Dark Green XVII: The IPCC’s All-Seeing-Eye (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

All_seeing_eye© infrakshun


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave its full blessing to the Al Gore power-point revival as he made his merry way to a carbon trading pot of gold. However, before kneeling down at the altar of the IPCC we must have a peek behind the doors of an institution that has presided over a fiefdom of green belief.

The IPCC has been lauded for over twenty years as the guardian and protector of the planet, a scientific beacon in a dark age of industry and corporate irresponsibility. It has served as the primary reference for ecologists and environmentalists buttressing the religion of anthropocentric climate change. But does this organisation truly merit the global mantle of scientific authority it now enjoys? Or is it a pretender to the throne of open-minded science? A closer examination of the facts shows that the latter is closer to the truth, with serious consequences for climate science and environmental studies worldwide.

Maurice Strong’s United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization(WMO) set up the IPCC in 1988 with a later endorsement from the United Nations General Assemblythrough Resolution 43/53. With 195 members worldwide, the intergovernmental body is currently chaired by Rajendra K. Pachauriwho steers the mission: “… to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.” The IPCC describes itself as a scientific body which “… reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.” [1] Scientists voluntarily contribute to the work of the body where an “objective” and “complete assessment of current information” takes place. In the IPCC’s view, due to its scientific and intergovernmental status, it embodies: “… a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.” [2]

As a consequence of this so called objectivity and impartial information presented to policy makers, an international acceptance of its claims is now in place and supported by an overall “consensus” (there’s that word again…) from leading climates scientists and participating governments. Further, in recognition of its work, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared between the IPCC and Al Gorethe IPCC acting as the source for most of the information found in An Inconvenient Truth. This fact is enough to plant a question in any informed person’s mind about the nature of the science the IPCC advocates. So, let’s see if the self-penned, glowing descriptions of the organisation stand up to scrutiny.

The IPCC reports also known as “The Climate Bible” – which we will call the “CRs” – are produced every year and represent an unassailable doctrine of climate science which cannot be challenged and to do so amounts to a form of heresy. The CRs have had an enormous effect on government policy around the world and are routinely cited as the most authoritative source on Climate change. CO2 emissions as the greatest evil known to man and the reason carbon taxes exist are all down to these reports. It is a climate science lovingly fawned over by the world’s media, much of university and think-tank academia, the same people who believe unquestioningly in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. The problem is, they believe that all those reports have been toiled over by thousands of experts who are holding hands in a sacred communion of consensus across the world; they believe that the science is water-tight and anyone but a fool would think otherwise.

Rajendra Pachauri has chaired the IPCC since 2002 and in one sense, is the personification of the IPCC in much the same way that Prince Philip was for the WWF. He has fuelled the belief that the IPCC and their CRs are full to the brim with thousands of the best scientists, the finest quality expertise at the cutting edge of climate science which is all parroted ad nauseum by the world’s media. [3] Unfortunately, many scientists and their papers have been ignored. Whether it is hurricane research, tropical diseases or oceanography, unless the scientists tow the official party line of anthropocentric global warming (AGW) then they can expect a cold response indeed to submitted papers.

Pachauri has since been accused of “inappropriate” sexual behaviour by several women who worked at the IPCC and TERI a non-profit, scientific and policy research organisation which Pachauri is Director-General. According to one alleged victim as part of her testimony from 2005: “A sexual harasser 10 years back, a sexual harasser today. He did it to me and others then. He has done it to her and possibly others now … His physical advances and sexual innuendos and acts, often reduced to as ‘inappropriate behaviour’, have been common knowledge and corridor gossip.” [4]

As a result, Pachuari finally stepped down in March 2015.

This appears appropriately symbolic of the IPCC’s place in climate science.

Rajendra-Pachauri_ipccstructureRajendra Pachauri, still going strong as Chairman of the IPCC

With 40 years of experience in tropical diseases Paul Reiter thinks the papers on his specialist subject found in the CRs are full of inaccuracies and incorrect conclusions, made worse by the fact that none of the lead authors had actually penned a research paper. Much of the information in the CRs are not written by experts at all and gave testimony to that fact to the UK House of Lords. [5]

One would think that the IPCC would have been keen to recruit the best experts they could find but it appears they prefer students and the inexperienced rather than the world class scientists spoken of in the mainstream media. The UN seems quite happy that its organisation continues to promulgate lies on this point while peddling unsubstantiated and very biased beliefs instead.

