IPCC’s new, improved “world leading authority on climate change” speaks

I’ve never been an early riser (truth be told, if I ruled the world, mornings would be abolished), so I didn’t catch all of the early morning local CBC radio interview with imported (all the way from Switzerland, no less) “world leading authority on climate change”, Thomas Stocker.

Stocker is the Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group I (WG1) for the forthcoming (sometime in 2013-14) 5th Assessment Report (AR5).

As I reported a few days ago, courtesy of the very well-endowed (to the tune of $94.5 million of British Columbia taxpayer funds) Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), Stocker gave a free lecture in Vancouver. [OK, OK … in the interest of truth in posting, I had not mentioned the PICS endowment in my previous post]

Because of a prior (and higher priority) engagement, I wasn’t able to attend this lecture in person. But I did watch the webcast (which doesn’t seem to be available for those who might have missed it … so you’ll have to take my word for what I saw and heard!). To give credit where credit is due, though, Stocker in lecture-mode is smoother than either Michael <tree-rings ‘r us> Mann or IPCC Chair, Rajendra <hell no, I won’t go> Pachauri. But that’s where the credits end.

During the course of his show (lots of graphs) and tell (much verbiage), Stocker informed his (very small from where I was sitting) audience that (inter alia):

Today’s greenhouse gases are the “highest in the past 800,000 years”

“tree-rings are a very good and widespread archive of the past”

“yes there is uncertainty, but there is agreement in sign and order of magnitude”

all attempts to dispute the “fact” that climate change is “unequivocal” have been “weathered”

But Stocker did acknowledge:

“there is a problem: we cannot go back to 1900 and replicate … so we use [computer generated] models”

Never fear, though, dear reader, Stockwell has declared that:

statistical analysis “make us confident”

[and that]

there is “a hiearchy of validated climate models”

“uncertaintainties have been identified and estimated”

their knowledge “is subject to the scientific method”

I’m not sure what Stocker’s definition of “the scientific method” might be. But simulations generated by computers – in which Stocker appears to have such a high level of confidence – did not appear in any of the science textbooks I was required to read (sorry, science was not my fave) during the course of my pre-post-modern education.

And I won’t even mention that expertise in “statistical analysis” has been a highly conspicuous absence in the qualifications of those who have contributed to the IPCC Assessments. Oopps … I just did. Sorry about that.

But here’s the thing … Stocker was a very prominent (if not loud) voice in the IPCC’s “responses” and “task groups” who drafted the responses and/or “responded” to the early drafts in response to the InterAcademy Counci (IAC)’s review of the IPCC. (Yes I know that sounds terribly convoluted … but convolution is a hallmark of, well, just about any document that can be traced back to the United Nations (UN) and/or any of its acronymic offspring – of which the IPCC is but one of many)

In what seems to be an adherence to the “do as I say but not as I do” golden rule of the UN (and its offspring), Stocker’s claim that:

Today’s greenhouse gases are the “highest in the past 800,000 years”

appears to be drawn from a paper published in 2008

YMMV, but I’m not sure how this particular proclamation from Stocker complies with the IPCC’s newly adopted “communication strategy guideline” to the effect that:

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 […]

And in light of the above policy, that those who speak on behalf of the IPCC should restrict their proclamations to those which are “not policy-prescriptive”, I’d really be interested in knowing how Stocker can justify his [pre-lecture] prescription to the Vancouver Sun that:

the planet might be better off if [gas prices] soared to “three to four” times its current level.

Well, apart from Stocker’s stepping out of line (not to mention well beyond his area of experise), I’m sure that tripling or quadrupling gas prices would go a very long way towards eliminating poverty, disease and all the other scourges afflicting people on our planet.

3 thoughts on “IPCC’s new, improved “world leading authority on climate change” speaks

  1. Pingback: How Much Harm to Humans is OK? « NoFrakkingConsensus

  2. “tree-rings are a very good and widespread archive of the past”

    CLIMATEGATE 101: “Don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone….Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that.” – Phil Jones


    • Ah, yes, that E-mail … I remember it well! Stocker’s stoking strongly suggests great slippage, don’t you think?! And thks for that image … which is worth at least a thousand words!

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