Quote of the week: Pachauri’s recipe for IPCC messages

Pachauri on Doha, IPCC Leaks and His Optimism

“It’s difficult to say whether [the leak] will be positive, but it clearly is a deviation of understanding that you have with the reviewers. For a number of reasons, we treat the drafts as something that is not to be made public, because you know that it’s a work in progress.”

You don’t want to send out half-baked messages to the world until you are absolutely sure. We have a solid process in place involving the role of governments and the review [needed] for the final draft.” [h/t Tom Nelson and emphasis added -hro]

Considering that the “leak” to which he refers is that of the Second Order Draft (which in effect is the third draft, because the IPCC draft-counts start at zero) of Working Group I’s contribution to the 5th Assessment Report, surely the report should be more than “half-baked” at this point.

Then again, I suppose if you are going to send out messages that are “half-baked” (as opposed to “fully-cooked”), I can almost understand why you would want to be “absolutely sure” before doing so.

All of that aside … is it not most unfortunate that Pachauri’s “optimism” does not appear to extend to his views of the general public? I mean, what is it that he thinks journalists could not communicate – and/or that John or Jane Q. Public could not possibly understand – about the meaning of the word DRAFT?

But speaking of DRAFTs and leaks thereof … Richard Tol, Coordinating (formerly known as “Convening”) Lead Author of Working Group 2, has an experimental blog in which he:

discusses the developments around Chapter 10 on Key Economic Sectors and Services of the Fifth Assessment Report of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He’s been posting since May, 2010. You might want to take a look at his two most recent posts:

Response to comments: Tourism and recreation

Draft 2a: Tourism and recreation (“first version of the second-order draft” in which, unless I’m mistaken the relevant details from the comments above have been incorporated)

To the best of my knowledge, unlike Donna Laframboise – who has not posted any of the Draft material leaked to her by the Secret Santa – Tol has received no notice from the IPCC legal beagles.

Oh, well … never let it be said that consistency is a hallmark of this “gold standard” assessment process ;-)

P.S. If you are interested in the history of the IPCC’s assessment reports past, I highly recommend Bernie Lewin’s recent post.

Enter the Economists: The Price of Life and how the IPCC only just survived the other chapter controversy

Something I hadn’t known (which he recounts in his post) is that, initially, there was no WG3. [UPDATE: 01/17/2013 05:46 PM PST, This was an error in interpretation on my part. WG3 has always existed, but changes had been made along the way.]

Also interesting, in this first of two Parts, is that the fact-free “misinformation … big coal” meme was active even in the IPCC defenders’ early days:

When the controversy was over and the Report publish[ed], David Pearce, the coordinating lead author, remained insulted and perplexed that their expert assessment could be called into question by the government delegations due to the confused and spurious reasoning of this enthusiastic outsider with his ‘silly campaign of misinformation and abuse.’ In fact, to his dying day, Pearce remained convinced not only that Meyer served the interests of the coal lobby, but that they were funding the whole absurd charade.

4 thoughts on “Quote of the week: Pachauri’s recipe for IPCC messages

  1. Semantics, HRO.

    Clearly what Pachauri meant to say was:

    “You ONLY want to send out half-baked messages to the world WHEN you are absolutely sure.”


  2. It looks as though IPBES is now a reality. Here’s an article from January 2012 on the University of Copenhagen website:

    ” Biodiversity is declining rapidly throughout the world. The challenges of conserving the world’s species are perhaps even larger than mitigating the negative effects of global climate change. Dealing with the biodiversity crisis requires political will and needs to be based on a solid scientific knowledge if we are to ensure a safe future for the planet. This is the main conclusion from scientists from University of Copenhagen, after 100 researchers and policy experts from EU countries were gathered this week at the University of Copenhagen to discuss how to organise the future UN Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES – an equivalent to the UN panel on climate change (IPCC).”

    And here’s an FT article from yesterday (18th Jan 2013), describing the creation of GEMs (GCMs but to do with “ecosystem” rather than “climate”):

    “The original GEM’s creators at Microsoft Research Cambridge unveiled the model in the journal Nature, ahead of next week’s inaugural plenary meeting in Bonn of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a new body affiliated with the UN.”

    Out with the old, in with the new!

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