Barely a day goes by when I don’t receive a grandiose “subscription” offer from the so-called (or at the very least self-proclaimed) “newspaper of record”, the New York Times. And if anyone from the NYY happens to be reading this, here’s a message from Hilary: Frankly, apart from your daily summaries (and the ten freebies per month) you really should consider how much you are willing to pay me to “subscribe”!
Notwithstanding the above, from time to time one of their articles prompts me to sit right down and write the author a letter – which, to their credit, eventually gets published. My most recent missive followed on the heels of Andrew Revkin’s paean to Hoesung Lee, a Korean economist and the newly elected Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Here’s what I wrote:
While I did not find any of the candidates to be particularly impressive, it is somewhat disappointing (albeit not surprising, considering their previous choice) that the winner is one who does appear not [to] know the difference (any more than Obama does, for that matter) between “carbon” and “carbon dioxide”.
To the best of my knowledge, it is the latter to which the IPCC is strongly wed – and has been by its ever increasing army of NGOs since its inception more than 20 years ago.
And if we can’t trust Lee on the “small stuff”, why should we trust him (or any IPCC-nik for that matter) on the “big stuff”, eh?!
Perhaps it would be best to consign the IPCC to the dustbin of perpetual UNEP generated pseudo-orgs currently residing contentedly in the lower and quieter ranks of the UNEP’s ever-expanding empire.
And let its long waiting-in-the-wings younger sibling, i.e. the IPBES, take over the high-profile stuff. At least the IPBES is smart enough to provide documentation galore for their primary focus, “sustainable development”. A term that is even more nebulous and flexible than “climate change”. The latter of which (in case you haven’t noticed) is far less frequently mentioned by UN honchos than the former.
I don’t doubt for a moment that the IPBES could find a spot for the usual IPCC mantras, whether correctly named or not!
Revkin had concluded his intro of Lee by noting:
I wish him well and hope the panel finds ways to remain relevant as the energy and climate landscape continues to change.
And read my earlier post on the I.P.C.C.’s continuing issues with connecting with the public and media: “A Top Task for the New Chair of the U.N. Climate Panel – a Communication Reboot.“ [my bold -hro]
For the record, here’s a link to Revkin’s “Communication Reboot” blues (on which I did not comment!)
On the IPCC’s seemingly never-ending “communication” problem front, to his credit – as can be seen from the laugh-and-half video which I had captured a few days ago – Lee is at the very least a step above his now disgraced predecessor, Rajendra Pachauri, on the unscripted speaking front.
YMMV, but I doubt very much that recent video communications from the IPCC will do much to allay the fears of those, like Revkin, who point the finger at a “communication” deficit. For example, here’s a “video” they call “IPCC Dubrovnik Live – Oct 8th 2015”. At 36 minutes in length and very poor sound, I doubt that it bears watching in full. For some unfathomable reason, they’ve chosen a setting which permits them to skimp on nameplates and microphones, as well:
The faces can actually be found (with names attached, even!) via the IISD’s coverage (and photos galore!) Turns out that this is, in fact, the new, improved gallery of IPCC head honchos:
On Wednesday, 7 October, the 42nd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-42) continued in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In the morning, the Panel elected Youba Sokona (Mali), Thelma Krug (Brazil) and Ko Barrett (US) as IPCC Vice-Chairs by paper ballot. In the afternoon, the Panel agreed to use the electronic voting system for further voting and commenced with voting for the Working Group and Task Force Bureau Co-Chairs.
Valérie Masson-Delmotte (France) and Panmao Zhai (China) were elected Co-Chairs of Working Group I. Hans-Otto Pörtner (Germany) and Debra Roberts (South Africa) were elected Co-Chairs of Working Group II. Jim Skea (United Kingdom) and P.R. Shukla (India) were elected Co-Chairs of Working Group III. Eduardo Calvo Buendía (Peru) and Kiyoto Tanabe (Japan) were elected Co-Chairs of the Task Force Bureau.
It struck me that rather conspicuous by their absence was any mention (nor any video greetings, as far as I could tell) of UNEP head honcho, Achim Steiner (deliverer of word-salads par excellence, here there and everywhere) or his “boss”, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and his smiling face, declaring, as he indisputably did, that:
The pursuit of happiness is serious business. Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations.
These absences – combined with the fact that the now former IPCC Secretary, Renate Christ does not appear to have been replaced, although she was given a glowing farewell by Steiner, in February – are somewhat curious, are they not?!
And speaking of curious absences … Absent from the gallery of smiling pics of the IPCC’s newly elected honchos is any photo of Working Group III’s Co-Chair, “P.R. Shukla (India)”. Pure speculation on my part, I agree; however, I can’t help wondering … If one were to shake this particular Shukla’s family-tree, might one find a branch on which rests a somewhat more infamous Shukla?!
But back to Revkin and the “communication” front. When I visited his site yesterday, I noticed:
The “big” scare of this week appears to be “coral bleaching” – as noted in Revkin’s second item from the top above. And for good measure, Canada’s taxpayer-funded CBC also did its dutiful best to echo the alarm on this particular matter. For some reason it is not included as an excerpt one might listen to as a stand-alone. But here’s how the CBC advertised it in their daily summary:
A global coral-bleaching crisis is under way — and while they’ve happened before, experts warn that this time may be different. As in worse.
For the record, here’s an excerpt from a former firefighter’s piece via Revkin’s oh-so-kind promotion:
A scientifically-informed cooperative strategy for managing vegetation fires with the climate in mind might help defuse tensions between rich and poor nations tussling over provisions in the draft climate agreement on climate aid and emissions cuts.
And last – but certainly not least – on the climate change communication concern front (and the NYT’s admirable contributions thereto), consider the following which derives from a recent (paywalled) paper in Nature.
H/t on this one, btw, to the inimitable – and always right on the mark – josh whose latest and greatest led me to the following from the (unpaywalled) “Supplementary Information” (pdf) attached to this “Linguistic analysis of IPCC summaries for policymakers and associated coverage”:
Sure looks like the NYT is the hands-down winner of this particular sweepstakes! This may – or may not – be why this particular paper which indisputably pertains to the IPCC’s alleged “communications” deficiencies is not shown in Revkin’s latest listing;-)