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Thoughts on the IAC report

I haven't got time to go through this in detail, but I'll jot down a few thoughts.

The overall impression is that they are recommending a lot of steps that will make little difference. They don't seem to have 'fessed up to what went wrong.

  • The idea of having executive committee members from outside the climate science community is in principle sound, but only if they get people who are fundamentally critical of the AGW hypothesis. A sceptic-free IPCC is a credibility-free IPCC.
  • The sections on the review process do not acknowledge the gatekeeping that has gone on. THis is "shut-eyed denial".
  • Concentration on key issues is probably sensible, but you can't help but feel that this will be used as a route to sideline sceptic comments.
  • The comments on uncertainty look completely damning to me:
  • [A]uthors reported high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence. Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach “high confidence” to the statements. The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or not expressed clearly.

  • In any credible organisation, heads would be rolling.
  • The comments on communication are quite funny. The answer (as ever) appears to be better PR.
  • The transparency bit is limp. This particular bird has flown the coop. There is no point in asking for transparency over the appointments process when the authors for AR5 have already been appointed. No credible assessment report possible until AR6.
  • This also applies to the section on dissenting views. Asking for author teams with diverse viewpoints is a bit late, isn't it? There is also no point saying that review editors should ensure dissenting views are reported. They are already supposed to do that, but choose not to do so. 

IAC report news conference imminent. 3pm UK time as far as I can see.

See it here.


Josh 34

Inspired by today's Booker column.

More cartoons by Josh here.



Josh 33

Click for full size


Revkin on the HSI (or not)

In the comments to one of the DotEarth threads Andy Revkin pointed out yesterday, the great man has this to say when asked whether he had read the Hockey Stick Illusion.

Others have far more capacity/time to dissect climate books than I do (given that this is not a climate blog, but tracking issues ranging from wildlife trafficking to population growth). I recommend folks go to Realclimate for some informed critiques of that book.

I wonder if he missed my response and Steve M's evisceration of the Stahle thing, which left Tamino looking, ahem, less than straightforward.


Nature notices Bolivia

Nature magazine has finally noticed the ecological disaster in Bolivia - the deaths of millions of fish caused by biting cold weather in tropical areas of the country. The ecological disaster that readers of this humble blog read about on August 7.

According to Nature, the problem has been brought on by "climate change".

I kid you not.


Revkin on retractions and apologies

Andy Revkin at the New York Times has picked up on the Guardian's apology to yours truly and also on the non-apology that the Telegraph made to Rajendra Pachauri.


Donna's back

Donna Laframboise has moved to a shiny new Wordpress blog, and is straight back into the groove with a rather damning look at Alistair Woodward, the man who is in charge of the health chapter of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report. Some of his publications look, ahem, interesting.

Doctors are told they must “mobilise society” and that they “cannot be inactive observers” because they have a “responsibility to lead.” Inaction, they are advised, would amount to “negligence and malpractice on a global scale.” This is followed by a list of 13 things they should do – sorted into three categories.

The majority of these suggestions (seven) fall into the political category, two more are in the personal category, while another four are categorized as professional. The evidence could not be clearer. This is not a paper about medicine. By the authors’ own admission, nine of their 13 suggested measures are unrelated to doctors’ professional lives.

Business as usual by the looks of it. Read the whole thing.


More from the Guardian

The Guardian has made further changes to Bob Ward's article. The title previously referred to sceptics having misled the public over the Climategate inquiries. This was unfortunate since the article below was about my book, which predates the Climategate inquiries by some weeks.  The revision now speaks about the "hacked emails". They've also made it into a question.

More to come.


The Economist on

The Economist has an article on Peter Thorne's open temperatures project. Apparently us sceptics should be trying to help more. I'm not sure I accept some of the criticisms here but on the other hand I'm not sure they're worth bickering over either.



Signed copies of HSI

Stairway Press is now offering North American readers signed copies of The Hockey Stick Illusion. Get them here.


Message from the Guardian

This article was amended on 20th August 2010 following a complaint from Andrew Montford to make it clear that we did not mean to imply that Andrew Montford deliberately published false information in order to support the arguments made in his book. We apologise if such a false impression was given. 

See it here.


Cleaning coffee from PC screen

Jo Abbess has complained about me to Newsnight. This is too funny. As Ms Abbess puts it:

I don’t expect much from it in terms of any kind of sensible, relevant reply...

No indeed.


Where's Roger?

A couple of people have wondered where Roger Harrabin has got to these days. The answer may be here:

In a special Radio 4 series the BBC's Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin investigates whether the arguments surrounding climate change can ever be won. He questions whether his own reporting - and that of others - has adequately told the whole story about global warming.

Roger Harrabin has reported on the climate for almost thirty years off and on, but last November while working on the "Climategate" emails story, he was prompted to look again at the basics of climate science.

He finds that the public under-estimate the degree of consensus among scientists that humans have contributed towards the heating of the climate.

But he also finds that politicians often fail to convey the huge uncertainty over the extent of future climate change.

Read the whole thing.



Prospect on the Hockey Stick (again)

There's a new review of the Hockey Stick Illusion at Prospect Magazine's blog. Two reviews from the same magazine!

This one is a critique, by Professor Richard Joyner of Nottingham Trent University.  He hasn't really got anything to say apart from saying he doesn't like it. It's good though to see that he has no issues with the facts as presented, just like several  of the other critiques. I think we can probably say that there is now a "consensus" that the facts are accurately presented in the book.

Click to read more ...