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Ending the IPCC

Judith Curry is interviewed at and wonders if it isn't time we got rid of the IPCC.

The IPCC might have outlived its usefulness. Lets see what the next assessment report comes up with.  But we are getting diminishing returns from these assessments, and they take up an enormous amount of scientists’ time.

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Reader Comments (42)

The greats of climate science are coming out in force now - Lindzen, Betts, Curry. Very well done Dr Curry.
Feb 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake
It is almost inconceivable that we could lose the IPCC. Great international bureaucracies only tumble with great international wars.
Feb 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C
\"...and they take up an enormous amount of scientists’ time.\"

I agree this time could be much better spent reponding to FOI requests.
Feb 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterWindy
Years form now even if AGW scares dies , there will be somewhere in a UN office a person who job is 'admin' for the IPCC, for like most UN organization it will never really die just go into log time habitation.
But what will put it into ‘deep sleep’ is a change in political will ,not the science, for this is a political not scientific issue . Once it becomes more hassle than the ‘benefits’ it brings, it’s a dead duck in all but name and never mind the ‘facts’
Feb 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR
It may well self-destruct because it has so helped degrade science and debate about climate change that even other eco-activists have realised that the very topic of climate is a liability (see the downplaying of it for the forthcoming Rio conference on suppressed development). Furthermore, as far as I can see, the IPCC has been losing ground on one scientific point after another, and has certainly been exposed as a source of deception and biased viewpoints (see The Delinquent Teenager). Finally, the head of it all, Pachauri is scarcely an inspirational or sure-footed or disinterested leader.

The IPCC has been a hugely successful political initiative, one from which virtually everyone in the planet will experience harm for decades to come. What else could it achieve compared to such lunacies as the UK's Climate Change Act? The old advice to salesmen was to quit talking as soon as you've got a sale. Well, the IPCC sure got a sale. There are a lot of gullible, or conniving, folks in positions of power and they swallowed it all hook, line, and sinker.

I think the plotters behind it all will be thinking <i>'Quit while you're ahead, IPCC.'</i>, and those already riding high on the 'sustainability' bandwagon might just be pretty hostile, I suppose, to any powergrab attempt by the IPCC to downplay climate, and jostle for position at the reins.
Feb 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade
Curry says- \"Lets see what the next assessment report comes up with.\"

The world was already told in 2010-

Regarding AR5, due 2013/2014, “the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one.”
Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, November, 2010

Say no more! A nod's as good as a wink to a blind man!
Feb 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y
The only thing I would take issue with is in James Stafford's opening gambit, in which he states: '...both sides deeply entrenched, hurling accusations and lies at each other...'
To the best of my knowledge, this 'side' does everything in its power to AVOID 'lies' - because they would be seized upon by the 'warmists' - accusations certainly, usually to highlight the vastly exaggerated doomsday claims of the 'science is settled' brigade.
Apart from that - a very considered and balanced exchange...
Feb 28, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid
The IPCC isn't going anywhere. It was established as an instrument to support the deployment of the UN's fledgling political initiative after Gro Harlem Brundtland's reported findings discovered the huge leverage possible with \"sustainable development\"...
Kiss goodbye to the IPCC and you'll have to kiss goodbye to the UNFCCC, and if you kiss goodbye to that, how on earth are you going to get everyone on board for the radical global decarbonisation that is the pot of gold that has been sought for the past 20 years?
How do you put a price on carbon, if there is no \"authority\" in the science that supports the need to do it?
Emissions trading? Kiss goodbye to that as well, because the whole market rests on the IPCC science, that's why it was established. That's why Pechauri was on the board of advisors at the defunct CCX, and Strong on the board itself, along with numerous other climate science and UNEP luminaries extending their cv's as \"market advisors\" on various other ET schemes. Not to mention the vast re-insurance and underwrite organisations - Munich Re, KPMG, etc - that have titanic portfolios for climate related financial instruments and initiatives that will be weeping into their pension pots if the the authoritative IPCC science evaporates like a bad fart in the wind.
And what about the compulsory carbon emission reductions legislation in Europe? It's adios muchachos to all of that if the IPCC science gets nuked.
What about all the educational material for our indoctrinated children? No IPCC in there either? What no Local Agenda 21 for Geography Key stage xx? What'll the teachers teach if there's no authority to which they can appeal in their lesson plans? Heaven forbid!
No, let's be realistic... there's a decade and a half of bitter fighting left to see the AGW ghost out of town. Not to mention it will take that long for the models to diverge enough from reality that they won't be able to patch up with media spin. There's a long way to wind down yet...
But it's really, really great that some big hitters like JC are speaking out and echoing the Delinquent Teenager.
Feb 28, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert
I can't see the IPCC being dissolved or radically changed either. Too many political hopes and scams depend on it for authority. Bureaucracies are never easy to get rid of once they are set up. The political agenda and scams found climate alarmism a useful cause to harness but it wasn't what they were about. However, there'll be no public admission that the rationale they claimed for their existence is invalid.

