Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« In the beginning | Main | Not so Goot »

Conflicted climatologists

Pielke Jnr looks at the dilemma facing the IPCC - should its new policy on conflicts of interest apply to participants in the upcoming Fifth Assessment Report?

The challenge faced by the IPCC is significant. Under the adopted policy it is inconceivable that its current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, could continue to serve.  Presumably, other participants would also fail to meet the high standards of the new policy.  This would mean major change in the organization.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (27)

How can the IPCC maintain its incredibly low standards of competence, ethics, and scientific integrity without Pachauri at the disconnected helm?

How can we possibly hope to determine the difference between genuine science, Real Climate science and voodoo science without Pachauri's incisive, instinctive, and snap judgement skills?

This could get interesting!

Jun 6, 2011 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Well ... it's always possible that Chris Huhne may be looking for a new career soon.

Jun 6, 2011 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

I doubt it will get interesting. I'll bet no decission will be made. The IPCC act very much like a Council organism does. Failing upward is a common term used here at work.

Jun 6, 2011 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

matthu, not so hasty, Gordon Brown was in the queue first. He has found no errors or mistakes in his own career

Jun 6, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

and he has already saved the world - doing so again would surely be a doddle for him...

Jun 6, 2011 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

but then again he would probably want paid in gold, so he could sell it off and buy Euros...

Jun 6, 2011 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Who or what has the authority to send Pachauri back to train sets?

Would G8 countries who have pulled out of Kyoto lose their vote/veto?

The scope for political shenanigans is wide open, leading to another ineffective, politically correct choice,. such as Pachauri.

Meanwhile, as US manufacturers move to Canada, California goes bust, and Russian and Chinese economies continue to grow, the UK will still be building windmills

Jun 6, 2011 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Apologies for going off topic, but this seems worth a read, from a former climate psyentist turned whistleblower [Apr 2011]:

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.

The author explains the scam in some detail.

Jun 6, 2011 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

I suspect the next IPCC wave of reports and summaries will seek to emphasise sustainability and 'resilience', and generally try to hint that the AGW alarm is taken for granted. They know that any foray into science or falsifiable predictions might be torn to shreds firstly by better scientists and sharper minds, and secondly by Mother Nature her goodself. The sidestepping of real science will also make a policy complement to their sidestepping their own policy and procedural aspirations. As far as I can see, as a self-interested organism, they have no other choice.

Support for this view? Just look at how they have chosen the participants who will produce the next wave of waffle - clearly for political rather than scientific purposes. So there will be more people from the developing countries, more people from whatever are deemed minorities, and more people who have a weak grasp of science and realpolitik in favour of those overawed by the UN (yes, there may still be some who do not regard it as a cesspit) and keen to do their bit to save humanity. That same humanity so seriously threatened by the policy absurdities following on from the superficial speculations at the heart of climate alarmism based on CO2.

Jun 6, 2011 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

When a report claims to represent the best of the 'science' and yet fails to meet the standard expected of an undergraduate assessment you know it got problems. Given all the old faces will be back for this report is there any reason at all to think its going to get better? The key part is the executive summary that is the meat and potatoes as far as the politician are concerned and that already looks sown up in the way John Shade suggest . The key thing to remember is no AGW , no IPCC, and these turkeys are not for voting for Christmas.

Jun 7, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Just in case anyone wishes to read the full text that Jake Haye has quoted, it's:

Jun 7, 2011 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterPogo

I see that the IAC recommended 'increasing transparency' whereas the IPCC wants 'confidentiality'.
Given the findings of the IAC review I have no confidence in IPCC. The Hockey Stick, 'hide the decline', get rid of the MWP and LIA, climategate emails, statistical innovation etc. have done nothing to improve the credibility of the AGW camp.

Jun 7, 2011 at 1:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergyptis444

O/T but one to watch:

6 June: Airwise: Reuters: IATA Warns EU Over ‘Illegal’ Carbon Plan
Global airlines warned the European Union of the risks of a possible trade dispute over ‘illegal’ plans to charge the industry for emissions, saying they echoed environmental failures of the past.
Comments from the International Air Transport Association stepped up a war of words as European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard refused to back down over EU plans to make airlines buy permits for carbon emissions above a certain level.
“She would do well to listen to the growing chorus of countries strongly opposed to an illegal extraterritorial scheme,” IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said.
“The last thing that we want to see is a trade war. Chinese delegates were in Brussels recently; many other countries have formally expressed concerns,” he said.
Industry and diplomatic sources have said China threatened retaliation against European airlines and plane maker Airbus if the EU goes ahead with its plans.
“We have to absolutely avoid retaliation because the risk of retaliation for a Europe that is in survival mode would be the kiss of death,” Bisignani said.
“I hope that, once Europe starts receiving this kind of strong message, they would understand that you cannot go on with an illegal scheme. This is illegal,” he added…

Jun 7, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

it's telling that online searches for news on the IPCC more often than not throw up articles on the Independent Police Complaints Commission than mr. pachauri's organisation these days.

