Is Criticism of IPCC out of Proportion?

By Keith Kloor | July 28, 2011 1:56 pm

Given much of the recent reporting of the IPCC’s work, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a tinpot group of green zealots, rather than the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen. Its reports are approved and endorsed by every nation on the planet, making it utterly unique and authoritative.

From Damian Carrington’s defense of the IPCC in the Guardian. Mark Lynas, over to you…

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, IPCC
MORE ABOUT: climate change, IPCC
  • Menth

    “…it’s a tinpot group of green zealots, rather than the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen…”


    LOL. I submit the radical proposition that it is neither of these things.

  • edG

    I agree with Menth.

    The term “tinpot” is inappropriate given the very serious organization and state, corporate and academic industry support.

    And only some of them – mostly on the useful idiot level of the Team – are green zealots. This is about power and money, not ‘green.’

    And this misuse of the word ‘scientific’ is just hilarious: “the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen.”

    Is criticism of the IPCC overdone? No. Just the opposite. That became even more obvious with Pachauri’s interview on the BBC’s ‘Hardtalk,’ when we saw what the state of denial really is.

  • Jarmo

    What is new is the direction from where criticism is coming from. 

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    While it’s a substantial feat of science to pull together as broad and balanced a review as IPCC reports, it certainly is not a candidate for “greatest feat of science”, of course. Careful reading will show that this is not what Carrington claimed.

    The claim is that it is a remarkable feat of cooperation to get unanimous approval from all the member nations. That’s hard to argue with. Even the Saudis sign off on the thing.

    The “greatest feat of scientific cooperation ever”? I don’t know; perhaps a bit of bluster there. But please be specific. Does anyone have any nominations for a comparable achievement?
     

  • edG

    4. Michael Tobis says:

    “The “greatest feat of scientific cooperation ever”? I don’t know; perhaps a bit of bluster there. But please be specific. Does anyone have any nominations for a comparable achievement?”

    You appear to be confusing their level of POLITICAL cooperation with a “scientific” achievement.

    “But please be specific.” What scientific achievement? What significant new knowledge has been gained through the IPCC process?

    As far as I can tell, all they have done is take an unsubstantiated predetermined conclusion - CO2 – and tried for years to find ANYTHING that could appear to support it.

    P.S. A consensus is a political achievement.

  • Ray

    If tangible value is considered, the IPCC’s contribution to society is comparable to the invention of the hulahoop.

  • Jeff Norris




    “The SPM is discussed and then approved by all 194 countries, which means some changes are made to the draft. Those changes need to then be woven back into the full report, 1000 pages in this case.”



    I must be wrong but this reads to me that the plenary committee can not only change the wording of the SPM but then   change the wording of the report to justify the adjusted  SPM.
     

  • harrywr2

    Michael Tobis Says:
    July 28th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    <i> Even the Saudis sign off on the thing</i>
    Don’t the Saudi’s also also have a seat on UN Commission on Human Rights ir is it the Commission on Woman’s Rights?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Is criticism of IPCC out of proportion? 

    Yes.

    Are there numerous improvements that could be made to the IPCC?
    Yes.

    Will RPJr ever retire from criticizing the IPCC?
    Probably not ;-)
     

  • Menth

    4. “While it’s a substantial feat of science to pull together as broad and balanced a review as IPCC reports, it certainly is not a candidate for “greatest feat of science”, of course. Careful reading will show that this is not what Carrington claimed.”

    I read it carefully, and understand that’s not what he claimed. Maybe it is “the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen…”. That just sounds like the way people talk about their favourite baseball players is all.

    I’d argue the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen is the emergence of information networks and that the ensuing ability for scientists of to share data across the globe instantaneously is more impressive than the UN starting a panel that aggregates prevailing climate science. Is it the greatest panel ever assembled in the history of global panels? I guess…?
     

  • Jack Hughes

    Anyone here ever tried to read the IPCC work ? Pages and pages of this kind of stuff:

    “medium confidence that other effects of regional climate change on natural and human environments are emerging… [including] alterations in disturbance regimes of forests due to fires and pests” 

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms1.html

    Anybody know what this means ? More fires ? Bigger fires ? Smaller fires ? Fewer pests ? Bigger pests ? Different pests ? 

    It’s one giant Barnum Statement
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect 

  • Jack Hughes

    Whole pages that you can neither agree nor disagree about because it’s vapid meaningless filler.

  • Michael Larkin

    “Given much of the recent reporting of the IPCC’s work, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a tinpot group of green zealots, rather than the greatest feat of global scientific cooperation ever seen.”

    So nice to be forgiven.

  • Tom C

    #6 Ray -

    This is unfair to hula hoops.

  • http://hro001.wordpress.com Hilary Ostrov

    That particular paragraph did not grab my attention as much as one that preceded it …

    “The world truly woke up to the threat of climate change on Friday 2 February 2007 when a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that humanity’s activities were ““ beyond all reasonable doubt ““ driving dangerous global warming. It remains the seminal moment, and the IPCC’s work was recognised with the award of the Nobel peace prize, shared with Al Gore.”

    … and some that followed.

    FWIW, my response to Carrington’s “In defense of the IPCC: critics ignore the real scandal” can be found in:

    In defense of the IPCC, “journalist” ignores the real scandal

  • stan

    “Its reports are approved and endorsed by every nation on the planet, making it utterly unique and authoritative.”

    Excuse me?  That would make it utterly political, not accurate.  And given the gross corruption which pervades everything related to the UN and most nations on the planet, likely to be the product of such corruption.

    What makes it unique is that no other area of science has ever been thought to be defined or assessed by a consensus of politics.  No one has ever been that stupid before.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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