Journalist Donna LaFramboise’s searing indictment of the IPCC highlighted the fact that “the world’s finest scientific minds” have been culled from a reservoir of young and inexperienced students and activists such as 25 year-old Richard Klein, a Master Degree student and Greenpeace campaigner drafted in to serve as IPCC lead author on what was eventually to be six reports, six years prior to the completion of his PhD. [6] Laurens Bouwer served as an IPCC lead author before he had completed his Masters in 2001. To compound the confusion still further, the chapter to which he was given responsibility dealt with financial services whilst his “expertise” was in climate change and water resources. [7] In 2008, Lisa Alexander was a research assistant at Monesh University, Australia and went on to earn her PhD in 2009. Yet from 2001 and 2007 she had been plucked from obscurity by the IPCC to author two reports, one as lead author and the other in a contributory role – all ten years before she had claimed her doctorate. [8] Sari Kovats hadn’t earned her PhD until 2010 yet 16 years previously before any academics papers had been written: “Kovats was one of only 21 people in the entire world selected to work on the first IPCC chapter that examined how climate change might affect human health.” Lead author twice and contributing author once, all before the completion of her PhD. [9]Nor are these exceptions to the rule. This has been normal practice for the body since the early 1990s.

So, what’s going on?

LaFramboise describes how the analyses of IPCC policies and procedures were to come under the microscope, but perhaps not in the way it would have liked. In 2010, an international science body called The Inter-Academy Council took the bold step in establishing the first committee to investigate the quality and structure of IPCC research which resulted in an extensive questionnaire on its website to which people were encouraged to respond. Over the last few years a wealth of interesting data totalling over 678 pages has accumulated for the dogged researcher to peruse.

Many recurrent gripes which surfaced amongst respondents’ answers was the lack of qualifications from lead authors; decisions being political rather than scientific and undue political correctness regarding gender and multiculturalism at the expense of science. Among these problems follows the deeper more intransigent factor of activism married with science. The IPCC tells the world it is a scientific body tasked with sifting conjecture and assumption to produce as much as is possible, scientific fact. Yet, the institution is infested with activists from top to bottom. How can this be an impartial and politically neutral body offering reputable science when beliefs are colouring the overall picture?

Environmental activist organisations cross-fertilise IPCC conclusions in the CRs and other publications citing each others papers to bolster predetermined results. Rajendra Pachauri routinely writes forewords and editorials for activist groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. As LaFramboise observes: “The IPCC’s role is similar to that of a trial judge. It examines the scientific evidence and decides whether or not human-produced carbon dioxide is guilty of triggering climate change. How much faith would you have in the impartiality of a murder trial if the judge was hearing evidence during the day and partying with the prosecution team during the evening?” [10]

A new breed of “activist scientist” is happiest hanging out in activist groups, universities and agenda-ridden institutions like the IPCC. Objectivity regarding scientific results is the first casualty. Scientific judgement is wide open to abuse from emotionally-driven views which consciously or unconsciously select the data that reinforces their beliefs. They often have access to a wide cross-section of interested parties from government to an annual influx of university students. Scientific credentials merely serve to reinforce beliefs and fit the data with a mind already made up. If it doesn’t fit, then it is made to fit through mental gymnastics and cherry-picking the data. Of course, this can work both ways. However, whereas many groups who do not follow the AGW line and do not have links to the fossil fuel agenda state their case with proven scientific data and expertise, the same cannot be said for the IPCC which sets itself up as an impartial arbiter when it is nothing of the kind. It is clearly AGW-biased, hiding behind the bogus claims of rigorous and objective research supported by “world class scientists.”

Michael Oppenheimer is one such example. A Director of Science, Tech. Environmental Policy, at Princeton University; Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Prior to the above posts and 20 years as Chief Scientist to Environmental Defence Fund (EDF). He is a lead author IPCC report 2007 and a Senior Author of the IPCC report in  2011. Remember his words when speaking on behalf of the EDF? “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.” Regardless whether one agrees or disagrees with this statement it is hardly the position required of a scientist let alone one who contributes regularly to the IPCC. He is an activist-scientist and thus seriously biased.

