Monday, January 25, 2010

Save the IPCC

...and here we are: a new article on spiegel-online, written by Hans von Storch, Richard Tol, and Roger Pielke jr.:

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,673765,00.html

A clear statement by three influential scientists and active bloggers: they advise Pachauri to resign; and they suggest a fundamental reconsideration of the IPCC process.
 This makes my former entry almost look pretty old. Of course, at least these three scientists fully agree with the previous spiegel-online article. I am really stunned: the answer to my question is not on this blog, but on spiegel-online. The boundaries between science, science blogs and media are permeable and porous. The media are integral part of the scientific process, as science is an integral part of politics.

Did you ever wonder about the relation between science, politics, media and the public? It is not about separating them again and confining them to their respective fields; instead, we follow the process, breathlessly.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

English version of the article
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,673944,00.html

itisi69 said...

I'm afraid the credibility of the IPCC has already been damaged beyond repair. This is mostly the result of it's chairman Pachauri who clearly has never studied what to do in case of a crisis, in this case a faulty product. This reminds me of the 1980's Audi 5000 case ( remember the phrase "I am Audi 5000" meaning "I'm outta here").
The Audi US Vorstand denied the crisis for so long that it became untrustworthy and the name Audi has been destroyed for years.

Same is happening now, Pachauri sees this as a personal attack and reacts accordingly (maybe he's mixed up with the other crisis: Patchygate?). Clearly this is the worst a chairman can do. But it's clear Pachauri is a disaster for climate science and especially the IPCC.

IPCC's name is infected and that will stay so for long time. Only a new body with scientists of all kinds represented can save Climate Science. But I agree with the 3 Musketiers; action is necessary.

P Gosselin said...

Some points, please bear with me:
1. Pachauri is not the real problem. The problem is the IPCC's exposed hidden agenda. They can tell us all they want how they are objectively analyzing the science, but instead there's a clear unmistakeable pattern of a political agenda. Pachauri has to go of course, but a system of checks an balances and openness has to be put in place.
2. The focus of the scandal must not be solely on the IPCC. Rather the scandal is widespread and includes NASA, NOAA, CRU and the IPCC. changing the head of just one of these organisations is only a baby step in the right direction. Hansen, Karl and Jones have to go along with Pachauri. Also a host of other scientists, like Mann and the rest of the "hide-the-decline" gang.
3. Pachauri and a host of other scientists for too long have shown only aggression and condecension to other views. Comparing other scientists to Hitler, trashing, etc. is offensive and has no place in science. This kind of sophomoric behaviour and attitude is pervasive in all of the above mentioned organisations.
4. The 2014 IPCC 5th report has to report the science, and exclude unscientifically-based, already rejected sheninangans like 1.7 m sea level rises. Scientists and the public in general are not that stupid, and cannot be fooled by such blatant exaggerations. Gross scare-mongering only erodes whatever credibility that might still be there. Calling the $th Report "worse than a horror movie" is not credible.
5. There's no way anyone can conclude that the climate is heading for a disaster. The data simply is not there to support it.
Attempting to reforge the data and force it to show a "dramatic" trend will not work as long as people like McIntyre are out there to examine it. Thank God he is!
Rather than trying to exclude people like McIntyre, they have to be part of the system.
6. In general all this funding for climate research is a BIG WASTE OF MONEY. Use the money to develop technology to facilitate adaptation to both warming and cooling. While $100 billion have been for the most part wasted on climate research and data manipulation, we have a world that is powerrless to help the people in Haiti. How sad.
It is, for a taxpayer like me, very frustrating and at times infuriating.
Like we say in USA: "Throw the bums out!" All of them!

P Gosselin said...

Correction: Pt. 4
Calling the $th Report "worse than a horror movie" is not credible.

Should read 4th Report, and not the 5th.

P Gosselin said...

Sorry, one last point - I promise.
(The mind doesn't stop after the send button is hit, now does it?)

The last sentence hit me for some reason:
"Klimapolitik ist wichtig. Auch der IPCC ist wichtig. Diese Wichtigkeit erfordert eine Reform - bevor der Ruf der Klimawissenschaft irreparabel beschädigt ist."

Sometimes I think there's some kind of permanent wave of towering arrogance permeating through all of climate science, If I may be so bold. This is my observation, and I'm not making it to provoke.
It seems over the years scientists in the field have come to believe that climate science should be one of the top priorities on the planet, as if we would all be doomed without it. This is wrong.
There are many other pressing issues that have to be given much higher priority than "climate science". Climate science can be scaled back dramatically without posing any risk to humanity. Indeed most people would hardly even notice climate shange were it not all the funded discussion and blabber about it.
I hope that the remaining sane scientists in the field do not get the idea that humanity cannot live without their science. It can.
It's good to have some, but our survival hardly depends on it.
Actually, society probably would live better without it, as the money would maybe be more wisely spent. Mayself I'm convinced the planet would be better off without it. The last 20 years have proven this.
Yes, it's important, but don't go saying we can't live without you.

Hans Erren said...

The IPCC is thinking..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSdxqIBfEAw

Werner Krauss said...

@P. Gosselin
Of course, I respect your opinion. But it is kind of predictable and even repetitive. You don't like those guys, okay. Anyway, your taxpayer argument is interesting. Me, the taxpayer. Who's talking? And scientists, they pay taxes, too? Even alarmists, I hope. Hm. Is taxpayer a category that could have been listed on the vote list? natural scientist - cultural scientist - social scientist - taxpayer. Doesn't fit, or does it?

plazamoyua said...

I think P Gosselins's perception is not that far away from public perception:

Pew Poll January 2010

plazamoyua said...

I mean, whatever is the legal raison d'être of the IPCC, they behave as activists. And as such, with all the resources and help from other activists they get, I wouldn't say they have succeed.

I don't think IPCC's behavior is Pachauri's fault, but the other way around. So, is "saving the IPCC" the best idea? I do doubt it.

Reiner Grundmann said...

We should think about what is worth preserving from the current IPCC design and what is not. I doubt the interGOVERNMENTAL part is helpful, for various reasons. One is that an illusory consensus is created that is ineefective in practice (governments don't oblige).

Is the policy neutrality desirable? Maybe, if this is not asking too much in a highly politicised situation. What is required is a free expression of a range of positions. The current setup prevented this as very few dared to speak against the consensus. Now we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. The longer the IPCC resists reform the more momentum the skeptical bandwagon will gain.

Climate change science and policy have to be saved both from the alarmists and skeptics.

Werner Krauss said...

Isn't the IPCC political 'by nature' and from the very beginning? It is based on the suspicion that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Otherwise there wouldn't be a global organization such as the IPCC. The IPCC represents climate as a political problem - which it is in the current situation. Thus, each intervention on behalf of the IPCC is per se a political intervention. Skeptics fight from the beginning against the rasion d'etre of the IPCC; they say there is no reason for its existence at all. Consequently, many others defend the IPCC. Thus, the IPCC cannot be politically neutral, it only can be politically correct.

By the way, even the alarmists are concerned about the Himalaya error. Nobody wants bad science or flaws in the IPCC reports (except the skeptics, who celebrate everything that is bad for the very existence of the IPCC). Whatever you finally make of the Himalaya case (or Pachauri's relationships to interest groups), it will be a political intervention.