AR4’s Working Group 2 really needs to get a clue

Of all the recent “inquiries” pursuant to Climategate, the one that has the most credibility is that of the InterAcademy Council (IAC)’s Climate Change Assessments, Review of the Processes & Procedures of the IPCC.

It a well-written report with 20 concrete recommendations for change, which was given reasonable MSM coverage when it was released on August 30. And it is the 5th item on the Agenda for the “Thirty-Second Session of the IPCC, Busan, Republic of Korea, 11 – 14 October 2010”.

In an Oct. 3 article in the U.K. Daily Mail, Fred Pearce wrote:

In the name of the planet, Patchy must go: Acclaimed science writer Fred Pearce calls for head of bungling climate change boss

If governments won’t fire him when the IPCC meets at the Korean seaside resort of Busan next week, he should fall on his sword. For the good of the battered reputation of climate-change science. For the good of the planet.

[Rajendra Pachauri] is an amiable, bearded, vegetarian railway engineer and cricket fanatic, born under the British Raj in India. He has been showered with prizes, including Indian of the Year in 2007, and held jobs all over the world. He got the IPCC chair in 2002, after the Americans fell out with the then chairman, a Brit called Bob Watson, who is now our Government’s chief environmental scientist.

But Patchy is not a climate scientist. And he is part of the problem.


The council’s report, published at the end of August, was damning. Chairman Harold Shapiro found that [Working Group II Co-chair, Martin] Parry’s climate impacts report in particular showed a tendency to ’emphasise the negative impacts of climate change’, many of which were ‘not sufficiently supported in the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly’.

How did that happen? Well, they used ‘non-peer-reviewed literature’, such as WWF reports, without the findings being ‘adequately evaluated’ – perhaps a polite phrase for the IPCC’s disgraceful use of that old standby of students: copy and paste.

[…] [emphasis added -hro]

I can certainly confirm Pearce’s claim regarding WG II’s use of “non-peer-reviewed literature”. The Citizen Audit determined that in the 20 Chapters of WG II’s report, of the 8,272 references cited, 2,849 (34%) were not published in peer-reviewed journals.

But wait … there’s more! Donna Laframboise recently did considerable research into the material that was (and more importantly that which was not) cited in WG II’s Chapter 4 on species extinction.

In Another IPCC Train Wreck: Species Extinction (Part 1), Laframboise notes that Pachauri is fond of raising the “20 to 30%” species extinction alarm. An alarm which – despite its “worldwide media attention” – was based on a paper that:

“Unfortunately for Pachauri, many experts consider … to be a load of rubbish.”

This notorious paper was nurtured by Nature.

Considering what we already know about how the IPCC deals with the views of those who differ from their manufactured “overwhelming consensus“, can you guess how WGII dealt with this controversy?!

And while you’re in guessing mode, take a guess as to how many of the 10 lead authors of this same chapter have links to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). And be sure to add to that total the 3 contributing authors who are also WWF advisory panel members. Then read all about these “experts'” qualifications in Laframboise’s Part 2.

But before you go … When the IAC report was released, Nature was amongst those who gave it coverage which drew some comments. This green magazine also has a blog, The Great Beyond.

On Oct. 4, the following item was posted to The Great Beyond:

IPCC’s second working group responds to InterAcademy review

Leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s second working group for the fourth assessment (covering adaptation, impacts and vulnerability) has responded to several criticisms laid out in a high-profile review released in late August by the InterAcademy Council. The letter to Harold Shapiro, a former Princeton University president who chaired the review, welcomes recommendations for improving the process but says the IAC made “some incorrect assumptions and conclusions” in its report.

The full and unedited letter is posted below.

To: Dr Harold Shapiro, (Chair, IAC Committee to Review the IPCC)

From: The Co-Chairs, Convening Lead Authors of Regional Chapters and Head of Technical Support Unit of Working Group II of IPCC Fourth Assessment

4th October 2010

Dear Dr Shapiro:

The InterAcademy Council report Climate Change Assessments, Review of the Processes and Procedures of the IPCC, 2010 is a valuable review of the IPCC and we welcome its recommendations to improve the way in which the IPCC conducts its assessments. However, the IAC makes some incorrect assumptions and conclusions about AR4 IPCC Working Group II (WGII), and we write to correct these.

When I tried to read their 4 “corrections”, parsing their plaints left me thinking that they might have been wiser to have kept quiet (even if I had not been aware of the “train wreck” Laframboise has documented – which should be required reading for those who will be considering the recommendations of the IAC at their Korean confab next week).

Time to get a clue, Working Group 2!

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