Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has often been billed in the mainstream media as the “world’s leading authority on climate change” – notwithstanding his tendency to shoot from the lip.
However, one of the recommendations of the InterAcademy Council (IAC)’s review of the IPCC was that (p.xv):
The IPCC should complete and implement a communications strategy that emphasizes transparency, rapid and thoughtful responses, and relevance to stakeholders, and that includes guidelines about who can speak on behalf of IPCC and how to represent the organization appropriately.
In response, the IPCC appears to have adopted guidelines which include (p. 5):
Authorized spokespersons should act in accordance with the guiding principles that have been set out for IPCC communications, most notably maintaining policy neutrality, scientific balance, and refraining from, or being perceived as advocating or communicating personal views on climate policy while speaking in their official IPCC capacity.
[and (p. 7)]:
It is an essential quality of the IPCC that its reports are policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. When speaking on behalf of the IPCC, individuals should take care to stay within this mandate – and not to express views beyond the scope of the IPCC reports, or to advocate specific policies. IPCC communications should be drawn from IPCC Reports […]
[emphasis added -hro]
According to CBC radio, here in beautiful British Columbia, tonight (June 7), residents of Vancouver will have the undoubtedly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a (free) lecture by Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group I for their next Assessment Report (AR5). CBC bills Stocker as follows:
The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is hosting a public lecture by world-leading Swiss scientist and climate physicist Dr. Thomas Stocker on Tuesday, June 7 in downtown Vancouver.
Stocker holds one of the most prestigious assignments in the scientific world as co-chair of Working Group I of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He also heads the division of climate and environmental physics at the University of Bern, which is at the cutting edge of climate and climate impact research.
His talk, ‘Climate Change: Why do we know that we know‘, will explain the physical science basis of climate change. “At a time when the public debate on global warming is rife with doubt and uninformed statements, we must remind ourselves that without the contribution of physics to climate science over many decades, the IPCC could not have concluded in 2007 that “warming in the climate system is unequivocal,” Stocker says.
Using a combination of global observations, climate process understanding and climate models, Stocker will explain how scientists detect and attribute past, as well as project future, climate change. “Using robust scientific methods is the only way we can accurately be informed about possible futures, and have the foundation for sound policy decisions as we prepare for a changing planet,” he says.
This event is an important opportunity for British Columbians to learn about the latest physical scientific discoveries, and to ask questions on the IPCC, the leading international body for assessing climate change. [emphasis added -hro]
How many “world leading authorities on climate change” can an IPCC have, one wonders! Has Pachauri been deposed?!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend this lecture (which evidently will be webcast live via www.pics.uvic.ca starting at 7:30 p.m. PDT); but if anyone’s planning to attend, be sure to take a look at some of the recent “decisions” by the IPCC that just don’t seem to match up to their committment to transparency. For example, their decision to disappear (and disappear the disappearance of) their “rule” that “grey literature” should be flagged. Or perhaps the IPCC’s recently adopted policy on conflict of interest.
P.S. For background on PICS (the sponsor of this lecture), pls see: http://www.pics.uvic.ca/governance.php. It is interesting that one member of their Advisory Board is none other than Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation – and another is Joe van Belleghem, “Partner, Windmill West”.