I can see the IPCC toning things down and treading more carefully to match the emerging mood and drifting along in the background. To a large extent, the IPCC has achieved what it was set up to do.
Feb 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic
$10 billion takes a lot of budging.
Feb 28, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko
Justin Ert

Unfortunately I think your observations are right on the money. In spite of all the revelations in the last couple of years, the bandwagon continues apace. In my view, the mis-selling of the precautionary principle has fooled governments into falling in line with the objectives of Agenda 21 without realising that they are a part of it. I would be amazed if any UK MP is familiar with its tenets in spite of the fact that the information is available (openly) on the internet. Judith Curry, Richard Lindsen and many others are doing a sterling job questioning the quality of the science but I fear that it has less relevance than the politics and I don't know many people who are attacking that. Anyone who uses the term SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT has bought into the UN policy even though they might not realise it.
Beware of sustainable development, it's a myth.
Feb 28, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia
The UNFCCC, which is the parent of the IPCC, also needs to be interred. Perhaps the UN headquarters and those of its myriad extensions comfortably housed in Geneva could then be moved to Brazzaville, Gabarone and Harare. That would reduce the UN's opportunity for mischief.
Feb 28, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRayG
Something I wrote at Climate Audit (Steve is starting to laugh a 'rich, golden laughter'!):

What is a curious question, for me, is how quickly the British Establishment, such as the BBC and the Guardian, embraces such farces and how much it tells of the long decline and fall of British power and the desperate wish of such an Establishment (the so called 'Enquiries', a case in point, very typical of our 'beloved' Establishment - to which Voltaire might say (though not me!) "Écrasez l'infâme!") to find a new ‘roll’ for itself, where it could ‘punch above its weight’. For, in a sense, wasn’t the IPPC and ‘climate change’, if not a British, then a Commonwealth invention? Such history is revealing – a legacy of the end of Empire!?
Feb 28, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane
Judith is channeling her inner Donna, probably wishing she could use Donna level language instead of having to be a colleague & a fellow professor.
Feb 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred from Canuckistan
"how quickly the British Establishment, such as the BBC and the Guardian, embraces such *farces*"

Surely a typo - r is next to e on the keyboard. ;-)
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy
Neil, I can't see the error but I've always been a bit obtuse - could you be more explicit?
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane
Lewis Deane,

That's very much my view.

The loss of empire and particularly Suez created a mentality in senior British politicians and Civil servants whereby Britain had to have a leading place in the world and a seat at the top table and all the rest of it, but they didn't actually have any faith in Britain to be able to achieve this.

They sought various ways of doing it by finesse. I think this was one of the things which drew us into the EU. They thought the economic problems we had in the 60s and 70s would be solved by some process of osmosis and they really believed they'd be able to become the leading lights in the EU.

And yes, I'd say that the way politicians have spoken about 'Britain leading the way on climate change', the role in promoting the IPCC, the Climate Change Act, the way that the Met Office has been largely turned into a CAGW propaganda machine, all point to this being seen as a way for Britain to be seen as 'punching above its weight'.
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic
Lewis, no mistake, I was being ironic and hoped not to be explicit, but if you replace 'r' with 'e' in 'farces' you get...

Sorry for lowering the tone.
Feb 28, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy
Sorry, Neil, my slow. Ha ha!
Feb 28, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

I think both more naive and insidious than that. I don't think the UK Establishment every gave up there sense of 'ruling' the world. I think 'climate change' has been an attempt to continue that. I think the desperation in this whole saga is about 'power', but most of all a lack of power and a loss of it. This is the last desperate throw of the 'Colonial' gold ring into the game, that we can dominate the monstrously, emerging powers with our Western absurdities. Instead of adjusting to a new (low wage!) world we want to pretend it only exists at our bidding! How pathetic!
Feb 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane
The problem for AR5 is that it appears likely that when it is released in 2014 there will have been no warming (or no statistical warming) this century. In these circumstances, it is rather difficult to spin the claims that unabated CO2 emissions is leading to catastrophic warming. Put simply, the divergence problems between model predictions/projections and reality is growing too long and wide for people to buy into the claim. And since the West is without money, it could not buy into the wild claims even if it wanted to.