Jun 7, 2011 at 2:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

It's amusing, sitting here in far off Australia, and refreshing to get away from all our own local political circus madness, to observe all the happenings in Europe and the USA.

Your economies are in a very sad distressed state, but you are all fixated on carbon dioxide and how quickly you can dismantle your proved generating capacity in favour of fairyland make-believe wind power and such like.

The mantle of economic power is shifting from the west to the newly developing master races, BRIICK, I think they are now termed (formerly only BRIC). This is just the order of nature and of world history, but you are all trying to accelerate it just as fast as you can.
While here in sunny (damn cold) Australia, our great prime minister, with 30% popularity ( a new all time low), is pressing on with her decarbonisation plans (read a great new tax on CO2 emissions) in a pale immitation of Europe.

Happy days are here again.
I still have happy childhood memories of trying to do my maths homework by the light of a single candle duirng nightly blackouts in the 1940's, caused by poor government planning.
Can't wait for the repeat.
Bring it on!

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

South Korea

All bastions of democracy and of culture.
So much preferable to old decadent Europe.

But that's life.
We must all eventually face up to reality.
Vive La Carbon tax!

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

Or is Viva Le ......?
Yes, I did very well in physics but failed French, long ago.

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

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

My take on this:

The underlying report was in a magazine published by Nature.

The policy mainly concerns conflicts of interests which may not be always relevant when it comes to the stuff the IPCC puts into its reports. However, somewhat nearer the ball, the Nature article says that ‘the meeting also adopted a detailed protocol for addressing errors in existing and future IPCC reports, along with guidelines to ensure that descriptions of scientific uncertainties remain consistent across reports.’ The actual minuted wording does not seem to be readily available on the IPCC site, and if it is kept under wraps who is to know whether they follow it or not?

That said, the reported wording should offer skeptics little comfort. A preposterous conclusion can still be highlighted although there are complaints it is based on data (necessarily) cherrypicked from a collection of equally uncertain tosh, provided whatever excuses that are dreamt up are equally presented across reports. So what?

Also the policy is made by the IPCC itself and not imposed on it by an external authority. It will therefore feel free to adapt it as it likes and will do so in order to achieve whatever it thinks its goals are at the time. Such shenanigans would not be new.

The IPCC will remain a polemical body bound to deliver the reports that the governments that provide its funds want. This change, if it materializes in any effective form, will be the result of a change in attitude of those governments probably resulting from a growing realization that implementation of policies urged by the high priests of the green religion will be unpopular and the thought that the success of the assaults that have been made on the underlying so-called science could offer a way out.

There will not be much change in the attitude of the UK government for the time being because of the Liberals’ dependence on green votes and adherence to green religion.

The IPCC has not shown itself to be responsive to external pressure and will probably not be greatly troubled by the embarrassments referred to in Pielke’s piece. It may well defer implementation until the next report, and could then take advantage of the interval to come up with another change that responds to its perception of requirements at the time.

In the Nature piece, Pachauri is said to say he will see the 5th report through. I expect that is how that will work out.

The emerging country representatives will probably be academics trained in the US and the like (USSR?) who will be especially vulnerable to peer pressure, perhaps mainly from their domestic politicians. So rather than simply tipping the wink to their own men at the IPCC, governments will have to resort to applying pressure on other governments to get their will done. Risk will rise for them.

Jun 7, 2011 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

John Shade wrote:

I suspect the next IPCC wave of reports and summaries will seek to emphasise sustainability and 'resilience', and generally try to hint that the AGW alarm is taken for granted.

