/

    Click on Partners. Koch written all over it.

  26. 76
    CM says:

    I like their recommendations for communicating uncertainties. As a lay reader I think taking an axe to the current thicket of likelihood/confidence/understanding scales would be a real improvement.

    The recommendations on management seem fine enough. (Except the bizarre passing mention of including persons unconnected with the IPCC on an Executive Committee of the IPCC: huh?) Seems to me, though, that the recommended reforms are likely to require an expansion of IPCC staff and budget, not just a free-lunch reshuffle of responsibilities, and governments need to be told so.

  27. 77
    Rahn says:

    @69,
    Oh, Wonderful! “Impressive”!!! NOTTTTTTT!

    The 21st century version of Dancing Baloney!!!

  28. 78
    RandyL says:

    I know I will regret making this comment and poor association. I am no fan of Ayn Rand, HOWEVER :-) it has occurred to me that all of these very good, honest and truthful climate scientists are being ignored and truly mistreated and should follow the advice of Ms. Rand and “Shrug Atlas”. Maybe the only thing that will work at this point is to simply let the chips fall where they may and let the world collapse under the weight of the ignorance of humans. Such a depressing thought however. But some days it is very difficult to continue to battle the ignorance, lies, attacks and meanness. Sorry for the downer.

  29. 79
    Hank Roberts says:

    > americaslastbesthope
    Don’t go there. Guy in jackboots, 48-star flag, “The Enemy” the President of the US. Reminiscent of attacks on FDR during the New Deal.

    [Response: This is way off topic. Let's all please stick to the IPCC issues please.... - gavin]

  30. 80
    Alexandre says:

    Here in Brazil, one major newspaper had the headline “Experts point out flaws in the IPCC”, including in the text a reference to Climategate, where “scientists were discovered to distort the [IPCC] report figures”. Of course, the sentence is a distortion itself.

    It’s interesting how the figures themselves (e.g. the amount of warming or climate sensitivity) are seldom mentioned or debated. They would have to notice the huge unbalance of evidence, then.

    Not to worry, though. If even Lomborg is coming around, they will too eventually…

  31. 81
    HotRod says:

    Gavin #70, thank you. That’s more what I thought:

    “Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of GDP. (High confidence)”

    On a re-reading it is not clear to me that the ‘High Confidence’ refers to both sentences, or just the latter – I assume just the latter, since as you say applying it to the former is trivial. If it applies to the latter, then I agree the ‘could’ word, especially when combined with an ‘at least’, renders the High Confidence irrelevant at best, misleading and contradictory and certainly prone to over-interpretation at worst.

    Your new ReCaptcha spam stopper is incredibly hard to read for a human btw.

    RandyL #74, cheer up! It’s perfectly possible to believe that climate scientists are ‘good, honest and truthful’, and yet still think that cap n’ trade and solar feed-in-tariffs are a ‘solution’ that makes no difference, and malaria is a bigger killer. Have a beer.

  32. 82

    74 (RandyL),

    As much as I’ve expressed my anger at the journalists for how this story has been misreported, I think in the long run all will be well. The next IPCC report has a new layer of Kevlar as a result of this “adjustment.” It will be harder for opponents to call it out. They will try, and they’ll have some traction with the denier crowd in simply claiming that the recommendations weren’t followed, just by making stuff up (which is what they always do, pretty much).

    In the end I think this will add gravity to the next report, especially when its arrival in 2014 is almost certain (barring something bizarre like a severe 4 year La Nina) to be accompanied by even more visible evidence of climate change (4 more years of Arctic melt, severe weather anomalies that could be a result of climate change, and clearly growing temps), as well as probably a quite noticeable contradiction to the “it hasn’t been warming/has been cooling for the past decade” rant.

  33. 83
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    re: 62 “As for the news coverage, it is very curious how much stressing and hand ringing that goes on here because you cannot control the media”

    I don’t know what media you listen to. Other than that disaster movie, what are you talking about? You sound as if there’s saturation. Unless I go to a web site where I know such things are discussed, I don’t see any discussion of the consequences of AGW at all.

