As readers of this blog are probably aware, I do not have much respect or admiration for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and its ever-growing maze of offspring – which includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which feeds its so-called “science” to Christiana <tinkerbell> Figueres’ current bailiwick, the “send us your billions and we’ll give it to those we favour” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Despite the best of machinations on the part of various and sundry honchos from the IPCC – including Working Group (WG) I’s smooth-talking, but hypocritical, Co-Chair, Thomas Stocker – even the UN’s very own survey is maintaining a consistent but almost lowest of the low priority for “action on climate change”.
Notwithstanding her own perceptions and many word-salads to the contrary, Figueres has not exactly set the world on fire with countries tripping over each other to toss resources at the multitude of UN “mechanisms”. For the uninitiated, “mechanisms” is UN-speak for their various and sundry send-us-your-money-and-we’ll-spend-it schemes and dreams.
I have no idea how (or by whom) it was determined that Figueres might be in need of a little help from her friends. Nonetheless I happened to stumble across an announcement today:
4 June 2014: Former UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Chief Scientist and award-winning environmental modeling researcher Joseph Alcamo was appointed Special Science Adviser to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. He will be providing pro bono advice to the Secretariat.
Figueres said his invaluable advice will “strengthen our ability to understand developments in the fast moving world of climate research.” Upon his appointment, Alcamo stressed the “need to maximize efforts to convey the important science messages coming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to policymakers.”
In the listing of Alcamo’s accreditations and accomplishments, that followed the above, I did notice a few rather conspicuous absences. Not the least of which was his “BC” [Before Climategate] keynote address to those attending the October 2009 Bali gathering of the IPCC, which included:
Many of you are aware that I am not only representing UNEP at this meeting but also a veteran of 15 years of IPCC work. Over this time I have had the chance to contribute to evaluating and developing scenarios, assessing continental-scale impacts, and other tasks. Of the many impressions I have from these years, one of the strongest is how IPCC has long and hard asserted itself on the turbulent frontier between climate science and climate policy.
My impression is also that this frontier will not be getting any quieter over the coming years. Yet despite the ongoing turbulence, the IPCC needs to engage itself even more energetically at the science-policy interface. Why? Because as 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. [emphases added -hro]
Also not mentioned in this June 4 press release on Alcamo’s new, improved role, was his very instrumental role in the production of the 1997 (pre-Kyoto) Climate Consensus Co-ordinators’ Cookbook wherein one finds such gems from Alcamo (to fellow co-ordinators, Mike Hulme and Rob Swartz) as:
Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.
I would like to weigh in on two important questions –
Distribution for Endorsements –
I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.
Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!
Timing — I feel strongly that the week of 24 November is too late.
1. We wanted to announce the Statement in the period when there was a sag in related news, but in the week before Kyoto we should expect that we will have to crowd out many other articles about climate.
2. If the Statement comes out just a few days before Kyoto I am afraid that the delegates who we want to influence will not have any time to pay attention to it. We should give them a few weeks to hear about it.
3. If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a diffeent day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two very different directions.
Just so “objective” and “honest” and “transformative”, eh?! Oh, one other note of interest regarding Alcamo. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but according to the IISD (source of the above June 4 item), Alcamo also:
“played a key role in the founding of Future Earth, an international framework for global change research”.
Future Earth, as you will no doubt recall, is one of the newer kids on the climate change block. As I had noted in that post, Future Earth wants to “create knowledge” then “translate” their “creations” into “action”.