Weaver’s wobbly “conservative” claims

Andrew Weaver was one of the Lead Authors of Working Group I’s “Chapter 10: Global Climate Projections” in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. While this chapter received one of the IPCC Report Card’s eight As, of the 545 References for chapter 10, 29 were not peer-reviewed. Six of the peer-reviewed articles cited in this chapter were co-authored by Weaver – as were 10 other references in Working Group I’s Chapters 3, 7, 8, 9 & 11.

Recently, Weaver sent out a Press Release announcing that he was suing the National Post for defamation. Why anyone would want to send out a Press Release announcing that one believes one has been defamed is somewhat unfathomable to me – unless, of course he who claims to have been defamed subscribes to the anti-democratic principle of “free speech for me, but not for thee”. David “I see you, I sue you” Irving applied this principle when he launched his spectacularly failed U.K. libel suit against Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt. Not sure that even Irving issued a press release, though. But I digress …

On page 258 of Essex & McKitrick’s Taken By Storm, one finds:

On September 25, 2006, the Vancouver Sun interviewed Andrew Weaver, a scientist at the University of Victoria and a PUN [IPCC – on page 34 Essex & McKitrick explained: “We will simply refer to it as the Big Panel, or, alternatively, the Panel of the United Nations (PUN)”] lead author:

Weaver said the new report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will take an unprecedented stance on the urgency of government measures to curb fossil fuel emissions from the combustion of oil, natural gas and coal….”We need to move to a complete and utter change in our energy systems so that we no longer rely on fossil fuels. Period,” Weaver said in an interview. “I can tell you for sure that the statements in that report will be far stronger than what existed in 2001. It will be flabbergastingly stronger.” [emphasis added -hro and h/t to Donna Laframboise]

Methinks Weaver’s advocacy colours were showing in the above – not to mention some rather blatant attempts to prescribe government policy!

During a February 2007 interview on The Radio Ecoshock Show, Weaver assured listeners that IPCC scientists’ “projections have been very conservative and that scientists are “cautious, skeptical and conservative”. He also told listeners that “Bangladesh will be under water” due to rise in sea level.

In a Feb. 10 interview with CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonte on The Current, Weaver spoke of the IPCC’s “incredibly intense peer review process” and averred that the IPCC reports are intended to “inform policy”. During this interview, he also spoke of those poor conservative scientists putting together their contributions to the Assessment Reports “off the side of their desks”.

A few days later, in a Feb. 15 interview with the Toronto Star, one finds:

“In the Arctic, there have been parts that are 10 to 20 degrees C warmer this year,” said Weaver. “These are stunning temperatures.” [emphasis added -hro]

Included in one of the paragraphs Weaver cited in his April 20 Statement of Claim is the following:

“In the 2007 IPCC report that Mr. Weaver said revealed climate change to be a barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles […]”

For the record, this sentence is not included amongst those he asserts were falsely attributed to him. At least it isn’t underlined, nor is it among those itemized as bearing any particular “inferential meanings of and concerning the plaintiff which are natural and ordinary meanings to the ordinary, reasonable reader”.

In fact, to this ordinary, reasonable reader, “barrage of intergalactic missiles” does not have the inferential – or natural and ordinary – meaning of “very conservative”. Nor, for that matter, do “uprecedented stance on the urgency”, “flabbergastingly stronger”, “incredibly intense” or one year’s worth of “stunning temperatures”.

To my mind each of these turns of phrase has a very loud ring of, well, hyperbole and/or alarmism. So it would seem that we have a Nobel award-winning report – written “off the side of” the authors’ respective desks – by ‘conservative’ scientists who are somewhat prone to exaggeration. All of this leaves me with considerably less than a high level of confidence in their ability to collectively determine what the world needs now.

But then, I’m not a “climate scientist”, so what do I know, eh?!

3 thoughts on “Weaver’s wobbly “conservative” claims

  1. Robin: “Holy melting glaciers< batman! The dynamic duo, Skeptic Girls, have rocked the evil Darth Warmer, again. How much more can he take?"

    Batman, rubbing his chin in a quizzical manner: "You never know what they've got up their denying sleeves, eh!"

  2. Thank you for the entertaining essay.
    Addle-pated, for years, and now completely out of the loop. Stronger, flabbergastingly stronger, persons than I dealt with a barrage of I-G missiles, and I missed the entire event.


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