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« Lecture at St Andrews | Main | Environmentalists trashing the environment (again) »

IPCC - In a class of its own. Josh 86

More Cartoons by Josh here

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Reader Comments (24)

Ouch! One feels for Doctor Kovats at a personal level, many posting here would have been delighted to have had the life-chances she has been granted. However, Josh has surpassed himself by neatly eviscerating the whole IPPC shambles in one brilliant cartoon. If this doesn't make him the CAGW industries , "Most Wanted", nothing will.

Mar 20, 2011 at 5:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

Yes, Grumpy Old Man, painful/enlightening/unwelcome/humorous to us all on many different levels.

Mar 20, 2011 at 5:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterPluck

It is a bit sharper-edged than some, but the fact is that the IPCC process is such a ridiculous mess that they really don't even need authors, lead authors, reviewers or anything else; they might as well subcontract the writing of their garbage to Greenpeace's PR firm. Put the whole thing out as 'Alan Smithee' and call it a day.

Mar 20, 2011 at 6:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Quick before anyone else.

Last weak I kouldnt spel pee pea see sea awfa now I are wun.

Mar 20, 2011 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn


Mar 20, 2011 at 8:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Another favourite! Brilliant!

On a technical level, I love the perspective, captured it perfectly, nice one.

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Sitting back and waiting for the complaints to start Josh! Makes me think of Catherine Tate saying "Am I bovered".

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

It's a strange world in academia. In my experience in industry, it takes years of work, dedication and mentoring before one can become authorised to be an expert in a particular field or topic. As for multiple-topics, such as Kovats seems to be an expert in, well you would have to be a genius and world renowned.

I guess that's the difference between industry and academia. Professionalism versus amateurism. Not that there aren't many good scientists in academia, but really.....

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip Bratby

I keep telling my son off for saying that, don,t you start.

Many a true jest, spoken in word.

Mar 20, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Surpassed yourself, Josh...
Hopefully Dellers will run with this and reproduce it (with explanation) in the Telegraph...
Still chuckling...

Mar 20, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid


I loved the Sari Kovats cartoon, but I think it is trumped by the previous one on your site, the Peer Review (Science Betrayed) one -absolutely brilliant.

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Brilliant and direct. You have to remember that the rest of us are "numpties" and Sari will get no crticicsm from Simon Singh 'cos he accepts she is qualified to tell us different because of her annointed status. Love it.

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Pure brilliance Josh love it !

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

If you going to sell yourself as representing the world’s best science in the area , as the IPCC do , is it not a good idea to at least meet the standard that would be expected by an undergraduate doing an assignment in using references and to actual use lead authors whose earned status , rather than political outlook , makes them widely respected in their area ?

Mar 20, 2011 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

@ JEM the IPCC process is such a ridiculous mess that they really don't even need authors, lead authors, reviewers or anything else; they might as well subcontract the writing of their garbage to Greenpeace's PR firm.

It is normal practice in writing reports or analyses in a business context to ensure that nothing goes in the management summary that isn't also to be found more or less verbatim in the body of the study.

The reason, of course, is that anyone who reads the exec sum and finds in it something they want to know more about should be able to go to the main body and find the background to it there.

So if I am reading an exec sum which says "We carried out an examination of which was better, widgets or doodads. Doodads were better", there should be a section somewhere of which this is a condensed summary. So there will be a section in which it is explained that the purpose is to know whether widgets are better than doodads. Widgets and doodads are then defined, the meaning of "better" is defined, the criteria are set out out and justified, the data shown and the conclusions reasoned. The first and last sentences of that section go into the exec sum and anyone who wants to know more can find it. The exec sum may be drafted first in terms of structure but it actually gets populated last.

The IPCC process seems, as far as I can tell, to be completely broken in this respect. They have authors who write main body sections while others write the summary, without having seen or read the rest of it. The contents of all sections are stitched up beforehand and are either at odds with each other or processed to remove any inconvenient truths.

A simple audit of the IPCC's processes tells you everything. If these clowns were trying to prove the sky is blue and the grass is green then frankly, based on how they are organised, I would very much doubt their conclusions.

Mar 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Ok, Ok,

"Comrades. We have to have a real name for the lead author. XXXX won't let us use his. Says the thing is nonsense, doesn't want to put be associated with it. What about YYYY?"

"No. I agree with XXXX>"

"well, what about Kovats?"

"She doesn't have a clue. Excellent choice. She might even be proud of it."

Mar 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Would we, the hoi polloi, be allowed to peek into her Phd dissertation?
Or would that be a female empowerment bridge too far

Can this scientific work and its value for society be left untouched I wonder.

It might be amusing to see the inadvert little mistakes that the wizard in charge who wrote it -white xian hetero male, but with a keen self interest no doubt- and who filled in for sari at the time and wrote some (pseudo) scientific text ,see getting harrassed a bit and make Sari answer for it , after so many years.

Will be a political incorrect bridge too far to take I guess.
the mountain of pseudo intellectuals in the left with far murkier credentials would get "under pressure"

Mar 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterphinniethewoo

Yeah but, no but, I shouldn't be here cos I gorra nobel prize, an ...

Mar 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Philip Bratby - I seem to recall that it was never a good idea to call yourself an expert; that was usually the quickest way for the world to fall on your head. I always preferred to specialise in something, but maybe it's a girly thing or a lack of confidence.

As for Josh's cartoon, I hadn't scrolled down far enough to see the caption underneath while I was reading the writing at the top and I thought it was something to do with Climate Week and indoctrination in schools. Same thing though, I suppose.

Mar 20, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterbiddyb

biddyb. I shouldn't have used the word "expert". We used the term "suitably qualified and experienced".

Mar 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Sheer fun. Couresy of the Hockey Schtick-

get the google search up and type in 'climate change is' or 'global warming is', and see what google suggests in the drop-down.

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I found myself wondering whether Kovats could be the sort of person who looked for correlations which might be beyond those which their data might support, and found the following link:

Here I found someone criticizing Kovats' paper on the grounds that "they determined the shape of their natural cubic splines “visually”, instead of using some model selection criterion, e.g. likelihood ratio tests, AIC..etc,", and various other statistical complaints.

It couldn't possibly be that expert Kovats has been professionally engaged in 'proving' a link between summer temperatures and all manner of maladies, for the cause, could it?

I suppose that the inconvenient fact that winter causes more excess deaths than summer needs to be counteracted by somebody, even if that does involve statistical slap-dashery.

After all - how would it look if one of the consequences of global warming were to be a reduction in weather related deaths?

Mar 21, 2011 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

As a site that applauds the amateur scientist I should think you would welcome that the IPCC was able to look beyond narrow credentialism to find such talent.

Mar 21, 2011 at 2:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureacrat in a field only remotely related to climate, with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Re JEM 6.08am 20/2 and Justice4Rinka 11.45am ditto:

Old Hat for all this blog's egg-heads, I fear:

The IPCC website has some lovely coloured flow diagrams showing how their report writing procedures (are intended to?) work. (My query!)

A body called the IAC was commissioned by the Sec Gen of the UN (together with the IPCC's chairman, no less!) to review the Assessment Report. The summary of the IAC's Report (referred to on this blog on Mar 16), which is eight A4 pages long, contains a litany of instances where the IPCC's procedures were not followed together with others where their formulation could be improved. Recommendations were made about both.

It seems that JEM and Justice4Rinka are in the company of the great and good in science. (Sir Paul Nurse is on the IAC board!)

Mar 21, 2011 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

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