    BTW, you ought to see someone about those ringing hands. A relative of Maxwell Smart?

  34. 84

    Captcha tip, for those who may not have discovered it (eg.@ #65, #77):

    In case of an unreadable/untypeable Captcha, you can get a new Captcha prompt by hitting the top panel on the red control bar to the right of the type-in box. (The panel with the “Ourobouros” tail-chasing arrows.) You can (apparently) get as many as you want, as on occasion I’ve probably sorted through as many as a dozen before I found one I was certain of.

    (The present one, though, seems “mostly harmless:” “plaintively tencerry”)

  35. 85
    Rod B says:

    Ike Solem (44), I would prefer the VA prosecutor pursue Obama’s unconstitutional actions rather than start another witch hunt. I agree with everyone here that his pursuit of Mann, et al was a silly-assed witch hunt, and am glad to see it end. But I abhor witch hunts of any kind.

  36. 86
    Heraclitus says:

    The use of the phrase “fundamental changes” seems to be causing some, erm… misunderstanding about the report in certain circles. Are these really fundamental changes being proposed? Significant, certainly, but fundamental?

    Have the authors deliberately made no concessions to the potential for septic interpretation?

  37. 87
    Rod B says:

    Gavin re (54), I had the same question as jason. Thanks for the good explanation.

  38. 88
    Rod B says:

    Jim Galasyn, no, it is what I meant, though it might get a D for the syntax. Ditto for Kevin McKinney.

    Silk, I agree with what you say about global action; I was pooh-poohing only the extension to global government.

    Hank Roberts, not perfect, but a fairly accurate point you make, I must admit.

    Martin Vermeer, a worthy thought, but a pipedream in terms of global government.

    Radge Havers, that pretty much sums it up! ;-) It’s motley, too!

    Doug and Phil Scadden, Correct. The ones in-charge are all in favor of global government.

  39. 89
    SecularAnimist says:

    Bob (Sphaerica) wrote: “… I think this will add gravity to the next report, especially when its arrival in 2014 is almost certain … to be accompanied by even more visible evidence of climate change …”

    I find it rather surrealistic not to mention unspeakably depressing, given the extreme and rather terrifying things that happening to the Earth right now, right before our eyes, that we are still talking about whether the 2014 (!) IPCC report may finally motivate real, meaningful action to start reducing GHG emissions.

    It seems to me that what needs “reform” is not the IPCC process, but the governments that have consistently ignored and refused to act upon what the IPCC — and every other major scientific organization in the world that has anything to do with climate — have been telling them for decades.

  40. 90
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Frankly, I think that the very existence of the IPCC is somewhat problematic. By its very nature, the IPCC provides a single target on which denialists can focus criticism and disinformation. And its association with the UN makes it irresistable to wingnuts. The IPCC does not define the consensus. Its sole purpose is to summarize the consensus. If it were not there, the consensus would still be the same if not even stronger.

    Having the IPCC allows the denialists to ignore the consensus and focus solely on discrediting the instution–a sort of argumentum ad institution, if you will.

    The association with the UN means that the wingnuts can simply attach all the paranoia they feel about the UN to the IPCC rather than actually addressing the difficult problem at hand.

    What is really missing is a coherent plan to address what is beyond doubt a real threat. OK, so you don’t like global government. Fine. Find a solution that allows you to address a problem that has inherently global aspects without instituting global government. If you cannot, and if there is clearly a problem that requires global action, are you not admitting that your approach is a failure? Or you can go on and continue to simply attack physical reality…your choice.

  41. 91

    86 (Ray),

    The association with the UN means that the wingnuts can simply attach all the paranoia they feel about the UN to the IPCC…

    I have to admit I’ve thought the same thing, and have wondered why individual governments don’t have their own, well funded, self-serving versions of the IPCC (or do they?).

    I mean, I do understand why the Bush administration ignored it, and I’m sure that intelligence and defense agencies are quietly but realistically considering it in all strategic planning (you have to know, as a country, if you’re going to need to worry about a need for intervention into food and grain wars between Russia and satellite countries, or whatever).

