Of “piece”, security and “evidence” from the future: Climate-neutral-network-speak

In a recent post on communication of climate science, Dr. Judith Curry had concluded:

[The late] Steve Schneider has had an enormous impact on the public communication of climate science, both through his own personal communications but more significantly in terms of framing the public interaction between climate scientists and public. Schneider had a much more complex position in the public debate about climate change than say, Jim Hansen. Schneider is to be commended for raising this issue of treatment of uncertainty by the IPCC, but ultimately his position on this issue led to uncertainty monster simplification, and elitism in terms of over reliance on expert judgment and the establishment of an elite consensus. The over reliance on expert judgment and the establishment of an elite consensus left the scientific community and its argument very vulnerable to Climategate in terms of its public credibility.

Meanwhile, in apparent oblivion to reality, back at the ranch … the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) appears to have given birth to a “Climate Neutral Network” which no doubt seemed to be a good idea at the time, to at least one of their image/reputation-spinners and/or logo-designers:

In the interest of full disclosure, this image is a composite in which dimensions have been altered

Achim Steiner, head honcho of the UNEP, which chooses not to disclose its procurements and is the parent of the IPCC – in addition to being the the UN’s highest flying carbon emitting agency – made a speech to the UN Security Council.

During his oratorical plea for “piece” (sic), Steiner claimed:

My presentation today will focus on how our current understanding of the Earth’s changing climate has profound implications for global stability and security. In revising and presenting the available evidence I wish to highlight three perspectives which are particularly relevant to this debate:

1. Science of climate change: What are the implications of what we know and do not know for interpreting future scenarios? How significant are “tipping points” and feedback mechanisms in interpreting the impact of climate change on our economies, societies and the Earth’s life support systems?


The principal risk assessments in respect to climate change are the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), hosted by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization.

Its work is in turn based on the research of thousands upon thousands of scientists from government and university-linked institutes from across the globe.

The fourth assessment report of the IPCC in 2007 concluded that it was “unequivocal” that the Earth is warming and that human activities play a role in this change.


The IPCC’s fifth assessment will be released in 2013/2014, but already many teams of scientists claim the forecasts and scenarios of future climate change in the fourth IPCC assessment are being overtaken. (Quelle surprise -hro)


The question today is what kind of supportive or strategic role could or should the United Nations play in this landscape, assuming that Member States consider climate change to be a phenomenon with potentially profound implications for global security and stability in the future.


The science informs us that the quantity and quality of these resources will be at increasing risk from climate change and its impacts and that, without broad and cooperative action, irreversible tipping points could occur with perhaps sudden and abrupt shocks to communities and countries.

[Steiner concludes:]

In bringing forward a response that enhances global security and cooperation on the climate challenge, the world can perhaps also better manage risk from numerous other challenges and in doing so diminish tensions between nations and lay the foundations and possibilities of a more sustainable and equitable peace. [emphases added -hro]

One has to wonder what part of Joseph Alcamo’s address to the IPCC at Bali in October 2009, Steiner does not understand. Alcamo (as I have noted previously) was quite clear:

[A]s 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.

Oh, well … perhaps Alcamo’s words were merely yet another an inconvenient truth that Steiner is choosing to ignore in the interest of Climate-Neutral-Network-speak.


One thought on “Of “piece”, security and “evidence” from the future: Climate-neutral-network-speak

  1. I see an emphasis on the “managing risk” phrasing here. I guess that’s the ultimate fall-back position; since something really bad might happen, risk managers have a legitimate claim to all the resources they want.

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