It does appear that the writing is on the wall, and what we are witnessing now is the taking of a little time for the politicians to smell the coffee and move onto the next big tax payer funded scam they can get their grubby mits on.
Feb 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney
The IPCC is a vampire ... nothing but a stake driven through its heart can kill it .... and even then it will be back for the sequel "IPCC II ...".

Organisations like this are impossible to kill ... even when their reason for creation disappears, they find another reason. It may be the new threat of the Maunder minimum, it may be some kind of climate forecasting network, it may even become something like the interenational search for intelligent extra terrestrial life ... whatever it is, it will continue.
Feb 28, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMIke Haseler
The IPCC has already outlived its usefulness. It lost its political value in late 2009-early 2010. It will be sidelined, even and especially in the unlikely event it squares up to ethical truth and confirms the Lindzen 'trivially true' industrial CO2 effect and net beneficial impact ( as quietly, privately, reluctantly, admitted???).

But anyway, solar cooling is probably set to steal the stage regardless..
Feb 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos
How can IPCC be taking up so many scientists' time if it is a conspiracy cooked up by a dozen Greenpeace activists in the grad student lounge?

Sorry, maybe I got the wrong memo this week....
Feb 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank
No; sustainable development is not a myth. It's been around for centuries. It's more often (and more honestly) called poverty.
Feb 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson
Mike Jackson

My mistake lol
Feb 28, 2012 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia
richard verney wrote:

It does appear that the writing is on the wall, and what we are witnessing now is the taking of a little time for the politicians to smell the coffee and move onto the next big tax payer funded scam they can get their grubby mits on.

I've been trying to get my MP, Hancock West Suffolk, to ask the Minister for Climate Change by how much my energy bills will go up as a direct and indirect result of the Climate Change Act. The first reply was very much 'CO2, end of the world etc' stuff. The second hardly mentioned CC at all, but concentrated on energy security, reducing our dependence on foreign oil etc.

They are already beginning to swing to a new narrative. Note also, that neither time did he ask the Minister my question.

Politicians, eh? Hate 'em or hate 'em, doncha just love 'em? There is no point getting indignant on blogs: you have to use Write To Them and try to pin them down so that when the wheels come off the bus their jobs will be at risk. That's the only thing they care about.

Feb 28, 2012 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood
Feb 28, 2012 at 11:35 PM | Julian Flood

Haven't you been told that your energy bills are going to go down? Yes down! Apparently, according to government sources, you are going to use 30 to 50% less electricty in coming years so this will offset the 30 to 50% price rise due to carbon related taxes.

How you are going to use so much less energy is anyone's guess.
Feb 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney
I think she must be descended from Archimedes; given a fulcrum Judith Curry could move the world.
Feb 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos
It's obvious that Judith Curry is in the pay of Big Oil.....
(that's sarcasm)
Feb 29, 2012 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil
If they get rid of the IPCC, they still have a failed science, which will only grow two new heads, just as bad as the old one. That is the inexorable process, you see, of not getting to the root of the problem. Two generations of miseducated scientists need to be forcibly retired, or re-educated to the scientific truth, which 97% of them refuse, so far, to even look at, no matter how simply or how clearly it is shown to them. And no one has all of the needed truth, at the moment.
Feb 29, 2012 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman
Frank: "How can IPCC be taking up so many scientists' time if it is a conspiracy cooked up by a dozen Greenpeace activists in the grad student lounge?

Sorry, maybe I got the wrong memo this week...."

You appear to be getting the wrong memos' every week Frank, at least from your statement above. Are you saying the IPCC was thought up by Greenpeace activists in a grad student lounge, or that sceptics/deniers believe it was, or that you believe that's what sceptics/deniers believe? I read the sceptic blogs regularly and have never seen anyone say the IPCC was the result of Greenpeace, for sure they helped out, but I believe the initial driving force was Maurice Strong, available only in Beijing at the moment becasue of some trifling misunderstanding of his part during the oil for food fiasco. You can catch up on him here:

This is the memo we've all been reading Frank, and if you really don't know why the IPCC is taking up so many scientists' time it's "money", they, or their organisations get money from the government to support the IPCC.
Feb 29, 2012 at 3:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo
Hahaha close down a UN gravy train, you got more chance of finding cursed Egypt gold and then being chased around by a mummy.
Feb 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva
Simply leave the demise of the IPCC to Nature (the Real one, not the publication).