A sample of other activists working for the IPCC include:

  • Bill Hare – Greenpeace spokesperson 1992; Chief climate negotiator 2007 / Key member of Greenpeace International Climate team; Lead author IPCC reports 2007 Expert reviewer 2007.
  • Malte Meinhausen – Key member of Greenpeace International Climate team; Greenpeace spokesman 2002-2003; Co-author Kyoto Protocol Analysis; contributing author of IPCC reports 2007.
  • Ove Hoegh-Guldberg – Marine Biologis, Reef expert Greenpeace funded reports on coral reefs and climate change 1994-2000 WWF funded reports; Contributing author 2007; Coordinating author 2011.
  • Richard Moss – One time WWF vice-president; IPCC senior personnel.
  • Jennifer Morgan – WWF chief spokesperson; WWF Kyoto Protocol Delegation; WWF Global Climate Change Program; Climate Action Network; Director of Climate program World Resources Institute. IPCC report 2010.

The process by which CR authors are selected – for an organisation who claims to be transparent and open – is highly secretive. No one seems to know how top decisions are actually made. The Inter-Academy Council questionnaire makes interesting reading in this respect, with some of the respondents giving answers such as: “Selection of lead authors in my view is the most important decision in the IPCC process, and it is not transparent,” or: “After being [a lead author or contributing author] several times, I still have no idea how I was selected. This is unacceptable.” Another participant states: “It has always been unclear how this has been undertaken.” [11]Not a huge crime for any other low-level institution but the IPCC isn’t just anybody. It has told us that it is open, transparent and scientifically credible and wields enormous influence because of it.

ippc-un

The United Nations, UNEP, WHO and the IPPC are all closely related, as are their worldviews.

The IPCC receives nominations from governments but does not make it public the names of the nominees; it does not explain the selection criteria and when successful nominees are announced only the country of origin is mentioned, qualifications and credentials are nowhere to be seen. Based on past evidence one can see why they would want the secrecy to remain in place. Apparently, we are meant to guess that the candidates are experts and trust the IPCC’s word.

What makes matters worse is the organisation’s history of refusing to help journalists, researchers and academics in their quests to scrutinize sources, reports and data. Moreover, when problems have been raised with the report content, such as out-of-date source papers, incorrect citations or quoting from papers yet to be published, the shutters came down with a the rigidity of a spoilt child folding its arms and pouting. If you begin to rock the boat too much then you are stone-walled or threatened with expulsion. [12]

Yet, according to John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s science advisor the IPCC is: “… an immense edifice of painstaking studies published in the world’s leading peer-reviewed scientific journals. They have been vetted and documented in excruciating detail by the largest, longest, costliest, most international, most interdisciplinary, and most thorough formal review of a scientific topic ever conducted.” [13]Holdren has been told some porkies. In reality, the IPCC does none of the above and has no quality control procedures at all. Or, as one IPCC respondent states on page 384 of the public questionnaire: “Quality assurance and error identification is non-existent…” [14]  Which means when the body claims it uses peer-reviewed literature we find this is also incorrect. [15]The amount of peer-reviewed sources to support the findings in the IPCC reports is very low indeed; yet, people continue to believe it is true because it operates on the same belief as Al Gore. [16]IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri: “… has a history of systematically misrepresenting the process by which his organization produces reports. His declaration that the IPCC does not settle for anything less than peer-reviewed sources is wrong. Nor is it wrong by a trivial amount. When 21 out of 44 chapters have so few peer-reviewed references they score an F, a serious disjuncture exists between the facts and the IPCC’s fiction.” [17]

Nor is peer-review a fail-safe mechanism for detecting research misconduct and malpractice. The only way to safe-guard such problems is fully independent, scientific review where an assumption of the reliability of research papers before they have even appeared in print is not seen as the norm. Peer-reviewed science is only as good as the structure upon which it sits. If that is rotten then you have nothing. If Al Gore published papers for peer-review it would matter little that his credibility is zero because his talents lie in the performance designed to create maximum emotional response. Facts are secondary.