    But at this point, I actually think there are multiple reasons for individual countries, in particular the U.S., to have their own, partisan version of the IPCC, with the same eye toward the science, but with a self-serving, domestic outlook on how climate change will affect U.S. interests in particular (economic, strategic, social, etc.).

    It’s sort of time for more detailed planning to begin, too. It’s too early to be certain of the details, but a few sober hit-home insights (like “well, Houston, Texas will possibly only be able to support half of the current population by 20xx”) will mean a lot more than comments on the future of the Amazon or Himalayan glaciers.

    And a partisan report would carry more weight with a lot of people, for the reasons you stated… that some people don’t trust the U.N.

    Meanwhile, a series of reports, from different countries, that all basically agree on the main points, would be a lot harder for the denial camp to argue against (although admittedly, they’ll hunt and peck for contradictions between reports and use that to their advantage).

  42. 92
    Karsten Johansen says:

    In medieval times, the feudal lords had the inquisition, and both Hitler
    (“german physics” against Einstein theory) and Stalin (Trofim Lysenko against darwinsm) and their likes had their ways to suppress unpleasant scientific knowledge.

    Nowadays the oiligarchy and the financial mafia have the global media corporations.

    Therefore, nobody is mentioning that IPCC 2007 has underestimated the consequences and speed of ongoing global warming, fx. by saying that the north polar sea-ice will be gone in the summer by 2080, while leading scientists in this field now are saying this will happen by 2015-2035.
    The problem with the IPCC is almost exactly the opposite as propagandized by the global media machine.

    This summer the surface melting of Greenland icesheet in western parts was
    in some places (Kangerlussuaq area fx.) as much as six meters. Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia had theworst drought in 1000 years. Hundreds of millions of people in China and Pakistan are suffering severely from gigantic monsoon floooding.

    A “tiny” question: What will happen next year? And the next?…

  43. 93
    Paul Tremblay says:

    >>Ike Solem (44), I would prefer the VA prosecutor pursue Obama’s unconstitutional actions

    These boards are reserved for comments about AGW and not for throwing out baseless, off-topic political claims. Your comment about malaria killing more people makes no sense. So far as I know, no one has claimed that AGW has killed many people; it only has the possibility of doing so.

  44. 94
    Joseph Sobry says:

    Tempest in a teapot.
    I did not bother to read the IPPC’s report about the IPPC’s report but I did manage to read the “Nature” magazine’s comment about the report on the report of the report…
    One example Nature provided was the potential disappearence of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. This is supposedly incorrect. Under any number of scenarios it could very well be true or untrue. Given the current knowledge it is not very likely because the winter will still occur and rebuild the glaciers to flow downhill some other day.
    I cannot find any problem with the IPPC’s original report in the first place other than any arguments relating to semantics, probabilities, details and confidence levels.
    This does not apply to WG1 at all on first appearance but does apply to WG2 and 3. Of course WG2 and 3 are at a disadvantage from the start. Given the science provided in WG1 just about any consequence of global warming could be assigned in WG2 and subsequent actions in WG3.
    Ironically, What is missing is the totality of the “possible” science in WG1. This is not some perverse plot or yet another hoax but the reality of our present and eternal conumdrum. We lack, as always in things scientific, the complete picture.
    The only thing I know personally is that the WG2 report is totally inadequate not because the good people who worked on it are in any way deficient but only because they could not possibly complete their work in any meaningful sense of the word “complete”.
    Let me give some examples.
    I lived for the last 10 years at latitude 51 degrees,longitude 10? , altitude 1350 meters in the shadow of the rocky mountains to my west.
    I am totally botanically challenged.
    There is a plant somewhat akin to a rhubarb plant that has seeded or perhaps similar to a tobacco plant. This particular plant has multiplied a thousand fold in my area in the last 5 years. This should not be possible. Given the normal local climate of extreme temperatures and very mercurial behaviour this broad leaved plant should not have a chance in hell to proliferate to this extent and yet it has.Is that a sign of global warming? Was it reported in WG2 ??
    I am totally zoologically challenged.
    Here is a subterranian rodent(?) probably some kind of mole which I have never seen but I know it is here because of the mole hills it produces. The number of mole hills has increased in almost astronomical fashion, allowing for poetic license. Is that a sign of global climate change? Was it reported in the WG2 report?
    I could mention any number of facts or incidents or changes in my local environment that I construe to be the result of global warming either partially or totally but does not make a proper scientific statement because the scientific effort has not and cannot be done.
    The good WG2 people do not have a chance to properly evaluate and report on such things.
    SO. Is there anything “wrong” in their report? Almost certainly. Does it matter? NO.
    Whatever they reported is at best a subset of what they could have reported on. That subset was very good indeed.

