Interests conflict in cloudy “climate science”
December 24, 2009 2 Comments
Back on Dec. 6 (when this blog made its modest debut), I had commented on a Nov. 11/97 E-mail (signed by CRU’s Mike Hulme and Joseph Alcamo [now the "Chief Scientist" of the UNEP, a parent organization of the IPCC]) soliciting endorsement of an EU “Statement of European Climate Scientists on Actions to Protect Global Climate”. This “consensus” building plea contained the following:
After endorsements from many hundreds of other European climate-related scientists are collected (and we hope that you agree to be one of these), the Statement will be brought to the attention of key decision-makers (e.g. EU Kyoto negotiaters and Environment Ministers) and other opinion-makers in Europe (e.g. editorial boards of newspapers) during the week beginning 24th November. The UK and other European WWF offices have agreed to assist in this activity, although the preparation of the Statement itself has in no way been initiated or influenced by WWF or any other body. This is an initiative taken by us alone and supported by our 11 Statement sponsors. [emphasis added -hro]
Sidebar on Joseph Alcamo. In his current capacity, Alcamo addressed the Opening Session of 31st Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Bali, 26 October, 2009. His remarks included the following:
It has been over 20 years since UNEP helped found the IPCC and we continue our unflinching support for the Panel. We are more proud than ever that IPCC scientists devote so much of their time pro bono to evaluating an avalanche of publications on all aspects of the climate change question and manage to summarize this knowledge in a clear way for society at-large. IPCC is, and will continue to be, the main clearinghouse for assessing knowledge about the climate system and its implications on society. UNEP, at the same time, complements the work of IPCC by pursuing its core mandate – Keeping the global environment under review and reporting its findings to member states. Some of this work obviously has connections to climate science and policy.
Many of you are aware that I am not only representing UNEP at this meeting but also a veteran of 15 years of IPCC work. Over this time I have had the chance to contribute to evaluating and developing scenarios, assessing continental-scale impacts, and other tasks. Of the many impressions I have from these years, one of the strongest is how IPCC has long and hard asserted itself on the turbulent frontier between climate science and climate policy.
My impression is also that this frontier will not be getting any quieter over the coming years. Yet despite the ongoing turbulence, the IPCC needs to engage itself even more energetically at the science-policy interface. Why? Because as policymakers and the public begin to grasp the multi-billion dollar price tag for mitigating and adapting to climate change, we should expect a sharper questioning of the science behind climate policy. [emphases added -hro]
“Expect a sharper questioning”, eh? That must have been very disappointing to the “science is settled” crowd – the most high profile of whom, in the interim, seem to have doubled (and redoubled!) their efforts to drown out any questioning of the science, while Hulme advocated a kinder, gentler notion that it is “false hope to expect science to dispel the fog of uncertainty“. Anyway …
A few days ago, I went back to my source to see if there were any other links between the CRU crew and the WWF (World Wildlife Federation). Much to my surprise (NOT!), I found several.
The first (dated 7 Oct 1997, with the innocuous Subject line “Copy of: climate: Japanese proposal”) had made its way into Hulme’s and Alcamo’s respective Inbox, courtesy of Angela Liberatore – who may (or may not) have been a “researcher with the European Commission”.
This E-mail did, in fact, contain a copy of the “Japanese proposal” – and it seems to indicate that on Oct. 5/97 Andrew Kerr had sent it to many people (although Liberatore was not listed as one of the original recipients). Kerr, definitely not a happy camper, was announcing a Press Release from (wait for it!) the WWF.
This press release, at the bottom of which Kerr was listed as a contact, begins as follows:
WWF PRESS RELEASE
JAPAN PROPOSAL FOR KYOTO SUMMIT SCANDALOUS, WWF SAYS
KYOTO, JAPAN, 5 October 1997 The World Wide Fund for Nature condemned as “scandalous” the Japanese government’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, Sunday, and called on industrialised nations to flatly reject it.
As full details of the proposal emerged over the weekend, it was revealed that Japan suggests allowing industrialised countries to make extremely marginal reductions in their emissions by as late as 2008-2012. In a second five-year period up to 2017, countries would only be required to ensure their emissions were lower than in 1990.
“The Japanese plan presents a bleak future for the environment, already suffering from the serious impacts of global warming including rising sea-levels, rising sea temperatures, and increased extreme weather patterns to name just a few,” said Andrew Kerr of WWF’s international Climate Change Campaign. “The plan is laughable when you consider that some European nations already have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by several times more than the amount Japan proposes for emission reductions more than a decade from now.”
According to the just released “WWF State of the Climate” report that evaluates the global impacts of climate change, a long list of impacts already are visible today including the destruction of several land and marine ecosystems in Asia and around the world because they cannot keep up with the pace of global warming. [emphases added and pasting artifacts removed -hro]
Hmmm …. WWF’s Kerr pronounced Japan’s plan as “scandalous”. Unless Hulme and Alcamo paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to this Oct. 5/97 press release (which is somewhat difficult to believe), their claim of Nov. 11/97 that “preparation of the Statement itself has in no way been initiated or influenced by WWF or any other body” is disingenuous, at best, and quite possibly an outright lie.
I don’t know if Kerr is still with the WWF, but I do wonder if he finds it equally “scandalous” that, as Anthony Watts has noted:
Texas State Climatologist: “IPCC AR4 was flat out wrong” – relied on flawed WWF report
It seems IPCC made a serious error in judgement, and violated their own rules. The mistake was relying on a flawed report from WWF for a key piece of information. This turns out to be a World Wildlife Fund project report (PDF) An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China that was not peer-reviewed.
This is a problem; the IPCC is supposed to rely only on the peer-reviewed literature. [...]
And speaking of peer review … As Steve McIntyre noted recently, this overused crutch (and favourite club of the “science is settled crowd”) does not appear to include any examination of the actual science underlying any of the IPCC reports.
Meanwhile, it’s already Xmas downunder! And in the “picture worth a thousand words” department, Mohib Ebrahim and Joanne Nova have put together a “Spectacular Poster of ClimateGate Covering 3 Decades”
Be sure to visit the Poster page where Jo describes a few of the highlights, and download your own copy of this amazing PDF.
The Introduction concludes:
These problems would have been publicized years ago if the AGW theorists didn’t have powerful allies: policy makers in virtually every professional scientific body, editors of virtually every major scientific journal, and reporters and editors at virtually all mainstream media outlets. Few provided unbiased, impartial forums where alternate views and evidence were aired and debated. Instead, most spared no effort to ensure voices against the artificial consensus were quashed by editorial fiat and a persistent campaign of vilification, intimidation, and ridicule.
Indeed, it would seem that while there is no evidence that CO2 is the “primary” cause of global warming, there is an abundance of evidence that interests conflict in cloudy “climate science”.