When trusts, foundations and institutions presenting themselves as scientific bodies dedicated to objective scientific analysis merge with the beliefs of green activism, however laudable, it produces a dangerous politicisation. Organising communication between professions and the media then becomes an exercise in maintaining the demands of lobbying. When substantial amounts of money are involved then science is just another tool for exploitation. Just as high quality journalism should inform activism so too science must act as the primary foundation to issues with science at their core. Without objective knowledge of the highest quality charges of passion without reason and the effects they induce cannot be countered.

LaFramboise, with an enormous network of voluntary assistance, found that 30 percent of the IPCC 2007 report was non-peer-reviewed. The sources which were included comprised of “… newspaper and magazine articles, unpublished masters and doctoral theses, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund documents and yes, press releases.” The journalist highlights several points that should make us all think twice about the proclamations of unimpeachable sources and credentials when the media, UN and governments wax lyrical about the IPCC’s standing.

LaFramboise further observes:

Climate sceptics are frequently asked why they imagine their own judgment to be more reliable than the judgment of such esteemed bodies. The answer to that question is this: No science academy noticed that one in three references in the 2007 Climate Bible is actually to grey literature. [unpublished papers] If these academies are so well-informed why did it take a group of Internet-linked volunteers to bring this to the world’s attention? Why didn’t even one of these science academies subject chairman Pachauri’s rhetoric to rudimentary fact-checking? [18]

Could it be that IPCC personnel simply don’t care enough to have a hand in changing the direction of this behemoth and are quite comfortable with the way things are?

Not content with preaching to the rest of us on impeccable standards in climate research to which we must all adhere, the IPCC’s treatment of its voluntary army of expert reviewers falls very short of fair. The 2007 report invited reviewers to offer comments which were responded to by IPCC authors. Yet, unsurprisingly, they are at liberty to ignore most, if not all of the comments that don’t fit with their “group-think.” The body freely inserts new material in reports, rejects reviewer opinions and essentially undermines the whole review process which was designed to prove the rigorous and objective nature of the CR science.

Group think rises up through the ranks of academic journals which instead of being independent and thus offering valuable critiques, appear to be chosen for reviews, citations and source material because an IPCC insider is Editor-in-Chief. As LaFramboise comments on the late founding editor of Climatic Change Stephen Schneider and Club of Rome member: “The fact that Schneider, a senior figure at the IPCC, was routinely deciding what would – and would not – make it into the same scientific literature the IPCC would later cite as evidence doesn’t appear to have caused anyone concern.” [19]

Nor is this an isolated incident. In the next post, we’ll see why.

 


Notes

[1] http://www.ipcc.ch/
[2] Ibid.(organisation)
[3] ‘The Science is absolutely first rate’ June 5 2007, The Rediff Interview with Rajendra K. Pachauri http://www.rediff.com | ‘The Rajendra Pachauri Interview’ by Amitabh Pal, The Progressive, May 2009 issue.
[4] ‘Harasser’ who lifts staff like little girls’ The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, Ananya Sengupta and G.S. Mudur, February 22 , 2015.
[5] Select Committee on Economic Affairs Written Evidence – Memorandum by Professor Paul Reiter, Institut Pasteur; Paris THE IPCC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION. EXAMPLE: IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH
[6] p.8; The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert by Donna Laframboise. Published by Createspace, 2011.
[7] Ibid. (p.9)
[8] Ibid. (p.10)
[9] Ibid. (p.11)
[10] Ibid. (p.18)
[11] Ibid. (pp. 185, 180 and p.28) | Review of the IPCC InterAcademy Council http://www.reviewippc.interacademycouncil.net
[12] Ibid Chapter 8: “Clear as mud” See example 1: Steve McIntyre of ClimateAudit.org p.30-35 correspondance between Susan Solomon.
[13] Ibid. (p.34)
[14] http://www.reviewippc.interacademycouncil.net
[15] Ibid. (p.43) – Richard Tol found that in the Climate Bible (CRs) 2007 “IPCC authors had ignored the findings of peer-reviewed studies and had instead cited non-peer-reviewed material to make the opposite case.”
[16] Ibid. (pp.43 -50: “The Peer Review Fairy-Tale”)
[17] Ibid. (p.48)
[18] ‘Book excerpt: Conspiracy of silence Special to Financial Post, By Donna La Framboise, Oct 22, 2011.| http://www.opinion.financialpost.com/2011/10/21/book-excerpt-conspiracy-of-silence/
[19] Ibid. (p.62)

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