IPCC report card

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 comments on this post.
  1. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company:

    Thanks Brian Dodge for helping the discussion along so effectively. I think there are numbers that can be worked with here.

    For my understanding a little clarification is needed. Reading the Columbia reference in particular, it seems that they jump from ‘carbon’ to ‘CO2’ without noticing the factor of 3.6 difference in weight for the same amount of the carbon element involved. Our EPA seems to be talking in terms of tons of CO2, not carbon, though they seem to think it is carbon. (Embarrassing huh?)

    Next point, the duck grass is not interesting except as a general bound of possibilities since it has no long term existence. As to eucalyptus, this is not a good choice, though they grow fast and provide shade, since the forests it creates are problematic and the wood is useless for permanent structures. (We have them here in California due to a plan to use them for railroad ties a hundred years ago, but that turned out to be a poor wood for that purpose.)

    Choice of wood is subject to expertise from forestry folks, but I would favor redwood since the wood is amazingly self preserving and useful for permanent construction.

    I hope to get back to this soon, but thanks for now.

  2. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company:

    400 Brian Dodge,

    Here is a link to the EPA report on ‘carbon’ capture:


  3. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company:

    Thanks David B. Benson #398

    Thanks for that point. Preserving old growth root structures has worked extremely well for redwood trees, and Christmas trees, though the latter are not much use for CO2 capture in the way it is done when I saw it.

    The whole field of forestry is applicable in the management of the standing forests that would be useful in CO2 capture and sequestration.

    Adding the water and using otherwise unproductive land would have the potential of matching CO2 from all North American coal fired power plants, and the net long term cost could well be zero or less. That is really my point, and when compared to summarily executing the industrial economy as the EPA is suggesting, it looks quite good.

    Since I rather appreciate the benefits of our developed world, it looks very good to me. Of course it would involve some serious rethinking of water policy in North America, but considering the serious alternatives such as wrecking the industrial revolution or living with global warming, this might be a real option.