They seem to have morphed AGW into the more ... hmmm ...acceptable "climate change" but "sustainability" (and/or variants thereof) is definitely a word to watch for - or more to the point, 'pervasive and overarching sustainable development' - because it's in full accordance with Pachauri's Vision for AR5:

Climate change needs to be assessed in the context of sustainable development, and this consideration should pervade the entire report across the three Working Groups. In past assessments sustainable development and its various linkages with climate change were seen largely as an add-on. Most governments who have commented on this issue have highlighted the need to treat sustainable development as an overarching framework in the context of both adaptation and mitigation

As far as I know, "resilience" hasn't made the buzzword cut, yet; however, I suspect that we shall see far more than a mere "hint" that AGW/climate change alarm is taken for granted!

It's already been subsumed in the rubric 'n rhetoric of those who see "biodiversity loss" as the greatest threat to the planet, not to mention that of proponents of "The Anthropocene" - a recently coined (and endorsed by all those Nobel Laureates at the recent Stockholm dog and pony show, albeit still "unformalized") geological "epoch".

As for conflict of interest ... apart from the IPCC's Pachauri quandary, they've already built themselves a huge credibility gap (IMHO) by their adoption of what amounts to "business as usual" wrt the issue (highlighted by the IAC review) of "the practice of scientists responsible for writing IPCC assessments reviewing their own work."

The wording of one of the 17 ("adopted") paragraphs in their "decisions taken" text is quite telling:

The individual and the IPCC should not be placed in a situation that could lead a reasonable person to question, and perhaps discount or dismiss, the work of the IPCC simply because of the existence of a conflict of interest. [emphasis added]

YMMV, but inclusion of the word "simply" suggests to me that either they just don't get it, or they really don't give a damn!

[For all the gory details, pls see: IPCC and conflict of interest: tapping into the team-work side-step]

Jun 7, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

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

Apologies to all and H/T to hro001.

The minuted wording is at _interest.pdf

But nothing on enforcement!

Jun 7, 2011 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Another aspect of the conflict of interest : many French participants to the current drafting of the forthcoming IPCC report are co-authors of a book "Climate, a planet and human beings" where they develop the entire traditional IPCC cathechism, avoiding rather systematically any information contrary to their most preferred theory. I'm wondering how these people are in a position to act as coordination lead author, lead author, and review auditor ? In these positions aren't they supposed to show the entire spectrum of points of view ? They are very far from it in this book !

Jun 7, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Look, they'll just cheat. And their supporters will make excuses for them and repeat their pathetic cover stories, just as they have up to now. You can't hold them to account.

Jun 7, 2011 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

There is a summary (in French) of the book Daniel mentions here:,3202.html

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Conflict of Interest - not a phenomena recognised in the upper reaches of UK PLC, as witness the silence about it from members of various enquiries into Climategate, so why should the IPCC worry about something that said Brits of enormous scientific prestige and worth see as being of no consequence.
And, as far as I know (I hate bloody acronyms!) no windmills are actually built in the UK, merely imported, assembled and erected at great expense. All part of the current cunning master plan to prevent anything sensible being actually designed and built from scratch in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


'it's telling that online searches for news on the IPCC more often than not throw up articles on the Independent Police Complaints Commission than mr. pachauri's organisation these days'

But one of them is deeply involved with fraud, malpractice and shameful misbehaviour. While the other has something to do with the rozzers.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

In response to John Shade, I had written:

As far as I know, "resilience" hasn't made the buzzword cut, yet [...]

Much to my surprise, I discovered, today, that "resilience" seems to have taken root ... right in my own backyard, so to speak. But it may apply only at the local level (as opposed to "warming", which, of course is "global")

British Columbia's University of Victoria seems to spawn enviro-advocacy groups in much the same way that the UN spawns "panels", "conventions" and "protocols". There's a U.Vic affiliated body called The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) which will be sponsoring a 2 day event (June 14 & 15):

Resilient Communities: Preparing for the Climate Challenge

And to enlighten British Columbians on the "latest scientific discoveries, and [provide an opportunity] to ask questions on the IPCC, the leading international body for assessing climate change", PICS has imported Thomas Stocker (Co-Chair of WG 1 for AR5) all the way from Switzerland to provide a "Special Lecture" on 'Climate Change: Why do we know that we know'

Unfortunately, I have a conflicting engagement, so shall not be attending. But - if anyone's interested - it will be webcast:, starting at 7:30 p.m. PDT tonight (June 7).

Jun 8, 2011 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

"This would mean major change in the organization."

Gee, you say that like it's a bad thing...

Jun 8, 2011 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>