  45. 95
    Veidicar Decarian says:

    “Perhaps some of us are not aware of what the IPCC Director Dr. Rajenda Pachauri is being subjected too.”

    Do you really think that the truth matters to the opposition?

  46. 96
    Veidicar Decarian says:

    “Find a solution that allows you to address a problem that has inherently global aspects without instituting global government.” – 86

    “What problem are you referring to? There is no problem.” – Opposition

    And again, you seem to think that the truth matters to these people.

    Why in Gawad’s name would you think that?

  47. 97
    Veidicar Decarian says:

    \It seems to me that what needs “reform” is not the IPCC process, but the governments that have consistently ignored and refused to act upon what the IPCC\ – 85

    Meanwhile in Yankville the highly intelligent electorate is about to give the house and the next presidency to the Global Warming Denailists.

    You seem to be in deep denial about the lack of intelligence of Joe American.

    You people just don’t get it do you?

  48. 98
    Veidicar Decarian says:

    “I’m beginning to think this problem may be deeper than just a need for fine tuning communications…” – 56

    Beginning?

    You have to be living on planet dumb as a rock if you think that willful ignorance supported and enabled by well financed campaigns of lying will be solved with some nice, polite, and well reasoned logic.

    The truth is not relevant to the American Conservatives.

  49. 99
    Rod B says:

    Ray Ladbury (86), viewing it as if I was an objective outsider, I partially disagree. I think the UN sanction gives it much more inherent credibility around the world than would a lot of splinter groups. The one exception, as you imply, is the U.S. where the UN does not get automatic credibility — often just the opposite (and not totally without cause, BTW.) So it is a double-edged sword, but on the whole I think AGW proponents are better off with it.

    This does not mean that individual countries shouldn’t have their own large-scale AGW research and development going on; I strongly think they should.

    No UN, just go straight to global government, you think??!!? I think you’re confusing global government with a global wide treaty. True, treaties can always be broken, and a properly constituted global government (this is hypothetical as global government will never be willingly instituted) could enforce AGW mitigation on everyone. Though it would also force a pile of other stuff on everyone, some of which would be worse that AGW itself.

  50. 100
    Ron R. says:

    Bob (Sphaerica) @ 6:06pm said, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is journalism that is failing this country, not science. Thirty years from now people will look back and ask where the h*ll all of the real, professional journalists were hiding, and how they got the story so very wrong.

    You’re right, and that’s because they are paid by corporations. Maybe what this country needs is a mass news daily that is paid for solely with donations like Public Broadcasting. No donations from business groups that are more than a certain uniform dollar amount. Then journalists would finally be free to say what they really think, to tell the truth. Then they could also have experts in the field write and review pieces as well. Of course in the interests of democracy dissenting voices would need to be aired, but now their errors (in the case of climate skeptics or other right-wing disinformers) could be immediately answered.

    No doubt the daily would be smeared as a leftist rag by all the usual suspects but it would gain a readership just like CPB has.

    Perhaps something along the lines of The Huffington Post. I really hate to encourage another paper daily because it really is a terrible waste of trees, but maybe one of the corporate dailies that are currently struggling might consider this suggestion.


Switch to our mobile site