Let Nature take its (unpredictable - too many variables) course: it will deflate the hot air balloon of the IPCC slowly but steadily, or blow it up unexpectedly. Either way, Humanity will manage fine without these professional prophets of Doom.
Feb 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAntonyIndia
<blockquote>I believe the initial driving force was Maurice Strong, available only in Beijing at the moment becasue of some trifling misunderstanding of his part during the oil for food fiasco. You can catch up on him here:
Feb 29, 2012 at 3:55 AM geronimo </blockquote>

Now, now geronimo - don't cast aspersions at one of the left's founding fathers of UN supranationalism.

It was all just a misunderstanding - Saddam Hussein could have sent a million dollars in a cardboard box to any of us.
Feb 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose
That's interesting - HTML's stopped working - but auto-linking has arrived!

I think that's a plus.
Feb 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose


'Dreadnought' in an earlier thread says he's paying 0.0557 euro/kWh for offpeak and 0.0901 euro/kWh dayrate in France which is roughly 4.7 and 7.6p respectively. British Gas charge more than double that during the day, which is something I may mention to my MP...

Feb 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

If the IPCC bureaucracy is difficult to eliminate, it is easy to make irrelevant.

The best way the IPCC irrelevancy is assured is to support the ongoing displacement of its functions caused by the obvious growth of the open marketplace of independent scientific discourse. The IPCC displacement by independent processes that is already occurring happened with little funding and no media support yet it has brought the IPCC to a position where it is already openly doubted in serious public and scientific discourse. The fledgling voluntary scientific self-evaluation and integration requires no media campaigns or political support. Already only those emotionally committed to certain ideologies PRed by some activist NGOs listen to the biased UN supported IPCC.


Feb 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Feb 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM | James P

Those rates are great for underfloor heating which can be on during off-peak and has plenty of residual so as to produce warmth all day. 50 years ago, my parents had electric underfloor heating and it was only ever powered off-peak (although in those days off-peak was approximately 12 hours a day running from about 8pm, may be 9pm through to 7am and there was an afternoon boost from about 2pm until 4,30pm). There was enough residual so that you could switch off the electricty and the floor would stay warm for about 3 days.

The French produce the lowest CO2 per capita in Europe because of nuclear. Since this is a green source of energy, they are not having to pay high charges to recover the costs of windfarms and solar (inclucing infra-structure/grid upgrades). Consequently, they benefit from reliable and cheap energy. Lucky bast***s. Your MP should be told what a sensible energy programme can provide. Contrast this with the ever increasing fuel poverty being faced by millions (probably tens of millions) of Brits, especially those on fixed income. In coming years, this is going to be a real problem in the UK, especially if winters are going to get colder. The housing stock in the UK for the main part is of suchh poor quality (in no small part due to its age).

This sets the French up well for the future since the key to economic development is cheap reliable energy, and may be in 10 years time they will have a stranglehold over the Germans whilst England will be at the mercy of the newly independent Scotland for a bit of wind energy.Perhaps Alex Salmond can huff and puff a bit more when it is otherwise not windy enough to power those bird mincers. Hey Ho....

Feb 29, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

James P

In the interests of accuracy I better repeat my follow-up comment:

The rates I quoted were last year's and were before VAT and other taxes. The current rates from the EDF website are:

off-peak 0.0895 euro/kWh
normal 0.1312 euro/kWh

The purpose of the taxes is pretty impenetrable, but they appear to cover a range of costs including subsidising street lighting, paying the Electricity Regulator and making up a shortfall in the EDF pension fund. I expect there are some green taxes buried in there somewhere.

Feb 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

richard verney

The bad news in France is that the Socialists and the Greens have entered into an electoral pact for the next Assembly elections. Part of the deal is a substantial reduction in France's nuclear energy capacity.

However Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate for the Presidential elections and current favourite, has always been non-committal on the subject.

Feb 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Hey Judith the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Clowns are way past their use by date.

Mar 1, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurice@TheMount

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